Tag Archives: battle

Leaving the Mental Hospital.

12631297_10153509880098860_2696837959808520265_nIt feels like there’s a shift in the tide. My 7-year old paroled mental patient has officially been discharged. It’s fascinating watching her as she’s changing so much, both physically and mentally. She lost her first three teeth within the last month. She tells me while she’s flossing that it’s harder to get in between some teeth now, and I know it’s because her teeth are shifting now that her adult teeth will make an appearance soon.  And then there’s the emotional change. I can’t label it a personality change because she’s still the same dynamo she’s always been since 12 months old, but she’s calmer. She knows she can ask questions and even understand the answers. She appreciates things more, there’s less of the psychotic preschooler, and now she is leaning towards a logical human being who has learned so much.

It’s awesome. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy sharing humor with her, she understands my sarcasm so much more now. One day when she was coming home from school, we were talking about something and she said “oh I’m so stupid!” and I had an immediate mental panic attack – how will I reverse this? What gave her that ridiculous notion? She’ll absorb this for life! AAAGGHHH! I told her she wasn’t stupid at all, and that she is incredibly smart. I gave it little credit (not to feed any negative attention) but the next (and last) time she said that to me, she said the exact same thing in the car, it went like this:

Lilly; “I’m so stupid.”
Me: “I have wings.”
Lilly (utter confusion): “WHAT?!?!?”
Me (very seriously): “I have wings.”
Lilly (baffled) ” . . . ”
Me: “Lilly, you saying you are stupid is as true as me saying I have wings. Do you see wings on me? No? There you go.”

With that, the conversation was shut down and she cracked up laughing. I didn’t need to do a whole reinforcement thing. I didn’t need to delicately tackle a ticking bomb. I knew it was ridiculous moment where she was probably just tired and needed a break. It didn’t need a UN intervention. I love that I can speak with her this way. I’ve learned to diffuse her temper with humor. She can still have her moments, as we all do, but I can usually eliminate them immediately with some odd comment or dry humor. She can’t help herself as she’ll smile or laugh begrudgingly, because she knows exactly what I’m doing, and it’s almost as if she knows I’m not going head-to-head with her so she’ll ratchet everything down 20 notches and just talk to me about whatever it is that’s frustrating her.

c4a50d9c-13e2-4697-a7ef-6ba404a13bb7Last night, as she was getting ready for bed, she told me that she seriously loves me. That’s big words from her. She can do I love you quite frequently now, but when she added in her “seriously” into it, I knew that it meant that at that moment, she utterly, from the bottom of her heart, her gut, her toes, was telling me she loved me to death. Oh what a feeling. This magnificent creature that came from me, whom is entirely a part of me and will be for the rest of my lifetime, was reciprocating what I’ve been feeling for her since her first breath. I’m keeping all her notes of love. I know this is a fleeting time and soon enough, she’ll been a tween wanting nothing to do with me so I’ll take all I can get now. This morning as I woke her for school, she was wearing a fluffy pair of jammies and once I saw that she was awake (but pretending to be asleep), I climbed on top of her, laughing that I’d found the cuddliest new teddy bear and was keeping it forever. She was practically purring with joy.

I love this.  I love her. My word, how she has stolen my heart and soul. Note to other mothers, if you’re not feeling all gooey inside about your child, don’t worry. I’ve had plenty of those days too. So cut yourself some slack. Good things are on the way.

My 4-year old escaped mental patient is making progress. He’s a little ways away from being paroled but he’s doing better. Still plenty of non-logical out bursts or demands that will never be met, but he’s still four years old so he’s got a way to go yet. However, he’s still the cutest little psychotic bundle you’ve ever seen. When he bounces his naked butt around the house because at that moment, he’s “vanilla bunny the boy,” I can’t help but smile wide.

Life is good.

Back to School and Alcohol.

I know I’m not alone here. I just know it.

