Friday, April 30, 2010

Phone Photo Friday and Stuff

First for the Photo. I tell people about how persistent Michael can be, but until you actually see it, it's hard to understand. This is a perfect example. Michael was playing with his puzzle game when we started the bedtime routine. He continued playing while I got him changed. (He did hand the game to me for the potty break.) He carried it upstairs with him. He let Andy brush his teeth.

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He didn't put the game down until I was in the middle of our second bedtime story.

Last week my mom made an annoying comment while we were talking on the phone. I could hear Michael in the background chattering away. My mom said, "Back when we were having you evaluated when you were having trouble in school one of the psychologists mentioned that excessive talking is often a sign of ADD."

Yes mom, that was around the same time I was inappropriately diagnosed with ADD. Remember, they were wrong. Stop trying to put bad ideas into my head.

Don't worry, ADHD is one thing I'm not concerned about with Michael. If anything, I wish he was just a tiny bit more distractable.

Now onto the Stuff.

I want to thank everyone for the kind words and thoughtful ideas you provided yesterday. The advice is very helpful, but so is the knowledge that I'm not alone. There is comfort in knowing that other people go through the same battles with their children.

I also have to say that "Myworld" left one of the best comments ever. She said:

The way my daughter and I hit each other's buttons, you'd think we were in a whack-a-mole game some days.

It's both funny and true, which in my book is perfection.

And finally, I need to do a little site maintenance. I've been using the blog rolls from other blogs for way too long now and I'd like to update my own. So please, if you read my blog, but you aren't on my list, please leave a link to your blog in the comments. I know I'm missing out on some good stuff, and I don't want to.





Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time to Regroup

I've opened up the new post screen several times since my post on Monday, but I haven't been able to bring myself to start typing. I don't have any bad news to share. It's not that I've been too busy. I just didn't have words to describe how I was feeling.

Last week I posted about the epic battle Michael and I had over putting a pair of pants on before daycare. It really shook me up. I was upset over the fight. I was concerned about why Michael didn't want to go to school. I was frustrated because I felt that I was failing at something, but I didn't even know what it was.

This past weekend was nice, and it let me trick myself into thinking that Tuesday was just a fluke. Maybe it really was all about a pair of pants. Maybe this Tuesday morning would be fine. Nothing to worry about.

Of course, it wasn't fine. It was bad. Horrible. Out of control. Nothing I said or did could get Michael to uncurl himself from a ball on the sofa and get him moving towards the door. Nothing. So, after 15 minutes of Michael resisting I finally gave him a choice. Either you walk out to the car, or I carry you.

I ended up carrying him, although, it was more like wrestling him. I swear, he grew extra arms and legs for that battle. He managed to kick me in the face at one point and at another he managed to get his foot and leg all the way down the front of my shirt.

I'm going to be honest here folks, and it's not going to be pretty. I cringe just thinking about it, but I've since learned I'm not alone, and that knowledge really helped. So, here goes.

Once I got him strapped into his seat he screamed, "I'm going to kill you!" at me.

(I'm really unresisting the urge to delete this post right now.)

I just sat down and cried. I drove to daycare crying. I did my best to pull myself together for drop off, but I'm pretty sure my bright, red nose was a dead give away that Michael wasn't the only one crying.

I got Michael settled and tried to leave. He clung to me with such desperation that it broke my heart. "Mommy, don't leave me!" After 15 minutes of this I finally managed to peel him off me, get him into the teacher's arms, and then run from the room as I broke down in tears again.

I spent a lot of time hiding in the bathroom on Tuesday as I tried to cover up the fact that I had periodic crying jags.

When I got home, Michael was in a great mood. He had a great day at school, played with his friends, and was enjoying spending time with Andy. When Andy and I had a few minutes to ourselves, I confessed that I didn't think I was going to make it until Michael turns 18.

Andy and I spent some time talking that evening. We also started digging into some of the parenting books that deal with spirited children. Then, we talked some more.

The first thing I realized is that we haven't been managing Michael's spirited needs very well lately. I also haven't been managing my spirited needs either. As a result, Michael and I are just feeding off of one another and it's pushing us both into the red zone.

So, we are making some changes. More baths. More water play. More parental attention when Michael first gets home. Both Andy and I desire downtime after work, but Michael needs us then. So, we'll work together to give all of us a chance to get what we need.

Another change is a little more structure. The nice weather has been great for allowing more outside time, but it's ruined any sense of routine that we had going. This was throwing both Michael and I off. It has also pushed bedtime a number of nights, so Michael is not as well rested as he should be. That needs to end as well.

Having a plan helps. Having a partner to work with really helps. Andy and I can cover for one another when we need a break.

