A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Things that drive me batty’

Frustrated

I have had little time for my blog lately. Because it is, in many ways, my therapy, I feel a little off-kilter and discombobulated with my infrequent postings. This is my way to get everything that can be “bottled up” out and off of my mind, and without regular posting, various events and situations have been stuck in my mind, and perseverating on them is not doing any of us any good. Gaah!

I volunteer at the kids’ schools. I am a room parent, I help out with PTO events, and I am a committee chairperson for the school’s Red Ribbon Week. I will be teaching religious education for Jake’s class again this year. Every single one of these commitments has required my time at a meeting this week. It has been worse than having a full-time job!! I have been running around town to various locations, have received numerous handouts, and have had to email several people to get things in place for the new school year. 

Additionally, Cole is in school five days a week for 2 and a half hours. I enjoy the little break, but in many ways, I’m paying for it in spades. He isn’t napping anymore, even though he really, probably could use one most days. He’s feisty when he’s tired. He is more opinionated. (I swear, he’s a teenager in disguise…the tone he uses..yeesh!) Also? He wants to be by me every.single.cotton-picking-frickin-minute. He has to sit by me as I type. If I am in the laundry room, he’s right there behind me. He is even camping out by the bathroom door again, like he did when he was little. To top it off, he’s 4, so I am asked about eleventy billion questions when we are together. I can’t finish a sentence or a complete thought. I have had to retype this post about 4 times already because he has interrupted me to ask questions about:

-his t-shirt (he got a teeny-tiny spot of water on it..and needed a new one)

-his Happy Meal Power Ranger Toys (which one is my favorite? Which one will he get next? Does he have to share with his brothers?)

-a mark on his finger (it is marker from preschool)

-a spot on his spoon (water spot from the dishwasher)

-watching a tv show

-getting an app started on the ipad

– the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” (Do I know it? the answer: yes, yes I do.)

When he pipes up with “Mom?!” I want to cringe. I shouldn’t, but yet, I just.want.to.finish.a.task/post/thought. One day I will miss this (or so I’m told), so I am trying to be present…but good golly!!

I haven’t had a chance to write at night, either, as I am helping with homework, getting dinner ready, shuffling someone to therapy, dealing with chores that have been avoided, packing lunches for the next day and, well, you get the drift here. You know what I’m saying.

And, as the icing on my annoyance sundae, Tate requires a parent to be in his room in order for him to fall asleep right now. If Hubz or I don’t sit in there, he roams around, scripting very loudly, keeping both of his brothers up past their bedtimes. It is so not awesome. It is awful. The past two nights I wasn’t able to come back downstairs until almost 9 pm. So, I haven’t had a lot of alone time. I haven’t had much accomplished, and I have been trying to meet all of the demands of three boys. I’m losing it.

Something has to give, and since I’m really trying to commit to living a more healthy lifestyle (ie: I am following WW Online and exercising regularly), the blog is getting omitted. Hopefully next week I will have more time.

So, I’m just a bit frustrated right now…I know this, too, shall pass…but today I feel very anxious and frustrated. And it helps to get it “out there”.

Mother Nature is taunting us

The weather around here has been all over the place lately. On Friday and Saturday it was warm enough that I could allow my children to go outside with only one of the layers of their 2-layer coats, and a hat. They really didn’t even need their mittens or gloves. No boots. No snowpants. High 40-degree weather in January is a god-send, and we enjoyed it.

I made the boys go outside and play on Saturday. I  know, I’m the meanest mom EVER! Well, according to Jake, anyway. Tate and Cole were all over running around, playing tag, and swinging on the swingset. They took in all of the glory that is playing outdoors. 

I knew I could allow them to go outside and frolic because come Sunday, the weather was going to turn. Turn frigid. Turn into the weather that is notorious around these parts. So we played and ran around.

