Saturday, September 27, 2008

It never ends well...

We went to a birthday party today for a b0y in Noah's class. It was at Chuck E. Cheese.

I'm sorry, I know kid's love it, but is it not Hell on Earth for parents! Oh my god! The noise! The chaos! The Noise! The snot! The giant freaky mouse!

Not to mention the damn hamster tubes.

Noah of course loves the hamster tubes.

Noah would not get out of the hamster tunnel today when it was time to leave.

There was only one entrance/exit and one slide. And lots of tubes. Lots of tubes where a 5 year old boy can hide from his parents and pretend he can't hear them.

Talk about a stand off. Us yelling at Noah to come down. Him saying no, and scurrying off to another part of the tubes. And unless we crawl up in there, and chase him around on our hands and knee's, he's pretty much got us over a barrel.

It would be funny. If it were anyone elses fucking kid.

So, about 15 minutes in to the stand off another kid comes out of the tubes crying. And his mom got pissed off. And she went in the tubes, hoochie momma tight pants and all. And the "dad" was on the outside of the tube pointing up at Noah and yelling. And someone else in their group went and got an employee, who also went up in the tubes after him.

Now, I'm not really sure what happened up there, either before they all went up, or after, but suddenly Noah was down and coming towards me. And the kid's "parents" were still looking pissed, and the mom was still up in the tubes.

I did what any smart mother would do. I shoved Noah's shoe's on his feet, told Rich in no uncertain terms we were leaving Right Now and headed to door.

Those people scared me! And I have no doubt that that woman could have taken me.

It never ends well with us...


Lube me up, I'm feeling a little dry!

I really need some new stuff to write about. Any thoughts? Any questions you've been dying to ask? Any topics you want to see me tackle?

Help me out blogosphere, I'm feeling a little dry these days.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thanks for the feedback!

I removed the ad, as you can see. It really does detract from the awesome header and I just love it too much to do that. Thanks for your thoughts guys!

On a far more serious topic, we received a phone call today from a social worker from the Jewish community center my mother in law goes to. She was concerned because people have been complaining about my MIL. Apparently her neighbors have been complaining that she is knocking on their door at all hours of the night and that her personal hygiene is poor. Her friends at the center have been complaining she is bothering them and acting strangely. It was shocking to hear this. We see her almost every week and she is always meticulously dressed and made up. And her apartment is always clean.

We thought we had a little longer before we were going to have to move her to a nursing home, but if these "complaints" are true, it may be time now. Rich will talk with the social worker tomorrow and we will set up a family meeting. Always a good time dealing with Rich's brother and his wife. Not.

I joke about my MIL being crazy, but really, I feel sorry for her. I know this is very difficult for her. She knows her mind isn't working right, although I don't think she's ever really grasped that she has Alzheimer's. Actually, I'm not sure anyone has ever come out and told her.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Too annoying?

What do you think? Is the ad above this post too annoying? Should I just keep it to the one in the left sidebar?


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Show and Tell - of the PSA variety

I'm a little pressed for time this weekend. We have friends coming over in less than two hours to watch the Eagles game with us and I'm trying to clean the house before they get here. Not so much for them but for the inter-agency meeting that I'm hosting here on Tuesday to try and get the insurance company to keep Noah's TSS. More on that in another post.

I should have taken a picture of the can of cocoa powder that Noah spilled all over the kitchen and on his school backpack (yeah, I don't know why it was in the middle of the kitchen floor either). But I was frustrated enough that all I was focused on was cleaning it up. Smelled good though.

So, in my cleaning frenzy I thought maybe for my show and tell this week I'd show my two new favorite cleaning tools. The Shark Steam Mop and the Scunci Steamer. I'm trying to go a bit greener in our house and this certainly helps, not having to use any cleaning solutions with them, just good ol' steam. Add in a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and your trusty vacuum and you're set. Except for the toilets. I still use toilet cleaner in them. If you have any green solutions for that let me know!

So, I've had the Scunci Steamer for a while, but wasn't using it. That was a mistake, because the last time I used it I used tap water, then it sat for a LONG time. Something froze in the steam release mechanism and despite my best efforts I couldn't fix it. So I bought a new one recently and I'm using distilled water in it. It's fun to use! But do be careful cause steam is hot! I duh! Just ask the burn mark on my stomach. Yeah, I'm not sure how either.

Now, we first saw the Shark Steam Mop on an infomercial on TV. Noah has been coveting it, along with the Pancake Puff Pan, for a while. So, one day in a moment of weakness I actually sat and watched the infomercial with him. And damn if I didn't start to covet it myself. And since I control the credit card, well I popped online and ordered it. And when it came there was much excitement in the House of Therapy as we tried it out.