Sleep was the goal for Michael last night. His stalling has really gotten bad in a short period of time, and it's robbing him of much needed sleep. We did the bedtime routine, I got him in bed, and waited in the hall to make sure he was asleep.

"Mommy, I want the light on."

Nope, I'm not going there. I tried to compromise and give him a night light. He refused. I kept my calm and realized that this was about get my attention, not about getting a light turned on. I calmly cleared everything off of his dresser and cleared out the room of projectiles.

"Mommy, why are you clearing off my table?"

Why indeed. He found out as I kissed him good night, left the room and closed the door.

He cried.

I went in to kiss him again, refuse the light request, and back out again.

He cried...but not that hard.

A few minutes later I came back in and he asked for a story. I agreed to one book, read to him, turned off the light and tucked him in. Didn't hear a peep from him all night.

The real battle I was concerned about (by concerned I mean so worried about my tummy was upset) was getting him to daycare today. It didn't take long. He said good morning and then started right in on not wanting to go to school.

I stayed calm and explained that going to school is his job (thanks Laura!). He didn't like that, but it threw him off a little. It let us discuss how we don't always like going to our jobs. Then, I went in for the kill...I mean bribe. "If you go to school without a fight I'll let you shoot your confetti gun after school." Andy jumped in with an offer for a trip to get an ice cream bar after school.

Michael agreed and didn't say another word about not going to school.

To which I have to say, WTF? You mean I could have bought him off with ice cream and a plastic toy? Really?

No, not really. The bribe was only a small part of it. The more focused attention and the better sleep is a big part of it. And, to be honest, managing my high intensity is part of it too.

Now, we need to stick with the plan and hopefully things will go a bit better.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Rare Dinner Treat

I love to eat out. I mean, I really love to eat out. It's not that I don't like cooking, it's just that there are some things that I can't make as well as a restaurant. I also like having endless Diet Cokes delivered to the table as well.

That said, we don't eat out very often. Most restaurants are so busy around here that Michael cannot survive the 45 minute wait for a table, let alone sitting through a meal that he won't touch. Plus, after the major meltdown Michael had in a restaurant this past fall, we haven't even tried for months.

On Friday, I really wanted a cheeseburger. Specifically, a mushroom swiss burger from PJ Whelihans . I mentioned it to Andy and he wasn't thrilled about the idea. He wasn't in the mood to haul a screaming child from a restaurant. But, my desire for a burger won out and we headed out to the restaurant.

PJ's is an interesting place. It's a pub/sports bar. They do a brisk happy hour business on Friday evenings. However, somehow they are also a family restaurant. It seems like an odd mix, but the place has one thing going for it as a kid's place. It's loud! Really loud. They often have live music that drowns out even the most obnoxious tantrum a kid can throw. So, good food, beer, and a noise level that covers up the less desirable sounds of children with live music. Score!

I'll be honest. When we do something like this I try very hard to keep my expectations realistic. Expecting Michael to sit quietly and color while we wait and then to eat his meal enthusiastically is just setting things up for failure. I decided that a "good" experience would be Andy and I being able to finish our food before being forced to leave by a crazy child. Oh yeah, and nothing major spilled.

What did I get?

Michael was great. He sat and colored his entire menu. When he was done, I flipped it over and wrote simple words in bubble letters for him to color in. He was perfectly happy to color while Andy and I downed a plate of wings. (Wing Bowl Wings! Not that anyone outside of Philly will get that.) When dinner was served, Michael picked up his spoon and neatly and patiently worked his way through half a dish of Mac N Cheese. I was able to enjoy every bite of my burger.

When we were done, Michel got a dish of ice cream for dessert. Considering how much he had already eaten I was surprised at how much ice cream he ate. I even got a giggle when he lifted the bowl to drink the final drips of ice cream.

I've dreamed about having an evening like this since the day Michael was born. We have tried it before, but we rarely enjoy the food because we spend so much time trying to keep Michael interested. For once, we all relaxed and enjoyed ourselves and had a nice family meal together. It makes me hopeful that there may be more civil behavior for us on the horizon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Phone Photo Friday

I've been plodding through some of my annual, required, online training at work today. It's mind numbingly dull. Some of these courses I've taken ten times, and you know how I feel about repetition. I've decided to take a short break before my eyes start to bleed and my brain turns to jelly.

In honor of all of the quizzes I've been taking, here is a multiple choice question for you.

What is going on in this picture?
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a) Andy let Michael watch Conan the Barbarian.

b) My house was taken over by very short vikings.

c) The child, who won't focus on hitting a baseball, spent half an hour batting down foam golf balls with Nerf swords.

I'll give you a hint. It's not answers a or b.

We also have a guest phone photo today. While I was working on my post, I received an email from my sister. My mom and Michael took a trip down to visit my sister today. The heading to the email read: Michael found the mud puddle.


