A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Overwhelmed’

Feeling Funky

I’m in a funk right now. Not a deep one. Not a bad one. Just a funk.

Hubz has been back from China for a week and a half. He still isn’t back on schedule. He’s been waking up most days at 3:00 a.m. I am a light sleeper. When he is up, I wake up. Tate had a cold last week, so his sleep patterns are all askew, as well.  This all means that *I* am not sleeping well. Sleep deprivation and I, while well-acquainted, do not mix well. I have no motivation. I am muddling through. And now I have a tingle in my throat which indicates that I likely will be sporting the cold that my children had last week.

Every time I go into a store, I am lambasted with Christmas. I enjoy Christmas, don’t get me wrong, but since October 25th or so, it’s been ALL CHRISTMAS, ALL THE TIME. I’m kind of, sort of, already sick of Christmas Carols, and we haven’t hit Thanksgiving. I have no super ideas for anything to buy anyone..and I feel like it’s harder and harder to shop for family. Our parents just buy what they want and need. Our lives are so busy these days that getting together regularly with sisters and brother-in-laws just doesn’t happen, so we don’t spend time talking about “stuff” as much…so finding an appropriate gift can be difficult. I asked for ideas and got shrugs from my niece and nephew. Aside from Cole, who has a list that’s twice as long as he is tall, it is really hard to buy for my kids, too. Tate still loves Doc McStuffins, but his obsession with all things Doc is going away. (This is good and bad.) Tate really doesn’t ask for anything, either, so it’s hard to figure out what will motivate him to interact with it.  Jake is in that awkward 10-year-old phase where he still kind of likes to play with figurines and toys and what-not, but at the same time, they kind of seem babyish. And he really isn’t too into any particular game (ahem, Minecraft). He plays a game on his DS or our phones or iPad for about 3 days and then is on to something else. And God forbid I get a book. The terror! The terror!

I need to deep clean the house before putting up our holiday decor, too. I originally had thought I could get some of that done this week, but I’m just not feeling it. I have ZERO motivation to get started on any of that. I need to do it…but it’s just looming large over me.

We also have parent-teacher conferences over the next week. Jake’s is tonight, Tate’s is on Thursday, and Cole’s is next Tuesday. I don’t see how anything significant could have happened since our IEP meetings last month, and I am in constant communication with Jake and Tate’s teams, so I think we’re good there…but you just never know. There’s that anxiety component of being a special-needs parent where you just worry about some “bomb” that’s gonna be dropped. And Hubz and I want to ask Cole’s teacher whether she thinks he’ll be ready for kindergarten in August. Socially he is totally there. His academic skills…eh…and he still doesn’t want to write his name. (Although he does know how to spell it now!!)

I have tried to post several times over the past week. Unfortunately, I have been very busy with life. I dropped off some old baby stuff with a friend who is expecting her second child any day. I met my sister for coffee. I had errands to run. I had to clean my house for a play date we scheduled with one of Cole’s preschool friends. Of course, then there was therapy to take children to. And I have a four-year-old who thinks that I should devote my every minute to him.

All of this is the creates the perfect funk storm for me. Hopefully it will end soon and I’ll be back to my usual, happy-go-lucky self.

Still Busy…

The past few weeks have been nutty around here. We’ve been plain old busy…like so many days have something going on…and we have somewhere we have to be. In between all of that, we had Jake’s IEP last week and Tate’s this week. 

Tate’s draft of his IEP made me sad. I’m sure a lot of it was my sleep deprivation…but some days I just get so overwhelmed by all of the delays and reports of behaviors that seem to impede his ability to learn and keep up at school. I sighed..a lot…as I read the draft. But, it was accurate..and the goals were measurable and achievable. I know he can do it. I know it.

The IEP meeting itself was productive. We agree on where he’s at, where we want him to be, and how we’re going to get there. I know I’ve said it before, but we’re incredibly blessed with a good team. They have Tate fairly accurately figured out, and they want to help him get over the bumps.

The best part of the meeting was when we got to his placement. For the first time EVER, he has his lunch and recess with the regular education classes…without the assistance of an aide. You read that correctly…my kiddo has about 200 minutes a week in a regular education setting. First.time.ever that that section of the IEP was filled out. Hubz and I did a victory dance. In addition to lunch and recess, Tate is trying to do P.E. without an aide. And is doing fairly well. His P.E. teacher uses a visual schedule for her classes, anyway, so it is perfect for him. 

I think the most spectacular aspect of this placement is that he can maneuver and cope with the lack of structure that happens in the cafeteria and the playground. He’s got his routine, and it works. 