And damn it all, it really works! It's easy to use, quick, no messing with buckets or cleaning solutions, light weight and blah blah blah. The only issue I have with it is that it is almost too light weight, it feels kind of flimsy. But, it works and that makes this Mommy happy.

So, a little PSA for y'all and a kinda lame show and tell for the week, which is really more of a tell since I can't be assed to take pictures and post them right now.

Oh yeah, I'm not getting any kind of kick back for reviewing these, just doing it out of the goodness of my anything that makes cleaning easier heart. But, if the Shark people would like to send me some more pads I'd be more than happy to accept!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To tell or not to tell

Rich and I sometimes disagree on how much we should tell people about Noah and his "challenges." I tend to be more forthcoming than he is.

Noah started a new season of soccer the middle of August. Rich has been taking him to practices which are Wednesday evenings. I usually meet them at the field to get Kiel so I can take him home and get him ready for bed, while Rich stays at the field with Noah.

Last week I stayed for a while so I could see Noah practice.

Noah is a pretty good player. He's not afraid of the ball and sticks with it. Truth be told he's probably one of the better players.

He's also aggressive, too aggressive. Especially for this age. And he's impulsive.

Last week he started wrestling with another kid. At first it looked like they were playing, then it got more intense. And then they were fighting. None of the coaches were paying attention. Finally Rich and the other dad went and got them. Apparently Noah got in some good hits to the other kids face.

Today at practice Noah went running away with the ball twice.
The first time Rich went after him. Then Rich decided he'd had enough and he took Kiel home, and I stayed. The second time Noah ran with the ball the coach ended up going after him. Noah took him on quite a chase. It was actually pretty funny. I couldn't help but laugh, in part out of embarrassment in part because it was truly pretty funny. The family sitting next to me thought it was hilarious. They kept saying "look at him go" and laughing. I'm actually laughing right now as I think about it. It really was hysterical.

And then twice he got himself in trouble pushing other kids. Once both boys were put on the sidelines to sit it out. Once I took Noah and put him in a timeout next to me.

After the practice I spoke with the coach, Coach Yvonne. I asked her if Rich had said anything to her about Noah and she said no. So I told her that Noah was on the autistic spectrum and that he struggled with impulse control, and that he had ADHD.

She was so relieved that I told her this. She told me that last week some of the parents had complained to her about Noah's aggressiveness. So we talked a bit about how she thought we could handle it and when she wanted us to step in.

She said several times how much she appreciated me telling her this.

I don't really get Rich's aversion to telling people about Noah. It's not like I want to tell everyone we meet, I just think that there are people that interact with Noah that deserve to know. For their sake and for Noah's.

How do I make Rich more comfortable with this?


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trou dropping or ball dropping?

So, apparently there were some things we didn't prepare Noah for for kindergarten.

Number one being how to pee like a "big boy."

Up until now he's been dropping trou to his ankles and letting it fly. I guess having his bare ass hang out for all to see has gotten him teased. Of course it doesn't help that he refuses to close the bathroom door because he's still scared of toilets.

So, apparently someone showed him how to pee without taking down his tighty whities by slipping it out the leg hole. He showed Rich this weekend.

But what do we do when he's wearing boxer briefs? Poor kid, but I don't think he's long enough to slip it out that way.

I feel like we dropped the ball here.

I definitely don't remember reading this in the raising boys manual.

Advice anyone?

Update: No flaps in his briefs or boxers. What's up with that?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

part 5 - a little about growing up

I almost feel like I need to defend my mother now. Ughh...

I really appreciate everyone's support about all of this. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

My parents aren't horrible people, and I certainly didn't have a horrible childhood. My dad was probably pretty typical from that era. He worked, came home, my mom waited on him, he watched TV, read the paper, etc. She took care of us kids.

I really don't remember ever sitting in my dad's lap, or snuggling with him. He never read to us or tucked us in at night.

Mostly I remember the times he gave me "advice."

I don't ever recall him telling us he loved us without one of us saying it first. I do know he does love us. I just never really felt I lived up to his expectations. I still don't.

My mother on the other hand was more affectionate and loving when we were younger. She went through several years of depression when I was in my teens. At that time in our life I felt more like I was the mother taking care of her, than her taking care of me. It had an impact on our relationship that she would never acknowledge.

She's not a bad person though. And her comment about leashing Noah sounds so much worse than I think she ever intended. That's not usually the way she comes across. For god sakes, she taught special ed classes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades for almost 30 years. It's not like Noah is an unknown entity to her. I think that's why I'm having such a hard time understanding the way she is treating him.

Oh well...I'm off to my therapy appointment. Thank god for my therapist. She is amazing and is really helping me work though a lot of this crap.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

He "accidentally" ate it

Noah isn't allowed to have red dye because it drastically effects his behavior. One maraschino cherry can turn him in to a whirling dervish from hell.

He knows this. Sometimes he even follows it.

