Over sharing….all the time

CrossFit, Pregnancy, and some other random thoughts

The Part Nobody Mentions February 9, 2019

Filed under: Nonsense — Jennie Yundt @ 8:30 am

ecard bad friend.pngOk, enough of this, “yay everything is great” stuff. I’m sure all of you are wondering when I’ll lay down some for-real shitty shit about life. Well, you are in luck. Because here it is.

 

What nobody ever talks about is how much of a strain it puts on your ENTIRE WORLD to have a child with special needs. It consumes every part of you. When things were at their worst, I could feel the despair and sadness all the way down to my bones. I was a crappy Mom. I was a super crappy wife. I was a double crappy friend. It was like every breath I took, and every moment of my life was dedicated to serving and handling something beyond my abilities. I was behind the wheel of a runaway train barreling down the tracks at 125 miles and hour. My whole life was a blur around me.

 

Oooh, she said it. She was a crappy wife.

 

You bet your ASS I was. All my husband and I could do was argue over various things that happened throughout the day, and disagree on how it was/should be handled. It was a nightmare. It literally almost tore us apart at the seams. Even when we actually did make time for ourselves, it was spent stressing over how our kids were behaving for the sitter….or discussing our shared anxiety and frustration over our home situation. It was hard. HARD. And Bill and I have done hard stuff before. We have loved and lost an amazing gym. We buried my father. We struggled through being dead broke. None of it compared to feeling like we were failing our son.

 

And did you catch the part where I was a crappy Mom? Not just to my son, but especially to my girls. The fact that a 5 and 3 year old were suddenly expected to “look after each other” while Mommy dragged a kicking and screaming boy up to his room, was insane. Believe it or not, they ACTUALLY looked after each other during Brady’s tornado sessions. They learned (the hard way) to stay just far enough away from him, that they were out of reach of his fists and feet. They learned that if Brady sounds angry, they just have to be quiet and not get into an argument with him. They learned that if Mommy has to spend time helping Brady calm down, they needed to get their own snacks out of the pantry, and just play quietly. They never EVER interrupted Mommy or asked for anything when she was with Brady….because that would get him all upset again.

 

Oh, and have I mentioned what a terrible friend I have been? I could barely summon the strength to call my own Mother and tell her about my day, let alone phone a friend. Evenings out were almost non existent. We used to get together with friends nearly every weekend, and now I’m lucky to see friends a few times a year. The stress of having to hoover over Brady at functions and gatherings made it almost impossible to just relax. And when we actually had someone willing to babysit, I spent my time venting and crying about how tough things were. (can you say buzz kill!?) Phone conversations were almost always cut short by some sort of disaster at my house. So…yeah. Being my friend over the last year hasn’t been very thrilling.

 

And the only reason I can see all of these things with such clarity, is because we are starting to find our way to the other side. I realized the other night how casually Bill and I were sitting around chatting and sharing some wine. We weren’t even discussing the kids, or parenting strategies…we were just laughing and talking about the future. Something we haven’t done in a long, long time. We were just surviving each day as it came and rarely thought very far ahead. Looking forward together kind of washed away some of the hurt we have experienced as a couple.

 

Maybe nobody mentions how hard it is because they are caught up in appearing “tough”, or wanting to seem like they “have it all together”. In my case, I was afraid to say it out loud, for fear that I would sound like less of a person, less of a Mom. I have always told Brady that “Mommy will never stop loving you, and I will never stop trying to help you.” I’m a silver-lining kind of gal, and I guess I didn’t want to seem like I was in over my head. Sure, the people who knew me best knew I was suffering, but publicly I tried to appear very much in control. But let’s be honest. I was a hot mess.

 

I know I am not alone. The more I share my journey, the more people reach out to let me know their lives aren’t that different. So for anyone who is in the shittiest-shit, know this; you are strong enough. You are tough enough. You WILL find your way to the other side of this. You CAN love your child through this, simply because you MUST love your child through this. Believe in yourself, because I believe in you. If I can find some hope for my family, you can too. Never feel alone, because whether you know it or not, there is a whole tribe waiting to step in and help when you need it. Just when you think you are about to hit rock bottom, there will be a hundred hands ready to lift you back up and set you on your feet.

 

 

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Holding him for the first time February 8, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 5:48 pm

Math homeworkWAVE. We are definitely riding high in our house these last few weeks. I am pretty much an emotional mess…but it’s because I am filled with so much joy and relief. After struggling for so long, I had started to feel hopeless. But thanks to Brady’s new Occupational Therapist, things couldn’t be better!

