That's my girl. Always doing the over-the-top thing.

Another day, another humiliation.

Took Bean and Miss O to breakfast this a.m., thinking I'd spring the little one for a day of hooky before they start at the new school tomorrow. We were supposed to meet Julia and her kiddos.

We got there and Bean wanted to sit outside. It was 50-ish degrees this a.m., and her friend didn't want to sit outside. Commence full-on meltdown. Complete with screaming, running away, yelling and histrionics of epic proportions. Seriously. Epic.

After 5 minutes of trying to talk/calm her down (which, I've finally realized, only ramps the whole production up in scope and scale) I had to make good on my "if you can't calm down, we have to leave" promise and drag her out. All while holding Miss O. And in front of a cop, who thankfully gave me a knowing smile.

Or maybe that's the smile they give all whack jobs before running plates and starting a file. Who knows.

Of course, there was more freaking out in the parking lot, and when I got her strapped in, she was screaming and flailing and kicking the tar out of the seat in front of her. Got out of my seat, walked around the van, punched a side panel to let a little pressure off, then moved the seat so she couldn't kick it. As we drove home, I eventually went down the rabbit hole too and engaged in a screaming match with her.

(The awesomeness of my parenting truly knows no bounds. Don't hate. We can't all be this good.)

So by 9:00 my day was crap and I was offering to Miss O "do you want to go to school?" and she was responding with her new "yeah. yeah-yeah-yeah" reply that I took to mean: "Does the pope wear a funny hat? You two nutjobs or eight 18-24 month olds? Bring on the relative Zen of biters and naps on mats, please."

I dropped O off, let them know it was her last day there, then came back out to the car. Where I was greeted by a tranquil Bean who just wanted to chat peacefully, and with a smile, about how she knows she need to make better choices and that she just needs a nap.

And in my head I'm backing away slowly, smiling, and making non-threatening eye-contact with the psycho who is now sucking her fingers and asking for classical music so she can sleep. And from that point forward, we had a damn good day.

Within the span of an hour we went from absolutely fine, to the lowest of lows, and then back up to mellow and Zen. If anyone wonders why I get a little twitchy sometimes, now you know. I'm an unwilling passenger on the emotional rollercoaster that is life with the Bean.

I'm reading "The Sensory-Sensitive Child: Practical Solutions for Out-of-Bounds Behavior" and it's so dead-on balls accurate for Bean it's kinda spooky at times. And I'm totally kicking myself for not listening to the people who flagged sensory issues as long as two years ago. I have got to call her PT for an OT recc, and also circle back around with the child psychologists I touched base with last weekend. I'm not sure how much help a psychologist will provide, because until Bean's able to integrate and accommodate her sensory stuff, we can give her all the tools and all the words in the world, and I don't think it will make a difference.

To my local friends, I'm trying to convince her to stop confronting kids and to go to their parent or a teacher if the kid's behavior is bothering her. So she may come off as a tattletale or a nut, and for that I'll apologize in advance. But if you could just help me out a little and try to help Bean with her issue, I'd appreciate it. If she needs more space, or thinks someone took something or she doesn't want to talk to your kid, I'm trying to get her to tell me, you or a teacher instead of screaming at the kid and lashing out.

After that horrific start to the day, she and I had a fabulous time. We shopped (window shopped, mostly, as I'm all cheap these days. But she did get a $1 doll from the Dollar Tree store at the mall), had lunch at Boston Market (where up to two kids eat free with one adult, which rocks for single parents!), got her to clean up the playroom here and then went to the park and had a great adventure walk. Her listening was amazing, and we talked about all kinds of stuff. And even though I haven't had a break in 8 days, and have had some truly awful moments in that time, I was sad to see her leave with her dad this evening and miss her already.

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To read makes our speaking English good.

So. How's it going?

Not bad over here. Still a little more tightly wound than I'd like, thanks to some unforeseen changes that I've talked about privately, but I'm nothing if not resilient, right?

I'm having to take a day off tomorrow, to cover Bean's not being in school yet, and had planned to take the girls up to the zoo in Waco. But all this rain has me a little worried that all the animals will be sittin' on a big boat when we get there ... it's not a super long drive but long enough that I'd hate to waste the trip.

Have you heard the kerfluffle about the Baby Einstein DVDs? How people are all excited that Disney's offering refunds because - shocker - baby's brains really *aren't* improved by watching the DVDs?

