Thursday, December 27, 2012

Engaged!!






- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Those Other People I Love...




Kade is a junior now. He is in denial over the dress code for hair for boys. I am not dragging his rear end to get it cut. His hair, his choice, his consequences for breaking the rules. I'm pinning my hopes on the fact that if he goes to ISS, he won't get to see his girlfriend.


Madalyn Grace is a sophomore. That bothers me to say. Note the sarcastic smile. And the boy behind her being funny. We went school shopping. She couldn't find anything that fit right and she liked so she is wearing my skinny clothes since I don't need them.


Keegan is in the 7th grade, on his way in the locker room for football. His plan is to warm the bench. He was really happy about this photo as well. He had just realized also that he forgot his instrument for band and may be in trouble.

My poor children. Not a stitch of new clothing on in any of these 3 pictures. We resorted to online shopping and are still awaiting the UPS truck. Apparently this family was in denial over the end of school.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Second Grade, Part Deux




Between his dyslexia and missing nearly a month of school due to the ruptured appendix (along with several weeks a year off and on from preschool up bc of every virus that ever goes around) Aiden was very far behind in school last year. He is also a bit of a baby since he IS the baby of the family.

We decided to retain him and this is his second year of 2nd grade. I was dreading school starting. I knew his little heart would be broken and he was going to howl and blink tears out of those big brown eyes and baby calf eyelashes. Initially he was just ticked that they will graduate before him. An explanation of how kids can graduate early in high school and he could end up with them seemed to settle that storm. Last year, more than once, I was the mother dragging my super humanly strong 8 year old with past the principal, superintendent, and various other members of the community as he screamed in rage "I'm not GOING to school and you can't make me!", "I HATE this place!!", "I'm so tired and you didn't make me go to bed last night!", etc.

Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about what was going to happen when he saw his buddies moving on and he stayed behind. Oh my gosh things are soo not what I expected. We are 2 for 2 on fit free mornings. He seems soo much happier. His most amazing teacher asked him to help her with some things last week and he just knows that these new kids can't really do it without his guidance. I'm feeling pretty lucky and grateful.

Last week he hung out and swam with a girl in his new grade and he didn't even get one single cootie. Yesterday he told me about a couple new friends he had made. Today he came to my room and announced "I made a new friend! I don't know his name, but he has on a gray shirt!"

He says he is sad, but doesn't want to talk about it. I think it was the right decision.

I don't know how you can do the same things with 4 different children from the same gene pool and wind up with such different results. It confirms my opinion that this business of raising children is just a crap shoot. You weigh every decision carefully, try to consider every single outcome, make the best possible choice you can, and then get smacked in the face with the unexpected.

A dear friend was talking about her children as they became teenagers. "With Child #1, I was strict and spanked him/her, questioned everything he/she did, and he/she lied to me and did what he/she wanted. With Child #2, I tried trusting him/her, gave him/her some freedom and was less strict, and he/she lied to me and did what he/she wanted. With Child #3, I tried yet another tactic, and he/she lied to me and did what he/she wanted!"

-- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Love This Boy

 Both of them. They make me very, very happy.

Here is that little one again.  Diligently doing his homework. He set the timer on his phone so that he could time himself without any help.

 
This is another one of my babies. Miss Annabelle, the kitty that I bottlefed from her very first day of life. She is pretty sweet. 

My step-kitties, Kali & Tigger. They are pretty darned sweet also.

These are all the pictures that I have taken lately. Cats. And the one picture that Keegan took of me. I'm going to try to do better with this picture taking business. But first I'm going to have to go back and make 2 little boys stop fighting and just go to sleep.




Thursday, February 23, 2012

Well...

That was short lived. You know, that blissful period with my smallest child. I was the mother trying futilly to get my 48lb 2nd grader into school. Here is how the story unfolds...

Yesterday was perfect, no problems in life at all, relatively speaking you know. Aiden came home from school, did his homework, played with his phone, played with Lego's, etc. Dinner time comes and he isn't hungry. I tried to get him to eat, but nope, he wasn't interested. Remember that he is a night owl. 9:00pm rolls around and he is trying to tell me something about a game he wants to get. He doesn't know much about this game according to his 12 year old brother who harps about this fact for 5 solid minutes, all while Aiden is trying to tell me. Finally Aiden goes nuts, runs to his bed and covers himself up. Just so you have the visual, his skinny little butt is wearing a pair of too small blue boxer briefs and one sock. It's always just one sock. So, he is laying in the bed howling. I try to talk to him, no luck. I gripe at Keegan, he is just annoyed by his dumb little brother, who has a cold and is sniffling ever 2.3 seconds. All day, just sniffing. He won't take any medicine. He is tired of medicine. Little brother is still having a fit 20 minutes later and kicks Keegan out of their room.


