Tag Archives: parenting

Things are looking up

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When I finished my post about Tommy’s sleep issues the other day, I looked down to find him sound asleep on the family room floor…right there at m feet. So yes, the lack of sleep did finally catch up with him. Now, was his problem magically solved? No.

Saturday night and Monday night were both a bit rough. Thankfully though, he woke up Tuesday morning looking refreshed and eager to go to school. I can’t say the same about Anna, but that’s another story. Last night he only came out of his room once, which is a huge improvement. At this point I’d say that I am cautiously optimistic. Time to get working on that new and improved bedtime routine!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Anna has been stirring up trouble at night. OK…to be completely honest, she’s been stirring up trouble for most of break, but at night it has more of an impact on Tommy. She gets goofy, starts acting up and that just pushes his buttons. So, as we revamp the bedtime routine it will definitely involve keeping them separate after a certain point. Tommy simply cannot settle himself if she’s running around like a goofball.

Its so nice to be returning to normal around here!

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Mommy…I can’t sleep

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A phrase I’ve heard way too much of lately.

Seriously…I’ve heard it at least once a night on 12 of the last 14 nights from the same child.

Since right before winter break started, Tommy has been having trouble getting to sleep. This is not uncommon in children with ADHD, and we’ve seen it before. And yes, if he takes his medication too late in the day, that will also make it more likely to happen. We also know that Tommy really needs structure and routine, so we’ve kept bedtime the same for the break. Other than going to school, we’ve done everything we can to preserve his normal schedule over break.

I’ve consulted many sources regarding how to help my child sleep. We keep bedtime the same every night. He’s not allowed to have chocolate after dinner. Dessert has to be done a certain amount time before bedtime. We play a CD of ocean waves as white noise to fill the room. Recently, I also read advice that parents not dismiss their child’s sleeping difficulties. (Apparently its common for parents to just tell their kid to be quiet and go to sleep.) I definitely don’t dismiss them. I know that his sleep issues are real. I have them myself. I’ve told him this, and I’ve taught him all of my best relaxation techniques that I use. Muscle relaxation exercises, deep breathing, counting, even getting back up and writing/drawing what’s in his head to get it out. A shower before bedtime doesn’t really seem to calm him. We’ve also tried some of the calming activities that he learned in OT.

Now, I must admit that our bedtime routine isn’t fantastic, but we try. Plus, the routine has been rough for quite some time…not a new development. So, the questions still remain unanswered…what is the trigger that has caused this to happen recently? What the heck am I going to do about it? At this point, he’s lost anywhere from 1-2 hours of sleep every night since school got out. He’s still waking up at pretty much his normal time, so the lack of sleep HAS to be catching up with him.

I really don’t know what else to do to help him. I’m afraid that when he goes back to school next week he’s going to be a complete and total wreck. Sure, maybe going back to school and resuming a completely normal schedule will help set him straight. But, if it doesn’t “fix” his issues, then what?

At this point, I dread bedtime. I know that it is the beginning of a nearly 2 hour time period of me going up and down the stairs every 20 minutes. When he thinks he’s tried “everything” to get to sleep, he climbs out of bed, turns on his light, comes out into the hallway, turns on the hall light and yells down to me…”mommy…I can’t sleep.” I keep telling him that getting out of bed and turning on all the lights is just restarting the whole process, but he just won’t tolerate laying in bed unable to sleep.

I don’t have a magic mommy button, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what to do to fix this.

House Rules

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I’ve been saying for quite some time that there would be some new rules around here. I even went as far as to tell the children that this summer would be different. It would not be all fun and games…there would be structure. Over the first couple of weeks, I tried to use potential playdates as motivation to behave and do things around the house. That didn’t work. They had decided that they weren’t going to put forth the effort. So then I just started taking away privileges. They weren’t allowed to go play with friends, to go to movies, to go to Tastee Freeze, and so on. I thought I was prepared to stand my ground, but I didn’t. After a couple of days in the house they just fought so much I couldn’t stand it. It got to a point where I was the one being punished. That was when the promise of rules became a reality.

In the past when I’ve thought about these rules, I’ve come up with a VERY long list. That’s part of why the rules had not yet materialized. I couldn’t decide what to include and what to leave off. I also was unsure of how to word some of the rules so that the children didn’t find loopholes. So, last week I Googled “house rules” and “family rules” and started putting together a list of possible rules by looking at examples from others.  I printed out this long list of possible rules and my husband and I went to work. We eliminated some things; we grouped others together as related. Amazingly enough, by the time we were done we had 9 clear cut rules for our house.

