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.