January 26, 2010

Day 11

Posted in Momming, Ramblings o' P at 2:22 pm by Erin

Good news: good workout this morning!  Delicious blueberry tea at work!  About to eat taco salad for lunch!

And on the opposite side…we are struggling so much with parenting P lately.  He’s such a sweet kid under most circumstances, but sometimes he just gets in these moods and they’re awful.  Defiance, arguing, tears, etc.  He had one this morning right before school and we actually had to send our neighbors on without him (we carpool and it’s their week to drive) so we could deal with him.  We haven’t found a way to get through them yet, and it’s wearing on us.  And they’re never followed by a good day.  Case in point: he had on on Sunday before Sunday school, and his Sunday school teacher asked me “Is he getting sick?  He was just not himself today!”  I’m not expecting today to be a good day for him at school.

I think a lot of it is related to him being tired.  He didn’t get a good night sleep on Saturday since we were out at our friends’ house until 9 p.m. (he usually goes to bed at 7:30).  Last night, I got home from work at 8 p.m. (don’t worry, I didn’t have to leave to go in until almost 4) and the kids were not only still up but playing downstairs!  I was so ticked at J, let me tell you…  But the fact is, he missed almost an hour of sleep last night and threw a tantrum this morning.  We need to be extra-vigilant in getting him to bed and hope that takes care of most of it.

*sigh* This parenting stuff is hard.  Fun most of the time, but hard.  Now I need a nap!

Oh, so that I only end on good news: I only have to be at work for another 40 minutes and then I’m going home to play with my kids!  And J is making dinner tonight!

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September 9, 2008

What is going on with P

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 9:23 pm by Erin

I have no idea.  We've been trying to come up with ideas, and none of them seem to pan out.  He's just so angry at school and neither his teachers nor J nor I have any idea what's going on.  P won't tell us.  He will randomly go over to another child and start pinching or hitting them, clearly furious; when his teachers ask why he did such a thing, he either refuses to talk to them or says "I don't know".

At first, we thought that maybe he wasn't getting enough sleep.  He was staying up at night reading in bed and was always tired and grumpy when we woke him up in the mornings.  So we made sure he was getting to bed on time and won't let him read there anymore.  In one way it has helped–he doesn't come into our room in the middle of the night as often as he used to and he doesn't say he's having bad dreams nearly so often.  But he's still sometimes tough to wake up in the mornings.  I don't know how we could even manage an earlier bedtime, but I'm not convinced it would help much anyway.

Then we thought that maybe he wasn't eating properly in the mornings–I have blood sugar issues, so maybe he does as well.  We've been sure for the last two weeks that he's not just having cereal and milk anymore; instead, his breakfast is much higher in protein.  It doesn't seem to have made any difference at a but we'll keep doing it.

I took him to his pediatrician today because he's been complaining of a stomach ache.  Coupled with his lethargy and aggressiveness, I've been concerned.  Unfortunately, it was the condescending doctor instead of the one we like (those of you who use the same practice know who I mean) and he basically brushed it off.  Said that it's probably a mild virus, kind of like the flu without the fever and vomiting.  They did test P's urine for sugar and it was negative, which is good but doesn't tell us anything. 

I asked for a recommendation to a developmental pediatrician, and he gave me the name of one.  I'll call them in the morning to make an appointment.  We need to do something soon.  He had a particularly bad day today at school.  J and I are getting supremely concerned that his behavior has become so bad that he's going to get kicked out of his school.  Since we have no idea what's going on, we're feeling at a loss as to how to help him.

On the one hand, I'm furious with P because he knows perfectly well how to behave and that hitting and hurting other people is completely inappropriate.  On the other hand, I'm really worried about him because he knows this, is doing it anyway, and doesn't seem to have a reason.  We don't see that kind of behavior at home, not at that level.  Occasionally he'll get very angry but there's always a preceding incident.  He doesn't ever hurt K, even if K deliberately pulls his hair or anything like that.  He has made moves to hurt J or I, which I will not try to justify (after writing two sentences trying to do so and then deleting them).  But he doesn't get that angry at home.  He doesn't try to hurt us every time he gets angry–in fact, he almost never does.  At school, he does it every time he gets angry and there doesn't often seem to be some sort of preceding incident.  Punishments don't seem to work at school, and it's hard to punish him at home for something that he did in school 6 hours earlier.  Not that we haven't tried, but it doesn't seem to work.

It's really, really hard to write about this.  I feel like I'm failing as a mom and, while that hurts in terms of worrying about what others think, I can get over that.  I worry that I'm failing P in ways that will never be overcome, and that I can't handle.

