Food, Glorious Food…

Kaleb has become a midnight snack thief.

This has been going on for about a month now, and it’s going to make us crazy.  I’m not talking about a little light nibble here and there either.  I’m talking about the half a box of donuts left over from breakfast stolen off the kitchen counter.  Snack containers full of teddy grahms and Chips Ahoy! taken from his grandmother’s kitchen window sill (none of us know how he reached them).  More donuts.  An entire package of birthday cake oreos stolen from his great-grandmother’s kitchen.  Boxes of fruit snacks that were hidden on the tallest shelf in a snack cabinet (don’t know how he got those either).  An entire container of chocolate covered marshmallow cookies (btw, can we say gross??).  Ritz Bitz taken out of Mason’s backpack.  Lollypops snuck from the bathroom (they were being used to unsuccessfully bribe Mason to sit on the toilet).  A gumball machine full of M&M’s also used in the game of Let’s Bribe Mason to Pee!

And the night before last, after Daddy and I each only got one small square before bed, Kaleb stole an entire tray of brownies.

First of all, don’t judge me.  I realize this is a lot of junk food – but the truth is, we usually only keep one dessert like item in the house at a time unless it’s sugar free or healthy in some way.  This does not include my secret candy cabinet (it took Daddy forever to figure out how I kept magically appearing with a Snicker’s bar in my hand) – but that’s for the grown-ups.  More so, that’s for me.  After having Mason my blood sugar tends to plummet randomly, so I keep secret sugar stashes.  But in reality, the kids eat a whole lot more fruits and veggies (thank goodness, because they are complete nightmares when it comes to feeding them meat) than they do junk.  Which makes the secret snacking that much worse.

I know that Kaleb’s meds have been known to increase his appetite, and I have never hesitated to feed the kid when he’s hungry (unless it’s right before dinner – in which case he can wait the twenty minutes).  But I’m completely worried about what this is going to do to his blood sugar levels.  I can just see it now – when he goes in for his blood work in two months and his doctor tears my head off over the amount of sugar Kaleb has been ingesting.

I have no idea what to do about this.  I’ve cleaned out the kids snack cabinet.  If I have to get a padlock and lock up all the snacks at night I will.  Because this has just gone too far.  When he took the lollypops he managed to stash half the bag before he was caught – for two days we found him and his brother with empty lollypop sticks all around (at least he was sharing, right?).  When I found the brownies yesterday morning I didn’t know whether I should scream or cry.

The first thing I did after getting Mason up yesterday morning was head to the kitchen – where the first thing I noticed was my missing brownies.  I’m not really a junk food junkie (okay, that’s kind of a lie.  Offer me a double quarter pounder and fries and I’ll take it over a salad in a heartbeat.), but still.  Don’t mess with my brownies.  It’s right up there with eating the last piece of cheesecake and attempting to even touch my Carvel ice cream cake (seriously.  I will do harm.).  Unless I offer to share with you, the only exception to this is Daddy – and even that’s not a guarantee since there have been times when I’ve looked at him with the promise of horrible things to come if he touches that piece of cake.

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So, I immediately go on a brownie hunt.  the first thing I do is check the fridge, in case for some unknown reason Daddy stuck them in there (I have no idea why, but just go with it).  It’s not there.  Now I pretty much know Kaleb took them, but I’m not going to say anything to him until I have proof – on the slight chance he didn’t and it’s some cruel joke the universe (aka Daddy) is playing on me.  Plus, I really don’t want it to be Kaleb.  He hasn’t snuck anything in almost a week since I told him that from now on each time I caught him sneaking food he was losing a day of snacks and treats – he could have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and veggies to munch on.  But no fruit snacks, no crackers, etc.