On top of IEP meetings, just about every weekend is busy between Tate and Cole’s soccer games, Jake’s Cub Scout obligations, and trying to get to Mass on Sundays. I never have a down day. Ever. I am up to my eyeballs in trying to keep all of my commitments straight right now. 

Additionally, as much as I enjoy having Cole in preschool 5 days a week, those 2 and a half hours that he’s there are just not conducive to getting much done. Especially when one is trying to stay with an exercise routine to get healthy. Or I feel like I have to volunteer because, well, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, and what the heck else should I be doing with my time?!

When Cole gets home, it’s all, “Hey, play with me. Entertain me. Be next to me the entire time.” I know that before I know it he’ll be off and doing his own thing, so I really try to keep up with him and play blocks/transformers/legos/read/etc…but it’s also frustrating at times, too. Like, I can’t pee alone right now. He sits right.outside.the.door…every time. Or I can barely get a few chores done. Or write a blog post. 

On top of it all, Hubz is scheduled to go out of town for 2 weeks starting the last week of this month. He’ll get back right before a 5-day weekend that the boys have in November. That is the icing on top of the cake right now. I will have to manage it all by myself, with Halloween in there, and Hubz will be halfway across the world. Quite literally, as he’ll be in China. 

So, that’s us…hopefully I’ll find myself some inner peace soon…and a chance to write more…

Life is a Roller Coaster

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is in the original Parenthood movie. The elderly grandmother talks about how some people go around life as if it were a carousel, it predictably goes round and round, but doesn’t have much excitement. There are others who choose to ride the roller coaster, messy, unpredictable, but much more fun and adventurous. With the chaos going on around Steve Martin’s character, the camera shifts to make it appear that he’s on a roller coaster…and he looks pained…but his wife looks calm and is enjoying the ride. It is an excellent example of a metaphor.

Lately, I feel like the Steve Martin character. We are riding a humdinger of a roller coaster around here…complete with ups, downs, twists, and loads of unpredictable excitement. I am grimacing much of the time….I feel uneasy. I wish I could get off of this ride and opt for a little time on that carousel…but I know that is just not our ride.

Last week was the last day of the regular school year. I could feel myself inching up, up, up the rungs of the coaster. If we can just get through this ride…it will be easier. Only one more day…only one more hour…. And then the report cards came home. Words like “still struggles” “regression”, and “anxiety” peppered the boys’ notes and IEP progress reports. The free-fall of the coaster came. A pit formed in my stomach. Some screaming relieved the pressure as my own anxiety and concern peaked.

To be fair, we also saw phrases like, “works and tries hard”, “met goal”, and “really improving” on both boys’ reports. Both boys also achieved good grades in their respective favorite subject matter (Jake: science, social studies and art) (Tate: math). The coaster swerved to the side, promising a slightly smoother ride than I was imagining…I could catch my breath. The tension in my shoulders released. I felt the sun shine on my back.

Jake went to visit his grandparents and spend some time with his cousins at my in-laws other home in a resort area. He was missed. Tate and Cole bickered and fought and hit and whined a lot while Jake was gone. They missed their brother…the peacemaker. The one who helps keep life in our household at an even pitch. I missed him, too. I never realized how much I depended on Jake for help with his brothers…whether it was to mitigate some bickering or to fetch a snack or beverage for them while I was busy. I had constant demands on my attention, and I was feeling woozy. It was as if the roller coaster was spinning me round and round and upside down. I felt overwhelmed and frazzled. I clawed at, and clenched the safety bar with my hands…not letting go for dear life.

Hubz has continued to be swamped at the office. His absence around the house is hard, anway, but it adds a layer of complexity and difficulty when we’re in a state of flux and routine is shot and the boys are struggling to stay “together”. Hubz and I barely had time for each other several nights last week because he worked until 7 or 8 and then had to get online once he was home. Or he just needed to decompress and didn’t need to hear me rambling on and on about the frustrations of life with 2 boys who couldn’t agree on which tv show to watch that night. Again, that roller coaster threw me for a loop. I struggled to keep my balance.

Like any ride, however, there is promise for smooth sailing. Today, Jake started summer school. Tate starts ESY on Wednesday. We finally got Tate’s summer ABA schedule. It is still a bit sketchy, but something that I can at least use to walk Tate through his new routine. We’re going to make a visual schedule today. Cole is going to attend preschool day camp starting tomorrow, as well, so he won’t be as bored at home, either. That roller coaster slowed down a bit. We’re just coasting now…and the pit is gone from my stomach. I’m able to take a deep breath and enjoy some more of the scenery. I can smile and let some of my guard down. Not all of it, as I know that the next hill is coming…but today, in this moment, I can breathe and release my death-grip from the safety bar….