J and I are very different people when it comes to our kids.  He likes to kind of stick his head in the sand until something becomes unavoidable, then he will deal with it.  I like to be proactive and deal with things before they get to the unavoidable level.  But on this one, we're united that we can't wait another week to see what happens.  We need to form a plan and figure out how to help our son.

I just don't know where I went wrong.  It's hard to look at what I've written and see P in the descriptions of the behaviors.  He's just never been that child ever before.  Ever.  I don't know what suddenly changed, but part of me is scared to find out even as I know I can't give in to those thoughts.

May 19, 2008

Sometimes I pull out my hair because of P

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 6:43 pm by Erin

P has done very well adjusting to being a big brother overall.  He’s had issues, naturally.  He’s needed more attention from us and we’d figured out how to do that while I was still working–instead of driving to K’s daycare on our way home, we parked the car at home and walked.  It gave us enough one-on-one time that he was much happier and much more pleasant, and it was nice to walk home with my boys and get a little exercise.  I’m not sure what we’ll do now that I’m home with them both all day every day (or will be as of Friday, when P’s school is done), but we’ll figure it out.

But now he’s going through some issues and I have no idea if they’re related to being a big brother or just to his age.  Since K came home, we’ve been a little less stringent about cleaning up toys before bedtime and other things, but the toys are becoming an issue.  We have no desire to live in a house in which we trip over toys, plus he has the responsibility of cleaning up after himself.  We’re more lenient about upstairs in the bedroom or playroom, but until K came home, all downstairs toys had to be cleaned up every night before bedtime.  Since then, I’m more likely to be so busy getting both of them upstairs for bed that I don’t even think about it.

I decided that had to stop.  The place was a mess and I don’t feel like cleaning up toys after getting the kids in bed, nor should we have to.  Tonight, he played with trains and tracks after dinner and then I said it was time to clean up.  As he has often done lately, he said he needed help–"help" typically means that I clean up most of it and he puts away a couple of things.  So I said that it was up to him to clean it up, and that I was bringing K up for his bath–when P was done cleaning up, he could come up and get into the bathtub.  P loves his bath, so I thought this would spur him on to getting it done quickly.  Instead, I got hysterical sobbing and protestations that he couldn’t do it, that he needed help.  I refused.  I gave K his bath, conditioned his hair, put on his apricot oil (yum!) to keep his skin smooth and soft, and got him into jammies.  P sobbed the whole time.

At the same time, it worked.  Once K was in jammies, I went down to heat a bottle for him and found P just zipping the last container of tracks.  I told him I was proud of him for doing it himself and that now he could get into the bath–he could be in the bath until K was done with his bottle, then I would wash his hair and it would be time to get out for bedtime stories.  More sobbing ensued, because he wanted a longer bath, the bath was too cold (it had been a while since I ran it for K and I wasn’t about to waste all the water because P procrastinated so long), etc, etc, etc.

Unfortunately for P, I held firm.  As soon as K’s bottle was done, I washed P’s hair, pulled the plug, and dried him off.  I wrestled him into jammies and refused him bedtime stories after he tried to hit me with a toy.

It was fun.  I can’t wait to be home with both of them all day, everyday.

Happily, he calmed down once I brought him up to his bed and went out to answer the phone.  When I came back, he apologized and we talked about the choices that he’d made that led to us being upset with each other.  Then he politely asked if I would sit in their room until he fell asleep.  I agreed.  He was asleep within 5 minutes.

I know it has to happen.  I’m not here to be his best friend, I’m here to be his mom.  I’m here to raise good kids who will grow into good adults, who have the tools that they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do–and that includes taking personal responsibility for the choices that they make.  But it is exhausting. 

December 9, 2007

Dig that knife a little deeper, P

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 3:16 pm by Erin

As you know, P turned four.  At four comes the dreaded "four year checkup", which sees a return to vaccinations after the last one that came at 18 months (we don’t do flu shots).  P got five of them.  He laid on his back on the table and I laid halfway across his stomach, holding his hands.  The nurse was blessedly quick and didn’t show him the needles beforehand, though we’d talked about them so that he wasn’t caught unawares.  He looked startled after the first, but she was already done with the second by then.  By the third, his face was turning bright red.  He didn’t start crying until she finished the last one.  He never did struggle or fight or kick, and I was so proud.  He cried for a little while and insisted that he hadn’t been brave because he cried, despite my constant reassurances that it’s OK to cry even when you’re brave and that being brave means you do something that you have to do even when you don’t want to.