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My response? I'm not at all surprised.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pants on the Ground

So, I made a predication in Tuesday's post.

You do know what this means, don't you? It means that on Thursday morning when I DON'T change him out of him PJ pants he's going to throw a fit and insist that he MUST wear pants that day. If you don't think that will happen, you haven't been reading this blog for very long.

I felt it only fair to fill you in on what actually happened.

I made a mistake. I mentioned to Michael that Thursday was the PJ Pizza party at school and then I asked him which PJ pants he wanted to wear. We quickly decided that he would wear his rocket ship pants. No problem.

I planned on putting the rocket ship pants on him when I got him ready for bed last night. That would eliminate any pants battle this morning. So, I got the rocket ship pants and tried to put them on Michael.

Nope.

He acted like I was insane. How could I possibly expect him to wear the same pants to bed and then to school the next day? I could hear the disdain and disgust in his voice as he refused to put the pants on. I was tempted to point out that he wore the same "day" shirt to both bed and school, but I didn't want to mess that up too. So, I conceded and got out a different pair of pants for him to wear to bed and we agreed he would put them on in the morning. I knew this was win/win for me. If he wanted to change, great! If not, he was still wearing PJs and I could send him in what he slept in. Works for me.

Don't worry, he realized he had foiled his stalling tactic first thing this morning and opted for the time honored, "my tummy hurts" approach. Ha! Not the best tactic to use with old "Sick-O-Fake-O" as my family liked to call me. I forced him to dig deeper into the stalling bag of tricks and finally won out after countering "my legs are too tired" with a hug that turned into mommy carrying him to the car.

So, in summary. Yes, we had the predicted pants battle, but it happened last night instead of this morning. We also had additional battles this morning, just to keep things fun.

Or, more simply put; same old same old.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Randomness!

Yes, it's Wednesday and since London is working hard on the last month of growing a person, I'm just going to flat out steal the Wednesday Randomness for now. I'm sure she would do something about that, but I think for a few more weeks I might be able to out run her, so I'm safe for now.

  • Michael is entering the superhero phase of little boyhood. It's nice to have a change in obsessions every now and again. However, he sings the theme song over and over again. The problem is that he doesn't know the words and therefore sings weird things at times. My mind has picked up on this and I know find myself singing odd lyrics in my head at random times. Like: Spider-man, Spider-man does whatever a spider can. Over there, in the air, he has radio active hair. Look out! Here comes the Spider-man.
  • After World War III broke out over changing his pants yesterday morning I didn't have much hope for getting Michael a haircut yesterday. I decided to give it a try anyway. I casually asked Michael if he wanted a haircut. He said yes and ran to the door. I went with the momentum; and we ended up having the easiest, most pleasant haircut experience ever.
  • After the haircut we went to McDonald's for a Happy Meal Toy. I mean Happy Meal. Michael ate four fries, two McNuggets and played with the toy for 30 seconds. I'm not sure I understand why he wants to go at all. I know why I don't want to go. I ended up eating half the fries, drinking a quarter of his shake, and the stupid toy is still in my purse.
  • After a wonderful evening out, it was easy to get Michael up to bed. Once there, he insisted he didn't need to sleep. He wanted us to read him books endlessly. It took 2.5 hours to get him to bed, which took us well beyond MY bedtime. Where does he get the energy from.
  • Just to add insult to injury, he was bright eyes and bushy tailed when I stumbled in to get him up this morning. Fine, so you don't need 8 hours of sleep. Whatever. Just don't expect me to be chipper on 6.5 hours of sleep.
  • And finally, remember how I complained about my coworker that is frequently offering me fruit to eat? The one that asks me five times even though I said no thank you the first time? She offered me a Diet Coke the other day. Score! She now knows what a decisive yes sounds like.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick Look! Something Shinny!

I'm just going to come out and say it today. I'm not in a good mood. Michael and I got into World War III this morning over the fact that I wanted to change him into jeans instead of PJs before leaving the house this morning. If I wasn't already stressed out from the endless battles I seem to be having with him lately, I probably would have gone with the distract with humor approach or the let him wear them to school and deal with the consequences approach. But I am just sick and tired of the battles and I just wanted him to PUT THE PANTS ON NOW SO I'M NOT LATE FOR WORK!

Big mistake on my part. That just escalated everything to super freak out level. We ended up yelling at each other while I tried to pull his pants off and he kept pulling them up. When we reached shrieking range, I stop and told Michael that I was behaving poorly and put myself into time out. I totally deserved to be there too. So did Michael, but getting him into time out at that point would have been counterproductive to me calming down. So, I plopped my butt down on the stair and sulked for a few minutes. Michael gave me a funny look and sulked on the sofa.