Aiden: I hate you Keegan! Get outta my room!!!
Me: Aiden, get in your bed and go to sleep. It's his room too.
Aiden: NOT anymore!

How do you respond to this?
What is the proper parenting technique?
Or rather, an effective parenting technique.
For real, I would like advice. Logic sure as hell didn't work. Trying to calm him didn't work. It is next to impossible to get Keegan to shut up and not make Aiden feel like dumb. I'm not going to spank him, not that I'm opposed to spanking, it just doesn't work on him. He becomes very angry and the situation escalates, not the result I want. Plus, wrestling his tiny little body is much more difficult than it should be.

Around 45 minutes into this, Aiden decided that he is hungry. Three seconds after I dumped the rest of dinner into the trash can, I was still scraping. He howls because the food is gone. I offer him a sandwich. Not happening. Cereal? Nope. I forgot about corn dogs in the freezer. He finally decided he wasn't hungry and went to bed. He fell asleep around 10:30pm. I told you he is a night owl.

Morning comes along. His alarm clock on his phone buzzed from 6:50-6:53am. This pissed him off apparently.

Maddy helps a lot in the morning.
Maddy: Aiden, wake up, it's time for school.
Aiden: School?! I'm not goin to school!
(more prodding from Maddy and myself)
Aiden: I said I'm NOT GOING! I'm so sleepy. I'm just tired. That stupid phone kept me awake all night with zzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzz. All the time!! zzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzz STUPID SCHOOL!!!

We get as far as the car with the child still howling that he isn't going. I've had to even pull up his pants to dress him. He just needs help. He is also wearing a green t-shirt that says "Not a Morning Person" with a picture of an alarm clock in a fish tank. So apropos.

All the way to school he tells us he isn't going in. Amazingly enough, he forgets to complain about the radio. That is the usual morning temper fit. Apparently Fleet Foxes is soothing and doesn't set him off. I must remember this.

We get to school and he won't get out of the car. Finally we get him out and he is griping the whole way that he isn't "GOING TO STUPID SCHOOL!" The lovely trip continues down the hallway. Other adults, teachers and staff members, try to help. He basically tells them to get away. We got to go past the principal and superintendent during this spell. Thank goodness his teacher is an amazing lady and handles him. "I've never seen this side of Aiden!" I told her to count her blessings. I give her the child and run for my life, passing all of the administrators who got to witness the fit of the teacher's kid who hates school. Of course in my head I'm justifying that being that kid worked out okay for Roger Waters. Our counselor talked to me for a few minutes about what was upsetting the child. If it is something about the day to come, or just a fit. I guess I should be glad nobody from CPS was around to witness the scene.

About an hour into the workday and I get a call from his teacher's classroom. My heart sinks and I decide he has continued and made himself puke. She was calling to tell me how happy he was and how his attitude had changed, then she put him on the phone to tell me about what he was going to research today. That was so wonderful and I cannot express how much I appreciate what she did today.

Later on in the day I talked to a friend. We take comfort in hearing one an other's woes of parenting. She asks if other people's kids do this stuff. She says "I just wanna know if   is flipping her momma the bird?!" It made me laugh. 

I feel the need to explain to people. My first two kids were still perfect at this age. I was freaking WonderMom way back then. Things happen and just when you think you have it figured out, the 4th kiddo comes along and wrecks everything you ever thought you knew. And you just don't know anything about parenting until you have a small child at the same time you have teenagers. It's a whole different ball game, folks. And I don't do sports.



My advice is don't ever think, even for a second, that you have got this stuff down and are doing a perfectly fine job. Not even in the deepest recesses of your own mind that you wouldn't dream of acknowledging to anyone. If you do, it will surely bite you in the ass.


That's all I've got for now. I'm off to cook dinner, which translates to calling El Jardin for chicken tacos. It is the only way I can be certain that the Sweetest Boy in the World will eat dinner today. Speaking of, he just showed up to mow my yard. See?? How sweet is that?! And every Tuesday he brings my trash cans back from the curb. Not because they bother him at the curb. His stays out at the curb. He brings them back because it bothers me when they stay out there. The first time I came home to trash cans put away, I burst into tears. I like that boy. A whole bunch. He hasn't slept more than 4 hours total in 2 days because his mom is in the hospital and he is staying with her at night, but instead of napping, he is mowing my yard. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let the Negative, Snarky Comments Begin!

Ok, I am now THAT mom. The one that other parents and nonparents make crappy comments about.

I got Aiden a phone. And not only does he have a phone, he has an iPhone. Yes, I realize that he is 8 years old. I also realize that this sounds pretty over-indulgent. I do have my reasons though.

