Monday, August 15, 2011

I Am Not A Zen Mama

In the days/weeks that followed CJ’s doctor recommending us to see an Occupational Therapist for an evaluation the included sensory issues, I began reading everything that I could find on Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). And one thing that really bothered me was the subject of discipline- how to appropriately discipline a child who may not even be able to help it. I knew he spent the majority of days at the old preschool in time-out. It was their go-to method. They were done and weren’t even willing to put in an effort anymore. I was concerned and not really sure where to go. In the early days, I was particularly sensitive since it didn’t seem to be fair to punish him if he couldn’t help how he was behaving- if there was an underlying neurological cause for his behavior. You certainly can’t punish that out of a child. And so there we were. I’m going to calm, patient and understanding. I’m Zen Mama.
One evening WC was begging me for Taco Bell. Normally, we go through the drive through whenever I pick up his beloved tacos. I don’t want to punish him for his brother, either. So this is the compromise. We take it home since CJ cannot tolerate a restaurant after a day of preschool. After a day at his former preschool, he’d come home like a raw exposed nerve. I’d turn the car radio off and neither I nor WC would speak. He once melted down over a torn piece of paper.
On this particular day, WC was begging to let them eat at the restaurant. CJ was all for it. And he didn’t seem to be on the edge. And I relented. It was early and the restaurant not crowded, it might be okay.  Before we’d sat down they’d found individual wrapped peppermints at the condiment station and had taken one. I said they could eat after dinner. Since we had our pick of seats I chose the booth on the end- that way he could sit without risk of anyone sitting behind him. So his fidgeting and constant movement wouldn’t disrupt anyone else. He and WC sat on the same side & he got to sit on the outside- which was both unusual & made me nervous. I sat down with their tacos and things went from annoying to worse. Think spastic cat on stimulants.  He was lying down in the seat, I asked him to sit up and eat. The entire meal was spent with me telling him to either, sit up, sit down, turn around, and get back into the seat. If someone barraged me with commentary like that I’d cooperate just to shut them up. He’d “drop” the toy he’d brought in and need to go get it. I took away his toy- he angrily huffed. I threatened to make him sit next to me. His taco sat untouched. I ate it. He discovered it missing and got mad cause I ate it.  I gave him another since I’d stocked up. He barely touched it and it ended up in the middle of the floor.
WC sat quietly stuffing his face with tacos and appeared not oblivious to the ruckus right next to him. He finished and opened his peppermint. CJ wanted his too. At that point I gave him the peppermint because I wanted the experience to be over. He put the peppermint in his mouth and three seconds later somehow it too ended up on the floor. I tossed it in the trash & the high speed come apart hit. WC quickly retrieved another peppermint from the condiment station and unwrapped it. Before we got out of the door, I heard the unmistakable sound of hard candy hitting the tile floor.  You have got to be kidding me! I finished tossing the trash away and took CJ by the hand to leave. At this point he’s screaming again and WC has discovered no more peppermints in the container. They don’t have any more I tell him. And pull his screaming butt off the floor and out the door. I’ve parked just outside the door and before we get to the car, CJ wiggles free and screams, “But I’m hungry.”
A giant flash of light streaked across my vision. I’m not sure what happened next but, when I come to, I’m screaming at CJ in the middle of the parking lot something about having ample opportunity to eat as much taco as he wanted. He’s covering his ears. And instantly it snaps it back to me the SPD. I’m screaming at my SPD kid. I don’t want to be the screaming mama and I’ve just lost it. And I’m not sure Mother Theresa would have been able to hold it together in the same situation. WC is hiding on the other side of my car because when those words came out of CJ’s mouth, he knew to get the hell out of the way.
So we are back to our original arrangement of picking up food the few times we do eat out. I am not a Zen Mama.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Being Run Over

There we were having my 4 year olds preschool owner/director telling me that my child was different from every other child in his class. That his social/emotional maturity had actually regressed and the progress that they’d hoped to see hadn’t happened. She told me there was something wrong with him- she just didn’t know what. Yet, she gave me a computer print-out about Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Teacher #2 with whom he’d had the confrontation with, stared at me like I was raising Satan himself whenever I entered the room.

The day it all went down, I wondered if she would be able to get past it. Would she hold it against him? Should I go ahead and move him? But the school itself was supposed to be good. It had a waiting list and everything. Surely, if anyone could work with a special needs child it would be a staff of teachers with masters degrees in early childhood education, right…right?

The previous teacher (who teacher #2 replaced) was wonderful with him. She did tons of 1 on 1 with him and worked with him while teacher #1 ran the group lessons. I assumed he had assimilated and was doing well. After all at home he was singing songs, reading three letter words, adding and subtracting- where in that would I have a clue that anything was so horribly wrong? Then she took the summer off to stay home with her kids. A week and a half after teacher #2 came in is when the incident happened. Then in my meeting with them, I was informed that my child screamed every day- several times a day, refused circle time or to cooperate in general. When I pick him up, I get a slip of paper that tells me the day’s activities and I speak with the teacher- not once had it been written down or told to me that my child screamed every day or that there was anything concerning about him. Why would you not mention that to a parent? One day everything’s fine the next I’m sitting in a chair in the owner’s posh office being run over by a Mac truck.

I’d approached the previous teacher concerning his behavior a couple months after he started at the school. He still threw temper tantrums and I told her that I was concerned because there was a big disparity between his cognitive abilities and his social/emotional abilities. She had explained to me the two parts of development couldn’t develop at the same time. They would eventually even out and she didn’t see any cause for concern.

Four months later and a month and half with teacher #2 and we were cordially invited to find another care facility for him- because he was just “too out of control” and they were “unable to handle a child with his needs and their large class sizes.” This was told to me almost two weeks to the day before his evaluation for SPD- four weeks after our meeting over the incident.

I’m still trying to digest it all. Did they really just get rid of him while they could still classify him as a “behavioral problem” and not a child with special needs?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Come with me on a new journey

It all started in early June when I’d received a call from CJ’s preschool. There’d been an incident with the new teacher. He’d ripped a necklace off of a child’s neck and then slapped the teacher when she tried to put him in time-out. I was horrified, devastated and just plain didn’t understand. Yes, CJ is challenging, but that didn’t seem right. Of course, I immediately agree to conference with the owner and his two teachers the upcoming Monday.

At home, I gently asked CJ what had gone on that day. I had to prod at him a couple times before he said that he was getting the necklace off a fence for the kid and it broke. Well, CJ’s about as gentle as a bull in a china shop, no surprise there. I asked him again to clarify, off the fence? “Did you take it off the kid’s neck?” He insisted it was on the fence. Then I asked him, “Did you slap the teacher?” “Yes,” he replied. When asked why he said that she wouldn’t put him down. I clarified again that she had picked him up off the ground. They’d told me that she’d bent down to speak to him after he’d run from her when she’d asked him to go to time-out. He said again that she’d picked him up and wouldn’t let him go. When asked why he didn’t go to time-out when told to, he said that he’d just wanted to play. In his mind, he didn’t do a thing wrong and couldn’t figure why he was being punished. It didn’t seem like she’d explained to him the reason.

At the meeting on Monday, I’d asked teacher #1 if she’d witnessed the exchange between CJ & teacher #2. She told me that she’d gone inside before then to either take a child to the restroom or go herself- she couldn’t recall which. And teacher #2 was left on the playground with the class by herself. So I asked teacher #2 if she’d seen CJ ‘rip the necklace from the child’s neck.’ No, she hadn’t but she was quick to clarify that she’d only looked away for one minute and when she looked back CJ was holding the broken necklace and the other child was crying. And she immediately proceeds to tell CJ to go time-out and he ran. So now you have a grown woman chasing a 4 year old around the playground and getting angrier by the second. Why did she chase him? It’s a fenced in playground- where’s he going to go? And when it came out that she’d picked him up, the school’s owner dropped it, quickly.

During our meeting they inform me that my child is “different from anything they’ve ever seen.” They are quick to tell me everything they find wrong with him and then basically ask me to “fix it.” At the time, I thought they were going to be willing to work with me. They put together a list of “concerns” and I faxed that off to his pediatrician for her to review. When I let them know the doctor was referring us to Occupational Therapist to evaluate him for Sensory Processing Disorder, I basically gave them the end date for his enrollment there. I just didn’t know it, yet.

The past few weeks, I’ve mulled over whether or not to chronicle our new journey here on the blog. Do I put this out there? Do I even continue to blog at all? Even the name of my blog has caused me some concern. Does the reference to Cuckoo’s Nest and discussing raising a child with a neurological disorder go together? The name came long before CJ existed. But does it show a lack of empathy? Even do my previous posts where I discuss CJ’s behavior and sometimes with a comical spin- is that cruel in hindsight? I haven’t come up with answers on most of my questions. However, I am not ashamed that my child has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). He’s a brilliant child and I want to post the story out there.

Because one thing I found when I started researching SPD is that most people who are directly affected, have no idea what it is. And those who have children or are closely linked to children with any of these types of disorders are extremely supportive. On Twitter, I’ve found a huge network of support. Previously parents facing these types of diagnosis were isolated- your kid didn’t act right and there was very little information out there. This is changing.

