Friday, May 31, 2013

Here We Go...

As of today, it is officially summer break for the kids and I. With the exception of a few work commitments that occur during the summer months, I'm home-free in terms of the day-to-day grind.

I have a confession. I am SCARED of summer break.

Yes. You read that right. I'm scared.  Don't get me wrong--I'm excited about it, too. The fear is just occupying a bigger part of my mind right now.

Why am I scared, you ask? Well...for several reasons, actually--one of which is that I'm scared of my kids. Not scared like hide-under-the-bed-someone-is-going-to-kill-me scared, but scared of what they're going to do to my sanity.  Over the last six or seven months, my children have gone from sweet, self-occupying individuals to needy, whiny beasts that require hourly entertainment.  By 10:00 AM a few weeks ago, I was ready to put Anderson outside and lock the door. In the span of about 30 minutes, he'd harassed me to play trains, begged me to take him outside, and thrown an all-out fit for fruit snacks. Amelia is no better--in fact, she's probably worse. The two of them have been playing together a lot more too, which you'd think would be awesome. It's not (okay, it is but it also has its downside). Playing together means fighting more.  Anderson fights dirty and Amelia is the absolute biggest tattle-tale. Sister holds a grudge, too.  Marty will walk in the door from work and Amelia will immediately accost him, saying "Bubby hit me on the head!!"--never mind that said incident occurred at 9:30 that morning. Cute--kinda. Exhausting--definitely.

I'm afraid I won't be able to keep them entertained properly.  If you know me, you know I'm not any kind of Martha Stewart. I don't have a magic craft box full of special supplies that I can pull out on rainy days. I can't make a beautiful butterfly out of glue, puffballs, and glitter. It isn't my thing and I'm not interested in faking it. We all like playing outside but there's only so much we can do there, too.  My kids still aren't quite take-out-able, meaning that it's not the easiest to take them somewhere alone. These two are like magnets--they repel in opposite directions anywhere they go.  Some parks that have good layouts work well because I can keep my eye on them when they go separate ways, but swimming at any of the public pools is out because they just aren't gated around the kiddie areas. I begged Marty to let us join a local pool that has a very nice gated baby pool for the summer, but he's the voice of reason when it comes to money, and the fact that we're getting that bigger vehicle this summer kind of ruled out joining the pool (sigh...).

I'm also a little afraid of myself. I tend to get...lazy...when left to my own devices. Netflix on the iPad can easily take over all of my free time--on more than one occasion, I've been all "hmmm, should I actually attempt to clean the bathroom or fold laundry, or should I watch another episode of Grey's Anatomy? Yes, Grey's it is..." I can become stationary on the couch like I'm growing roots. Not only is this bad for my mind and for the kids, it's bad for my waistline. The truth is, I'm getting older. My metabolism is definitely slowing down the way many people have assured me it would as I edge closer to 40.   This year has been rough in that department, and I surely don't need anything to make it worse. Like attaching myself to the couch.

The past few summers, I've started off gung-ho. I've gone to Target, bought a bunch of entertaining things--bubbles, sidewalk chalk, paper, name it, I bought it.  I enthusiastically unveiled it and took delight in the kids' excitement, which lasted oh...about a week and a half. Their intense interest and then immediate disregard for new toys always astounds me. Only a few prized possessions have made the cut as toys that they truly love--none of them summer entertainment purchases.

Truthfully, I'm excited about summer. I love getting to know my kids in a way that is impossible throughout the school year. I get to spend more time with them, to see how they've changed over the year. I am aware of how lucky I am to have this opportunity. I'm just a little scared to see how it will all play out.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to log onto Pinterest to start pinning every single kiddie entertainment idea that doesn't involve yarn or Mod Podge.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Still here.

I hate that I haven't blogged in so long. We are still here.

