Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects all of us to some degree. I really believe that. I really believe that everyone has some obsession. Something they can't help but do over and over.
My kids obsessively yell at restaurants. Not Turrets Syndrome but pretty close to it! They simply have no volume control in public. My kids also obsessively shove toys into any nearby nook and cranny, leave clothes scattered all over the house (especially wadded up socks), and constantly lose their shoes.
One of my obsessions is organizing toys. I never thought I would be the type of person to care so much but I seriously can't sleep at night thinking about what a mess my kids' room is. I read an article in Parenting Magazine several months ago about a mom who was just like me. She couldn't handle having her child not keep toy sets together. She would spend so many nights organizing the toy room all the while knowing she was a little crazy. But then she hit the turning point when she realized it just didn't matter. Her child should have the freedom to play with his toys as he pleased and if that meant losing pieces then so be it. It was a lovely story. I chose not to learn anything from it.
My toy organizing obsession has been frustrating lately because my efforts only last for about an hour, if even that long. Today I rationalized that I needed to sort through the toys, not to put on airs for Heath's parents who are coming tomorrow, but because Parker's sandal has been MIA for almost a week now. We are going to the beach. Sandals are usually a nice thing to have at the beach. So I dove in.
Parker tried to help me. I didn't want help. He was basically shoving toys wherever as if I wasn't in the room. I was not ok with that. Gavin was upset because he thought I was dumping out toy boxes for him to clean up as punishment for something. I got the boys out so I could really relish what I was doing. Close my eyes and savor it for all it was worth.
I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It was hot in their room. It was also dark in their room and their lamp doesn't really provide tons of adequate light. If we owned this home the first thing we would do is put up ceiling fans and lights. I hate living in semi darkness because we have to use lamps. I also felt like I was wasting my time. I should be cleaning my house not cleaning a bedroom Grandma and Grandpa won't go into anyway. As I cleaned I tried to tell myself that it needed to be done. I needed to find the sandal.
There were zoo animals everywhere. I jokingly thought that those boys hadn't put a single one in the bag. Then I found the bag. It was empty. I thought I must be the only mom in the world who insists that her kids put toys away exactly where they belong. I should just be happy that I can walk in there. But I can't stop itching to organize the chaos. I kept reminding myself that sorting is a math skill. I'm not crazy for trying to teach my kids to sort. Right?
I was army crawling under Parker's bed to get all the toys out. The big toys go under the bed. Like the airplane, the RC trucks, the drawing boards, etc. Not wooden food that velcroes itself to the carpet against the wall under the bed. Not miniature cars or Lego blocks. The floor was almost filled again with the toys from under the bed but I found it! Yes, the sandal was in the back against the wall but I found it! I also found a church sock in the toy box. Despite how often I do this the alphabet block bucket isn't refilling, we are still missing a couple Little People zoo animals, and Maggie from the Little People school bus. But I found the sandal and a sock. And I can breathe again when I'm in their room because the world finally makes sense again! Ahhhhh.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects all of us to some degree. I really believe that. I really believe that everyone has some obsession. Something they can't help but do over and over.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Is it a boy thing? Is it a girl thing? Or is it just a normal kid thing?
I'm not really into gender stereotypes. I don't believe every boy is rowdy, rambunctious, and into sports. I don't believe every girl is quiet, demure, and into dolls.
My favorite pet peeve is when people see Gwen and say something like, "Oh, you have a girl! Watch out for the drama!" As if I haven't been experiencing premature teenage drama since the day Gavin was born!
All that being said, I am aware that little boys have poor aim in the bathroom and little boy sweat is distinctive in smell. But maybe in a couple of years Gwen's room will have a stale, musty smell too. Maybe it's just a sweaty kid thing. And maybe Gwen will pee all over the bathroom floor too. You never know!
My only frame of reference on anything gender related is my own childhood. How did I deal with things as a young girl? What was my sister like? How was my brother completely different?
I watch my own sons throw their toys around despite my efforts to get them to stop. I sound like a broken record. Don't throw your toys. If you throw your toys they will get broken and I'm not buying you more. Well, it doesn't work because you throw your toys. Don't throw your toys. If you throw your toys . . . blah blah blah blah blah. I never threw my toys. I will admit that my brother talked us into bouncing my sister's Malibu Ken doll on the trampoline. But I will also admit that it was emotionally painful for me to participate in this ruthless activity! A part of me died every time Ken's knees bent backwards and he got new black scratches on his face or back from the mat. I was Andy in Toy Story. My toys came to life when I left the room and I was nice to my toys.
My school work was neat and tidy. I never crumpled things. At least I tried not to. I forgot things in my backpack and my mom would get mad at me for not showing her important things soon enough. I could never understand how that was my responsibility. I brought it home! Couldn't she empty my backpack of stupid notes for me?
Like me, Gavin never empties his backpack. Now that I'm the mom I do that. And it's a good thing I did today. His script for the play his drama class is practicing was in there. It looked like it had gotten in a fight and lost. That poor script was so mangled! No wonder the art teacher has the kids carry their art projects in their hands! Not a single student had empty hands and more than half of them had backpacks! I tried to smooth out the papers as best I could but the packet will forever be three times its original thickness after those few hours in Gavin's backpack.
I just looked at it and wondered, is it a boy thing to be so carefree? Are boys the only ones who stuff things into their backpacks and use the jaws of life to extricate their arm? I really wonder.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thank you Windows Movie Maker! I had some video of Gwen and Parker singing and dancing to our family's favorite Lenka song, The Show.
But I couldn't upload either video because the file was too big. So being the incredibly intelligent person that I am, I tried to see if editing the videos in Movie Maker would make a difference. It made so much of a difference in size I just combined the two videos without trimming them.