That seemed to do the trick, and I was able to get Michael dressed and out the door without too much more effort. When I got Michael to school, I realized that I had forgotten Michael's breakfast, and I had to beg the early teacher for some food. I already felt like a crappy mom by that point, so admitting that I can't even remember to feed my child didn't do much to make me feel better. Clearly not a morning to include on my Mommy of the Year award form.

As I was leaving the daycare I started looking over the piles of papers I had picked up from his file. It included some of his artwork, a worksheet that hadn't been touched, and a reminder that Thursday is PJ Pizza Party day. That means the kids get to wear their PJs to school.

You do know what this means, don't you? It means that on Thursday morning when I DON'T change him out of him PJ pants he's going to throw a fit and insist that he MUST wear pants that day. If you don't think that will happen, you haven't been reading this blog for very long.

So, in honor of the fact that I feel cranky and annoyed today, I'm going to direct you to this post by Amalah. I so wish I had writen this post, it's not even funny. While I'm jealous, I still want everyone else to enjoy it, so head on over for some major Star Wars geekiness.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Date Night!

My mom volunteered to have Michael stay with her on Saturday night so that Andy and I could celebrate our anniversary.

It was wonderful. Heavenly. Amazing.

And, much needed.

Andy and I were able to go out to dinner, see a movie, come home and play pool, and even sleep in on Sunday morning. It's been a long time since we have had that much time to spend together and reconnect. It was a real treat, and I look forward to a time when we can make that happen a little more often that once every other year.

There were a few amusing moments during our date night. The first one came as we were ordering drinks before dinner. Our waiter had that awkward feel that new waiters often have. His banter was a little awkward and he hasn't mastered reading cues like coming over when we put the menus down.

The first thing he did was ask if we wanted anything to drink. We both ordered alcoholic drinks. I knew what was coming as soon as I saw the glance. It's the glance that Andy always gets when he orders a drink. It's almost always followed by a request for ID, and Saturday night was no exception. Andy reached for his wallet while we both laughed out loud about it. It was entertaining enough when he was 26, but at 36 it's freaking funny.

On my own, I think I've been carded once in the past 15 years, and I'm pretty sure the woman that did had poor eyesight. But, when I'm with Andy, most waiters and waitresses realize that if you are going to card the man, you HAVE to card the woman. This guy didn't know that until after he asked for Andy's ID and realized that he had just indicated that I look OLD. He did finally ask for mine, but it was too late to pull it off. Dude, I know you thought I looked old.

In Pennsylvania they are allowed to card you up until you are 31. (Which makes no sense. If they don't card you, how can they know you are old enough not to be carded?) So clearly, I looked like I was over 31 to this guy. And, Andy looked to be no more than 20. Let's just say that this cougar is hot enough that she can lure in the jail bait. Ladies, I've still got it!

From dinner we decided to head over to see a movie. We had a little bit of time before the movie started, so I decided to take a little potty break at the theater. As I was taking care of business I glanced down at my shoes. I noticed a few little pink spots on the toes and decided to investigate. Why on earth would I have pink stuff on my shoes?

That's when it hit me. The last time I wore those shoes was the morning I had to take Michael to the doctor with the ear infection. The morning he had some pink milk before we headed out. The morning he threw up all over both of us as we walked into the doctor's office.

Yes, I had throw up on my shoes. Charming. Such is the life of a mom.

We debated over which movie to see, and finally decided to give Hot Tub Time Machine a try. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much from a movie in which 4 guys get transported back to 1986 in a hot tub incident, but I also didn't feel like sitting through opening weekend crowds to see the Chris Rock movie either. I was pleasantly surprised at how funny the movie was. I laughed harder for Hot Tub Time Machine than I did for the Hangover. They took a pretty cheesy premise and made it very enjoyable.

The one thing I did find disturbing about the movie was that they pretty much nailed the fashions of 1986. Yikes. As a society, I have no idea what we could have been thinking about. Leg warmers? Day-gloo? Acid wash? Seriously, ACID WASH? Seeing it all in vivid living color makes me so glad that all I wore from 1986 - 1990 was black, black, and more black. Anything would be better than Acid wash.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Phone Photo Friday and a Bonus!

We have had amazing weather this spring. Once the rain stopped, that is. One of the activities Michael has been working on is to make booby traps for "fiefs". As you can see, these are high tech do-hickeys that you place outside your front door to keep thieves away. You know, the ones that want to come in and steal all of Michael's toys. Don't worry, he also made 4 or 5 for the back door as well. So far, no toys have been stolen. Maybe we should try to patent them.
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We also have an amazing crop of dandelions this Spring. Which may have something do do with this:

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Yes, Michael is a chronic dandelion spreader. He's not the only one in the neighborhood. However, I noticed something weird about our dandelions this year. They are mutating. Check out the stem on this one.