 

CALL. When my phone rings and I see that it’s the school, I always worry. Has he missed too much school? Has he misbehaved in class? So when I answered my phone on Tuesday I didn’t know what to expect. Brady’s teacher had called to let me know what an amazing change she has seen in him these last few weeks. She let me know that he has been more focused than ever, and has started advocating for himself when there is something he doesn’t understand. He was named as the school’s “Star Student”, and was even named by his classmates as the “hero of the day”. Her praises were like sweet music to my ears.

 

*all the crying* *all the good feelings*

 

MORNING. Then this morning I woke up about 6:45, and realized my house was strangely quiet. Brady is a VERY early riser, and it is usually a struggle to keep him in his bed until 6:30. Most mornings he jumps out of bed, turns on his sister’s lights, screams and runs through the hallway….he basically wakes up in full *dick* mode. So when I awoke to silence I thought for sure my children had been kidnapped. I went into Avery’s room, and when I peeked into her bed I saw Brady and Avery all snuggled up together in her bed reading a book. He looked at me and said sweetly, “Good morning Mom! I’m reading to Avery!” And at that moment my heart grew four times larger. I had to step into my bedroom and have a brief cry.

 

MATH. After he got dressed, he raced downstairs. Usually he heads straight for his XBox, but not THIS morning. No, this morning it was like someone dropped off a different kid at my house. He raced downstairs and asked me where he could find his math worksheets. After he completed a whole worksheet by himself, he asked if he could borrow my laptop to do XTRA math. (basically online flash cards) *blink*blink*. Was this really happening? He calmly sat at the table, crossed his legs, and did math homework.

 

ICING. The icing on the cake came about 15 minutes before we had to leave for the bus. He patted the couch next to him and asked, “Mom, will you give me some snuggles for school?” I went over to the couch and my big 70 lb boy climbed up onto my lap and I held him. Tears rolling down my face. I kissed his hair. I gently rubbed his cheek. It was like I was holding him again for the first time.

 

RELIEF. I share this good news almost hesitantly, because I know there will be highs and low. Ups and downs. Good days and bad. But I wouldn’t be over sharing if I didn’t share all the good news along the way with the people who have helped me along my journey. Thank you to everyone who has helped get us to this point. It seems like an eternity ago that I walked home from the grocery store, lip bleeding, sobbing, and feeling like a complete fraud as a person and mother.

 

 

Mommy, I’m not that boy anymore January 27, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 5:08 pm

new doorTEARS. I wish you could see me right now. There are literally tears of joy running down my cheeks. It’s like a 10,000 lb weight has been tentatively lifted off my chest, and I can finally breath again. Today when I was tucking Brady into bed, he looked around at his room. There are about a dozen holes in the wall, holes in the ceiling, his door is completely cracked and beaten up. If you could see his room, it perfectly tells the story of the turmoil that has been controlling our lives for the last year.

 

ERASE. Tonight when I was tucking him into bed he looked around at the chaos and said, “Mommy, can you erase all the holes in my walls? I want to start over. I’m not that boy anymore.”

 

BOOM. There it was. For the last few weeks we have been seeing an Occupational Therapist. I will admit that I was skeptical. I didn’t know if OT was a good fit for us, and if it would actually help….but let me tell you, there was a HUGE difference in his overall behavior at home – instantly. Like….instantly better on the car ride home from his first appointment.

 

MAGIC. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe he is “cured” after just a few visits. FAR from that. But the golden nugget from his therapy is that he is now intensely aware of when he feels “in control”. We have had 5 days IN A ROW with ZERO swearing. And if you haven’t spent time with our family lately, you won’t understand the gravity of that. He swore CONSTANTLY. He swore at the TV. He swore at his parents. He swore at his sisters. He swore while he was brushing his teeth…you get the picture. It was almost like it was a nervous tick, or as one therapist described it, self-stimulation.

 

RELIEF. So there it is. My good news. We are praising Brady every chance we get for his new “in control” behavior. But best of all, he just has this sweetness to him that has been gone for so long. You can see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. The agitation has melted away and all that’s left is a curious, smart 7 year old boy who wants to tell us about Fortnite.

 

NEW DOOR. And while this is “just” a new door for his room, it represents so much for our family. It represents finally taking a step forward in our quest to help our son. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer their assistance and their love. This wouldn’t have been possible without each and every hug, email, coffee date, text, and message.

 

The Lurking Monster August 14, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 9:09 am

brady kiss FinleyBLAME. Brady has been one of my greatest treasures, and greatest challenges. He has always been quick to anger and easily frustrated. When he was little we blamed it on his inability to speak. “oh, he’s just frustrated because he’s not talking yet.” And then once he was talking, it was “he’s just frustrated because nobody understands him.” It was always something.