Before I outline those reasons, let me get out my soap box for a few minutes.
Something that absolutely infuriates me is when people pass judgment on the way other people raise their children. Or how spouses work situations out for that matter. Really, it just chaps my butt when people decide what others are doing wrong in their own situations, especially when it doesn't affect anyone else. I have already heard some crappy comments and will hear more. Hopefully I won't go into PSA mode after this post.

So, here is why I decided to do what I did. I decided that I want him to have a phone. I wouldn't have dreamt of this when my other kids were this small, but the game has changed. Aiden's dad and I have divorced. He spends most of his time with me, but he does spend time with his dad. There are situations where I just feel more secure knowing that he can get ahold of me when he isn't with me. I also like knowing that I can send him a text message and check on him, without calling his dad and being intrusive. The reverse is true as well. The kids' dad sends them texts and calls to check on them. Aiden can use my phone anytime he wants to call his dad, but it really is less stressful for the other kids because they have their own phones. We try hard to get along to make things easier for the kids, but hey, we are divorced, and that is for a reason. Now Kyle can send Aiden a good night text along with the other kids. I can talk to Aiden when he is with his dad. There are more reasons, and if you are close enough to me that you are reading this blog, I have more than likely told you anyway. If you feel left out, ask away privately.

Ok, so I decided that the boy needed a phone. Now the decision of which phone comes into play. I looked at a couple phones designed for use by children. They were not cheaper than giving him the iPhone. That leaves the option of a regular cheapie cell phone, or a smart phone. Smart phones are generally used for very productive people, or people who love to socialize. Aiden isn't going to need the phone for either of those things. Apple designs their products to be easy to use. The interface is incredible. You don't have to have a manual to learn how to work it. Aiden had a 10 minute lesson with his sister on how to text. She stored all of the numbers he needed, showed him how to make calls and how to send text messages. He uses my iPad all the time. He bought his own iPod touch a couple years ago. He plays with my iPhone. He knows how they work. They are so easy to use that an 8 year old with reading problems isn't going to have many issues.

I also started looking at apps available for kids with dyslexia. There are quite a few. As a teacher, I know that there are so many educational apps. My kids do play a lot just for fun also.

Last night Aiden turned into a texting fool. He read and wrote more just for fun than I can ever get him to. He happily went to bed when it was time, and awoke with a smile on his face because he knows that the new rule is that if he is grumpy in the morning, he loses his phone for the day. So far all is going well with the new plan. I am sure that there will be problems. The biggest one I see is people making snarky comments. This one amuses me the most. Teenagers saying "I didn't get a cell phone til I was in the 7th grade!!" Well, I was nearly 30. Times are changing and this is how I choose to deal with it. I will save my many musings on how our world is not so forgiving for those without a phone for another day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

So...

Well, I have been quite the crappy blogger lately. I'm not really sure why because I like blogging. It's like talking to myself. Actually, I have the same conversations in my head with myself that I type about.

Let's see, what has been happening? Pretty much just Life.

Aiden is having a bit of a hard time with school. He is dyslexic and we knew that, but I did not realize how severe his dyslexia is. He is such a brilliant little boy. I know that sounds like such a mom thing to say, but it is true. From the day he was born, he has seemed to know more than he should. I had heard the phrase "he has an old soul" before, but when Aiden was born, it was on replay in my head. Anyway, Aiden comphensates amazingly well. When we read his books, he memorizes them the first time through and then recites them basically. His dad and I had a meeting with his classroom teacher and dyslexia teacher. We have a bit to make the decision, but we may decide to retain him in the second grade. When I list the pros and cons, the only thing against is that he wouldn't move with his buddies. If we will ever do it, this is the year it needs to happen. He is the baby in the family and a baby in so very many ways. When I think of the things Kade and Madalyn were doing at this age, it's a bit shocking to compare. My biggest concern is what if we retain him, and it doesn't do any good. It will get him an extra year in dyslexia classes. But what if he stays behind?

I took him to the homeopath last week. We are going to try some things that will possibly help him sleep at night and boost his immune system. So far it isn't working well. He refuses to take vitamins, and the vitamins based on whole food taste like butt. He is solid pissed about the idea of fish oil capsules. They taste pretty darned nasty also. Not that he has tried them. Aiden has missed about a month of school each year that he has attended, since 3 year old preschool. Just when I think he is healthier and outgrowing some stuff, something else crops up. I think his sleep issues contribute to not being as healthy as he could be. He is such a night owl. The poor kid can NOT fall asleep at night. He hasn't been able to ever. When he was tiny, I nursed him to sleep. I knew that it was bad, but it was the only way he would fall asleep. Obviously that isn't an option any longer. Every night is a battle. I am hoping that if we can avoid missing school because he is sick, and he gets a better night's sleep, he will be in a better mood once he gets to school and not so darned cranky.

Ok, this made me tired. I have nothing funny to say. I might need a little nap. Kade, Maddy and Keegan are good, even though I didn't mention them. I will later.