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If you can't figure out what you are looking at, that is one big, thick stem. The multiple flowers at the top of the stem are all attached in one place and are squished together. However, they really are individual flowers. There a many of these mutant dandelions growing in our yard. It's kooky!

Speaking of kooky, this is how Michael insisted on leaving the house on Saturday. I started to fight the battle to get him to change one of his shoes, but quickly realized it was a waste of time. So, I let him out like that. He played like that for an hour before one of the older kids commented that his shoes didn't match. I was then required to go in and get the other sneaker before Michael would continue to play. Sigh.

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And finally, this is not a phone picture but I feel it's worth posting today anyway. This is a picture of Andy and I five years ago today. He's still as sweet and wonderful today as he was back then. It was the best decision I ever made.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day Off Fail

I finally gave in and realized that I was going to have to take a day off if I was going to start getting caught up on the many things I've neglected over the past three months. My dream day off would involve relaxing and doing something to pamper myself, but I didn't take yesterday off to dream. Instead, I started getting caught up.

The first thing I did in the morning was to complete my taxes. I've had all the paperwork together since February, but I haven't had two hours of uninterrupted quiet time to sit down and make sure I get all the math correct. No, I don't use tax software to do my taxes. I hate to spend money on something I can do myself, and if I'm going to be completely honest, I actually enjoy doing taxes. It's just like a big math word problem, but instead of getting a grade at the end, I get money!

Still, not my favorite way to spend a day off.

My next step was to get my oil changed. It's possible that I neglected to get my oil changed for over 10,000 miles. The recommended time is actually 10,000 miles, but even with synthetic oil, I've never felt comfortable going that long between oil changes. Fortunately, was able to correct this problem with a half hour trip to Jiffy Lube. Aside from being forced to listen to country music and politely decline having every filter and blade on my car replaced for large sums of money, it wasn't too bad.

Still, not my favorite way to spend a day off.

Next trip was to the post office. There was a long line when I got there. In that long line was a dad with a double stroller and twins. One twin was getting restless. I watched this go on for ten minutes until the frustrated dad finally called it quits and had to leave. I was so angry at everyone in front of him. Yes, they probably would have had to stand in line for an extra two minutes if they had let him move to the front, but come on. Have a little compassion!

I finally returned home after running some errands and decided to take a little time off for myself. I'm trying to find some more paths to run on so that I can easily add distance as I improve and allow me to keep things fresh. I took a wonderful walk around our township park that connects to the farm park. I've mapped out several new routes that I'm excited to try out.

I took a short nap once I got home to prepare for Michael to come home. It was gorgeous weather so I knew he would want to play outside. What I didn't expect was that I would end up playing with a whole neighborhood of kids. To be honest, I don't even know where all of these kids are coming from. Everyday, new kids show up. I guess the economy has forced some families to take in relatives with kids. Lots and lots of kids. It's like having a whole daycare in my front yard. The only problem with that is that yesterday I ended up being the daycare teacher.

I'm not even joking about that. Two of the older girls were out playing and their elderly grandmother was on their porch watching them. But they wanted to play with Michael so I was in charge of being the referee. (Oh, and that's a job. The 6 year old and Michael spend the entire time trying to boss one another around. Comical, but tiring.) Then some of the boys who are staying with their grandmother came out to play ball. One of their mom's and I ended up playing baseball and having dinosaur hunts with a massive crowd of kids. I lost count of how many whiffle balls I got pelted with.

From there we ended up moving to my lawn and somehow a picnic showed up when I spread out a blanket. Seriously, the girls ran off for a few minutes and the next thing I knew there were snacks and juice set up. It was pretty cool. After snacking, the kids played chalk and rode bikes. As kids came home from daycare, more would come over to play. At one point I had 7 or 8 kids playing with chalk and I was the only parent close enough to keep the kids from going all Lord of the Flies on each other. (To be fair, we all end up doing this from time to time.)

While this also is not my ideal way to spend a day off, it was a lot more fun than doing taxes and getting my oil changed. I was really impressed with how well all the kids played with one another, and it gave me some insight into how daycare teachers can handle 10 kids at one time. It's hard work, but fascinating to watch. By the time I finally came in and left the kids to the dads, I was tired but also very happy. I was even happier when I put Michael to bed and he crashed in 5 minutes flat.

So, all in all, not my ideal day off. So, you know what I did? I took today off too, just for myself. The only problem I have now is figuring out where I should go shopping and how long to nap!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Girls Suck!