 

 

“He’s cranky because he missed his nap.”

“He’s getting new molars.”

“He didn’t eat much for breakfast.”

“He hasn’t pooped since Wednesday.”

“He has a tough time transitioning from school to home.”

 

IGNORE. I thought I had it all figured out. This past school year we had our struggles, but I didn’t think it was a huge deal…because of course….I had an answer for why he was acting out. But somewhere behind the veil of all day school, a secret monster was growing. I would catch little bursts of his monster on the weekends, or when he came home in the afternoon…but the monster was tame. Small. I could easily defeat it with Pokemon cards.

 

MONSTER. Once summer came I had to face the tough reality – I wasn’t just dealing with a “normal” disobedient boy. Whatever was happening inside my sweet boy’s brain, was driving him to grow a monster inside his belly that would lash out. Instead of a small monster, I was wrangling a demon sent to test every ounce of patience and love that a mother can have.

 

RESCUE. I had to check out from most of my life to try and save my boy from this monster. To bring Brady out of the very deep, very dark hole the monster had dragged him into I had to step away from everything that was keeping me sane. I haven’t touched my tools in months, and my weightlifting has been whittled down to once a week at best. And like the prison break from Shawshank, the monster dug the hole so slowly that I didn’t even notice it was happening until it had swallowed him whole.

 

CANCELLED. The summer I had planned in my head went out the window. I had visions of road trips, water parks and lazy days spent building sandcastles. These visions were quickly swapped with a marathon of discipline, a heaping mountain of patience, and a metric fuck ton of time outs.  And after enduring two months of escalating behavior, we reached the breaking point. It was a trip to Meijer to buy school supplies, and it ended with me getting my lip split open by Brady’s wicked right cross. I left the kids with Bill, and I walked home sobbing.

 

ZERO. I’ll spare you the details of Brady’s behavior. Honestly, it is too emotionally taxing for me to give a play-by-play. But it was on my walk home from Meijer that I realized something was definitely wrong with Brady. His little brain wasn’t firing the same as other kids. His language. His lack of impulse control. His defiance. He wasn’t just “naughty”, he actually appeared to have zero control of how he behaved at home.

 

HELP. Oh, that’s the other thing. He ONLY acts this way at home/with me. His teachers adore him, his playdates at friends houses ended with praise for how sweet he is. I was like, “Um….yeah. Great. So, what did he break while he was here? Nothing?? That’s weird.” My walk home from Meijer led to a lot of soul searching, which brought us to seek out a psychotherapist. We needed professional help.

 

TESTS. We found a doctor here in McHenry, and she put Brady through hours of testing. And while we don’t have all the test interpretations back yet, there is one thing that is certain: Brady has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). And there it was. A name for his monster. Something concrete to hang onto. Something to google and read about. Something to reassure me that I am not a complete fraud as a mother. ODD. Brady is the textbook example of the disorder.

 

LIFTED. I wish I could say that his diagnosis lifted some weight off my shoulders, but it really didn’t. It has given me a new perspective on how to handle his behavior, but day in and day out, my life still feels….heavy? Yeah, I guess that’s how to describe it. I feel heavy. “School starts soon, and that will help” is what people keep telling me, and I wish I could believe it. It will help in the sense that I will get a break from Brady. But it also fills me with dread that maybe this year, his ODD will manifest at school as well. Sweet Lord, please don’t let this manifest at school.

 

TREAT. Like other behavioral disorders, there is no magic cure for ODD. It isn’t something that medication can cure. It will all come down to consistency, and alternative behavior therapy. In other words my friends, I am currently on a very long and very shitty journey. So to my friends, family, neighbors, church people, strangers in public….here is my request to you: Please be patient with my journey. There are “good days”, and there are terrible days, but I am hopeful that somewhere down this path, we will find Brady again. We will help him regain control of his brain and his body, and my sweet boy won’t be just a fleeting glimpse, he will be with me all the time. But I can’t do this alone. I need the love and support of ALL my people to make it through this tough journey. My natural tendency is that I am not going to make anyone else suffer with us on this journey – but I promise you I need you. I need your text messages, your phone calls, your emails, and your prayers. So wherever you are, and however we know each other, please don’t let me journey alone.

 

 

Bracing for impact January 17, 2018

Filed under: Nonsense — Jennie Yundt @ 1:41 pm

THIS. This is my calm before the storm. This is me, bracing for impact. This is easily the most stressful time of my entire day, when in fact it should be the happiest.

 

This is me at 4:15PM. 5 minutes before Brady gets home from school. We have been slowly working our way through school year struggles, and this is my last remaining struggle – how to transition him from school to home.