I walk into his room and it’s decimated – like Thor came crashing down from the heavens into Kaleb’s closet and went a little hammer crazy.  I’m actually stunned.  Every book is on the floor.  The curtain has been ripped off the dowel.  The sheets are ripped off the bed.  The drawers are pulled out of the night stand.  The lamp is dangling by it’s cord.  My mind can’t even process the destruction.  I don’t even know where to start looking for the brownies.  I tried to step in the closet, but there was no way to do it without clearing a path.  My first thought is “booby-trap” Goonies style.  My second thought is misdirection.  There’s no good spot for him to sit and scarf a tray of brownies.  So I move on.  After tossing the room, I eventually find the brownies hidden under the bean bag chair.  And they’re just as decimated as the bedroom.

Which is so much worse.

After coming to grips with my lost chocolatey heaven, I sat Kaleb down and informed him that he would be cleaning that room today, no excuses, whining, screaming, throwing, hitting, or door slamming about it.

That was at 8am yesterday morning.  It’s now nearly 10am today and his room is worse than it was yesterday morning, and he was in there basically all day “cleaning”.

Of course, what makes this all so much better is that within the same week I both crashed the car, and slammed the back hatch of the car on my phone – thus completely destroying the screen on a phone that is only 37 days old.

I would stuff my face with brownies in an effort to drown my sorrows – but I can’t.  Because my five year old stole them.

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Under Pressure…

I would love to know why I get sick every time I de-stress.  This is boarding on absurd.  Since August, it’s gone like this:

  • Kaleb starts at a new school and does well- I get sick.
  • Mason’s birthday party goes off without a hitch – I get sick.
  • Silent Auction & Poker Run both successful – I get sick.
  • Autism Walk knocks it out of the park – I get sick.

Now, granted, I’ve pretty much been stressed out non-stop since Thanksgiving.  Between the holidays, family drama (because what is life without a hearty dose of family drama all heaped on at the worst possible time?), Kaleb’s problems in school (the kid has more black marks on his record at five years old than I did when I graduated high school – and believe me, I wasn’t an angel); the neurologist, getting Mason’s paperwork moving, Daddy’s work, and so on and so forth…

I’ve basically been a bundle of stressed out psycho momma since November.

As soon as the holiday stress was gone, I had all of this school drama to deal with – all leading up to today’s IEP meeting.  Of course, now that those two major stressers are gone, and everything else is minor in comparison, I’ve got a sore throat, swollen glands, sneezing, coughing, running nose… in other words, I have Why-does-life-hate-me-itis.

The IEP itself went WAY better than I expected.  We got just about everything we asked for.  The Psycho-Educational evaluation; CTOPP; FBA & BIP; copies of all of everything in his files (both files – not just the pink one); it IQ test; an updated receptive & expressive speech evaluation; OT to address his sensory issues; and finally, FINALLY transportation agreed to pick him up in front of the house – minimizing the odds of him getting run over while waiting for the bus in the morning.  We addressed the suspensions, the meltdowns, the seizures…

I walked out of there with such a feeling of relief – I hadn’t realized just how heavy the weight was – the one that has been sitting on my chest since before Christmas.  Hopefully we will be able to prevent, circumvent, curb, and all around improve what has been happening.

I came home, put Mason in the stroller, tossed on my rollerblades and took him for a ride around the neighborhood.  Then down for a nap he went so I could get some work done on some Walk stuff – only to have my phone ring non-stop for two hours straight (and of course I can’t turn it off in case the kid gets suspended again), so I basically accomplished nothing.  Now, Mason is in doing his speech therapy, Kaleb is playing with bucky, and I am staring at my menu for the week thinking I need to change tonight to soup.  Lots of soup, since I ate all the tomato cheese stuff we made last week.  And I’m in a soup kind of mood.  Or is it just because I feel like ick?  I don’t suppose it matters – there has to be another soup on this menu somewhere.

Which reminds me, I’ve got to start on next month’s menu, because as of Monday January is done.  Crap.  That’s a lot of shopping.   And I still haven’t finished tearing the bedroom apart (though my closet is done).  Oh shoot, I forgot to make at least three phone calls I was supposed to make today.  And I really need to go to the post office.  Oh yuck, Kaleb just let out the sneeze of the century.  I haven’t ordered Kaleb’s yearbook yet either.  I need to see if my mom can watch the Monsters for the PTA meeting I was just emailed about.  Thankfully it’s not next Tuesday, because that’s the same day as our first official walk meeting.  I sure hope people show up for that, we haven’t gotten a lot of response yet.  Speaking of which, I really need to get back to editing these job descriptions.

