Saturday, October 31, 2009

I must be speaking in tongues tonight

I must not be a "hop to it" kind of mom, because my kids are certainly not "hop to it" kids.  Most of the time this works - it's ok to finish reading the page you're on or finish the current game you're in the middle of on the computer.  From experience with Oldest, I know that sometimes interrupting mid-stream will cause more problems than just letting her come to a good stopping point - with boundaries.

Unfortunately this doesn't work when I'm in a "hop to it" kind of mood.  We all have them, right parents?  Those days when we're just not as patient and accommodating as we are on other days.  Mine tend to occur on Saturdays.  See my post about becoming Mom of the Year for a good Saturday example.  I actually entered that post in a contest recently but didn't win.  Poor me. 

Anyway, I digress.  Today is that kind of day for me.  I'm on night 12 of interrupted sleep due to a PUPPY, not an infant, I have no voice (my own fault - we screamed our lungs out at the Our Lady Peace concert a couple of nights ago) and today was "get shit done around the house day."  When I'm in the mood to get shit done around the house, with no voice, with sleep deprivation settling in deeper and deeper (did I mention Lilly has diarrhea - that's not a good combo with effective housetraining), then I know it sounds crazy - I just don't feel like being accommodating! 

And my kids aren't used to this.  So when I say put the book away and go take your shower, Oldest thinks (rightfully) that she can finish it up first.  But when I say "did Mommy just say to put that book AWAY and take your shower?"  I would think she would hear the "you're getting ready to get your ass handed to you on a silver platter tone."  I sure as hell heard it when my mom used it on me.  But she really doesn't.  It might have something to do with her Imaginational Overexcitability, because I think she really doesn't hear me AT ALL. 

And the lack of listening wasn't over major issues today, just annoying, like this one: 

We're reading a 500 page book together right now.  She reads a page, then I read a page and so on.  We do it every night before bed.  It's called The Mysterious Benedict Society, pretty awesome, actually.  Anyway, here it became my turn and I said, "Ok, Oldest, after this page, it's time for bed." 

Oldest:  "Oh, mom, really?  I want to do a couple more pages."  Signifying she WAS listening in this instance.
Me:  "No, sorry honey it's time."  I read the page, get the bookmark.  She takes the book out of my hands and just starts right into the next page!  I'm like, "Oldest, what did I just say?" 

"Ooooohhhhh, Okaaaaaaaay." 

That, and Youngest knows where all the writing utensil hiding spots are now.  I've caught her writing on something inappropriate at least 6x today. 

So no, not a big deal really, just annoying.  On a day where it's easy to get annoyed.  And I certainly have to say that wanting to read books and write are better things to "not hop to it" over, then oh, hmmmm, being told to stop beating the crap out of each other.  Thank goodness we don't have that.  Most days. 

It'll be better tomorrow, though, it always is,  isn't it?  :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Follow Up Fundamentals

All -

I've been enjoying the comments you are leaving on my posts.  Even while some of your stories make me so sad for you.  I remember so well the pain of those years when we just didn't know what was happening with Oldest.  And I am so thankful to the teacher who guided us down the road to testing her (in a roundabout way). 

I wish I had had blogs to read in those years where I really struggled.  You know, the struggle of whether your child is facing true, longterm hardship versus the struggle WE face on those days of "get me to bedtime" hardships. 

My point?  Keep the comments coming.  And a question for some of you veterans.  If I'm interested in replying to some comments, should I comment under their comment or try to reach out to the person another way?  Or should I do blanket posts like this one, addressing them all in one swoop? 

I jumped right in and started this blog before I learned some of the basics, and I'm glad I did (thank you to for that advice!) - I obviously have a lot to get off of my conscience!  That's why I'm asking you all for some advice today about the nuts and bolts.  My friend has gone and moved cross country on me, so we can't quite meet for coffee and blogging tutorials anymore.  :)

Plus - visit me today - I'm 2 people away from 400 visits!  In a little less than 3 months, is that something to say "Yippppppeeeeeeee" about?  I think so, so "YIPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gymnastics Update

So Husband took the kids to Gymnastics last night.  Yours truly had a meeting and I just don't like sending sitters with the kids to extra-curriculars.  Call me crazy.  Something about them driving my kids around town that I can't get past.