What’s on your mind?

I love how Facebook has a nice little prompt in the status update section now. “Lisa, what’s on your  mind?” I don’t think my Facebook friends really want to know everything that is on my mind right now. Ya know?? But, this is my space, so, I think I’ll get out the top five worries/topics right now.

(1) Cole is currently obsessed with Transformers. Everything is Transformers. Ugh. I don’t have the strongest visual-spatial skills, so putting those darned things together is a pain in the neck. Plus, the shoddy plastic is often on the verge of collapse while I try to force the “arms” and “legs” back into the vehicle mode. Also? I am so tired of watching the Transformer Rescue Bots show on The Hub network. But, Cole being three and all, well, we watch them over, and over, and over again….

(2) Tate and Cole fight about everything and anything. I know siblings bicker. I know they try to annoy each other until one crumbles…I am a sibling, myself. However, I never realized how exasperating and exhausting the bickering is from the parent’s end. Holy moly, kiddoes! On the one side, I know I should be incredibly grateful that Tate interacts with his siblings enough to have a “typical” relationship with them. On the other, forthesakeofallthingsholydoyouhavetofightoverthesametoyagain?! They fight over the “spot” on the couch (Tate is very much like Sheldon–“you’re in my spot.”), they fight over what show they can watch, they fight over books, they fight over transformers, they fight over legos, they fight over Doc McStuffins. Trying to teach compromise to an autistic 6 year old and a tyrant of a 3.5 year old is not as easy as one might think….my patience is wearing thin.

(3) Tate and Jake are still struggling at school. Tate is very impulsive and silly. He’s in a great mood and has the zest for life that we all know and love, but attending in order to learn has been near zero. Of course, with all of the schedule changes at school, as well as the snow day on Tuesday, well, he’s just a dysregulated mess right now. We’re trying…we really are…but I’m wondering if this med is just not “it” for him. Jake was having some tics again. Nothing severe or painful or very noticeable to the untrained eye, but I know my Jake…and he was twitchy the past two days. Of course, there is so much pressure on the kids to do well on these darned standardized tests…I know he’s very anxious about that. His anxiety seems a little higher the past couple of days..but again, change in routine, change in schedule, change, pressure to do well…yeah…not so much fun. I have a meeting with Jake’s teachers tomorrow morning…..and another pit in my stomach.

(4) I am struggling to keep up. Bills get paid, house is presentable..not clean or sparkling, but presentable, everyone is fed and cared for…but I’m just not motivated to cook more than an easy casserole or do anything to snazz up the house. I’m lucky if the laundry makes it from the folded piles on the couch downstairs to the bedrooms upstairs. The kid hand-smudges on our windows and TV are back…just can’t seem to keep them off of anything. I do it, and an hour later they are back again. Pffft. And it’s high time I vacuum and dust…but, *sigh* it’s extra work…and I’m exhausted. (I will vacuum, though. Crumbs everywhere set off some OCD.) Oh, and my healthier eating is floating in the water. It’s not quite dead yet…but it’s gone downhill. I love my comfort food right now. Give me carbs. Give me Girl Scout Cookies. Give me chocolate milk (I can be a 6 year old girl, sometimes.) I have done at least 30 minutes of exercise every.single.day since November, so there’s that….but the better eating…welllllll, not so much. (But I have managed to give up pop (soda) for Lent…which is a huge bonus for me!!) I’ll find my motivation again…I will. This cold, snowy weather we’ve had lately certainly doesn’t help.

(5) One of these days I need to have a date night with Hubz again. We don’t get much time right now to hang out and chat and enjoy each other’s company. We’ve been busy with work, kids, cleaning, avoiding a coup from the boys, and volunteering. We all had colds, and it looks like another round is starting again…but maybe later this month we can aim for a night off together…out of the house.

Well, that’s all we have time for today. I have to run out to get Cole from preschool, dash to the library to return a very scratched Transformers DVD and let him pick out a different one, rush back home to eat lunch, empty the dishwasher, put dirty dishes away, and possibly sweep the kitchen floor before we have to scurry back to the elementary school to pick up Tate for ABA therapy. Cheers, all! At least today is a sunny, bright day!!

Clutter Intervention

I think we need a clutter intervention. Cluttervention?! Seriously…shtuff is taking over my house…I need to start somewhere, but I think, perhaps, I have clutter-induced ADHD. I have no idea where to start or how to organize myself. It all looks overwhelming and makes me roll into the fetal position. Maybe if I write it down here, I’ll find a good place to start…I REALLY, REALLY need to start.

