If I wanted schooling, I'd-a gone to school.

Bean starts at a new school tomorrow.

We checked out a couple places and settled on one Friday; she had a chance to hang out and interact with the kids, and Dave was even able to show the director a video of a Bean meltdown and the director essentially said "she'll have to do worse than that to impress me."

They're used to dealing with kids of all abilities here, and her OT is welcome to come and do her therapy at the school, so we'll have to look into that. It *is* going to be a challenge trying to get Bean and then get Miss O by her school's 5:30 cutoff, so between that and the fact that I'm just not impressed with the way Bean was treated by some of the teachers, I think we need to find a new place for Miss O.

So send good thoughts Bean's way - but I think this will be a positive experience for her.

Let's just get to the truth, here, okay?

Yesterday started okay, but we were like a mile from home and Bean asked me "when are X and Y going to get divorced?" (X and Y being a friend's parents.) She asked it in her unassuming, matter-of-fact Bean way, the way only she can. I replied "X and Y aren't going to get divorced, they love each other."

And she promptly dissolved into tears and heaving sobs.

She told me she was jealous and sad, that she wanted her daddy and I to get married again and stay together forever, etc. It's just heartbreaking - she almost had me crying with her because it's such a fundamental want, but one I can't give her.

I get so much more of her emotion and angst about the divorce than Dave does, I think. The stuff she asks me, the challenges she gives me ... I don't think she puts the screws to him quite so much.

And when she asks him, he tells her we're each going to marry someone new and then she'll have a "bonus mommy" and a "bonus daddy", verbiage that I frankly find nauseating. To me it's total leading the witness thing - you're predisposing her to calling the new spouse "mommy" or "daddy" and that's just wrong. Am I crazy?

So then she comes to me and starts drilling me on when I'm going to get married to someone else. And since I'm honest like that, I tell her "mommy's not getting married any time soon." It occurs to me now that I should have just breezily said 'someday' and dropped it, but my brain and responses don't work that way - I always default to the truth. That's probably why I get a lot more - and a lot deeper - questions.

Anywho, as she pressed me about why I wasn't getting married, I said to her "when a marriage ends, both people are sad; I'm not ready to risk being sad again." I doubt that the sad part was true on Dave's side, but I try to make the feelings/choices about the divorce as mutual as possible, so it doesn't seem like she has to choose sides.

Did I misstep? When we talk, I start with the simplest, most honest answer I can; it's only when she presses and doesn't seem satisfied with my response that I start peeling the onion. So I started with "not any time soon", transitioned to "I don't need anyone else to make me happy, so I don't need to be married", baby-stepped to something else, and ended up at "I'm not ready to risk being sad again."

Giving ducky-and-bunny answers just isn't me - I'm a WYSIWYG kinda girl; I'm not sure how well that translates to parenting ... I guess we'll all find out in the 'tween years when she either goes all Goth and hates the world or leads a compassionate crusade to free cows from being eaten. Because, you know, she won't eat beef anymore because cows are her favorite animal.

I do. Sometimes, think that far ahead.

I had a 'woe is me' post scheduled for this a.m. already, but just saw this topic come across a sensory disorder mailing list - has anyone heard of Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children?

Most of these categories describe Bean with eerie accuracy. Eerie. I've read that sensory disorders are more prevalent in gifted kids, but stuff like this puts me on a circuitous "chicken - egg" thought pattern: does the giftedness cause the disorder, or vice-versa? Can the disorder be calmed by feeding the overexcitability? Is this just another shade of lipstick I'm putting on the SPD pig?

I can relate to so much of what I'm learning about Bean, especially the emotional liabilities of giftedness, since I did the gifted thing starting in 4th grade. I keep thinking I don't want to let her down, or miss something or, worse, mishandle something and give her some of the same difficulties I had.

And still have.

(Quote from "Chosen")

I'm gonna give you all a nice, fun, normal evening if I have to kill every person on the face of the Earth to do it.

Thanks for the comments here and on Facebook ...

It's so hard to make these kinds of choices on your kid's behalf.

I never really felt "right" about Bean's current school, but I chalked that up to me being antsy about my kids being at the same school that Dave's GF's kids go to, and the associated weirdness therein. But when I went with this school it was the lesser of the evils; none of the five we saw really dinged my bells on every level. One came close, but I had real concerns about my kids' safety there. And the assistant director talked a good talk about being prepared to handle Bean's needs and physicality.