Anyway, I was soooooooo nervous about the three of them going.  Husband is such a great dad and loves our kids so much, but his work schedule is such that he doesn't often get to see them at their "finest," if you know what I mean.  Check out my post on Un-happy Hour to get the visual. 

Would it be good for him to see it?  Sure, of course!  But do I want him seeing a gymnastics style meltdown on one of the only nights he gets to take them.  No.  It would be the reality of life, yes, but I just didn't want him to have a tough go of it last night. 

So I get home from the meeting at 9:25.  The house is completely quiet downstairs, no puppy in her pack and play (great recycling of kid stuff, I think!), no tv, etc.  I head upstairs and there's Oldest on the landing waiting for me with Lilly in her arms. 

Aside from my surprise at finding her still awake at that time of night, I say "hi, honey, tell me about gymnastics."

"It was perfect!  I was perfect!" 

From experience, I can say that her evaluation is sometimes, how can we say it?  Padded toward the positive. 

So I get her to bed, which consisted of saying "get in bed, it's late," and leave the room.  Head down the hall to husband and say, "do I want to know how it went?"

His reply?  "Dude, that kid who coughed the whole time was a total pain in the ass - what was that parent thinking?  Even the teachers were like WHAT THE HELL." 

"Well, that sucks.  What about our kids?  What about you?  Was it fulfilling?  Do you hate me for sending you?  Did Oldest try?  Did she fall apart?  Isn't Youngest so funny the way she goes for it?  DETAILS!" 

"Oh that?  It was great, they had fun.  You going downstairs?" 

Aaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh!  Sometimes you really need a woman to give you the information you need, don't you?

So I guess that means it went well even IF I can't get any info about it.  He did say later, sweetheart that he is, "You made such a good decision enrolling Oldest in this.  She needs confidence in her physical skills so badly and help with coordination.  And Youngest in the foam pit was a hoot.  She's so little she can't get out!"  God, I love him. 

So I guess I got my info after all.  Just not on my schedule.  BUT, gotta take our victories where we can, right?  They did it.  :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Such a Blogging Slacker this Week!

Jeez, it's only been 2 months since I started this blog and I MISS it when I can't get to it because LIFE is getting in the way of talking about life! 

At least my Super Sunday Series is almost finished - watch for it on, yes, SUNDAY!  The final overexcitability.  It will be nice to put them to bed after this week.  Next week, I'm stepping back and doing a little tutorial on "gifted signs."  I originally was going to do tongue in cheek ones, like "you know your child is gifted when he or she cries at every birthday party for 5 years straight," but think the overexcitabilities have given enough of a taste of that. 

Nope, this is for the people out there who maybe don't know yet what kind of gifted child they have.  So many lists to cull through, so many different levels to think about.  Not sure yet of the scope, but I'll get there.  Anyway, here's hoping everyone is avoiding the Swine.  I have to admit I'm thinking about a post on "preparing your basement for a pandemic." 

While I have said for a long time if one ever hit, I would quarantine my family for "as long as it took," the sad reality (for me, at least) is that when it arrived (because it's totally in our area now), I was already so de-sensitized to it, to the possibility of our family getting it, that it's just business as usual with a whole lot of hand sanitizer thrown in.  Human nature, I guess - you always think it won't happen to you.  And I really hope it doesn't.  And worry about others who have it.  But not enough to bar the doors and lock the windows.

Well, anyway.  See you Sunday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's True - the Best Gifts DO Come in the Smallest Packages

Lilly came home yesterday.  I just have to let the pictures speak for themselves.  :)

What wonderful lessons about responsibility and life this little bundle is going to teach my girls!  Can't wait! 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Patch makes it all better

We got home from the Pumpkin Patch a little bit ago and have literally 90 minutes to turn our dirty, smelly selves around and get ready for the rehearsal.  Youngest is upstairs not napping, but again yelling about coming out.  SERIOUSLY, could she have picked a worse weekend for this?

BUT, here are some pictures from the Pumpkin Patch, which, truly, is our favorite thing to do all year.  Talk about affirming our family and making us realize that THIS is what life's about - not the rat race. 

Oldest - 2002.

Oldest - 2009.

Youngest 2007. 

Youngest, 2009.

