Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quest on Hold

There has been far too much seriousness in the last few posts...So without further ado I thought I would look for the source of delight in my home. The children!

Teen and the bed saga: Teen has had a daybed. She also possesses ample floor space. Yet, inevitably when I would peek into the room (after repeatedly commanding they "go to sleep now") there would be 2-4 girls vying for space in the room allotted by the twin bed. Teen herself would often opt for the floor - of her closet. (Yes, this is strange, she claims the mountain of stuffed friends that make-up the floor space are very comfy.) With all of the giggling, bouncing, and literally leaping onto said daybed, I should not have been surprised - but alas, silly me, I was. One eve. Dad responded to cries of "DAD! There's a problem.." To find that they had actually broken the bed! I know, I know, we always tell them they will break their beds if they jump on them - but come on did you really believe that?? Well it happened - the entire frame bent in half. Now she is sporting a queen, more elbow room!

Emergency or Not? This is a new game we will be playing regularly in my house. After being woken from my treasured Sunday afternoon nap not once but 3 times, understanding these concepts has reached critical importance.

ER: The cat / dog / or house is on fire.
Non-er: There is a fire in the book you are reading

ER: Someone is in incredible pain.
Non-er: You are feeling hunger pains and want to know if you can eat a third muffin.

ER: Strangers have come and abducted your sibling.
Non-er: Your sibling took your spot on the couch/computer/video game

ER: Water is flooding the bathroom.
Non-er: You want to play with the hose in the back yard.

ER: There is a tornado baring down on the house.
Non-er: It started raining.

ER: There are home invaders coming down the street.
Non-er: You want your friend to come over.

As you can see, we have many hours of game enjoyment ahead of us! And, yes I have been woken for these non-er issues more than once. It is great that they want my input, but jeez! Can't a girl get a little rest?

Monday, April 27, 2009


For those of you who actually read this, I am sorry I have been away. Life has been a bit crazy... company - we had a wonderful visit from the matriarch of Hubby's family, a wonderful and kind person who is my role model for how I would like to be when I am older; confirmation - yes she wore a skirt & even read in the mass, a lovely evening; we had (still have)car problems - yuck! We had blah blah blah - life has just been crazy - primarily in good ways, so I am not complaining.

Writing about our quest to find Son's illness and cure is difficult. It was/is a long journey with many lows and highs along the way. When Son reached kindergarten, which is all day here, he began to receive frowny faces on his daily charts. This was not a total shock, here I mention what a talker he has always been. But, I decided to be proactive, make an appt. with the teacher and get to the bottom of the issue. She was nice, and we began a relationship - err I guess. As my sister pointed out I was showing that we were involved more than looking for an answer, as the problem was a fairly typical kindergarten issue - chatty.

Eventually, Son was placed on a special daily report sheet and by Christmas he was not at a table with other students, but sitting in a desk alone. What offense had caused Son to be separated from the pack? Well: he answered without raising his hand, he played with his pencil and scissors during instruction, he rocked in the chairs. At one conference she actually brought 2 of his pencils that he had chewed beyond all recognition - she was very upset, I thought it was funny. Son reported that he had to do those things because, "all she does is talk talk talk."

I was agreeable and polite.

First grade: More of the same. All the teachers and staff agreed he was a "very sweet and smart boy." But, he continued to be separated from the pack. You know the kid who has his name said every 15 minutes or so. The one that you don't want to be caught playing with, or the teacher might see that you're not perfect too. This was the year he began to be sick - a lot. Headaches, stomach aches, anything nonspecific that would possibly keep him home. He actually threw-up at parent drop-off. More meetings, more of the same. He is up and down. We don't think he is ADHD, but there are issues every day. What issues? talking, yelling out the answers, off task during teaching, finishing his work (too fast) and going under the table, pulling on his clothes, rocking in his chair....

I was agreeable and polite.

This was the year, I thought "boo-hoo. I teach middle schoolers who call out the answers, don't sit still and tune out lessons - BIG DEAL!" But, he was miserable daily - so: I asked for an evaluation for hypersensitivity disorder by an OT. After all this was a child who would scream as if you were pulling out his finger nails when you were trimming them. A child that had pre-k teachers that asked me to buy Velcro shoes, because he would need his laces fixed (and perfect) 15 times a day, who than fixed his socks incessantly. It fit, but no go - post evaluation, he showed definite markers, but not enough to treat.

