It 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.
Last 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.
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.
Now… it’s a disaster. Not only are there ads, for their new shows the sequence goes like this (I’ll use Paw Patrol as the example)
-Paw Patrol opening sequence (credits/song)
– 3 full minutes of ads.
– Part 1 of Paw Patrol show actually begins.
– Once part 1 has ended, there is now a solid FIVE minutes of advertising (I have timed it, since my fast forward button that jumps 30 seconds forward needs to be pressed 10 times).
– Part 2 of Paw Patrol starts.
– Part 2 Paw Patrol ends.
– More ads until the end the next show/cycle starts.
And it’s not like we’re talking innocent ads here. Covergirl makeup has absolutely NO place on a preschool channel. When my daughter asked me the other day if she could have that special hair straightener, I about lost my mind. So basically, if I want them to watch any of the newer shows, I have to be sitting there monitoring every minute of it and have my hand ready at the fast forward button.
Back in the day . . . there were awesome things on Nick Jr such as Moose & Z, Little Bear, Oswald. Shows that were fun, and filled with kindness, mellow and yet happy at the same time. While a couple of their news shows are good, this advertising stuff is sending me off the edge. We do like Paw Patrol for the mechanics and Wallyzakam for the reading. Don’t even get me started on that piece of crap called Nick Mom at Night or whatever it’s called. Oh lord!
Back to how awful Nick Jr is now. I recently discovered they launched an app called Noggin. The only appalling thing about this app is that it’s a subscription so it’s $5.99 a month. Initially outraged, I begrudgingly began the free trial because I wanted to see if we’d get any use out of it. Low and behold, there are all our old favorite shows on it – all of Oswald (the 3-year-old escaped mental patient’s favorite), Little Bear, Jack’s Big Music Show. I’ve not been feeling well and as it got worse over the weekend, I took myself off to the Minute Clinic in CVS to see a doctor. Brought the iPad and my phone (Noggin also installed there) since I had to lug the kids with me. During my almost 2hr wait, thanks to wifi everywhere, I was able to stream Noggin on both devices (still on one subscription). Here’s where the sun shone brightly. My 6-year old was scrolling through it and found Jack’s Big Music show. It’s always been my favorite of my kids’ shows, and I was so sad when it disappeared after two seasons. It’s been so long that she didn’t remember it at first. I reminded my girl how we used to watch it together, just me and her, and we’d sing and dance along to the music (great music, btw). That show also is the one that introduced us to Laurie Berkner to which my kids have spent many hours dancing the evening away to.
I confess, I bounced around the waiting room with the kids to the music (I love Dr. Strings) and loved being able to listen to Jack’s Big Music Show again. You can’t even get it on DVD so this is wonderful. The kids made a fort out of the couch cushions last night and I heard the girl tucked away in there watching Jack again. It made me happy.