Or, at least that's what I imagine Michael thinks at the moment. Up until recently our neighborhood has been filled with mostly boys, and poor M who get's sucked into all the boy play. However, a few more girls have moved into the neighborhood, and they have the gall to do such a horrendous thing as play dolls with M. In public. When Michael wants to play with M. Can you imagine?

He was quite disgusted by this on Sunday evening and was forced to resort to desperate measures. I was instructed to go into the house and bring out super hero Popsicles for all of the girls. Being the sly child that he is, he used the Popsicles as a distraction from the dolls and then lured the girls over to the field so they would play ball with him. It was smooth.

Last night he encountered K, another little girl that lives up the hill from us. They played on the rocks for a while until Michael decided he wanted to go to the field and play ball. K refused. He was confused. He was being rejected. He asked me to make her come. I explained that she was free to do as she pleased. He asked me to go get her a Popsicle. She didn't want one. No matter what he did, she stuck to her guns, and played on the rocks.

Eventually, he gave up.

We walked down the hill and came across M riding her bike. Michael ran up and asked her to come play ball in the field. She said no. Michael was heart broken and tried, once again, to get me to make her play with him. I calmly explained that she didn't want to, and that if he wanted to play with her, he had to do what she wanted to do. He didn't like this one bit.

He lucked out, another neighbor let his mini wiener dog out, and both Michael and M rushed over to play with the dog. However, I'm sure the sting of rejection lingered for some time.

As a mom, I'm glad I was there to help him try to understand what was going on. As a woman, I'm glad I was there to give voice to the rights of the girls that should not be trampled on. It would be nice if the important lessons were a little easier to learn, but sometimes a little sting early on is better than a big hurt later on.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Enough Already!

That's it. I've had it. This is getting ridiculous.

Our weekend started out well. We spent a lot of time outside on Friday evening and Saturday morning with the neighborhood kids. The weather was chilly, but sunny. Perfect for riding bikes, playing ball, going down slides, running around like maniacs, and other fun stuff that little kids do. And Michael did it all. It was great to spend so much time playing.

It all went down hill around 1:00 am Saturday night when Michael decided that he didn't want to sleep, he wanted to go down stairs. He was quiet adamant about this too. In fact, he screamed and yelled about it until 4:30 in the morning when Andy finally laid down on the floor next to him and let him cry himself out. It was bad.

We tried to figure out what was wrong. I asked about his ears, his tummy, I felt his head. Nothing. He said he was fine...he just wanted to go downstairs.

The morning went OK. The only sign that anything was off was that he decided to ride in the shopping cart instead of walk. It makes shopping easier, so I was all for it. In the afternoon, he was very excited about going to the playground, and played nicely with the other kids. However, when we got home, he crashed and burned with a huge tantrum about not wanting to come into the house. He went full blown wild and finally just wore himself out. He asked for some milk and then crashed hard on the sofa.

By the time he woke up, he was getting a fever. Crap.

He did go out to play for a little while, but seemed to go downhill from there. Even with Tylenol he was getting pretty warm. At bedtime, he headed right upstairs and crawled into bed after brushing his teeth. Considering he normally insists on endless books, this was very surprising. It was a lot less surprising at 11:00 when his stomach started to revolt. Crap, crap, crap.

I ended up sleeping on the floor with him in hopes of avoiding long screaming sessions or the need to get the Bissel spot cleaner out. He did pretty well through the night, but when he woke up at 4:30 he was still burning hot and his tummy was sending him very confusing messages. I won't give you details, but it made for a very unpleasant bathroom scene. I said things I never expected to say when I became a mother. (i.e. It's okay baby, just try to toot. It's ok to toot. Oh, here's the bucket.)

Yes, Michael is sick again. We are going on our 14th straight week involving some kind of illness. This is getting old. Really old. I knew daycare came with germs, but this is crazy. I just want my poor baby to feel better.

To be honest, it's really taking a toll on Andy and I as well. We are both very tired from lack of sleep, and we are also behind on tons of stuff. I still haven't done the taxes yet. I've never been this late, especially since we are getting money back. I want to do the stupid taxes, I just don't have time. When I do have a few minutes, I'm too tired to bother.

I've been working really hard to build up my sick and vacation time since I had to take off last fall for my mom's surgery. I really don't want to get stuck tacking unpaid time off again. I'd also like to be able to take a family vacation this fall as well. I can't really afford to take time off so I can do taxes and clean the house. But, it's getting to the point where I don't think I can afford not to take time off.

This is all very frustrating. I just want my kid to be healthy and to get caught up on things. Is that really too much to ask?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Weird, Weird Weather

Yes, it's time for another installment of Weird Weather. I know you are all so enthralled by this topic that you couldn't wait until I posted about it again. Well my wonderful readers, your patience has been rewarded. I'm here to bring you that latest news about weather you aren't experiencing and couldn't care less about.