A friend suggested a "normal" preschool we'll probably put on the short list, but I'm really inclined to just find Bean a "special" preschool where I can relax and not wait for that call every day. (I use these words with air quotes because, 1, what is "normal" and 2, I'm too lazy to type out all the PC, ducky-and-bunny wording for things.)

The "normal" school doesn't force naps, which would be huge, and has a lot of active, physical aspects that would be great for Bean. She needs both mental and physical stimulation, but I think she needs a bit more physical just to satisfy her body's needs.

I just want her to be a regular kid, not the oddball - and opting for a school that caters to the oddballs, well, then she'll have a chance to shine and be appreciated for who she is, not be metaphorically smacked down all day for just being who she is. Could this "normal" school provide her with a similar setup for success? Possibly; but having now run the course at two "normal" schools, I really want the reduced stress of her being somewhere her dad or I aren't going to get a call from every day because of her outlier behavior.

She deserves to be seen as a regular kid, because she is. She's just as "good" and "smart" and "nice" as all the other kids, she just has a different set of barriers to her showing all that. We all have our foibles and challenges; we all have things that make us different from others, that make us difficult to interact with on some level.

So wish us luck; it's so hard to schedule these visits and actually appear to be a valuable employee. But at least this boss seems to get that kids trump work sometimes, and has been very supportive so far. I just don't want to push my luck :(

(Quote from "The Prom")

Wordless Wednesday



You can't go around hitting people. What, were you born in a barn?

Well, we're in full-on "new school" search for Bean; she hasn't been kicked out, but they do want to cut her back to part-time at her current school. She simply will not nap, and they aren't staffed to accomodate one-on-one levels of care. I know it's not their job to cater to one child, but I also think they've put up barriers to Bean's success by not allowing her a lovey at nap time and by some of the word choices teachers have used with her.

Yesterday Dave again got the call to go pick her up; he got her and took her to his work, and I came and picked her up from him as soon as I could. Today, Dave missed a call and the message said "call me back", so he did and left a message - by the time they had things in hand, but the original intent of the call had been for him to pick her up.

There are two schools that we're most interested in: Sammy's House and The Emerson Academy. Both have indicated an ability to work with SPD kids, so we'll try to knock out visits to both this week.

It's so difficult for me to know my kid isn't happy at school; it totally alters my ability to give 100% at work, as I have to peel her off me in the morning, then get that sick feeling in my stomach once 1:00 or so rolls around, just waiting for the call to get her. Even if Dave picks her up and can keep her for the afternoon, I still have the guilt/anguish/resentment thing going on over all of it.

I get frustrated with Bean, but it's transient. In her heart, she wants to be a "good" kid. She's not doing this stuff just to be a turd. I get more frustrated with her school, but logically understand that they are not a private care facility - they have a bunch of other kids to look after and can't provide 1:1 care.

But they also do things like pretend to call her parents and then tell Bean (directly or indirectly), that we won't come get her unless she naps. When I was driving Bean home Monday, she was all upset saying "Miss Sarah said I didn't know her but I do!" Turns out Miss Sarah threatened to spank Bean, Bean said she wouldn't do it, and Miss Sarah said "you don't know me". Was that a verbatim play-by-play? Not sure, but that's the gist of it from Bean's perspective. When I told the assistant director, she basically dismissed it "that doesn't sound like Miss Sarah". Maybe not, but Bean didn't pull that "you don't know me" verbiage out of thin air - Miss Sarah said it to her. I just don't have exact context.

When Dave was picking her up one day last week, he also heard a teacher (the one that Bean says always talks to her in a mean voice) say to another child "Stop crying; you're four years old, you're too old to cry." Seriously? And she said that in front of a parent, so obviously she thought it was perfectly okay. Now, it's no Miss A from the last school, calling the kid a baby and having all the other kids stare at him when he cried, but it's not *that* far off.

So I don't want Miss O at this school, either. I do, however, either want her in a distinctly different class and area from where Bean is, or in her own school. Bean has become pretty mean, intermittently, to Miss O - she'll hit or kick her if O is bothering her, and hit her in the mouth the other day, hard enough to cut O's lip against her teeth. Bean needs a break from O and, more importantly, O needs a break from Bean.

