Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I can be normal again, well relatively speaking


just so you know miracles DO happen (and also, life goes back to normal)

Guess who's napping right now?  And only cried for a minute when I put him down.

Guess who else is going to go take a nap?

This is an easy quiz.

Monday, January 25, 2010


So my oldest who is five is a bright, fun and thoughtful girl. She's also extremely melodramatic, and can't seem to let things go... everything that doesn't go her way is literally the end of the world in her mind.

Lately this behavior is disruptive in her class. I am at a loss as to how to deal and manage her behavior...and help her change it.

This morning as we walked to her class, she was running around with her friends and her umbrella when her ponytail came loose and her clip holding her bangs fell out...and she had a sobbing breakdown, halfway to her classroom. I explained that standing there and crying would not fix her hair, the best choice was to walk over to her classroom and then I could fix it for her. She was incredibly worried about what people would think of her.

Eventually she calmed down and we were able to get in line and do her hair, give her a hug and a kiss. I talked to her about how when she was crying and freaking out it didn't help solve the problem. I explained that being calm and having me help her solved the problem. I could tell she was still holding onto those frantic emotions she had. I watched her walk into the classroom with her classmates and then watched as she broke down into tears again.

That's when I went over and she did her routine, "I'm scared!" and "everyone's looking at me" (when no one cares or is even looking at her) talk and starts to really freak herself out... she knows how to make herself more and more agitated...to the point where once she has her freak out she's fine. Every kid in the 24 kid classroom walked in, deposited their coats, backpacks, lunch boxes and then picked their work box up from their cubbies and sat down to work. My daughter was cowering next to me, refusing to let it go. The teacher eventually had to come over and work her magic. She is magic to me. I told her how sorry I was and her teacher told me to go take a breath, she'd take care of it.

This is frustrating because... intellectually - my 5 year old is at the top of her class... socially... incredibly immature when it comes to anything that doesn't go her way.

What do I do??? I've started to give her specific, consistent chores... ever since she was 18 months she's been into her appearance... she's so overly aware of details and what people think... or what she thinks people think ... I worry that if we don't get things taken care of now...she's going to have a hard go of it as a teen with peer pressure.

I don't know what to do. My 3 year old could not give a rat's bum what anyone else thinks. Rewards, timeouts... don't work on her. With my 5 year old... anytime she's told to go to timeout for talking back, poking her sister in the eye, etc... it's instant tears and manipulation "you don't love me, you hate me... you don' t think I'm cute."


Thursday, January 21, 2010

I win no parenting awards today

I am having a crisis.

One you probably have all experienced so I'm not sure if I just need to vent it out, or if anyone might actually have a viable solution OR IF THERE'S EVEN A SOLUTION AT ALL.

Here's the deal,

S. was a terrible sleeper at first, you know, the newborn stage and whatnot.  Then one night I swaddled him tight and he slept like 5 hours.  Miracle.  Then the swaddling continued and more sleep at night but still no napping during the day.  This continued for about 5 months, night sleeping but no napping unless he was napping on me.  It near sent me over the edge.  Then one day I just put him in his crib and walked away throwing my hands in the air.  He cried for 25 minutes and then slept for 2.5 hours.  Then the heavens opened and poured out good fortune upon me and from that point on he was a 2 nap a day for 2 hours and 11-12 hours a night kind of kid.  I never had to rock him all the way to sleep, just put him in his crib and he'd do the rest and if he did fall asleep while we were rocking than I could just put him in his crib and he'd continue on napping or whatever.

Teething a mouth full of fangs all at the same time didn't even phase the kid, barring the occasional random episode he still napped and slept like a champion.  I had hit the jackpot.

Until Tuesday.  

Tuesday entailed an early wake up call (about 5:50 am), he usually sleeps until somewhere around 7 at least.  So we get up, we eat, we play, watch some toons.  Then the eye rubbing, the yawning, the tell tale signs of exhaustion and nap readiness.  So we go to his room, rock in the chair and he falls asleep pronto.  I go to lay him down and he wakes as soon as I stand up, terrified, screaming and clinging to me like a spider monkey.  Back down I sit, more rocking, back to sleep, go to get up and the whole episode repeats itself.  So I just lay him down thinking he'll cry for a few minutes and go down.  WRONG.  Screaming, lots of screaming.  No sleeping.