The purpose of me posting this at all was to call attention to the fact that Gwen seems to be a natural dancer. That girl was born to boogie and will dance to anything, including musical toys. I have also received another compliment from a friend about Gwen's singing. My friend had no idea someone else thought Gwen sang on pitch. Vicki heard Gwen singing in church and couldn't believe Gwen's perfect pitch. Gwen can't talk yet but I guess her baby babble is right on pitch! Maybe I should contact The Disney Channel because my 16 month old can already sing and dance!
Enjoy the video because after all this time trying to get it on my blog it is still cute. And for anyone impressed by my creative intelligence, I am still cute but very happily married!!!!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Or as Dom and Bill from Salt Lake City, Utah’s alternative radio station X96 used to say, “You know, the Mormons.” My membership in this church means everything to me. I don’t take it casually at all. I really have no patience for people who do.
Growing up in Utah was an experience in and of itself. The culture in Utah is the Mormon culture. What I always had a problem with were the “Jack Mormons.” The people who were members but were proud of their past and/or current sins. Many of them live so close to the edge of what is appropriate as a member of the church. I don’t have patience for that lack of integrity. I have been accused of being too black and white. A self proclaimed atheist told me there were several shades of gray and it was unfair that I was so black and white about things. This person was on the fence about whether or not there was a God. I’m sorry. There either is or isn’t a God. Pick a side and defend it. I choose God.
Not only do I choose to believe in God, I choose to keep His commandments. It has been said that members of the church are a peculiar people. That is how I choose to live my life. I do everything in my power to live with integrity. My faith in my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ is rock steady. I hope I live my life in such a way that my faith is apparent to all.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I will not make excuses for it nor will I speak of it lightly to gain favor in other’s eyes. I will not water down the truth, justify choices, nor will I ever compromise standards.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Me and running . . . We don't go together like peanut butter and jelly. It's more like water and vinegar. I can't run to save my life. Seriously. The guy will simply have to rob and kill me once he's done laughing about how poorly I run.
I have been working out with a 30 day challenge on EA Active for the Wii.
It's nice because it's in the comfort of my own bedroom. I can shut the door when the kids ask too many questions. It also works. Wii Fit did not. They were fun games but if one does it to get fit it ain't going to happen. Wii Fit games are only 2-4 minutes long and there is way too much down time to choose another game. Plus, I've already talked about how rude the Wii board is!
I have been doing this 30 day challenge for about a week now. I am sore as can be. When I first started my weight crept up 4 pounds. I don't know why. I tried to tell myself that muscle weighs more than fat! I love those little things we tell ourselves to sugar coat the truth. My weight is now back down 4 pounds. Yay. I have burned over 1000 calories. I push myself really hard to exceed my calorie burning goal for the day. So far so good.
The other day it said that I had run over 25 laps on the track. Today I did 2 different exercises on the track so I have done a lot of laps on that track. My trainer is some dark and handsome guy that looks like a real person Photoshopped in drawing form. He's real in the how to videos. He sounds a lot like Jack Black. He's very encouraging and always complimenting my efforts. He says things like I'm making it look easy. And I look like I own the track. The day the message came up that I had run over 25 laps my trainer was very complimentary of my running. I don't know what to make of that. I run in place!
Whenever I tried to run in real life my lungs would get cold and burn at the same time. I would get cotton mouth and shin splints and basically want to die. When I did weight training in high school we also had to run the track. I got to a point where it didn't hurt anymore. I wasn't good at it but I wasn't dying either. When I ran for Wii Fit I had the same lung problem. But now running for EA Active I can run in place really well with no lung issues. It makes me wonder if I could actually make it to the end of my circle and possibly onto the mile long street to the main road. I don't think I could go more than the next court up from where I live. Let's be honest. This is me running! But maybe I could. Ok, I doubt it.
Once in high school I told my sister I wanted to start running. She agreed to come with me. We started jogging. I was doing ok. But I was totally out of breath by the next house. A few houses down was the house of a guy I had a major crush on. His whole family was outside while we were running by. So I sped up. I wanted to look cool and also get out of there as fast as possible. I think his step mom said hi to us as we ran by. I think I managed a wave and I was trying to hold my breath because I didn't want them to know I was out of breath. We lived like 5 houses up the street. I'm not kidding. Candi was discreetly trying to tell me to slow down and keep the pace. Yeah, I had major shin splints and my lungs almost exploded by the time we passed my crush object's house. I don't think we ever ran again. Hmm, I wonder why!
I know all these people that nonchalantly say they run marathons. My sister in law, friends from my last ward, etc. Yeah, we ran a marathon. No biggie. Meanwhile I can't run down the street. But I do run in place. And my trainer says I'm good at it! It's the little things that make my day.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Years ago when I was a young girl, my family had gone to a park. We would go to the park a lot to play. This park had a baseball diamond. It was one of those late afternoon and early evening times when as the sun started to hang low in the sky, the world became magical in the orange light.
I don't know how it started. Maybe it didn't. We played an amazing game of phantom baseball. There was no bat. No ball. We somehow divided up a family of 5 into 2 teams and pitched, batted, and ran the bases for a really long time. That is by far one of my favorite memories from my childhood.
Last night I was privileged enough to be part of an encore performance. We were sitting around outside after we finished our barbecued burgers. Heath and I were talking. Ok, we were mostly laughing because our kids are so cute and funny. Parker had this green ball that we bought days before moving into this house. The ball is a little flat but the kids still have fun with it. Parker was kicking it. Then he would place it on the grass, run away from it, then run back at full speed and attempt to kick it. Sometimes he kicked it. Sometimes he missed it completely and ended up flat on his back. He would burst into gales of giggles.