I've felt like this for the past two and a half weeks:

Scattered, confused, like I'm speaking a foreign language and that nobody is really understanding what I'm trying to say. All teachers out there can attest to the fact that, although we look forward to the end of the year the most, the last 2-3 weeks before school actually gets out are pretty rough. The frenzy starts right after spring break, culminates with state testing, and then fizzles out with Field Day, Awards Day, etc.  Add into the equation two sick kids, a sick husband, and some district obligations, and you end up with nothing short of insanity.  I'm pretty sure I have some sensory issues (I think we all do), and I'm pretty sure I've been in sensory overload for like 99% of the last month.

Needless to say, summer break couldn't have come at a better time. Especially since I caught the plague from my family and have been sicker in the past two days than I've been in a LOOONG time. My seasonal allergies decided to join forces with whatever horrible virus the kids brought home to create a real live monster that is living in my sinus cavities.  My entire upper lip is one big chapped mess because of all of the nose-blowing. I haven't slept in two nights because no matter which cocktail of respiratory drugs I take, as soon as I lie down, my nose is completely, totally stuffed up. My eyes are black underneath, I've been unknowingly walking around with bits of tissue stuck to various parts of my face, and I sound pretty much like a tuba every time I blow my nose. In other words, I am VERY attractive. Very.

Adding to the fun is the fact that tomorrow is my birthday.  Now, I'm not one of those people who gets all excited about birthdays--I've celebrated with friends in the past but mostly because my birthday always coincides with the end of the school year, so we really just use my coming into the world as an excuse to get together and have a good time, celebrate the beginning of summer break.  However, this year, my kids are very interested in birthdays and are pretty excited about the big day tomorrow. I'd be totally fine with not acknowledging the fact that 40 is slowly approaching, that I'm closer to 40 than 30. They, on the other hand, want to sing and eat cake (they're defo using me for cake).  Eating cake with this congestion sounds about as good as munching on styrofoam. Yee-haw.

The final piece of the joy puzzle for the current time is that I'm giving a district PD tomorrow for work.  It's not something I had to come up with myself, thank god, but I did have to read through and make lots of notes, and I do have to use my brain, which is going to be difficult, given my current near-toxic dosage of antihistamines and decongestants. I feel sorry for the people who will be attending; they'll have to hear my snotty, nasal voice and watch me continuously blow my nose and sneeze all over the place. I'm sure they'll be thrilled.

I have some really great blog topics I want to get to soon--the kids have been playing together a lot lately and it's gotten interesting (okay, hysterical), and Anderson has had some new language developments. I just can't form coherent and intelligent thoughts right now. Hopefully in a few days when the drug fog clears and my sinuses don't feel like someone is jackhammering my face.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ready for summer...

Well, kind of.

My allergies kicked themselves into HIGH gear this week.  I'm talking, I'm outside for more than five minutes and my eyes start itching and watering, and I start sneezing non-stop. I absolutely HATE allergies. One of these days when I get some time on my hands (Go ahead. Laugh. I know it isn't going to happen.), I'm going to start getting allergy shots, so that I can eventually become less of an allergy freak. So, I would prefer for the allergies to subside before my summer break begins. We like to spend as much time as possible outside, and right now that is entirely too miserable for me.

Also, the kids are sick. It came out of nowhere.  Anderson started coughing a bit on Saturday, then Amelia started, and all of a sudden we are coughing like pack-a-day smokers up in here.  Amelia is running a fever and Anderson claims his ear hurts. The coughing is NON. STOP.  There isn't a ten second period when someone isn't coughing their head off.  It's kind of going all through me.  They're going to the doctor within the hour; we want to be sure their ears are clear. They have pre-school graduation (well, graduating to pre-k-ish...don't ask) on Thursday and we really want them to be able to participate.  The only upside to this particular funk has been that they've been snuggly with me today. Anderson even asked to snuggle some. That's rare these days, so you better believe I'm taking advantage. However...I'd really like for them to get well before our summer officially starts.

However, this summer will be different for all of us. They're going to go to "school" (summer care) two days a week. After today, I absolutely know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is a good choice.  For one thing, Anderson can continue to see his SLP, which is definitely a positive, and for another, it will give them something to do. By about 9:00 this morning, Anderson had asked me to play trains and to go outside about a gazillion times.  He was soooooo bored. Breaking up our time at home will be a good thing all the way around. For their sanity and mine.  One of the days that they'll attend is a water play day, so they'll have that to look forward to.

