Thursday, April 28, 2011

what the parenting books don't tell you.

the parenting books never have the chapter titled;

Some Days Parenting Sucks and On Those Days You Will Feel Like a Fucking Hack. HA!

but here's the deleted chapter. i will try and be brief.

some days parenting SUCKS.

the end.

yeah. okay.

some days it is quite possibly the job with the absolute least amount of visible tangible return and absolutely not one.single.minute of satisfaction. i've seen polls wherein parenting is listed BELOW housecleaning or somesuch honest and needed but not terribly fun endeavor. that's because even if it's the grossest toilet on earth it will come clean. or close to it. and your effort, for even just a few seconds before the adrenaline recedes and the gag reflex really kicks in, it will all be worth it.

some days there are lots and lots tears spilled behind the bathroom door because you are tired of hearing yourself say the same.thing.again. and again. and when you aren't heard, even if the person is TEN or FOURTEEN it still gets really personal after a time. it's hard not to be heard. because this is your *job.* and wow. what a choice. oh, and my god my voice is shrill.

(and if you are a stay at home mother...double wow. these will be the days that you will REALLY reconsider your career choice. duuuuuude. the lack of a pay check should have been your first clue...)

some days it's hard to remember to be kind. to take the deep breath. to count to fucking ten. FUCK YOU TEN WHAT HAVE YOU EVER DONE FOR ME! WHY ARE YOU SO *IT* FOR NUMBERS? HUH? HUH?* you forget to moderate your voice. to remember that this isn't all about YOU *not* being listened to, but rather it's about pulling these kids up and through this life. and some days, that is neither easy or fun. hell, some days it doesn't even hit gross dirty toilet cleaning level.

some days you are certain that you are not cut out for this. at all. that you are most certainly raising children who won't be able to make it on their own. and thus will be susceptible to the whacknoodles of this world. you know, women with father issues or cult leaders or telemarketers. OH MY GOD or the birthers. worse yet, that they will end up living in your basement. for the rest of your life. and still draw an allowance.

today i had that kind of day. and after the tears and the less than book worthy behavior, after the full on silly mortal mama-ness i looked around and i repeated the words of a dear dear friend's father...'this is bad management.'

because it doesn't matter how bad the day or how fast and often those wheels have spun. or how the sound of your voice is making you crack. or wish you had some. ultimately it's up to the parent to right the ship and get things back on track. and to not fall into doing crack.

that's why kids are kids and parents are adults. the theory being that by the time one becomes a parent they know how to take the deep breath and the higher road. and has learned that the world is larger than the personal. and that some days just suck, but the job still needs to get done. and, ultimately that the kid *gets* to be age appropriate, but the parent (who is the adult) *has* to be age appropriate.

i guess the thing to remember is that the sun always rises. tomorrow is another day. one more chance to start again.

(oh. and wine. wine helps. the parenting books NEVER say that.)

in the meantime, deep breaths and deeper hugs can stopgap the rest of it. because when that some day turns into the evening it's time to let it go. to throw your hands up and throw your arms around your kid and surrender for the time being.

and don't forget to get some arms thrown around you, too. really. take care of you AND your kids. applying the oxygen mask first and all that.

because the evening and bedtime is always your free pass. your out. your tap on the shoulder in the ring. it's a natural transition to softening. to let the shoulders down a notch. and the voice, too.

this is a hard job. a hard job one is so very lucky to have. that i am lucky to have. i am so grateful for my children. but just because one is lucky enough to have and raise children, in whatever circumstance that is procured, arranged or executed, and experience the divine here on earth doesn't mean there aren't those days that make you want run screaming from the room into the street and overwhelmingly demonstrate and define what to 'rent one's garments' really means.

in conclusion;

sillymortalmama said there'd be days like this. so go easy on yourself. go easier on your kids. and don't forget that tomorrow always comes.