But even that stuff, I'm not sure how much she intends as mean behavior and how much is just reactive and almost out of her control. I seriously hadn't driven a mile from their school this evening and Bean had already kicked O a few times, been hollered at, and dissolved into self-loathing sobs of "I'm the baddest kid ever! I'm bad 20-hundred. I'm a horrible big sister - I don't take care of my baby sister at all! Mommy doesn't love me!"

My life is such a melodrama sometimes. I feel terrible for Bean, but I sometimes lose my ability to sympathize with her because she can act so horribly toward people. Especially her sister and I.

When your morning starts with her kicking you and screaming at you, then waking her sister, at 5:00 ...

And then proceeds in a fashion you'd expect after a wake-up like that ...

Then you get the call that she is being disruptive at nap ...

Then you pick her up and she screams at you when she gets in the car because she can't have a cookie ...

Then she kicks her sister two or three times ...

It's hard to maintain any level of sympathy for her, and instead I feel the frustration and resentment rise. My reset button is pretty easy to find, and her heart is solid and pure, so we can reestablish good rapport pretty easily, but sometimes I lose sight of the fact that I want to be her advocate and her ally, and not just another one of her detractors.

It's like we're sisters!


As I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, I asked the Big Girl to read to Little One. She obliged happily, but Smalls didn't want to give up her book. Biggie picked up a different book and offered to read that to her instead, and Smalls agreed. They looked at pictures and numbers, and then the together time devolved into rougher pursuits.

It has occurred to me, on more than one occasion, that having a sensory-seeker for a big sister must be pretty cool for Smalls. Because the games they played tonight all consisted of Bean essentially being sat and jumped on, with Miss O giggling and Bean encouraging her to keep bouncing. Miss O was either born to fulfill the role, or has just adapted marvelously, because she cheerfully follows big sister's lead, be it reading, singing the A, B, C song or whatever it is they're doing now that results in giggles and muffled voices.

How do they love each other? Let me count the ways ... actually, that shouldn't take long, as Bean often tells me she doesn't like Miss O or want her around or want to be with her or ... well, you get the idea.

But sometimes they have a moment, like at the Waco Zoo a couple months ago

Or playing at home

Or making new friends

And I think they might just be okay.

Relatively speaking, of course.

Fortune favors the brave


Oh, the humanity.

I'll blog more about the trip tomorrow, but today's Exotic Resort Zoo visit was a chilly one. Miss O is not at all impressed with my attempt to help her stay warm. Not. At. All.

(Quote from "Hush")


You are strange and off-putting. Go now.

Yay - a mommy duty weekend! And the weather is actually cooperating. My past few mommy weekends have been sucky, weather-wise, so I'm hoping to get an Austin Zoo trip in. 'Course that means driving all the way down to where I work for one extra day this week, but oh well. Bean will be thrilled to see all the hawks on the streetlights along Mopac. And Miss O can wave 'hi' to every bird she sees. Good times :)

After a few days in a row of Dave getting calls to pick her up early, Bean wrapped up the week by making it all day at school today. Her OT called the school and talked with her teachers a bit, and they've been having someone spend one-on-one time with Bean at nap time, but I'm not sure how sustainable that is. We're going to look at a school that caters more to her needs, but it's considerably more expensive and a helluva drive ... but they have OT's that go to the school, which would be nice.

I just don't know what's really right for her, yanno? Is it better to put her in a special school, or better to keep pushing her limits? I mean, her coping and integration skills are really good, all things considered, and we're like 7 months (gah!) away from when Kindy starts ... is it better for her to be in regular preschool where she has to work a little harder to keep pace? Or better for her to be in an environment where things are structured more to help her succeed?

Parenting is hard. How come no-one ever tells you that straight up? It's really damn hard sometimes. And sometimes it's just weird.

Do you know what she asked for the other day? "Mommy, I want to go to a doctor who will let me see a broken bone and the inside of a bone." Since I'm fairly certain I won't be able to find an orthopedic surgeon to accommodate her, I offered instead to go buy different grocery store bones so she could see what they look like inside.