Summer starts for them next week--their pre-school year ends Friday. I finish work next Friday as well. Then, it's official. Now, if we can just all feel better...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

You just never know.

It's funny. Every time I think I'm getting to know the kids--who they really are, their quirks and personalities and all of that--they pull one over on me.  I think they do it on purpose.  They do it to keep me on my toes, to make sure that I know who is really in charge around here.

Today the kids had a dentist appointment.  We've gone twice before. The first time, they had no clue what was happening and were totally taken by surprise when they had to lie back and let someone look in their mouths. Let's just say they were less than thrilled.  The second time, they were all-too-aware of where we were and what was going to happen. Anderson cried when we turned into the parking lot.  Amelia was anxious but was easily tricked bribed with a toy and a pink toothbrush.  Once again, we had to hold Anderson down while he SCREAMED. Amelia cried, too, but not as bad as before. I left with my nerves jangling and a bad headache.

The kids' language has developed a ton since our last dentist visit. Quite honestly, we were late for a 6 month check-up. We had to reschedule THREE times due to our repetitive, torturous winter of The Sickness. After the last appointment had to be cancelled, I just told the receptionist that we were going to have to schedule for spring, because we just could not get well. was more like a 9 month check-up. Oh well. Anyway, I knew that, this time, we could talk to the kids about going to the dentist. In fact, a few months ago, I brought this home from work:

I brought it so that we could talk about it before our first cancelled appointment.  He fell in love with it. He has it memorized--every word. We kept cancelling appointments and he kept wanting to read the book. So, when I decided this morning, after breakfast, to break it to him that we would indeed be visiting the dentist today, I knew he'd have a little background knowledge. He teared up at first and said, "We are just going to school."--meaning, no, we aren't going to the dentist, just a regular ol' school day.  We talked through the book, about how the chair would go back, the dentist would brush his teeth. His biggest worry was that the dentist was going to put TWO things in his mouth at once--he kept saying, "The dentist is not going to use two toothbrushes."  Not sure what that was about, but oh well.  I told Amelia, and she cried a little, too, but quickly got over it. I think she did it for show.  Marty and I discussed it, and we determined that Anderson would probably require some serious holding-down and maybe a trip to the little dental room off of the main area--you know, the room with a door so that the other kids in the open area aren't totally freaked out by my screaming child.  Amelia, we determined, would be all about getting the treasure from the treasure box afterward. Her visit would be simple.  You see where this is going.

We got to the dentist, and they were apprehensive, but nobody was crying, which was good (given that he was hysterical before we put the car in park at our last visit).  Our dentist has an adorable play area. In the past, Anderson was too upset about the whole situation to even go into the kiddie area, but today, he was all about it. There was another little girl playing in there.  Her name was Layla.  Let me tell you...I was so grateful to Layla today. Layla saved the day, that brave little cutie. Layla was not scared of the dentist.  They all played happily while we waited.

Yes, Amelia's dress is WAAAAY too short. She's grown a significant amount in the last little bit--all in her legs, apparently. She has shorts on under there.  Yes, I'll buy her some new clothes soon.

I temporarily forgot the potentially traumatic experience that was about to occur because OMG Anderson WANTED TO PLAY WITH THIS LITTLE GIRL!!  He asked me what her name was, to which I of course responded that he needed to ask her. Thankfully she wasn't shy at all. Now, he didn't know how to engage her appropriately, but she took him by the hand and they played in the little boat. He was muttering to himself the whole time--he never once talked to her directly--but, BUT, he WANTED to play with her. Baby steps, people. I was thrilled.

