Barefoot And Crazy…

9

Am I considered an alcoholic if I drink a pitcher of daiquiris in the middle of the afternoon in order to erase the image of my two year old painting himself if poo?

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Why??  Why why why why why why WHY??

I knew better than to think this was over.  I did.  But that didn’t stop me from hoping, just a little bit, that my Poopcasso days were over.

Or, should I say, my Poopcasso Jr. days.

Clearly they aren’t, when this is the third time in a week I’ve found my “sweet” child covered in his own feces.  Not to mention the walls, window, and carpet.  At least this time he didn’t shove it all inside one of his busses.

The morning was going okay for the most part.  Mason and Leah pulled all of the toys out of the cabinet next to the tv. Then they shoved Kaleb inside. Then they got settled on the floor in front of the cabinet. For a good 30 minutes every time Kaleb opens one of the doors they shriek and squeal and laugh like little lunatics. Then he closes the door and they go silent. Door opens – shriek squeal, laugh. Door closes, quiet…
It was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever watched them do.

At the same time, both of my kids are volatile today.  Explosion after explosion.  Over the stupidest stuff.  A flash card.  No, seriously.  Not a pack of flash cards, not a ripped or broken flash card – over who was going to hold the flash card.  Seriously guys?  We have an entire bin full of flash cards – why are we fighting over this one?  In fact, I’m pretty sure we have multiple copies of this one.  Here – look, you can both have one…

Or you could both drop to the floor and start screaming like complete lunatics.  That works too.

Fighting over the giant teddy bear – if you don’t stop right this minute I’m going to give this ridiculous thing to Milo.  I’ll replace it as his bed.  You think I’m kidding??  Try me.  The dog loves this thing – and I have no problem removing it from the living room.

Or you could both drop to the floor and start screaming like complete lunatics.  That works too.

Mason, get your feet off of Kaleb.  Kaleb, take your foot off of Mason.  Mason!  No spitting!  Kaleb!  I said no spitting!  Well now I’m saying it to you too!  Stop that right now!  Keep your hands and feet to yourself!

Or you could both drop to the floor and start screaming like complete lunatics.  That works too.

The whole time this is happening, my niece is either inserting herself into the middle of the fiasco and fake crying, or she’s hiding in the cabinet.  No joke – hiding in the cabinet.  These kids are going to scar her for life.  Or maybe I am.  Maybe I’m actually effective when it comes to children I didn’t give birth to.  Considering she is the only one of them (little miss never sleeps) actually taking a nap.  All it took was one look from me and she was done.  Asleep in five minutes.

I go back and check in every few minutes because Mason has already been caught naked twice.  Then I hear Kaleb, yelling to me from the hallway that Mason is naked again.  Of course he is.  Why wouldn’t he be?  I mean seriously, how could I even think he would stay clothed?

What I didn’t expect was him naked – and completely covered in his own poo.  I stand there stunned for a minute as he stands at the window, gleefully rubbing himself down in crap as if it’s his very own rejuvenating skin cream.  And maybe it is, I don’t know.  What I do know is that it is nothing short of gross.  And I am horrified.  It’s like being sent back through time.  Here Desiree.  Hop on in the TARDIS so I can take you back in time – so you can relive the nightmare that was Poopcasso.

No, thanks.  I’ll pass.

Grab Mason, and give him his first experience with the shower head.  Not the nicest thing for me to do, no.  Then again, covering yourself in your own excrement and then proceeding to wipe it on the window, wall, and floor… well that’s not very nice either.  And it’s not as if I can give the kid a bath – he is completely covered in poo.  What good would sticking him in a tub do?  So, it’s shower time.  And he’s pissed.  Welcome to the club kid.

Get him washed, scrubbed, washed, scrubbed, and washed again for good measure.  Dry him off, stick him in a new diaper and jammies, put him in bed.  Clean the window.  Wall.  Carpet.  Point and shake finger at devil child.  Take.  A.  Nap.

Nope.  Nuh-Uh.  No joke, five minutes hasn’t even gone by and he’s naked again.

Are you freaking kidding me right now?  Seriously???  Seriously.  Why?

I’ll never know why.  Nobody knows why.  We all say “it’s a sensory issue”, and yet none of us can come up with any form of functional alternative solution.  Both the kids detest finger paint.  I mean, it’s actually pretty humorous.  I have a picture of Kaleb the first time I plopped his hands into finger paint – he actually looks like he might explode.