Heath got up and started to kick the ball around too. Soon I joined in. As the 3 of us fought to get to the ball first I thought of all the times my brother and I would play soccer in our long side yard. Although last night I resisted the urge to hold onto someone's shoulders and kick them instead of the ball! I guess you could say I've matured!
The game never had any rules. It morphed into a game of keep away which was really fun. Parker laughed so hard spit was dripping out of his mouth constantly. Then the game morphed into some game where we all took turns to kick the ball. Parker would put the ball on the grass and as he was running away from it to get a running start, Gwen would pick up the ball and waddle away. (She doesn't run very fast!) Parker would freak out. We would all laugh. Soon Gavin joined us. He's not very athletic but he was having fun whenever it was his turn. Somehow it always seemed to be Parker's turn though.
It was the best Family Home Evening ever! Then we had root beer floats with the Dad's root beer cans the boys decorated in Primary for Father's Day. Parker was so funny. He was mad that there was no more root beer in the can. I told him at least 3 times that there was root beer in a cup with ice cream in it on the table. He pouted for a minute until he figured it out! Then his face lit up. That kid. He will get his feelings hurt so easily over something but as soon as you say something he wants to hear his face changes immediately. The clouds on his face pass and the sun comes out glistening through the tears and he says, "I not crying anymore! I'm just happy now."
We kept the kids up too late considering Gavin's classes start at 8:30 am. But it was so worth it.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Gavin started his summer school art/drama class today. He was pretty excited about it. Whenever I talked to him about this class he would tell me, "I already know how to act!" Then he would ask if he could be on TV or in a commercial.
It was a little crazy this morning. I think the first day of anything is a little crazy for everyone. Traffic around the school was insane. Heath dropped us off in the drop off zone so he could find a parking spot. Because Heath was there I was not panicking about not finding Gavin's class. If I had all 3 kids and I was on my own I probably would have been fighting back tears of frustration and ultimate confusion. Nobody seemed to know what they were doing. Even the people in the neon colored vests had no idea nor did the teachers I talked to!
The problem was there was no classroom number printed on the paperwork sent to us. There were class lists on the window of the Administration building but it was so crowded with people I basically found Gavin's name in the last group of first grade art/drama students. I didn't think to look for a classroom number. I decided to walk onto the campus because at the time I didn't think it would be too hard to figure out. I didn't realize nobody knew what they were doing. The bell rang and we were still wandering with several other families.
I decided to try the class list again to see if I could find a room number or any indication of where I needed to be. Heath was there with Gwen and Parker. (Thank heavens he was with me!!!) He had just finished asking someone where Gavin was supposed to be. He didn't realize we had never gotten there! The class list Gavin was in was the only class list with no room number! So I had every right to be confused. But what was with all the other people who did have a room number? There was a number at the top of the paper that said J26 or something like that. But I didn't think there were that many buildings. How could anyone be confused if they had a room number? E16 means you find the E building and room 16. Not rocket science people!
Heath found out that Gavin was supposed to be in E14. So we walked there. I dropped him off and we went home. The teacher told me that the students are taken to the front of the school when classes are over. She said if I wanted to I could pick him up at the classroom. I didn't think that was necessary if everyone else waits for their parents out front.
I got there really early so I could find parking on the street a mile away. Just kidding. It wasn't that far. I waited out front with all the other parents. A few classes were being let out but they were early. When I heard the bell and started seeing a lot of kids I stood up to see Gavin easier. There were a couple different places for the kids to come out so I didn't know where to look for him.
Suddenly he was by my side and looked like he did in kindergarten after he had a bad day. My heart sank a little. He was upset because he couldn't find me and he asked some adult to help him. I don't know how long he had been looking for me but he was crying when he asked for help. I really sympathized. It's a different school and there were a lot of people milling around in chaos. I assured him he was fine and I was ready to go except I noticed his lunchbox was missing. He was so quiet I couldn't understand half of what he was saying. We walked back to his class to find the teacher. The room was open and the lights were off. So I had him look but the lunchbox wasn't there. I wasn't too worried. I figured I could send him with a paper bag tomorrow and we can sort it all out then.
Other than that tiny bit of drama, he says he had fun. He says he has so many new friends he can't even count them all! They played a couple of fun games in each class to introduce art or drama. He says his teachers are nice. I'm expecting this to be a positive 16 day experience for him. On the way home Gavin asked why the first day is so scary. I thought that was a great question. I told him it was because people don't know what to expect on the first day of school. I'm sure the traffic will sort itself out soon and I really hope to be able to drop him off in the drop off zone in a few days when he is confident about where to go. I'm looking forward to the final performance at the end of all this. It should be fun.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Holidays are not a big deal in our house. I agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses on the whole holiday thing. My boys don't see it that way. They love holidays. They have been looking forward to Father's Day for weeks now.
I printed The Perfect Father's Day book from playhousedisney.com for them. They did this last year too. I like how obvious their growth is in just one year. Gavin's coloring and writing has improved a lot. Parker actually wrote his name this year and his coloring has more purpose now. I thought that was a fun gift.
This was my favorite gift though. I love how kids invent spell based on how they pronounce things or mispronounce them in this case. The drawing board says Happy FoDRs Day. He must have forgotten the R in the blocks.
I love that my kids have the perfect father. Heath is such a great dad. I used to really hate Father's Day and I always feared being asked to give a talk on Father's Day. I know I know. Everyone's a victim and/or comes from a dysfunctional family. Get over it! But I really love that my kids have the perfect father. He loves them and he loves me. I believe the saying goes "Every grand-dad was once a great dad." That is certainly true of my father in law. He is a fantastic grandpa because he was a fantastic dad. Heath learned from the best. Yay for good fathers! Happy Fods Day everyone!
