Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little signs

Sometimes the right thing shows up at the right time. For me, feeling worried about the kid as I droppped him off at school earlier this week and starting to doubt (again) that I'm overreacting about how things are going for him there, THIS article/post showed up on my google reader. And while it talks about what a 4 year old really needs to know, I think it still rings very true for my sweet 5 year old. As one of the commenters says so eloquently, "It's a wonderful reminder that my child is not on a racetrack, but rather a slow winding road". Ahhh, I love that imagery.

I still have the form the counselor gave me to have the pediatrician fill out. Mostly this is because I simply haven't had the time to fill it out and drop it off to the ped to have her sign it. But, the incident earlier this week has been the impetus I needed to get that sucker filled out and back to the school. So, it's all filled out and waiting for hubby to take it in the morning. I'm sending good vibes with the form, that good things and changes are on their way. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Today's lesson - little lessons are all around us. We need only be open to them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And then, she said THIS

And I have yet again been shocked by the things this teacher will say and/or do. Are you ready for this????  (And I completely am willing to admit the possibility that I am overreacting about this. But my blog, my space to overreact.)
I'm putting the kid to bed this night and he has been a mess (a MESS, I tell you!!) this evening. So, I'm trying to process with him what's going on and how he can turn it around tomorrow. He had mentioned earlier in the evening that Mrs L had threatened to call hubby today when he wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing. (For the record, he said he was just sitting there, not doing his work, but not disrupting anyone - who knows.) Then, all of the sudden, he got all teary-eyed and was like "Mrs L is gonna send Santa a list and only the kids on the good list are gonna get presents". I - staying very calm - asked him if he thought he was going to be on the list of the kids who didn't get presents. He couldn't even speak. He simply sniffled and nodded his head yes. Then I couldn't respond. And then he, because he's a funny kid, said "uh, Momma, can you actually see in the dark 'cause I responded to you, but you didn't respond to me". I assured him that I did indeed see his head nod. And then I spent the next 5 minutes reminding him of his awesomeness. And assuring him that though he sometimes makes bad choices he is indeed a "good kid" and will absolutely be receiving gifts from Santa.

How dare that woman tell my kid that he is on Santa's bad list and isn't going to get presents?! Now, I doubt she singled him out, but am I the only one who thinks it completely inappropriate that she would even bring this up in the classroom?!

Or, honestly, the other whole problem here is that she's threatening to call the kid's parents to get him to behave. I mean, talk about giving up your own power! Is it any wonder my kid, and (at least some of) the others don't listen to her well? Duh. When you threaten to call the parents, you in effect tell the kids that you don't actually have any authority over them. So why would they listen?!

I kinda hate this woman.

Today's lesson - the saying should have been: "hell hath no fury like a momma whose baby has been scorned".

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A clean house

Last weekend I cleaned house. And I mean I cleaned house. I did 10 loads of laundry. I dusted all the cabinet doors and the insides of those couple of cabinets that never get used (i.e. the "good" china and stemware). I organized at least 5 rooms. I tossed out broken toys, setting aside those the boys have grown too old for to donate. I sorted through those clothes that I'm probably never going to fit into again, or the ones that made me think "what was I thinking when I bought that?!". I also went to see Breaking Dawn, which was total awesomeness (and I'm gonna go see it again next weekend 'cause I'm that much of a dork - don't judge), and it was also a good break from the cleaning. But when I got home, I cleaned some more. Sinks, and floors, and counter tops. Matching little bitty socks. Clearing out the clothes the kid has grown out of in the last two weeks (seriously, the size 6's only lasted him about 4-5 months!). Cleaning.

Now, I do not love to clean. I often get overwhelmed by the sheer chaos that seems to find certain areas in my house. And it just immobilizes me. I walk into the kitchen when hubby has been cooking - not cleaning at all as he goes - and I simply can't deal with it. It's not like an excuse to just not have to clean. It's more like the inability to deal with the overwhelming chaos of the space. I get that way, too, about my bedroom (when laundry has sat around for a week or two and somehow migrated all over the flippin' place) or the kid's room, when he's shredded some piece of paper all over the place to go with the dirty clothes that seem to refuse to live in the closet as they're supposed to. All of these things just stop me in my tracks, and I have to walk away before I get drawn into the chaos and can never find my way out. Or at least that's what it feels like could happen. (This leaves hubby to deal with these huge messes, though, to be fair to myself, often he's the one who's made them.)