I don’t know why I think I’m actually going to get anything accomplished.  My brain just keeps swirling around in circles like bathwater around a drain.

I need to get off here.  I need to find a recipe for a thick soup I can pass off as a dip to my picky little Monsters – if it’s thick enough and I give them some form of breadsticks to dip, they love soup.  However, if Kaleb so much as hears the word “soup” it’s all over.  No soup for him.  Time to hit up the Google machine.

Last week's Tomato Cheese Soup with Grilled Cheese Dippers

Last week’s Tomato Cheese Soup with Grilled Cheese Dippers

There’s a Party In My Tummy Part 2…

I am totally over the dinner fight.  Completely, 100%, cut the crap over it.  I no longer want to hear whining that you don’t like what I’ve made.  Especially when it is occurring during one of the following times:

  1. I haven’t even made it yet.
  2. You don’t even know what it is.
  3. You have not seen it.
  4. You have not tasted it.
  5. It’s your favorite food (this week).

Nope, no more.  No more fidgeting at the table, banging your dirty fork against my just-washed-for-the-third-time-this-week tablecloth.  No more squirming around and scooting the chair all around the table.  No more yelling with food in your mouth.  Done.  (this is me saying it super high pitched) done!!

So, our solution:

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We have new rules that will be posted on our kitchen wall first thing in the morning.  They were written at the kitchen table, while one child screamed bloody murder and chucked his fork across the room (Mason), and the other whined with a mouth full of food about needing only milk because only milk is good for him, not food.

The rules are as follows:

Dinner Rules:
1. Eat what is made for you – or no snacks tomorrow.
2. If you refuse to eat what you are given you may go to bed. If you are hungry later you may eat your dinner.
3. No T.V. during dinner.
4. Do not leave the table until you are excused.
5. Sit in your chair properly. Not sideways, crooked, slouching or laying.
6. No whining, crying, screaming, throwing, hitting, or back talk.
7. Do not give food to Milo.
8. Use your manners – be polite.
^-This means do not talk with food in your mouth, say please and thank you, keep your dirty silverware off the table, and hands & feet to yourself.
9.Do not talk with attitude – to anyone.
10. Do not wipe your hands or face on the tablecloth, chair, your clothes, the dog, or any other item that is not a napkin or wet wipe.
11. USE your napkin!
12. Pay attention to your own plate – not the plates of everyone else.
13. Do not play with your food.
14. You may have water with your dinner. No milk until dinner is through and you have been excused.
15. It is NOT your job to enforce the rules for anyone but yourself. Mind your own business!!

Breaking these rules could result in any of the following:
*Time out
*No T.V. for an extended period of time
*No popcorn on movie night
*No electronic devices for an extended period of time (ie: No LeapPad, Explorer, phone, tablet, computer)
*No dessert
*Mommy & Daddy’s Choice

**All rules subject to change at Mommy & Daddy’s discretion.

***Paid for by Daddy’s blood, sweat & tears.
***Brought to you by Mommy’s lost mind.

Do not take me wrong.  I’m perfectly aware of just how pointless this exercise probably was.  Doesn’t mean I don’t feel better after doing it.  Take THAT small children who like to torture mommies!

There’s a Party in my Tummy…

What is wrong with me??  Do not, under absolutely any circumstance, answer that question.

I do not know what I was thinking this morning.  Well, no, yes I do.  Mason, for weeks now, hasn’t fallen asleep before midnight.  He has, therefore, been sleeping in until about 9am.  Last night, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I managed to get the kid asleep by 9:15.  This was not just a minor miracle – it ranked right up there with Kaleb potty training and Milo actually listening (though I think the last time that happened, I spotted a blue moon out of the corner of my eye).