Second grade: ENOUGH I thought. we are not spending another year in misery...(yeah right)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Search Begins

As my second pregnancy began, I spent many hours caring for 2 of my nephews. They were energetic, to say the least. I spent so much time with them, that I began to panic that I would have a son - a possibility that had previously been delightful. The thought of a boy, something so foreign growing inside of me sent shivers of wonder and fear down my spine. I spent hours fretting over my ability to care for a boy child, thinking the entire time there surely must be something wrong with me.

At some point in these 9 months (which are really 10, but whatever), weaselmomma reassured me that boys, while being vastly different, filled a mother's heart in a completely different way than girls. While eying her suspiciously, I nodded my understanding, was sure I would be the worst mother imaginable to a boy, and began fervently praying for a girl. Of course, as evidenced by my middle child, I have a son. And I have spent innumerable hours wondering if I am good enough.

See, in the irony of the universe, I did not have a normal son, or even the kinetic ball of energy I was dreading. I have Boy. From birth, he craved movement. Rocking and rolling at all hours of the day and night. As an infant I watched as his eyes grew puffy and his nose ran, insisting to the chicagoland doctor that he had allergies - which she poo-poo'd. Only to bring said infant to the ER unable to breathe 3 days later. As he suffered (w/our trusted sunnyland dr.) through illness after illness, nebulizers, CT scans, and 2 surgeries before the age of 3, Hubby and I watched, cared for, and prayed. But, even through all of this, he has always been happy.

So, when daycare and pre-k gave way to kindergarten, it was with alarm that I watched my joyful son turn into a melancholy, moody child. At his worst, he would lock himself in the pantry and cry out that he wished he would die. More often than not he would withdraw into himself and hide under the covers, the bed, or behind the cushions on the couch. How could this delightful child morph into this depressed boy? It must be my fault. I had surely done something wrong - he heard me in the womb and knew I wasn't good enough. Sounds crazy, I know, but tell that to yourself at 2 in the morning when the monsters are scratching at the spaces in your mind.

I had long since come to see the wisdom of weaselmomma's words, having at this point experienced years of the bond she had described between mother and son. I was determined to treat this as we had all of Boy's medical illnesses, when no one knew what the causes were, only that there was a cause. This proved to be the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship with Boy. The Questing Years.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grandma Steps In

We recently spent 4 marvelous days hidden in the forest. It was not an episode of survivor, it was merely a "moms' camping trip." Suffering from pre-cabin fever, my sister called a few weeks ago to fret over what we would be doing with the kids home for a week. (I don't fret - throw them a bag of doritos, turn on the wii, don the earplugs, & we're all good to go) I agreed that it being break, we should be entertaining - more than usual I mean. The weather being that of sunnyland, a camping trip was in order.

With the dads having to work, being near home was important (for those drop-in visits dads like). A lovely state park near home was the perfect solution. We have camped here a few times, and being there this time a memory forcibly struck. So, of course I thought I would share it with you!

My hubby and I were adamant that the time had come to take our daughter camping. She was one. We reasoned that she is flexible and would adore sleeping in the tent. We headed out, prepared to spend 2 nights nurturing our daughter in the ways of the great outdoors. She was great, we arrived, set-up the tent. The fire was blazing, we had eaten and the stars were shining. It was a perfect evening, our nature-loving child was exploring bugs, earth, rocks and all the other wonders. Then came time to put pumpkin to bed. I brought her into the tent, which was a thrilling novelty, until it was time to lie down. Then the lovely nature child morphed.

It began with restless tossing and turning, simply refusing to settle. This escalated into the high pitched whine that only the very young can acomplish. Being the flexible, fast on our feet parents we were, we opted to drive her around the park. I drove and drove, at 10mph, for 20 minutes. She was out. Quickly and with much stealth hubby lifted her to place the slumbering dove into her nest. Where upon she instantly opened her eyes and began to cry. We allowed her to wander out on her own, watching as she paced from us to the car, moaning "home go home now".