But, sometimes, when the mood hits me, I just gotta clean. I get motivated and it just makes sense to take advantage of it. These are the times when I dust. Or clean windows and mirrors. Or scrub the bathroom floors. Or clean under the beds. Or organize the closets. Most of the time these tasks don't even dawn on me, or I simply shrug the thought off as a task for some mysterious "other day". But on these magical, only come once in a blue mood kind of days, it makes perfect sense to tackle them.

There's a benefit to my cleaning sprees, other than just a significantly cleaner house. As I clean in one of these rare moods, I can feel the stress leaving my body. I don't feel overwhelmed by the chaos around me. I can just move from one thing to another, cleaning without stopping. I am singularly focused, not feeling guilty about the time I should be spending with my children, or the thousands of other things I could be doing. I just clean. And when I'm I feel calmer, more composed, and I have a clean house to boot.

My MIL was a bit OCD about the cleaning. Her house was spotless all the time. She spent a lot of time cleaning and cleaning. And most of the time all that time and energy seem to me to have been a waste. But, on days like the one I had this weekend, I understand her a little better. I, too, feel the release of pressure after that ____________ (whatever) has finally been cleaned. I, too, feel the sense of relief and lowered stress. Now, I wish I had these spurts of cleaning more often sometimes, but then I remember how much time she truly did focus on the cleaning and I'm relieved to have them hit only every so often.

Today's lesson - sometimes insight into another person hits at the oddest moment. But what a gift it is to understand someone else a bit better.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Glass of Wine, or 3

I grew up with an alcoholic father. I mean, as far as I know, he's still an alcoholic father. I haven't seen him in several years. No contact either. As far as I know, he could be reading this right now. But where he is right now or what he's doing is neither here nor there.  Growing up my mother drank (still does), but I can think of only a few times when I saw her affected by alcohol (and those were mostly when I was an adult myself). Sadly, I can think of only a few experiences with my father that didn't involve alcohol, or more specifically him abusing it.

Growing with a father who I knew, even as a little kid, had a problem with alcohol has colored my view and experience with alcohol. I first drank when I was 16 and went on a "class trip" to Mexico (a story - and a good one - for another day). And by "drank" alcohol, I mean I had - literally - a sip. I didn't drink again until I went to college. I think, really, til I was 20. I've been inebriated several times, but I'm pretty sure I could count those times on 2 hands. I found that I have not just a high, but a really high tolerance to substances. Alcohol, laughing gas (wisdom teeth extraction), even ibuprofen, I have to consume a lot to get the same affects as other people.

Not that I often want to get that same affect (inebriation, I mean). That out of control feeling isn't one I seek frequently; it isn't one I like. I much prefer to be in control of myself. More than that, I need to be in control of myself. Not being in control is scary. Any mental health professional would probably tell you this is a common trait in a child of an alcoholic, this need to be in control. It maybe one of the reasons why many of us are successful and accomplished professionally - we're type A, good at getting things done, and getting them done well. It's probably also the reason a good number of us struggle in relationships, because we want to be in control all the time.

After my 3rd glass of wine (when I finally started feeling the least bit of an affect), I start to understand why my father drinks. It's that feeling he craves. The feeling of no longer needing to be in control. The feeling of starting to let go of all that responsibility piled on your shoulders. The feeling of relaxation. It's a feeling that, because he is an alcoholic and has been for probably 40 years, he finds at the bottom of a 24pack (or more) of beer. It's a feeling that fortunately I can get to after just a couple of glasses of wine. And, as wonderful as it is, it's still scary. Because it's still a loss of control.

I feel incredibly blessed and lucky that I didn't inherit that alcoholic, dependent gene from him. It was a total luck of the draw, but I have never felt that dependence on any substance. I am beyond grateful for that. But, as I look at my boys, I wonder whether those are genes they have. Whether or not they'd been adopted, I know this I something I would have thought and worried about. And I - in my head - know it's not something over which I have control, but still I worry.