Her response? "But those will be dead bones, not alive bones." Well yes, sweetie, I know. But, one: no doctor is going to show you the inside of a bone, and two: you're four and a freakin' half. Seriously. The fact that we'll be futzing around with animal bones is effed up enough.

All this because of my sad little broken and permanently disfigured left pinkie, and her request for more info, which led to wanting to see pics of broken and dislocated bones, which led to an image search on the interwebz, and a picture of a compound fracture. If she ends up an orthopedic surgeon, I expect a posh retirement for me. Her dad's on his own: he thinks I shouldn't give her so much info. Not only do I give her the factoids, I'm her "favorite person in the family", so I figure I'm set when I get old.

(Quote from "Buffy vs. Dracula")

I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.

As I was cleaning up tonight (such an exciting life, I know. Gotta take advantage of nights off to get stuff done!), I was thinking a lot about the Bean. She saw her pediatrician yesterday, as her dad and I are looking to get her a neuropsych evaluation to determine whether there's something more going on than "just" sensory stuff.

I've wondered, sometimes aloud, whether her having sensory issues put her on the very mild end of the autism spectrum. She actually exhibits a lot of characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome, and while I'm not trying to diagnose or pigeonhole her, getting the full picture of what's going on, even if it means labeling her with more stuff, seems crucial at this point.

So we'll push ahead and try to get her in to see someone soon; I'll keep y'all posted. If anyone in the area has a neurospych or any other related professional or program they recommend, comment away :)

As I've navigated the divorce landscape and struggled with sharing my children with strangers, I've wondered if the kids will ever realize that some days it was damn near heroic of me to keep a smile on my face and stay engaged with them, when all I wanted to do was yell and scream about how it sucked and how unfair it was.

But it occurred to me tonight that Bean is the real hero. And she's a hero pretty much every day. Given that every interaction she has is a challenge for her, and right now she's going to a preschool that does the bare minimum to feed her sensory needs, her good days are even more remarkable. That she starts to lose control when they make her lay down without talking or moving, well, I have a hard time faulting her - she can't, physically / mentally / emotionally handle that. But she tries. Every day, she knows it's going to happen, she knows she's going to go to school even when she doesn't want to, and she still tries. She always tries.

(Quote from "Potential".)


I could see your heart. You held it before you for everyone to see.

Still trying to figure out a good work routine; 9:30 - 4:30 is looking to be my normal schedule, tho, to accomodate the girls' school being a 9-5:30 thing. That 5:30 part stresses me a bit, since I have to drive from Kyle to Waco in rush hour traffic. Eh, I exaggerate a bit, but the drive from SW Austin to way N Austin at 4:30 is not a fast-moving one. I'll need every minute of that hour to make it on time.

I need to start looking at alternate routes. And at getting a shload of books on CD to pass the time. It's hard to not feel like an ass singing along to music while you inch down the road with the same few cars around you for an hour.

I started listening to the 5-CD Parenting set from Celebrate Calm yesterday. I attended one of this dude's 2-hour workshop's and I like a lot of what he has to say about raising sensory kids. It drives home the message that they are simply wired differently - it's not a discipline thing, it's not a sucky parenting thing - they. are. different.

I think that's hard for people to grasp, because they see a "normal" kid acting "badly" and feel it's something a parent is doing wrong. I've heard things like "maybe you should call Super Nanny" and "maybe if you just took all her My Little Ponies away ..." They mean well, but they're missing the point. And annoying me a bit.

Could I be a better parent? Hells yeah. But I'm guessing that you could too. We all could be *better*, but we all do the best we can and that means a LOT. And we certainly don't need our choices and methods second-guessed.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of parenting - or spending a decent chunk of time with - a sensory kid, it’s hard to grasp what’s going on. In Bean’s case, you see what appears to be a “normal”, relatively bright 4.5-year old. She talks like the other kids, walks like the other kids, plays like the other kids … you get the picture. Part of what makes sensory stuff such a challenge is the outer appearance of ‘normalcy’. It’s not something that’s outwardly obvious, like a physical challenge or autism. So it’s not only a challenge for the parent who loves the child to see past “bad” behavior and cut slack, it’s also a (huge) challenge for an outsider to do so.