Disney says that it's just their standard policy, and the big fastoosh is actually people making mountains out of molehills (the four-year-old's new favorite phrase) for their own grandstanding.

To me, it's more a statement of how lazy we've become as parents, if we truly believe that a video takes the place of us and what we're supposed to do for and with our children. There's no way I'll be seeking a refund because I never bought 'em thinking they'd make my kids smarter - I bought 'em because they were a more developmentally appropriate babysitter than Buffy the Vampire slayer was.

Yeah, I said it out loud. Babysitter. Anyone who really expected a video to make their kid smarter doesn't need a refund - they need their own set of brain-building videos. Seriously. TV and videos are just ways to buy time for parents. Sometimes it's time to pursue noble causes like a shower or making a meal; sometimes it's time to pontificate on a blog. But it's not called the boob tube for nothin' folks.

I actually never really dug on the DVDs because the midi-style classical music annoyed the crapola out of me. And I just never got how watching a bunch of wind-up toys was a vast improvement over TV + commercials. I was a much bigger fan of Classical Baby - good music, good art and nice little animals.

What do you think? Should people be walking around, fist-bumping because they feel like this is some kind of admission on Disney's part? Does anyone really deserve a refund because a video didn't make their kid smarter?

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What part of punching you in the face do you not understand?


A whole *week* without an update?

And what a week it's been. Long story short, both girls start at a new school on Wednesday. It's one of those eeeaaassseee into it deals, where on Wed they will be there like 9-11 or so, Thurs 9-12, etc. Annoying as *hell* for those of us who have to work for a living, but it is what it is, I guess. Dave and I checked out 5 places, and this was the only one we felt good about. I was prepared not to like it, and to have warmer fuzzies for a few other places, but this place just felt good.

I'm not sure what to expect from Bean, though, and if I can be brutally honest, I'm not holding out high hopes that this will be all that much different. We had a hellacious day yesterday, and sometimes I wouldn't be surprised to find her in a corner pulling the legs off bugs or throwing stones at baby birds. I swear that she sometimes seems like a total sociopath. She spit on a kid at the playground yesterday because he was following her everywhere, even after she screamed at him to stop seceral times.

Now, granted, because I am under an obscene amount of stress right now, my responses and patience have been less than stellar. So I've been feeding into the vicious cycle with really high-caliber parenting moments, but still.

I think that until we fully understand and start "fixing" the sensory and emotional components of her behavior, it's going to be a very rough road. Filled with moments/hours/days that put parents and teachers alike on edge. She's just *not* like other kids, and switching schools isn't going to change that, I don't think. Her dad and I are each going to have to reach deep, deep into our reserves to parent her, and keep reading and implementing new mindsets and approaches. And it's going to be frustrating. Because I've found that the higher the high, the lower the low.

She's capable of such greatness, so much love and such humor and fun. So while I'm describing the weekend, be aware that there is a lot of good thrown in, much more than the "bad". And 99% of the time, I see her as a magical, loving kid that happens to require a lot more skill to parent than a kid who doesn't have her unique makeup. That is, I cut her the slack, I cut myself the slack, and we have a great time.

The 1% of the time where we're both mired in "the suck", well, weekends like I'm experiencing happen.

All weekend has seemed like an exercise in "no good deed goes unpunished" for me. Take her to Sportfun and lunch, she freaks out at Ikea. Get more food in her and try to help her understand the choices she makes, be rewarded with a screaming freakout in the car, complete with throwing things at me. Because Miss O has had a great day and is begging "park!" over and over, reward a good choice of Beans' with a stop at a playground, have her scream at a kid and spit on him for following her around. Bring her home and resist throttling her and lecture instead, listen to her tell me she doesn't love me, that she hates being at my house and wants to go to her daddy's. Forever.

At some point recover (myself) from all that, talk gently about how bad the day was for both of us, shake on both of us making good choices the next day, then have her wake up and refuse to quiet down when I ask her not to wake her sister. Take a do-over and get a few good hours in.

Then have her violate the deal we agreed on, that if I ask her to do/not to do something twice and she doesn't do/not do it she has to go to her room, and have her screaming or laughing at me as I try to calmly enforce the rule. Take yet another step in her direction and talk with her and soothe her as she is in there, then indulge in 5-10 minutes of the rough play she loves, where we can roll around and be silly. As I wrap that up, she lick me. I ask her to stop. She licks me again. I ask again, and reiterate that the game is over. She licks me again. I explain how she can't do that, that people think it's gross/freaky. She licks me again. I remind her of our deal, and how I have given a little extra latitude but that this is my last request. She licks me again.