After I drank my (rare) 3 glasses of wine at dinner tonight, I wonder what I am teaching my children about alcohol. I wondered without my mother's "lessons" of drinking without becoming drunk (or crazy), what my attitude about alcohol would have been. I wonder if by drinking in front of my boys, I am helping them to develop a healthy attitude about alcohol - that it is something that can be consumed and enjoyed, without being abused. I hope that I am. But still I worry. I wonder if people who didn't grow up with an alcoholic parent worry about such things. Or perhaps they never even consider the possibility that their children could become addicts.

My father's alcoholism has affected me in a plethora of ways. Because of it, of him, I am who I am. And I've long since made peace with that, with the way his alcoholism affected my childhood and my current self. But one of those ways is that I, probably more so than the average parent, worry about my children's attitude and future as it relates to substances. I worry, and I try to control. Which is, I'm sure, not the best way to handle the issue. But it's the best I can do for now.

Today's lesson - sometimes 3 glasses of wine are just 3 glasses of wine. Sometimes they help you to relax. Sometimes, however, they make you think way too too much. And those are times when you should just go to bed. Good night, friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Sometimes it's hard to remember to be thankful. Some years are harder than others. This one has been challenging in many ways. It has at times been hard to remember to be thankful. I have been reminded that I have much to be thankful for. So I decided to share a list of some of the things, because it's a good reminder for me. Here it is, in no particular order:
  • the kid's very FIRST loose tooth!!!! Oh, my boy is getting so grown up (also, who knows how much the tooth fairy is doling out these days??)
  • Starbucks. I've only really begun to appreciate it in the last year. It's now a dear friend.
  • My lovely fleece blanket that I snuggle with nightly. I adore it's cuddliness.
  • My sweet boys. They are dear and hilarious and I am incapable of describing how thankful I am for them.
  • My momma. Our loss of MIL has made me cherish her even more.
  • Books. Yeah, like all of them. I just love to read.
  • The more than 12 donors who have fed baby E in the way I only dreamed of doing. You women are my hero's.
  • Lady Gaga. Yeah, I kinda love her music. And so do my boys. I love how they groove and sing along whenever she comes on.
  • My dear hubby who cleans and cooks and loves me in spite of and because of all my flaws, and even though I've gotten fat and haven't even shaved my legs in more than a month. (And, wow, did I just admit that to the entire world...?).
  • The kid's reading teacher who IS nurturing and motivates him to want to read and write.
  • The gymnastics classes we've found for the kid. To see him grin from ear to ear for a solid hour every week, to watch him excel and learn, it is just a gift.
  • My co-workers, past and present. I have been blessed with wonderful co-workers who have accepted me and made me feel welcome. I so appreciate them!
  • Our fabulous sitter. Without her, I don't know how I would go to work every day. Because I of her, I can support other people's children, without worrying about my own. I know baby E is loved when he is with her.
  • My dear friends who truly know me, feed my soul, brain, and indulge my need to see Breaking Dawn more than once.
  • Domperidone, the medicine that made it possible for me to provide baby E with at least some milk from my own body.
  • My clients who invite me into their lives and teach me so much about myself, both professionally and personally.
  • Cloth diapers - they keep my baby's sweet little bum healthy, and are great for the environment to boot. Um, and they're adorable too, way cuter than disposables.
  • As always, I am beyond thankful for the people who made me a mother - L and D, and R and D. This year, I am so very thankful that L and D found their way back into our lives as it is such a gift for the kid! They have arrived at just the perfect time, when the kid seems to need them.
Today's lesson - giving ourselves over to thankfulness, if even for a moment, is a gift we give to ourselves. What a wonderful way to start the Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Counselor Conference

So here is, as promised, the synopsis (and my commentary and processing) of my meeting with the counselor at the kid's school this morning.

I was running late, and I hate running late, so I was a bit flustered going in. But, Ms C was overall quite lovely. I shared with her our concerns and that his pediatrician had diagnosed him with an Adjustment Disorder. I did decide not to tell her that I was actually the one who made the diagnosis, and the pediatrician just agreed with it, without even looking at the DSM (aka the bible of mental health). I explained that our top concerns are the lack of communication from Mrs L, despite our varied attempts to do so, and how unhappy the kid appears to be (i.e. he can't come up with anything positive to say about school and often quickly changes the topic when Mrs L is brought up).