Kaleb was incessed that I stuck his hands in paint and smeared them around.  I still have that piece of paper hanging up

Kaleb was infuriated that I stuck his hands in paint and smeared them around. I still have that piece of paper hanging up

Mason is less than thrilled with this idea

Mason is less than thrilled with this idea

Mason was the same way.  Play-Doh?  Nope, they don’t really care for it all that much when it’s smooshy.  They only like it when it’s dry so they can crumble it up into the carpet.

Bean bags, squishy balls, balloons filled with everything from water to jell-o.  Nope.   Nadda.  Gotta have that poop.

So, I repeat my earlier question?

Does it make me an alcoholic if I drink an entire pitcher of daiquiris in the middle of the afternoon in order to rid myself of the image of Mason covered in crap??

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Send Me On My Way…

5

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Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like the Trunchbull from Matilda?

Only, it feels kind of like the roles keep getting reversed.  They’re big and I’m little.  They’re right and I’m wrong.  And apparently, there really is nothing I can do about it.

As of right this moment there are so many different emotions waging war with me right now my head is on the verge of exploding.  However, before I get into the main reason for this – allow me to tell you about Mason’s hearing test – just to set the tone for our afternoon.

At first he was okay.  He wasn’t thrilled to be there, and kept waving his arm toward the door, yelling in Masonese “This way!  This way!”

He did alright when she ran the test to check his middle ear for fluids etc.  He was less happy when she left to go to her little booth and closed us in the little testing room.  When she started the second test, talking through a speaker on each side of the room, he responded appropriately, looking to each speaker as she spoke through it.  Then came the beginning of the end.  The tones/noises.

Mason is sensitive to sound.  We know it isn’t a hearing problem – but a sensory one.  Some days he just can’t handle noise.  Some days he’s fine, but more often than not if something strikes a nerve, you’ll find him sitting with his hands on his ears and his eyes squeezed shut.  If it gets really bad he’ll tailspin into a meltdown, all while covering his ears.  I was so concerned with him freaking out over the room, the stuffed animals banging on drums, and the all of the other little things that I remember sending Kaleb over the edge, I completely forgot about the tones.

Enter tailspin #1.

Not a meltdown, not yet.  But he curled into himself.  So deeply, and in such a way I had never seen before.  Hands over the ears immediately.  Chin tucked to his chest, body curled, eyes squeezed shut.  He wouldn’t even give me the slightest response.  I spent a few minutes trying to coax him back out, and as soon as he finally started to come back to me she played the tone again.  Come on lady, really?  You can’t give him a minute to regroup?  Immediately he curls back into himself, pushing back against me as hard as he can.  Okay, clearly this is not going to work.

So, she attempts to get the reading by placing something in his ear instead.

Enter tailspin #2.

Otherwise known as a complete meltdown.  Screaming like he’s on fire, ripping the thing out of his ear, thrashing against me, crying hysterically… yep.  We are done.  I hope you got enough info lady cause I am not doing that to my kid again.  She did, luckily.  She said by all appearances his hearing was just fine – not counting the sensory issues.  Poor kid was still sobbing when I got him to the car.  So, I did what any overindulging mother would do when her child was just tortured by the nice lady in the audiology department…

I bought the kid a happy meal.

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So, we came home, we ate, we played for a little while, and the Mini Monster went down for a nap.

The next thing I know, my phone starts ringing…

Da da da da da da da duh da….

Freakin’ Darth Vader.  It’s the school.

Look at the clock.  What the heck??  It’s 2 o’clock, he can’t possibly be suspended.

“…we need you to come pick him up…”

Of course.  Heaven forbid this day improve.

Wake up Mason and run out the door.  Get to the school and Kaleb is completely shut down.  What the heck??  He won’t look at me.  He won’t speak.  He’s just sticking his tongue out, making throat noises, and breaking crayons.  I haven’t seen him like this in quite a while.  Certainly not this bad.  The principal is there, along with the vice principal and the teacher.  I’m already having a hard time not being angry, just looking at my kid.  So, when the teacher walked me through what happened, I wasn’t seeing red, I was hearing red.

They were in line, walking.  Kaleb wanted to hold the hand of one of the little girls in his class (he’s enamored with this kid, has been talking about her relentlessly for months).  So he reached his hand behind him to hold her hand.  Was told “No” because (for some reason or another) it’s against the rules.  Well, Kaleb continues to hold her hand.  And the teacher reaches over and physically removes his hand.  Kaleb immediately reared around and hit the teacher in the chest.

I’m sorry, because I’m going to be unsensitive right now.  But seriously?? What did you expect??  It is not a new fact – you do not initiate physical contact with Kaleb unless he is visually receptive – because he will react in a most undesireable manner.  And by that what I mean is – he will physically lash out at unwanted physical contact.  If you were literally just around the corner from your destination, why on earth would you risk a giganitc meltdown over something so small?

