Welcome to My Corner of the World

I hope you find humor, inspiration and something worthwhile on this blog. I plan to be as candid as possible. Life is hard. I know, I've overcome a lot (and still have a way to go).
It doesn't help others if the rough things are glossed over.

I will no doubt fill this blog with stories of my achievements as a mom as well as my personal struggles.

I have an incredible husband whom I call "my sanity." I have two great kids with strong personalities. I struggle with anxiety and depression and I have had a colorful childhood.

I also have an addiction to Gilmore Girls, A&W Cream Soda, and Starbucks peppermint mocha.
I have recently added biking to my list of hobbies and also love to read, knit, and play tennis.

Welcome to my little corner of the world!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stop and Think

  The other day the Hubby and I took some time to go shopping.  I was in desperate need of good dress boots, a coat, and tennis shoes, so off we went.

  As I was trying on shoes, I realized how hard I can be on A when she's picking out shoes.  Basically I'm impatient.  It drives me crazy when she finds a pair she likes, we walk to the check out line, and then she changes her mind.  Or, better yet, when we buy shoes (probably because I've rushed her), get them home, and after a few days she refuses to wear them Ever Again.

  I was ruling out a pair of boots because my heel slid up a bit in the back when I walked--when I realized grown ups can be as picky as they want to be about shoes.

  I had just ruled out 3 pairs of boots because I didn't like the way the heel looked, one pair of boots because the toe slid too much on the floor when I walked, and a pair of tennis shoes because they were too light weight.

  Kids, however, are expected to either pick something quickly, or be happy with what we bring home to them.

  If we (I can't be the only parent out there who does this...Right?) spend more than 30 minutes in a shoe store we start pulling tricks out of our bag to hurry the process along.  Really playing up a pair *I* like--check.  Bribing her with the pink sparkles on another pair--yep, done that, too.  Pointing out how incredibly soft the inside of another pair is--guilty.  If she brings a new pair into the decision making process, it's all I can do to keep steam from coming out of my ears.

  And yet here I was ruling out one pair of shoes after another.  Trying on shoe after shoe after shoe.  My patient husband re-shelving one shoe box after another--all without complaining.

  Suffering from SPD, myself, I'm reminded from time to time how unsettling certain things can be--especially to a kid who's trying to navigate the world around her.  Clothes are an issue, too?  Goodness!  I'm sure I've said this before, but if there's something I can do to make life a bit easier for A, then I'm game to give it a try.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Clean Up, Everyone do His Share!

  I've been doing loads of self reflection lately and have been learning so much about myself!

  For instance:  I'm naturally a lazy person.  In my free time, I like to just sit, or watch TV, or read a book, or peruse Pinterest, or sleep...
  On one hand, that's ok.  That's how I unwind and relax.  On the other, it's not ok when I'm unable to stop doing nothing, be a grown up, and force myself to do un-fun stuff like sweeping, and laundry, and purging junk.
  That's where my childhood didn't lend me any favors.  I learned early on that if I yelled loud enough, I wore Mom down and I didn't have to clean my room.
  The laws of assumption (I'm sure that's a philosophy...) told me that it wasn't necessary for me to see my bedroom floor for me to know it was there.  It was a floor--they don't move (besides, all the toys would have fallen into a gaping hole if the floor ever did go somewhere...).

  And guess what those precious 10 years of not being forced to pick up after myself taught me?  That it's Much harder to learn those life skills as an adult than as a child.
  It would have been so much nicer for me to develop these good habits as a kid than to have to force myself to do it while I nag my kids to pick up after themselves.

    So, as much as I'd love to avoid my kids' dramatics (sometimes complete with sobbing, hysterics, yelling, and pouting on their beds) when I tell them to put their shoes away, take care of their laundry, carry their dishes to the kitchen, etc, I know they will thank me in 20 years.
  Well, they'd thank me if they knew how hard the other side of the coin is.  Luckily for them, I know how hard it is, and I shall save them the frustration in learning the hard way.

  There will always be something else we'd rather be doing when it comes to chores and work and such.  Self discipline is so very important for our kids.

  I have to chuckle when Bug whines about picking up toys he didn't play with and says something like "I didn't play with it, why do I have to pick it up?!"--I find myself thinking something along the lines of, "hey buddy, I didn't play with those toys and I don't want to pick them up either."
  But they have to get picked up, and even though sometimes it'd be so much easier (ok, quieter) if I'd just skip the 5 minute whine fest and say "you go play, I'll get it," or worse yet, "never mind," and just leave the mess (not to say that Never happens--I'm not perfect), that's not teaching him any kind of responsibility.

