Monthly Archives: April 2008

Ta Da!

I did it! Posted everyday in April – wahoo for me!  Now I slink back into the corner as I wait for November to come, since I don’t think I can commit to posting everyday till at least then – oh, the pressure!

Anyway, I did want to follow up on our doctor visit today. First, let me say I love this doctor. She is just so real. And she spent oodles of time with us. Anyway, she listened to my long description of B’s behavior and said we should definitely have her evaluated. A team of folks would watch her at school, maybe at home, and come up wit some suggestions for the teachers, for me, on dealing with her. I did say that I had been considering a home-based day care for B, but she said that her own son attends an integrated pre-school with children with special needs, and even though he doesn’t receive special services, there are that many more teachers in the classroom who have been specifically trained to deal with some of the behaviors he exhibits. I know my town offers something similar – unfortunately it’s only 2.5 hours each day, which will not work for us. But I’m getting way ahead of myself! Mostly I want to know if I just have an extremely active and determined child, or whether there is really something “wrong”. I will also check out “Raising Your Spirited Child” – can’t hurt, right? (thanks Janet!)

In other news, I hope Jason Castro goes home tonight on American Idol.

How do you solve a problem like B?

I’ve mentioned B’s wild behavior before. Tomorrow morning she has her annual physical with a new doctor. I spoke with her main teacher yesterday about this, who had offered to write up some things to bring with us, but she never got the chance (which I totally understand). The thing is, I’m not sure how to describe her to someone else. Her teacher did say that she is not being affected cognitively, meaning she is on track developmentally and her behavior is not interfering with her learning. “But I could totally see in first grade, second grade the teacher wanting to meet with you.”  I don’t want to wait till then!!

I do think B would behave differently if she were an only child. She does (usually) respond well to one-on-one attention. The sad thing is, she rarely gets it. I am only one person, and I have two children. The teachers at school have many children to deal with. For myself, I worry that her behavior has caused me to want to spend less time with her – that we’re in some sort of downward spiral – she acts out, so I avoid her, she acts out because I’m not giving her attention, I avoid the acting out….and so on, and so on. So much of the attention she gets from me is negative – “Stop jumping on the furniture!” “Stop banging on the wall” “We write on paper, not <whatever>.” Her impulsiveness seems to be more that of a younger child – I feel she should have grown out of a lot of it by now. She can also be very oppositional, for no good reason. She can scream “NO!” at the top of her lungs, at the smallest request. Her teacher has described her as having a short fuse. She acts out far more at school than at home, and I suspect that is due to sheer numbers. Yet they say she has grown and made progress since September.

Now, when she wants to be, she can be sugar sweet. Sometimes, when you ask her to pick up a toy, she does so with a huge smile. Other times she reacts by stomping no and with a smirk that says, “you can’t make me”.

She frequently uses taunting phrases and tones, even for benign statements, such as “Mommy’s driving the car” in that “Nah nah nah nah nah nah” sing-song that I hate.

I’m mostly writing this out to remind myself of everything, so I have thoughts formulated to relay to the doctor tomorrow.

Scholarship for Life

My daughter K is named for my sister, who died of cancer when she was 17, in the fall of her senior year of high school. Our family set up a scholarship for a graduating senior who has displayed “the courage to face adversity and persevere.”. Each year the school sends me the applicants’ packets, who must write an essay describing how they meet that criteria.

Adversity for many 17 year olds is entirely relative. It’s been interesting to read the essays over the years – they range from kids with sprained ankles who couldn’t play soccer, to one kid who emancipated herself from abusive parents who was actually living on her own.

It’s also been interesting to see how the demographics of the kids has changed over the years. When my sister and I were in high school our town and school were very, very white. I cannot remember a non-Caucasian student except for the exchange students in my senior class – one from Peru and one from Mexico. This year’s crop of 12 applicants include 3 Asian students, 1 Syrian, and 1 African-American. And the reason I know this is because the adversity they describe relates to their race and/or country of origin.

My mother and step-mother would like to believe that racism no longer exists, and that my kids have nothing to worry about. Right now my kids have my white-ness as their shield in navigating the world – they are rarely without me and my privilege gives them access where it might otherwise not. But I also see the racism exhibited in my own family – the same mother who claims racism is no more, holds her purse tighter when a family with dark skin enter the fast food restaurant we’re visiting with my kids.

No conclusions here, only thoughts, observations, concerns. And the knowledge that I am not doing enough for my kids.

Picture Me

I’ve been so good, staying away from meme’s all month in honor of NaBloPoMo, that since I’m through the alphabet, I’m taking a fun break with a little picture meme. I got this from Janet – the rules basically say to go to a photo sharing site (Photobucket, Google Images, etc) – type in the “question”, and choose an image (from the first page if possible) as your answer.

Here are mine:

Relationship Status
single mom!
Current Mood
Favorite Band/Artist
Jimmy Buffet

Favorite Movie
Ferris Buellers Day Off
My Pet
Where I Live
New England NFL

Where I Work
Information Technology

What I Look Like
im brunette
What I Drive
Honda Pilot
What I Did Last Night
Red Sox
What I Should Have Been Doing
Printer stand after decluttering
Favorite TV Show

What I’m Doing Today
My Name (blog name, that is)
1994 C4 Torch Red ragtop

Favorite Candy
Dark Chocolate

Z – Zzzzzzz

Zzzzzzz as in snoring. As in, that’s what I wish I were doing right now.

B has never been a good sleeper. When I adopted her at 2 years, 3 months old she had the sleep habits of a newborn. It took about 6 months, but we finally got over the every-two-hours waking thing (and for those of you who may be thinking it was a transition related behavior, I can assure you that I have first hand reports that she slept this way before adoption too). Even now though, she tosses and turns later at night, and wakes up far earlier in the morning than the rest of the family.