On top of that – the teacher knows Daddy left for work yesterday.  This is the first rotation where Kaleb is really aware of what is happening, and it’s been hard on him.  He’s got all of these emotions rolling around in him that he doesn’t even know how to define, let alone handle.  I told her he would probably need a week or so to get back to normal.  He had a difficult time with this transition before now.  This time is different.  It’s harder for him because he understands that Daddy is gone, but he isn’t able to grasp the concept of why on a level that makes sense to him.  He’s just repeating what we tell him.

He’s going to be more volitile because he’s at war with himself.  So, congratulations.  You just unleashed the Kracken.  Prepare to have your ship sunk.

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They got him back to the room and he went into complete meltdown mode.  Hitting, kicking, screaming, scratching, spitting.  Completely out of control.  They “restrain” him for the second time this week.  Call me to come get him.

So, there we are.  I’m furious.  Not at Kaleb.  Because Kaleb is not at a point where he can control his reactions when he hits that level.  I’m baffled by this.  I’m frustrated, and sad because I can look over at my child who is so shut down he didn’t even realize I was there at first.  Even with Mason yelling for him.

We leave, the car ride is spent in silence.  It doesn’t take a professional to see that my kid is not at all ready to talk.  We come home, he gets his Blankie, goes to his room for a few minutes, comes out with his “yesterday cup” and asks politely for some milk.  As much as I want to give him some, and let him go relax, I also really need to know what happened from his perspective while it’s still fresh in his mind.  So, I tell him I will give him some milk when he is ready to talk to me about what happened at school.  He tells me to read his referral.  I tell him I don’t have his referral – the school does.

He gets upset at this, and tells me he needs to make a referral for me to read so I can read what happened.  I stand in the middle of the kitchen stunned.  And angry all over again.  This is what my child is learning?  Are you serious?!

He goes over to his art desk and writes up his referral.  Would you like to know what he brought to me five minutes later?

"Kaleb spit, hit, and kicked, and also stuck his tongue out."  That's how he read it to me.

“Kaleb spit, hit, and kicked, and also stuck his tongue out.” That’s how he read it to me.

Insert Mommy Meltdown #1.

There goes another little piece of my heart – broken for my child.  He reads this to me, and just stands there expectantly.  What do I do with that?  Yes, those are bad things to do.  But why did you do them?  I want to know what happened in your world to cause that to happen.

I coax him about his day, leading up to this point.  He tells me he wanted to hold ____’s hand, and Mrs. ____ told him no, but he wanted to hold her hand so he did and Mrs. ____ took his hand off her hand so he hit her.  We talk about this for a few minutes.  I asked him what he should have done when Mrs. _____ said No.  He told me he shouldn’t have done it, but ____ is his friend.  We continued along this train for a while, until it was clear the conversation was exhausted.   I asked him what happened next.

I’ll tell you what happened next.  My five year old child repeated verbatum the words that were spoken to me when I picked him up.  They weren’t even his own words!  I had him repeat it.  I asked him questions.  Not a single variation.  By that time I was at such a loss I just waved him off to go play with Mase and Leah.

What do I even do with that?  What can I do?  School lets out in a month – what would be the point in exacerbating an already unpleasant situation when he’ll be in a new school next year?

I don’t know.  What I do know is that all three of the kids have been determined to make me crazy.  Mase is still so overwhelmed from his hearing test that he’s crying over Every.  Single.  Little.  Thing.  Hands over the ears, dramatic drop to the floor followed by what sounds like a dying fire engine.  How is that not hurting your ears????  Kaleb and Leah are switching between perpetrator and soother – it’s making me want to cover up my ears.

Yeah this is one of those days where I keep flip-flopping from feeling like the Trunchbull, to feeling like the little girl with the pigtails who got tossed out of the school yard.

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Anyway, now that I’ve written a novel, and have probably sounded both really pathetic and completely insane – I’m going to get the demons… ahem, children ready for bed.  Thanks for actually reading all of this!

Clean Up Woman…

3

I can’t stand garbage day.  Not because I mind taking out the trash so much – that in and of itself is no big thing.  I’d much rather do that than dishes or laundry.  No, it’s the compete sense of panic I get when I realize it’s garbage day.