Saturday night the wind started to pick up. Scratch that. It started to howl. I had a small headache. I knew that Tate was struggling–he took forever to fall asleep…even with Jake by his side in the basement. (Since it was the weekend, they were allowed to sleep on our futon down in the dark, quiet basement.)

When the boys woke us up on Sunday morning, at 4 am, Tate was already whining and scripting. He had dark half circles under his eyes, and his ears were bright red. He was pale and looked restless. Hubz took them downstairs and I tried to sleep a bit longer. Cole had jumped into bed with me, so I had sharp little toes in my back and spleen…but we managed to stay in bed until close to 7.

Tate wore his pajamas all day. He didn’t want to leave the house. He didn’t want to eat much, either. Later in the day, after a snack of Starburst, Tate felt ill and threw up. Once. But he was all out of sorts. By the time I got back from a baby shower that I had attended, he was in full-blown whine mode. He was seeking input from his brothers, the couch, the floor, from me, from Hubz. He wanted to walk on the treadmill, too. It was rough.

Yesterday our temperatures hovered around 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Brr! It was frigid. It was windy. Sunny, thankfully, but cold. I was able to talk Tate into wearing clothes, but he just wanted to lay on the couch. He was zonked. He had woken up at 3 am. He dozed off for a bit after that, but was up by 5:30 a.m. for good. He was a zombie. I was, too. 

Because he was so dysregulated from the weather and lack of sleep, he did a circuit of OT in our house. He did the treadmill at a 2.5 incline and 3.5 speed for about 10 minutes. Then he rode our exercise bike. Once he tired of that, he moved to our trampoline. That lasted for a mere minute and he sat on the exercise ball. Eventually he vacuumed for about 15 minutes…scripting the entire time. I would try to engage him, but he would simply return to his scripts. It made me sad…and frustrated…and worried.

I know I felt awful and worn down. I just wanted to sleep. Tate would have none of it. Thankfully, Hubz was home yesterday due to MLK Jr. Day. I could get a nap in before going to teach my religious ed class. Tate was up the entire 1 3/4 hours that I slept. He was up the entire time we were away. And he whined the whole time. I could see how frayed Hubz’s nerves were when we got back. Luckily, Tate was ok through dinner. 

Hubz took the boys upstairs to shower and bathe. Usually, a good soak in the tub is soothing and relaxes Tate. Not last night. His anxiety was high. He was in a state of total dysregulation. He whined for the next half hour. And then, we put him to bed. After a brief fight, he did succumb to sleep…and slept until about 5 am, which is a decent sleep, considering we put him to bed at 7:15.

Today it is frigid again. As I prepped the boys for school, the Weather Channel app on my phone said it was -4 degrees. -17 with windchill. Brrrr! Tate was all kinds of irritated by the layers and boots we made him wear…but I know how he reacts to extreme temperatures…and I know he has no awareness of how extreme the temps are…

The next few days are going to be bone-chilling cold…but it will gradually warm up. By next Monday we’re supposed to be near 40 degrees again. These big swings in temperatures drive anyone crazy, but most especially my child with sensory processing disorder. He just can’t keep up.

Now, I’m off to bundle up from my head to my toes so I can go get Tate from school…I need about 15 minutes to just get myself bundled up…let alone anyone else!!!

Elect to be…

I have avoided writing anything about politics in my posts because, well, I am not one to stir up controversy and invite criticism. I have my beliefs. Others have theirs. I respect others beliefs, and I hope they respect mine. I am not going to say much else…except that if you haven’t already, please go out and vote!! We have been so blessed to have the privilege to vote. All we need to do is turn 18, and voila, we can vote for local, state, and national leaders. We don’t have to worry about losing our lives because we voted. We don’t have to worry about being female, or a different social class, or a particular race. Once we turn 18, we can register to vote. It is easy. It takes little time and/or effort. What are you waiting for?!