I tell her she'll need to stay in her room for a little while to think about what I asked and why she couldn't do it. She screams bloody murder and starts kicking the walls. I ask her to stop, she screams more. I take Miss O and leave, Bean commences histrionics. I wait a little, then go in and try to explain to her that she really just needs a nap - that I want to be able to take her places this afternoon, but I can't unless she sleeps. She keeps screaming at me. I leave again, trying to calm O down so *she* can nap. Bean's still screaming, so I try again to talk to her, and explain that I'd be happy to hug/rock/hold her if she can calm down, but that O needs to nap, and I can't bring her in the room if Bean's freaking out.

Finally, *finally* get Bean to settle herself down, then go in and try to lay with/snuggle with both girls. Herding cats would be a more satisfying task at this point. Then Bean freaks out again, because in the course of the 15-20 minutes of histrionics, I have threatened that if she can't calm down, we won't go anywhere, and now I have to stick to it. I then threaten that she will stay in her room all freakin' day if she doesn't nap, and we get into a very mature discussion, culminating in her laughing in my face as I threaten, me swatting her tush and her laughing at me again.

I'm fairly certain my head did at least one 360 at that point, and I may have thrown up a little pea soup in my mouth.

So finally, they're asleep, I'm blogging and pretending my house doesn't look like a tornado hit it and trying to get my heart and my head to a "clean slate" place for her and I to start over from. I'm also trying to decide if I have to stick with the "we're not going anywhere!" ultimatum I threw out, or if I can gracefully back down because she napped ...

Oh yeah. I'm *that* good a parent.

Flag down on that play, babe

What a weekend. I did get to watch a little football, unfortunately no Packers or Vikings today, tho I did see some highlights. Much love for Donald Driver, my favoritest receiver, for breaking a team record on receptions AND making a crazy-ass one handed, totally interfered with, catch.

Had a great meeting with Dave about what to do first with Bean; he's taking point on calling the handful of preschools we agreed on, and trying to set up a few asap visits for us to go tour them and see what their philosophies are. Getting her into a new school, and transferring Miss O there as well, is priority number one. The therapies are important too, but my folks can only help out with childcare this week, so we've got to visit 3-5 of the schools we like and make a decision fast.

No pressure, right? Sigh.

So wish us luck finding a good fit for her, and a place that Miss O will adjust to well.

We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode.

Some belated Sea World weekend pics

My big girl, pleased as punch with the hotel and all the flowers!

Bean and Miss O, exploring the Hyatt grounds

Bean and her friends, swinging

Love for the Clydesdale statue

Mommy, looking like a spaz, and kiddos


Bean plays Guitar Hero

Thanks so much for the empathy, feedback and well-wishes here and elsewhere. This situation with Bean is so hard; I don't think her dad really "gets" it, as I've asked him to grab lunch Monday so we can talk and got the "I'm busy, can't we just talk on the phone?" response. To me, this isn't an 'on the phone' thing - this is her dad and her mom sitting down and really dealing with what's going on with no distractions. No sitting on the Crackberry or doing anything else. And frankly, after all the parenting-by-committee and forwarding all my emails that went on with the lovely Voldemort, I don't trust him to just be talking to *me* unless we're face-to-face. Does that make me sound bitchy? I don't mean it that way, I just want to be sure it's Dave I'm talking to, not a joint email.

This feels like one of those crossroads, where I'm being given a clear sign that Bean needs both her parents to make some changes, get her into the therapies she needs and have a 'come to Jesus' meeting of the minds where we brainstorm and fix this. Not just bandage it - really understand what is going on and what we need to do to help her. It may be something that takes her a while to really get through, but as parents, we should be working our asses off to understand what is going on and start helping her work through it.

There is one name that keeps getting spit out. Aggressive behavior, run-ins with authorities ...

Le sigh.

And an extra le sigh.

Bean got the boot from preschool today. Okay, not 'the boot', but they asked us to take a break and not bring her back until January. Which for working parents pretty much means 'the boot', as now we'll have to start her in a new preschool, pay all their enrollment and start-up fees, and get her acclimated there. At which point, it's not like we'll want to yank her two months later to go back to her now-former school.

I'll give them credit for holding on this long, and doing everything they could. But Bean's incident reports were piling up, and two sets of parents have now come in to say their kids are specifically afraid of Bean and don't want to come to school anymore.