So, when I decided at 7 this morning that I was going to reorganize and clean our bedroom (which, as I’m sure I’ve said before, has become the catch-all for household nonsense), it didn’t even occur to me that Mason went to bed at a reasonable hour, and would probably wake up early.  Whoops.  So, I found myself at 7:30 knee-deep in dead computer towers, staring at the monitor wondering why on earth Mason was already up.  Awesome.  Now my room is ripped apart, I’ve got a meeting scheduled for nap-time, and I’m totally kicking myself.

It’s not like I can work on it while the Monsters are running around.  That’s just asking for trouble.  Seriously, even being in the same room with them is asking for trouble!  Take last night for example:  I’m slicing carrots, Kaleb is playing in his kitchen, and Mason is trying to get a finger cut off by constantly trying to grab a carrot out from under my knife.  After a few minutes, Kaleb sets a plate of plastic food down on the kid’s table, and runs up to Mason.  “Okay Mase!  Go sit down, I made you dinner!”  Mason’s response:  “NO!” and he takes off (with a grateful sigh from me, because I was seriously going to have an anxiety attack if he didn’t stop sticking his fingers under my knife).  There’s silence for a moment, Kaleb walks over to the table, picks up the plate, holds it out, and says “But… I made it for you.”  Now I’m partially sad, because he does sound so very dejected when he says that.  And I want to praise him, because it was sweet, and he didn’t attack Mason for denying him – which is the typical reaction.  But mostly, I want to laugh.  Like a loon.  And say with vigor “How do you  like it when you spend time making something for someone and they don’t want to eat it?!”

Yes, I know this is childish.  Yes, I realize I’m supposed to be the grown-up in situations like these.  But really, it took all I had to just to stifle the giggle that was threatening to escape.  That giggle turned to a growl twenty minutes later, when dinner is on the table, and as usual, Kaleb is being difficult.  He actually liked dinner.  But that wasn’t the point.  The point was he wanted more ranch and I said no.  So what did he do?  He stood up, grabbed his plate with one hand, looked at me with a smirk, and slowly started to tilt the plate toward the floor.  I sat there, staring at him, with my “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” look, nearly speechless at what was transpiring in front of me.

I then, in my sternest Mommy voice informed him if one single piece of food hit the floor I would take his Lego Animal Doctor.  Still he’s smirking at me.  Until I stand up and grab the Lego set off the table, and hold it in much the same way he’s holding his food.  Two can play this game.  The smirk is gone.  Unfortunately, it’s too late.  Mason sees what is happening, stands up, grabs his plate, says his babblish version of all-done, and immediately dumps all of his food on the floor.

Now I’ve got to move fast.  While the dog is running at light-speed to scarf up the food and make himself even more fat, Kaleb immediately begins to crumble – because I was not specific enough and did not say if one drop of his food hit the floor I’d take his set – I said one drop.  Period.  Oh crap.  Oh crap.  Kaleb’s already reaching for Mason, and the screaming starts.  Milo is darting between legs trying both not to get crushed and to eat as much as possible before I stop him.  Mason is laughing hysterically, unaware that he’s just become the gazelle and the lion is about to pounce.

I’ve got about five seconds to clear out the dog, get Kaleb’s attention focused on me, and properly scold Mason before Kaleb goes completely off the rails.  I thrust the Lego set in Kaleb’s hands – telling him as calmly yet loudly as I can to keep it safe.  Reach around him, to open the back door, yell for the dog to get out (four times before he stops scarfing and darts with a mouth full of salmon), grab a handful of paper towels and hand them to Mason, pointing at what is left of the mess and instructing him to clean it up, reassure Kaleb he is fine, all is fine, everything is A-Okay.  Let’s just take a deep breath and eat dinner.  Another bout of screaming because Mason put food on the floor and he’s not supposed to do that (Have I mentioned that Kaleb is an insane rule-enforcer?  Except when it comes to himself.  HE is immune to rules.  But chaos ensues when someone else breaks a rule.).