We finished reading the book in the office and I’d promised to buy him a new book for being so brave at his appointment.  He finished getting dressed and we went to the mall across the street.  We walked inside and he said "Mama, I thought of what I really want."  When I asked him what that was, I was expecting to hear something about a new toy or something similar.  Instead, I heard, in a small little voice, "I want M."

I don’t know if my heart can take this.

December 4, 2007

Happy birthday, baby

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 11:57 am by Erin

My P.  My sweet pea.  My munchkin.  He supposedly turned 4 yesterday, but it could not possibly have happened.  He was just born!  And yet, it feels like he’s been in our lives forever.  I don’t really remember what we did before he was here, to love and hug and laugh and cry with us. 

To read bedtime stories and rediscover the joy of simple things like Playdoh and race car tracks, and building forts out of pillows and blankets next to the bed. 

To say "I love you, Mama" and give J big hugs and kisses to wake him up in the mornings. 

To snuggle next to him when we say our bedtime prayers and make his hair stand up on end when he’s in the bathtub. 

To go to to the park and the zoo, and birthday parties at fun places like the children’s museum. 

To blow raspberries on his stomach and flip him upside down, just to hear him giggle. 

To watch him learn to dress himself and figure out the letters of the alphabet. 

To hear him tell me all about the Jewish holidays and see how much he loves to go to school. 

To hear the joy in his voice when he opens up drums that he’s been asking for since his previous birthday. 

To play Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders and Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

To hear him tell stories about "little P", who lives with "little Mama, little Daddy, little Caesar, and little Neitzsche", and all of their adventures together.

To hear him plan for the future, like being 5 and being able to chew gum.

To know that we are the luckiest of parents to have such a sweet and wonderful son.  I don’t remember the days before him, because they paled in comparison to the days since he came into our lives.

Happy birthday, baby.

August 29, 2007

Getting my brag on

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 2:02 pm by Erin

Gotta get rid of the feelings of that last post.  Onto happy things, of P!

I may have shared the first story before.  About a month ago, J and I went out for our anniversary dinner (only a month late but whatever).  We left P with our neighbor, whose son is about 8 months younger.  We left at about 6:30 and planned to be back by 9 or so.  Her son goes to bed around then, so I told her not to worry about P’s bedtime, usually around 8–he’d taken a nap and should be fine until we were back.  After a lovely dinner at The Melting P*t, we headed back there.  Our neighbor said that P was an angel, the boys played together wonderfully.  And that P looked out of the window half an hour before we got there, said "It’s getting dark–it’s time for me to go to bed," went into their guest room, and fell sound asleep.  Whose child does that???  He certainly wouldn’t have done it if we’d been home!

We went out to dinner the other night.  After a long wait, we finally got seated.  We’d ordered our food and P was coloring on the menu (we go to classy joints, I tell ya) when an older gentleman from the next table got up and came over to us.  He leaned down next to P and said that he thought he was a lovely young man, that he was very impressed with his behavior, and that we should be very proud of him.  I guess he’d overheard P’s ordering: "I would like lema-ade (lemonade) and steak, please!"  To be honest, we’ve always expected that kind of behavior from P at restaurants and so we don’t notice it very often.  It was so sweet that he gave us such a nice compliment! 

I admit that I’m strict when it comes to behavior in public.  We’ve never hesitated to give time-out or even leave a place when his behavior isn’t appropriate, and he knows it.  I worked at a Discovery Z*ne and a summer camp when I was a teen, and swore that I would never raise a child like many of the ones that I met.  Their parents wanted to be their best friends and not their parents.  There was no balance between having fun and discipline.  I didn’t want that, and it makes me really happy to know that I’m raising a child who knows how to behave in different situations.

August 20, 2007

A lighter note while I continue to bare my soul

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 12:00 pm by Erin

It’s surprisingly hard to write a post like the last one.  If I hadn’t been bottling it all up for so long, it would be much easier.  I’d also like to answer some of your questions in my next one, and am trying to figure out how to do that.  So while I do that, an entertaining story of P!

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Maine.  My family vacations up there and we wanted to see everyone.  The night before we left, J ran into a crisis of sorts at work and decided that going would be impossible.  So P and I went by ourselves.  We stayed with my parents in their cottage and had a fabulous time–but we did miss J.

At least I did.

One morning, P was sitting on my lap and said, "I’m going to marry you when I get bigger."

I replied, "You can’t do that, Sweet Pea.  I’m already married to Daddy."

He looked at my parents and said, "Are you married?"

They said, "Yes, we are."

P looked concerned and said, "Who will I marry?"