This is a new road for us. I’m not sure what it holds but there will be some bumps, potholes and hills, mountains and valleys along the way. I’m going to try to be honest about the experience and every now and then someone might need to remind me to enjoy the scenery.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Those harmless-but-nasty-looking flying bugs have once again crawled out of the ground and abandoned their shells for flight. It's the 13 year variety, which seems to be the most numerous group. I'd thought we'd be spared from them this year after a small cold snap but never fear- they are out in full decibel swing. They can be so loud in certain places that I can hear them while driving down the interstate, over the car noise and the radio. The sole purpose of these critters seems to be to annoy, scare and amuse people, to mate and become food for birds and other assorted animals. That's it...whatta life.

I arrive at CJ's school one afternoon and they are on the playground. Three of the children are plastered to the teacher because they are scared of the cicadas. She informed me that all the kids are scared of them, except for the son of yours truly and a couple other kids. Big suprise there. I'm not sure CJ understands the concept of fear. But just as she's told me this we see CJ and another boy staring at a cicada stuck to the wall of the school. Both boys slowly inch closer to the bug. They lean in and the other boy sticks out his finger. I couldn't tell if he actually made contact or not but the cicada leaps off the wall towards them. The scream could be heard for miles. Both kids did not stop running or screaming til they hit the fence at the back of the playground. I'm happy the fence was there, CJ might still be running.

Come on mid-June when they will be gone for another 13 years...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Word

Oh the joys having your children out in the world. I know you can't shelter them forever. But, can we at least let them be children while they are chronologically children?

WC came home from his after-school karate program with another meaning for the word "nuts."  I know, it is far from the worst thing that he could come home saying. And if this is the worst thing out of his mouth then consider myself lucky.
A friend's three year old announced to a room full that you weren't supposed to say 'I'll kill you' or 'holy shit.'

And I guess that at seven, being made aware of the alternate names for his body parts is going to happen. Especially when he is in a group with boys of various ages. But, the problem is that he brings the new word home to his little brother. I can do without a 4 year old referring to his area as "nuts." Because he doesn't get that it isn't referring to the whole private area. I have a fear that I'll go pick him up one day at his private Christian School and be pulled to the side.
"We need to talk. CJ is referring to his privates as 'nuts'"

I'm no stranger to my children humiliating me with their behavior, but I'd like to keep it to a minimum.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Bull

My little CJ was born under the Zodiac sign of Taurus. I'm not the sort of person who reads the horoscope. I know that I'm a Sagittarius but I've never thought much of what "sign" the boys are.
As an infant, I nicknamed him (at home) Bulldog- because he was stubborn from the minute the doctor cut him from my womb. He was probably stubborn while gestating too, I just didn't realize it.  But, I digress.
A friend recently mentioned to me that his sign is The Bull, which I found cute knowing my own previous little nickname for him that was replaced by "The touchless wonder." 
I looked up what qualities someone born under Taurus supposedly has and one stuck out: Stubborn by nature. The Taurus will stand his ground to the bitter end- sometimes irrationally.
Case in point:
On Good Friday, I had to work. Both of the kids were off school and they were headed to my mom's house for the day.
CJ located a pair of blue pants out of the bottom of his drawer and had to wear them. Recently he'd decided that blue is his favorite color. Problem with this was that the pants were a size 2T on a child that fits a 3-4T size. The elastic waist still fit him but length is where the problem came in. He was a boy in blue Capri pants.
Jay looks at him and tells  him that he will get him a pair of pants that fit. CJ balks, "I want these."  Now the next fifteen minutes went something like:
"What about these?" Jay held up another pair.
"Look these have Thomas on them." Jay pulling out the big guns of persuasion.
The wheels on the bus go round and round...

Then WC joins in the unnecessary battle of wills, attempting to get his brother to change his pants. And the more they harp...well, I bet you can guess what CJ's response was. He was wearing the pants. End of story.
Have they ever met this child?

I finally decide to try and end this. I tell both Jay and WC to just leave CJ alone. It doesn't matter what he wears to his grandparents house. Tonight, I will remove the offending garment and will not put it back in his drawer.  Just let it alone.

With all kids it's important to pick your battles and especially with a naturally strong willed child, such as CJ.

But WC protests at having to look at CJ wearing such short pants. Unlike fart jokes, CJ pants offend his delicate senses. I asked him if he needed reminding of some of the outfits that he used to wear out to the store when he was 2-3? Once he went to Walmart in a long sleeve striped shirt, plaid shorts and bright red boots. He went off to continue to needle his brother behind my back.

Driving down the interstate, I could still hear WC harping on CJ's pants. And I began to fear that he would in fact succeed in changing his brothers mind. Because I was now without a way to change CJ's pants. This grew into a very large worry. I repeatedly told WC to stop.

We arrived at my moms house and of course, WC is still beating the hell out of that dead horse. I pull him to the side and explain to him the nightmare that would ensue if he now convinced CJ that he needed to change pants. "If he wants them off, you will now have to listen to him scream and cry because he has no other pants."
"He can wear mine," WC replied.
"Think about that for a minute." I tell him and pat him on the head.

I get out quickly. I don't want to be anywhere around if it went bad.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flying Through the Air With the Greatest of Ease...

As I child, I briefly had a dream of becoming a trapeze artist. But, I grew older and realized that I probably wasn't going to run away with the circus. And my dream of flipping through the air and being caught by a guy wearing spandex trousers slowly faded away. It was replaced by another equally exciting and slightly less lucrative dream of being a writer and mother.
Little did I know that all these years later, I would be living my circus performer dream, in a way- sans the guy in spandex trousers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the announcer comes over the loud speaker.  Let me direct your attention to bedroom at the end of the hallway. Our fearless mother of two has removed the clean sheets from the linen closet and has entered the room.
The top bunk of the bed has already been stripped of the former sheets and she ascends the ladder.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your total silence is necessary. As she performs this amazing balance act suspended eight and half feet in the air, without a net! One wrong move and it will hurt, folks.
Watch closely as she balances on one side then the other while slipping the bottom corners of the matress into the fitted sheet. Yes, she now has sucessfully has she fitted sheet tucked under the mattress.
Now this is the most difficult part of the stunt. (A hush falls over the crowd). She will turn completely around and bring the fitted sheet up the the head of the bed without putting her weight on the mattress. OUCH- a slight misjudgment of distance and her head hit the textured ceiling. Now that hurts. It's important to keep that head just under the nine foot mark!
Our mother is only briefly affected by the hit and now she's gathered her grip on the fitted sheet and moving towards the head of the bed. She reaches carefully over the left side to tuck it under. What's this? She's pulled her hand back quickly and peering over to investigate something. She reaches back over the side and removes...A squishy glow in the dark eyeball. She tosses the eyeball over the side of the bed and goes back to securing the sheet in place. Now, after she secures the right side of the sheet under the mattress our fearless mom descends the ladder.
And for her encore, she will place the flat sheet on top of the fitted sheet and tuck it under the mattress at the bottom. Now she leaves the sheet folded as she ascends the ladder once again. She's prepared this time, folks, the sheet has been folded so the bottom is easily accessible and tucks that sheet under the mattress quickly. And with effortless grace, she slowly smooths the sheet across while moving back toward the head of the bed. Let' see if she move back onto the ladder and complete the stunt without incident. There she goes- one foot on the ladder...then the other...yes, the sheet is slipped into place. Our fearless mom is now descending the ladder.

I turn around to bow. But no wild applause, no flowers being thrown...just two little boys asking when lunch will be ready.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


          Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.
Karl Augustus Menninger

I don't like swimming. There I said it. It's crazy thought for some people. But, I cannot stand the feeling of putting my face into water. I can swim, if I have to, I don't make recreation out of it. And the ocean, it's a fairly foreign thing for me. Until I was an adult I'd only seen the ocean maybe a handful of times. My parents just didn't travel. And when we did go to the ocean, the only thing I ever heard from my mom was, "Don't go out too far- all of a sudden it drops off without warning and you'll be gone" or "You'll get sucked out by the current and drown" or "You'll get stung by a jelly fish." or "attacked by a shark." Come to think of it, I have no earthy idea why we went to ocean- if she really believed these things- what's the point? So, we'd sit and look it and get in up our knees.