It’s back to school week after Christmas break. The kids relaxed for a full two weeks, even my 7-yr old began sleeping in. I could see that she needed the break badly. By the last week of school she was d.o.n.e!!! So she loved every minute of the break and then headed back to school. She’ll still declare that she loves her school however there was a definite shift from enjoying Christmas vacation to not wanting to go back to school. And so began hell week. You may think I’m kidding. I’m not. From the moment of every pickup, she’s been a tornado of anger and frustration. If I didn’t know any better, I’d downgrade her back to an escaped mental patient but I know what’s going on so I handle it differently (and much more calmly, I proudly add).  However the schedule of the week was different for me.

Monday: I know she’s tired. I dragged her out of bed. A full day of school. She’s pissed. We’ll get through this.
Tuesday: OK, I know she’s tired, she doesn’t want to do homework, but dear Jesus, this attitude better change.
Wednesday: OMFG, I’m going to kill her. I keep it together (mostly) as she drags out homework over the course of two hours simply because she just doesn’t want to do it. As soon as she goes to bed, I make Baileys & decaf tea. Yes, that feels good!
Thursday: It’s the exorcist. It’s reincarnated and that’s just on the car ride home. Upon entering the house, she bee-lines for Legos and I pop open a Strawberry Ale. It’s only 4.30pm but I figure this might be her best chance at staying alive.
Friday: I don’t know yet but I’m scared. I may have an IV of alcohol attached to me during the carpool lane. At the very least, when I get home from picking her up, it’s PARTY time!! Ice cream for all and beers for Momma!

I remember this struggle the first week of the school year. The mega adjustment is hard to cope with for the little ones and she specifically takes it out on me because I’m her safe place. I get it. But as I bob and weave my way through the house looking for hiding places, praying for it to be bedtime, I can’t help but wish this week were over.

I swear to you, alcohol sales must spike more after Christmas than during it because I’ve decided that that’s the only way I’m getting through this. Am I alone? Oh I bet not!!!!

Excuse me while I pop open #2.

 

How school is going to kill me.

code is funHomework. Oh how I hate thee. My awesome hurricane turned 7 last week!! I’ve really been enjoying being with her. Until homework, and then the devil comes out of both of us. What used to take 2 hours now takes 1 hour (still waaaay too much). Each night we have to practice spelling words and this week’s selection were particularly tough and confusing – circus, cell, circle, pencil, silent, palace all were consistently spelled by her as she hears it – circis, sel, circil, pencel, silint, palis. It didn’t matter how many times I went over it with her, it wasn’t clicking with her. We were both equally frustrated, and the tension was building. Soon, I’m yelling that I don’t understand what’s wrong and that I’m done. What an awesome example of motherhood I am (input complete sarcasm there). I walk into the kitchen, trying to take deep breaths and it dawns on me. Dawns how bloody ridiculous this all is. This is ONE damn test out of who knows how many she has, and who the hell cares if she fails this one. It’s not worth me yelling at her, making us both feel bad, and consequently, making her feel like a failure.

So I returned to the table and before I got to say anything, she asked me for a hug. I squeezed her tight and told her we were done with the spelling words. Just done. They were super tricky words, because they go against a lot of the spelling rules she’s been learning so it’s super easy to get them wrong. That I didn’t want silly, tricky words to end up with us both angry and exhausted. That it just wasn’t worth it and that I didn’t care what grade she got. She asked if that meant she was going to fail it. I told her to just do her best, and whatever grade comes home, I don’t care, because it’s only one out of soooooooo many. She asked me why we do homework at all, and I told her she should ask her teacher, because I don’t like homework either and I don’t think it’s effective.

What I’ve seen with homework is that I often have to explain what should have been covered in class. Sometimes I’m merely reinforcing what she has learned, but other times, I’m the one introducing new concepts to her that she’s expected to know, because they are on her homework sheet. I have no doubt her teacher is worked to the damn bone. It’s not her fault either. It’s the system. So much emphasis is put on testing and grades, that every single thing has to be entered into the computer as a grade. I can see these grades in her school portal online, and for every grade on every sheet of paper, I can see when it was entered. Her teacher is working Saturdays & Sundays just to enter in this ridiculous information. I see time-stamps of 6:30am during the week, mornings and afternoons on the weekends. It can be 9 pm at night and her teacher is responding to emails. It’s no wonder teachers are leaving in droves. There’s barely any actual teaching involved. At this point, each teacher should have their own secretary to handle the paperwork alone.