1. Do what you are told, when you are told.

2. Do not talk back to mommy and daddy.

3. Tell no lies.

4. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.

5. If it will hurt someone’s feelings, keep it to yourself.

6. Respect other people’s property.

7. If you…

–     Open it, close it

–     Turn it on, turn it off

–     Take it out, put it away

8. When inside, use your inside voice.

9. Chores must be done before friends come over or the TV goes on.

So far, things are going pretty well.  Yes, they are definitely still breaking the rules, but I feel like they take me more seriously now.

They smell fear

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Seriously, my kids smell fear…my fear.

When my husband is out of town, the children always seem to get the best of me. There’s 2 of them and only 1 of me. Without backup coming home in the evening, they outnumber me sun up to sun down. After a few days without my husband, I’m usually spent. By the time he returns, they’ve worn me down and I feel like I’m not in control. (If you know me, you’ll know that loss of control is a MAJOR issue.) I feel like they don’t take me seriously, like they don’t respect my authority.

So, my husband is traveling for business this week. He’s only been gone since this afternoon and the children have already messed with me. Either they’re just getting smart about this, or they sense my fear. They were total boogers on our way home from our normal Tuesday activities. They were breaking rules right and left. I’d say “stop doing that”, and they’d just find a way to modify it so that they could say they weren’t doing the same thing anymore. I know, some of that is just their age, but there’s only so much of it I can take in one night.

These are going to be 3 very long days.

Hardest thing I’ve had to do as a parent

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After a few days of what was probably denial, and my attempt to make life wait for me to be ready, I had to wake up and smell the coffee. That Tuesday, I knew that Patches needed to see the vet. I knew I couldn’t hold off any longer. He hadn’t eaten much of anything over the weekend and was clearly not doing well. In my head, I was still holding on to the hope that this was just a bad flare up of his intestinal condition. But, since I had to take the kids with me to this appointment, I needed to prepare them for the worst possible scenario. After all, Patches was almost 15 years old.

When I explained to them that we might need to say goodbye to Patches, I got mixed reactions. Anna cried. Tommy was clearly sad, but did not shed a tear. Perhaps he was in the same land of denial that I was in. He asked if we could take a picture of Patches. We’ve seen this before with Tommy. He takes pictures of all our pets with us on vacation so that he’s not sad about missing them. It’s one of his ways of coping.  We took a few pictures and then we headed off to the vet…in a very somber state. The appointment was fairly uneventful. The doctor took some blood and then sent us home with some critical care dog food, some pro-biotics, and some medicine to help with nausea. This was great for the kids, but I knew what was coming.

I was finally letting myself deal with the possibility that we would have to put Patches down. I waited anxiously for the call from the vet the next morning. The news was pretty much what I had expected. Patches had significant kidney failure. He gave us the option of bringing him in for IV fluids or subcutaneous fluids twice a day…and we’ll see what happens. At first I went for this…took him in for the sub. cu. fluids that afternoon. (I didn’t want to leave him all day for IV.) But I couldn’t ignore the numbers. Clearly, his kidney failure was severe. He wasn’t going to get better. It was time.

That night we all sat down together. We told the kids what was going to happen. They asked a lot of questions and cried a lot. The kids each took a turn holding Patches, hugging him, saying goodbye. We looked at pictures and even laughed a little bit. Tommy had a really hard time getting to sleep that night. (as did I.) The next morning, Tommy was ok. He said his last goodbyes and headed off to school. I think he had already moved on. Anna and I were another story. We were both falling apart at the seams. Grandma and Grandpa came to stay with Anna while I took Patches, and to be here so that I didn’t have to come home to an empty house. After school, Anna’s teacher said that she cried twice while she was there. She also got really upset at bedtime. Thankfully we had a very busy weekend ahead of us to keep our minds off of this.

This was whole experience was incredibly challenging for me. I’ve had Patches since he was 4 weeks old. I’ve always known that losing him would be very hard for me. As a mother, you just know that you have to be the rock for your children in times like this. But, I never could have imagined just how hard it would be to be that rock for them and to deal with my own emotions all at the same time. Definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a parent so far.

Pirate Mayhem

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Last week at this time, I was feeling completely overwhelmed with planning Tommy’s birthday party.  I had my sights set on bounce house in the backyard for the kids and a beer in my hand.  In between where I was and where I wanted to be, there stood a ton of cleaning.  I really had no intention of doing much of anything with the pirate theme that Tommy chose for his party, other than to pass out pirate goodies and include gold coins with the candy in the pinata.