There are more, sordid details that I've bored most of y'all with on the phone already and I just don't feel like putting all out there, but Bean is seen as an aggressive and vociferously independent kid that they've exhausted their ideas and solutions on. And I'm not saying that in any sort of condemning way toward them; I'd feel the same way in their shoes.

But I'm not in their shoes; I'm her "mama". The person who loves her beyond reason and is heartbroken that she's struggling so much, that she carries so many burdens around and lashes out so strongly at times. I'm the one who sees everything she is, and knows it's just rock solid good at it's core. I'm the one who can (and does) overlook the flaws and doesn't have to worry about managing a classroom - I get to set her up for success and help her navigate her feelings before they're meltdowns.

And while most everyone who knows her has been treated to an Epic freakout at one point or another, they don't see her as an aggressive kid or a mean kid. Unfortunately, that's not the impression she was making at her school.

I'm not sure what's right for her now, but I'll obviously be spending a good chunk of my weekend trying to figure out the next move. Is a Montessori approach better? A nanny? An in-home daycare? Nanny and in-home worry me that they won't be stimulating enough; another school setting worries me that once the novelty wears off, she'll have similar issues there.

And, much as I hate saying it, I worry that the aggression she's displayed won't be "fixed" by moving her to another school setting. I don't know if a more individualized setting, like a nanny or in-home care would be better able to help her succeed and learn to manage her feelings ... She needs to see a psychologist for sure, and likely an occupational therapist, as her sensory issues play a role in this.

My poor kid. I think some of this would have happened even without the divorce, but it certainly didn't make her life any easier. She wants her "family" together so badly; any group of objects she has, she makes a family. Plastic horses, Ponies, crayons, rocks .... it's heartbreaking to see her name off "this is the daddy, this is the mommy, and this is me and this is Miss O", and to hear her almost-daily mantra "I want all of my family in the same house" or some variation on that.

Divorce sucks. Especially for kids.

Oh my god, they're everywhere! Frogs!

Thanks for the compliments on the lovely Miss O. She's quite the photogenic little thing, isn't she? There's a photo right after that where it looks like Julia captures an "I just put a handful of sand in my mouth, and it's not as tasty as you would think" look from her that's slightly less beautiful, but no less cute in it's own right.

Both girls had Best Actress in a Childhood Trauma-worthy freakouts this a.m., the likely Osacr-winner being Bean's 15 minute sulk-whine-cry fest over the dresses in her drawer being "not long enough to twirl in". I kid you not.

But they also had a few awesome moments. Like Bean telling me "I'm just going to love my mama all day". And both of them giggling and bopping around in their car seats, after Bean's request for 'dancing music' ended up on a radio station playing Isaac Hayes singing the theme from Shaft. Damn right I was laughing out loud watching them in the rear view mirror. (Shut your mouth!)

Miss O is not enjoying her school dropoffs one little bit these days; every morning is a full on crying fest. And it totally sucks. Bean's a bit better, but that's because I'm willing to get her there early enough to hang out in the room with her favoritest teachers, Miss K and Miss J before I take her to her class. Yesterday, one of the boys brought in a toad he caught and as the kids gathered round and Miss K asked a newcomer if they wanted to see the frog, Bean interrupted: "Actually, it's a toad."

Miss K laughed, said she was right, and recalled how when Bean was just 2.5 and in her class, Miss K was showing a picture of a "baby horse" and Bean corrected her with "it's called a foal". It's nice that she appreciates my little smarty pants and isn't annoyed by being corrected by her :) Because sometimes it gets a little old for me ...

On the drive this a.m., Bean also informed me that watermelon seeds push themselves into watermelons, and that's where vines come from. She asked if that was right and I said "is that what you think really happens?" and she said yes. So I said "then if you believe it, it's right to you." Of course, she caught the hedge, and asked me what I thought happened. I went thru germination, sprouting, vine growth, flowers, pollination and then fruit and she listened politely and thoughtfully, pausing afterward before she informed me I was totally wrong.

Sigh. Of course I am.

Miss O insisted on bringing "Uncover a Tarantula" with her as her naptime dolly today. I talked her out of the two Breyer horses she originally held, but couldn't get the spider book away from her. Since she screams at dropoff anyways, I let her bring it in with her, then took it when I left. Why make her scream twice, right? Then Bean got to share it with the boys in Miss K's class, as the only girl there, C, was totally not interested in seeing the book. I'm sure Julia dropped dead with shock upon reading that ;)

And now they're off to Dave's for the weekend. And while I enjoyed my first evening off, and accomplished a bit, by tomorrow or Saturday latest, I'll be missing the hell out of them again.