When Jay and I decided to do a Caribbean cruise for our tenth wedding anniversary, I decided to do two things I'd never done before. Two things that would push me well out of my comfort zone. Kayaking and snorkeling in the ocean.
The kayaking was billed as a "leisurely" activity. Apparently they forgot to tell that to the buff, twenty year old, Brazillian athlete (with a bod you could bounce quarters off of...I'm sorry what was I saying...oh, yeah) who was the guide- he flew through that water like he was racing for olympic gold. It was hard to concentrate on paddling my ass off and looking at the amazing scenery (no, not him). We had one small shark sighting- well the fin of the shark. We pulled our paddles out of the water and floated for a few minutes and the shark went away. Our guide pulled a couple of live star fish out of the ocean for us to see; one them had been eating. Before we left, they gave us instructions on what to do if you tip over. Let's just say I don't think I'd been able to counterbalance Jay. I'm grateful we didn't tip.
The next day we went on our snorkel adventure. Which was light years beyond my comfort zone. Unlike the Brazilian mean guide from the day before the group that took us out looked like a group of convicts or at the least they haven't been caught, yet.
After a bit on engineering in order to make my glasses and snorkel mask work, we were in business. Or they were in business and I was trying not to fall off the back of the boat and put on flippers and not have a heart attack. I'd sent Jay on out and he jumped off the side of the boat. Later, he admitted that he was far more scared than he'd thought he'd be when he hit that water. I see him watching me as I make my way down the ladder into the ocean. I try to put my face down in the water and I get to the point where my mouth goes under and I taste salt and I cannot make myself put my face in. I'm using all my energy not to hyperventilate.
Jay and I make our way to each other and I hold onto him and spit out the air tube. I tell him I'm freaking out. We paddle there for a minute or two while I try to compose myself. He puts his face down and comes up with "Oh my God!"
I'm curious and he tells me that there are fish all under us.
Son of a monkey...I have to do this. I put my face in and holy mother, it's like the Discovery channel under there! But I have to pull my head back up. I can taste water- and I keep hyperventilating. I'm not doing well. But, I put my head back down several more times- trying to move around and take it all in. After a few short times, I know I have to get this. I can't be out here and miss this.
I figure out that I'm programmed to hold my breath while going under water and even with the tube, I can't reconcile inhaling while under water.
So, I began by taking a big breath in and slowly letting it out through the tube while I'm under the water and "coming up" for air. After a while, I'm doing it. I'm finally doing it. I don't want to go back to the boat. It was incredible- the best thing I did while in the Bahamas. I'd do it again, in heartbeat.
          Curiousity will conquer fear even more than bravery will
James Stephens

Monday, May 16, 2011

CJ Turns 4

Four years ago today, my little CJ made his entrance into the world. He surprised us by being three weeks early. We're so on the ball that we didn't even have a baby bed setup yet. I'd went in for my check up that week and the OB felt that my blood pressure was too elevated. It had never been high before. So, she sent me to the labor and delivery floor of the hospital for observation. Now, here's a little tip Docs- if you want a patients blood pressure to go down- sticking them in the hospital, having them poked with needles and confined to a bed for the entire day does not do the trick. It was very stressful and I'm sure contributed to the OB having to order a c-section at 9:30 pm. Little CJ arrived at 10:03 pm. He was ready eat from minute one and it's the last time we've been on the same page. He's unique and determined to do everything his way. He's a remarkably gifted child and I'm blessed to have him.

Happy 4th Birthday to my "baby."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


At this point, I'm still giving bathing the boys in the tub at the same time. It's getting near time for WC to start doing this on his own, but he's only interested in playing around- not washing. The other night I'm getting them into the tub and enter the bathroom as WC is using the toilet. "Hey," he says. "Girls aren't supposed to see boys pee."
"True, but I'm your mommy."
"But, I don't get to see your private area," he retorts. "Why do you get to see mine." This coming from the same child who dances bare ass through the house shaking what The Lord gave him without the slightest bit of modesty several times a week or anytime he thinks he can get a laugh.
"Well, when you start to wash and tend to your own hygene then I wont see your private area anymore," I reply.
He contemplates this for a second then asks, "Then do I get to see your private area?"
"No. No one gets to see my private area." I'm going out the door of the bathroom.
"You're not being fair," he complained.
Fair? I'm not interested in fair. I'm interested in quiet and non-frizzy, lustrous hair.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A New Journey

Since she already spilled the beans- everyone head over to Michele's blog and show some support and prayers for they found out 8 days ago that they'd been chosen to adopt a precious baby boy due at the end of June!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Gift to Give...

The best gift to give the kids of your worst enemy is (drum roll, please)...
Colored Bubbles by Crayola.
My mother sent these home in Easter baskets for the kids. I wonder what I could have done to her that was so horrendous to deserve this. She might as well have sent home a jug of paint and roller brush.
When I first saw them in the baskets, I didn't think much of it. Who would? Just bubbles, right? Perhaps you see just a hint of green or blue in the bubble while it's floating in the air. So when they wanted to open them after dinner, I told them to go out on the back deck. I stepped out to help CJ open his and pulled out the wand- it was very thick and dark blue. Before I could react he blew with enough force to take out a candle twenty feet away. What didn't coat my arm, hit WC. The left half of his face looked like he'd been hit with spray of blue paint.
WC, undeterred by the paint explosion, was happily cranking out bubbles of his own. Unfortunately the dye used to color the bubble solution made them too heavy to really float away and they were falling in mass numbers, splattering the wooden deck in green.
I'm still staring in disbelief at my blue arm when Jay steps out onto the deck and flips out at the stuff staining the deck. I snap back to reality and send them into the grass. He hooks up the hose and hands it to me on the deck, mumbles something about going to the store and disappears. Jo Jo the cat high tales it off the deck and over the fence- she isn't taking any chances. After several minutes of constant washing, what was left of the color splats isn't coming off.
I stop to take note of the color carnage in the back yard. CJ has morphed into a smurf and WC may have a bit of the Hulk going on. Their shirts and pants are polk-a-dotted with their respective color of bubbles. They are still wearing their polo shirts from church that morning. Note to self everything must be washed.
CJ smiles at me and teeth, tongue, chin and neck are all blue. Then stretching from his hand to his elbow is simply solid blue color. He can't come in house like this. I devised a plan. I went in and started running a tub of water.  And took two towels that were waiting to be washed and placed one on the floor just inside the back door and took the other with me.
The instructions were simple. Put down the bottle of paint (umm, I mean bubbles) and stand at the bottom of the porch steps. From there I hosed them both down, clothes and all. Then I had them strip off the wet clothes and then hosed them again. I told WC to step on the towel inside the door and dry his feet and get to the tub without touching anything.
Knowing that I would never get the same cooperation out of CJ, I used my second towel to wrap him like I was giving a cat medication. Then carried him to the bathroom and unrolled him right into the tub.
Everything else, including my shirt went into the washing machine.
On a positive note- it all came out of the clothes and off the body. The next morning my deck still had color spots but hopefully after several days of rain, it will eventually fade away.
Rarely, will I ever bad mouth a product. I feel that any product can have a few that are off and not inicative of the rest of them. I love Crayola's other products, I'd just purchased the sidewalk chalk. We love the crayons, paints, chalks and color wonder line. I'm generally impressed with the quality of their products.
Sometimes things are messy- I have two boys and I get that. You have to weigh the ratio of fun to clean up and in this case the clean up outweighed the amount of fun (for me).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


With CJ turning 4 soon, I decided that it was time for him to start doing a few things on his own. The time between when we get home in the afternoons and bedtime is always crazy. Too much to accomplish in a short amount of time. It would help out if he could/would put on his own pajamas. The other night I decided to see what he could do. He can strip himself naked in three tenths of a second. I told him to show me how big he could be and put on his pj's. His clothes were strewn across the floor before I'd finished the request. A little flesh colored blur took off down the hallway in the direction of the bedroom.
I asked WC to go back and help out. I was informed "I am not a teacher."
Okay, so the kid will teach his brother how to do everything they aren't supposed to but he draws the line at pajamas. I let WC know that I don't expect him to dress CJ just provide a little guidance.
A few minutes later I hear CJ hopping down the hall. He's bouncing down the hall with both legs stuck in the same leg hole of his underwear. About the time he makes it to the couch, he falls to the floor and flops around like a stranded mermaid. "Pull them off and put them back on correctly and go get your pants." He must have done so quickly cause next thing I know he's headed back down the hall. I didn't look up. When CJ had gone Jay said, "I think he had them on backwards."
"He looks like he's wearing a European man- thong."
Probably ten minutes later he returned- pj pants on and shirtless. I checked in the back of his pants and things were on correctly. Apparently Mr. 'I'm not a teacher' did care enough not to let his brother wear a thong.
Once again, I sent him back for his shirt.
I am now in the process of preparing WC's nightly breathing treatment when CJ comes running up the hall as fast as those little legs could go, holding his pj shirt out in front of him. He hands it to me and quickly motions for me to put it on him.
Not 30 seconds later WC comes down the hall holding his plastic, toy bow and an arrow with a suction cup on the end. He notices CJ is fully dressed and nods approval. I give him a questioning look and he explains,
"I told him that he had ten minutes to get dressed or I was gonna shoot him in the privates." Incentive- 7 year old style.
"You cannot shoot people in the privates," I tell him. Let's face it, no matter how good your intentions are, that right there will get you into trouble.
"Okay." He sighed. "What about the butt? Can I shoot him in the butt?"
Ahhh, brotherly love.

New Look

It was time for a change so I've revamped my blog page here. I hope you like the new look!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Break

Hi Readers,
I apologize for my recent absence from posting. Unfortunately I am going to take a break from blogging at the moment. The past few days have been seen an onslaught of terrible news in my family- three family members died, another pet died and a someone diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. All in 5 days. It is a lot of emotional information to process. I just don't have it in me to come up with blog postings at this time.  I never meant this blog to be a place where all I tell is sad stories and that is all I have.

Please go out in the world and spread love and joy. Be kind to each other. And love your family members today because we are not guaranteed a tomorrow on this earth.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coming to Terms

Since my cat died, I've received three sympathy cards- one from the animal hospital, one from the vet and one from my dear friend Michele.
The one from the animal hospital is a stock card with a drawing of a cat on the front that everyone in office signed. I've never met any of them. I wondered they signed the card specifically for me or if they keep a stockpile of signed cards for the situation. It arrived before we'd even returned from vacation.

The one from Michele is the most comforting one. It's sincere and from someone who truly cares.