Don’t ever say that your vote won’t count. It does. The only election I ever missed was in the year 2000. Yes…THAT election. I was very self-absorbed. I was young. And dumb. And completely wrapped up in my wedding planning. The election was only a few days prior to my wedding…and I blew it off. Apparently getting some Jordan almonds for favors..or some tulle…or something equally ridiculous took priority over my civil duty to vote. As Hubz (who was not quite “Hubz” at that point) and I watched the results that night, I became ashamed…embarrassed. If ever in the history of voting did a vote or two count, it would have been in that election…and I didn’t vote. From that debacle on, I insisted that I would vote…and I encourage you to do the same.

I want to share a really cool story–as I voted today, a mother and her son entered the polling place. He was recently 18…and was voting in his first election ever. He was so nervous. He stammered a few times. He fumbled with the pen as he signed in to vote. He dropped his ballot on the way to the voting “booth”. But then he did it. And as he entered his ballot into the machine, the entire place erupted into applause. I couldn’t help but join in. It was exhilarating…exciting. I got goosebumps. The young man thanked everyone for being patient and nice…and threw his arms up into a “victory” pose. That is what it means to be proud of your citizenship.

Now, please, go vote!! Only about 6 more hours here!!!

 

Insomnia

I’ll cop to having some anxiety. My boys come by their anxious streaks honestly. My anxiety manifests itself with a “nervous stomach” and with insomnia. Yeah, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there. I remember being about Jake’s age, and fretting away in my bed at 2:00 in the morning because I hadn’t passed along a chain letter that a friend had sent to me. I was going to be cursed with SEVEN years of bad luck. Oh the horror!!! I went so far as to wake up my mom and express my concerns. She kind of mumbled something about it being gibberish…or maybe she was speaking gibberish…and was told to go back to sleep.

One of my college roommates would tease me because I didn’t pull any all-nighters. Well, I never pulled an all-nighter where I was studying. I did lie (lay?) awake several nights at a time freaking out about passages that I hadn’t read, or a volunteer opportunity for my sorority that I hadn’t taken advantage of, or not “applying” to a mass interview from a visiting company. I may have also spent more than  my fair share of evenings contemplating what exactly that cute guy meant when he said “catch ya later” or wondering if I’d look good in a “Rachel” haircut. (FYI, no, no I didn’t.)

My relationship with insomnia has been long term. It is always intermittent, but when we’re hanging out, ugh, we are in it to win it. It flares when I have a lot going on in my life…and subsides when things are fairly routine and don’t require too much extra from my typical day.

For the past three nights I have struggled to sleep. I wake up between two and three a.m. I toss and turn. I flip my feet from under the blankets. I peel off my socks. I rub Hubz’s back (he insists it is the panacea for insomnia…but I beg to differ). My mind flits from thing to thing. I tend to perseverate. I get wrapped up in minute details…and focus on things that are better left until  morning.

The past few weeks have been a bit overwhelming. Since the end of September, I have had to prepare for two IEP meetings, the commencement of Red Ribbon Week (I’m a co-chair of the committee), Jake’s birthday party, and my religious education class. I also volunteered to order pins for our 3rd graders’ Veterans’ Breakfast, and will help run the craft-a-palooza with the students to make said pins. I’m a co-head room parent, so I am working on Halloween parties, too. I’m waiting for emails, writing letters, coordinating postings on our school’s website, sending emails to parents, asking for donations, asking for accommodations and qualifications and changes to IEP goals, and so much more. I *may* have bitten off slightly more than I feel like I can chew at this point. (Wow…I am full of idoms today…have to use them here..at home they’d be met with blank stares or “what?!”.)

This morning while Cole was at preschool, I took out an old fashioned notepad and paper. I made a list. I started crossing things off of my list. Already, I feel so much more calm and relaxed. I can do this. I will get through October. Seeing that list and what I have done, and what needs to be done helps me tremendously. I feel like I have a little more control. A little more composure. I feel like my heart rate went down, and my blood pressure, too. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I bid insomnia adieu tonight and get a decent amount of sleep.

