05 May 2011

Oliver's Family Adventure Book

There is alot of buzz in our home regarding our soon-to-be trip to the Feeding Clinic.  But the reality is there isn't much CF news going on in our world.  Bennett is well.  He is doing so good.  And we have nothing to report but "same old."  (I find it humorous that "same old" can ever be said with regards to the ever-unpredictable and ever-challenging disease of Cystic Fibrosis, but even doling out 3 enzymes per meal and giving two 20 minute chest therapy treatments can become mundane after a while).

It's be wonderful not to have to focus on any CF specific health issue for Bennett right now.  This has allowed me to be much more present and aware of Oliver during this time of transition. 

I'm determined for this not to happen again.  These were our first signs of the downward spiral that we have seen with Oliver over the last 19 months.  I blogged about it when we first noticed, five days after Bennett was born, Oliver was suffering his own loss.  The loss of his parents who were physically away for extended time.  The loss of his parents who were emotionally elsewhere (grieving).  The loss of his being the only child in the family.  The loss of his being the center of attention, and maybe just getting attention from mom and dad at all.

As we glide into our family move to Dallas for a month, I am hopeful this is not what will happen again.  I am trying to do everything in my power to keep Oliver from being lost in the shuffle this time.

Oliver's therapist reminds us that Oliver probably already had anxiety before Bennett (and his diagnosis) came along.  Oliver was born with a tender heart and deep emotional needs to be loved and secured.  And this situation may have just made a difficult situation worse.  But I will do everything in my power to keep his tender heart from being broken further and his anxiety from sky-rocketing again.

Several ways Brian and I plan to do this include 1.) having Oliver meet with his play therapist each week while we are at the clinic, so she can monitor him herself, 2.) having Oliver stay with myself or Brian 95% of the time, even when it's inconvenient for us, 3.) create a book about his adventure to read to him regularly and explain what is going on.

Here's the book, pages on the floor.

I tried to address feelings he might have while we are there.

I explained why Mommy and Daddy, Oliver, Bennett would be sleeping apart.

I called it adventure.  A throw-back to yesterday's post.

 We plan to read this book every day before we go and likely many times while we are there.  Children learn best through stories so a story about what is going on is something, I believe, will be helpful.  

The Child Life Specialist gave us this idea for Oliver when Bennett was born.  However, it is only now, at age 3, that he seems to most appreciate things like this.

And we are using a construction paper chain to count down the days until we return home.  It is a physical way of demonstrating time for a kid too young to grasp it yet.

When we get closer, we will offer Oliver the opportunity to leave a toy or stuffed animal for Mommy to sleep with when he is away.  We hope this will also be helpful.  
I'm determined to help Oliver make this transition well.  But, thankfully, this time around, we've got a Play Therapist's number in our pocket who can help guide us along the way!


  1. Wow, Breck- You are an incredible mom to your two boys. It so evident in the things you do and the love you share. That book is such a great idea! It looks so official. Any plans of publishing in the future?!

  2. This is SUCH a great idea! I love it =) You're an amazing mom.

  3. This is so freaking wonderful. You are an amazing mommy and I love what you're done for Oliver to feel safe and loved... which he obviously is. Hugs to you and the whole family.


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