The one from the vet had a cat and a dog sitting facing a sunset. The inscription was expressing sympathy. It was signed by one person on behalf of the whole office. It had a personal note that read: Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your loss of Rhiannon.
I stood in the kitchen and read the note several times and stopping on the loss of Rhiannon part. The words felt foreign. Loss of...loss...loss. I've lost her...lost Rhiannon. She's gone. After fifteen years this was the strangest feeling. I'm not going to say that it feels like losing a child. It doesn't. It's different. She was still a being that was apart of my everyday life and suddenly she isn't here anymore. There is a void.
When she was first diagnosed with diabetes and the vet only gave her three months left, I spent the weekend crying. And made the decisions that when it was time, I would be with her when she was put down and that she would be cremated. As the three months came and went, I think I developed a sort of amnesia to her prognosis, after all she was still going strong. Her sudden and swift decline brought reality back to her condition. So I realized it was time to let go. It may be that she waited until we were all safely away before she let go her final breathe.
Our first night back home, I had a dream or something. I was in bed asleep and I could feel her weight laying next me as she often did on cold nights. In my dream I pushed against the weight without opening my eyes and said, you're dead, you are not here, repeatedly until I no longer felt the weight.
I still look around the floor for her. I know that will stop one day as I grow used to the house without a four legged family member.
The other morning Jay briefly mistaken a throw pillow on the floor next to the chest of drawers for her. He said he could have sworn he heard a meow. He was about to tell her he'd feed her in a minute when it hit him.

I received a call from the vets office this morning letting me know that Rhiannon was back and ready for pickup. I went numb. I automatically responded that I would pick her up in the morning. I hate the way she put it. Rhiannon is back and ready for pickup. Like she had just been to the groomers or had to stay at the vet for a day and now I could bring her back home now. No, Rhiannon isn't back. She isn't coming back. She wasn't in that blanket wrapped tray at the vets office. Only the shell of what she once was. Right now I'm not positive why I chose to have her cremated. I knew we couldn't bury her in the yard- too rocky. And then the thought of moving away. It just seemed like the most respectful thing to do for a loyal companion. I'm not sure how I'll feel tomorrow when I pick up Rhiannon and hold a small box that is all that is left of her. Because at the moment it seems pointless, since I'm not really bringing her home.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Lesson in Leaving (temporarily)

Last year when Jay first brought up going away together for our tenth wedding anniversary this year, I immediately said no. For years now I’ve lived with the motto that if I am not at work, then I should be with them. Going back to work was made tolerable because my mother was my babysitter when they were small infants. Neither went into a daycare setting until they were two.

I miss so much of their everyday being away (with my crew, sometimes that’s not a bad thing) that I am not inclined to leave them without cause. We rarely have date nights, so to go on a trip without them and to put them off on my parents, for enjoyment…didn’t seem right. They are a lot to take. The idea was shelved for a few months.

As they’ve gotten older though, I’m coming to a realization. I’m a person too. Yep, radical concept, right? And even though I am not with them all day long, I am still working. I run from morning until night and sometimes in the middle of the night, if needed too. I begin to see that part of my problem is that I don’t do anything for me, except eat. And I’m not able to give them the best mom possible. I don’t have luxury of quantity so I need to shoot for quality in the time I spend with them.

Part of parenting is letting go. That is the end game of being a parent. You raise them and give them everything and they leave you. You have done your job as a parent if they leave you and start good lives of their own.

Ultimately, I knew that they would love spending time with their grandparents. And my parents would enjoy some of their time. I knew it would be difficult on my mom, so we arranged with my in-laws to take them two days during the day. And that it would be a chance for me to rest. So we made plans to go away during WC’s spring break from school.

CJ, had only recently, spent the night away from home for the first time. He went to my parents along with his brother for an overnight visit in February. Since, he moved to going to preschool full time- he was now eligible for overnight visits.

We explained to the kids in advance that they were having a sleep over at Nana's for an entire week. They loved the idea. The day before we left I was completely convinced that I did not want to do this. But we’d already paid for it and I can’t waste money. So I sucked it up and didn’t say a word.

And for the most part they were fine that week. My mom said Tuesday night, WC had gotten over tired that day and cried that he would never see me and Jay again. She assured him that we would return and he was fine the rest of the week. One night she made the mistake of falling asleep before they went to sleep and she woke up the next morning and they had strung toilet paper all over the house.

The day we returned, they were happy to see us. At the same time they were sad to leave the house that spoiled them rotten. WC has tried several times to tell me of their adventures at Nana’s-things she let them do that I don’t at home and I simply tell him, “What happens at Nana’s, stays at Nana’s.” If I do not know about it then I cannot be mad about it. It doesn’t matter what he does there, the rules at home do not change. When we picked them up they were in the same condition as when we left, that’s all I care about.

Our week away brought about an unforeseen change in CJ, though. On the way home that day he’d fallen asleep in the car and I brought him in and put him on the couch and he slept there for about three hours or so. When he woke up I was in the recliner. He came over and crawled in my lap and hugged and kissed me numerous times. We snuggled there for the longest and he kept telling me that he loved me. We’ve been back a week and half and it still hasn’t changed. Before, he never told me that he loved me unprompted. I’d tell him then he’d respond to me that he loved me too. But now he randomly comes up to me and hugs, kisses and tells me that he loves me. He yells it to me out the car window when he and Jay leave in the mornings and when I put him to bed he yells it to me as I’m closing the door. I’m soaking in all this affection. I hope it lasts for a long time.

While we enjoyed our trip together, we are not looking to go away for an extended time without them again anytime soon. I would love to take another trip with them- part of the fun is watching them have a new experience. But, I'm thinking that it is okay to have a night without them every now and then.

I’m still trying to figure out what the balancing act is going to be. I’m thinking of keeping the Saturday morning yoga class for now and seeing if that is enough of a recharge. I’m not sure if complete balance is possible, but I’d like to get closer than I am now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ever had one of those weeks where despite your best thought out intentions that nothing will go right and everyone around you seems hell bent on keeping that way?

Before I left on vacation, I had it all planned out in my head- I’d return well rested, recharged and ready to be super parent. I’d start back up my exercise regimen that had lagged since throwing all my energy into WC and his emotional issues. I’d also start back working on my query letter for my novel and maybe even begin writing my next project. I was going to come back and find the balance in my life that had been lacking. HA…HA…HA…HA. What was I thinking? I didn’t hit the lottery…I still had to come back to my day job.

What I came home to was: a dead cat, one child who refused to do anything, another child who tried to super glue himself to me, emotional breakdowns from both kids over said dead cat, an overdraft notice, a disaster of a house, and a stray cat living in my garage (who WC has since named JoJo). My sister had left a bottle of Cuervo Black in the cabinet and I discovered it was really good with Coke Zero-too good. I’ve since sworn it off.

Spring break ruined WC. We were doing rather nicely before then. Although we had hit a small bump in the karate road right before break- and I thought a break would fix it. HA…HA…HA…HA. Not a chance. When I say he refused to do anything. Only the involuntary bodily functions that go on to sustain life where the only things he did without constant reminders. The worst day by far was Wednesday. When I picked him from karate I discovered that not only did he not do any of his homework during homework time but that he’d taken so long to get dressed that he only made the last 15 min of the 45 minute karate class. Now, why they left a 7 year old unattended in the dressing room for that long without checking on him wasn’t answered. But I do know the normal Sensei was not there and I’m not sure what happened. But things didn’t get any better at home. He asked if he could eat before homework. Which I agreed and he wanted letter spaghetti. Then he proceeded to eat his letter spaghetti- one letter at a time. I wish I were kidding.

The first part of his homework, which was supposed to be completed during homework time at the dojo, was for him to pick out three of his vocab words and write a question using the word- basically come up with three questions. I’ve had him complete this task in 15-20 minutes. I left him at the table to work on it. Every now and then I’d ask him how he was doing. He said fine. About 25 minutes in I asked him how many he had left. He said one. At the 30 minute mark, I went in to check on him and discovered a page full of doodles and no actual work. Not a single letter on that page. Now I’m angry. Its 6:30 and this is just one thing of several other things that have to be completed before he can go to bed. And he needs to be in bed by 8 since we get up so early.

I press ten minutes on the kitchen timer and tell them that he had ten minutes to do it. Whatever isn’t completed by then he’ll just have to tell his teacher that he didn’t do his homework. And, of course, when the timer goes off he has one question left to write.

I tell him to put away his work, his time is up. He begins to sob and Jay comes in and says that he was writing as fast as he could when the timer went off. And he should be able to finish it. I counter with that he’s had forty five minutes (not even mentioned the time at karate he should have done it) to complete it.

Jay insists that he should be allowed to finish his last sentence (totally undermining me). And I tell him that he has to deal with it then and leave the room. He isn’t home during homework time and doesn’t actually understand what I go through trying to get this child through the homework on a daily basis. So Jay doesn’t actually deal with it at all and leaves WC alone and it takes him another twenty to write one last question and leaves me with having to push him through the remainder of the homework before bed.

I don’t understand homework at this age and I don’t see that it does really any good towards learning. With the exception of reading- I’m finding that the more I make WC to sit down with a book and read to me the better he is getting. But afternoons are a time crunch for most families who have parents working outside the home- there isn’t time for resting and spending time together. I hate coming home and feeling like a drill sergeant- to get everything accomplished before they have to be in bed. It’s proven that people in misery don’t learn. If you’re not enjoying something and are not interested and engaged in the activity- it isn’t going to sink in. And that is what most sit down homework is at his grade. I’m not an educator, so I have to believe that they do have reasons and there is a method to the insanity. I hope so; I don’t see it getting better, only worse as he progresses through the levels.