Now that I’ve been able to get some of that cleaning out of the way, things really feel like they’re moving.  On Sunday, my sister asked me if I was doing anything with the pirate theme besides hiding the treasure chest (pinata) in the backyard.  At that point…nope.  Later that evening, I started to feel a bit guilty so I started searching for pirate party ideas.  Now, I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and am trying to figure out just how many of them I’m actually going to use.

I hope the kiddos come prepared for all sorts of pirate mayhem, cuz they sure are going to get some.  There will be eye patches, inflatable swords and tattoos.  They will have to walk the plank.  Hopefully they’ll get to play a rousing game of sink the enemy too.  In the meantime, they’ll be snacking on pirate peg legs, fish and cannonballs.  They’ll wash it all down with a splash of sharks blood punch.  I’m even thinking about making some Jell-o ocean blue.   They’ll have to complete a treasure hunt in order to find the pinata.  (And yes, there will be the bounce house too!)  I am on a roll, and perhaps I should be stopped. 

Sure, there’s still quite a bit of cleaning to do, and errands to run, but I feel much more optimistic about it this week than I did last week.  I’m sure that by Friday evening I’m going to be in an overdrive so high that I won’t be able to sleep.  Hopefully everything will go smoothly.  And the neighbors, they’d better just settle in for a long evening.  For all those nights when the boys behind us played night baseball games under a flood light…this is pirate revenge.

Arrrgh!  Walk the plank!

Don’t sweat the small stuff

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Remember that book?  Great message.  It needs to be my new motto.

Lately I’ve been reminded of how much I tend to dwell on the little things, in many cases blowing them out of proportion.  It’s not new for me, but as time goes on it is becoming more of an obstacle in my life.  I just have to let go of some things.  I need to accept the fact that I cannot control everything.  There’s only so much I can do.

What I’ve learned lately:

I just have to do my best and then let go.  I can pack the things the kids need each day for camp.  I can remind them when I drop them off what it is that I packed for them that day.  After that, it’s up to them.  If they don’t pick up where I left off, and take a little responsibility for their own needs, there’s nothing more I can do.  I need to remember that eventually they’ll learn their lesson and will start to be more responsible. 

If I buy something or do something nice for the kids, they may or may not show their appreciation in the way I expect.  They may not even pay enough attention to ensure that the purchased item actually arrives at home safely.  Things will get lost.  It is not the end of the world.  Maybe a little sadness over a lost treat will help them remember to pay attention next time.

The kids will experience sadness and disappointment, and I can’t (shouldn’t) always make it go away.  Yes, it may be hard to watch them be so upset about something that they lost, but it is just a part of life.  This temporary pain they’re feeling will help to shape who they are.

When looking for lost treasures, always be sure to look up.  If I had been thorough in my searching for the aforementioned “lost thing”, things wouldn’t have been so ugly.

Noise caused by unsupervised children should be promptly investigated.  As the kids get bigger, their bickering and fighting is only getting more dramatic.  There’s more hitting, shoving and kicking…and it’s all getting stronger.  Last night’s family explosion could have been avoided if we had stopped what we were doing and gone down to see what was going on.

Glasses containing alcohol (or any other beverage) should not be left on the side tables next to the couch.  Especially in the evenings, the spats between the children tend to take place on the couch and are centered around personal space.  This personal space includes, but is not limited to the couch.  Arms and legs may protrude in odd directions.

On Tuesday, I dressed the kids in their swimwear and sent them out the door with everything they needed for the day.  When I picked them up, Anna was wearing pants (instead of the skorts she left the house in) because she didn’t pay attention to where she put them.  I was then informed that they both had bowled that afternoon with out socks because neither remembered/noticed that I had packed socks and gym shoes for them.  On Wednesday, I bought Tommy a small stuffed monster from a crafter at the Farmer’s Market.  He didn’t show nearly as much excitement as I had expected.  On the way home, he noticed it was missing and it was deemed lost after returning to the presumed scene of the crime and coming up empty handed.  This made for a miserable evening of me being angry, him being upset, and me feeling horrible watching him feel horrible.  Lost turned to found in the morning when the kids piled into the van and Tommy looked up to find his monster tucked securely in the handle above his seat. 

After spending the bulk of our holiday weekend painting Tommy’s bed and finishing up his new room, the children were left alone together watching TV.  When they started bickering, we didn’t drop what we were doing to go put an end to it.  So the bickering came to us, complete with the report that “Anna spilled something.”  The “something” that she spilled was Aaron’s full glass of beer.  After interrogation, it was determined that Anna came in contact with the glass, which caused it to tip.  She did so as a result of being kicked or hit by her brother.