Pick Your Battles

There are a couple of things that Jacob does that I’m always trying to ‘fix’. 

I’ll start with crooked pants/shorts/underwear.  One of the first signs indicating he has been to use the bathroom is crooked clothes.  Sometimes it is so bad, he will come to get help.  Or bring extra underwear or shorts to replace the ill-fitting ones.  But very often, not bad but needs adjusting.  And he does not, I repeat DOES NOT, want me to straighten his clothing. 

Note, there aren’t many pictures of Mr. Crooked Pants – I’m too busy wanting to get him picture perfect! Shame on me! In the grand scheme of things, this is minor, right? But it looks uncomfortable, agree?

I am wondering if he takes after his daddy. Not sure if it was because he was the youngest child and nobody noticed him or if he didn’t care but in photos, he often looked disheveled. Seems looking ‘gooooooood’ wasn’t based on whether or not his clothing was straight!!

Some days I just can’t ignore and determine to fix his appearance.   And then I’m met with him grabbing my forearms and holding me at arm’s length away.  I need to walk away and let it go!  Unfortunately, it often becomes me wanting to win that silly battle. He doesn’t care—why should I? You’ll be happy to know that on the day I composed this blog, I let him wear crooked pajama bottoms all day. Yes. I. Did.

The other thing is wearing socks in the winter months.  Much of our house is ceramic tile.  It feels COLD to bare feet.  I am constantly putting socks back on my boy.  Because his feet will be very chilly to the touch. He has never, brought me socks needing help or wanting them back on.  And often when I’m trying to get socks on him, he makes it a test of my patience and endurance!!

I’m in the cold feet could lead to a cold, camp!  I read that virus doesn’t enter through your feet so having cold feet doesn’t make you sick.  I also read that if your feet are cold, your nose is and cannot fight germs as well.  And, that cold feet increase the likelihood of catching the flu. As with everything, information is conflicting; and I must choose which I’m going with.

Some days, my sole mission is to keep socks on him. Isn’t that one of my jobs as his mother to do everything to ward off cold and flu? As you can see, he’ll toss socks anywhere and everywhere! I will put socks back on his frosty feet multiple times a day. Not always easy but it’s a battle I haven’t surrendered yet.

I thought about instituting a policy – NO sock, NO service. But that didn’t seem fair since it would change with the season. Here it seems he is trying to appease me with one sock on and one-off.

Now that spring is here, maybe there will be a break in the sock battle.  I’m sure he is as tired of my demands as I am at keeping his feet warm!

Obviously, on the parental battle hill, neither of these things is of life-altering importance. Not rooted in anger, a misunderstanding, or even willful disobedience. One I think I can let slide and the other, I’m not so sure. It is comical that I could even call them battles, but they are to me.

Go Talk

A long time ago someone suggested a communication device for Jacob, called Go Talk. It was a simple tool, easy to carry around, had limited space but was a good start.

He used it a little but not a lot. I didn’t try to go back to find our pages of photos that went in the 9 squares.

Fast forward to late 2017, we heard of an updated version called Go Talk Now. It was software to be used on a device and offered almost endless possibilities. We decided to give it a try and set up the Home Page on an iPad dedicated to his use.

Jacob was very curious about it. Mainly because he could push a button and get a response. We customized it to suit his needs. (It also has a keyboard that could be added if he were interested in spelling out words.) For now, these are some of the pages on it. When he presses Can I have something to drink? on the Home Page, it goes to this screen.

Each button has a male voice saying either the words on that button or the name of the item.

So when he presses I’m hungry, it goes to this screen with four options:

Each button pressed, either takes him to another screen, or responds with the appropriate command.

‘I feel’ gives him these options:

Has he used the program appropriately? YES!! Does he use it daily for communication? No. Sometimes, he brings it to us and sometimes, he puts it away:

These are some of the other pages:

Does it bring him a great amount of pleasure? YES, indeed!

He will go to one of his favorite ‘pages’ and pick something to listen to while he’s eating. Such as Down on the Corner located on the Dance Songs page.

Shortly after we started using one at home, his Day Program purchased one for his use there. Again, not used all the time but is available for teaching and fun when he wants.

This is a really great one. The Friends button has photos of sitters and friends from church. He doesn’t get to see them often, but he can tap on their photo.