Friday, June 19, 2009
I think we have all had days where this sounds like a really great idea! Thanks for the joke Dawn.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
by Claudine Wolk
Here is my story to add to this book:
Me grumbling under my breath as I clean up my boys' latest mess: This is such a bad mom day.
Gavin: Yeah, you're a bad mom!
Me: Thanks for that, son.
Parker: Yeah, you just a bad mom!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The good news is the nurse and the doctor were asking if I had gotten my CGM yet. I told them no and that I had talked to Dave a week or so ago. He said that he was still working on it but it was taking a long time "since they are government." The nurse and doctor said that my insurance company was requesting more information on me. I will assume all of that means a continuous glucose monitor is in my near future.
The bad news is I will probably trade a $50 test strip copay for a $120 CGM copay! I'm making that up because I don't know for sure how much it will cost me to have a CGM. But my guess is it won't be cheap especially since my insurance company decided to provide coverage only 2 months ago. My doctor said my insurance company is a pain to work with. He kept talking to me about it as if I have anything to do with it. I don't even get a choice on who my insurance company is. Thank heavens I have insurance.
The other bad news is my A1C went from a 6.8 to a 7.3 :( That's not the right direction!!! The doctor was asking me what was going on and why my blood sugars just don't seem to be coming down. How am I supposed to answer that? I blame my son's kindergarten teacher for everything? That's not fair. Somehow I need to accept responsibility for my own actions or inactions. I told him that maybe I have allowed stress to take priority to my own health. I told him it was all I could think of and it was a dumb excuse.
It's just very frustrating that I have been seeing this endocrinologist monthly and we are both waiting for the one visit when he can say that I'm doing well, keep it up, and see him in 3 months. But every month things seem to get worse.
The good news is that maybe my crappy A1C increase will be reported to the insurance company and they will get me a CGM already! My doctor said he hoped the whole CGM thing would work out soon because it would help with my blood sugars.
As I drove home I was disappointed. I'm such a perfectionist that this was a major blow to me regardless of the doctor saying that I shouldn't let my A1C discourage me. He said that most of the averages have come down throughout the day and in many ways we were heading in the right direction. I feel like my life is spiraling out of control. I could sit here and type all my frustrations and wallow in my own self pity party but I won't.
Instead . . . the good news is I can use this health information as one more reason to simplify my life. I have a meeting tonight to do just that. Here's hoping I do a good job, I'm fair, and I don't feel like a quitter or hypocrite or both by the time I'm done.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
There is a reason why your mama taught you to share. Like kissing, sharing doesn't cost money and it is a pleasant thing to do. If I have something I'm not using and you have a need for it I can share with you.
If I have an orange and you don't, we can share by splitting the orange into equal parts. The amazing thing about sharing food is that nobody leaves hungry when food is shared. Think about it.
Sharing benefits the giver as well as the receiver. It's one of those life skills that when applied correctly is a win win situation for all. For example:
On Sunday my visiting teacher asked if we wanted an old sandbox of hers. I told her yes. Today she delivered this plastic truck sandbox that was much bigger and cooler than I had imagined. My boys were in heaven. Gwen was still in her booster seat eating lunch, completely oblivious to anything going on around the corner of the house. The boys played together while I cleaned up Gwen.
I set her loose imagining she would be just as thrilled by this "new" treasure in our backyard. She was interested but not as much as I thought. I had to help her get in and out. Her limited autonomy was the first problem. Her brothers' lack of sharing was another problem. The fact that she was tired was the biggest problem.
I thought maybe I could at least get some pictures of my little cherubs in the truck. Heath had my camera to take pictures of white boards. That sounds weird but the meetings generate so many ideas that he takes a picture before they erase the ideas to add more. My camera has been a big hit for days! Rather than attempt to use his very large and expensive camera, I went with the Flip instead. Good thing because I was stopping almost as soon as I started to dry tears, end fights, get Gwen in and out, etc. His camera would have never survived the war zone while the Flip fit nicely in my pocket.
After giving up on creating forever video memories, I put the camera away. I shut the door to the constant whining and crying of my darlings outside. I was grateful for the new toy. Once we buy some sand it will be even more fun. Maybe there will be enough fun things for my kids to do outside I won't have to convince them to go out every day.I have no doubt they will learn to share the truck the same way they learned to share the "tree house." Until they do, I will share their miserable fighting with the neighborhood. Because cliches are really truths worded in memorable phrases. Misery loves company. Enjoy sharing my everyday life with me. Please.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Posted by The Piquant Storyteller at 3:36 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I've learned that having a child fall asleep in your arms is the most peaceful feeling in the world. Today in Sacrament Meeting, Parker climbed onto my lap (something he does a lot), laid his head on my arm, and was soon snoring in my arms. Words cannot describe how wonderful that was. It was nice that he got a nap instead of being the bear he is on weekends when he refuses to nap. But he's almost 4 years old and I feel our snuggle days are numbered. He slept for most of church and woke up in time to go to the last 20 minutes of his Primary class!
I've learned that parenthood makes you think fast. I've also learned that sometimes I respond to my kids without thinking about what I will say but it turns out perfectly. A while ago Gavin asked out of the blue what it feels like to be dead. My thoughts were racing a mile a minute. I was thinking let's not find out anytime soon and what did you learn on that field trip to the gardens? What came out of my mouth was, "It probably feels the same as being alive. When you die only your body dies. Your spirit lives on and when you're resurrected your spirit and body are reunited." Then we discussed the Savior's atonement and resurrection again.
Along with the parenthood making you think fast thing, Parker was watching The Wiggles and asked Heath if Greg was dead. So Heath explained that Greg is no longer on the show because he retired and he is spending his time with his family now.