I gave him a hug and said, "When you grow up, you’ll find someone you love and marry them."

P looked at me and said, "I’m going to marry you."

I said, "What about Daddy?"

He looked at me, very seriously, and said, "Daddy’s not here."

I almost dropped him, I was laughing so hard.  We’re raising a true player.

July 31, 2007

“Banana starts with B” and other P stories

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 8:30 am by Erin

Warning: there’s a lot of bragging ahead.

I am constantly amazed at how much older P seems this summer than he did last summer.  The difference between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 is absolutely astounding.  Last summer, he was firmly a toddler; this summer, I’m hard-pressed to remember he’s not a preschooler yet.  He won’t be going to kindergarten for 2 more years yet, but it suddenly struck me that he’ll be 5 next year.  OK, not until December of next year, but it’s still next year.  He’s gone through a huge growth spurt since last year, which has a lot to do with it–last summer he was wearing 2T clothes, now he’s in a 4T and I think he’ll probably be 5T around his birthday.  (Note that predicting sizes for the coming seasons is very important if you ever plan to shop at semi-annual consignment sales.)

His big love this summer is dinosaurs.  He was interested in them last year around his birthday, but he’s now obsessed with them.  We read books about dinosaurs: the "How do dinosaurs…" series is a favorite, but he also likes actual fact-based books that tell him about the dinosaurs themselves.  He knows which ones were carnivores and which were herbivores, he knows which lived in herds/packs and which preferred to be solitary.  He recognizes and can name about 25 different types–and hearing a 3-year-old say "pachycephalosaurus" is always pretty amazing (yes, he pronounces it correctly).  He can tell you the difference between a triceratops, a protoceratops, and a styracosaurus.  We went to a dinosaur footprint museum while we were out visiting my IL’s.  He loved looking at the tracks and the bones, and then digging for "footprints" with tools out in the sandbox.  Grandma bought him a mama/baby maiasaura set, which he’s been playing with since then.  (Grandpa bought him the pachycephalosaurus the day before, so it was a dinosaur-filled trip for P.)  And I found him a raincoat with dinosaurs on it at the consignment sale yesterday, which he now wants to wear constantly.

I remember when my brother when through a dinosaur phase, but I thought it was closer to 6.  I’m learning more than I ever knew before about dinosaurs!  It’s fun that he’s so interested in not just playing with the dinosaurs, but also learning about what they really might have been like.

His imagination is also incredible, as he’s constantly making up stories and worlds and playing with his toys.  He can entertain himself happily for 30 minutes or more with only a couple of dinosaurs or cars.  And he really likes to draw (though unfortunately, he seems to have inherited my artistic skill), so he colors a million pictures a day and tells me what’s in them.  He’s had a lot more fun with art this summer–we’ve done a lot of art projects with a friend and her daughter, and he’s really enjoyed them.

Up until a few weeks ago, the only experience P had with the computer was sitting with me or J and playing on the Sesame Street website.  P would choose the game and we’d use the mouse to play it.  Then I heard a friend talking about how her daughter likes to play on the computer and wondered if P could do it.  We bought him a smaller mouse and I showed him how to click on the part he wanted, and how to move it around.  Then I let him play the Cookie Monster game and he did really well!  The next day, I set him up in front of it again (after much begging and pleading on his part) and went out to water some plants.  Eventually, I realized that I’d been outside for quite a while and hadn’t heard a peep from him–wasn’t he bored with Cookie Monster yet?  Yes, but when he got tired of Cookie Monster, he figured out how to navigate around the site and had already played the Count game, done Spanish with Rosita, and was making Grover dance when I came in.  No, they didn’t have computers at his daycare for the little kids.  He just figured it out, probably from watching us when we did it with him.  I was very impressed.

Yesterday when we were in the car, he suddenly said "Banana starts with B!"  And then we discussed what letters other words start with–he knew quite a few!  We’ve tried not to push him into learning his letters or learning to read, because a) he’s only 3 and that’s very young yet, and b) he only gets to be a little kid for so long.  We do talk about letters and sounds with him when he wants to but if his interest wanes, we don’t force it.  He’s learning them anyway.  My baby is starting to learn to read!