  I totally get that as adults they may choose to keep their house a bit messier or more cluttered than what I taught them, and that's ok.  At least I can be confident in knowing they have the Skills to reduce the mess and clutter if they so chose.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's Mine is, Most Certainly, N-O-T His

  Tonight I walked to the sink to get the kids's toothbrushes ready.
  I grabbed a tube of toothpaste and got A's ready.  Then, naturally, I did the same for Bug.
  I was aware that I was taking a Huge risk.  But I chose to live life on the edge.

  You see, earlier in the week Bug's preschool class took a field trip to a dentist's office and the kids got goody bags.  There were extras, so A got one, too.
  They were identical: toothbrush, tiny toothpaste, flossy-stick things, a sand timer.  The only difference: A's toothbrush is purple, Bug's is blue.

  Last night I used each child's tube of toothpaste individually for her/his toothbrush.

  My cardinal sin tonight?  Using A's toothpaste for Both brushes (and, yes, I labeled both tubes of toothpaste and both timers so we Know whose is whose).

  [insert terrified gasp here]

   She wasn't in the room.  It was easier.  I caved to laziness.

  Annnnnd as she was brushing her teeth, she asked if I used Her toothpaste on Bug's brush.

  I took a deep breath before I answered.  Do I lie or tell the truth and face her wrath? [if you think this is a bit dramatic, keep reading to her Her side...]

  I chose to tell the truth.

  A immediately stomped her foot, balled her hands into fists, and shouted (as best she could with a mouth full of toothpaste), "How Could You Do That?!"  Followed by a few more rounds of disgusted "How Could You?"

  I answered honestly: it was easier for me to use one tube of toothpaste (ok, I *may* have mentioned something about being a horrible mother who enjoys making her kids suffer by using The Same tube of toothpaste--complete with dramatic flair--before giving my honest answer...)

  Then I decided to turn this into a great lesson.  I went on to explain that I could have lied to her.  It would have made things Much easier for me.  I wouldn't have had to see her grumpy face, or listen to her angry shouts.  However, knowing all of that, I chose to tell the truth, because that's what mommies and daddies do.  We tell the truth.  We don't lie to our kids.

  She frowned, and went to spit in the sink.

  End of story.

  *Sigh of relief*

Friday, February 13, 2015

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

  The one thing about SPD and childhood anxiety that I can count on is that just when I feel like things are settling down and we've found a good routine, something changes.

  Take Tuesday for instance.  A woke up and was just plain Angry.  Her fists were clenched at her sides, she had a huge frown on her face, she yelled at everyone about everything, she argued about nothing, and I couldn't make her happy.  Later she told me she was angry and didn't know why.

  I called her counselor to see if we could get her in this week.  We made an  appointment for the next day.  By Tuesday afternoon, she was doing better.

  Wednesday morning we woke up and things were back to normal.  Which worked well, because her appointment ended up getting canceled.

  Then there was yesterday morning.  She was back to being angry.

  She was arguing and frustrated and just plain, Angry.  I ended up carrying her (yes, she's 8) from the kitchen table to her room so she could settle down.

  She was quiet for a while and I had to make the tough decision to either go in to check on her or wait until she came out.  We had places to be but I knew *bothering* her could be dangerous.

  I decided to go in.  She was curled up in her sleeping bag, which was on the floor, and partially under her bed.

  My heart sank.

  I knew she was miserable.

  It was back to the drawing board.  I called the counselor's office and made sure we got things taken care of so we could get her in and got an appointment for the next day.  I called her psychiatrist to see if we could get her in earlier (and we did...a whole week!) and I started brainstorming.

  Her SPD has been getting more intense...her chairs don't stay on 4 legs (they're rarely even on 2), she's constantly spinning while she walks, jumping up and down while she watches TV, the amount of clothes she can wear is dwindling (not because she's outgrowing them, but because they itch/hurt/tickle/etc), and she is becoming very rigid in her need to keep to routine/structure.

  I have noticed a few patterns to her behaviors and it looks like we may need to make some changes to our home school calendar.  It also looks like her meds may need to be tweaked.

  Whew.  At least I feel like we're catching it close to the beginning, instead of being sidelined for a month before realizing there's something more to her behavior than being tired/sick/etc.