Usually this occurs between 9 and 10am – when I hear the truck coming down the street.  Crap, Crap, Crap!  Run to the diaper genie, open, gag, empty, gag, check can freshener, close, throw bag of unnaturally stinky Huggies into bathroom garbage bag, grab bag and do a fast turn around the house.  Run to the porch and empty that bag.  Run to the garage, why won’t this thing open faster??  Take bags to can.  Run can to the curb just in case the truck is faster than me.  Back inside to grab the kitchen bag Oh no.  I forgot to clean out the fridge.  The truck is coming.  Would I rather the trash stink for a week or the  fridge be a little crammed.  Oh here it comes, forget the fridge!  Grab whatever boxes I can get my hands on, run to the can, throw the bag in, start ripping apart boxes, duck back into the garage just before the truck pulls up in front of our house.  I really don’t want to have to face the garbage men.  Because as I much as I despise garbage day (usually entirely my own fault for forgetting about something that has happened every Thursday for four years), I know those guys hate me.  They have to.

Today wasn’t that bad.  Mostly because I was struck with an insane bout of insomnia last night (BTW the movie John Tucker Must Die is garbage.  Thanks for sticking with my theme, while wasting two hours of my time Oxygen Channel), so I went around and gathered everything I could get without waking the kids and put it all in the garage.  Then I got it all out to the curb while waiting for Kaleb’s bus this morning.  Easy Peasy.

Our amount of weekly garbage is ridiculous.  Between the kids – Mason’s diapers, Kaleb’s art that Mason destroys, Kaleb’s art that Kaleb destroys, stuffed animals the dog destroys – and us, we have a lot of garbage each week.  Especially this week.  After finishing Kaleb’s room, starting on Mason’s room, the fishy catastrophe, and just your run of the mill normal weekly trash – those guys are going to want to shoot me.  Of course, it’ll be just as bad next week because I opted to wait to put out the box Mason’s bed came in until next week – for fear that they already won’t take our full can, two black bags, and the giant box filled with boxes.  And don’t forget I’ve decided to go a little cuckoo-cachoo and have started ripping the whole house apart to “spring clean”

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I don’t know why I felt the need to do this.  I am not a spring cleaner.  I am a “get as much done while the Monsters are sleeping” cleaner.  And even that’s an exaggeration.  Our house is cluttered – primarily because I do not see the point in spending two hours cleaning the house up while the kids are napping, just to have Mason come back out here, dump out the balls in the ball bin, have Kaleb throw the box of wooden blocks, and who knows what other absurd mess they will create within the first two minutes of entering the living room.

Usually by the time they go to bed, I’m left sitting here staring at the flash cards and bouncy balls, I’m just resigned to living in the clutter forever.

But now.  Now I’ve got some insane wild hair up my rear end – and have decided that every closet, every cabinet, every drawer is going to be cleaned out and de-cluttered.  I’m going to add to my garage sale (in the hopes that we will actually manage to do that next month) pile.  I’m pretty sure I’m either delusional or I’ve gotten really good at lying to myself, because the every day me thinks the rest of me has gone completely bonkers (Yeah totally nuts! Terrific, now I’m singing the theme song from a 90’s cartoon).

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Though, I guess if I’m going to clean I’ve got some pretty good company for it.  Well, kinda.  Mason likes to “help” mommy clean.  I enjoy this, because it’s sweet, and it’s probably good stuff for him to be learning early on.  Except Mason’s idea of cleaning, is more like drive-you-crazy, put-the-clean-laundry-in-the-washer, scream-when-you-won’t-let-me-sit-in-your-lap-while-it’s-full.  This is not the kind of help I’m looking for.

 Please don’t throw that diaper in the toilet.  Oh, come on!  Why would you throw the diaper in the toilet??  No!  Get your hand out of there!  Mommy will get it!  Yuck!  Get back!  No!  Don’t… oh Mason, seriously?  Did you have to jump on the two piles of sheets I was trying to sort?  *sigh*  I guess I might as well take a break.  Come on, let’s read a book.  What?  Why are you screaming now?  No!  Don’t eat that!  Get the bath fizzies out of your mouth!  Come on, out!  Out out out!!

So, “spring cleaning” the boys bathroom will be put off until nap time.  When he won’t actually take a nap – he’ll stand at the gate and yell at me because he wants to “help”.  This is why I”m not a “spring cleaner”.  Cleaning is bad enough, doing it with Captain Destructo is just not happening.

Which doesn’t really matter right now.  Mason has an audiology appointment today (for a hearing test).  I remember this.  I remember doing this with Kaleb – when he was having a really good day.  It sucked.  A lot.  Now we’re doing it with Mase, who has half the language Kaleb did at this age.  Oooooh joy.  This is going to be one of those “Mommy treats herself to a super big latte after nightmare appointment” days.  Then again, it might not be.  He might put on his People Personality and get through it no problem.  Though given the combative mood he’s been in since 6:30 this morning I seriously doubt it.