How fun it is to watch them grow at this pumpkin every year. 

And my final, my favorite for this year's trip: 

Back to the whirlwind.  Ready, Set, GO!

It's Just too Much

Today begins a whirlwind weekend for us. 
  1. Girls off school today
  2. Pumpkin patch this morning.
  3. Brother in law's wedding this weekend, which includes rehearsal, dinner, ceremony, reception, overnight at a hotel.
  4. All of the fun and games associated with being in the wedding party - Husband's a groomsman, I'm a reader and Oldest is handing out programs.
  5. My parents are coming to help with Youngest, so I have them to hostess a little bit.
  6. We have a custom made table delivered to our house Sunday.  I haven't even started the process of selling our other table on Craig's List.
  7. Puppy - her name is Lilly!  On Monday.
  8. Just found out that Husband is out of town now Monday morning until Tuesday night. 
Not going to be much time to stop and breathe.  So I  got up early to do things like THIS and my little lovebug Youngest is up there yelling about coming out.  Plus she has a stuffy nose.  Plus there's something wrong with my google analytics.  And I'm not the I/T support around here!

Shit.  :)

Thank goodness I have Sunday's post all ready to go.  So that will go out no matter what.  Thank goodness I got my hair done last week - because good hair always helps with Positive Mental Attitude.  Thank goodness I have this wonderful family to stay totally busy with until Monday - some people aren't so blessed.  Thank goodness we're starting our morning right - at Bob Evan's.

I'm off to the races.  See you at the finish line.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Un-Happy Hour

Does anyone else have a terrible time with your kids between 4 and 6pm?  I know for infants this time is the witching hour, but I'm finding it's lasted past infancy and into the twos (and apparently, sevens) in our house. 

Here is the scene.  Oldest gets picked up at 3:30 from school.  She's tired, she needs to wind down, chill out, veg on the couch a little bit.  She needs to destress.  Conversely, Youngest has just woken up from her afternoon nap and she is ready to go, with a capital G-O.  The dichotomy between these two needs is, well, distressing for all of us.

But it's not just the "one's tired and one's not" issue, I'm beginning to suspect.  I'd planned pretty well to get around that.  Letting Oldest watch a show, while I take Youngest in the back yard to burn it off, things like that.  Here's what I think it is:

Oldest has been away from Mommy all day and needs me back.  She needs to feel like she is my focus, that I want to hear about her day.  And I want that too.  I've missed her.  I want to know what happened at school.  We also need to do piano practice, though I try not to do it right after school because it usually has disastrous consequences.  Like yesterday, which resulted in them both having two sets of time outs, EACH.  But I won't bore you with those details today.  I'm SO over it.

And Youngest should be fine with this need of Oldest, right?  She should understand that she has had Mommy all to herself for 5 whole hours (nap's in there for 2 hours) and now it's "Oldest time" - kinda like Miller time. 

Are you all laughing yet?  She's TWO, of COURSE she doesn't understand that!  The personalized time with Mommy means she wants more, and in her "it's all about me" stage of development (which, let's just be honest here - some people never "grow" past that stage), the more Mommy time she gets, the more she thinks she's entitled to have.   I SO want to put it's like a crack addiction, but I can't, JUST CAN'T, compare my two year old's need for Mommy to a crack addiction (unless I just did?). 

So they fight with each other.  LITERALLY, every time I leave the room, Oldest is screaming at Youngest and Youngest is either taking something from Oldest or hauling off and smacking her.  I'm all about siblings solving their own differences, but I can't tolerate the hitting and I can't tolerate the bellowing.  NO ONE (except Mommy, when she's had ENOUGH) is allowed to bellow in THIS house.

So now that I've deciphered the WHY, let's move on to the HOW TO FIX.  Because it's driving me crazy.  Tips, tricks, HELP out there?????  What do you do?  How do you help your kids not make you nutty during Un-Happy Hour? 

Maybe that IS why cocktail hour was invented.  It had nothing to do with work, it had everything to do with parenting.  ;)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is it Love or are we C-R-A-Z-Y?

This little bundle of joy comes home with us next Monday.  After a wedding weekend.  During possibly the busiest fall I've ever had.  With no puppy experience (the last puppy I had came when I was 7).  I'm crazy, right? 