  I suppose I *am* getting better at this.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

She's so Fancy. We already know.

  Anyone who knows A knows that she Loves all things fancy and frilly.  Those people have also begun to learn that A loves the glittery, sparkly, lacy things from a distance.

  On the surface A is the kid one could buy all the cutesy, girly things for.  The inside, however, is another story.
  You see, A loves the idea of being fancy.  She loves clip-on earrings, high heels, hair accessories, and clothes.  The unfortunate thing is that despite how much she loves all that glitters, she just can't handle wearing it.

  Her hair is always in a ponytail because she's uncomfortable with her hair done any other way (including a low ponytail)--not because I'm a lazy mom who couldn't care less about appearances.

  Her hair has little fly-aways because of her beautiful natural curl, but she doesn't wear clippies.  She has a drawer full of colorful hair bows and cute clips, but she doesn't wear them.  Not because they've been forgotten, but because clippies pull and dig into her scalp and hair bows can be itchy, heavy, and get caught in her hair.

  Her closet is full of pretty dresses and cute sweaters, but she always picks the home-made skirts and shirts (sometimes--ok, fine, frequently--the shirts don't match because I have a hard time keeping up with the laundry she deems acceptable to wear).

  She wears socks that are yanked clear up to her knees because she finally found a brand and style she can handle (but knee socks don't come in cute, frilly, lacy styles)--not because they're the current fashion trend.

  She has a 100 pairs of shoes that she loves, but just can't physically wear.  She wears snow boots in the summer and sandals with socks in the fall (she'd wear those year-round, too, but I stopped allowing that a year or so ago).

  She loves to go clothes shopping, but rarely wears anything that is bought brand new.  She likes the feel of things that have already been washed and worn.  Including shoes.  *If* we do get her new shoes (I can't remember the last time we bought her new shoes...all the ones she currently has are either hand-me-downs or consignment/yard sale buys), we buy them a size too big because she can't stand them the slightest bit snug.

  Her eyes light up when she sees shirts with sequins, dresses with some of that can-can material, even dress-up costumes with glitter and sheer sleeves.  But shortly after putting it on, she's frantically tugging it off because it hurts.  There's either a seam, tag, or thread that tickles/pokes/hurts/itches/irritates.

  She loves fancy bedding, but despite the fact that she has some nice sheets, her mattress is currently bare.  Some sheets are too cold, certain blankets aren't soft enough, and the list goes on.

  The silver lining?  She's learning what she likes, what she can handle, why she can't stand some things, and she's developing her own style.

  Perhaps I will design clothes for kiddos like her--tag less, uber soft, affordable, but super cute, girly and fancy....

Cinderella and Her Shoes....*sigh*

  Saturday was my grocery shopping day.  We were also going to a basketball game for the local team.  It just so happened that The Hubby, Bug, and I all had a shirt/hat/jacket/scarf with the team's logo.  A, however, had outgrown her only team t-shirt over the summer, so I thought that on our way into town we could stop at a consignment shop to look for something for her to wear.

  On the way in I told the kids my plans.  I explained to Bug that since he already had lots of team stuff, we weren't looking for things for him and probably wouldn't buy him anything.

  His response: a very calm, "mmm hmm, yes ma'am."

  I was elated.  No fit.  No whining. I didn't feel like beating my head on the steering wheel.  I spent the next 10 minutes of the drive reveling  in the joyful atmosphere.

  We got to the consignment shop, found A something she could wear (I have recently found a new appreciation for dressing rooms--I love them!  It's so nice for A to be able to try something on and decide then and there whether she hates it and can't wear it because of her SPD) and the entire 30 minutes, Bug was quiet and patient (a great feat for a 5-year-old boy who doesn't love shopping).

  As we headed to check out a sweet voice piped up, "Mommy, can I get something?" It was Bug.  *No!  I shall stick to my guns* I thought.

  "No buddy, remember, you don't need anything," I reminded him.  Then I remembered he did need something.  He was in desperate need of tennis shoes.  His current shoes were so worn through, I could actually stick my finger through the toes.

  I told the kids my plan.  And immediately I was sorry.  So, very sorry.

  "WHAT?!  YOU'RE BUYING HIM SHOES?!," A not-so-calmly yelled (as she stands there with her hair in a messy ponytail--yay for natural curls-- in a khaki skirt, t-shirt, and pink/black snow boots on a 70* day...).

