Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Remodeling Our Bathroom

For Christmas last year, I asked my husband for a new floor in the upstairs bathroom. It was beyond awful and replacing it should have been done long ago. I must add here that this bathroom is LARGE—100 square feet. This would not be just a job for a few little tiles.

To begin the job, we asked a friend with a LOT of construction experience to come over and give us his opinion. After he arrived, Construction Friend and hubby went into the bathroom. When Construction Friend left, the floor was ripped up—and the SUB floor, and the walls around the tub, and the wainscoting (1970′s ugly paneling), and the built-in cabinets, and the toilet, and the mirrors, and the wallpaper. It was basically gutted—exposed wall studs and floor joists! The tub was still in place, but that was ALL. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed. My husband is not a DIY kind of guy and I have no experience with bathroom remodeling.

Well, it’s rolling up to one year later now and we’re ALMOST finished with the bathroom. We have learned sooo much—a lot of it by doing things wrong. We now know how to measure for tile correctly—including the spacers. We also know how to use the wet saw, re-set the toilet, re-texture a wall, install light fixtures, and that granite is VERY heavy.

I’ve had grout dust, paint dust (sanding walls), grout, primer, paint and joint compound in my hair, in my eyes, under my fingernails and up my nose. My back and head have both had frequent aches.

All the members of our family have spent time helping with the ripping out, measuring, re-measuring, grouting, tile setting, holding spacers for tile setters, etc. We’ve laughed, cried, kicked walls, and learned some bad words in various languages. We also talked a LOT.

Now the bathroom is GORGEOUS!!! We even had enough granite left over that it inspired us to replace the kitchen counters. We had enough tile left over that it inspired us to re-tile the downstairs shower and put in a new floor (ha!ha! we’ve come full circle back to the idea of a bathroom floor). Seriously, when people visit our home now I want to take them upstairs to see our bathroom. It’s so pretty, so functional, I’ve worked so hard there—-surely they want to see it!

So there is the “Remodeling Our Bathroom” part of the story. If I’d known how hard, time-consuming and expensive it would be I’m not sure I would have done it. But if I’d seen how beautifully it turned out, I would have done it five years earlier.

Now for the second part of the title, “Brains”. Well, our experience remodeling the bathroom is much like the experience of brain stimulation in order to improve function.

Just like inviting our Construction Friend over to guide us, it is a VERY good idea to consult a Neurodevelopmental Specialist to help you evaluate where you are and guide you on where to go next and how to get there. Please note that Construction Friend gave us guidance and expertise and even loaned us tools, but WE had to do the work. In much the same way, I’ll give you guidance and expertise and even some tools, but the work of growing and organizing your child’s brain is yours—gloriously yours.

Just like my feeling of being overwhelmed when I saw just exactly how much work needed to be done, many mothers feel overwhelmed when they learn just what a program for their child may entail. But because of his experience, Construction Friend knew we could it if we would just take one step at a time. I know YOU can do it if you’ll just take one step at a time and work patiently and consistently.

Just like my experience with the remodel, I learned setting tile, texturing walls, priming walls, installing new light fixtures, and grouting are not really that difficult. They take some planning and work, but are do-able with patience. In the same vein—creeping, crawling, teaching sound location, stimulating the sense of smell, stimulating the sense of touch and others—are not that hard. They take some planning and work, but are very do-able with patience.

Just like the less-than-fun sensations of having grout dust, mortar, primer and paint under my fingernails, in my hair and up my nose—sometimes doing a program is less than fun. Sometimes you just want to take a hot bath and get away. But we all know the finished product absolutely WILL NOT HAPPEN without all the less-than-fun stuff that has to happen first.

Just like our remodel, if you would have asked me in the MIDDLE of the job if it was worth it, I would have said NO WAY. But now that we have the finished product, I wish I had done it sooner. Sometimes in the middle of a program, it feels like it’s not worth it. Sometimes in the middle of a program it seems like it will never end. Sometimes it feels like the finished product will never be achieved. But the bathroom DID get finished and programs do, too. Children’s brains DO respond in a great way to stimulation and those same children grow up. The finished product is a child who is ready to spread their wings and become an independent adult. It’s an awesome sight—way better than my new bathroom. And once you catch the vision of that finished product, you’ll wish you would have started sooner.

Just like catching the vision of newly updated rooms inspired working in others rooms, stimulating brain organization and seeing results will change how you see EVERY child. You will understand what a little investment could do to unlock their potential. You will look past the struggles they may encounter and see how a well-organized neurological system could help them soar.

It’s great to be able to look back and see that we worked hard, pulled together as a family, and achieved something we didn’t think we were capable of. And you will have that same sense of accomplishment (times 100!) as you look back to see the road that led to the brain inside your physically coordinated, socially gracious, academically successful child.