Then of course the moment was ruined by a hygienist who called all of the kids back at once. Both kids became whiny and apprehensive, but our new little friend was all, "It's not scary! Come on back and I'll show you!".  They all three picked out their new toothbrushes, then it was Layla's turn to hop up in the chair for a cleaning.  Here's where what I predicted would happen went totally awry.  Amelia FREAKED OUT.  As in totally lost her shit.  Screaming, snotting, she was like something out of Poltergeist. No amount of us talking to her could make her stop.  She was making Anderson worse. I had that bewildered parent look--you know, the one you see on the face of the mom in the grocery store whose kid is literally lying in the floor, kicking and screaming. THAT look. I didn't really know what to do. Poor Layla kept trying to talk to her and tell her it didn't hurt, but she just wasn't hearing it.  Anderson, on the other hand, was nervous but not crying. He was doing his whole perseverating thing ("The dentist isn't going to hurt you."..."He's not going to use two toothbrushes."...etc.), but clearly not in as bad of shape as the girl.  Then, Amelia pulled out the mother of all escapism tricks--she said she had to go potty. Magic words to the parents who neglected to bring a change of clothes.  Marty took her out, and all was quiet again.

The dentist and hygienist were talking to Anderson, showing him things, chatting about what they were going to do. I was hiding a smirk because that boy wasn't listening. He wasn't listening one little bit! I briefly considered telling them, but then thought nah, let them figure it out. He watched Layla for a bit and was all set to get in the chair himself--and then they started using the water and suction on her. Yeah...that didn't go over well. He wanted no part of the "straw", so they assured him they would not use it, and then even went so far as to remove it from his little area.  We talked him into the chair, laid it back...and then held him down.  Took three of us. Once the dentist started working in there, though, he did pretty well.  The dentist actually managed to use the real tooth cleaner (for lack of the more technologically-correct term) to polish his teeth.  He also flossed a few teeth. Anderson whined/cried the whole time, but it was doable, and he worked really hard to hold his mouth open, despite being so scared. And when it was over--he was so stinking proud of himself. High fives all around.  We managed to get it all done while Amelia was in the bathroom, which was a good thing because her hysteria probably would've made the whole thing fall apart.

And then, it was Amelia's turn. Oh, you all. The absolute DRAMA. The screaming...the was all just horrible girly drama.  They didn't even try to get her in a chair--instead, she laid back on Marty. They also didn't use the real tooth cleaner (I've used it twice--now it's definitely a real term)--just brushed her real good and put some fluoride on her teeth.  As soon as they finished, she dried it up and pranced around, smiling and playing with toys, brushing the bear's teeth like none of the previous psychotic episode had ever happened. Well played, Amelia. Well played.

Good news--no cavities for either kiddo. Bad news--they do have to go back in six months and do it again.  If I was a betting woman, I would've sworn to you that Anderson would be the one to lose his mind today, and that Amelia would handle it like a champ. They shocked me--on all counts. The old personality switcharoo. You'd think I would start to expect the unexpected.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Mothers Day..

I've never had an experience that makes me second-guess myself--my intelligence, my beliefs--the way that  motherhood does.  It is the single-most amazing, humbling, awe-inducing yet unequivocally frightening thing a woman can choose to do. I analyze every choice I make, every word that I say in a way that probably borders on unhealthy because this is something that I want to do "the right way".

For me, self-doubt is par for the course. I'm constantly fighting this inner battle of "Am I a good enough mother?" "Will doing _________ make me a bad mom?" I'm sure the fact that my own childhood was less-than-perfect (and I know--we all have our childhood issues...) plays a part in this crazy over-analysis of myself--I want my kids to always feel like they live in a stable environment where they can just be who they are, where we can work through their problems calmly and thoughtfully without fear of repercussions. Just another item on the list of things I'm working through in an attempt to better myself.

So, along those lines of good mental health, and in the spirit of Mothers Day, I'm going to do something that is both cathartic to me and hopefully reassuring to you mothers out there. I'm going to make a list of why I think I am a bad mother. Yes--you read that right. On Mothers Day, I'm going to tell you why I am NOT a good mom.  Here we go.