I will now step down off my soapbox regarding the homework issue.

As we’ve gotten further back into our routines, he has gotten better- sort of. He’s such a dawdler, there has to be a way to light a fire under his tush. His regular Sensei returned and he finally dressed out and went to class and guess what? He got that tip he’d been wanting. I did point that out to him when he told me.

Even though, my week didn’t go as planned with my exercising or my writing- I did manage to do one good thing for myself. I took myself to a yoga class Saturday morning. I’d learned about a yoga studio twenty minutes from my house and they had a class at 9 am on Saturday. Throughout March I’d meant to go but with getting ready for the trip, I never managed to make it. So Friday night, I’d told Jay that I was going. It was an hour and half long with a meditation at the beginning and the end. I’d left so relaxed and recharged. Just what I needed to get myself through another week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farewell, Old Friend

It is with a heavy heart that I write this. While my husband and I were away on our trip celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, our beloved kitty and my companion for the past 15 years passed away.
A year and a half ago she was diagnosed with diabetes and given about three months to live. So, I took her home to spend her last days. The vet had told me that when it was time, I would know. But she continued on living her little pampered kitty existence and I struggled with the vets words. How would I know? She didnt seem any different. My mother rattled on and on in my ear about not letting the boys find that cat dead. I assured my mom that I didnt want that, either.
The Friday before we left (on Sunday) I knew. It was time. She'd quit eating on Wednesday and by Friday she could no longer jump up on our bed. On Saturday she could barely walk across the room and only came out from behind the rocking chair to drink water and pee on the bathroom floor. She looked like hell. My fluffy orange tabby looked like a ragged, half starved stray. The neuropathy the vet spoke of had obviously set in. But I couldn't get her to the vet before we left. If she lasted the week, then I would have to take her when we returned. We were on a cruise ship for a week- so I was without contact. I'd left my sister the vets phone number and directions. I'd contacted the vet to let them know the situation.

When we hit dry land again, I called my mom. When she answered the phone and heard my voice- there was a change in her tone and I knew. But I asked about the boys first and how they were and the week had gone. Finally, I asked the question that I already knew the answer to.

Rhi had passed away on Tuesday. My sister found her in the floor and her boyfriend rushed them to a local pet ER. There wasn't anything that could be done.

She was a good kitty. In fact, maybe too good. Both of boys don't really get that cats aren't all like her. Rhi was a easy going animal. She's moved with me from place to place, saw boyfriends come and go then accepted Jay. People asked me when I was pregnant with WC- you're keeping the cat? As if I'm going to give away a member of my family. Then they would inevitably launch into some story about someone they knew whose cat had pissed all over the house once a baby came home. So we brought WC home and the cat still used the litter box. She always had her own toys, food and a sanctuary to retreat to and be alone if she wanted. Most of the time she stayed right in the room with everyone and watched or slept. Then we brought CJ home and I think she looked at me and her eyes said you just had to bring another one of those home. In the wintertime, she loved to curl up right on the couch with the kids- if only she could keep her heaters still long enough. They loved to rub her fur and she would put up with their roudiness for a while until she'd had enough. She had a full set of claws and never once did she ever scratch them.
There will never be another cat like her. Rhiannon will be missed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

And then the rose colored glasses fell off

WC is in his second week of a new after school karate program. He's been picked up at school by his new instructor (who also picks up from other local schools) where they go back to the dojo and have homework/snack time and a 45 min karate lesson or conditioning games.
I thought for sure, with his negative attitude and distaste for change, that he'd have a rough adjustment of it for a week or two. The first Monday, I arrived and he was all smiles. He climbed into the car and his mouth ran 50 miles an hour. Every phrase began with, "Guess what?" And, of course, I had to respond with "What" after every single time.
He loved it...every single bit. I breathed a sigh of relief and then wondered how long that would last. I felt guilty for my pessimism. But, I do know this child very, very well.
How long would his love of this new karate class last... Turns out 9 days.
The building was warm last night when I arrived. Since, it was our first day of temps to hit 70 this year, It was clear to me that they discovered their air conditioning didn't work.
WC emerged from the boys changing room with a frown that dragged the floor. "I didn't have a good day," he declared and dropped to the floor to put his shoes on.
"Because it's hot in here," I asked.
"Because I didn't get a tip," he huffed. (A tip is a piece of colored tape placed on their belt. It signifies they've completed a step towards qualifying to test for the next level belt. They are big deals). He received his first two tips within the first week and I think that set an unrealistic expectation in his brain.
"No one gets tips every class," I countered.
"But, I did my best and I earned it. I can't do better," he argued once we reached the car. "This is why I hated karate."
I tried to explain that if continues to go in and do his best that he will earn the next tip. When he complained that others in the class got tips, I tried to counter with how his karate is all about him and not anyone else. He isn't competing against anyone else. I think he may have looked at my like I was crazy, but I was driving the car and couldn't be sure.
Although, by the time his father got home and I told him that WC had a down day his explanation had changed slightly. He told Jay that Sensei had a long, hard day and was frustrated that afternoon! He didn't even mention the disappointment over the tip.
WC told me in the car this morning that he didn't like karate anymore. I just told him that I loved him and to have a good day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I had a discussion with CJ’s preschool teacher concerning his behavior. He’s been worrying me a bit lately with raging temper tantrums that seem to be getting worse. The other day he received a behavioral write up from another teacher who, when she attempted to place him in time out for repeated name calling, was subjected to his raging fit and he punched her in the legs with his closed fists. And with two months until his fourth birthday- I’m thinking he should have better control over his emotions at this point.

In our conversation I expressed to her, knowing she is degreed in early childhood education and has fifteen years in working with young kids, that he picked up learning things so easily but seemed so far behind in behavior. Then she explained to me that it is very common. That if a child is growing leaps and bounds on the cognitive side that the emotional/social side lags behind in development. It is impossible for them to grow on both sides at the same time. All of the energy is being used for the one thing. And the same thing goes for children who mature in the social/emotional side quickly. She has kids who can sit down, follow directions and respond appropriately to their emotions but are dumber than a nail (her phrase, not mine). She said that the delayed side will catch up. She didn’t give me any time frame- I’m praying it happens significantly sooner than his 20th birthday. She also takes into account that he is youngest child in the class, everyone else is already well past their fourth birthday. It wouldn’t be appropriate to put him in the younger room because he needs the harder curriculum. So she works a lot with him one on one. Have I ever mentioned how ridiculously happy I am that I changed his childcare facility?

Another thing to consider for his behavior is that he is aware of his own physical limitations. His feelings of frustration and anger can stem from that he is aware that he just ‘can’t do’ yet- he is aware it is possible for older and bigger children to do things that he is unable to and his explosions may be about more than just the incident that triggered him. So when I tell him he must use his fork to eat spaghetti and he throws himself into the floor screaming- it’s probably about more than that.

For now, we continue to work with him in identifying his emotions and giving him appropriate ways to express himself. She went on to tell me that she has noticed that if he has a total meltdown early in the morning that he is a perfect child the rest of the day. Once he’s had his explosion, he is great. I’m not sure what to make of that. Maybe I can piss him off when I wake him up so that he melts down early?

But I’m not into starting the day on a negative tone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Simplest Thing

I’ve just finished reading Parent Talk by Chick Moorman. It is where I got the idea to do the positive visualization with WC. Now that I’ve read it cover to cover and digested some of its contents I think that I am ready to post some of my opinions on what I have read and used from the book.

In the simplest view of the book, it gives stock phrases to use in certain situations. In the beginning Mr. Moorman suggests writing some of them down on index cards for reference. I don’t know about anyone else, but it doesn’t seem practical to me that in the moment you have to stop and consult an index card on the right thing to say in the situation. But, after reading through the whole thing and using some of it and letting it sink in- to stop and have to think about something rather than reacting negatively may not be such a bad thing. Some of us get into unhealthy patterns that we learned in childhood from the way parents dealt with us. While philosophically we don’t agree- sometimes the automatic action prevails in spite.

The point of the book is to become conscious of what you say and how you react to and interpret what your children do. Until the positive responses are the automatic ones.

Mr. Moorman makes a point that we should understand normal childhood development and view your child’s behavior in that context. And in doing so, we really do not have to have the patience of a saint to be good parents.

The book begins with the suggestion that we should use the words: decide, pick and choose a lot with our kids. Because it will be language that they will grow to understand that they are responsible for their behavior and likewise the consequences. For example: If you decide to hit your brother then you choose to sit in time out. Or. Your brother needs to study. You can choose to play in here quietly or in your room. Which I have used numerous times. And I usually have to remind him, If you choose to disrupt your brothers homework then you decide to go back to your room. And oddly enough this ends with him cooperating or he’ll decide to go back to his room on his own.

Now the one thing that I had to laugh at is “please make another choice”. You tell the child what the inappropriate behavior they are engaged in and then tell them to “please make another choice.” Because I’m going to be chasing them around the house constantly saying, “Please make another choice.” Then they’ll go climb another wall. I tried this one a couple of times but haven’t worked it in to a regular rotation. I may try it again in the near future.