Wordless Wednesday


whispers - photo credit is all Julia


Anchovies, anchovies you're so delicious. I love you more than all the other fishes.

I'm probably the only person in the world for whom sleeping in a hotel with my kids really isn't a hard thing - they're both so used to cosleeping with me that it's just a matter of getting a king bed and laying perpendicular to the headboard. A couple well-placed pillows on nightstands and a chair or two to block them from rolling off, and we're good to go.

So, the Sea World report: in spite of Maine-esque weather (high 50's and either cloudy skies ir a steady drizzle pretty much the whole time we were at the park), a good time was had by all. Both girls loved the park, the animals and the hotel. Bean referred to the hotel as "our apartment", and was crushed to learn we were headed home to "our real house" on Sunday - she wanted to stay in the hotel longer. Both nights, she crashed within a few minutes of her head hitting the pillow and slept straight through the night. Miss O did her usual 20-30 minutes of frolicking, then she, too, was out for the night.

Anyone expecting a Zen-like experience at the Hill Country Resort's spa was likely no fan of the kids this weekend, but I take perverse pleasure in seeing people get pissed off at my kids enjoying themselves. There's just something so ... schadenfreude-y ... about annoying someone who's wound so tight that a couple of joyous shrieks and loud kid chatter puts their panties in a wad.

We arrived at Sea World early enough to feed the dolphins on Saturday morning, but Bean's excitement at the prospect was nipped in the bud when one of the popoises opened wide and exposed a mouth full of teeth; at that point, the tray o' anchovies or whatever they feed them was all mine {insert eveil muahahaha laugh and hand-rubbing here}. Miss O was beside herself, and likely would have crawled into the pool with them.

To my Cirque de SoGay hating self, the fact that Bean's favorite part of the day was the "Viva!" show with high divers and synchronized swimming was a bit of a blow. But she loved "all the acrobats and dolphins and the mommy and baby Beluga whales!" And, being the good mommy that I am, I totally went along with it and encouraged her. Viva! even bumped the Clydesdales from the top of the favorites list; probably because there were no baby horses :)

She and her friend C love-love-loved the "Cannery Row Caper" show, too, with the sea lions and the otter. The silly and slapstick-rich story had them in stitches. (Nice alliteration, huh?) And going to feed the seals and sea lions afterward was a HUGE hit. After the guide there explained the differences between seals and sea lions, I passed a couple nuggets on to my budding zoologist and she kept them straight for the rest of the trip. She and C would have cheerfully fed the pinnipeds all. day. long.

Saturday was the cloudy and cool day, so the kiddos got to play a little at Shamu's Happy Harbor and dig in the sand in between shows. The sun actually came out around 2:00 or so, tho at that point the kiddos had about had it and we headed back to play at the hotel. Lots of sand and playscape time, and a good bit of 'running around the lobby like a crazy person' time, along with 'bang on the piano' time :)

Sunday was just cold and wet all day, so it was a lot of indoor activities at Sea World (the aquarium and penguin exhibits were perfect for this). But Bean got to ride the little Shamu roller coaster (and did put her hands up with me) and a small ferris wheel in spite of the wet. We caught one last Cannery Row Caper and headed home around 3:00.

I'll definitely go back; with both girls and even a just mommy-and-Bean getaway a few times a year. She travels so well in the car, and if it's just she and I all day, I imagine the park will be a piece of cake. Maybe we'll see if Julia wants to take C and make a whole mommy-big-girl day of it one time too.

But now I need to get back to sleep and bid a reluctant farewell to my long weekend with the kiddos. I tweeted that sometimes I really miss being "just" a SAHM - this long weekend, tho trying at times, made me long for more quality time with them than just a few weekends a month. I'm sure I'd change my tune within a month or two, but man, I really miss doing things with them ....

Actually, you were sleeping the sleep of the knocked unconscious.

Man, I'm wiped out. Monday night I think I got two hours of sleep - I was obsessing on the career fair and classes and everything I needed to do, and the girls were having a fitful night, with one of them making noise like every 45 minutes or so. So I'd toss and turn and try to settle my head, only to have one of them cough or cry out and wake me completely and start all over again. And then I just got to the point where I was wide awake, waiting for the next sound. I don't think I fell asleep until close to 4, and the munchkins were up by 6.