 

It started the first day of 1st grade. His first day of “all day” school. When it came time for him to get on the bus, he threw himself to the grass and cried hysterically. I drove him to school, and had to physically DRAG HIM into the building. I left him in the capable hands of the school social worker who assured me that everything would be ok, “just go ahead and leave.” As I turned to leave the office, I could hear him struggling to break free from the social worker, and his screams, “MOMMY! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME! I JUST NEED ONE MORE KISS! MOMMY!!”

 

(insert heartbreak here)

 

Fortunately, a sticker chart solved that issue. With the promise of a Nerf gun for 20 “no tears” mornings, Brady happily gets on the bus and heads to school.

 

The next school challenge was getting him to eat his lunch. For as long as I can remember he has been a shy eater. Holidays, family functions, birthday parties…we pretty much have to pre-feed him, or risk the hangry monster devouring our souls. With the help of a friend with MANY extra Pokemon cards, I was able to bribe him with one Pokemon card per day for eating his lunch.

 

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, we now have daily melt downs when he comes home.

 

So we brace. We quickly organize all the toys just in case someone touched a toy of his. We clean the clutter from the counters. We move the girls to their designated stools at the counter so that nobody is in “his seat”. I double check and triple check that his room looks EXACTLY how he left it that morning (I take pictures), and I hastily throw dinner on the stove so I can give him my FULL attention. Just in case…you know…he has a melt down.

 

Even after all these precautions, we still get about 35% melt down days. To say we are walking on egg shells is an under statement.

 

And then I’m faced every day with “parent bullies”. You know these people. We all know them. They sit behind their laptop typing with utmost confidence that they would never “let that fly in my house”, or that they would “show that kid who’s boss!”. My absolute favorite are the parents who proclaim, “if my kids ever behaved that way, I’d put them over my knee!!”

 

But would you? Would you really? And if you would really spank your child, would it accomplish what you were hoping for? Would it teach your 6 year old how to properly handle the difficult transition between home and school? Would a “swift kick in the ass” teach my 6 year old son how to deal with the frustration of having to share toys with his two younger sister? Would a long time out teach him how to handle his fear of trying new things?

 

And let’s talk about the logistics of spanking. What age do you start spanking? Newborns? 2 year olds? What age do you STOP spanking?? Lord knows you can’t spank a 19 year old. How many times do you strike your child? 2? 6? And what if, WHAT IF the behavior that got your child in trouble to begin with was hitting. Am I supposed to spank a 6  year old to teach him not to hit his sister?? What are we really hoping for by spanking?? Does it teach a life skill that applies ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD??

 

Grown Ups at work: “Hey Margaret, you didn’t finish the project that was due today, so I’m sure you understand that now I have to spank you.”

Other Grown Ups at work: “Listen Dave, your quarterly report was a mess. Park yourself in the corner mister, and no iPhone for 20 minutes.” 

 

You might not understand, but I am trying to teach my son how to properly deal with his emotions. Just like kids aren’t born knowing how to share, kids aren’t born knowing how to handle tough situations. Their initial reaction is going to be to have an outburst. Some kids yell, others throw toys, some hit…and some do all three in rapid succession. These kids aren’t “bad”. They just are in a situation that is above their current capacity to handle. As their parents, it’s our job to teach our kids how to be emotionally ready for the world…and spanking them isn’t going to accomplish that.

 

So while I have most of my struggles figured out, there is still one huge hurdle to overcome. And I’m working on it. Every day I read, think and pray for a solution to this issue. Every day I try and carve out 5 minutes to myself before he comes home, just so I can ensure I have some reserves in the tank. Because this is a tough time for me too. I’m tired, he’s tired, and I’m just trying to make it out of this alive.

 

When life kicks you in the tits December 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 2:03 pm

poolside-florida-croppedThere are only a handful of times in my life when I can remember feeling truly, truly sad. The kind of sad that you can’t shake off. The kind of sad where you sit in the shower and cry. The kind of sad where you just want everyone and everything to go away. The kind of sad that you could call despair.

 

Yesterday was one of those days.

 

My life is full of so many blessings, but it is also riddled with struggle. I do a fairly good job of maintaining a shimmering exterior of smiles and jokes, but it can fade in an instant and all you’re left with is a woman losing control of herself, and her 3 screaming children.

 

There are just some days that are so void of laughter, so void of joy, that it consumes me. The crying, yelling, screeching, bickering, hitting, mess making and general inability to be cool for like one fucking second is sometimes more than I can bear, and it buries me alive.