The simplest thing that he suggested and I couldn’t believe this would work is. Limit use of “No.” Everyone knows that toddlers are experts in this word. Most of them say the word while they doing something they aren’t supposed to. The author made the point that once you respond with No, the other party stops listening and begins to form their rebuttal in their head. For example: “Can we go outside.” Response: “No- not until after the toys are picked up.” The problem is that the kid quit listening after the “No” and never even heard the part about the toys. It couldn’t be that simple- could it? I got the opportunity to try this one on Valentine’s Day. The boys had gotten a heart shaped box of six chocolates. At five thirty they asked if they could eat one. I didn’t want them to until after they’d eaten dinner. So I said, “Yes- after you eat dinner.” You know what happened. They said Okay and put the boxes on the table and ran off to play. If only everything could be that simple.

There is much more to the book and I'll post some more stories of trying these out and the results.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making P17 Unreachable

Please pop over to Michele's blog My Life After Loss
 If you have ever had to have P17 shots to prevent preterm labor and give your baby a fighting chance then sit up and take notice. If you haven't, then consider yourself lucky and know that someone else you know has. There is probably a child in your life, that you love, who is here with the help of this drug. Now a pharmaceutical company may make this dream out of reach by raising the price per dosage to unattainable price for most people.  I would hope that insurance compies will also take issue with this- since more children will be born premature and have to endure longer NICU stays at a greater cost to the insurance company than just a shot. Everyone else will pay a price for K-V Pharmaceuticals to make more money.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Mending Heart

I've written before about one of my best friends and her struggles with infertility and heartbreak over the loss of children to miscarriage and premature birth. I've prayed for her and waited. I never had any doubt that something good would come from these struggles. And when she announced that she'd started training to be a doula in February- I knew this decision came from that. And that she will be an amazing doula. Then I found out that not only was she training to be a doula but wanted to work with cases of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death and it really made sense. She will take her experience and love to be the support for people who are facing what happens to a lot of people but no one talks about.
If you or someone you know is facing (or experienced) miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death and they need support visit Mending Heart Bellies. The link will also now be on my right side bar. Also she is now part of The Amethyst Network- a national organization supporting families through miscarriage.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I Need a Padded Room

I’m going straight to hell. Do not pass go; do not collect $200 straight to hell. Let me tell you why. It’s because my 3 year old is crazy. Now with his change from the daycare to the preschool, I have to take him with us when WC goes to scouts. We meet in a local Baptist church. On normal weekly meetings, we are all divided up by group in the Sunday school classrooms. And CJ fits right in with other boys. He isn’t aware that he is little. Once a month, they have what they call a “pack meeting” it’s where all the boys regardless of their level meet together. We hold these meetings in the sanctuary of the church. There we are in the pews where others come to worship The Lord. Being in the youngest level, our boys sit in the first pew. We’re right there upfront- there’s the stage with preacher’s pulpit right in the middle and choir loft behind him. Off the stage, on the floor in front of the pulpit is the altar where they prepare to serve the Lords Supper (or Communion).

CJ’s there was bouncing around like a cat being electrocuted. Then he began to work his way closer and closer to the stage. I make him return to his seat, only to find him being drawn to the stage again a minute later. Then he’s stomping up and down the stairs….then he’s on the stage. It is time for WC’s group to get on stage and sing a song. I’m now trying to coerce WC to get on the stage & coerce CJ to get off of the stage. Will each of you, please do the freaking thing that you are supposed to do!

CJ stops begins to stomp closer to the end of the stage while I’m still on the first pew motioning for him to come on and pushing WC to get on the stage. I turn my attention to WC for a moment only to look up in time to see CJ had taken off running and leapt off the stage, twisting himself sideways to land- belly flop onto their altar- knocking a cross to the floor while yelling “WHEEEEE!”

There is an explosion of laughter from the pew of boys behind me. And I imagine looks of horrified judgment from the other parents in the room- I didn’t turn around to see. I grab CJ by one arm and leg and pull him from the altar and in one motion sit him sternly back into his seat. He wouldn’t look up at me.

On a positive note- WC did very well in the song. He got up there and faced the audience and made an effort to do the song. I’m proud of him.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Meeting

I met with WC’s teacher and school guidance counselor the other day. Let me start off by saying that I think WC has an excellent teacher. I don’t think he could have gotten a better one for his personality. She is truly amazing. The meeting started a little late, when the counselor couldn’t be located. But his teacher said that we’d start without her. She wanted me to start off and explain what my concerns were with him. My list included his sudden “I can’t” attitude; his perfectionist attitude- to the point where he believes he has to do the task perfectly the first time with minimal effort and if he thinks he can’t then he will not even attempt it. And his focus issues. We each shared our experiences in dealing with him and we are both experiencing the same things. She asked me about homework. And honestly, when we suffer through it, he appears to be being physically tortured. I’d rather have brain surgery through my nasal passages without anesthetic than to deal with him and writing sentences.

For his teacher her main concern was his lack of focus. She said that since he is very bright that right now it isn’t interfering with his ability to get good grades. But her concern was that as the material begins to get harder he will not be able to compensate any longer and his grades will suffer. And perhaps that’s why his self esteem is also dipping because he is bright enough to figure this out. His problems aren’t that he can’t do the work. In fact, he can do even better. She doesn’t give him the challenge vocabulary words, not because it’s too hard but because it stresses him out. She said that she gives a pre-test at the beginning of the week and those who get the regular words all correct, get the challenge words. She suspects that he purposely misses two words every week. And I believe her because most of the time when he gets home Monday evening and I go over the words, he already knows them all. So, mama here is going to start sneaking in some of the challenge words on my own. She said that he is very logical and she has to appeal to that sense of logic. Say, he gets to question four and melts down because he instantly doesn’t know the answer. She says to him now if you sit here and don’t move on you will miss the last 10. Now if you skip number 4 and move on to the next questions. You miss one. Would you rather miss 10 or 1? Of course, he picks one and moves on.

The guidance counselor finally makes it into the meeting and we have boiled down our two issues: his lack of focus and self esteem/image/confidence.

His teacher said that he doesn’t have any behavior issues but there is a lot of redirection going on with him with numerous reminders to return his attention to his work. I see that at home too. The guidance counselor puts it out there right away: ADD/ADHD- my feelings on this? His teacher said it was definitely not ADHD…perhaps a touch of ADD, BUT he is a 7 yr old boy. I immediate state that I do not feel that even looking into the idea of medication is remotely appropriate right now. I explain my feelings based on my experience having a sister diagnosed ADHD in 2nd grade and the subsequent guinea pig like adjustments with medication. And to top it all off, I don’t recall that it helped her in school. And to this day, as an adult, she “can’t do because she’s ADHD.” It became a crutch. It turns out we were all on the same page with the idea medication. The counselor wanted to know what after school activities he was involved in. I let them know that in addition to scouts that he will be starting back with Karate in March. They both felt that this was a very good thing.

The counselor explained that traditionally the role of guidance counselor dealt with children who couldn’t. It’s relatively new thing for her- in the past couple of years that she’s seen children with WC’s sort of issues. I would argue that it isn’t a new phenomenon but that people realized earlier that children with developmental delays needed specialized help. And they do. I wouldn’t want to take that away. Now parents of children on the other end of the spectrum are realizing their kids might also benefit from being helped. Just because a kid is on the bright-gifted spectrum, that life isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. He’s bright, he’s sensitive, he’s aware of everything around him and paralyzed by his own need for perfection. Where it comes from and why, I don’t know. I racked my brain for months trying to figure out the ‘where’ and the ‘why’. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. We just have to figure out what to do now and move forward.

The guidance counselor felt that his teacher and I have done appropriate things. And she wanted to meet with him. She was about to begin meeting with a first grade girl who had very similar issues to WC. She wanted to know if it would be okay with me if they worked together. She wanted to take both of them and run them through some self image and confidence building exercises/games. Of course, she would need to clear it with the other mother first. And if for some reason the children wouldn’t open up with the other in the room/it didn’t work out, etc. she would meet with them individually. Once they were into this, if it came out the issues were deeper than what they deal with in the school she would refer us out.

I left the hour and ten minute meeting feeling very good. I felt hopeful, finally. We have a plan in place. I’m still continuing my reading and researching on self esteem/confidence in kids. And I’m trying out new parenting techniques in ways of dealing with both of them. It isn’t going to get better over night. It isn’t going to be easy and I’m sure to not get it right 100% of the time. But I have plans; steps to take that will take us in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Here Goes Nothing

Panic struck at 4 am on Sunday morning. I woke startled with one thought- Oh God, what have I done?

You see back during the summer before WC entered kindergarten, I’d enrolled him in karate. I was worried, with his personality that he would be picked on. So he spent a year going to class. It was trying, initially- he cried every class for the first 6 weeks. Eventually he seemed to come into his own and become comfortable with it. He excelled quickly and learned easily. Of course, he had his meltdowns when he didn’t catch on quickly as he thought he should. Unfortunately, he graduated to a belt that no longer met at the time I could take him. The next class level up was an hour earlier- virtually impossible for my schedule to accommodate. Sadly, I turned in notice. And put him scouts for an activity. He stopped karate practice at the end of July. After his seventh birthday in October, is when I began to notice that he was beginning to go downhill- as far as focus, concentration, and self image. I’m not sure if it really has anything to do with it- but it got me to thinking recently. I really wanted to put him back into karate. I began to search out dojo’s closer to our home than our previous facility. The ones that would work on the time wouldn’t work as far as nights. Thursday night is open library at school where we read and he takes his tests. It’s the only time he gets to do this required activity. And he wants to finish scouts, which is Tuesdays. Initially, I was looking for class for both WC & CJ-But decided to put that away.