(wine helps)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

your moment(s) of zen.

when the duke was almost 4 his very cool preschool in southern california did their annual assessment of all the children. this particular assessment had nothing to do with 'academics,' how much or well they were learning, but more with assessing their abilities. establishing a baseline for further notes on progress or regress.

see this preschool was unique in that was ALSO for differently-abled children. children with mental or physical or emotional limitations or issues. every class was a mix of all different kinds of kids. everything was integrated. if you could even call it that because it was just the norm. there was never a deal made about it. it was really a great experience.

and for the yearly assessment they observed all children. regardless of ability.

so. when the duke was 3 going on 4 and wingman was 2 months and 2 days old i received the written assessment for the duke from the specialist they brought in. honestly, i never remember receiving it let alone reading it. i was recovering from another hard pregnancy and another hard birth and was still adjusting to life with a preschooler AND a newborn.

i found the report the other day. i noted the date. i read it. honestly, it's like they were talking about a whole different child than the duke. and i cannot imagine what i would have felt had i actually read it at the time.

"...lacks the shoulder/elbow/wrist joint strength to increase stability for coloring. This suggests low muscle tone in the upper extremities."

"All of his interactions with others are rough and quick. He objects to holding his dad's hand or to hugs. This suggests he does not like any form of touching. Be sure to encourage touching, firm and quick, with verbalization."

"Does not use own legs to turn self on merry go round. Waits for someone to turn it."

"Tends to move in fast spurts of energy. His graded motor output may be difficult. A brushing therapy program may help."

the report suggested that future IEPs for school would be necessary. (individualized education plan for children with learning or other disabilities so that they may get the best possible opportunities and resources to meet their particular needs.)

may i say the the duke was a very energetic boy who loved to run and play and jump and climb and hug and hold hands. he was rambunctious at times. he was 3.

he colored well and was already writing his name and knew his alphabet and could count to a gazillion. okay, i don't know how high he could count but that's the point. he could count. he was 3. it didn't matter how high.

and who turns their own self on the merry go round? just because you don't doesn't mean you can't. and who doesn't want someone else to do it?

then attached was a referral to a specialist at a local hospital for further evaluation.

all this from one visit one morning with a stranger.


and here's the thing.

i totally appreciate early intervention. while i don't have a child of my own with different abilities or special needs or an IEP i know MORE than my fair share of parents and kids who deal with one or both or all of these and MORE on a daily basis. i am compassionate and i am educated and i am aware.

and i know there are a lot of parents who have fought for a long time to have their children observed and properly diagnosed by the 'right' people. who wait forever to get an IEP and then have to on the regular fight the red tape and bureaucracy and administration and ignorance to keep their kids resources intact.

people who NEED resources for their children.

but what if i had read that report when they sent it to me? when i was still cracked out on my pregnancy and birth and newborn? when resistance was low and i just two weeks prior made the decision, out loud and with conviction, that i was now turning my sights on being a mama solely. and that i would no longer pursue my career. thus leaving me ripe for finding a 'mission.' or a 'purpose' beyond wiping bottoms and trying to figure out how to put together the figure 8 wooden train track 'exactly' like on the box and sourcing individually wrapped cheese sticks for the best price.

because that report was heavily suggesting something that never came to pass. that report didn't nail the duke. not even close. not at 3 almost 4. and not for now.

and maybe i would have just known that and maybe i would have not. and been alarmed. and taken the action they were suggesting.

i wonder.

i wonder what road i would have gone down. i wonder if things would be different for the duke. for me. for our family.

i don't know where i'm going with this other than to say, it happens. sometimes it happens that kids get observed and referred and labeled and put on a track. a track in this case that was and should have just been called '3 almost 4 year old energetic taurus boy' and let it commence as such. but is called and viewed as something very different.

i really do wonder if i dodged a bullet for the duke by sheer lack of awareness, lack of sleep, lack of two minutes when my breasts weren't leaking and my body wasn't trying to knit itself back together and there wasn't a bottom to wipe.

wouldn't that be something?

the other day after i read the report this song came on the radio. i looked in the back seat and saw my two boys sitting there. each staring out their own window lost in thought somewhere else. and i thought about the time and the climb it has been to just reach this point. how every moment seems so big. even the moments you miss. and how it just keeps going. this parenting thing. running up that hill. making deals with god. wondering.

it is that spirit that i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen.