Speaking of Mase and appointments – I got a call from Child Find yesterday, to schedule his school evaluation.  Awesome.  Want to know when it is?  48 hours before his eval to be diagnosed.  Oh.  Joy.  Well, this will make for an interesting week.  Of course, Kaleb is going to be out of school then as well.  That will either help, or cause a complete disaster depending on how he and his brother interact that morning.

At least it’s finally happening.  That’s a plus, and I’ll take it.  In the meantime I’ll focus on each week as it comes – because somehow our schedule is filling up faster than fast.

On a final note – this is my 100th post.  That’s kinda cool.  So to all you wackos who have been reading this lunacy – thank you!  It’s nice to have company on my way to the asylum.

Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown…

0

We dropped Daddy off at the airport so he could go back to work this morning before school.

We got back home with just enough time to pack up Kaleb’s lunch, fill out his folder, and meet the bus.  While I’m making his sandwich, he sits down on the kitchen floor with Milo, and starts petting him oh so gently.  I’m thinking this is weird, but maybe, just maybe Kaleb is finally starting to understand that he has to be nice with the dog.  Then I hear him start talking to Milo, very quietly.

“It’s okay Milos.  I know you miss daddy too.  But he had to go on the airplane to go back to work.  He has to go make us moneys so we can buy things.  He’ll be home soon.  It’s okay.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  It was so uncharacteristically sweet for Kaleb (when it comes to Milo, the kid is a wrecking ball).  It was also another one of those moments that strike me so randomly – where I see my child trying to cope with emotion by transferring it on something else (it used to be the doll houses).  Daddy’s had this job for as long as we’ve been together.  It’s all the boys know.  But this was the first time Kaleb really got it.  And it was kind of heartbreaking.  The whole time we were waiting for the bus we discussed how long Daddy would be gone, all the things we would do when Daddy gets home, and some of the things we will do before he gets home.

Kaleb has received his very first birthday invite from a classmate.  This is kind of a big deal for me – especially because I know the little girl has been subject to some of his meltdowns in school before.  We’ve got a baseball game to go to, a wedding expo to go to, possibly Scooby Doo live (um, can we say AWESOME???), as well as getting this poor house back in order.

The one thing I’m most focused on though, the one thing that’s happening before Daddy comes home that is going to give me a bit of a panic attack – Mason’s evaluation was finally scheduled.  June 13th.  I’m a bit freaked out.  Okay, I’m a lot freaked out.  With Kaleb, we knew, just like we do with Mason.  But Kaleb is the kind of kid who shows all of his cards without question.  Mason is… Mason.  Yes, he’ll look you in the eye – but not because he wants to make any form of eye contact – he’s actually studying your eyes.  Yes, he points – but 99% of the time it’s only to the things he’s trying to grab out of thin air.  Yep, he can be social.  Again, not because he actually wants to interact – he wants to understand.  The kid is almost as obsessed with how people work as he is the 4 billion matchbox cars spread across this house like little land mines.

So, what happens when the eval falls on a good day?  A day where he’s more interested in studying you than anything else and you take that as socialization?  What happens then?  Do we start from scratch.  We’ve known – for a long time now, that Mason isn’t “typical”.  He’s not as violent as his brother – well, not usually.  But he shows all of the major signs, and he does things that sometimes make me feel like I’m watching a parallel world.  Things he couldn’t have learned – as Kaleb had stopped doing those things before Mase was even born.

I forgot how nerve-wracking this can be.  Actually, that’s not true.  This is a different kind of nervousness.  Totally different.  And that’s even more stressful.  Kaleb was a shoe-in so to speak.  We knew it, they knew it, it was just a matter of formalizing it.  The only real nervousness I felt with Kaleb was that he was going to break another chair.  Plus, his eval was close enough to Mason’s due date that I was concerned about missing the eval.  Which, incidentally, I did.  Mason was born two weeks early – Kaleb’s eval was 30 hours later.

However, with Mason?  It’s almost as if he’s a total unknown.  The Developmental Pediatrician knows it – has remarked on it, recommended evaluation more than once.  Same goes with the Pediatric Neurologist.  Kaleb’s neuro has remarked on it, recommended evaluation on nearly every trip that Mason joins us.  Before you ask, I don’t take Mase to either one of them because neither of them has room for new patients right now.  And Kaleb’s DP took me 16 months to get in for an appointment.