 

 

 

Frazzled Friday

Tate was up at 2:00 am. I heard him talking. I got up to check it out, as his inside voice is really an outside voice, and well, he had the light on in Jake’s room and was watching Jake’s ceiling fan spin round and round and round. I sighed….

I turned off the light and coaxed Tate back to bed. He pulled his weighted blanket up to his chin and laid down. I was hopeful that he’d go back to sleep easily. No. Such. Luck. Tate was up for the next 2 and a half hours. I wanted to cry. That means that while I laid next to him, encouraging him to sleep and reassuring him that he was ok, I wasn’t sleeping. I know I dozed off a few times, but ultimately, I was up on and off for those 2.5 hours.

As Tate started to sleep at 4:30, I went back to bed. Jake was at my bedside 10 minutes later, asking if he could read in his room. Delirious with exhaustion I mumbled something that likely sounded like permission. I pulled a pillow over my head. Hubz looked up and saw Jake’s light on…at 4:40 in the morning and went in to tell him to try to fall back asleep. He turned off the light. I passed out.

At 6:40, I awoke to Hubz turning on the light in our room. Tate was sleeping next to me in our bed, and Jake and Cole were in the family room watching tv. Hubz had started the coffee and got the trash out for garbage day. I mumbled my thanks, begrudgingly rolled out of bed and got my day started. I was running incredibly late. I hate that.

Tate begged to stay home. I made him get ready for school. I fed the boys breakfast. It was gourmet–cheeze-its. Shut up. At least they got fed. I signed assignment notebooks and homework logs. I put ice packs in lunch boxes and made sure backpacks were filled appropriately. We gobbled breakfast and made our way outside–later than usual.

As we let the boys get their energy out in our front yard, the neighbors came over. I’ve been helping them out this week by doing both rounds of carpool, and watching their 2 older kids while they handle a gap in childcare. I was planning my shopping trip that had to get done after morning drop-off. The kids were kicking balls all over the place, one almost got run over by the garbage truck.

I am just running behind today…I feel like I’m out of steam. I am trying to not rely on caffeine as much lately, but today I may have to give in. I have to leave the house in 5 minutes to get Tate and take him to his PT and speech therapy. When we get home I have to finish our laundry (which got started later than I wanted), and make the corn bread to go with our chili that is slow-cooking in the crock pot. (Ok, at least in THIS instance I am ahead of the game.)

At least I know that tomorrow is another day…and hopefully I can start it off on the right foot. Ugh.

 

Photo Friday

I am feeling exhausted today. Some of it is dealing with the ups and downs of Tate’s anxiety beast, and most of it is because I stayed up until quarter ’til 11 last night watching a few shows on my DVR. Cole sounded his “Mom! Mom! Mom!” alarm at 5 am, and the other 2 boys heard it and joined him in our room. So, instead of any major writing, here are a few photos from our week…

Tate with his “buddies” at soccer last Saturday. He was having a lot of fun running up and down the field. My favorite part, however, is when he got disappointed about having to share the ball, so he sat in that goal and played goalie for a bit.
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Last Sunday, September 16, was the two-year anniversary of my mom’s passing. I took Tate and Cole to the cemetery with my sisters, nephew, and dad. While we cleaned up Mom’s headstone and planted a mum (and the ashes of her beloved pug), the boys hung out on this bench, which is just a few paces from Mom’s final resting place. As I took this picture, Tate and Cole were saying “hi” to their “Grandma Mary in Heaven.” Believe what you will, but I believe that my boys have an amazing guardian angel up there rooting for them and keeping them safe.

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Please ignore the pile of kid crap in my garage. I was trying to get a picture of Tate in his harness for the bus. This harness has been a source of Tate’s anxiety. He hates that thing, and he knows that it makes him “different.” He has asked repeatedly to take it off. To get it removed, I had to ask his teacher to do an amendment to his IEP. I got my amendment, signed and dated, last week. The change was supposed to go into effect yesterday. As of this morning, his bus driver has not received the amendment, so she cannot remove it from him on the bus. I called and left a message for the head of transportation. The bus driver said that as of this morning, the transportation office had not received anything. I need to contact the Special Ed Coordinator now. Nothing is ever easy.