What’s really hard to understand is that for my kid to do what a “normal” kid does, she’s using a lot of energy, thought and emotion just keeping pace. At 4.5, she’s already had to develop and master coping skills that sensory-normal kids don’t. So for her to play seamlessly with a bunch of other kids is already requiring a Herculean effort – when something happens that she doesn’t like, she reacts in a seemingly over-the-top way.

I've come to realize that just the act of playing with the other kids has tapped all of her reserves. She’s had to struggle with all the mis-wired areas of her brain just to maintain what we consider ‘normal’. She doesn’t have anything left to draw on when she’s disappointed.

I can empathize with her, as I tap into my reserves most of my working days. It takes a lot of effort for me to maintain an outgoing persona and meet new people all day long, so when I get home, I physically and mentally shift gears to jammies and couch potato mode. If someone suddenly throws an after-work outing at me, though, it’s hard for me to muster up what I need to make it through that event. Even with advance notice, I have a hard time rallying myself to do something after work. And I'm a grown-up who can (usually) manage my emotions and reset my expectations on the fly (sometimes). I've got 30-something years of experience managing my responses. She's got, what 2 or 3?

Another quirk of the sensory kid is how very much heart they have, and how sensitive they are. It's quite the juxtaposition, having this kid that just seems to barrel through life, full-on, but whose heart is as soft and tender as any you could imagine. Her capacity to love is just amazing to me, and such a stark contrast to some of her surface behaviors.

Parenting a SPD kid is tough enough; you need a solid support network around you - hopefully one or two other folks who are in your boat, and a handful of friends/family who at least try to understand that your kid is wired just a bit differently. I consider myself very fortunate to have both.

(Quote from "Helpless".)


Say! You all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?

Being around Bean can mean experiencing the highest highs and lowest lows.

She stayed with me Friday night; we had a blissful afternoon, and easy dinner, she fell asleep within 5 minutes and then was up at 5:30 (yay.) We went on a deer/horse drive, then had our now-standard Saturday morning J&J's breakfast tacos. Then Target, a trip out to grandma and grandpa's to drop off grandpa's b-day card, and then back to her dad's. All freak-out free. One crying jag at Target that lasted less than 5 minutes, but no kicking, running away, screaming ...

Her behavior and self-control, when it's just her + an adult or two is very different from her behavior when she has to share adults with Miss O, and *vastly* different from her behavior in a group setting. The stuff that she does at school is stuff that's just inconceivable when she and I are alone together. If it's just her and I, I feel like we could do just about anything, go just about anywhere, without incident. It's what makes me think about doing a mommy and Bean long weekend somewhere.

I'm so thankful for these one-on-one times, because they give me a big block of time where I can just relax and enjoy her. Time when I remember what an amazing person she is, and how incredibly lucky I am to be her mommy. When I'm in the thick of it, it can be hard to remember how loving and generous and forgiving her heart is. And that sucks, because, honestly? She's the best there is.

(Quote from one of my all-time favorite Buffy epis, "Doppelgängland")

So, are you shopping? You're probably not shopping

But Bean is.

It's been a rough week for her, adjusting to full-time. And her days still aren't as long as full-time days were at her other school.

Wednesday, Dave got a call at work asking if he could talk to her about mellowing out and staying the full day. Thursday her got a call around 12:30 to come pick her up because she was throwing chairs. Friday, same thing.

It's just heartbreaking. It's not like I'm working for fun here - I have to do this. And don't think I'm not tossing around ideas in my head about working part time, not working, living in my car. Because I am. But my pragmatic side knows that I'll have to work full-time at some point, and it would be stupid to throw away the great job I've landed.

When I talk to Bean about it, I get these glimpses into her brain that really make me wonder what's all going on up there.

Like when I was talking to her last week about why she peed in her pants at school:
"I had to go to the bathroom, but I lost the football game and I peed in my pants."

She wasn't playing football, she was standing and talking to another kid at her school.

I got an earful yesterday when I asked about the choices she'd been making at school lately.

"The bad choices were one buck and the good choices were like 100 bucks ... My bigger brain was saying 'pick the bad choice' and my small brain was saying to pick the good choice. So the two brains were driving their shopping carts around the store and the bigger brain said 'pick the bad choice, it's only one buck.'"