One of his favorites is the Family button on the Jacob’s Favorites page. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken advantage each time family members were in our home to have everyone on it, but there are some. It has a voice over, saying their names when he pushes their picture. Some then recorded something special for him—such as one of our granddaughters, simply said, “we love you Jacob!”

But the one he likes the most is what he hears when he presses this button:

Before it finishes saying Granny and Granddaddy, he pushes it a second time to hear Granny singing:

He thinks it’s the best song ever. I think he is right.

As you can see, Go Talk Now is a wonderful tool for him and a blessing that he enjoys it so very much.

What’s Love Got to Do with It

On February 18, 1978, my dad walked me down the aisle and gave me away. To the fella that just a few years before, he had determined was too old for me. I couldn’t dig up the cassette recording (yes, it was that long ago) of our wedding ceremony. But, our vows, went something like this:

Minister: “Do you, Mike, take Terri, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward as long as you both shall live?”
Mike: “I do.”
Minister: “Do you, Terri, take Mike, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward as long as you both shall live?”
Terri: “I do.”
Then, we each repeated the ring portion: “With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, ’til death do us part.”

Having worked with over 800 brides before my retirement, I heard a lot, A LOT, of wedding ceremonies. Sometimes I would be pre-occupied with whether or not an attendant was about to faint, or the commotion stirred up by a flower girl or ring bearer. But there were many weddings that I was able to fully listen to the ceremony. Some were so beautiful, personal, and tender that my eyes would water. I remember once when the minister was telling the groom to pursue his bride every single day. To run after her and never let her wonder about his devotion. So many words of wisdom imparted on starry-eyed love birds. Words that were good reminders for me, as well.

There is so much more, SO MUCH MORE, to a wedding than the photographs, flowers, and food. While those contribute to the special memories, they are not what marriage is all about. I do not know the exact words we said but I do know that Mike and I made promises to God, with family and friends as witnesses, that we would be there for each other.

Just 17 short months after that day, Jacob was born. Seems that is when the journey began that would really put our vows, our promises to the test. I think it is safe to say we experienced better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health.

Every parent knows that dreams often change when it comes to raising a family. Mike had three siblings, I had two. I loved the idea of a large family. And then we heard words describing Jacob that made me rethink having four children.

With our wedding being just days after Valentine’s, those two special occasions sort of merge into one celebration.

As I’ve said before, Jacob isn’t fond of a big party. Too much of what some people feel is a good thing, is indeed, too much for him. But this year, he had the best Valentine’s Day and the week leading up to it, he has ever had. Without going anywhere. And it had very little to do with me and everything to do with you who have loved him in so many ways.

He got a package one day with a new shirt. And an early Valentine’s super fun pop-up card.

A few days later a friend was here and he was obviously happy to see her. He twirled while he ate cinnamon biscuits for breakfast. And danced the La Cucaracha while she joined in. Made for unexpected fun with someone besides parents.

On another day, he got 4 cards plus his Sunday School lesson. He enjoyed, absolutely enjoyed, every single one. He likes to compare the different stamps—a flag, an owl, a globe, he looks at his address and the return one.

Some cards are simple and some are elaborate, some have surprises inside, some are shiny and some a matte finish and they are all equally exciting. He will enjoy them until they have greasy fingerprints from a bologna sandwich, a chocolate smudge from candy, or spaghetti sauce from lunch and I have a feeling he will feel the love!

Jacob will not experience the love and commitment that comes from a spouse in marriage. He won’t know the love a parent has for a child. However, he knows the love of God. He has felt the love of family for his entire life. And, because of you, he experiences the love of friends near and far that bless him and us in beautiful ways.

We had no idea, NO IDEA, what our future held (who does?) when we repeated our vows, ate wedding cake, and scurried away from the church, amidst rice pellets, that winter day. But, we did have what we needed. A deep love. A love that comes from our faithful God. A love that has carried us through every season.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

There Is Love (The Wedding Song) sung for us by Bucky Owens

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts.
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits here has caused Him to remain,
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name,
There is love. There is love.
Oh, a man shall leave his mother, and a woman leave her home.
They will travel on to where the two will be as one.
As it was in the beginning, is now until the end,
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again
And there is love. Oh, there’s love.
Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?
For if loving is the answer then who’s the giving for?
Do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before?
Oh, there’s love. There is love.
He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts.
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is love. Oh, there is love.