I was a bit nervous going in, particularly that Ms C would be resistant to the 504 plan. I met with a counselor at a different school yesterday (regarding one of my clients) and that counselor made the 504 sound like this big huge deal. Well, the kid's counselor stated that she feels if a kiddo needs support, then that's what they're going to do, and she has no problem handing out 504 plans. She gave me a few papers that need to be filled out. Once I get those back to her (hopefully next week - once I can get the pediatrician to sign off on them), we'll get a meeting scheduled within a week or so. Which is fantastic.

The modifications we're requesting are: daily communication from Mrs L indicating the kid's behavior throughout the day; more positive rewards and discipline (i.e. no writing sentences, no taking away recess); movement breaks; even socialization breaks throughout the day; an occupational therapy evaluation (or at least observation) to determine if there are any additional strategies that can be used to further support him with his fine motor skills.  If anyone else has any suggesions about other modications, I'd LOVE to hear them!!

Ms C seemed to understand our concerns about the teacher, and even agree with them (without directly saying so, you know, school politics and all). She plans to talk with the principal and thought that he will probably want to be present at the 504 meeting.  Apparently it's pretty uncommon for the principal to attend 504 meetings, but, because of the issues with the teacher, she thought he probably would want to. I made sure to explain that we have no interest in getting Mrs L in trouble, we just want our kid to be in a nurturing environment where he can be academically and emotionally successful. She assured me that the school wants that for all kids as well (though, really, what else could she have said in response to that) and she also thanked me for being calm and rational. I'm sure she gets some pretty ticked off parents in her office. I don't envy her her job.

So the one thing that kind of, okay seriously, ticked me off (because, it's me, so you know there had to be something), was this. As soon as I mentioned the Adjustment Disorder, the following conversation ensued ... "Okay, the kid is adopted right?". "Well, yes, he was adopted." "Right, well, you know lots of kids who are adopted have that attachment thing. You know, oh what's it called...Reactive Attachment Disorder." "Um, no, he doesn't have that. He's been with us since he was born and --." "Well you know, lots of adopted kids still have that and have issues, you know." I - trying hard to control my mouth - reiterated that the presentation of the kid's issues coincided with his beginning at that school. And that he absolutely, by no means, has any kind of attachment issues. Period. I mean, if you're going to start throwing out diagnoses, you should probably know what they are, and what the hell you're talking about. Just sayin'.

So, the synopsis, Ms C was great today, with the exception of her stupidity regarding adoption and DSM criteria. We're headed towards the kid's 504 plan, and hopefully some positive changes in the way the teacher deals with him and us.

Today's lesson: As a commenter - and friend from way back in my elementary school days (Hi, LCR!) - said, what a difference it would make for (at least some of) our kids if public schools functioned more like montessori programs. If classrooms were smaller, and there wasn't quite so much focus on the ever important TEST...sigh...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Out of shape

Hey, remember when I was all like, "yeah, I've gotten all fat and out of shape and now I'm gonna change and let you know how that's going?" I've done a fabulous job of that. I know I've been inspirational and all that jazz. You're welcome.

Or, I said all that and then didn't do a damn thing differently. And thus, I have not only not become more healthy and not lost weight, to the contrary, I have become even more of a blob and gained even more weight. We had some family pictures done a few weeks ago.  While they are beautiful and my friend did a phenomenal job, I barely recognize myself. I look at what is apparently my face and I wonder who that is. My eyes are now squinty, hidden under bigger cheeks. My neck is hidden under a 2nd chin. I wonder where I am in all of that.

I think about all the reasons why I've continued to gain weight and be so unhealthy, and they're the same as they were all those months ago. It boils down to lack of physical activity and a lack of motivation to engage in physical activity. And that boils down to me being t-i-r-e-d. All. The. Time. The reasons are easy to identify. It's fair to blame exhaustion. It's a valid excuse.

But I keep coming back to those pictures. And wondering where I am in all of that. And where I have gone...

Today's lesson - change doesn't just happen. It necessitates work and commitment and then more work. Change is hard. Even when the results are something we really want. Change is hard.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Duggars

For me, the Duggar family is one part car wreck one can't help to stare at, and the other part inspirational book on parenting. They're a combination of the freakish and the awe-inspiring. In case you have no idea who/what I'm talking about, The Duggars have 19 children, and the wife is now expecting their 20th child. She's is 45 and has given birth to all of them.

