A new post from Jon:
We all know kids are creatures of habit. Take them out of a good, consistent routine and they can rebel like its 1776 all over again. In just the past twelve months or so, our family has seen some big changes. Some were good, others were bad. The rest was just…well…change. Many have felt very "real" for Jack while others he may not even be aware of much.
Jack Goes to School – A year ago this September, Jack had one of his biggest life changes. He entered a preschool built around his special needs and left the supervision of mommy, daddy, and grandparents. For two hours, three days a week, he joins other kids of varying abilities and a handful of teachers in a little stone building in Montana. To be sure, this big change did not come easily for him. Towards the beginning, Jack could get downright cranky after the first hour or even fall asleep (his coping mechanism). On the first day of class, within five minutes, he was pelted over the head with a wooden puzzle as some kind of preschool hazing. That’s a rough way to start school. As Jessi drove him to class in those first few months, he would wail as soon as he realized she was on the road towards the school. Eventually, he learned to love school and thrive in the structure it provided. We went from skeptics early on to bemoaning the onset of summer when class would be discontinued. As Jack has returned to school this year, he's jumped back into an environment that will give him a different surrounding, different people, and different experiences.
New Job for Daddy – Not as earth shattering as the first in Jackland is the fact that I started a new job this year. After seven years of work at the state chamber of commerce, I jumped into a new environment and new issues at the Montana Department of Justice. This move hasn’t affected how much time I spend away from home, so Jack may be relatively aloof to this change.
New Bed for Jack – After four years of sleeping between mommy and daddy, we took a gamble and got Jack his own twin bed. Now, before you judge, we had a very good, non-clingy reason to do this. Tube fed parents know all about this, but let me tell you - being tube fed led Jack to puke often, sometimes when he was asleep. Suffocation was a real concern if he would vomit and not be able to turn aside to breathe. We felt best if he was right next to us for that reason. After his fourth birthday, we felt comfortable making that giant leap. So far, it has produced awesome results. He tends to sleep more through the night and for longer periods. And I appreciate not getting kicked in the side in the middle of the night.
Bye-Bye Daisy – Sadly, we said goodbye this summer to our family’s best friend, Daisy. Our golden retriever had been with us for just under six years until she developed a rapidly progressing bone cancer. We still look for her sometimes when we accidently drop some food on the floor, go for a walk, or play out in the backyard. I’m not so sure whether Jack is aware that she is gone for good, but probably best that he doesn’t fully understand.
Mommy Goes to School – Saving the biggest change for last, the Bennions embarked on the single biggest change of our family since Jack P. was born. Mommy is now down at school in Salt Lake City for most of the time. For three semesters she will be attending classes to get a PhD in Political Science. Following a couple of program exams, she will be able to do the rest of the long PhD process in Montana as she starts and finishes her dissertation.