Why I am a bad mother:
  • Sometimes, I enjoy time away from my kids.  Whether it's just a girls' night out, or a shopping trip to Trader Joe's sans-kids, I like some me-time. I honestly do not want to be with my kids 24/7. I need time to breathe, to do things for myself.
  • Sometimes, I feed my kids crappy foods.  We probably eat fast food once every week or two, and pizza is a weekly meal in our house. Sometimes, they eat Campbell's soup for dinner. Sometimes, veggie chips are the only vegetables on their plates. I let them drink juice regularly. We don't eat organic all that often.
  • My kids eat candy. Sometimes I even bribe them with it. They know some candy by name.
  • There are times where I hate playing outside with the kids. After a long day, I just want to sit on my rear and do nothing, and the thought of going out there and being engaged with them, playing their games is like the very last thing I want to do.
  • I don't work with my kids on academic 'stuff'. I'm a teacher, y'all.  We don't practice letters, numbers, etc. on a regular basis. Amelia cannot write her name. Anderson can't identify many letters.
  • My kids watch TV. They watch at least a little bit every day. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, all the PBS shows, sometimes a movie. I've even been known to put on a movie so that I can "rest my eyes" on a Friday afternoon.

I could go on and on there. All of the things that I do or allow that make me feel that mama guilt. That pang that resides in the back of my brain, that makes me feel inferior to other mothers who "do it better".

BUT...there are things that I think I do well as a mom. Things that make me proud, happy, self-assured throughout this chaotic experience called parenthood.  It would be unfair not to list those as well. So, here's a list of why I think I am a GOOD mom--to counter-act the bad.

Why I am a good mother:

  • I am in tune with my kids' feelings and moods. I can quickly ascertain when someone is feeling 'off', grouchy, or just upset. I can diffuse a titchy situation quickly and calmly. I can redirect like a mutha.
  • I tell my kids how much I love them about a zillion times a day. I kiss their heads and cheeks constantly. I scratch their backs, rub their heads, tell them that they're the most special people in the world. I make sure to compliment them when they do things well. I am conscious of not just complimenting their looks with too many "You are so cute!" comments; I tell them "You are so smart!" as often as I can.
  • I encourage independent exploration and allow them to have opportunities to learn from their own experiences. I am not a "helicopter mom" (or I try not to be), and I try not to say no to any requests that I know will help them grow intellectually in the long run.  I may not sit down and drill them on letters and numbers, but I teach them things about every day life. Lately, we've talked about how caterpillars become butterflies, how rainbows are formed, what's in the big water tower on Old Frankfort Pike.
  • I have more patience than I ever knew was possible.  I consciously do not overreact to little things that they do that are frustrating (like last night when they took the Q-Tips out of my bathroom and threw them all over the bedroom, pretending they were planting seeds...). As a kid, I was totally afraid of messing up in that way, and I never want my kids to be that afraid of me or Marty. Not saying that they don't get into trouble, but we handle the situations without inducing feelings of fear.
  • My kids are good humans. They know how to be kind, that people deserve respect. They know how to love, how to use manners and be respectful to others. This is because of me.

Now. Compare the two lists. Which is more important in raising children?  Which will get them farthest in the world--which will have the biggest pay-off in the long run?  Sometimes, I have to remind myself of this. Okay, I have to remind myself of this all the time. Like daily.

Mothers out there--you ARE good enough. You DO enough. You are making the decisions that are right for you and your family--and they might be different decisions than mine, but they're good decisions. I encourage you--if you want to see how fabulous, how wonderful you are, make your own lists. You'll be so glad that you did.

Happy Mothers Day...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Band-aids for the Heart

That's what I'm in need of right now. My heart kind of feels like a windshield that has a little ding, a place where a tiny rock bounced up, left its mark, and now the glass is slowly shattering around it. The relationship between my kids has been precarious the past few days, and oh, is it weighing on my mind.