Written by: Noel Stookey

Happy 43rd Anniversary Mr. Man!

Love, Pretty Bird

Excuse Me, Mam?

Jacob is unpredictable on some many levels. Even food, but typically he loves, LOVES, cheese toast. Occasionally, he will want to wait and eat it later but that is pretty rare.

Or eat part and then save a little for a snack:

I always make six pieces. Yes. Six. As long as I can remember, he folds the piece in half and takes a bite out of the middle first. Does that to all six pieces and then starts on the rest.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I made cheese toast on homemade sourdough bread and set the, now cool, pan on the counter. Went to his room and told him breakfast was ready. He hopped up and followed me into the kitchen.

He reached for a piece and started on it before I could even get a plate. No problem, who needs a plate? We’ve gotten to where, the pan is his plate when it comes to toast!

I opened the refrigerator to get juice and turned and saw this:

I could read his mind: ‘Excuse me, mam,’ ‘I didn’t order this.’

“But, it’s a favorite. You always like cheese toast.”

‘I took a bite, and it just isn’t what I’m hungry for.

“But sir, I made that for you and you like it any time of day. Morning, noon, or night.”

‘Not today. I don’t want it.’

“Okay, so what would you like for breakfast?”

‘What I really want is Chicken in a Biskit crackers.’

“And, that is what you can have sweet buddy!”

Some days, you just want to switch things up a bit. He was happy and so was I.

EDG

Who—whoever you are
What—whatever your current situation
When– whenever you have wished for a change
Where-wherever you find yourself

Today is a new day. And, it is a gift!

You can do with it the same as you would if it were a beautiful package wrapped in shiny paper and tied with an enormous bow. You can set it aside to open later. You can throw it in the trash. You can give it back and continue with what you had. Or, you can thank the giver and tear into it excited to see what it holds.

At Christmas, as we finished lunch, our youngest granddaughter said, “Nannie, when can we open presents?” She was excited about what each gift held. With the expectation that it would be something pretty good.

It is safe to say she didn’t decide to open it another day. Or toss it in the trash. Or pretend she wasn’t interested. She was all about checking it out right then and there.

Even if mornings aren’t your ‘thing’ and it takes you a while to embrace the day, if you will accept it as yours, you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more.

So, it seems that on Tuesday, Punxsutawney Phil said there will be 6 more weeks of winter. I’m not positive Phil has been accurate each year but for a groundhog, he seems to know his stuff. Where we live the winter has been mild and it seems spring is already trying to make an appearance. But for some, that prediction of more winter might have been met with groans and dread.

We don’t always get what we want. We all have hard stuff. If you haven’t you will. That is life.

Some days I am overwhelmed from the start. Some days I truly think, I cannot continue ‘like this’. That is when a change needs to occur.

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results. Some attribute the quote to Albert Einstein but seems no one is positive. All I know is it makes good sense. If your days aren’t going well, try something new!

Take steps toward change. You have been given another day. Another chance to do something with your gift.

Keeping Jacob home and both of us being retired now, the truth is, almost every day seems like Saturday. And while many Saturdays were work days for me in the past, there is something great about a relaxed Saturday. Those are like the very best kind of presents. And I like to tear into it and enjoy it to the fullest.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 The Message

Every minute of every day is new. We’ve never lived it and won’t again. Thank God for giving you this very moment.

Maybe write EDG somewhere as a reminder.

Each Day is a Gift!

Matt Redman and Steve Angrisano wrote a song called 10,000 Reasons. Part of the lyrics come to my mind when I think about God giving me a new day:

The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship your holy name
You’re rich in love and you’re slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind
For all your goodness I will keep on singing
10, 000 reasons for my heart to find

What will you do with your gift?

Frustration Destruction

Sunday evening I went into Jacob’s room and saw this:

This is a television cabinet that Jacob’s granddaddy built. It holds a small TV and is typically where a VCR is connected so Jacob can watch videos from this TV and have his large wall television for regular programming.

I was beyond upset with him. (It had not been two weeks since Mike had moved this cabinet from a corner angle to flush against the wall because Jacob had repeatedly pushed this set-up out the back where it would dangle until we discovered his mischief.)