I think for many infertiles, the Duggars are a smack in the face. An enormous, multiplying and grotesque reminder of what we can't have. It's almost like there are only so many pregnancies to go around, and she's claiming way more than her fair share. There are feelings of doubt about the parents' ability to parent and parent well so many children.

But here's the thing...The Duggars, well, they are some of the most calm, loving, and consistent parents I've ever observed. Of course they're on television and have control over the editing of their show. But look at some of the other reality shows (i.e. that crazy Kate plus 8 chic). The truth about who they are and how they parent seems to become obvious.

But all we consistently see on the Duggars (yeah, I do watch it whenever I just happen to catch it - again, it's that whole car accident that you can't look away from kind of thing) is calmness, and consistency, and gentle redirection. There's no raising of voices. There's no spanking. Or even time outs. They make a point of spending one-on-one time with each child regularly.

And here's what it boils down to...they are consciously making a choice to be open to what God has in store for them. They are financially responsible for the entirety of their family, relying on no more "assistance" than I do. They spend a ton of family time together. All the children appear confident, healthy, developmentally on par, and happy. The older ones are becoming contributing members of society, holding jobs and expressing a responsibility for and desire to help others. I don't know that there is anything else I could want for my own children.

So why do we judge the Duggars so harshly? They are parenting well. Really well. In truth, one of my wishes is that when I "grow up" I will be half as calm, gentle, loving, patient, and trusting in my children's ability to be self-sufficient as the Duggars are. Do I wish that I could get pregnant and have a couple babies the "easy" way? Hell yes, I do. But the Duggars living that reality doesn't make my dream any less likely (I mean, really, it's already unlikely). Their pregnancies and children does not affect my ability to have children or parent. Can I feel jealousy at her ease in conceiving? Yes I can. I can also really relate to her desire for  and absolute love of children.

So, I think we should lay off the Duggars. Yeah, her uterus may be old, dusty and about to fall out (as hubby asserts), but it's her uterus and she gets to chose what to do with it. And as long as the Duggar children are loved and well taken care of, well, we have no say so in the matter.

Today's lesson: here's one - of several actually - I learned from the Duggars. Praise your children publicly and redirect them privately. They are frequently seen to praise their children on the show, but only very rarely redirect/discipline them.  None of us wants to be disciplined in front of others. What a beautiful way to teach our children about respect - by first giving it to them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The First Report Card

We got the kid's first report card yesterday. I didn't have high expectations. But it was even worse than I could have guessed. That teacher, oh that teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!! She had the NERVE to say that my kid's vocabulary isn't age appropriate. As in, it's below grade level. MY KID, y'all! Anyone who's ever met him knows how absolutely ridiculous and fictitious this assertion is. I mean, this kid was saying things such as "I am not available to you" when he was less than 2. He has a more expansive vocabulary today than many adults I know. My child, went through a rhyming phase when he was 2, where, really, he seemed to talk in rhymes all day long. She is claiming that his ability to rhyme is "an area of concern". These are only two examples. Nearly everything on that darn report card was marked as an "area of concern". I can barely contain my rage.

At the appointment with the pediatrician last week, the pediatrician agreed with me that something needs to happen. While she would have preferred that we just demand he be moved to a different class, I wanted to do everything we could to prevent that, to minimize any further disruption. Thus the 504 plan. I'd put off calling the counselor as I'd planned because I started reconsidering, thinking perhaps I was overreacting. As I've mentioned before, I don't want to be one of those parents.

Well, eff it. I'm over it and will be calling the counselor to set up a meeting first thing today. I am tired of this teacher and her shananigans. I am tired of her telling me that my child doesn't know squat. I'm tired of her making him feel inadequate. I am tired of him coming home, sad-faced, unable to tell me anything good about his day. I'm over it and I am OVER this woman. Things will get better. They will. My baby will love school again. He will come come bubbling with excitement about what he learned, or what he did that day. He will smile when talking about school. He will laugh and smile all the time again. He will walk around lighter, not like the weight of the world is on his little shoulders. He will feel successful and confident once again. Whether or not that woman is there to see it.