We've studied Anderson closely over the past four years, learned all of his idiosyncrasies. He's definitely an enigma, but one thing I am certain of is that he learns how to make sense of the world, of social situations through role-playing. When he started attending daycare, he would come home and act out scenes from his day, pretending to be the teacher in a variety of situations (most of which included someone getting into trouble). He can emulate voices and expressions with an amazing degree of precision. He doesn't always understand the context of the situations, but we help him by asking certain questions and then reacting in the situationally-appropriate way and having conversations about it. Usually, we ask him who he's pretending to be and who he's talking to, and then we talk about it and provide as much explanation as possible. Sometimes, he gets it right away. Sometimes, it takes many, many repetitions. Sometimes, I don't think he ever really understands the scenario that he is reenacting.

A few days ago, Anderson and Amelia were playing in the living room after dinner.  They weren't really playing TOGETHER, but more parallel. They were both chattering away while I sat at the kitchen table, only half-listening to them.  Anderson looked in my direction, got his "role-playing" face on, and said in a super whiny voice, "Amelia is not being very nice!"  My ears perked up to what was going on and I made eye contact with Amelia, who was clearly bewildered by this accusation.  She wasn't even engaging him at all. She vehemently denied it, all wide-eyed and troubled by the indignity of the lie. In a calm voice, I said, "Anderson, she's not bothering you.." to which he quickly replied that she definitely was.  There was a pause, a distinct moment where I was acutely aware that something was about to happen. Then, Anderson took the toy that was in his hand, and hit Amelia. He hit her right in the face. She stumbled backward, startled, and began to cry. I reacted as just about any parent would, saying his name loudly, jumping up from my seat to comfort Amelia and confront Anderson.

The few seconds afterward are a blur to me. It was one of those situations where everything seems to move in slow motion.  But the one thing that I was very, very aware of was the look on Anderson's face.  The look on his face wasn't remorseful. It wasn't vindictive, or spiteful, or mean. It wasn't scared, or happy. It wasn't ANYTHING.  He absolutely didn't understand--or at least fully understand--what he had done wrong, or why it was wrong.  I didn't take time to process this fully before addressing him, and I'm not sure whether it would have made a difference or not.  When he recognized that I was very, very upset with him, he turned and ran. I picked up Amelia, followed him into her room.  I grabbed his wrist, turned him around, and sat him down on the floor. Amelia and I sat across from him. I made him look at me and reiterated over and over that we do NOT hit.  That it hurts when we hit, and that we never, never intentionally hurt other people. That Amelia is his sister and that he must show her love. He immediately melted into tears--hot, confused tears.  His first reaction to my anger was to try to hit her again--which was significantly less surprising than the initial blow.  At this point, he was reacting to her in a way that showed he recognized that she was the reason for his being in trouble--which was his only real awareness of the situation. I firmly told him NO, that he would NOT hit her, and he stopped. I told him he needed to apologize to Amelia. As most kids his age, he was resistant at first, but soon resigned himself to the fact that it was a non-negotiable, and he looked her in the eye and apologized. We ended the moment with high-fives all around, and I left him there to cool off.

Amelia followed me out into the living area and sat down on the couch, content to pick up where she left off in her playing.  Anderson hung out in the bedroom for awhile before solemnly emerging. I kept my distance but had my eye on the situation, curious to see what would happen next. As Anderson slowly walked into the room, Amelia looked up, noticed, and quietly said, "Sorry, Bubs." Oh, my heart. My little sensitive love. She was the victim of the random act of violence, and yet she was feeling bad for him, for how upset he had been. She took the blame upon herself for that. She is so emotionally in tune with the world around her, and she simply cannot stand to see people hurting. My girl.

Now, please don't misunderstand. I totally recognize that siblings are going to fight. I know that this won't be the last time one of them knocks the other silly. I expect it.  That's not the source of my sadness. My heart is hurting for the situation behind the blow. You see, Amelia didn't do anything to make him angry. She didn't take a toy, hit him first, do something annoying. He was reenacting something he had seen at some point, and he had no comprehension of the repercussions.  No understanding of the cause-and-effect. THAT is what hurts. I've worked with students in the past who have no concept of cause-and-effect, and those are the ones that I've worried about the most. They act without thinking, do things that are dangerous because they don't understand consequences. It's a scary possibility.