Tuesday night I fell asleep with them by around 9-9:30, but woke up at 12:30 and was awake until 3:30 or so, and they got up at 6:30.

Last night was better, but still not 8 hours and not solid sleep. I swear, I'm taking 3-4 benadryl tonight (the girls will be at their dad's) and knocking myself out. Valerian didn't do it, melatonin and Calms Forte didn't do it, so I'm pulling out the big guns.

Melissa, Miss O has similar communication issues because of her unclear speech. And similar frustrations; she's getting better, but it's much slower going than it was with Bean. I know if I were to sit and focus with her like I could when I was a SAHM to one kiddo, she'd be better, and that sucks. I totally blew off her 18 month check, so I don't know if she's truly lagging or just not speaking as well as Bean did at this age. With two months to go until the 2-year one, and with flu season in high gear and me not feeling like just hanging out at the doc's with her, I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Bean's doing quite a bit better at school of late; the teachers have been being more creative in finding things that work for her (and them), and while one girl can't wait to tell me every day that Bean is mean to her (ironically, after the girl gets all up in Bean's face when she's cranky about being dropped off, and then calls her stinky), we're incident report free. I don't expect her to always get along with everyone, so even if the "Bean is always mean to me" is true, I'm fine with that. The girl makes *me* want to be mean to her with the 5-10 minutes I spend in the morning, so Bean's showing considerable restraint if she's just telling her to back off or the like.

And tomorrow I'm picking them up after lunch and we're heading to Sea World for the weekend. Wish me luck. And patience. We're going with Julia and her family, and another friend and her daughter. The friend got us a great rate at the Hyatt Hillcountry, right across from Sea World. There's a bit to do at the hotel itself, too, so it should be a ton of fun. Packing for a weekend with two kiddos, tho, quite the adventure in overkill.

Bean's beside herself about going, mostly because she'll get to see the Clydesdales, which are her "favorite horse because of the feathers on the feet". She's expecting mommies and babies, so hopefully there'll be a foal there. She'll survive if there isn't, but that would be awesome. She's also excited that she's tall enough to ride the kiddie rollercoaster :)

I'll give a full report Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

I don't know what it is about football that does it for me ...

Yay! It's Monday and I have my girls back :)

It's also the single most conflicting Monday Night Football game I have ever watched. I've never been an "I hate everyone in the NFC North"-type Packer fan, so I never had a ton of bad feelings for the Vikings to begin with. Used to love watching Cris Carter, and the brief Carter-Moss tandem was fab. So when Favre went to the Vikes, well, I couldn't hate. And Favre and the Vikings have been a lot more fun to watch than Rodgers and the Pack.

Packers-Vikings is just wrong on so many levels. I'm so confused. Of course I want my team to win, but this year I have two teams. And I so badly want Favre to pull a "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" on Ted Thompson and the front office folks. I *should* be asleep, or at least getting there, since I've been fighting a bug all weekend, and I'm sure the girls aren't going to let me sleep in, but I can't walk away from football!

I'm sure I'll jinx her, but Bean's had a great couple days at school, and her teacher apologized to me today for coming across as negative. I doubt we're looking at eternal smooth sailing from this point forward, but it's a nice set of circumstances. Bean has also invited her teacher to Sea World, so I'm thinking she probably likes her teacher just fine, whatever my reservations are/were about the expectations they have of her.

Congrats Brett. That was a great game. The only QB in the history of the league to beat all 32 teams.

More tomorrow, if I'm up early enough or by some miracle I choose to stay up instead of crashing with the girls. Right now, I know 5:30 is gonna come way, way too early.

I brought you some supper, but.… if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped

Yeah, I'm definitely battling *something*. Still no fever, but a nice burn-y eye, scratchy throat, congested and just ick feeling's been hanging on all day. And the dreary, overcast day was just a perfect one for jammies and TV.

I'm wondering if I am to blame for Bean's behavior issues at her dad's and at school. After a bumpy month or so, I've gone back to what worked for me when she was little: setting her up for success. I've really streamlined what's important to me and worth clashing with her over, and a lot of other stuff I've just let go. As a result, her times with me are relatively stress and incident-free. Don't think it's all sunshine and roses, but I've made a concerted effort to minimize rules and requirements, not make unrealistic demands of her and to allow her the freedom to make choices and be who she wants to be. I also watch her for cues, and if I see a meltdown coming, I try to get in front of it by holding her and rocking her.