Twenty minutes later, all is good.  Milo is a plate fatter, Mason has completely forgotten about the entire incident, Kaleb won’t walk more than two feet away from his Lego set, and I am preparing myself for the bed-time battle.

This was probably the most peaceful dinner we’ve had in months.

What are mealtimes like in your house?

Dance, Dance…

I woke up this morning convinced that I was going to ruin Kaleb’s first dance.  Not just convinced, but in an outright panic.  There are two reasons why this is absurd.  The first is – he’s 5.  He’s got years before his first dance.  The second – I do not dance.  You can think yeah sure, everyone can dance – but I’m telling you, I cannot dance.  I look like a decapitated chicken having a seizure.  That’s me dancing.  So when it comes to learning how to dance, I will not be the one to teach my children.  Daddy, or their Granny are both dancers – they can teach them.  If I so much as attempted it they’d get laughed out of school.

So, once I got over the fact that I’d jumped out of bed before my alarm went off for a completely unrealistic reason, I went and got Kaleb up for school.  School was back in session for us on Monday.  Kaleb has been iffy on this return to normal life.  Monday morning he was all excited and pumped to go back.  Tuesday we fought.  And fought.  And when I finally bribed him with a snack to get his whiny behind dressed, all was well.  Yesterday morning was much the same, only the bribe wasn’t working.  Um whaaaaat?  Bribery is my secret the-sun-isn’t-up-I-haven’t-had-coffee-yet-make-it-stop weapon.  For it not to work is pretty much the equivilent of taking away Tony Stark’s Arc Reactor (for those of you who aren’t complete nerds, that’s the glowy thing in Iron Man’s chest that keeps him alive).

Eventually I got him off the floor and into his clothes (though it was pretty much like trying to fit Jell-O into a new mold after it’s solidified). This morning he got up and dressed with minimum issue.  While we were waiting for the bus we were talking about the trip to the circus we are going to make on Saturday (I am more excited than anyone else and there are 9 of us going).  We were talking about everyone who is going to go, including my sister and her two kiddos who live out of town.  My niece and Kaleb get along marvelously – it’s actually pretty crazy considering how difficult it is for him to interact with other kids around his age.  My nephew is just a few months younger than Mason – and we were talking about how old his cousins were.  And when Kaleb asked who was his age, I told him he was a bit older than my niece.  He gave me a look of compete shock and offense and said “Mommy, I am not old!”.   This from the kid who informed me yesterday that he is a grown-up and I am a kid, therefore he can’t clean, I have to.

In the meantime, I spent a large chunk of Monday and Tuesday with my face in every cookbook I own.  I decided (like the complete raving lunatic I have begun to resemble) that I was going to make a menu for the month.  Yes, I said month.  As in four weeks of food prep, list making, shopping, and cook book scouring.  I spent pretty much the entire day Monday with my face shoved in recipe after recipe until I finally had enough recipes to fill a month.  Then I spent a couple hours here and there Tuesday organizing which recipes were going to be for which days, writing out the ingredients, sorting what I can buy ahead of time and what needs to be bought week by week, and making my grocery list.  Yesterday I had to brave Sam’s, Walmart, and our kitchen. I left the house at 10 am, I was done shopping, putting away, and reorganizing at 5:30 pm.  Then I put a menu board up on the kitchen cabinet above the counter I usually prep at.

Oh isn’t this just going to drive Kaleb insane.  He’s gotten so absurdly picky about what he eats lately that he goes to bed more hungy than full at least once a week.  I’m not going to force the crazy dude to eat when he refuses – but I’m also not going to make a second meal because he’s stubborn.  I know what he really doesn’t like, and what he’s just being stubborn about, and I am not going to cater to a hissy fit.  I definitely subscribe to the “you’ll eat what you have when you get hungry” philosophy.  So, by putting a big whiteboard menu up on the kitchen cabinet, he can see first thing each day what we are going to have for dinner that night.  Thus, not only do I hold myself accountable for making said dinner; but he’s got allllll day to come to terms with what we’re eating.

How do you deal with picky eaters?  Do you cave and end up making a PB&J or do you put your foot down?