The conversation (more like a monologue) was a bit more detailed and in depth, but this is all I could capture while driving. But she spent a couple miles of driving giving me the full story of why she made bad choices.

Big brain and small brain? Best guess is since she was looking at pictures of the brain w/ her dad and saw the cerebrum over the cerebellum, the cerebellum is the small brain.

Sure as schnitzel. She just came in, and I showed her a brain picture and she said: "that's the little brain; it stores all the stuff you don't think about." No wonder her big brain is the one making the choices.

Sometimes when I talk to her and listen to what she says, then try to line that up with what she does, I wonder if she's got something else going on ...

(Quote from "Amends")

Numfar! Do the dance of joy.

Biggie and Smalls show off their mad mosh-pit skills to the Rollins Band's "Let That Devil Out."

(Title from the supremely fab Joss Whedon dance in "Through the Looking Glass")


Thoughtless Thursday

Yeah, so I totally missed Wednesday. It is what it is, people.


One of us is very confused, and I honestly don't know which.

Le sigh.

Friday was just a sea of badness for Bean. It started rough, it proceeded to be rough all day and it ended on a less than sparkly note.

When I picked her up from school, the director took me aside to tell me that Bean had peed on the floor, kicked a bunch of classroom stuff, kicked a teacher and peeled some of their plastic baseboard off the wall during her nap time. Our afternoon didn't improve much over that, but she did manage panties and not peeing on herself overnight and in the morning.

We had a decent Saturday, except she peed in her pants at Jungle Java after refusing to use the potty no more than 5 minutes before. I wasn't demeaning or cruel, but I did tell her I was mad because this should not have happened.

Today was pretty good. A few screaming meltdowns, but I was in my happy place in spite of being up at 5:22, so I managed to keep my game slightly above hers at all times. There were a few moments when I wasn't sure I'd be able to maintain it, but I did.

Today I talked to her a bit about what happened on Friday at school. She said she was in the bathroom before nap, talking to her friends and a teacher made her leave, so she didn't get a chance to pee. She refused to leave, says she told them she hadn't peed, and then started kicking cabinets and stuff. The teacher picked her up bodily and she continued kicking, and that teacher got kicked in the process. She handed Bean off to another teacher and that teacher admonished her to calm down. Best I can tell, they didn't say anything mean, but in retelling the events, she was very bothered by having been picked up.

When she was handed off to the other teacher, she said she didn't kick because her "legs calmed down". This particular teacher isn't one Big Girl likes or trusts (Bean says, "she always talks to me in a mean voice" and this is the teacher that lied to Bean at least once, telling her that she called her daddy and he said Bean couldn't come home with Dave or I unless she took a nap), so it's not like she likes the teacher and was sparing her harm :)

Then while Bean was talking to another kid in the nap room, she said "I had to go to the bathroom, but I lost the football game and I peed in my pants." Since she was removed from the bathroom earlier, I can only fault her for this so much, ya know?

I'm not sure what her reasoning was for peeling the plastic baseboard off. But when I think about how she doesn't want to nap and that they stuck her next to a wall where she *could* peel it off, combined with what seems her total inability to just lay still and quiet unless she's exhausted, it just seems like a "because it was there and because she could and needed to" situation.

Dealing with her is such a bipolar experience. Within 5 minutes she can go from screaming at me and kicking walls to sweetly offering to do Miss O's clean-up. Today she made a book, titled "Mommy" that talks about me being a princess and playing soccer, I think.

I sent a detailed email about all of this to her OT, trying to ascertain how much I can "blame" on the SPD and what I can do when this kind of stuff happens. The potty accidents, tho, seem all about control, a theory validated today by her threatening me that if I took away her My Little Ponies, she'd pee in her panties.

One of us needs medication on days like this, but I'm not sure if it's her or me.

(Quote from "The Prom")

Oh my god, I think I'm gonna pee my pants!


So Bean wore panties at Dave's Wed night, and did great. She asked to wear them here, and since she'd been waking up dry in pull-ups for awhile, and even using the potty in the a.m. instead of the pull-up, I was fine with it.

She did great overnight, but insisted this a.m. that she wasn't ready to pee in the potty. Y'all can probably guess where this is going: she waiting until the last minute and peed in her jammies/all over the bathroom floor.