After 15 minutes of this, (that while incredibly comical, could be disturbing our neighbors) we put the little dove into the car and brought her to Grandma's. Grandma, being the trooper she is, took the infant, placed her in her playpen and sent us back to the woods saying, "She knows, the woods are fine to visit - but sleeping is for a hotel!"

Happily she outgrew that diva stuff, as evidenced by the photo above. But, that is a story for another day.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It Should be Humor

It was fitting that this week held April Fool's Day, as I felt like the fool all week. The universe has been playing some twisted jokes.

First, I discovered, quite happily, that another teacher chose to surplus himself, and that I would keep my position at my school. This news came just as I had internalized the move to a new school as an adventure. Not that I am complaining, I am thrilled. But this feeling is tempered by the fact that I can, and probably will, be bumped by another teacher with more seniority come May. Here I wait in the land of indecision.

The second joke happened to fall on the day of fools itself. After leaving my incapacitated van in an anonymous lot on the way to school, my coworker came in to congratulate me on my parking spot. She knew that my van was waiting for a tow (being partly responsible for getting me to work early that day) so I was waiting for the punch line. She informed me that I had made employee of the month, earning myself the premier parking spot. I checked, it was true. Now don't go getting all proud of me - my school doesn't put much stock in employee of the month (because we are all so wonderful), it is picked randomly from a hat!! I'm serious!

As if events of the week hadn't been enough, Weds. proved to be exhausting as well. When all the children were quietly tucked into their rooms, hubby was doing a routine computer check. It was quickly discovered that teen had allowed a friend to post unsavory pics of herself from our computer to her myspace earlier that day. Of course the girls thought there was nothing wrong with these pics when they posted them - this was quickly remedied after much yelling and the loss of all teen's privileges until further notice. This occurred after the middle schools focused on internet safety for spring break prep, and I taught safety lessons THAT VERY MORNING!

Latest news from the mechanic is that he is looking at the bluebook value of the van (not a good sign), and boy said to me "I told you we needed a new van months ago," all exasperated.

Well, when I can't find the humor - at least I can see the irony!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Wind & Weather

I live in a subtropical climate, and I spent much of my youth in the "Land of Lakes." These events may have shaped me, or I may just have an unnatural fear. I hate the desert. That being said, I have never actually been to a desert. The idea alone causes shivers to creep along my spine. I have friends from such dry places as Arizona and New Mexico. These people will rave to me about the majestic, untamed wilderness, and I shudder. The thought of not living near a water source is terrifying - winds blowing sand at you all the time, no thanks. Looking across a wilderness without leafy green vegetation is just not for me. Having considered the desert often, with trepidation, I thought it would be the parched landscape that would drive me insane. Last weekend I learned, it would probably be the wind.

Being raised in "the windy city" (which refers to politicians more that weather), and having lived through numerous tropical storms and low-level hurricanes, I never considered the wind a problem (at least wind that doesn't require storing water, boarding windows, & a safe room). Until I spent a few hours in the pasture. Teen was volunteering for a child abuse awareness event (as a face painter), we arrived bright eyed etc. at a field remade into a child's haven of bounce houses and crafts. The wind, which ad been blowing for 2 days straight, was whistling by as we set her & friend up in their tent. It was proving a nuisance, but nothing more.

Until youngest and I spent over 2 hours walking, playing, talking, and trying to complete crafts, I had never really understood the references to the "Santa Ana's". While making a Lowes project together, I had hammers set on the directions, a pouch of nails under my leg and was trying my best not to lose parts as the nailing progressed. The parents across from us lost their nails 2x's, and seeing their tempers grow short was a reminder to me to hold tight to my nails! I wondered if they arrived grumpy, but honestly believe it was the wind - blowing their patience to its breaking point. The constant feel of dry air, was nerve racking. Now, before you go thinking I am melodrama personified, let me mention that not 1 but 2 port-a-pottys were blown to their sides. YUCK!

I spent the day wishing fervently for rain. The sky stubbornly remained an unblemished blue. Until Saturday night. The rain began. I confess, I had to temper my feelings to rush into the early morning for a chance to feel the moisture. I did sit on the porch and watch with thankful eyes as the rain drenched the world around me. The subsequent rainy day proved to be a refreshing reminder that I will face a hurricane over a desert any day.
(and the dust-bowl, forget it - I would have run screaming)