Then someone I work with told me about the after-school program her daughter attends that picks her up from the school- takes her to the karate studio where they have homework & snack and then a karate class for 45 minutes three days a week. And conditioning skills class the other two. And to top it off this only cost two dollars more a week than what I pay now. When I asked her who it was, I was floored to discover it was already one of the people I’d spoken with when I was looking for class for both kids. I’d really liked him. She had nothing but positive things to say about him & the program.

All four of us went in to meet him on Saturday. WC walks in and starts to say, “I don’t know about… Are those swords on the wall? Cool! And (sparring) gear!” He was off to stare at the swords hanging on the wall. He went over the program and he only has ten other kids in his afterschool program. It’s just him and one other woman (who we also met) and he has no desire to grow beyond 15 kids. So we signed him up. He’ll start March 7th. I think the small size will benefit WC- who doesn’t like large crowds and is easily overwhelmed. WC’s main concern seems to be not knowing where to go at school once he begins to be picked up by the karate instructor. I explained to him that once I let his teacher know about the change that she would make sure that he knew what to do.

This leads me back to my 4am panic attack- I’ve never had anyone else pick him up from school and transport him elsewhere. He’s going to be scared. What if something happens? What if someone hurts him, teases him, or (God forbid) abuses him? Am I really doing the right thing? Will this really help?

I’m still not sure. The only thing I can do is pray about it.

Tomorrow morning is my conference with his teacher and school guidance counselor.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Picture It

     One of the first tools that I used from the parenting book on reading is called positive picturing or mental rehearsal. Basically it’s where you use your imagination to picture a positive process and outcome of an upcoming activity. The author says to tell your child, “Make a picture in your mind…” And then run the child through a guided visualization of the activity where the results are what they want. I’ve never done this, but this author assures me that this will influence how the child sees himself and how he will perform. Use of this tool fell into my lap the other night at bedtime. WC started in on how he can never get his work done on time. He is always the last person in class to finish and he feels like a baby because younger kids help him. So I asked him to close his eyes and make a picture in his mind. It took a while just to get him to understand what I was asking him to do. I started when he gets out of bed and ran him all the way through getting to class and told him that he was listening to every word the teacher said and he understood her directions. He had his paper in front of him and he worked his way through it without any trouble. There were lots of interruptions from him during this. And I was patient and calm the entire time. He asked what if he kept thinking about other things. I told him to say to himself that he was thinking about something else then place it out of his mind and return to his work. I kissed him goodnight and left the room.

It was fifteen to twenty minutes later, I’m in the living room when WC emerges, upset. “Mommy, I keep thinking about other things and I haven’t even gotten out of the car yet!”

It was all I could do not to laugh. Jay, who wasn’t aware of what had transpired at bedtime, was confused.

Dear All Knowing Child Psychologist- What now?

I take WC back to bed. He asks if he can skip getting ready in the morning. And I agree that we don’t have issues with getting out of the house in the morning. Since, we have that down pat, I tell him he can move to class. But, I also say that I think it’s okay if he just gives his brain a rest and go on to sleep. On the positive side, he was attempting to do the exercise on his own. I was afraid he’d balk at it. On the downside, at the moment, he can’t even visualize himself finishing his class work.

Note to self: start smaller next time.

In a move that I should have done months ago, I emailed his teacher. I explained to her what he’d been saying to me. I wanted to find out how accurate his perception of the situation was. She didn’t send home unfinished class work, so is he really lagging behind in it. And, in her reply he does have focus issues. It hadn’t affected his grades but she worried that as things get harder that will change. And she doesn’t send his work home because she doesn’t want to stress him out anymore. She would prefer that we just do his regular homework. So as of now, I have a meeting with her and the school guidance counselor next Wednesday to discuss his issues and what we can do to help.

I’m not abandoning the visualization technique. I’d like to try it again with him soon. And just limit what I ask him to think about.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

After the Storm

The other day, I had an explosion. Shortly after this explosion, I had an epiphany. Of all things it began while WC filled out his valentine cards for his class party. There are 18 kids and we had 16 valentines. So I asked him, “We have 16 valentines and there are 18 in your class. How many more valentines do we need?” It isn’t question that is beyond his capabilities. I genuinely expected an answer back rather quickly. And was floored when he began to stutter and grow frustrated with me. His immediate reaction was that he didn’t know and there’s no way he could possibly figure out such a complicated question.

I attempted to clarify the question. No go. I asked him to count from 16 to 18. He started at one. I tried to correct him to start with 16. Next thing I know we are in a shouting match and I pop him in the mouth with an open hand for screaming at me. This silences him, of course. And in anger, I unload on him just how frustrated I am with his issues. How I don’t understand that he can’t see how smart and wonderful he is. I will not narrate my entire rant. It was not my finest moment in life. But, when I was done, I knew that I was in the wrong. What I had done would not help his self esteem issues. Even though I can’t figure out where they initially came from- it doesn’t matter. It was my frustration in my inability to help him. It was my frustration at how much of my own childhood lack of self esteem that I see in this child.

I am his mother; it is my job to bring him up with a healthy sense of self worth. And I’m failing miserably with him. It has to change. I have to change, as a parent, as person. I had put to rest all my childhood issues during my 20’s. I don’t want him to wait that long. I’d recently received his mid-year benchmark test results. The benchmark test is where they give the exact same test at the beginning of school year, midyear and year end to gauge their progress. Well, on his was a note from his teacher that he didn’t even try. From the test score, I’m betting he only got his name correct. If you didn’t know this child and judged on the score alone, not only did he not learn anything new, he’d forgotten everything before that. When, I asked him about it, his response was, “Well, she said if we didn’t know it to just guess.” Of course, since this child operates under the assumption that he doesn’t know anything, in his mind she just gave him permission to guess every answer. This is also weighing heavily on me as he clams up and refuses to even attempt to answer my valentine question.

In the aftermath of my explosion of frustration, we spent some time on opposite ends of the house. CJ, who witnessed the whole thing, tells me that he is angry with me and retreats back to his room with his brother. I agree with him. Then I go back, to apologize and tell him that I was the one in the wrong. At the door, I hear him talking to CJ. He states that no one likes him. CJ immediately replies, “I like you.” WC then points out that CJ said he didn’t like him when he broke his balloon. CJ then says it was okay. WC tells him that he still upset about his best friend moving away (right before Christmas). Okay, I’m feeling lower than shit right then. I go in to face them.

That afternoon, I began to search for books that could possible help. I needed to learn new ways of dealing with them. That day’s events led to think about what all had been going on. The more they “misbehave” the more of tyrannical dictator I was becoming. I’m spending what precious little time we have together on weekdays, barking orders at them. The more I bark the worse they become. This is not the life I wanted. I’m not being the mother that I wanted to be. I settled on a book after reading excerpts and reader reviews of numerous items. In this entry, I am not going to post the name of the book just yet. I have not gotten all the way through it or tried out enough of the suggestions- yet. I’m going to do everything that I possibly can to change the way that I mother my kids- Even if I have to put aside my own personal pursuit of becoming a published novelist for a little while. Even if my blogging schedule is delayed between posts. I’ve spent my lunch break researching websites on kids self esteem and raising happy kids instead of how to write query letters. Right now I have to put WC on the front burner of my life and make sure that he is getting what he needs most.

This post is running long, for me. I do have a story about using a method from the book I’m reading. I will save it for next post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Okay, I was wrong

It snowed, again. I am without a doubt, sick of it. I'm stuck inside again with the kids. On the upside, I had time to revise my query letter and post it for critique again this morning. On the downside, WC has strep throat. So, lets amend that to say I am stuck inside with a child with a very contagious illness. And waiting for his shadow (or Thing 2) to come down with it.  It started Monday morning when he woke up and said he wasn't feeling well. I chalked it up to them being out so much recently that he didn't want to go back. I took his temp and it was normal & I sent him to school. The last thing I said to him when I dropped him off was something about him feeling better once he got back into the swing of things.
At 12:45 I received a call from the school nurse- he had 102 temp. Okay, I was wrong.
He was asleep in the nurses office when I arrived. They bring him out and he's quiet while I sign him out, present my ID and the nurse takes his temp again while I am there. I'm not sure why she took it again in front of me- I believed her. It registered 102.4. As soon as the doors to the school closed behind us, he spoke for the first time since I arrived. "I told you I didn't feel well this morning."
I had to laugh. "Yes, but without a fever, I didn't have any reason to keep you home," I explained. Also, I really thought he'd get better.
At home he slept for three hours and still had a 102 when he woke up. I gave him some Ibuprofen at that point and an hour later it was normal. He had chicken noodle soup and asked for a hamburger. I told him no.
At three in the morning he was in my room, freaking out that he'd swallowed a tooth. He didn't have any loose teeth when he went to bed. Which is what I told him. But, he was convinced. I have to get up and go into the bathroom to inspect his teeth. After my eyes adjust and I verify that all teeth are present and accounted for, I send him back to bed. It must have been a dream.
He spent yesterday with my mom. She called me at 8:45 and said his temp had already hit 100. I decided that I needed to take him to the clinic after work and get an NP to check him over- just in case he had something that needed antibiotics to get over. His fever again responded to medicine but as the day went on and it wore off it returned. By the time we saw the NP at 6, it was 103.
She wanted to give him a strep test. He started to get upset. I told him to just relax and open his mouth as wide as he could and it would be over soon. No big deal. She swabbed and he immediately vomited all over floor & it kept coming. He'd had soft tacos for lunch. Okay, I was wrong.
The only good thing I can see from this latest bout of snow is that the school is closed, so WC will only miss one day of class. He is cleared to return to school tomorrow.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Change