I've taken the panty privilege away. I told her that if she could go a week dry overnight and using the potty as soon as she got out of bed, we could try again. Honestly, I don't care about night potty learning, since I don't want to get pissy (ha!) when she has accidents. I'd have been less cranky if she peed in the bed than I was about this, since this was just a case of her being bullheaded and wanting control. (The whole reason I hate anything to do w/ potty learning - I don't ever want to be in a power struggle over bodily functions.)

Is that approach too harsh?

She had tons of reasons for the accident: "at daddy's house the potty is closer" (not true), "I didn't know I had to go" (I asked her three times prior to use the body). Then the more Bean-like reason of "when I wake up in the morning my skin wakes up first, then my muscles. My bones wake up last and my bones didn't know I had to go pee." Bones or muscles, all I know is I was mopping up pee before even my second sip of coffee and I was one. cranky. mommy.

I'm a little stressed, as I start full-time work Monday. Yes, you read that right. I had a first interview Tuesday, a second Wednesday, and a job offer before I got home. I've been hired as a Communications Manager over at AMD - the team is great, the job is perfect and has the potential to become a real career and it's all right up my alley. The commute is the only downfall, but for better pay and better working environment, it's a small negative. I need to get a bluetooth setup for the car so I can spend the commute yapping away.

I'm worried about the girls going back to full-time care, especially because when I talked to the director yesterday, she seemed apprehensive/uncertain about Bean being there full-time. I'm still not very happy with their school, and just don't get that good a feeling from most of the folks there. It also feels like the director marginalizes me - like I'm not a real factor/decision-maker. Every time Dave sends an email w/ me on copy, she replies to him only.

I know, I know - but I'm working against time and against the huge obstacle of this being where the new girlfriend's kid goes, so it feels like any concerns I raise fall on deaf ears. I'm sure part of it is the assumption that I'm against it for petty reasons. And, truth be told, I was against this school from the beginning because her daughter goes there. But when we looked at schools, this was the only one I liked AND felt was safe. There was a school I liked way better, but where safety was questionable at best. Like I don't know how they pass inspection.

Anywho, I'm worried about Bean being full-time, I'm worried about juggling everything again, and I'm worried about the job and new people. It really shows promise, but it's always nerve-wracking, for me at least, to start a new job. The shyness and self-doubt percolate around and churn in my stomach.

I think Miss O will be fine with being full-time. But Bean ... I'm trying to keep my doubts inside, since I don't want to inadvertently add them to her own burdens. But yeah, I'm worried about her.

Her OT is going well, but for her sensory issues, I think she'd be better going 2X a week. Hopefully I can get a feel for things at work soon, and between Dave and I, we can each cover a day so she can get in two visits a week. There's only so much of that stimulating environment that I can create at home. I do have a sit-n-spin, a wobble board, a rocking chair and a bean bag for her, and she can jump on the bed and climb on furniture at will, but it's making/finding the time to really engage her in all that and stay on top of things. I mean, hell, I have to blog and drink coffee.

(Quote from "All The Way")

Wordless Wednesday



I still feel like carrying around a security blanket.

For those who remember ...

During my "the kids are gone, let's clean the whole house and get rid of stuff" week, I stumbled upon the last few scraps of Bean's beloved Purple Baby. Neither purple, nor baby, Purple Baby was a flannel blanket that she glommed onto as her security blanket. She had been okay with pretty much any flannel receiving blanket, but at some point, it was down to two identical ones that she named Purple Baby.

As would be expected, PB broke down over time, with small tears and pulls. At some point she lost one, and then the one remaining split into two. That became three, and so on. In the end, PB was just a few strips of blanket. But she loved it just the same.

She's since moved on to just needing something to hold. She has a veritable preserve's worth of stuffed animals, so she just picks the one (or ten) she likes that day.

But I keep the few remaining scraps of PB for her memory book or whatever. If she's anything like me, they'll get thrown out in some mad purge, but I wanted her to have them when she's all grown up. A part of me misses the little girl who determinedly stuck with PB even when it was just a tiny scrap of blanket. And when I see these little PB fragments, I can't help picturing her as the little girl she was.

I think Max secretly misses it too.