But, then again, just LOOK at her!  How can she be resisted?  Clearly, she cannot, as I only went to LOOK yesterday, then bought like the biggest impulse shopper on the planet.  The recession MUST be over!

Oldest, who wept with joy (which, of course, made me weep - it's really no wonder where weeping comes from with that one), has offered to donate FIFTY dollars of her own money toward puppy supplies.  Talk about warm and fuzzy feelings.  THAT makes it worth it right there - to hear her so willingly give up her own money to help support a family project.  Do I have a future philanthropist on my hands? 

And Youngest?  Will you just look at this?  She's getting more mischievious by the day!  Tonight is Gymnastics.  Can't wait to see (actually dreading because I SO want her to) if Oldest is able to make good choices per our talk last week.  I'll let you know. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

206 is a great number!

Since installing Google analytics one month ago, I have logged 206 visitors!  Hurray!  Maybe I'll go celebrate with some Halloween Candy, it being 7am.  :)  Have a great day.  My week is, AGAIN, going to be a doozy.  Maybe I just need to share the weeks that are going to be a non-doozy.  They are much more rare, and therefore newsworthy.  I did not try to rhyme that on purpose, I swear.  Just caught it on the edit.  It's a natural gift.  ;)

Here's Youngest, howling over her mother's humor.  She appreciates me!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Courageous Women to Admire

One of my favorite blogs, We Are THAT Family, wrote the most inspiring post today (she actually does a lot).  In it, she spoke about Stephanie Nielson and her blog about survival.  This woman, her story and her ability to overcome extreme adversity is utterly inspiring.  Check out her appearance at this Oprah clip

Thank you, "We are THAT Family," for teaching me about this amazing woman today.  Thank you nienie, for your courage.  I wish I was half the woman you are.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Ebb and Flow of Oldest's Emotions

As with many gifted children, Oldest often cycles through being totally on top of her game or in the alternative, being at the bottom of the barrel.

I am planning an extensive Super Sunday Series on what I've learned about these cycles (coming this Fall to a Blog near you), but 1) must refresh myself on it and 2) must finish those very exciting overexcitabilities.  Week 3 is emotional overexcitability, which can strike fear in even the most hardy of parents.  Look for it Sunday.

But I digress.  Back to Oldest, and her current ebb.  She's struggling right now.  To get the proper visual, let's say the barrel's just been emptied of horse manure and she's stuck mucking it out.  Alone.  In cold weather.  Yes, that's right.  She's on scrubbing the bottom of the barrel this week. 

I am sad for her even while she is exasperating the hell out of me.  One of the things I find so hard about the school age years is that you (ok, me) never know what kind of trauma (drama?) is happening to your gifted child (or any child for that matter) while at school.  You don't know that she:
  1. only got 3 things done on her work plan
  2. lost recess time for "goofing off during the work cycle"
  3. lost extra recess time for laughing at someone in circle time
  4. got a cut that required (gasp and shock!) a bandaid
  5. got jostled out of line by someone in gym class
  6. was told by another friend that they are no longer friends after she tried to jostle her way back in.
Until she starts bawling, and I mean BAWLING over eating a lousy carrot.  Even after saying, "Oldest, this reaction seems a little extreme for not wanting to eat a carrot, is something else going on today?"  You only get the above information in little bits and pieces, one thing at a time, so that when you've asked her to get her legs back under the table for the 5th time in 15 minutes (rather than dangling them over the arm of the chair) and maybe you say it the last time a little more loudly than the first 4 times (ok, the neighbors could definitely hear it), you're even more suprised by the reaction of:
  1. I am the worst person EVER!
  2. No one calls me cute, only Youngest!  It's so NOT FAIR!
But then you pull your still cute Oldest onto your lap and she finally pours out all of the tears she's been holding inside all day.  After it's over, you tell her a little secret.  People don't call her cute anymore, they call her beautiful, smart, witty and kind.  But because she's 7, they don't say it to her, they say it to Mommy instead. 

And that the other secret is this - all of the things that people think are cutest in Youngest (like pulling down her pants at Panera to show a table of strangers her new Elmo underpants - really happened, could I make that up?), will become "no longer cute" in the not too distant future. 