Repeat for the last 3 days.  

Here's the kicker, at night, for the most part he's going down with absolutely no difficulty whatsoever.  How do you explain that?

Teething?  Perhaps.  Tylenol doesn't seem to be helping much and then how would you explain why he's going to bed at night with no problem?

Giving up naps?  Then why is he falling asleep instantly when I rock him and acting so sleepy?

Growth spurt?

Ear infection?  Again, why would he be sleeping at night so well (except he is waking up super early, especially today.  Hello 4:30 am!).

If he were simply giving up naps that would be fine, but I think I've demonstrated that's not the case.  Crying it out hasn't worked so far (though he's finally quiet for the time being).  I've made an appointment with the pediatrician to have his ears checked.

The worst part of it all is how I'm handling this situation.  I find myself without any patience, on the verge of screaming and yelling back at him.  I know how wrong that reaction is, he's 17.5 months old for pity's sake.  Why am I not more motherly and loving?  Where has my nurturing spirit gone?  It's like the first time he tries to really test my patience and motherly skills I go berserk and selfish and only think about me and how I'm losing it and how I can't take this anymore.


What else doesn't help is that we live in my in-laws basement and every move I make I feel like I'm being watched.  It's seriously the fishbowl effect.  As if I didn't feel awful enough about how poorly I'm handling stress, I snap at everyone and generally am acting as ugly and dramatic as I possibly can.

I hate that they're seeing this side of me.

I hate that we don't have our own space.

I hate their damn dog and his clicky toenails on the hardwood floor or the way he barks and goes bananas when the doorbell rings.

I hate the advice they try to give me.

I hate the weather.

I hate not being home alone to deal with this.

I am acting like a petulant child.  Sullen, defensive, and quick to anger.  

I am a train wreck.

I am a bad mommy today.


Friday, January 1, 2010

fwiw: reconciliation

here's a little follow up to the mean girl post:

time has healed some wounds. suzie did apologize--more than once--and then she waited. it was kind of sweet, really. i could tell when we talked about it that her regret and her desire to make things right was sincere. there were numerous times she would ask us or another friend if she should call katy or try to chat with her when she was on facebook, but it never seemed to be the right time. at school, katy wouldn't even look at her.

then a couple of days ago she must have called katy or something, because suze came jumping into the living room all excited (and a little too proud of herself) that she was going to go over to katy's (she lives just around the corner). they reconciled and katy even came over to our house. i know things may still be a bit awkward--they can both get on each other's nerves--but they're both trying.

the reason i wanted to bring this up again (in addition to the fact that i like resolution) is that i learned a valuable lesson from katy's mom. she works with my husband and i was afraid that would be a little awkward (because we all know how easy it is to get all mother bear when it comes to our kids). i had an opportunity to speak with her at the school's christmas party and i was so grateful and impressed.

katy's mother was great. i apologized to her and told her how badly we felt and how much we loved and missed katy. she had the right to be very angry, but instead she was awesome. she took the "girls will be girls" approach, telling me that katy has been guilty of doing the very same thing. while she was obviously sad that her daughter's feelings had been hurt, she also made it clear she wanted the two to reconcile. she expressed her hopes that suzie would be patient while katy worked through it and that they would be friends again. she also told me how much they loved and missed suze and was so very understanding. that was super generous of her, especially as, in this case, it was completely my child's fault.

what i have observed as a mother with older kids--particularly as a mother of a daughter--is that we have two options when our girls mix it up with or are hurt by other girls. we can go all mother bear and want to hurt somebody (this is my instinctual response) and try to fix it. or we can love and support our own child, while remaining open to the possibility that there are two sides to every story; get the facts and look at them with some degree of perspective; and give our kids the space to work things out and learn what they can and need to from the experience.

with the girls in my hood, i have seen the effects of both types of parental responses. my observation is that the results are generally better--resolution is more likely and my child learns so much more--when i take the high road.

i guess what i am saying is, when i grow up i want to be like katy's mom.

that's all.