I've learned that kids are hilarious most of the time. Parker got a flashlight in Primary today. He lost it and has been wandering around the house yelling, "Flashlight? Flashlight?" Yesterday he was trying to sing the theme song to Bob the Builder. He kept forgetting lines. Gavin was singing something else or was talking or something. Parker said, "Can you please shut it?" When Heath and I were laughing at how unexpected that was Parker said, "Dad will you just shut it?" Maybe we need to watch our shut up language around our kids. When the timer goes off Gwen gets all excited and yells, "Da-a-a-a!" Because Mom couldn't possibly be cooking anything!
I've learned that if you give a child encouragement they will grow and gain confidence. Gavin is no longer afraid of the dragon sparks on his Kindergarten World game. He asked me to sit next to him in case he wanted to scream. He has been playing the game alone all weekend with no dragon spark issues. I know he is smart and very capable. I know that if he gets an encouraging teacher in first grade he will excel beyond our wildest dreams.
I've learned that I don't mind entertaining small groups of people. Last night we had a barbecue at our house with 2 other families. There were 7 kids and 6 adults and it was so much fun. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
I've learned that I am not addicted to Diet Coke but when I drink it I make the most of it. I am not one of those people that drinks Diet Coke daily. I am not one of my former roommates that would fill a 32 oz mug with Diet Coke 4 times a day. That is not an exaggeration! I really only like my DC in fountain form from a restaurant in a glass with ice and a straw. But I will drink it other ways too. Heath bought me a candy bar and a Diet Coke bottle to battle depression. (I get really depressed every couple of months and cry and cry over things that are always happening but I suddenly am bothered by it!) Anyway, I ate my candy bar then later I was drinking my "happy juice" while watching Burn Notice. My heart was racing with the intensity of the show. I was getting really jittery too almost as if I was having an artificial panic attack! Believe it or not, I slept fine that night. I was not up for hours as Heath predicted.
I've learned that every once in a while I do something really worthwhile and get my payback in subtle ways.
What have you learned today?
Friday, June 12, 2009
No more school; no more books; no more teachers dirty looks!
Gavin dressed up for his Kindergarten Celebration. Then he kept his jacket on! I found out yesterday that there would be a little graduation walk sort of thing at the beginning of the program where the kids had their names read as they walked and paused on the stage. Interestingly enough that was the part that made me take the whole thing seriously and made me want to go. Hours after I heard about the ceremonial walk, reality set in and all I could think about was my brother quoting lines from The Incredibles.
Bob: I'm not going.
Helen: He's graduating.
Bob: He's moving from the 3rd grade to the 4th grade.
Helen: It's a ceremony.
Bob: It's psychotic! They keep coming up with new ways to celebrate mediocrity!
Well, needless to say, we went anyway to celebrate the end of a really long year.
Taking a bow. I thought that was cute.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
In some ways I'm glad Gavin has made it to the bitter end of school. He was really excited about the fun activities that were planned for this week. To be fair to him we let him go even though I was the one throwing the temper tantrum about going to school! Ok, not really a tantrum, just a LOT of whining!
Yesterday was field day and Gavin had a blast. So I was glad he went. Today was the final field trip to the park across the street from the school. This is the only field trip I have gone on all year. I never turned in my volunteer form. At the beginning of the year Gwen had just turned 6 months old. She was still a handful with all her spit up and acid reflux crying. I hated making people watch her for any length of time. So I figured I would be a volunteer later if I did it at all. But I soon realized I could never work for Gavin's teacher. I would have had a nervous breakdown.
The vibe I got about this last field trip was that parents were kind of expected to go. Siblings were still not invited but since it was a public park nobody could enforce that rule. Several parents told me to go and to bring my kids. I could choose to walk with the class or just meet them at the park. Parker and I walked with the class while Gwen stayed home with her dad. I'm very grateful Gwen was not there. I'm wishing I had known things would be the way they were so I could have had an eased conscience about not going. But Parker had a blast so I guess it was worth it for him to have the social interaction he craves as an extrovert.
We power walked to the park while Gavin's teacher waited for no one and randomly turned around to tell kids there was no running! I was practically running to keep up with her! Parker held my hand and basically jogged the whole way. My favorite moment was when the teacher saw 2 cars coming to the intersection. Instead of waiting at the corner she blazed on as if we were late or something. Meanwhile the whole class was strung out down the sidewalk for at least a mile. Ok, that was a slight exaggeration! So the cars had to wait while all the kids got across the street. My friend was concerned that the end of the line wouldn't fit on the sidewalk on the other side so she moved the front of the line up 4 steps so the last kids didn't stop in the middle of the street. The kid in front got in trouble for moving! So my friend explained what happened and she was briefly reprimanded! Fun times.
We finally arrived safe and sound although a little out of breath. All the other kindergarten classes were there or arrived right after us. Again, had I known this was for everybody I would never have gone. The kids were told how far out on the grass they could play and that they could play on the playground. So my kids took off with the herd for the playground. I helped set up the food on the tables and after a while I thought maybe I should check up on my kids since I brought my 3 year old!
How could I not have guessed this would happen? Gavin was playing by himself as usual. Sometimes he plays alone and sometimes he really clicks with a kid at the playground. All these kids he knew from school and since there were so many of them he was quite happy to be alone.
He took his 3 hits like everyone else but no candy budged.
None of the kids were able to break the pinata so a dad was allowed to take a turn. He could hit it as much as he wanted to and he didn't have to put a bag over his head.