I calmly walked away and told Mike that Jacob had once again tried to destroy something.

My mind began thinking through the constant frustration of him tearing up things. To add to that scenario, and make it all the more baffling, they are things that appear to be of value to him.

His MP3 player. He will listen to it all day long. But, in a 2-3-month period, he can manage to ‘kill’ one.

His keyboard. Music brings him so much pleasure but he will ‘hammer’ away until there is nothing left. The same goes for the stand. He wants it on a stand but he will also tear the stand into pieces. At the moment, he doesn’t have one in his room because of the damage he constantly inflicts.

I let myself stew because it seems nothing lasts long when Jacob is nearby. And there are a limited number of things that he truly enjoys. Why continue on that path of eliminating those?

Mike went to work repairing and restoring the current problem. I watched him go back and forth with different tools, tape, wire, etc. for several minutes. Upon completion, he told me that a video tape was stuck in the VCR player and he figured Jacob was frustrated. BINGO!

Frustration Destructionthe art of letting frustrations cause destructive behavior

Jacob Pigford

All of a sudden, it made sense, he gets physical when he is frustrated. Sometimes he comes to get us but sometimes he takes matters into his own hands. His own strong hands, I might add. Obviously.

Have you ever been frustrated with something and maybe just given it a swift kick? Like the washing machine or a flat tire? Me either, but I’ve seen it in movies or heard about it in a song! I think that is what’s happening with Jacob. In his trying to make something perform how he wants; he makes it worse in the process.

True story: My grandmother, on my mom’s side of the family, once broke her toe by administering a swift kick to the dog. Yes. She. Did. He was crushing her flower bed of zinnias and she was intent on teaching him a lesson. Her zinnias were happy but her toe was worse than it was before!

Oh, how I needed a different perspective. The fact that Jacob has limited ways to express his frustration pretty much eliminated mine.

Destruction Frustrationthe art of letting destruction cause a rise in blood pressure and extreme frustration

Terri Pigford

Will I get frustrated again? Absolutely, without a doubt. But hopefully, next time I’ll give him and myself some grace to make the best of the situation.

Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay!

Isolation

It’s a word we’ve heard a lot lately. So many people experiencing it in a magnified way during this pandemic. A widower friend was in our home a few weeks ago and commented that there are days, DAYS, he doesn’t even use his voice. It was an interesting thought. And I could see how with the world of texting and emails. I quickly told him to call us rather than talk to himself! And, vice versa, I need to be mindful to call him.

To be in a home with others probably can’t be defined as isolating. But it can be lonely. You know you can be shoulder to shoulder in a room full of people and feel alone because, for a variety of reasons, you haven’t connected with them.

A special needs family can feel isolated in many ways. Socially, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. Somehow, often it’ll feel like you just aren’t part of a group. Or maybe you think the ‘group’ you are in can’t understand your daily, so there isn’t a connection.

For us, it seems that spur of the moment fun is rare. Spontaneity seems foreign. It isn’t unusual to have a plan that will have to change at the last minute. Having to always think through plans, have a Plan B, and explore options can be exhausting.

So many times, we (Mike and I) have taken turns when it comes to different experiences. Jacob can’t be left alone. Thankfully, when it came to most major life events, we’ve been able to line up a sitter. But not always for a simple meeting, a date night, or a weekend away. One of the hardest was when we couldn’t both travel to see our newborn granddaughter, 1200 miles away.

More recently, we had tickets to a play and were to meet three couples at a restaurant prior to the community theatre performance. At the last minute, everything fell apart when the sitter canceled. Mike pushed me to go while he stayed with Jacob. Friends were each calling offering to pick me up. Finally, I gave in and went. The three men who did attend made a point to let him know, the play wasn’t that great anyway! Those friends bent over backward to ease our frustration.

Don’t get me wrong. Family and friends have always, ALWAYS, said, ‘bring Jacob’. Whether we were invited to their homes for a special holiday or a cookout. But it isn’t that easy. Yes, we could take his wheelchair and he remains seated in it while we could try to visit. It’s truly the only way he can go because otherwise, he is worse than a toddler getting into everything. All in the name of exploring. And while he is doing that, we sure aren’t chatting but instead are trying to restore a home to the order it was in before our arrival.