K on the other hand, has always been a great sleeper. She has been known to fall asleep during dinner (rarely, but it’s happened a few times), and is normally asleep within minutes of lights out. Which I might add, is also about 2 hours earlier than the rest of the kids in the neighborhood, which is becoming an issue once again as it stays light longer and kids are outside playing much later. Not to mention she’s getting older herself and has a better sense of time and what her peers are doing. But she also needs the sleep, so I’m pretty strict with it. Oh, and I need the alone time.

Today is Saturday, a day we don’t have to be up and outta here till later than we do during the week. A day we could sleep in. And today, as in so many other Saturdays before, the girls were both up far earlier than necessary, far earlier than they are Monday through Friday. What is going on with that? Some days during the week I literally have to drag K out of bed. This morning I heard B shouting nonsense in her bed (a v-e-r-y annoying habit), which in turn woke up her sister, and they were both ready to start the day just after 6 am. Which is, may I say, too early in my book. Come Monday I’ll need to resort to dragging techniques yet again. Meanwhile, here we sit on the weekends with just that many more hours to enjoy them.

Yeah, that’s the way I’m going to look at it. Zzzzzz, indeed.

Y – Yes

Yes, it is finally spring here! After a horrendously long, cold and snowy winter we have been having some truly gorgeous weather to make up for it. Keep it coming, I’ll let you know when enough is enough!

Yes, it’s Friday, and I’m exhausted. Right now K is playing outside with the neighborhood kids and B is in with me playing with stacking cups. Aren’t those the greatest toys?? Good for so many uses. However, I can’t wait till bedtime (theirs) when I can relax a little with a glass of wine and Six Feet Under (only one more season to go – boo hoo!).

Yes, we have some plans for tomorrow, but not too many. Swimming lessons first thing in the morning and then an afternoon date with a friend for ice cream. Sunday is totally open as of now and it’s fine by me if it stays that way.

Yes, April is almost over – and May seems to be filling up awfully fast on our calendars!

Yes, I’m finally done thinking of sentences I can start with “yes”!

X – Xi Gua

X can be a tough letter! Sure, I could have gone with x-ray or xylophone (yawn!), or gotten cutesy, ala xciting, or xtreme, or even x-games or x-r a t e d.

Since I write about my kids a lot, I’m going with xi gua, roughly pronounced shee gwa, which is the Mandarin word for watermelon. How does this relate to my kids? Well, since B was over 2 years old when I adopted her, she was quite toddler fluent in the local dialect spoken in the city she lived. Watermelon, or xi gua, is a common dessert in China, or at least it was at many of the meals we ate there. She would dive at it, clamoring for xi gua the whole time. It was such a big part of our experience there, that I bought a print of a little girl eating xi gua. Over the next few months as B slowly lost her Chinese, xi gua was the one word she kept, and is what we all call watermelon in our house.

Here is a photo of my xi gua girl (the peasant print):

W – Weight

Like many women, I struggle with weight issues. I feel like I have had them all my life. When I mentioned that, in those words, to my step-mother not long ago, she was aghast. “You don’t have a weight problem!”

Maybe it’s more of a food problem.  Since by most people’s standards, she’s right. My weight is in the healthy range for my age and height. The top of the range, mind you, but in it nonetheless. Though I would like to weigh less, I’m not fat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

But I do have issues with food. Food is my drug of choice. I’m happy, I eat. I’m stressed, I eat. I’m feeling unloved, I eat.  And we’re not talking broccoli and carrot sticks here (although I do like those things!). No, it’s chocolate and ice cream, primarily. I’ve actually recently made a conscious decision to stop buying ice cream at the supermarket. Otherwise it’ll come home, and we’ll all have a bowl for dessert after dinner. Then after the kids go to bed, I hear it calling to me, so I’ll have another bowl. Sometimes I haven’t even swallowed the first bite and I know I’m going back for more. There is something about ice cream that really does it for me.

This week I’ve decided to change the way I think about food. Food is fuel for my body, nothing more. It can’t comfort me when I’m sad, or love me. I know if I stop using food this way I will drop a few pounds without doing anything else. And with summer coming, that can only be a good thing. Plus, I will look forward to going “shopping” in my own closet!

Do you like your weight? If not, have you ever tried to change it? What works, what doesn’t? What do you struggle with?

Bonus Post – AI Rant

I am watching American Idol as I type this, and there is one thing that really bugs me — why the heck do they let those “fans” stand at the stage and wave their arms back and forth like they’re at some sort of Phil Collins concert??  I HATE IT! It’s fake and looks ridiculous – stop!

V – Verdant

Happy Earth Day!

Apropos of nothing, or perhaps tying right in with Earth Day, I’ll just share that I love the word verdant. The American Heritage Dictionary provides this definition:

ver·dant (vûr’dnt)

  1. Green with vegetation; covered with green growth.
  2. Green.
  3. Lacking experience or sophistication; naive.

And I guess I must be pretty verdant myself, since I thought it meant spring-like. Which I guess you can extrapolate from these definitions just fine.

Rachael Ray (who I happen to really like on “30 Minute Meals”, so shoot me already – I like her casual approach to food which says anyone can do this, and they can – anyway) uses the word to describe fresh cilantro. I love cilantro, and I think the word fits nicely – it’s so fresh and bright (another word she uses).

I’m really just rambling here because I need a V word for today, and frankly I’m exhausted. Some cast-off’s for today were: victory, visitors, voting and virtuous. None of which I’m really feeling today. Also thought about using very, as in Very Tired, or Very Overwhelmed. But you’re stuck with verdant today.