Thursday, April 17, 2014

Falling In Love All Over Again

For five years I longed to understand my little girl. I remember holding her little head in my hands and pressing my head close to hers and crying out to God to get through to her. I knew she was a special gift from God, and yet I longed to know what was troubling her. Why couldn't she formulate sentences properly? Why did she fall apart when we took her out in public? Why couldn't she show and receive affection? Why did she continue with odd behaviors despite my best efforts to lovingly correct her? Although at times we saw small glimmers of hope, it wasn't until just recently that we made a major breakthrough with Eva. I hate to use the word "normal," but that is how I would now describe my sweet little girl. Going through the Brain Balance program has made Eva a normal, better functioning little girl.

Eva just completed the extensive Brain Balance program. In my previous post (here) I shared about the Brain Balance program and some of the things we did with Eva. In this post I want to share some of the positive changes we are seeing and should continue to see in the weeks and months ahead.{You can read more about our journey with Eva here}

One of the first changes we saw in Eva was that she began to show a lot more affection. All of the sudden she loved to give and receive hugs! In one of her first sessions she was sitting on Dr. Jackson's lap in Brain Balance and she turned around and gave her a kiss.This was after having a really hard time going to her sessions. Now she loves to snuggle on our laps and no longer minds having her back rubbed, her teeth brushed or her hair done- which were always a fight with her. She also now spontaneously will tell us she loves us, adding "with all, all, all my heart" or "very, very, very much!" After so many silent years, this alone makes Brain Balance worth every penny!

I mentioned around Christmas time that Eva finally began praying on her own. We have our children pray around the room before they go to bed. Although Eva always wanted to, she could never formulate her own prayers. One day she said a few short lines in the form of a simple prayer. She repeated this same prayer for several weeks. Then she began to pray her own prayers from her heart. And wouldn't you know it, she now asks to pray when someone is hurt or sad with  "Do you want me to pray for you?" I love my little prayer warrior!

On our way home from Brain Balance on Saturdays we go right past Trader Joe's, my favorite place to shop. Eva has never done well inside stores and so I was hesitant to take her. But the practical side of me realized I couldn't pass this exit 30 minutes from my house without stopping in! At first Abe and I would take her together. Slowly she was able to go shopping with just me while sitting in the cart. Then one day she announced she didn't want to sit in the cart. I was hesitant to let her down, but she did perfectly well. She didn't wander off and I didn't have to chase her! She now pushes her own little kid's cart and fills it up with "her" special foods and bags them at the end! That may not seem like a big deal to most parents, but this was a huge milestone for our family. She has even gone on "dates" with her older siblings recently and did really well. This shows that her brain is finally able to handle all of the stimuli around her.

We are learning that Eva has a wonderful sense of humor! She loves to tease and is really a lot of fun to be around. I would never have said that one year ago... Eva was a lot of work and tired us out- but today she is truly a delight. God is so good!

The last few weeks Eva is constantly singing. I think her brothers would like her to stop singing the ABC's, because this is her all-time favorite. I love to hear her sing a chorus she learned at church and also hears on the radio- "I need you, Oh I need You, every hour I need You. My one Defense, My Righteousness, Oh God how I need You." Just the way she pronounces "defense" and "righteousness" makes my heart melt every single time. And what an awesome reminder of how we need God every hour of every day!

Last May Eva tested way below age level. Although she was 4.5, she was functioning at a 1 year old level in most areas. She struggled to remember her colors, letters and numbers. Now she is blowing me away with her desire to learn! I recently ordered her her own set of school books and she is so excited to be doing school along with the big kids and loves her phonics and math. She still often writes words and numbers backwards, which is not uncommon... and I'm okay with being 24!!

In the beginning Eva was unable to tell me what she was doing in her sessions at Brain Balance. I would ask questions and get a nod here and there. The last few weeks she would get in the car and chatter away in the back seat about Miss K, her special glasses that she has to wear and what she did that day. Her brain can finally process and verbalize what she is thinking. Yesterday, after going to the feed store with her daddy, she came home and told me all about the cute little chicks she saw there (and wanted!)- it was so sweet!

Eva has never done well with strangers. Recently I've seen her waving at people in the store and saying hello to friends and family. I've also heard her introduce herself several times with a "Hi, I'm Eva!" She now has a ready smile and I think she may take after her father in the friendliness department.

Other changes we've seen...
  • listens better
  • is more focused
  • happier, more even-keeled disposition
  • keeps herself occupied better
  • understands sequence of time better
  • can sit through a chapter story book and enjoys it
  • loves to draw and color- and both are improving
  • can reason with her 
  • speech has improved
  • shares with others willingly
  • interactive play with her siblings- this has been a huge blessing!
  • stronger body, less floppy in her core
  • is no longer clumsy or runs into things
  • enjoys smells and can inhale deeply
  • very little to no drooling
  • sleeping better on her own
  • more helpful with chores and things around the house- volunteers to help!
  • improved fine-motor skills
  • less tantrums and when she does get upset, it resolves quickly
  • quicker to confess she has done something wrong and to say sorry
  • tolerates long car rides, where in the past she often got car-sick
All of these changes (and I'm sure there are more) were beyond any expectations we ever had for our daughter. I am so grateful for the wonderful staff at Brain Balance who went above and beyond the call of duty. Eva really struggled with being cooperative in the beginning and yet Dr. Jackson and the staff persevered, using creativity to combat the challenges and never gave up (even when I was ready to call it quits!). They truly love the children they work with and pour themselves into the kids. I will forever be thankful for the work they did that caused us all to fall in love all over again with a little girl we always knew was there, just waiting to come out.

I am also so grateful for my family who drew together to see their sister succeed- for my girls who gave up a year of dance, my middle children who spent hours keeping Eva company and occupied on the long drives back and forth to Cary, for my older children who juggled work schedules to be home with the little ones and who put dinner on the table many nights, and for a husband who never stopped encouraging me even when the days were long and hard. Eva is so blessed to have so many cheering her every step of the way!

Last, but certainly not least, I am so thankful for my in-laws who took a leap of faith and invested in their granddaughter. May the Lord use your investment in her therapy to continue to produce much growth in Eva's life!


  1. Tamar, this report is so wonderful. Praising God with you for the work he is doing in Eva.

  2. Wonderful does not adequately express how great your report is, but wonderful will do!!!! Helen

  3. This is awesome news. We will continue to pray for Eva’s progress. The Durbins.

  4. Tamar, I hope you keep blogging. I carry 10 copies of your April post with me to give to doctors and parents. Two of my children completed the program in Cary, NC. The results were so staggering I retired from the OR to open a center in Naples, FL.

  5. I came across this in a google search! I really appreciate your posts about Brain Balance. We have had our 4 year old assessed at one of the centers and are considering going through the program. I was so encouraged by your thoughts, and especially how the Lord provided for you all in so many ways (money, time, support, etc). Thank you!