Capture2Having to explain things first hand to my daughter is part of why I started the book series. I needed to learn what the rules of reading and writing are, so that I can help her. The Magic Forest Alphabet: Introducing Letter Sounds came out last week and you people knocked me to the floor with your support and well wishes. You shot me into Amazon’s top three of their “Hot New Releases” category. The books are just as much for parents as they are for children. I had planned on just doing the basic alphabet book then moving onto the stories of The Magic Forest but I’ve realized how much I don’t know and need to know if I’m to help my kids through this important journey. I’ve already begun book two which will focus on common consonant blends & digraphs, and then I’ll round the trilogy off with tackling those bloody vowels. I blame them for everything! Lots more information over at Little Gem Publishing. There’s a free giveaway going on right now too.

rick roachA few days ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Rick Roach who is running for FL Senate in 2016. I don’t normally bring up politics here, but he used to be a teacher. He took the FCAT as an adult and failed it. He was on the school board at OCPS so he knows how that beast works. He’s watched the school system get dirty, begin to crumble, and the fall out is becoming apparent. He has a solid understanding and knowledge of the educational issues we face, and just as important, he has solid plans to fix them, and they definitely involve changing this testing ridiculousness. He also happens to be a very nice guy too. Give him a look.

Is it summer yet?

The Precious Age

1000228_10151612210048860_473410485_nWe moved house 2.5 years ago. My daughter had just turned four the month before. My son was 20 months old.  He had been sick from months 6-14, and I called him my Velcro Baby. He couldn’t be out of my arms. Ever. When we moved house, it freaked him out and it was a solid 6 weeks before I could even walk out of a room without him freaking out. It’s all ages and stages, all phases that we pass through. I remember meeting my new neighbors. Kids hanging off me, explaining I’m a stay-at-home-mom. They always asked how old the kids were and always responded with “aww, such a precious age.” I’d look at them like they were insane. WTF was so precious, can you tell me? I still didn’t get to shower on any regular basis. Had 27lbs permanently attached me to me along with a four-year-old hurricane that went to battle with me at every turn.

Precious my ass.

I usually responded with my oblivious, socially unaware bluntness and got the shocked stares in response. Oh well.

But now, things are different. My velcro baby has essentially flown the nest and couldn’t care less where I am. My six-year-old has now realized that she’s her brother’s equal (in my  eyes) and I am able to devote time directly to her without a sick baby attached to me. I can kiss her goodnight and whisper in her ear that I’m so lucky I get to be her Mommy, that I’m so lucky I get to be with her every day and see that smile that lights up a room. I watched her purr in response, squeezing me tight and I know I’ve just given her the warmest, squishy feeling she adores.

Yesterday, my escaped mental patient (who just turned four, by the way) took a rare nap in the afternoon. As per my usual routine, I enter their bedroom before I go to bed to kiss each one on the cheek. Last night, the boy was still awake even though it was 9:30pm. “Mommy, is it morning?” he whispers. “No darling, Mommy is just going to bed.” But I first smother his face with kisses. I look at that perfect face and feel his little arms and hands wrap around my neck just so he can hold me.  I begin to tell him how lucky I am to be his Mommy and how much I love him. I hear back how much he loves me, and he means it. Because small kids don’t like or say things because they’re supposed to. They only say it when they mean it. And it hits me how precious this age is, including my 6-year-old hurricane’s age.

There’s a possibility that when she turns 7, I’ll have a slight mental breakdown. Seven just seems so old to me. Ridiculous, I know but seven is so much closer to a teenager than the small years that have just flown by. I get to sleep through the night now and can enjoy my kids more. I can appreciate them more. So yes, this is a precious age. Six and four are as precious as can be. Just don’t be alarmed if someone looks at you like you’re the devil when you say that to them because they have absolutely no idea what it’s like at that very moment for you, and don’t feel bad if you don’t immediately agree with them.  My first go-round with four was so rough. The second time, I’m able to stand back and realize how awesome this age is. I currently don’t have an emotionally clingy baby attached to me and he’s not sick anymore. I’m able to stand back and can now say that “yes, yes this is a precious age.”