Friday, April 01, 2011

your moment(s) of zen.

so the duke has scoliosis. and there's a very real possibility he will end up in a back brace. we go on monday to the orthopedic specialist.

now his posture has been slouchy for some time, but i thought it was just him being slouchy. but he's been going through a huge growth spurt and the slouch morphed. actually, as it turns out, his rib cage is twisted.

we've been waiting for the appointment for a month. and right after we made it i had a chat with the duke about 'embracing' (all pun intended) whatever the diagnoses was. that whatever it is just diving right in and totally accepting it will help him heal all that much faster. that there are all kinds of people with all kinds of issues and problems and illnesses and disabilities. that no one is perfect, the trick is to accept yours, try to heal it if you can, and move forward.

he agreed that that sounded like a good approach because although he wouldn't be thrilled about a brace (other option is it isn't that bad and he can do physical therapy) he would want to do what he could to help himself get over it more quickly.

that was a few weeks ago. as the appointment approaches he is a bit more apprehensive. (and let's face it, i am too. more than i thought i would be, actually.) so last night he said

'i think it would suck to end up in a brace.'

'yeah. i know. but remember, just 'embrace' it right?'

to my delight he chuckled.

'yeah, i mean there's nothing i can do about it. i might as well just be positive. even though i really don't want to start high school in a back brace.'

'who would? but we'll just take what comes. and just keep talking about it if you need to.'

"wait. mama, don't i have an eye exam and a dentist appointment coming up too?'


'and everyone in our family wears glasses and the old dentist already said i needed braces?'


a slight look of something indistinguishable and unpleasant came over his face.

'oh my god! so...there's a chance i could start high school in a back brace AND glasses AND braces?'

i opened my mouth and nothing came out. i closed my mouth.

we just looked at each other.

this moment was one of those john hughes movie moments. 'teen discovers true horror. is not amused.'

and then...he just burst out laughing.



and then i started laughing. and then the husband came in and asked us what was so funny.

'papa, i could be starting high school with a back brace AND glasses AND braces!'

and then we all laughed because what else do you do? other than thank god that the boy can rise up laughing. other than not burst into tears right then and there because you love your son so much and are so proud of him. other than wait until bed when everyone else is asleep to cry just a little because you wish his rib cage wasn't twisted.

when the duke of fun was less of an infant and more of a baby he would NOT go to sleep for anything. we finally settled on a routine of one of us walking around and around and around the living room while bouncing him up and down (he HAD to be bounced) and listening to one particular song by the verve over and over and over for an hour and a half every.single.night until he finally passed out.

he weighed 10 1/2 pounds at birth. this was about 6 months in. this was not an easy task. and i would get really tired. and sweaty. but i would walk and bounce and listen to the song. because this is what worked even if i didn't like it. knowing that this phase would end, hoping it was sooner than later. walk and bounce and listen. lather rinse repeat.

that's what i feel like right now. like i'm walking and bouncing and listening. because what i told him is true, lots of people have lots of things wrong with them. worse things. ours in life is to just accept and move forward. but i will tell you what, and i've said this before about other things and i'm saying it now about this thing...i can do that, accept it. walk bounce listen. but i still don't like it. it still doesn't mean i don't feel like there's something i wish i could do to make it different. and maybe i'm making WAY more of this than is necessary (what else is new). but since i don't know what it looks like yet, right now i'm just a mama waiting to exhale.

it is in this spirit that i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen. a bitter sweet symphony, this life. indeed.

i'll keep you posted.