  My shoulders drooped immediately and I mentally kicked myself in the rear (repeatedly).  Why couldn't I have remembered he needed shoes earlier so I could have prepared them before we left?  Why?  Why can't I be perfect?

  See, A is my gift/possession obsessed kid.  That, combined with the fact that she just pushed herself to the limit sensory-wise by trying on clothes and enduring weird fabrics/smells/tags and the fact that she hadn't had her Celexa (anxiety med) before we left (she usually takes it with breakfast, and while I'm not sure that that made a difference in her response, but it certainly didn't help) and the fact that she is shoe obsessed made for a miserable 20 minutes.

  She tensed, crossed her arms, scowled at me and proceeded to tell me in a not-so-calm way that she Loves shoes and that it wasn't fair that I was buying Bug shoes and not her.

  Judging by this reaction, one might think I'm the kind of parent who gives her kids any and everything they ask for.  I don't.  I have never been that parent.  A is 8.  Eight.  We have been having the following conversation for years now.  Just because one kid genuinely needs something doesn't mean the other automatically gets the same thing  That being fair is not equality.  That fair is getting what one needs.

  I reminded her that she has So Many shoes they don't all fit in her shoe drawer (I left out the fact that of the 15 pairs she has, she can only actually wear about 5 thanks to SPD).  I also pointed out the fact that Bug actually Needed shoes...that I could stick my finger through the toes of the ones he had on.

  Now, I would expect that most rational 8 year olds would hear that and think, "oh.  I guess he does need shoes.  I just want them.  Ok, fine." pout a bit, but understand nonetheless.

  But not A.  Oh no.  She continued to present her case.  Over. And over.  And Over.

  So, after explaining the need vs want of the situation and telling her that it was ok for her to be mad, but that her behavior was not acceptable, I quit engaging in *conversation* (argument, really) with her.

  And we survived.   Although I'm quite sure that once we get these kids raised I'll have a permanent facial tick.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There May be Money in Our Future

  Tonight the A and Bug were playing in their room.  Bug asked me if I wanted to come see his office.  I did, and sat down on the makeshift sleeping bag/chair.
  When I asked what his job was, he said "prescriptions."
  He then asked me what prescription I needed.  The first one that came to mind: Prozac (easy name to spell, short word, easy to remember).

  "How do you spell that?" he asks, as he prepares to write each letter as I tell him.
  A said, "what about Zyrtec, Momma?"
  Ah, yes, that would have been a better choice....

  So he wrote me my scripts and I was done.  Future pharmacist?  Perhaps.

  A also had an office.  Her profession?  Therapist.
  She invited me into her office.
  A: So do you have any anxiety?

  And the conversation went  on from there...

  Future therapist?  Maybe

  Now A is writing prescriptions for her patients and those imaginary patients are taking them to Bug to be filled.

  I'm glad I have the ability to see the humor in this whole scenario.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

She's "All About that Snack. 'Bout that Snack. No hunger."

  Yesterday was a beautiful day where we live!  We were able to take a picnic to the park, ride bikes, walk some trails, and throw some rocks into the creek.  At the end of January!
  On the way home from the aforementioned outing, and after listening to A yell and sob about snack, the following *conversation* ensued:
  Me:  Ok, you can have some of this peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich.
  A: No! I don't want that.
  Me: it has protein and it's a little sweet, it's the perfect snack.
  A: No!  I don't want that!
  Me:  It's all I have.  It's either that or nothing, kiddo. *talking to the Bug and his friend in the back*: You boys want some of this pb and j?
  Them:  yeah!

  I divided one fold-over sandwich in half and passed it back to the boys.  When they were finished, I faced the following dilemma:  I had one fold-over left.  Do I offer the boys seconds or do I save it just in case A decides she wants some?
  I waited a few minutes and then offered the boys seconds.
  Sure enough, A decided she wanted some.
  I divided the fold over into thirds and passed it back, explaining that this was all I had.

  A:  What?  But I want seconds!  That's not fair that the boys got seconds and I don't!

  *Insert a 5 minute fit about how unfair it was that the boys got seconds and she didn't [on a snack she didn't want in the first place]*

  Whew.  SMH.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Routine or Bust!