Today I let him have an ice pop and didn't really pay attention to what flavor he took.

About ten minutes later he came up to me and handed me the stick

"I accidentally ate a red one" he tells me.

"Noah," I said, "how do you accidentally eat an entire ice pop?"

"I don't know Mommy, I wasn't paying attention I guess."

Damn if I didn't almost believe him.


Part 4 - I forgot this little gem

We've had some problems recently with Noah running away from us when he doesn't want to go inside, or leave somewhere.

We went to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek when we were in Michigan and at one point Noah ran ahead of Rich down a path. I think Noah was feeling anxious (something I need to discuss in another post) and also needed to deal with some pent up energy. It's not ok that he does this, but I'm not sure he can control himself either.

Anyway...I mentioned this to my mother on our visit.

Her response - put a leash on him. Maybe if you humiliate him he'll learn his lesson.

There are so many shades of wrong in this I don't know where to begin.



Saturday, September 06, 2008

Part 3 - my parents are on probation

Oh boy, it's been a crazy week.

Noah is rocking kindergarten, btw! Go Noah!

Work is crazy and I only had a day and a half in the office because Kiel is sick and I had to pick him up early on Thursday.

Wednesday was back to school night, which we didn't find out about until Tuesday night. So a bit of a scramble to get a baby sitter for Kiel. Noah had soccer practice, so Rich took him to that and I went to back to school night. Then raced from there to visit my therapist.

Which brings us back to the topic of the week, which was also the topic of my therapy appointment. My uber-disappointing parents.

I've had a little over a week now to think through all that happened on our visit.

Oh, I never told you guys the rest of the story. Silly me.

The evening after I wrote the post (Tuesday) about Granny vs. Grandma we were sitting around the campfire at my parent's little "retreat." Noah had been having a pretty good day, some moments of course, but come on, he's five. It came time for Noah to take one of his medications which gets mixed in some juice. Unfortunately we forgot to take the juice that he likes, so it was mixed in with some that he doesn't care for. The night before we struggled a bit to get him to take it, but he finally did.

It's not unusual for Noah to throw a small tantrum when he doesn't like something, but he usually gets himself back under control and then handles what ever it is. That evening he threw his little fit about the juice and Rich dealt with him, like we usually do, and in the way we know that will deescalate things, especially since we were "in public."

Well, my Dad had to throw in his 27 cents worth, and made it clear that he didn't agree with how we were handling things. And then Noah stuck his tongue out at us, which we just ignore. My mother literally gasped when he did that. Apparently tongue stuckage is a major offence in her book.

I wish I could remember exactly what my dad said to me, but the gist was that we weren't tough enough on Noah, and he needed a stronger hand and higher fences.

I pretty much lost it and told him he had no clue what we dealt with every day and what we were doing to try and help Noah. And how dare he question my parenting skills. Then I told him if he thought he could do better he should spend a week with Noah and prove it. His response was something about one of them not making it out alive by the end of the week. And then he stormed off.

My mother just sat there and said nothing. So I asked her if she thought we were at fault for Noah's behavior too. She refused to answer. So then I broke down and told her how hurt I was that they hadn't had any contact with the boys since November and that they had no idea what we were dealing with. And how I was tired of always disappointing them. And something about my Dad being cold and at least my kids would know that they were loved.
There was more, oh so much more, but I'm not going to bore you with it all.

I probably went a little too far, but at the same time, I didn't even come close to saying what I really wanted to say.

I spent the rest of the night in the trailer and didn't see my dad again until the next morning. Nothing more was said about it by either of them.

Rich and I decided that evening that we would leave Thursday morning to come back home. We were headed back to my parents house that morning (Wednesday) and had plans to see some family friends that afternoon.

We left the next morning. My parents never questioned our leaving early. I think they were very relieved to see us go frankly. Other than the obligatory call to them to let them know we arrived home safely, there has been no contact. Not even for our anniversary, which was this past Tuesday.

Clearly I am on the shit list. They have an amazing ability to always turn it around to be my fault. thoughts so far? Fuck them! I'm not going to accept responsibility for this.

As far as I'm concerned they are now on probation. They are going to have to prove themselves as grandparents. No longer will I set myself and my boys up for disappointment.

The big question though...Do I tell them they are on probation? Or do I just have no contact with them.

I'm so sad and hurt by all of this.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Part 2 - grandparent lessons anyone?

Growing up I had two grandmothers; Grandma, my mother’s mother, who I have written about before (here and here) and Granny, my father’s mother. Now Granny, despite the name connoting someone warm and cuddly and a lover of children was anything but with my brother and me. We probably saw her once a year or so when we were younger, then as we were in our teens less often. She died when I was a sophomore in college.

During my childhood she did not live near us. We were in England until I was two, and then in Michigan. She lived in Texas and then California.