Now. If only time would stand still.

A Day in the Life of a Mommy.

7:00am – That damn alarm goes off. Rat Bastard.
7:07am – Fully dressed & ready for the day, I go wake the 6-year old tropical storm for school. The 3-year old is up already.
7.15am – Make it downstairs by carrying each child individually.
7:16am – First tantrum of the day because the 3-year old’s pancakes are too hot. Thankfully, the 6-year old takes them.
7.17am – Tantrum escalates higher when I refuse to give the 3-year old a chocolate sandwich for breakfast.
7:20am – Peace negotiations calm the escaped mental patient as we agree to “hot chocolate coffee” which is warm milk with Ovaltine served in a cup.
7:25-7:50am – Make sure 6-year-old is dressed, brushed teeth & hair, while persuading 3-year-old that I am not abandoning him.
7:50-8:20am – Drive oldest to school.
8:25am – Make coffee for me.
8:26am – Youngest needs to play doctor and examine me.
8:30am – Listen to hubby rant about work. Drink my coffee while he talks. Wonder if it’s too early to put Bailey’s in my coffee.
8:49am – Hubby leaves for work. Mental patient is satisfied that I am in situ and goes to the backyard to write letters & numbers with chalk.
8:50am – I sit down.
8:51am – Youngest demands to get dressed. Dress him but he dislikes his shirt intensely and demands another one. I allow this to occur because he has only about 5 shirts that he will wear and today, I tried a new one unsuccessfully.
8:53am – Go upstairs to get an approved shirt and notice that my husband has not made our bed (again, as in every.damn.day) even though he is the last one out. Make our bed. Grab green shirt for the boy.
8:57am – Put a bandage on the number 4 repeatedly.
9:00am – Check bank balance to see if I have enough money in checking for small grocery shop.
9:07am – Put Pocoyo on TV so that I can stare in hopelessness at the kitchen I need to clean up.
9:15am – Receive call about some tax news. Have nervous breakdown and begin research while I plonk kid in front of TV.
10:25am – Clean kitchen.
10:40am – Feed the beast.
10:50am – Check coupons for shopping.
11am – Pack up rugrat and head to store.
12:35pm – Back from store and have to convince 3-year old child that I cannot deliver Christmas today.
12:36pm – Unpack groceries and begin cleaning the kids’ bedroom. I don’t look in the playroom. That would be scary.
1:58pm – Have some lunch for myself and the smallie.
2:05pm – Begin searching online for Christmas toys.
2:15pm – Actually spend time snuggling, tickling & kissing my son.
2:45pm – Leave to pick up oldest from school. On the way home, discuss with her how a star didn’t make the apartment building currently under construction.
3:15pm – Home, snack, and start doing the week’s homework. This takes an abnormally long time today because we normally can do a whole week’s worth of homework in 45 minutes. But today took two hours because she needed everything to be perfect and I refused to spell out words for her (suggested to me by her teacher). As soon as I walked away, saying I was starting dinner, she completed all the remaining homework in 5 minutes. More than had been done the previous hour. All the while, I had to keep the 3-year old away from his sister. At one point, he found the numbers on the printer in Daddy’s office and decided to wreak havoc on it. So when I locked him out of the office, another epic 10-minute tantrum started. I’m surprised someone didn’t call the cops for the length, volume and pitch of his screams. Sigh. I need a drink.
5:15pm – Start cooking dinner. I am taking the bowls and utensils directly from the clean dishwasher, because I have neither the energy or motivation to actually empty it at this point. It’s pasta tonight because it’s easy and both of them will eat it.
5:37pm – The boy refuses to eat the pasta.
5:40pm –  He declares his bum is sore and needs cream. Oh joy. The excitement just never ends.
5:43pm – Begin picking up the strewn toys all over the floor that the escaped mental patient threw while I was doing homework with the kindergartener.
6:00pm – Make daughter’s lunch for school tomorrow and save in fridge.
6:09pm – Begin the mental countdown to kids’ bedtime. It used to be 7:30pm but I found that 7pm worked just oh so much better for me.
6:10pm – Try to breathe slowly to lower my blood pressure. TV is on and three shows have been declared. One hour to go. One hour to go. I can make it. I can do this.
6:15pm – Begin texting husband who does bedtime routine that the clock is ticking.
6:16pm – I sit down and play Candy Crush to escape reality for 5 minutes.
6:25pm – play with the kids, lots of laughter, kisses and tickles.
7:15pm – World starts falling apart (youngest is so tired now). Daddy on his way home so bedtime will be soon.
7:20pm – Chaos ensues so I usher everyone to the bathroom for teeth and potty. We’re done here.I sit in precious silence as Daddy takes to them in their bedroom.
7:30pm -8:00pm – Silence over. Daddy is done with bedtime. Talking with hubby about our day.
8:00pm – 9:30pm – ME TIME.
9:30pm – Head to bedroom and contemplate having a shower that I desperately need, but just have no motivation for.
9:45pm – Go to bed, catch up on Facebook, take a deep breath.
10.45pm – Sleep. Hopefully.