  In my blog post yesterday, I mentioned that A had been clinging to our routine lately.
  Today I wanted to share a shining example of how drastic things got.
  With all the holidays we've had lots of time at home together.  The Hubby, A, Bug, and me.  We had a few lazy mornings (your typical stay-in-your-pajamas-all-day-and-eat-breakfast-at-11 kind of day).
  By the second day (not in a row--we aren't heathens ;) ) I found myself thinking "this is nice!  We don't have nearly enough of these days in our lives."
  My peaceful, lazy morning quickly came to a screeching halt.
  You see, the kids watch a show when they first get up.  They also have snack on the couch.  That particular morning the kids had eaten saltines.  I needed to go into town, and as I was getting ready to leave, A asked for seconds of snack.  I knew she had eaten plenty--but had never had "official seconds."
  She was adamant that she was starving, so I asked how many crackers she had.
  Twelve.  She'd had 12.  Now that might not seem like much, but I always give the kids 5 to start with and 5 for seconds (annnnnd there's a reason for that, too....but that's another story).  She had already had more than that and wanted seconds?!
  I noted that it was 11 a.m., so I said "If you're that hungry, go ahead and eat lunch."
  Looking back I see what a ridiculous offer that was to make.  Hindsight and all...
  "I can't have lunch! I haven't had breakfast yet!"  was A's not-so-calm response.
  Breakfast?  It's 11 o'clock and you've been eating saltines All morning...?
  I tried to reason with her, but soon discovered that it was useless.  Logic and reason are among the first things to go when she starts her downward spiral.
  I finally told her she was welcome to have breakfast.  When I left, both of my adorable children were eating breakfast basically at noon.
  I got home about two hours later, during rest time, and A came running up to me, crying.
  "Daddy won't let me eat lunch!" she sobbed.
  He was dumbfounded.
  "I thought they were eating lunch when you left" was his (logical) response.

  Nope.  It certainly wasn't as *simple* as that--so she sat down to lunch at 2 in the afternoon.

  Take away from this:  we don't skip meals in this house.  Ever.  Even if we wake up at noon, there's a certain order to things: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner.

  Whew.  Lesson learned.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Birthdays. Who Knew?

  A just had a birthday, but the preparation for it began months ago.
  I don't mean the prep on my end. Sure, I am making a Ton of things for the party, but I began my projects about a month before the party--so I'm in pretty good shape.
  It was the preparation on A's part that wasn't coming together well.
  A few weeks ago that I noticed an increase in meltdowns.  Thankfully I was able to see that they weren't as bad as they used to be, but they still left me scratching my head.  She was clinging to our routine, and the smallest change was Not acceptable.
The problem was that I couldn't see what had changed.
  I finally did some analyzing and realized that these meltdowns were similar to her "transition meltdowns" (going from one activity to another was a big deal) that we struggled with desperately  when she was younger.    
  After thinking about it, I had a major Light Bulb moment!  She was afraid to turn 8.  She was scared of her birthday.  It made total sense to me!  Anxiety stems from a fear of the unknown.  She's never been 8.  She is the first one of her group of friends to turn 8.  From anxiety's point of view, there are tons of unknown variables involved with age and unknown = scary.
  I resorted to what I do best, and began research.  Guess what?  There aren't any fantastic books (parenting or juvenile fiction) to help prepare a kid to be 8--or any age.  Several parents on an SPD Facebook page said they have the same problem, but no one had answers.
  I e-mailed A's therapist, and started brain storming.  All of a sudden, I realized the answer was incredibly simple.  I decided to just ask her.  I chose a time when she and I were sitting at the kitchen table together and the house was quiet.  She was working on an art project, and I was working on some birthday party stuffs.  I just said "So, A, how do you feel about turning 8?"
  She stiffened a bit and said "When's my next Paula [her counselor] appointment?"
  It obviously bothered her, so I dropped it--as far as talking about it goes, anyway.  Instead, I made an appointment for her with Paula that week (instead of waiting another week for her next appointment), and then I made a point to comment on all the "Big Kid" things she was doing.  She has made her own drawings and snowflakes as decorations for her party, she made an incredible tent in her room, she asked me to teach her how to sew and I did (and she totally rocked it!).
  I made a point to say, "Wow, you're so ready to be 8," or "Building a tent like that is definitely something an 8 year old would do." I could see her self confidence increase, and then I heard it.  I asked if I could take a picture of her and the amazing tent to post on Facebook, and she said, "Sure.  And I'll look proud of myself because I am proud of myself."
  Let me tell you, that was one Proud Momma moment for me!  Internally I was cheering and turning cartwheels.  But on the outside I just smiled, took the picture, and posted it.
  She's an amazing kid and she's going to rock this whole being 8 business!