Today's lesson - beware of pissing off  the momma bear. That is all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just UGH!

Things have been rough around here. Baby E still isn't sleeping (big ole shocker there). I've been sick for, like, forever (really, this is week 3 of this crud, which I think actually is the big, nasty flu 'cause I thought I was going to die for awhile, or at least I wanted to). The time change is causing big problems in the kid's sleep (as in he's been getting up at 5am or earlier, for a couple of weeks now which is - most assuredly - pure awesomeness for his behavior, or the antithesis there of, one of those two). Baby E is into EVERYTHING (garbage, toilet, cabinets, drawers, etc...) and is driving me somewhat mad. Hubby and I have been particularly crabby with each other of late (can't imagine why, but it sure doesn't help with any of the rest of it all). Work is just...grrrrr. The kid's 1st report card came home today and things are not good, y'all (I completely hate that teacher - update on that whole mess to come in the next couple of days, hopefully, if I can get my shit together again long enough to write a blog post that is). And I'm just flippin' exhausted, like all the time. Ah, yes, and to top off this lovely mess with a fun little cherry, I think I'm pms-ing, in a ferociously bad (like worse than I've had since before I started the whole inducing lactation protocol more than 2 years ago) kind of way.

Doesn't that make you wanna come on over to my house? I thought as much. But there's cleaning - dusting in particular - to be done! I thought that might convince you.

Whine session over.

Today's lesson - sometimes things just suck. Sometimes it's really hard to remember that tomorrow (or the tomorrow after tomorrow, or the one after that) will be better. Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in the suckiness. And then something small happens, to remind you in some itty bitty way, that - really - the better is coming. If you can just hold on long enough for it to arrive.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Several people have commented how much my boys enjoy each other. And, truth be told, they do. Like all the time. It is awesome. The kid loves to entertain baby E. And baby E loves to follow him around, showering him with gooey kisses. Which the kid loves. Baby E is like a built in audience for the kid. And the kid is nearly always entertaining for baby E. They're a perfect match. And I am so incredibly blessed by that.

But their relationship has started to make me think about my own with my brother. (What? You didn't know I have a brother? Well, I do. A younger one. He lives far away.)

My brother and I have never been what I'd consider close. We're very different. Our career choices kind of do the best job of explaining it. I am a social worker, a therapist. He's an engineer, a computer one. See what I mean? I'm people. He's math and science and I don't even know what because that's not how my brain works. I figure out behavior and relationships. He figures out scientific computer stuff.

He and I have always been on different planes. Occasionally we cross, and those are (as adults at least) positive interactions, but - truth be told - we just have very little in common. And it's not that either of us made that decision consciously, it's just kind of how it is. How it has always been. Really, the gulf seems to have gotten bigger since our kids were born (he has 2 also). I don't know why that is, but it is.

And then my MIL died. My brother drove more than 13hrs by himself in one day to be at her funeral with me. I absolutely didn't expect him to do that (seriously, that's a lot of driving for 1 person in a day). Also, like I said, we're not really close. And that, I think, is why I was so deeply, profoundly touched by his being there. We had many friends who came to support us that day, many of whom we were surprised to see. But, hands down, having my brother there meant the most. That he would make that effort...that he would know that I needed him...that he would simply come and be there made the biggest difference for me that awful day.

It's funny - I thanked him, but I couldn't find the words to really tell him how much I appreciated his simply being there. It meant the world to me, truly it did. And it reminded me of something. Siblings have such a unique relationship. They share so much: DNA, history, parents, family, holidays. They often fight like no others. Yet they tend to stick up for each other, too. They understand each other's experiences in a way no one else can. So much the same, and yet it can sometimes be such a difficult relationship. And yet, there it is. One of those relationships that once it exists, will always be there.

And there is such value in knowing that some one else, no matter how distant, will always be on your side, have your back. So thank you, dear brother, for having my back when I most desperately needed it, even if I couldn't articulate to you how much I needed it, or how much it meant to me. And may I be able to instill that loyalty and love into my children so that they, too, will always be there in that way for each other.