I know some of the emotional distance had to do with my father. Apparently at some point she told her sister that my father was cold. Her sister came for a visit once and some how that was brought up and my father was pissed and hurt that his mother said that. They didn’t speak for a while, and certainly didn’t visit.

My mother never had good things to say about Granny. They considered her selfish, irresponsible with money, and basically an all around bitch.

My Grandma on the other hand lived very close to us from the time I was five. When I was three she and my grandfather and my parents bought a farm together (160 acres) in south-central Michigan. We lived in the original farmhouse and my grandparents built a house for themselves farther back in the property. Not right next door in city thinking, but definitely so in farm thought. It was a little more than a quarter mile walk back to them.

I have such good memories of times spent with my grandparents. I remember her telling me stories at bedtime about “the lost girls.” I remember oatmeal for breakfast, with brown sugar and raisins. My grandfather called it “glue.” I remember my grandfather taking me to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. And my grandmother taking my cousin and me to Europe when we were 16. There was time spent cooking with my grandmother and working in the garage workroom with my grandfather. Spending the night with them often. And many, many more memories.

I see my parents being at a bit of a crossroads right now. Are they going to be “grannies” or “grandmas?”

It’s become amazingly clear during this visit that my parents don’t enjoy playing with my kids. They also don’t seem all that interested in making any memories with them.

The other day I asked mom if she would like to get Kiel dressed. Her response? Uh, no, I think I’ll let you do that.

Taking the boys for a walk last night I asked them to come. Their response, a resounding no thanks, we’ll go later. When I commented that I thought they would like to spend time with their grandchildren my mom said “we spend plenty of time with them.”

Go to the zoo with us? NO.
Go to Huckleberry Railroad with us? NO.

Walk down to the beach and playground with us? Noah wants you to see him swing on the rings. NO.

And not once an offer to take them for an hour and give us a break.

When I asked if they would watch them the other evening so we could go out to dinner with my brother and my sister-in-law, my mom’s response was “well, the boys will be tired after a long day, they will just want you, not us.”

Queen of passive aggression is she.

So the question is do I keep trying to make memories for my kids with them? Because not only is it their loss, it’s my children’s loss too.

Visiting my parents is not enjoyable for Rich and me. It’s a long ass drive to start with. Noah never sleeps well if we aren’t at home. Rich ends up sleeping in my brother’s old room with Noah and I sleep in my old room with Kiel. Rich and I don’t ever get to sleep together. Believe me, there is no nookie in my old bed. By the time we go home we are exhausted from lack of sleep and frustrated from trying to keep Noah on his best behavior so my parents don’t give us “the look” or offer us their “parenting wisdom.”

I’m thinking of firing them for a while. Oh, wise internet friends, what do you think?


My kindergarten boy!

It's been a long five years. And it's flown by.

He's so excited. And so proud!

He's going to have a great day!

And so will Mommy.

Once she stops crying.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Part 1 - an hour away

We’re about an hour away from my parent’s house; eleven hours into our twelve hour drive. So far my eyebrows are intact. Can’t say I have high hopes they will stay that way once we get there though. Please let there be alcohol waiting for me.

I’ve realized over the last day or so that I’m really fucking pissed at my parents that they have gone more than six months without seeing the boys. WTF? Kiel wasn’t even three months old the last time they saw him, now he’s nine months and almost walking! Noah is starting kindergarten in a little over a week. They know nothing about his excitement. How dare they ignore my children like that!?!

My therapist (duh, like you didn’t know I had one) has tried to prepare me for this trip. She has tried to help me lower my expectations; to accept the “good enough.” To turn off the fantasy in my head of how I want my parents to behave.

It’s going to be hard. I’m not very good at keeping my emotions to myself. I want to tell them that I am hurt. Yet I know it will not do me any good. They will have excuses. Or they will turn it around to be my fault. That I was bitchy to them. That they thought I was mad at them. That I didn’t invite them to visit.

I know it is their loss. It really is. I have some fucking awesome kids!

But I still can’t stop wishing they would become the grandparents I want them to be. Perhaps just a new version of wishing they would be the parents to me I always dreamed of?


Home again, home again, jiggity jig

So I still have my eyebrows. I sat on my hands quite a bit.

The trip though? Not so good. Let's just say we came home two days early.

My parents would have enjoyed a visit with just Kiel and Rich. Me and Noah, not so much.

We don't see eye to eye on how we are raising/disciplining Noah.

I think he scares them.

I need to vent a little. If you'll indulge me I'm going to share some of my thoughts from last week over the next couple days. I had my laptop with me so I did a bit of writing while we were driving.

So, with that in mind, I think I'm going to make this a week of messed up mother and/or father and daughter posts. If any of you want to share and make me feel a little less alone, feel free to do so in the comments or send me an email to post.

Part 1 coming soon.