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Dental Saga Complete!

unnamedYesterday, the day came where my 3-year-old was due for sedation to get two fillings, a cleaning, x-rays and a fluoride treatment. Catch up on his fear of the dentist here. The pediatric dentist office was kind enough to ask all their staff to come in early, making us #1 for the day. Unfortunately that meant we had to be there at 6:40AM but the positive of that is I didn’t have a child wailing for food or water for hours. We arrived at 6:30AM, and I told my little mental patient that we were at the dentist to fix his boo-boos on his front teeth. He likes that particular office amazingly, just not any dental work. He protested lightly but I think he knew the protests weren’t going to change anything.

We started out the morning well. While we waited for everything to get set up, we watched SpongeBob in a private room and we’re all feeling good. The pediatric anesthesiologist arrived to re-inform me of what was going to happen. At no time would my son be aware that he would be in a dental chair. While we were in our private room, watching TV, he would give my boy a shot of something (think kiddie Valium) to make him unaware of what was going on. So I held my boy while he instantly figured out that the fun was over and someone was doing something to his leg. He screamed, he cried, I hugged him tightly, I kissed him profusely telling him that everything would be OK and after a minute, he quieted. His eyes were open but no one was home. The nurse came in, took him to the dental procedure room, and I sobbed like I was never going to see him again. God, what a horrible, horrible feeling that was.

Honestly, the staff just couldn’t have been nicer. They delivered coffee and bagels while I waited in my private room. They updated me every 10 minutes as to what was going on (IV was in, X-Rays were done).  I was overwhelming relieved to learn all his other teeth were free of cavities. It was just the front two  because they crossed over a little when he was 1, catching food in between them. Both needed minor fillings and that was it. Instead of the hour they had allotted, he was done in 45 minutes. I was told he was in recovery and I could go see him. I ran back and found my little zombie.unnamed (1) His front teeth were perfect, the fillings invisible and the white color restored. While holding my precious boy, the nurse tried to get him to drink some juice, and asked that I push fluids all morning. I was then visited by the pediatric dentist and the anesthesiologist. The dentist said everything was superb, see you in six months for a cleaning (I can’t even process that right now). The anesthesiologist informed me the meds are flushed out by the kidneys so that’s why they wanted us to push as much fluids as possible. 

We came home. After an hour, his head cleared but as I was warned, his body needed to catch up to his head. He was trying to walk around and simply falling over. So we had a little battle while I tried to keep him on the couch for another hour or so but basically, by early afternoon, he was back to himself.

Here’s what I take away from this experience – not all pediatric dentists are alike. The first one last year was recommending putting caps on his teeth because he had the beginning of cavities there. That was my WTF moment. The second dentist, yesterday’s dentist, preferred a much more conservative approach. Oh, and because the procedure only took 45 minutes, the anesthesiologist only charged me for 45 minutes of his time. Later yesterday afternoon, I got a phonecall from each of the pediatric dentist and the anesthesiologist checking on my boy, who is doing fantastically, by the way.