And the final secret?  Cute's not what you want to be.  Neither is beautiful on the outside only.  It's the inside that counts.  I PRAY that she's learning that from us in this beauty and material driven society.  And I PRAY that I'm learning to let her fail enough to change the failures herself, and not blame others or want someone to fix it for her.  But it's soooooo hard.

And what the heck?  Didn't I just say yesterday that I have a super busy week?   That's always when this kind of thing goes on, isn't it?  I guess it's God's way of evening out our "practically perfect in every way" vacation week last week. 

Sigh.  We'll get through it.  We'll get through it.  We'll get through it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Gonna Be a Week of It!

The rejuvenation from last week's vacation will be seriously tested this week.  Husband will be working practically 'round the clock, the girls have a lot of STUFF going on after school early in the week and I have a lot of STUFF going on after school late in the week.  4 hour retreat on Sunday.  For a strategic plan.

Plus my brother in law's getting married in two weeks and I want to be svelte for it!  Not bloated and zitty from stress.

PLUS, in between all of the fun above, where's my time going to be to:

  • finish my book, South of Broad
  • watch my (currently 12, but soon to be 20 by midweek) backlogged DVR shows
  • entertain the masses (151 visits and counting, people!) here
Ugh.  Looks like some late nights coming. 


It's so hard when it really CAN'T be "all about me"  :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ahhhh, Vacation

So we're back from our vacation.  We actually came home Wednesday night, but I've been digging out.  I haven't even let myself open this page, so I wouldn't be tempted.  I have discovered, though, in my absence, that I missed it!  A lot.  Now that the fire to write has been re-ignited in me, it's burning steadily.  Speaking of writing, I'm reading Pat Conroy's new book - South of Broad right now.  Really, really good.  You should check it out!

Where did we go on vacation you ask?  Before I answer, nauseatingly I'm sure, let me assure you that I have not been endorsed by this place to write this description.  It is pure love only.  We went to The Greenbrier.  It's a place with history, quality, service and luxury.  We go every year. This was Husband and I's 8th visit, Oldest's 7th and Youngest's 2nd visit. 

So fun on many levels.  Oldest did the Adventure Zone for kids both days we were there.  It's a 1/2 day or all day program.  If you choose all day, they plan so many fun things for your child!  She got to do a carriage ride, stable tour, swimming, bowling, hiking and crafts both days.  Usually Husband plays lots and lots of golf, but this year, he took the year off to do family time.  As an alternative we helped ourselves to some spa time.  It was Heaven. 

The food is top notch, known throughout the country for its high quality.  We weren't disappointed. 

But what I like the most, is that every year that we go back it seems a little more like home to us.  They pride themselves on keeping their staff for many, many, MANY years.  They have 5-6 people who have worked there for more than FIFTY years.  At least 60 or so who have worked there for more than 25 years.  And they remember you.  It might not be the moment we walk in the door, but as the days go by, they remembered our visit from last year.  One of the doormen has been there for 52 years.  He told me as we were leaving that a man in his 30s came up to him last week and said, "do you remember me?"  And he didn't, and felt so bad.  His Southern Hospitality is so strong, that he couldn't stand not remembering this man, thinking he should.  The man then said "Oh, I'm just kidding, I used to come here with my grandfather and I remember you from when I was a kid.  I just wanted you to know I remember you and say hi to you again."  How cool is that? 

The kids were, well, practically perfect in every way, to quote the oft-misunderstood Mary Poppins.  It is like they are sprinkled with good girl dust upon arrival at the doors and it lasts the whole time we are there.  Youngest WAS a bit of a beast at the beginning of every meal, but we all know her propensities toward craziness when she's hungry.  Once her belly was full, though, she would start what we called the "FBD - Full Belly Dance" in her chair, which was this funny, rhythmic swaying to the happiness of her full belly.  Hilarious, that girl.  Plus she mastered the lyrics of Twinkle Twinkle - only slightly changing words - like "Gwinkle, Gwinkle, wittwle tar."

So we're all feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, repaired and ready - for Fall, school, work, my "free job" (excessive volunteerism).  And we have a little more sparkle in our eyes than we did last week. 

Has anyone been there?  I would love to hear your stories.

Don't miss Sunday's post - Super Sunday Series - Imaginational Overexcitability.  See you then!
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