Even better, though, is that he’s eating vegetables again!  The only vegetables he ate for a year were broccoli and cauliflower; I had to hide anything else in spaghetti sauce, and I just don’t make spaghetti sauce that often.  But one night he said he was still hungry after dinner.  I was about to tell him he could have some cereal, then inspiration struck and I put a couple of baby carrots onto his plate.  He said he didn’t like them and I told him he didn’t have to eat them but if he was hungry, they were there.  Finally he nibbled at them and proclaimed them good!  Since them, I’ve introduced him to the delights of zucchini, squash, corn, and edamame.  I was so smug when he was a baby–one of my favorite pictures of him is covered in the alphabet pasta with spinach and roasted red peppers that he was eating (I made all of his baby food).  Oh, I paid the price for that smugness…  But he’s eating a few more vegetables now, and so I’m happy.

I can very honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every stage that P has gone through.  Some are more challenging than others (along with all the learning he’s doing now comes the CONSTANT questions about everything, which can be grating after a while), but every one has been fun. 

April 10, 2007

How to be a good parent 24-aholic

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 12:48 pm by Erin

The scene: A cozy evening in Erin and J’s red family room, a thoroughly warm and inviting room. 

The heroine: Erin, certified 24-aholic, clad in tacky flannel pajamas and penguin slippers, sits in the blue recliner with her feet propped up.  A slice of Kosher for Passover cake and a glass of water sit on the table beside her, a pile of papers to be graded sits on her lap.

The time: Just after 9 p.m. on Monday night

The TV: Turned to Fox

The pile of papers sits, forgotten, as Erin is enthralled by images of Jack Bauer and President Gary Payton cross the screen. (Just a side note to say that I love Dave Barry.  Not as much as Jack, though.)  The pitter patter of little footsteps coming down the stairs goes unnoticed until a small blond head pokes into the room and says "I want you to tuck me in, Mama."

Erin’s thought processes whirl around: Are you crazy????!!!  TWENTY-FOUR IS ON!!!

Thankfully, there is a very small time-delay between Erin’s thoughts and what comes out of her mouth (most of the time).  Instead of saying that, she asks "Where’s Daddy?"  Erin knows for a fact that J tucked this small boy into bed half an hour earlier.

J, as it turns out, is in the shower.  J takes very long showers.

Does Erin stop watching a television show to put her child to bed?  No.  But neither does she send him up alone.

Instead, she puts a big smile on her face and says, "Would you like to share my cake?"  Of course, the small boy says yes.  Together, they cuddle in the big blue recliner, eating cake and being very, very quiet.  Erin tries to get the small boy to look away but he refuses, and Erin finds herself saying "That wasn’t very nice of that man, was it?"  She gets the brilliant idea to tell him that when the numbers come onto the screen, it will be time to tuck the small boy into bed.

Shortly thereafter, the numbers ticking off the time appear and the small boy heads up to bed with his head on his mother’s shoulder.  He is tucked in and a song is sung, and he promptly falls asleep.*

What a nice ending.**

*Erin then races back downstairs and is appalled that she’s missed TWO MINUTES of the show.

**The nice ending, of course, covers up the fact that the small boy was up until well after 9 p.m. on a "school night", that Erin wouldn’t leave the TV to bring him upstairs, that she promptly fed him sugar-laden cake at well past his bedtime, and that he was watching a scene in which Jack is "interrogating" a terrorist.  Eeps.

December 20, 2006

The miracles of the season

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 3:04 pm by Erin

Tomorrow, we leave to go to my parents’ house.  I’m probably not going to be posting or commenting from there, so I wanted to post once before we left.  I thought I’d share with you my thoughts and wishes for you during the holidays:

During my pregnancy with P, I belonged to a first-time pregnancy message board.  I remember a question about what we most looked forward to during the holidays, and answering that I was excited to share the story of Hanukkah with my baby, but expected that he or she’d be celebrating his/her first birthday when we did (P was due on December 19th and Hanukkah 2003 ended before then).  The board leader said that she could almost see my description of that from what I’d written.

Well, P came 2 1/2 weeks early, on December 3rd.  He spent his first Hanukkah nestled next to my heart, watching me light the candles and say the blessings over them.  The second night of Hanukkah, it hit me–I was getting to celebrate the miracle of the holiday with my miracle baby in my arms.  Happy, joyous tears poured down my cheeks as I sobbed out the blessings.

Last night, he helped me light the candles and helped me say the blessings over them–and I was again reduced to tears.  He is still my miracle baby.  We are so very, very blessed to have him in our lives.  Next year, I hope to share it with two children–P and our son from Ethiopia.  I can’t wait to share these traditions with him also.

That’s what I wish for all of you.  Whatever season’s miracles you’re celebrating, be it the miracle of one day’s worth of oil that lasts for 8 days, the birth of Jesus, or just a beautiful ice crystal on a snowy pine tree, I wish that you get to have the miracle of sharing that with your child or children.

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