As all those snow pictures pointed out, we had a very snowy winter in South Eastern Pennsylvania. In fact, we had record breaking snows. It was so amazing that some of the snow that fell on December 19th was still around on March 19th. That was very unusual for this area.

Following such a strange winter, the strange spring hasn't been terribly surprising either. We are normally an "April showers bring May flowers" kind of place, however this year seems to be more of a "March torrential downpours bring April heat waves and horrendous allergies" kind of spring.

The March rainstorms really were amazing. Unfortunately, in addition to losing our power during the worst, a number of our neighbors ended up with flooded basements. There have been a lot of insurance adjusters and carpet salesmen around lately. What is most concerning is that the ground is so saturated that water is still draining from our back yard common area and it hasn't rained for a week. I really hope that it dries out some before the next big storm.

So far for April, we have been having really warm weather. It was nice when warm was 65 degrees, but yesterday it hit 89 degrees. Add up all the rain and the warm weather and all of the plants are blooming early. The purple azalea that was blooming on April 16th when Andy and I got married has been in full bloom for days.

After such a long winter, seeing all of the trees and plants in full bloom is refreshing. Well, until I step outside and try to breath. This is my worst allergy season in 21 years. And I'm not the only one, lots of people are complaining about itchy eyes and sneezing fits. So, while a huge rainstorm would be bad right now, a little rain to wash away some of the pollen would be more than welcome.

There is one obvious benefit to the warm weather that makes the rest of the problems worth dealing with. All of the kids in the neighborhood are finally able to come out and play. It's been so fun to see how much everyone has grown over the winter. Last year the kids were struggling to ride their big wheels, this year they are having races around the culd-a-sac. Instead of running around in circles, they are now forming games of hide and seek and tag. And best of all, when we finally drag them in for the night they are so happily tired that bedtime is a dream.

I sure do hope we get a lot of this kind of weather this summer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday, or should I say speechless?

Michael has been having some tummy troubles thanks to the antibiotics that he just finished up. The amoxacillin was pretty kind to his tummy, but this stuff wasn't. I was expecting it to...um...speed things up, but it did the opposite. It turned my once a day boy into a once every few days kid. In addition, he seemed to have some nausea as well.

That's bad enough, but add those new sensations to his newly found potty training skills and he ended up very confused a few times. He would say his tummy was telling him to go pee pee, but get in there and not be able to go. Then he would say he needed to throw up, and follow it up with a toot. It was very distressing for him and a number of times he ended up in tears because something in his tummy didn't feel right, but he didn't know what to do about it.

He finished up the medicine on Sunday night (am I the only one that only gets 18 5ml doses out of a 100ml jar of antibiotics?) and things are starting to get back to normal. Yesterday, things got moving again, and Michael was clearly relieved. He was in a much perkier and pleasant mood after taking care of business.

However, he did have one confusing potty trip. He ran into the bathroom and told me he didn't need my help. After a minute I heard him getting upset again, so I got up to see what was going on. I walked into the bathroom and this is what he asked me:

Mommy, you need to squeeze my pee pee because there is a candy heart stuck in there that hasn't dissolved and it's blocking my pee.

I just stood there staring at him. I mean really, how do you respond to something like that?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Testing the Waters

First thing, sorry about the title of yesterday's post. It never crossed my mind when I typed 9 months that ya'll might think I was talking about being pregnant. I didn't mean to be such a tease.

Back to the zoo. In addition to Michael climbing like a monkey and playing with other kids, I got to reflect on something else I've seen with Michael recently. It's the constant tug of war between self confidence and insecurity. On the playground, Michael has no problem running up to other kids and trying to initiate play. He just dives right in. It can be hard to watch because some kids don't want to play. None of the kids have been mean about it, but it's still not easy watching a bunch of 8 year olds dismiss him. It makes him sad, and part of me wishes I could fix that. But, it's all part of growing up and learning boundaries. For the most part though, he's been able to find someone to play with anytime we are at a playground.

Knowing this about him, it's interesting to see him hide behind my legs when we walk into a birthday party or are meeting a new adult. In his mind he has clearly defined "safe" places where he has no problem diving in head first, and cautious places where he wants to stand back and check things out before he sticks his toes in the water.

He's so sweet and shy when he's unsure. He speaks softer and stands back more or hides behind me. He'll watch everyone closely while he tries to figure out what's going on. Once he does decided to give the new situation a try, he'll enter slowly while gauging everyone around him. Sometimes this is slow, sometimes not.