Today's lesson - the sibling dyad is such an interesting one. Siblings know each other - and their parents - in a way no one else does, or ever will. They have similar, yet different experiences, but nonetheless ones no one else can really ever understand. The sibling relationship is a permanent relationship, one of the few in our lives. It can be difficult at times. It can also be a blessing. Sometimes when we least expect it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A brief Bailey update

Several of you have asked about how Bailey is doing. She had her first round of Chemo and got to go home. Unfortunately, she quickly ended up back at the hospital because she got some kind of infection (because of the chemo she's extremely susceptible to infection). Last I heard (Monday), that's where she remains. She's tired and cranky, and not the happy, sweet child her parents have known until now. Of course they are simply happy that she is alive and with them. They are emotionally and physically exhausted. Please, please continue to keep Bailey and her parents in your thoughts and prayers. Asking this of you is, I feel, the only thing I can do for beautiful Bailey and her family.

Today's lesson - sometimes in life we feel so unsure of what to do. Those are probably times when there simply is nothing tangible that we can do. Those are probably the times we should pray, think supportive thoughts, send good mojo, simply release positive intentions out into the universe. Because sometimes that is the only thing to do. Sometimes that is the thing to do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another breastfeeding benefit, maybe?

So, I was conversing with another amazing momma who donated milk for baby E a few weeks ago and something she said has led me to an interesting thought. She was asking how long we're planning on nursing (in a conversational, not judgemental kind of way) and then said she thinks she'll either nurse this baby (her 3rd) forever, or have to keep having babies. Because the oxytocin high is too addictive to give up. She described how she is transported into this blissful state of happiness and not caring what else is going on. It was like talking to an addict, y'all (but not in a bad way).

And that got me thinking. Well, truth be told, first I got all jealous and IF-y and started being pissed off that my body can't do yet another thing the "right" way. And not only can I not get pregnant, or produce enough milk to really feed my baby, but apparently my body can't even make itself feel all high and blissful and crap. UGH!

But then, once I pulled myself together, I started thinking that maybe it actually is doing something pretty cool here. Because here's the thing...people ask me all the time how I function on so little sleep. Really, y'all it really is in about 2hr increments all. night. long. I often get somewhere along the lines of about 4-5 hours of sleep/night, total, and -again - in about 1.5-2hr increments. That's half the amount of sleep I used to get nightly, which was of course all in a row. I usually just shrug this off with a "well, you get used to it and just do what you have to do".  But, hubby hasn't gotten used to it (uh, at all, even though he tries, it's usually just easier and faster - and quieter - for me to deal with E). In truth, hubby's tolerance for being up at night is going downhill fast.

Oh yeah, here's the other thing that - for me at least - gives some credence to this hypothesis. In the last month-ish, baby E has been nursing less frequently. And my tolerance level for both boys' difficult behaviors (baby E being up so frequently at night, and the kid not listening/following directions) has gone down. And the amount of sleep I'm getting is the same (not less). So, I think this could mean there's some correlation there.

SO, what if actually the oxytocin is what's helped me not lose it and kill one of my children - or, to be a little less dramatic, just not lose it and yell at baby E at night, or the kid during the day? What if the oxytocin from nursing baby E is actually filling me with some of those calming hormones, to a lesser degree than that milk momma was talking about? What if my body is doing something right? Wouldn't that be awesome! I mean, it seems a long shot, my body doing something right, but I think I'm gonna go with it. Mostly because I need something to go right about now.

Count that as reason one hundred and thirty-five why nursing rocks. Or yet more proof that the benefits of nursing are about much more than just the (albeit numerous) benefits of breastmilk. Or that nursing is also really good for mommas. Yeah, maybe I'll continue nursing baby E forever, too. Or (have to convince hubby to) keep adding more babies to our family.

Today's lesson - babies and mommas are made to nurse. There are benefits of this relationship that science and even mommas have yet to uncover.  Also, sometimes our bodies actually come through and don't fail us even when that's what we expect them to do. Oh, yeah. And mommas rock!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Parent-Teacher Conference

So, I think I've finally calmed down enough to write about this in a reasonable and rational way. Well, at least enough to write about it. You can be the judge about the reasonable and rational part. (That, and I have access to a computer for the moment - our laptop is with a friend, hopefully being brought back to life).