We got back to school in time to go home. Actually they were let out 3 minutes early! The weather has been super cold lately. This is the coldest June in 15 years in the Bay Area. While we were at the park the temperature was about 58 degrees. Brrr . . . But it was a fun time. Parker had so much fun and kept saying it was really cool. Gavin also had fun. I survived.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
In the last several months I have realized that Heath and I are teaching our kids poor sportsmanship. I don't mind us all sitting around playing games and jokingly calling each other cheaters but the kids don't really get it so I don't want them to take those words to school or church or any other game with friends. It's a different world now than the 80's when we grew up. Oh well, I can still kick anyone's butt in Skip-Bo and I'll still call you a Cheater Chowder Head too!
Monday, June 8, 2009
The pictures on the mantle are getting really old. Gavin is 4 and Parker is 2 and the pictures were taken before we knew Gwen was a girl. The picture of Gwen is when she is barely 6 months old. It's time for an update!
Here are my favorites from our latest photo shoot.
I had this brilliant idea for them all to sit on the slide together. This is the only picture where Gwen isn't visibly screaming and crying! My idea was a good one. My kids just didn't want to cooperate.
Please vote for your favorite.
One of Parker's favorite songs is Get Over It by the Eagles. The general message of the song is sometimes life is not perfect but stop whining about it and just get over it. But I can't!
This is the last week of school. Hallelujah!!! Last week we only had one incident and the rest of the week was easy and breezy. The week went by so fast as a result. Today we were right back to all the morning drama. I think it had more to do with the fact that Gavin is so interested in printing things from his computer and when I told him that he couldn't print the Me Book (that he has printed at least 5 other times before today) because it was over his 1 page daily printing limit, he couldn't handle the disappointment. I printed him a coloring page and told him he wouldn't have time to color it before school. He was so happy about the page and then crashed hard from the disappointment of not being able to color it right away.
But in the car on the way to school Gavin said he didn't want to go to school and he wished he could be absent. I told him he had to go today and tomorrow. Today because it was the last normal day of school and tomorrow because his dad took time off from work to take him on his field trip. I told him if he didn't want to go the rest of the week it was fine by me. Maybe that was inappropriate but oh well. He can decide if he wants to go to the field day and principal's barbecue on Wednesday, the park picnic on Thursday, and the Kindergarten Celebration on Friday where the class sings songs for the parents. I love that his teacher has song practice as part of homework. The parents are expected to help the kids practice songs the parents don't even know the tune to! I told Gavin last week that it was not my job to teach him songs at home. I do my mom job and expect his teacher to do her job and not ask me to do it for her!
Over the weekend Heath admitted to me that he thinks burning things is a bit much and I could simply throw it all in the garbage to have closure. He's probably right. But every morning I come home from taking Gavin to school and all I want to do is burn it all to release the stress and anger I feel daily.
Gavin was so clingy this morning. He was upset about not being able to go to PE. I felt so bad for him. This year I would get him to grudgingly go to school if I told him about the fun things he would do each day. Monday = Motor (where I come from we call it PE), Tuesday = friendship class, Wednesday = Library and Computer Lab, Thursday = reading buddies, Friday = last day of the week with no school for two days after. All of those fun things are over now. Some have been over for two weeks.
All the parents were given these huge laminated books the kids have made this year. There was a page for each month. I know I can't get rid of that. But the little things get me all upset again. The clarifying notes from the teacher on the first few pages. And she also wrote little notes either personally or generally saying how excited she is to have the kids in her class blah blah blah. One personal note said she liked the way Gavin was watching and listening. Anger wells up in me thinking of how she pushed him so hard to be someone he isn't. She had such a problem with him being an observer and slow to join in activities. Another general note said she treasured the kids as a unique person. Anger spills out in tears as I don't believe that for a second. Why can't I just let go and get over it?
Yesterday I had this strange thought in Relief Society. It was a bit of an epiphany I guess. I thought of how for 5 years Gavin and I butted heads. Our equally strong personalities clashed constantly. I never wanted our relationship to be the way it was. Especially when I thought of how my dad and I could never get along because of our strong personalities. I prayed for 5 years for patience, for understanding, for the love to come easier. I loved Gavin, don't think I didn't but he was so much work. I read so many parenting books that didn't help. Gavin was never textbook and he never will be. I love that about him. I knew he had a great purpose in life but I felt our strained relationship was holding him back.
His teacher, the woman I can't seem to completely forgive, let me borrow a couple of parenting books that changed my family's life. I hated The Difficult Child but loved Raising Your Spirited Child. Not only did I understand Gavin but I understood myself. That book was an answer to 5 years of prayers. That book gave me hope. That book was the only book that made sense with regard to Gavin. It was like manna from heaven.
So my thought in Relief Society yesterday was that maybe the Lord blessed me with that book because I needed to understand Gavin to fight for him this year. If I didn't understand him I may have been persuaded to believe something was wrong with him and he could have been in professional counseling or on medication for some attention disorder he doesn't have or something else crazy. I may have endorsed his teacher in pushing him so hard to be someone he's not and he could have shut down permanently as a result. Now I have the opportunity to teach Gavin who he is so his self esteem won't suffer. He may be more than the average person but that is an asset and not a liability. I can teach him not to be afraid of his own intensity and to use it for good. I am terrified of my intensity and feel I am only coping with it rather than using it to my full advantage.
With every difficult challenge in my life I look back on those experiences with fondness for lessons I have learned or incredible spiritual experiences I have had during the darkest hours of those trials. I may not have yet been able to get over my intense emotions from this year and I hope that time (and either burning or throwing out papers I don't need anymore) will heal the hurt. But I will always be grateful for the book that changed mine and Gavin's life.