(Quote from "The Freshman")


I mean, Charlotte Corday wasn't a real martyr either, but...

I've actually been chewing on a few blog posts for a couple days.

This one is about how parenting ideals are nice, but, in my opinion/experience, shouldn't be carved in stone. I've watched a few discussions transpire on a parenting list that I belong to that make me wonder if it's possible to set too high a standard for parenting.

Now, I strive to be a involved, attached parent. And I think that having an ideal that's above the level I parent at is a positive thing: it helps me strive to be a better mom. I'm not a perfect mom, and sometimes I'm not even a great mom, but I'm usually a good enough mom. And that's cool with me.

The discussions of late have dealt with two related topics:
1. whether a 19-month-old is old enough for overnight visits with the non-primary caregiver (the dad)
2. getting in "me" time for exercise

I was one of maybe two or three who felt that a 19-month-old could do an overnight with dad, and one of a handful who took a "it's okay to let your two-year-old cry with dad do you can get out for a 30-minute walk solo" stance.

Most folks were horrified at the thought of the 19-monther being away from mom overnight. It totally clashed with their ideals. Only myself and few other moms responded from the "I've actually been divorced/separated" perspective. The others were speaking from their gut reactions.

In a similar vein, the majority of the advice given to the mom who really felt on edge and needed me time played to the central theme of 'here's how to get exercise with your child'.

I won't name names or even the discussion list, as I do appreciate that it's always going to be different strokes for different folks. But I wonder if a totally child-centric approach is maybe a bit too much.

In the case of visitation, it would be great to not have to wonder this kind of stuff, to live in a world where divorce and separation don't happen. But we don't. And for those who endure separation and/or divorce, is it better to uphold some ideal that a child shouldn't be away from the primary caregiver overnight until they're three? Or is it better to facilitate something that might violate your ideal, but is likely a better way to ensure a solid non-primary parent/child relationship?

I cannot imagine waiting for Miss O to reach three years old - that's what people idealize, and what the State of Texas apparently allows - before she spent the night at her dad's. In part for my own sanity but mostly for her relationship with her dad. How could they build any sort of trust and love if his role were marginalized to that of her daycare providers?

And why should parents (usually moms) be expected (or expect of themselves) to live their whole life as sole caretaker? The woman who asked about getting exercise said her two-year-old threw a tantrum when she left her with her dad. And in my head, I wondered: "so what? she'll cry a few times you do it, but then dad will learn to soothe her and your daughter will build a better relationship with him."

I don't know the full story, or know the parents personally, in either of the two examples. I've no doubt that there are dads who truly cannot handle the responsibility of caring for a child. I don't understand the physics behind it, but have read about dads who just suck at being actual parents.

But assuming the dads in question are decent fathers, why the martyrdom? Why keep throwing yourself under the bus to put your child first? Yes, I want the best for Bean and Miss O. And yes, I hold myself to a high standard with their care. But I also teach them that there are times when mommy just needs some down time.

What do you say? Is it possible to over-idealize parenting and your child's existence? Or do you think that by sacrificing your own wants and needs, you're a better and more dedicated parent?

(Quote from "Out of My Mind")

Do you see my resolve face? You've seen it before, you know what it means.

Ah. A new year. That means resolutions and promises to do things differently.

Not for me. I don't know what it is about resolutions that rub me wrong, but they do. Maybe it's the pressure to fulfill them. Maybe it's the hollowness of most resolutions. Maybe it's just like the whole "It's the *one* time of year to be good to others" kind of vibe that's perpetuated around Christmas: I try to be good to others all year, and I try to change what I want to change all year.

But I do want this year to be different.

[Random aside, Mike Rowe's show tonight has him castrating sheep. Doesn't make him any less hot.]

Like I said, I do want this year to be different. I want to cross whatever magic threshold I have to cross to be okay again. How, when and where that happens, I don't know. I don't know if it'll be a clouds parting, sun shining kind of moment or if it'll be just some subtle thing that I wake up one day and realize. However it plays out, it's not something that lends itself well to resolutions, thankfully.

How 'bout y'all? Any resolutions? Or are you pitching your tent (snicker) in the no resolution camp?

Changing the look not an idle threat with you.

New Year, new look.

You likey?

I hope you and yours have a happy, healthy and magical year.

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