Once he is comfortable, a whole different child comes out. A loud child. An enthusiastic child. A somewhat pushy child. Once Michael is comfortable with you, he has no problem correcting you. This morning he made sure that his daycare teacher was 100 percent clear on which two dinosaurs were hanging from his belt. (Spinosauros and Brachiosaurus.) The generic "dinosaurs" was not sufficient. At the playground, while he may have been a little cautious about some of the playground equipment, he didn't seem to have any problem directing the kid's play or correcting other kids if he disagreed with them.

I have mixed feelings about both sides of this behavior. Sometimes I get frustrated with his unwillingness to try something new. Being cautious is good...to a point. I think he misses out on things because of this. It took him 9 months to get up the nerve to try the various ladders at the playground, during which time he could have a lot of fun. He also misses out on a lot of good foods because he refuses to give anything new a try. It's frustrating for me, and very limiting for him.

On the other end, I'm glad that he has the confidence to speak up for himself. That's very valuable, and will come in handy many times through the rest of his life. I'm happy that he likes to sing the Spiderman song, but I do wish he'd lower the volume when we are in the grocery store. I'm glad he feels comfortable taking charge during group play, but I hope he learns how to be tactful about it. I'm pround that he likes to learn and has great attention to detail, but I do hope he develops a kind and considerate way of disseminating all that detail. *

Mostly, I just hope that he finds a good balance between caution and confidence. We are doing our part to help him figure that out, but as he grows and spends more time at school and with friends, we will have less influence than we do now. We'll just have to do the best we can, and hope for the rest to fall into place.

*I noticed a few times when Michael had "Sheldon" moments. As is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. It wasn't pretty.

Monday, April 5, 2010

That Only Took Nine Months

Last summer I blogged about a woman trying to cheer Michael into climbing a web at the local zoo playground. He had climbed up to the top rung of this rubber lattice that looks like a spider's web, but would not even consider trying to climb up the last bit onto the play structure. She cheered and clapped and coerced, and he dug in his heels. She was flabbergasted by the extent of his refusal. I just laughed quietly to myself at her wasted effort.

With the gorgeous spring weather this weekend I decided to take Michael to the zoo. We hit the playground and he did this.

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He didn't hesitate, he just scrambled right up and pulled himself over the edge. Then, he ran to the slide - which he was afraid of last summer - and slid right down. It's amazing what 9 months and a few inches will do.

It was amazing to watch him and compare his actions to last summer. Not only did he climb the web, he also climbed the rock wall and then monkeyed his way up this:



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Last year he wouldn't even touch that ladder. He looked at it once and decided that he didn't want anything to do with it. This year it's no problem.

But, there was something even more impressive going on here. In the past, I've always had to hover near the playground equipment or else Michael would call me over and make me play with him. After a while, going down the slide with the little kids can get kind of old.

Do you see the older boy following Michael up the ladder? Michael was completely engaged in playing with the boy, and I was actually able to sit down on a bench in the shade. I'm not entirely sure what they were playing, but Spiderman, pumpkins and butts were involved. Whatever it was, Michael had a blast, the other boy seemed to have a good time, and I got to relax for a few minutes. I guess this is just a little taste of the future when my little baby won't need me there to hold his hand anymore.

Don't worry, Michael isn't about to move out on his own or anything. In fact, he threw a spectacular tantrum about 15 minutes later when I made him leave the playground with only five minutes notice. I suspect I have a few more years of hand holding ahead of me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Yay Me! I Did it!

One of my 500 in 2010 goals is to be able to run the 2 mile park loop, including the big hill, without stopping to walk. I set this goal last summer when I first started to run, but I never came any where close to actually doing it. That played a large part in me replacing my old recumbent exercise bike with the new upright bike with programmable workouts as well as my cross training effort on the elliptical. To make that two mile run and run up that hill, I needed to really step things up, so I did. A lot.

What's funny is that I wasn't even planning on running yesterday. I knew the weather was supposed to start improving, but I had no idea just how nice it would be. It was perfect for a run, so Andy and I agreed on a workout schedule that allowed me to hit the park.

With such short notice, I hadn't really considered what run I wanted to do. I was thinking of just going out and running the hill over and over. I also considered doing the loop in the opposite direction - which means I'd go down the big hill, but start and end the run going slightly uphill. However, something in me was just itching for my goal loop, and I decided to go with it.

The moment I made the decision, I knew I was going to make the whole loop running. There wasn't a moment during the run that I doubted that I would do it. I felt great when I started running. I felt even more amazing when I reached the top of the hill. By the end of the run I was positively exuberant. I did it! I really, truly did it! I ran two miles without stopping!

The red bold line on the map below shows my run. I run clockwise. The dreaded hill runs from High Arch Bridge up to the Hay Barn. I cannot wait to do it again.


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The best part is that there are many more miles of the park to run, and an even longer, steeper hill to conquer. I can't wait to get started.