Another book I want to read is The Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card. But I'm scared to read it. Heath read it and told me I need this school year to cool off before I can read this book or I will lose my mind! It is too similar to our school experience. I have a morbid curiosity to read it though. Heath is probably right again. He typically is right about things. I need to Get Over It first!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Gavin's Hole in One story:
Gavin was brushing his teeth last night when we discovered that one of his teeth was loose. I have to admit I kind of freaked out. It's a little bizarre when your own child has loose teeth.
He was so excited about it and wanted to pull it out right then and there. Heath told him no because it wasn't ready yet. I was afraid to let him go to sleep with a loose tooth. It would bend all the way back in his mouth but there was plenty of resistance in the front. It's not like it was hanging from a thread or anything.
I told Gavin to leave it alone and we would decide what to do in the morning. But every 2 seconds he was up looking at it in the mirror while I was trying to read the bedtime story. Heath and I had to laugh because we remember what it's like to have loose teeth.
Gavin kept talking about being able to get tooth treats at school. Secretly I was so thrilled that he was losing a tooth because he is younger than most kids in his class and I have heard that it's only the kindergarten teachers that make a big deal out of lost teeth. I didn't want him to lose his teeth in first grade and not have anyone celebrate this childhood rite of passage.
The plan was for Gavin to tell his teacher his tooth was loose this morning. But instead at 6:30 am I heard Gavin's voice calling out to me. "Mom, can you come here? You need to see this!" I shook off the sleep as best I could and opened my door. What greeted me was two little boys with the biggest grins on their faces. Gavin was holding up his tooth like a prize. Heath came over in his towel to share in the excitement. Heath told the boys to quickly get dressed and I would comb Gavin's hair so we could get pictures for Grandmas.
Not a great shot of the hole in his mouth but a pretty good picture of the tooth. Maybe it's because I'm an adult now but his tooth is teeny tiny. I actually am surprised he didn't lose it altogether. He claims he lost it in the night! Mother intuition never fails but I'm not one to say I told you so. Today anyway.
My question is what does the Tooth Fairy do with the teeth? Does she keep them or just leave the money? I love how much money Gavin thinks his tooth is worth! He can't wait to go to bed tonight.
We saw the principal as we were walking to Gavin's classroom this morning. The principal said hi to Gavin. Gavin said quietly that he lost a tooth. I tried to get him to run after the principal and the secretary to tell him. But Gavin wouldn't do it. Oh well. He shook his teacher's hand this morning and then smiled really big so she could see. But she wasn't paying attention so he just walked in the room. I felt bummed for him but knew she would find out later. The girl in line behind Gavin told the teacher that Gavin lost a tooth. She said it a couple of times before the teacher heard. The teacher was gathering the homework basket off the table. Anyway, the teacher asked if it was Gavin's first tooth and everyone said they thought so. When she looked at me I told her it was his first. She was excited. Like Gavin, I can't wait to see what the tooth treats are!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Have you ever thought about how your toothpaste tastes? Do you prefer one brand over another because of the taste? I hate Colgate because it tastes like camping to me. Have you ever tried your kids' toothpaste? It tastes like little kid. So does grape soda for that matter! Have you ever noticed that peppermint candy ice cream tastes like toothpaste? Some mints taste like toothpaste too. Except the chocolate mints. Those are the best. If your restaurant of choice doesn't give you Andes chocolate mints then the hard chocolate candy mints are pretty good too.
Anyway, back to toothpaste. I currently use Crest Pro-Health. It claims to whiten teeth, fight cavities, gingivitis, plaque, sensitivity, tartar, and freshen breath. Heath bought it because my dentist had prescribed toothpaste for sensitivity. I never filled the prescription and don't plan on it either. My teeth were pretty sensitive after having fillings replaced on both sides of my mouth in one week. But I doubt prescription strength toothpaste would have been any better than the Crest Pro-Health.
I would have to say that the Crest Pro-Health whitens my teeth better than any other toothpaste I have ever used that boasts whitening power. I've even used that whitening mouth wash. I gag on it every time then throw up a little in my mouth even after spitting it out before my time is up! It doesn't whiten all that well either if at all. But maybe that's because I'm not following the instructions for the amount to use and the length of time to swish.
My sister is a dental hygienist and I was whining that my dentist is really arrogant and I don't like him. I also don't like the sneaking suspicion I have that I just helped him buy a Bentley. ($1200 out of pocket in one month is a lot of money for not so much dental work!) I was telling Candi that my dentist wants me to pay for Invisalign and Zoom whitening. Yes, my teeth are crooked but I don't look at pictures of my smile and gasp in embarrassment. And the whole making me pay for whitening thing is annoying because I can cross the freeway and see a whole bunch of other dentists that will whiten my teeth for life free of charge just because I'm a new patient. That's when Candi told me that it's up to me whether or not I want my teeth professionally whitened because a lot of people do well with over the counter products. Although some people aren't affected by it because of the color of their teeth and their enamel. I thought that was interesting.
But this post was about the taste of my toothpaste. It tastes a lot like Pepto-Bismol. I'm not making that up. I brush and feel slightly sick to my stomach because of the taste. Then I rinse my mouth but I still have gritty toothpaste on my teeth that kind of crunches in my molars. The worst part is the aftertaste. Very similar to Pepto-Bismol. One day I may get bored enough to actually compare ingredients with these two products. It would be interesting information for a dinner party or some other social gathering!
In the meantime, think about your toothpaste as you go through your oral hygiene tonight before bed.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I was talking on the phone to my sister. She was telling me how well she was recovering from her c-section and preeclampsia. She also said that the nurses are calling Baby Isabel "Rock Star" because she is rock solid and doing so well. That is certainly amazing to me and I am so grateful for modern technology.
Not to take away from that conversation, but while we were talking I heard thunder. Thunder! In the Bay Area. Far inland in the Bay Area, not on the coast or in Sonoma or some other place that occasionally gets thunder. Where I live! My heart leaped with joy.