But, like I said, Mason is different.  A lot of his problems aren’t as loud and violent.  A lot of them are quiet things, things that happen and are downright disturbing at times.  I’d be afraid to spend a day inside that kid’s mind – he connects things in a way I’ve never seen before.  Then you add in the sensory issues, the sensitivities to noise, certain textures and tastes.  Throw in fine and gross motor delays.  Add in the fact that he mostly talks Masonese, and you rarely get good, real, clear words out of him.  Throw in the obsessions, and the weird thing he does when he “collects” things out of the air… I cannot really explain this.  And I truthfully have no idea what he’s doing – I just guess, and hope that I’m right.  When he sees something that interests him, he basically plucks it out of thin air, and places it in his other hand – which he holds like he’s holding a box.  Occasionally he’ll put his imaginary things in a car if he’s carrying one.  He walks around basically all the time with that hand clenched like he’s holding something.  It’s odd, and I don’t know how else to explain it.

The toe-walking and W-sitting.  The OCD and insistence that things be exactly just right and nobody else touch them.  The refusal to sleep – and the need to smack his feet on the mattress over and over and over again in order to fall asleep.  The fixation on balls and anything with wheels.  The incredible, frightening ability he has to manipulate every one and every thing around him.  The list goes on.  But what if the person doing the evaluation doesn’t see it?  What if that person only sees that sweet, happy, curious Mason that most people see when he puts on his “people face”?

Then what?  I didn’t realize just how much this was going to rattle me until they gave me the date.  We’ll get through it – we always do.  I’ll make sure to be thorough on the paperwork, and Mason will just be Mason.  Still.

On a more positive note, Kaleb’s room is finished – totally finished.  And Mason’s Corvette Bed came in two days early – which was perfect.  Daddy was heartbroken that he wasn’t going to be here when Mase saw it for the first time.  I was heartbroken at the thought of having to put it together.  So we spent all day yesterday scrambling to get everything done.  And remarkably, we pretty much did.  Mason is in LOVE with his new bed.  Kaleb is absolutely overjoyed with his new room – it was just what he needed.

So turning Mason’s room from a nursery into a big boy room (one that is not overwhelming) is my new project.  Guess we’ll need to take a trip to Michaels soon.  Anyway, here are some pictures of the Monsters new stuff (and by some, I mean a ton)!

The New Bed

The New Bed

Waiting for the gates to open so he can get to the car in his room!

Waiting for the gates to open so he can get to the car in his room!

Annnnd he's off!

Annnnd he’s off!

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Yes, the headlights actually turn on.

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Thank you Daddy!!!

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Now on to Kaleb’s new room!  You’ll notice the walls are bare – we didn’t want to overwhelm the room, so we made a deal.  If he sleeps in his bed every night, sometime in May we will go and get some wall decals.

Kaleb's closet pt. 1

Kaleb’s closet pt. 1

Kaleb's closet pt. 2

Kaleb’s closet pt. 2

Big Green Chair

Big Green Chair

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Monster Boogie…

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I’m not going to lie, over the course of the last five years I’ve become a bit of a kiddie-rock enthusiast.  I’m not all that proud of this (how do you go from Social Distortion to The Dirty Sock Funtime Band and not feel at least a little sad for yourself??), but there it is.  I get more excited than my kids do when we go to shows.  It’s a little concerning.

I’ve always been big into music – of all genres and eras – so it wasn’t that much of a jump for me to dive into some of the more kid-specific music when Kaleb came along.  Even if some of it does make me want to stab myself in the ears with a fork (think “There’s a party in my tummy!  So yummy!  So yummy yummy!).  Now, don’t go thinking when I was pregnant with Kaleb I went on a kiddie rock band hunt.  Just the opposite.  My kid was going to know Frank Sinatra and Jack Johnson as far as I was concerned.  The kiddie rock kind of found me.  When Kaleb was born we were a Noggin family (now known as Nick Jr) all the way.  No PBS or Disney here.  We were all about Moose A. Moose and Zee the Bird (if you don’t know them, you missed out.  I miss the stupid moose).

At 10am every day they would play Jack’s Big Music Show.  I loved this show.  I had every episode on the DVR, and we watched them over and over again (okay.  I will admit that there’s a groundhog day episode featuring Jon Stewart – also where I first saw the Steve Burns video posted a few weeks ago – that still makes me laugh.  A lot.  It’s my favorite episode ever).  Because this show was all about music.  And they’d play these little music videos, featuring these kiddie rock bands, and I got hooked.  Laurie Berkner being first and foremost on our list of absolute favorites.