I think that most parents of children who are diagnosed with autism worry about the possibility of their child becoming violent.  Anderson has always been so passive...he has never once hit another child at daycare or preschool, only occasionally pushed Amelia, but usually to try to get to a toy or something else that he wanted. To witness him intentionally hurting her was just very tough, and of course it led me down the trail of "what-ifs", thinking about his future and oh gosh, what if he did that to another child at school? Just another thought that is now lingering in the back of my mind where I keep all of my little worries stored, boring holes into my inner peace.

And then there's Amelia.  Since the incident, she's been cautious around Anderson, treading lightly and quick to tattle if he begins to act upset.  She's a bit scared, and rightfully so, after the unprovoked hit.  But it breaks my heart. It hurts me that she's nervous around her own brother, and it hurts me that she has reason to be worried. It hurts that ANYONE would be scared of my sweet, blonde, blue-eyed love.  She's told me that she doesn't like it when he yells, and today she came and told me she wasn't going to play with him because he screamed.  He's testing his boundaries as a "bad kid" the only way he knows how--by role playing--and she's the unfortunate partner in his little play of life. 

The day after the incident, I ran into his teacher in the hallway as I was picking them up. I told her the whole thing--and she knows him well enough to know how he acts out what he sees (he does phenomenal impressions of her, which she's seen and loves). I was only sharing with her to ask her if he'd done anything like that at school, and to warn her to be on the look-out, that I wanted to know if he even hinted at hitting someone. She quickly took me aside and had me talk with her and an administrator; it seems that another child in his class has been having some behavior issues that sound very similar to what he's acting out at home. This makes complete sense, knowing him. Just unfortunate.  I'm not in the least upset, and don't want anything "done" at preschool. He is going to have to learn to navigate classrooms and situations with other kids where someone is doing something inappropriate. He's going to have to learn that just because someone else does something, he can't automatically do it, too. He just has to learn to function in the real world, which is going to include rule-breakers.

Parenting is the most rewarding job in the entire world, but it's also the most painful.  My heart couldn't love two beings any more than I love A & A, and watching their relationship waver is tough. My heart feels their pain, their worries.  I'm in need of a band-aid here, friends. Any suggestions?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Split Personality

Sometimes when I sit down to blog, I feel a bit like someone who has split-personalities.  Those of you who've read my blog for awhile (and if you haven't, you should!! READ!!) know that I vacillate between the serious and the comical, and I can never completely decide between the two. Sometimes I start out thinking that I'm going with a humorous tone, and then the whole damn thing turns all solemn and sappy. Sometimes, it works the opposite. When I finish and I re-read for editing/revising,  I'm like, "what the ....?" I get on my own nerves with it. I hope it doesn't bother you.  I guess it's my writing 'voice'. Whatever.

I say all that to explain today's post. I'd started a post yesterday that was a little bit of the touchy-feely variety, and I left it. Didn't come back to it today, either. I'm just not feeling it. Maybe I'll come back to it, maybe not. The beauty of blogging. I can be my indecisive self and it doesn't matter! Anyway, I really wanted to blog--it's a free version of therapy for me--but I'm stuck fairly topicless today. Thus...the stream-of-consciousness post for today:


Amelia's well-documented bug phobia continues this year.  Of course, with the weather changing, we've been playing outside a lot more.  We will all be content, the kids doing their own things and Marty and I in our respective folding chairs in the front yard (aww, yeah...that's how we roll in my 'hood), and all of a sudden she will scream as though someone is trying to kill her, and scamper up the nearest parent like a spider monkey.  All over a gnat. I'm serious, you all--it can be the tiniest of bugs. Doesn't matter. Sister is going to have to get used to it, because I plan to spend much of our summer break outside.