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I love Target. I prefer to go shopping there by myself, but those opportunities are far and few between. When I have to take the kids, and most specifically Cole, I try to corral him in a cart. He only agreed to ride in a cart on Wednesday if I used THIS behemoth. I’m fairly certain that I need a CDL for this thing. Also? It needs a bumper sticker for “wide turns”. And I *may* have taken out an end cap of toilet paper while shopping. That was fun.

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Finally, I Hubz and I live in a “quiet” neighborhood in suburbia. We purposely chose our neighborhood and community because it seemed to be tucked away among some of the bigger suburbs and the hustle and bustle. We were happy to find a house on a “quiet” little cul-de-sac.  Once we moved in, we realized we had some, um, interesting neighbors. Their son was 11 back then, and would drive an ATV, unsupervised, on mounds of dirt behind our houses (they were building a new subdivision). Today, said son is 18. And drives a monster truck. And does demolition derby and stock car racing on the weekends. And didn’t go away to college. See what we’ve been greeted with every day for the past TWELVE days?! Staying classy here…staying classy. Oh, and much like the honey badger, our neighbor doesn’t give a $#!%. He’s been ticketed and still parks it there.

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Homework

It’s getting real in here, folks. Tate brought home his spelling words for the week. He also brought home his weekly poem. My kid has official homework. Not the if-he-gets-it-done-then-great stuff. No. The this-needs-to-be-done-each-night-for-a-grade variety of homework. Like, I have to sign off on it every night. Wish us luck, as we’re going to need it. These two pieces of homework are very similar to programs he does with his ABA therapists. He doesn’t generalize these activities well, so I will be fighting him nightly.

His spelling pretest made me chuckle. The teacher read the words, and Tate’s class had to write them down. Since Tate’s handwriting is abysmal, the aide wrote it, as he dictated it, then he had to trace it. The correct spelling is written next to his version. He didn’t get a single one right…I’m not surprised.  He can READ each of these words…but that’s because he can SEE them and has memorized them. Spelling is going to be a challenge for him…he will memorize it all visually, but his auditory processing is not so grand…so, well, this is going to be rough. I need to look into a few spelling apps. Makes me long for my Speak and Spell from years ago….
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Tate’s version is on left. The aide wrote the correct version on the right.

The poem looks innocuous enough. It’s only a few lines, and I know that he knows all of the words. Again, because I am usually the one who reads TO him, he is going to be frustrated when I ask him to read the poem to ME. Additionally, both Tate and Jake have their reading minutes each night. I have been reading books to Tate, and ask him to tell me the words that I know he knows. You’d think I’m asking him to recite the Preamble to the Constitution by his reaction. I’m such a mean mom.
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I think Tate’s teacher got a copy of my Facebook post from 3 weeks ago….

All things aside, I think that Tate will, on some level, enjoy having homework of his own. He lingers around the table while I help Jake out with his, so I’m sure he’ll get a sense of accomplishment with having his own to do. Of course, the juggling of two kids and their homework needs will not be much fun, especially when their 3-year-old brother decides that he’s not getting enough attention during those homework times. Jake needs constant reassurance with his homework. Tate will need reminders to stay on task. I have to babysit them while they do it at the kitchen table. Add in our extra-curriculars, religious education, and therapy, and good grief, I think I’m going to have an anxiety attack.

I know I’m not the first parent to ever have to juggle..and I won’t be the last. I’m simply confronting  my denial that my kids are getting older and the demands on them are increasing. It is really pushing me out of my comfort zone…but that’s another story for another day. Now, now I need to formulate a plan for this homework that is sitting on our counter…eek!!

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