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Five years later I still love this woman.  She’s saved me so many times, I’d kiss her if I could.  I’m not even remotely kidding right now.  There have been so many times over the course of my children’s little lives that walking around the grocery store belting out “Let’s Go Swimming” has salvaged my shopping trip.  It’s helped us get through doctor’s appointments and long waiting lines.  She’s put them to sleep (Winter Lullaby is seriously my favorite soothing song of all time), helped them get rid of some of their restless energy, and given us countless happy, laughing, singing memories.

Last year I paid an outrageous amount of money for tickets and drove Kaleb to Tampa just to see her live – because she’s pretty much never down south (even while reading this I can pretty much promise Daddy is still shaking his head in that “you are completely insane” manner of his).  It was worth it.  The look on Kaleb’s face when Laurie Berkner walked out on that stage will be with me for the rest of my life.  I cried.  Right there, on the spot, I cried like a baby.  Hell, I could cry now thinking about it again.  That look of pure awe, wonder, and absolutely unrestricted joy is one of the things I hold on to when we have rough days.    If you want an example of his reaction you can see a video here – he’s completely concentrated until the song ends, and then the song ends and his reaction had me crying all over again.

Aside from his reactions, the best part of the show was having at least five other full grown adults admit they were there because they wanted to see her more than the kids did.  At least I’m not alone in my crazy!

Every time a show comes to town, or close enough for me to justify, I try as hard as I can to take them.  Last October was Mason’s first “real” show (we’d seen Jake & the Neverland Pirate Band at Downtown Disney, but it was an outdoor thing you just kind of walked up to and watched).  Daddy and I loaded the kids up and drove to Savannah.  Yes, Georgia.  I drove my children out of state for The Fresh Beat Band.  I also got backstage passes and a photo op with them.  True, I was more excited about this than anyone else in my family.

But it was awesome.  And worth every single second.  Kaleb got to give the band a card he’d made for them and had been carrying around with him everywhere.  Mason didn’t care all that much – he more or less just wanted the balloons.  But I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

The Fresh Beat Band!

The Fresh Beat Band!

We’re musical people.  Just about every show the kids watch is centered on music.  Music is pumped through the house on cleaning days.  And sometimes when I just want to preoccupy them enough to be able to cook without tripping on a child, I’ll break out the kiddie rock.  This happened last night – and it had me cracking up.  All three of the kids dancing around, spinning, and laughing to the music.  It’s also a bit of a double bonus, because one of the Laurie Berkner DVD’s we have features Moose and Zee as the hosts – and Mason is absolutely enthralled every time they come on “stage”.

Actually, the reason we are now Disney Jr. people is because Nick Jr. got rid of Moose and Zee.  I was mad.  That moose was the one thing that would keep my insane child still for five minutes at a time.  I boycotted.  Look kids!  There’s a show about pirates!  And they sing!  And our Jake obsession was born.

I do recognize that this is completely absurd.  I am plenty aware that my obsession with the kiddie rock is probably unhealthy and I should probably seek treatment.  But considering right now I’m sitting here watching Mason mimic the dance moves of Laurie Berkner I can’t help it.  On top of it all I’m sitting here thinking “Look at those motor skills!  Jumping off the ground – great!  Keep it up buddy!  Shake that little booty!”  I watch him stomp like a dinosaur, buzz like a bee, swim like a fish, and exercise all of these little body parts that so often aren’t thought about.

I could probably keep going.  I could probably sit here and justify my love for this kid-centric music all day.  But the truth is, I love that I get to enjoy something my kids enjoy so thoroughly.  I don’t want to smash my head through the tv.  I don’t want to jump up and down on the CD’s (again, Daddy may have a different view of this, as he’s not so much a fan), or shove cotton in my ears.  I don’t mind getting the songs stuck in my head because I can sing them to my kids and make them laugh.  Now, I’m not even sure what the point of this whole thing was, except I’m sitting here watching Mason pretend to have a pig on his head and it’s delightfully entertaining.

I guess maybe I just wanted to share that all kid’s music isn’t that bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my favorite song (The Cat Came Back) just came on and I have to go dance with my kid.

Dancing to The Laurie Berkner Band this morning

Dancing to The Laurie Berkner Band this morning

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The Outsider…

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I need to extricate myself from this fish tank.  Immediately.

This obsession we have with the fish has gotten so out of control I’m attributing social classes and anxiety to them.

We have one fish that is just a regular zebra fish (not sure how that happened) – the rest are all neon.  The little zebra fish (let’s call him Zed for now) is a total outcast.  He just chills in the back of the tank staring at himself in the mirror.  It kind of reminds me of the little lunatic fish and her twin “Flo” in the tank on Finding Nemo.  Anyway.  He only leaves his corner (what Daddy is calling the death corner, because that’s where Twitch presided for his short reign) to eat, swim for a quick second, and he’s right back to his spot.