I mentioned this on Facebook, but it definitely deserves a repeat conversation because wow, did it blow my mind.  One day this past week, I was picking the kids up from school.  If it's past a certain time in the afternoon (like 3:45), the kids are most likely on the playground. I pull up to the pick-up lane, go inside and grab their stuff, and then go back to the car, load it all up, and then drive around to pick them up at the playground. On this day, when I went into the building, I saw Anderson in the hallway with one of the teachers. I have to be honest; I was a little bit nervous when I saw them, thinking maybe he'd been in trouble or had a meltdown or something. When I caught up to them, she told me he'd come up to her on the playground and indicated that he needed to use the potty. This was pretty awesome--he had never done that before. He just usually holds it till they come inside. He's a master of holding it (unless we are talking bedtime, but that's a whole 'nother story).  Apparently he approached her and said, "Do you need to go potty?", to which she asked him the same question and he answered in the affirmative. He's been doing that more lately, I've noticed. If he wants or needs something, he will ask you the question he wants you to ask him. For instance, when he wakes up, he will say, "What do I want to eat, Dad?" instead of something to the effect of him being ready for breakfast. We are working on it. Anyway, they were in the hall, and so I went to grab their insane amount of "school stuff"  (seriously--why do two preschoolers have enough crap to completely fill our car? I feel like a bag-lady walking back to car, balancing lunch boxes, backpacks, art work and random toys that they insist on bringing...) while they decided to get a cup of water for Amelia and take it to her outside. I met them as they were walking onto the playground, and another mom was walking our direction to get into her car. Anderson looked her square in the face and said, "What's your name?"  Oh my'd have thought he'd come up with a new quantum physics theory or something, as excited as I was! The other mom, who I'm thinking probably has typical kids, acted as though it was all no biggie, but I was bouncing around making Anderson give her his name (even though she didn't ask him--what's up with that?). Honestly, I think I totally overwhelmed him and ruined the moment but whatever. He used the correct syntax and asked her a direct, normal, conversational question!  So damn exciting, especially in light of the fact that his syntax has become a little more garbled lately. Yay for normal conversation!


In the spirit of my whole "mental-wellness" plan, I am slowly but surely moving towards getting back into physical shape by eating better and working out more regularly. I decided that this time, I don't want to jump in gung-ho, because every time I do that, I fail miserably. Instead, I'm making small changes over time, so that hopefully they'll be more likely to stick. Anyway, I like to go to classes at the gym. I love Zumba and Kickboxing classes, but they don't really offer a lot of resistance training. I had this brilliant idea of going to a "CrossFit Bootcamp" class.  My gym doesn't do the official "CrossFit" (cause it's a CULT, people!), but essentially they take the same exact principles and apply them in a Bootcamp-style class. I talked a friend into going with me. I'm pretty sure she hates me now. That teacher--who was a military-style dude--should have taken one look at me (I was the heftiest person in the class--clearly not in shape like the other people) and told me to turn my ass right back around and come back in about five months after some serious training. A lot of the class involved the use of kettlebells, which I'd never used before.  The only kettlebells in the room were pretty heavy--like 12 pounds and up. He gently (not at all gently) told me I should go out into the gym area and pick up a lighter one. He said there was a nice 5 pound kettlebell out there for me.  I go out into the gym to retrieve said kettlebell--and the damn thing was PINK. PINK, yo.  Using a pink kettlebell is synonymous with saying "Look at me I'm a big freaking wimp", and if I'm being honest, in my head I'm using another word instead of wimp. You can fill in with your word of choice. Anyway, I used that pink kettlebell though, because I knew there was no way I could do anything heavier. About 100 squats later, as well as some deadlifts, pull ups, bear crawls and long jumps, some lunges and some burpies...we were done.  And by done, I mean we left the class 10 minutes early.  I was a shaky mess. My muscles were totally shot. I was painfully sore for about 2 1/2 days, and my friend is still sore and still cursing me.  We are going back on Monday. :-)


Alright, that's all I got for today. I'm sure I'll be back to my split-personality posts again later this week. Hope you enjoyed your Derby weekend--being from Louisville and growing up with the whole Derby week thing, I truly miss being there this time of year.  My money was on Overanalyze. Because I do.

Have a great week.