Whenever you decide to make a change for your child, it can be scary. Am I doing the right thing? We all get set in the routine- the familiar and comfortable. But, what if what’s comfortable isn’t what’s best? We faced these things this past fall when I began to wonder if the daycare facility where CJ spent three days a week was really the best place he could be. Aside from me being at home with him, of course- that isn’t an option right now. So, if he has to spend his days in a care facility- is he in the best one. In October I came to a resounding conclusion. No. And for several reasons:

1. While only being there three days a week, he would come home several times a month with bite marks that were bruised. He was also cited on numerous occasions for biting as well. Although he never bit in any other social situation with children. I began to wonder if they just left them in a room to gnaw on each other. They sure as heck weren’t educating them. Which leads me to:

2. He was out of control- behaviorally. I know that I am the parent and it is my job to parent my child. At the same time when the child is in the care of someone else for 8-9 hours a day- it is imperative that this other caregiver(s) be in cooperation with the parent(s) on how to raise the child. And in my opinion that includes teaching the child how to act. To do otherwise, makes it harder on everyone.

3. They had no educational curriculum or structure. CJ is nearing four. He is smart. They were not sending him up to the next room and wouldn’t tell me why. Now this facility is where WC went and at the time I received assessments twice a year where they tested him on age appropriate skills- letters, number, colors, shapes, etc. I had clear knowledge of his educational progression towards kindergarten. After a year and half, CJ had nothing. It seems they completely quit attempting to provide them with an education or instructions on how to be a decent person.

So, I made the decision to look into other options. WC had started going full time daycare at three and a half and it was getting to the benchmark for CJ as well. He still stayed with my mom for two days of the week. And she also lacked discipline and structure-but she’s the grandparent, so I give her more lenience in that area. But, I knew I didn’t want him going to the current place full time. The first of November I put him on the waiting list of a good Christian school in our area. I’d know a bunch of people to defect from the old daycare when they first opened when WC was there. I prayed, I read, I though, I asked around. I wasn’t sure how long it would take or if we should put him there. So, I prayed some more. Early in December my cell phone rang. It was the Christian school telling me that they had an opening in the 3 room. Would I like to come in for a tour?

That afternoon the boys and I toured the “new school” as it was being called by my boys. I liked what I saw and what I heard. CJ went right in and started playing with the toys. The teacher for his class was out on maternity leave and wouldn’t be back til the end of December and I was welcome to come back then and meet her. I took the enrollment packet home. CJ left calling the place “his new school.”

I filled out and returned the paperwork with a little hesitance. I spoke with the owner and we decided to set his start date for the first of January- that way he could finish the year at old daycare and I could have time to provide notice. I wrote my notice that I was withdrawing his enrollment at the end of the year and turned it in. Then the daycare director expressed what I can only describe as relief. She said she was worried about having to move him to the next room because a child that he didn't get along with was in there. So, they were holding my child back in a lower level room simply because he and another child didn't get along? That didn't seem fair for his development.
At the end of December we were able to visit the new school again and meet his teacher. CJ skips down the hall to the new classroom and happily begins to play with the toys in the new room. I spent about a half an hour speaking with the new teacher and sort of explaining where we were coming from and the challenges that we've faced and his old care wasn't structured. And what I wanted for CJ. When we left, I was completely convinced that this was the right move. She completely understood and explained to me her philosophy and that she has three children of her own. She believed that it is her job to help the parent raise the child.
He started his new school at the first of January. The facility has a webcam that I can access from my computer at work. The first time I pulled it up- I found him sitting in a chair having a time out. Yep, that looks about right. The next time I checked in, they were having circle time. I looked and looked but couldn't see him in the circle. Then from across the room, a head popped up from behind a low bookcase. I just shook my head. Every child was in the circle-but mine.
I spoke with his teacher when I picked him up. Obviously, she could tell that he came from a facility without structure but she assured me that he would get used to it.
And so far he is adjusting well. He's playing well with the other children- no issues with biting. He's happy there. When I pick him up, he isn't in any hurry to leave. I haven't had any problems with him not wanting to go in the morning. He goes around the house singing little songs he's learned there. So far this is turning out to be a really good decision. I'm hoping that in this new environment his learning will really blossom like it was before.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

He's A Mans Now

The other day CJ was playing around behind the couch. He'd stripped off his pajama's and was nude. Not that it is a shocking revelation and anyone who has read a few of my posts. I retrieve some clothes from his room and ask him to come to me to be dressed. He skips over and I notice something on his chest. It's fuzzy. He's gotten into something sticky. And in the dead center of his chest is a perfect circle of dark fuzz. WC takes notice when I say that I will wash CJ off. He exclaims that CJ now has chest hair.
CJ looks down and breaks into a wide smile. He puffed his chest out. "I'm a mans now!"
Of course, I can't keep from laughing. "You're a man now?"
He smiles sheepishly. "No, I not a mans now."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When Your Father Has a Concussion, It's Time To Go Inside...

When we brought snow boots home from Pennsylvania last year, I thought that we wouldn't need them again before they outgrew them. But, yesterday morning we woke up to 4 inches of snow on the ground- and it was still snowing. I've never known Jay not to go to work due to weather. He always goes. He stayed home. About midday they all head out into the cold. There's snowball making and rolling around the snow. Why do children feel the need to throw themselves down and roll around in snow?
Then Jay brought out our homemade sled and pulled the boys up and down the street. I used the opportunity to try out my new camera in the snow. I'm watching Jay run backwards pulling the sled when he slips and falls flat on his back- the back of his head hitting the sidewalk.
Six years ago a work colleague of mine died after falling backwards over a concrete parking divider and striking his head. I will not allow my children to ride hanging onto the front of a shopping cart because if they fall there isn't anyway for them to catch themselves. He was a young man and it still haunts me- one minute he's waiving goodbye to friends he'd just eaten dinner with and then he's gone. It's the only thing that flashes in my mind when I see back of Jay's head bounce off the sidewalk. My mind then switches gears and goes to assessing the situation so I can figure out what needs to be done. Jay is getting to his feet by the time I get there. He says he's okay but I'm not convinced. He insists that he just needs a minute. I almost off to pull the boys on the sled so the fun can continue. Almost. The boys cheeks are very red and chapped and Jay is still dazed. So I call an end to snow fun and tell them it's time to go inside. Of course, they protest. Why? Why? Why?
Because, when your father has a concussion, It's time to go inside. That's why.
He still isn't feeling well and I want him to go to the doctor. But he went back to work today, instead.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


For the past couple of weeks WC has declared that he is ‘Larry’ and that he ‘likes to kiss boys named CJ.’ WC will make his announcement then chase a giggling, screaming CJ through the house, catch him then wrestle him to the ground in an attempt to kiss his cheek. Larry gets his wish, most of the time. Occasionally, CJ foils his plans and prevents him from kissing him until they both tire of the game.

So far the only point I see in the game is that it takes advantage of blending their favorite activities: running & wrestling each other. WC merely mentions the name Larry and CJ squeals in spastic delight and off they go. The other night as I was drying them off from bath time, WC said “I’m Larry.” And off went two naked, screaming boys through the house. It looked like a scene from Greco Roman wrestling in the living room.

Saturday night we put the boys to bed, and then Jay and I watched some television before retiring. We’d heard the boys bumbling around in their room and Jay had gone back to put them back to bed. Their bedroom door open and shut after that, but we didn’t hear anything so we assumed that the perpetrator had returned to bed on his own accord. Jay and I go into our room to get ready for bed and we just entered when we hear the long exhale of a sleeping child. I look at the bed-empty. We stare at each other a second and creep around to the other side of the bed. And there in the floor is CJ, sound asleep. He’s on his stomach and wedged between the bed frame and the night table. There’s no way to lift him straight up off the floor- he’d hit the bed frame and night table. We were going to have to slide him out then lift him. I go to open their bedroom door and WC sits right up. We asked if he knew his brother was in our room, he shook his head no. But, we knew he wouldn’t be awake unless he knew that his brother wasn’t in the bed below. In CJ’s bed, a giant stuffed dog was placed under the covers, as if were being made to look like CJ sleeping in his bed. We placed a sleeping CJ back into his bed.

The next morning we asked if CJ remembered going into our room and falling asleep in the floor. He did; he said that Larry was after him. Then we were able to get the story out of WC. WC said that he was Larry and CJ jumped out of bed and ran out of the room. WC fearing that he would be in trouble placed the stuffed dog into CJ’s bed hoping we wouldn’t notice the difference. That’s a 7 year old for you- hoping we wouldn’t notice the difference between a stuffed dog and our 3 year old. Then WC laid in bed worrying about where CJ went off to. And CJ had sought refuge from Larry by hiding behind our bed and fell asleep.