So, here's what happened. We had a 20 minute time slot. And got started 5 minutes late. Mrs L was in with another set of parents before us and they ran over for whatever reason. No big deal other than we were now down to 15 minutes. So, she started off by asking us if we had any concerns (uh, yeah, Duh). So I told her we were concerned about the continued behavior issues. She totally blew me off by saying, "well, we need to focus on the progress, even though that is an ongoing problem". I was like, "wait, didn't you just start this off by asking if we had any concerns?!". So, I was irritated already.

And then she went over this sheet thing, focusing primarily on academic areas, which is great. Except it wasn't. Because in almost every area on that paper, she said "an area of concern". With the exception of getting along with other children, which she kind of rolled her eyes about and said something to the effect of "of course he does just fine there". Respect = area of concern. Following directions = area of concern. Handwriting = area of concern. And it went on and on and on.

So we've known that the kid doesn't like to write. Fine motor skills have always (since he was an infant) been the area with which he most struggles. He never chose to do it at Montessori, and though he was encouraged, he wasn't made. So he didn't. Same goes for reading (re: his desire to do it). I think the two are related (not wanting to write --> not wanting to work on reading either) and really, I'm paying attention to this because the idea that we could be dealing with some dyslexia or another learning issue is in the back of my mind. But, of course Mrs L had completely dismissed this concern previously so I didn't bring it up again.

All of the other areas of concern, though, they all boiled down to one kid likes to talk. All the time. Who here is surprised about that?! He talks in the hall. He talks in the classroom. He talks in the cafeteria. He talks all. the. time. And it quite obviously pisses Mrs L off.

So, let me have you guess what she wouldn't talk get 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count. That's right. She wouldn't discuss his behavior. Granted, we'd run out of time, but still. You'd think, with as much grief as she's been giving my kiddo and all those "area of concern"'s, that'd be the first thing she'd want to talk about. (It sure was with me and hubby!) But apparently not.

So, I handed her several resources about red dye (which she'd previously requested), and she - wait for it - rolled her eyes at me. And then said, "oh, look. You brought ME homework. How exciting?!". I mean, not even I could have layered on any more sarcasm. I explained that I'd brought her research from peer reviewed journals, an NPR story, and something from a teacher resource website. She said, "I just can't wait to spend my weekend reading this". I had to sit on my hands so they wouldn't be clenched in fists. Y'all, I was pissed.

So, what's happened since then. Nothin' good. First, we found out she's been having him write sentences as punishment for talking. Hands raised for who thinks this is ridiculously stupid? Here's what makes it even worse. She's taking away part of his recess to do so. And there's a policy in our district that specifically forbids taking away recess from a student as punishment. And, as previously mentioned, he already isn't a fan of writing. So WHY would one make that a punishment???!!!!!!  Hubby sent her a really well worded email the beginning of last week, giving her a few suggestions of what might be more effective (take away the social aspect of recess as it's the socialization that's getting him in trouble). Guess what she said? Absolutely. NOTHING.

So, what's next? Tomorrow we ask for another parent-teacher conference, 'cause the first one was so much flippin' fun. Then we go to the principal. I hate to become "those parents", but I don't know what else to do.

Well, actually, we do have one more plan. I have an appointment with the kid's pediatrician on Friday to discuss the possibility of getting a 504 plan. Without getting into technical details, a 504 plan is like an IEP (i.e. special education services) lite. It's relatively easy to get and still sets out specific accommodations the school has to provide. We're hoping to get it based on the red dye thing, but if not, I'm prepared to advocate for a Adjustment Disorder diagnosis because heaven knows my poor baby fits the criteria right now (thankyouverymuch, MrsL).

Yeah. So that's where we stand right now. Things still sucking for my kiddo. And me still pissed. On an up note, hubby is now also pissed. Took the taking away recess thing to do it, but I think it's good that we're both in the same place and can now advocate for our baby with a more unified opinion and front. Here's hoping it works. Because, really, if none of these things do, I really don't know what to do next.

Today's lesson - sometimes intuition can be mistaken as forseeing the future.  Sometimes we do know what will happen. It doesn't seem to help in the prevention of the thing, though. Sometimes, even as much as you prepare, and try to figure out how to keep the thing from happening, it still does. And it's damn frustrating.