Monday, August 02, 2004

i learned something about myself yesterday

whoa. ever have a realization that is so big it takes you 2 days to absorb it?

i was just reading jen's blog posting about parenting madeline and i realized that the 'part one' that happened yesterday at the baptism was only 'part 1' and the 'part 2' just hit me. i marked her blog post unread and have started to type.

my eyes are closed as i type wanting not to miss any of the thoughts that have just opened up before me.

yesterday i was explaining pink's dyscalculia to a friend and how it effects her in other ways than just math. i started to tell of the difficulties with fingering on an instrument, dance steps, mixing up names and faces, being unable to make change (money) and other social difficulties. i bemoaned the fact that buck is able to follow directions, even complicated ones, and he's entering first grade this year, but pink just can't seem to grasp even simple 3 part directions.

cleaning her room ends up looking like play, and it gets me so frustrated. i come back and it's still awash in toys, books and mess. i think 'oh, you're so a.d.d., when are you going to figure this out?' i say 'pinkie, we need to do one thing at a time. first, pick up all the polly pockets and put them away'...

even accomplishing this is a struggle. she's a bright, capable girl, why is this so hard? and then it hits me yesterday - oh, this is the dyscalulia. this is why - she is overwhelmed and it affects her so drastically that she feels frozen. spinning.

then i realized 'like me'. i too can't seem to maintain a complicated mental list of things to do, it escapes me, my mind seems to have holes where the information just drops out, and so i spin around mentally trying to find the information, instead of completing the task at hand. so i've learned new ways of living, written notes, lists and check boxes. i never realized that i was doing this to compensate for the dyscalculia. i just thought everbody did 'lists'. i hadn't a clue that they were my lifeline.

case and point - yesterday our church had it's normal services and then we all headed out to a friend's lake for a picnic and a baptism (33 people were baptized, it was glorious). getting out of the house yesterday was hell for me. i can manage this poorly on regular occasions, but add 2 potluck items, swimming clothes and towels for the whole family, sunblock, picnic chairs and my sunday school lesson and i am a raving lunatic. character flaws... that was all i saw. i am lazy, incapable and just not as good as all of these other women who can pull this stuff off with grace and aplomb. i'm a sweaty, swearing, exhausted mess before the day has even started. how does this happen?

that ah-ha moment began yesterday at the picnic and has grown into the one that i had this morning reading jen, hearing myself in her words about mothering daughters, and then i have the next wave of the lightbulb while thinking about parenting pink.

i realize 'oh my gosh - it's me. this affects me this way too!'

i am a horrible housekeeper, overwhelmed and so distracted. i can't clean if someone else isn't around to keep me motivated. it's so immature, so broken, so childish. i never realized until RIGHT NOW (as i weep) that the spinning frozen feeling that i have, being overwhelmed and discouraged is part too of this baffling disorder of dyscalculia.

i've blogged before of the ah-ha experience i had in figuring out that i had a learning disability. i always just pegged myself as lazy and inept. figuring out that it's the way my brain works/doesn't work that has given me so much freedom, redeemed so much of my past scholastic shame and disappointment with myself.

this new realization is redeeming my inability to give myself a break with some character defects i have abhorred about myself. whoa. i can barely type for the weeping. i am awash with healing, redemption and grace. i can feel it pouring over me.

this is another reason why i isolate myself. to leave the house has so much involved in it - it's so mentally exhausting that i truly can't see how it's worth the effort, so i don't bother. i can manage myself, but managing others too is truly overwhelming, and leaves me screeching and giving orders. knowing now why that happens is so freeing. so fixable - so completely and utterly redeemable.

i also isolated by not having others into my home. i tell my friends that they can either have my house clean and a good meal, but me looking sweaty and bedraggled, or a good meal, and a sane host, and my house looking bedraggled... to get all three of them 'together' is such an enormous feat that i truly am amazed at those women who do it so well, and actually enjoy it! it has been a great source of shame for me. enormous confusion and something i laid at the feet of my parents so many times for their inability to prepare me for life.

today i have hope. i am a bright, capable woman. i now can lick this. i now can give myself some grace. explain to those around me who always looked at me kind of sideways when i'd complain about the overwhelming feeling i had in just 'getting there'. whoa. i'm still amazed and trying to get my head around this.

i realize that my mother (the other bobbie) and my grandmother probably both had this unidentified 'curse' too. it was isolating and baffling. THIS IS HUGE. it explains so much. it's like 6 pieces of the puzzle of my life have fallen into place this morning. i hope what i'm writing is even coherent. i know it's been so good for me to process this, i'm exhausted! :) wow. this is gonna change my life.

if you are having any 'ah ha' moments as you read this you might want to do some reading on dyscalulia. i think it's far more prevalent than anyone has ever acknowledged before. i truly think it's a major cause of much childhood/teenage angst and poor self confidence, and possibly a doorway to many addictive, comforting and consoling behaviors.

here are some links that i've found. if you find any more PLEASE email me - for myself and my daughter i'm trying to find out all that i can. great britian is farthest ahead in the research field, and i'm praying that more funds and research will be going into the works stateside soon. thank you!

dyscalculia symptoms - best information available online

great britian Research and publishing on dyscalculia

dyscalculia interest group (great britian)

recognizing dyscalculic problems

learning disabilities online

assessment and testing materials

the mathematical brain

i will add any and all links that you know of, so please email me at emergingsideways at gmail dot com thank you!

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