I’m not trying to play the pity card. I am saying that I have felt isolated. When our friend said, ‘tell me about isolation’ he wasn’t being rude or playing his own pity card. He was just stating a fact that made me think. We have fared well during this unusual isolation because we’ve had practice.

We are hearing of how damaging social isolation is at the moment. It can and is taking a toll on people’s lives. And there are hard risks associated with it: loneliness, depression, poor sleep habits, and adverse health effects to name a few. It’s quite bothersome what feeling alone can do in the long term.

Everyone who is isolated now because of Covid will make a choice each day. If you are miserable, you can choose to wallow in your misery. But please don’t wallow long. It will not help. You will become more depressed, more sluggish, angrier at your circumstances. OR, you can choose to be thankful for another day. You can call a friend (so they can use their voice), you can surprise a neighbor, you can crank up the music and dance like no one is watching, you can tackle a project with your name on it. Do something. And, in doing so, you’ll feel better and those around you will, too.

Isolation is tough, but you are tougher. Plus, even when it feels like it, you aren’t alone. My God, the Creator of the Universe, knows your name and cares about you.

Let that sink in.

Morning Moods

Our routines have really changed in the last year. It’ll be interesting when Jacob is able to return to his Day Program, what our mornings will be like then. Instead of a 7:30 arrival, it may have to be postponed a couple of hours.

Mike works hard to stay in bed until 5 o’clock in the morning. I know, right? Forty-five minutes later and he has overslept! When he gets up, he usually checks in on Jacob and makes sure to cover him up to keep him cozy. Sweet rascal won’t keep cover on for long but loves to be wrapped in a quilt.

On the other hand, getting up at five is considered torture for me! A slow-motion morning is really nice. Sometimes Jacob is up earlier than I’d like. But most of the time, he’ll sleep a little or a lot later.

You know the saying, ‘they got up on the wrong side of the bed’? There are days that Jacob is just Grumpy Pants from the get-go. It’s like everything is wrong although I don’t have a clue what ‘everything’ is. He doesn’t want to be up, doesn’t want to lie down, doesn’t want me in his room, doesn’t want me to leave, doesn’t want anything to drink, doesn’t want me to put the cup away. CANNOT be pleased. We should all be allowed to wear our grumpy pants from time to time, though, don’t you think? It’s okay to have an ’off’ day. I know I do. Just ask my Mr. Man.

When he has slept in, I never know what I’m going to get when I wake him up. My friend said, ‘don’t poke the bear, right?’ Right!

A couple of mornings ago I went in to wake him. I tiptoed in the room and he was awake enough that he wanted the quilt thrown back over him. I obliged and he curled up. He closed his eyes tightly – obviously pretending to be asleep. ‘If I’m asleep, she won’t have the heart to make me get out of this warm bed.’ I watched him and he’d start to peek but would squint his eyes again so I’d be fooled into thinking he was in a deep slumber.

It was the best kind of sweet slow-motion. I didn’t insist he get up but slipped out of the room knowing he’d probably follow soon. It wasn’t long before he did. Happily, to find a stack of pancakes.

Those mornings are such a gift. Doesn’t a pleasant start to the day just make the whole day go better? Yes, me, too.

No matter the day before, whether horrendous or glorious, each morning brings a fresh start, a new beginning.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:22-23 The Message

That is something to be thankful for!

She Believed

There’s a quote I like a lot:

She believed she could, so she did.

R.S. Grey

It says, to me, that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. That seems like a great approach to life.

Both of my parents are off-the-charts creative. My sister gave my dad a huge compliment way back. She said, “Daddy, if they’d had gifted classes when you were in school, you would have been in one.” He could sell anything, fix anything, build anything. My mom, absolutely, equally as gifted. She is a natural-born teacher. I remember her teaching me to sew when I was in high school. All the while, I griped and fussed and said I’d marry a rich man and never sew a day in my life. Guess what? That didn’t happen and sewing is good therapy for me, to this day. She is still teaching me in all areas of life without even trying.

I could not help but follow in their footsteps. I was raised with a you-can-do-this attitude. Between the genes my parent passed on to me and the example they set of ‘just do it’, a great deal of satisfaction comes with the process of discovering whether or not I can succeed.