 

It doesn’t even matter what happened, or what the kids were doing. There is no way I could ever convey the situation properly so that you could understand how I felt completely lost. All that matters is that at 5:15PM I couldn’t tolerate even one more second of my duties as a mother. I left the kids inside with Bill, and without saying a word, I went and sat on the front steps. There was a small part of me that would rather have frozen to death outside than to have to “Mom” for even one more second.

 

Fortunately, without missing a beat, my husband stepped in and took over. He made dinner while I sat alone, crying, because he knew that’s what I needed.  After sitting outside for 30 or 45 minutes, I dragged myself inside and got in a hot shower. I sat on the floor of the shower letting the water hit my face, trying to drown out the terrible feelings I was having. I would have given anything for that water to wash away all the negative thoughts from my brain.

 

“I hate my life.” 

“I have no friends.”

“This is my life for the next 5 years until all the kids are in school.”

“My life doesn’t matter.”

“I am a terrible mother.”

“My kids are so bad sometimes, and it’s my fault.”

 

After the shower, I sat on the floor of the baby’s room, still crying and thinking terrible thoughts. I was willing myself to overcome these negative feelings, but I just didn’t have it in me. I felt like I was a column of ash left standing in place and if someone were to touch me, I would just crumble and blow away. Hollow. Fragile.

 

After an hour of sitting in the baby’s room, I heard a tiny voice in the hallway. “Mommy?” It was Avery. She and Brady had come to find me. Without another word, they both climbed into my lap. They didn’t know why I was crying, and they couldn’t possibly have known the depth of my sorrow, but they knew how to fix me. They just snuggled with me and let me cry all over their pajamas.

 

I’m not depressed, and I don’t suffer from any sort of mood disorder….I’m just a Mom who sometimes gets overwhelmed with her situation. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. I feel ALL the feelings. I feel so many feelings, that I even feel other people’s feelings. And yesterday was a feelings emergency.

 

The good thing about a feelings emergency, is that they can sometimes resolve themselves. I put my kids to bed, ate green beans for dinner, went to bed early, and started over fresh this morning. I’ve always joked that lifting weights is my therapy, and that was never more true than today. My friend Gina showed up for our lifting session with homemade Christmas ornaments and instantly put a smile on my face.

 

I’m grateful for all the people in my life who have saved my sanity without even knowing it. I’m also grateful for a husband who understands how to let me fall off the rails, and then put me back on again. Because every MomTrain is going to derail. It’s part of life. Sometimes it’s worse to fight the derailment, than to just let it happen.

 

Before You Go July 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 12:46 pm

Kate graduation.JPG

TIME. Time is ticking by so fast. My beautiful Katelyn, there just isn’t enough time. In 10 days you’ll hop on that airplane and fly off to Arizona State University to start your college adventure. But sweetie….10 days is too soon.

 

DREAM. I realize you have to go. This is your dream and I would never, EVER stand in your way. Dream big baby girl. Dream big! But before you go, please let me snuggle with you on the couch and watch a movie. Let me share a few quiet moments with you sipping coffee and reminiscing. Let me watch you play with your siblings. Let me cook you breakfast. Let me enjoy your smile and your laugh. Let me believe that no matter how far away you go, we’ll always stay in touch. But most of all….please let me teach you how to properly back squat.

 

SQUAT. You see, in CrossFit, squatting is everything. EVERY.THING. If you ain’t got a good squat, well, you ain’t got squat. In all aspects of your life, you need a solid foundation to build a strong house. Going off to college is so much more than school, it’s about finding who you are as a person and starting to lay down your path in life. And whether you end up a pharmacist, or a street musician, your life needs a solid foundation.

 

RULES. So let’s head out to the garage. We’ll load up the bar and go over the basics. Weight on your heels, knees out, eyes forward, ALWAYS go below parallel. These are the rules you must follow when squatting. Keep track of your workouts, follow the progressions, and listen to your body. If you follow the rules and stay consistent, you will be rewarded. Squatting will reward you with strength. Muscle. Progress. “Body like Beyonce” as you always say.

 

LIFE. Life is no different than squatting. Weight on your heels – stay grounded, and remember you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Knees out – don’t let life cave in on you. Stay strong, and fight the urge to fold and collapse. Eyes forward – keep pressing ahead to your future, don’t dwell on the past. ALWAYS go below parallel – do everything to your fullest capability. Don’t pull up short. These are the rules you must follow in life. And while squatting will reward you with muscle, life will reward you with success and joy.

 

REACH. Baby girl, work hard, be kind, and ALWAYS be humble. Squat heavy. Call your Mom every day. Love to your fullest. Build your foundation strong, and your tower will one day reach the stars.

 

All my Love Always,

Mom