Wally Weatherman has been forecasting possible showers for this week. Since it's June Heath and I said we would believe it when we see it. It got dark and ominous outside for a while and then Heath saw lightning and we heard the thunder.
Since Heath lived for 10 years in Seattle he is not afraid to grill in the rain.
He came in with huge raindrops on his shirt and a large grin on his face. We both LOVE rain. Thunderstorms are especially awesome. Well, I had to grab the camera because this kind of weather in California at this time of year is virtually unheard of.
I told him about how my brother served his mission in Sau Paulo, Brazil. There was a family that kept feeding the missionaries even though they barely had enough to feed themselves. Tyson said this family had dogs but one time they went there for dinner and some of the dogs were not around. Tyson swears he ate their pets for dinner that night. The mission president and the missionaries were concerned that this family kept insisting on feeding the missionaries. But when they were asked about it they said when they had people over for dinner they had enough food.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Wow! I thought my life was crazy right now but things could always be worse. Yesterday I was doing my own version of homework with Gavin. He read me a book. That kid is so awesome when it comes to reading! Anyway, he was practicing writing his last name when my sister in law called me.
She asked if I had talked to my mom lately. I hadn't talked to my mom in a while and I was worried that something may be wrong. My mom had her dog put to sleep right before Mother's Day because he was so old and sick. She has been pretty depressed ever since.
Deanna didn't call about my mom. She was calling to tell me that my sister was probably in the middle of a c-section as we spoke! What???? Candi had her baby yesterday. A tiny little 2 lb 5 oz 15" long baby girl. Candi was only 31.5 weeks along. She had developed preeclampsia and her baby was in distress with heart decelerations so Candi had an emergency c-section. Her husband Ed is out of the country right now in South America for guard duty. He's not supposed to come home for 2 more weeks. Hopefully he can be released sooner though.
The good news is both mom and baby are doing well. Candi is probably very overwhelmed right now. But her baby girl is pink and breathing on her own. She is handling life outside the womb very well for a baby her size and age.
I know other people who are dealing with a lot right now. Some days it is so hard to face everything. But I have no doubt that the Lord gives us trials for a reason. There is a lesson to learn that could not be learned any other way. Our trials also make us stronger and better people. The Lord never leaves us alone. He is always there to carry us when we just can't do it anymore. He loves His children and is always blessing them during trials. Blessings are usually small punctuated with personal miracles.
Monday, June 1, 2009
That's right. Thirteen worksheets for homework. We won't do any of it.
Last week my heart was in my throat as I turned in 2 completed worksheets. All day I waited for the bomb to drop. I was totally pee my pants afraid to tell her off about homework. Why? Because while my greatest joy in life is being oppositional, obstinate, and generally a sarcastic pain in the neck, I hate breaking rules. I'll fight about anything I have an opinion on (and I have an opinion on everything) but blatantly breaking rules crosses a line for me.
Imagine my secret smile when I heard there was a substitute. Then I saw a note on the door from the teacher apologizing for giving so much homework when there were really only 2 days to do it between Memorial Day and the School Open House. Oh good, my silent stand against the evils of busywork homework in kindergarten would stay silent.
But then a parent volunteer laughed that Gavin was on the floor in the middle of the entire contents of his backpack that he had dumped out for some reason nobody knew. She said he was taking a long time getting it all back together. I was irritated that this busybody mom would laugh. His teacher has laughed while telling me things he has done and I find that really inappropriate and unprofessional. Then the substitute told me that she could see Gavin as a researcher when he grew up because he could do his own work at his own pace. Then she told me about how she heavily praised him for concentrating on an assignment "because that's hard for him to do." I think what I told the principal was that I didn't need an ADD diagnosis from a sub I didn't even know he was going to have.
I was irritated the whole way home. I couldn't figure out why I was so upset. But then I went back to blaming myself for everything and questioning my parenting abilities since his teacher has criticized my parenting all year. I wondered if there really was something wrong with Gavin and I just refused to see it. I sobbed most of the afternoon. I wrote the most emotionally raw email I have ever sent the principal and he immediately responded with genuine emotion saying it was painful for him to see us go through these experiences. He wished he had the power to end the school year on our behalf. Then he said I had his word that next year would be better. He has been promising that all year but to have him say I have his word . . . words can't describe what that meant to me.
After crying for so long about everything and simply not being able to get over it, I prayed. I couldn't get out of my head and my head is a dangerous neighborhood I should not be in alone. I prayed that I could shut off my brain enough to sleep and not dream. I know I dreamed but not so much that I didn't feel rested when I woke up. That happens a lot where my dreams interfere with sleep and rest.
Since then I think about things but it's no longer taking over my life like it has been lately. I feel numb regarding school. Gavin got in trouble today and it didn't cause my heart to race or me to think of illegal things to do for revenge. If Gavin is telling the truth, his teacher overreacts more than I do! He claims he made a weird face and was immediately sent to time out. I asked him over and over if she asked him to stop before she sent him to time out. He always assured me she did not ask him to stop. I don't know what to believe anymore so I just told the principal what I knew and admitted that I think he probably didn't stop when she asked him to and that's why he got the time out. But he had some stressed behavior when I picked him up. He told me another boy was in trouble after him but that kid is in the morning class so this whole thing happened before 11:30 this morning.
I just can't seem to care about any of it. Gavin brought home a packet of journal assignments he has done throughout the year. She has question marks and IDK (I don't know) all over it. I just save it all in my bonfire pile. Nine more school days until this is all over. I haven't given up, I haven't surrendered. I just decided not to be bothered by any of it today.
Tomorrow may be another story!