While she spends about 2/3 of her "home" time with me, she spends another 45-ish hours a week (and that's a good chunk of waking hours) at preschool, and 1/3 of her "home" time with her dad. He's a bit more rules and regulations than I am, but he's *generally* a pretty AP guy in most of what he does and how he relates to the girls.

Preschool is obviously a lot more rules and regulations than I am.

And here's where I wonder if my laissez-faire approach to parenting is doing her more harm than good. At least in the near-term. If she colors on the floor with a crayon and I happen to catch her in the act, to me it's a talking point. To her dad, it's a time out. To her teacher, it's worth making Bean show me the floor. If I don't catch her in the act, I'll tell both girls (usually, tho sometimes I do single her out) that we don't do that and I'll restrict crayon access to just in my office or something like that. But if I choose to leave them with crayons while I take a shower, and I end up with magenta windowsills, that's kinda my fault, at least in my mind.

Am I doing her harm by not echoing the structure/discipline/rules she has elsewhere? I'm a single mom running a zone defense on two pretty spirited kids, and honestly, I pick my battles: they can't run away from me in public, they can't run into a parking lot/road, they need to be gentle with animals, not kill bugs indiscriminately and not hit/kick/spit.

The other stuff, it's all more a discussion and natural consequence-type stuff. If Bean's insisting on wearing shoes that are too small, she gets blisters. If she wants to wear a velvet dress to go play at the park in July, she sweats buckets (and I keep a good eye on her). If she won't share a toy with her sister, the toy gets taken away from both of them. I may take away a thing she likes if she's made a bad choice, but I really only "discipline" for large infractions.

What do y'all think? Am I too permissive? Should I create more structure? Am I inadvertently causing her to act out at school because they have rules and I don't? Ditto at her dad's house?

I'll keep saying it, it's fun to say... dollhouse, dollhouse, dollhouse, dollhouse.

Sorry for neglecting y'all. I was on mommy duty this week, and except for staying up late Monday to blog, I crashed with the girlies on Tuesday and Wednesday, then felt kinda crappy yesterday, and not at all in the mood to blog. I think I've nipped whatever it is in the bud, but I'll be keeping the vitamin megadosing and the hot baths that jack up my body temp, plus making sure I get some decent sleep this weekend.



I'm back. I was going to say that I had just finished watching tonight's episode of Joss Whedon's brilliant Dollhouse. But then I went to the Fox site to linky it, started reading some stuff about Joss and the Dollhouse, and ended up going down the rabbit hole in search if a full version of the unaired Epitaph One online. Yes. I know. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Can't help it. Ironically, I just lost another 20 minutes reading the wiki for Epitaph One (that I just watched) and then linking out to Dollhouse quotes wiki and reading all of those. It's a sickness.

Anyways ... Bean had a somewhat rough week at school, a good week with me, and then off to Dave's for the weekend again. We're finally back into the "normal" schedule, where he has them the 1st/3rd/5th weekends, after some juggling in August/September. Two weekends off in a row is a little discombobulating, and honestly, not something I enjoy anymore. I used to kind of like and need it, but nowadays, even one weekend off seems like too much.

Her teacher seems to have come around to leading with the good; so much so that it's all "she had an awesome day!" and then a quiet "but there is an incident report in her cubby." I know she was doing the spitting thing again on Wednesday, and she had another report yesterday about pushing someone down. There's a lot of aggression showing lately, and I just don't get it. She's been really vocal and expressive about wanting her whole family back together, so I don't know if that's part of it, if she just has crappy anger management abilities, if she'd have been like this even without the divorce ... who knows.

Melissa, you said you were dealing with violence/temper stuff, but in a 2-ish year old? Have you identified any triggers? Miss O will bite sometimes at school, but it seems more about just being pissed off at a kid than actual aggression, if that distinction makes sense? The reports I've gotten on her stuff always have a kind of slapstick quality to them: "Bit a friend when he wouldn't move out of the chair she wanted"; with Bean, she's punching a kid for calling her Spiderman and sticking his tongue out at her. Not that I don't get that Spiderman can be a bit of a diss, but sticks and stones and all that ...

Julia, I could totally see me having the same issues as your neighbor, because I think I'm less strict and more laissez-faire than Dave, and yet he's the one who's experiencing the behavior problems. I'm not sure why ...

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