I am constantly trying new things and exploring new hobbies. That’s the ‘she believed she could’ mentality. Some quickly fall by the wayside and others bring me a great amount of pleasure. I enjoy a challenge, experimenting, and learning something new. While still realizing, I am far from talented in more ways than I can count.

With that, sometimes I discover I am really crummy at something. Realize it will never be my ‘thing’ and move on. Every once in a while, confidence follows. Self-confidence is great. Self-doubt is not.

Believing you can handle everything that comes your way, though, is a formula for failure. If you haven’t already figured that out, you will. We aren’t meant to carry it all alone. Yes, we are given skills to manage many, many things. But it isn’t our job to fix everything.

Somehow in parenting, creativity and an I-can-do-anything attitude, doesn’t get you very far, does it? They can just yank the rug out from under you and send you reeling before you know what happened. Even now, being a mom for 41 years, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing some days. I know for sure I don’t always feel confident.

This is what I do know, deep in my heart, ‘she realized she couldn’t so God did’.

I have come to understand that the only way I can stay on the Jacob train day in and day out, is with God as the conductor.

I cannot possibly be the mom he needs on my own.

She believed she could, with God’s help.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Crave Quiet

Does anyone remember a television commercial from decades ago that had a colorful animated house? I have absolutely no idea what was being advertised. It could have been candy, auto insurance, fast food, etc. Whatever it was, couldn’t be ignored. Seemed it was alive and danced to the music. The exterior walls expanded as if they were breathing in and out. Noise came from everywhere. I’ve often thought that when others see our home, that is what it looks like. I hope they also see energy, twirling, family, beauty, joy, colors, lights, and laughter.

If Jacob is awake, seems there is noise 75% of the time. Some days I can tune it out easily. Others, I absolutely CANNOT!

I like quiet. I’ve never been the type to want or need the TV going for some background noise. Actually, I really dislike that. I rarely have music playing because silence is nice. Even in the car. If I’m alone, I will enjoy just that. I’ve realized that as a result of Jacob being home now for almost ten months, I actually crave quiet.

An I-can’t-take-it-anymore day came along and the loud music was more than I could stand. I put my headgear on with speakers and had to turn my volume way up to tune Jacob’s out.

It worked. But only because on that day, I could tolerate music of my choice, somewhat drowning out his. And, well obviously, because sweet Lucas needed to snuggle!

I decided to take extreme measures and ordered some Professional acoustic ear plugs – designed to quiet noisy environments while isolating and filtering everything clearly. Great for: concerts, musicians, drummers, guitarists, DJs, festivals, raves, construction, fitness classes, loud work environments, dental hygienists, nightclubs, bars, sports, motorcycles, sporting events, shows, noise sensitivity, and more. I figured living with Jacob was in the ‘more’ category.

The ear plugs arrived and I was anxious to give them a try. Sure enough, Jacob gave me the opportunity. They were advertised as reducing the volume. Perfect. That’s all I asked. They did not help. Returned those and decided the next time, I could go more extreme and use our ear protectors for the shooting range.

So many people on the autism spectrum are really bothered by noise. Not Jacob! The only noise that seems to bother him is when he is startled. Otherwise we say “turn it down!” a lot, but that only works for about two seconds.

I was doing something in our garage on the opposite end of the house from Jacob’s bedroom. I could not have been further away from him. And, guess what? I could clearly hear Hickory Dickory Dock and other children’s songs!! Anyone walking down our street could have enjoyed the concert. My neighbor raking pine straw gets to hear whatever Jacob is listening too.

Years ago when we were looking at houses preparing to move, it seemed many of the newer developments had houses super close together. I truly couldn’t consider one of those for fear that Jacob would disturb the peace!

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be

Peace on earth is so desperately needed. Now more than ever. And I’m not making light of that at all!

I am wishing Jacob could let some peace begin in his daily activities! And while I’m at it, that snuggle buddy of mine, pictured above, can rock the house with his bark. Another reason quiet is such a gift when it comes!

Tonight, I won’t be the only one craving quiet. The fireworks bringing in the new year will disturb the peace in our home. The three of us plus two dogs will be glad when it’s over for sure.

Yes, we are the dancing house in the commercial. Sometimes it feels like a concert, sporting event, festival, construction zone, AND MORE! All up in here!

Wishing you all a peaceful New Year!!