I will not post pictures, as you may be tempted to get a hold of that hoarders show. We’re bordering it…trust me. I am a pack-rat. Totally cop to that one. Also? I am raising three more of my breed. When I do try to go through some of the shtuff that is taking over our house, the boys tend to rescue their beloved treasures and snarl at me like Gollum taking their “precious” away. For serious.

The family room is where we spend the most time. Hence, it has toys galore. In our toy “organizer”, aka, toy crap-catcher, we have some Little People, some pieces of Ben 10 characters, a few Pokemon figurines, a few super heroes (mostly versions of Spider Man), books (ranging from Infant to Early Readers) and some Transformers. Mixed in among that hodge-podge are a stethoscope from a doctor kit, 2 wooden puzzles, one with a missing piece, some random Target dollar bin bribes, and 2 pairs of smudgy sunglasses. One bin in that “organizer” is holding mostly orphaned limbs from toys that have been well-loved.

In a 3-drawer organizer next to the toy “organizer”, we have cars. Hundreds of Hot Wheels and Match Box cars…and that is after Hubz and I have pared down the collection at least twice in the dark hours between midnight and 3 am. Shhh. Not a word, people…not a word. Next to that organizer, I have scrapbooking boxes (the nice plastic IRIS ones) that are dedicated to (1) wooden blocks, (2) Bey blades and Bey Wheels and the launchers that come with them, and (3) some magna tiles.

Moving on to our kitchen….I have a baker’s rack that holds more kid stuff. It was my attempt at an art-and-craft center. Now it is a messy, disheveled heap of coloring books long abandoned, half-filled notebooks of Jake’s creations, two cups full of unsharpened pencils from school (seriously, this “no-edible-treat policy” our district has employed is drowning me in pencils), some toddler art easels and that Crayola thing from a few years ago that plays music as your child draws/colors/slams his hands happily up and down faster and faster on it to drive you to the breaking point. But I digress…..

I have an entire cabinet in my kitchen devoted to kid art supplies. There are poster paints, water colors, smocks, paint brushes, and paper. I have construction paper in there, crayons, and foam stickers. Also, play doh. One of Tate’s favorite “toys” has been play doh. Every year since his first birthday he has gotten some sort of play doh set. Sometimes he gets multiple ones. For instance, we have TWO cake-making stations. TWO. And he refuses to let me throw one in the donate pile. He has caught it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. We also have Coco-Nutty Monkey, an obnoxiously huge tin of accessories, and that play doh candy making gumball thing from this past Christmas. (His beloved Sundae Shop is in the basement right now with his ABA supplies.)

Let’s move to the basement….which is filled with MORE KID CRAP. Seriously. It’s kind of the dumping ground for the big stuff that is an eye-sore  takes up too much space in our main living area. We have the train table that Jake got when he was 2. He loved that thing. L-O-V-E-D it. Tate, not so much. He could have cared less. Cole occasionally gives it some attention. We also have a toy kitchen/grill combo. That one actually still gets lots of loving. They like to pretend they are working for Mr. Crabs and make crabby patties.  Then we have the Fisher Price Imaginext Corner. Seriously. We have a castle, a fire station, space shuttle and rain forest. Not to mention several assorted “accessories” for each. There is some space-man thing, too. It was “the next big toy” the year that Jake was like 5…and it rarely gets any attention these days.

This past Christmas, my dad gave each of the boys life-sized Angry Birds. They were so excited about them…until they weren’t. Now they are collecting dust mites down there. Yay. We have a book shelf down there with several more books. (Note to self, maybe I should open a children’s library….) The shelf also houses several plastic animals, per Jake’s love of anything found at a zoo or aquarium. We have a bin of cars, a bin of plastic see-through blocks from when the boys were infants, a bin of super hero accessories (swords, shields, helmets, and a cape–I think), a bin of random trucks/cars/Ben 10 figures, etc.

Oh, and due to the age of my children, we have Legos. Thankfully we received several storage devices for said Legos this past Christmas, so they are not strewn all about the house. However, there is a five-drawer organizer in our family room, and 3 plastic bins of Legos in our basement, as well. There are random Legos in Jake and Tate’s room, too. It’s a rainbow of plastic fun.

Well, that’s enough of our clutter for one day. Having typed this out, I think I will start in the family room and make my way through the down stairs and into the basement. It will have to be done stealthily, however. Like when all 3 are out of the house at school and in those wee, dark hours when nothing is stirring, not even a mouse.

Editor’s Note: I’d like to make it known that quite a bit of this “shtuff” is given to us for holidays and birthdays. Hubz and I don’t buy all of it. We buy our fair share, but definitely not ALL of it. This disclaimer makes me feel better, a little bit, anyway, so, yeah….

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