Daddy was expressing concern about this last night, when I found myself rambling on about how he’s just the social outcast.  All of the other fish are bright, neon colors – they swim around all day like “Look at me!  I glow!  Look how special I am!” while Zed just chills in his corner because he doesn’t glow.  He’s the kid in the back of the class nobody talks to – nobody quite knows why nobody talks to him, but that’s just the way it is.  Can fish be depressed?  Or rebellious? I just know he’s going to be the fish who tries to escape.

Do you see what I mean?  This has to stop.  This is nothing short of insane.  We should have gotten a frog, or a lizard, or a stupid hamster.  Do you know how freaking complicated fish are??  The water has to have this, this, and this, the Ph balance must be exactly this, clean it like this… I mean seriously.  I figured as long as you had a small tank all you had to do was throw the fish in the water, clean it every now and then, and not forget to feed them.

Anyway, speaking of complicated, Kaleb’s room is 99% done – finally!  We only have a few more things to do before we move on to focus on exactly how we want to do Mason’s room (do you hear Daddy groaning?  I’m pretty sure he’s pretty sure that I’m probably going to want to paint it).  He loves it.  Which makes all of the stress surrounding it totally worth every second.

Daddy finished painting the closet, so we moved the big green comfy chair from the living room into it, and put the futon in the living room (Kaleb’s closet is virtually a whole extra room – his room used to be our office).  So now he has a reading chair, and his closet is his safest spot in the house.  Whenever he is upset, for whatever reason, he can go into his safe spot and have all the time he needs to work it out and calm down.

If he is inside and the closet curtains are closed, nobody is allowed to bother him (unless he is hurting himself or causing some form or irreparable damage) until he says so.  Today he and I are cleaning all of the shelves in the closet so we can line up all of his books and puzzles.  We will only keep calm, soothing activities in the safe spot – so for right now it will just be his books and puzzles.  Once we’re done with the shelves today we will put the stuffed animals back in their home, finish repainting his bedroom door, and we’ll be good to go!  I’ll take pictures when it’s all finished.

I also made a list of bedroom rules, put them in a frame, and we’re going to hang them up today someplace where he can always see them.

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He seems really excited about this (based on the number of times he’s told us his new bedroom is AWESOME), and I am hoping with all my heart it helps him.  It’s seemed to have a bit of a calming effect already.  He’s been less prone to outbursts over the last couple days, and he’s been holding back when he is getting upset.

Of course Mason is jealous.  Insanely jealous.  He will not stay out of Kaleb’s room.  Unfortunately it’s going to be a while before we get to totally focus on his room.  His new bed will be here sometime next week (of course it’s after Daddy goes back to work and Mommy and Miss Lisa will have the pleasure of putting it together), we’re going to clear out some space in his closet (he hides in there all the time) for a bean bag chair like Kaleb’s so he can have a Safe Spot too.  We’re going to give him a little cabinet to keep stuff in, and redecorate his walls.  We’ll keep the paint for now – just touch it up – but change out the “twinkle twinkle” for the Hudson Hornet.  Of course, the biggest focal point will be the bed – so Mommy will spend the next eight weeks trying to figure out the best way to make his room calming and sensory friendly, while fun and exciting for him.

I am completely thrilled with Kaleb’s room though.  After hours of debating over paint swatches, going back and forth with the kid, freaking out about the furniture – it turned out perfect.  So major points to Daddy for spending hour upon hour painting over the last two weeks – because Daddy likes painting about as much as I like washing dishes.  And even bigger props to Kaleb for being able to accurately express what he wanted, and not completely flipping his lid when he got it.

So, now I have to go fix the family room because moving the furniture around last night took the Kids’ Corner and turned it into the Kid’s Chaos.

Oh, and the kid even made his bed this morning.

 

Invisible Moms

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I’m not even sure how I managed to find my way here – but I’m really glad I did! This is a great story, and oh so true to life sometimes.

Blessings through raindrops...

I received an e-mail from my son-in-law the other day. It was addressed to my daughter and I.
I’m sure she gets e-mails from him often, but this is not a common occurrence for me.

So I was a little surprised…pleasantly so!

He prefaced the story below with a personal note. I have not included the personal note, but suffice it to say, it was very kind and thoughtful, expressing much gratitude and love!

I have to say, if he keeps doing stuff like this, we might just keep him around! 🙂 (Just teasing!) He’s a good guy!

It’s obvious that he loves my daughter very much, and he is adjusting to the role of being a new Dad quite well!

I hope the story encourages you as much as it did me!

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Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the…

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