Mug Shot Monday

While I spent a long while on the phone with my mom, Number Three spent a long while making this little scientific concoction - ice cubes and ranch dressing.  I don't believe he dipped his apple in it, but I wouldn't put it past him.  If you look closely, you can see his reflection in the countertop - he's standing in front of the sink, on the counter, after washing his hands.  It never ends around here!

While I spent a long while on the phone with my mom, Number Three spent a long while making this little scientific concoction – smiley face ice cubes and poppyseed dressing. I don’t believe he dipped his apple in it, but I wouldn’t put it past him. If you look closely, you can see his reflection in the countertop – he’s standing in front of the sink, on the counter, after washing his hands. It never ends around here!

This year's Halloween costumes proved true to their personalities - Number Three is a cop, ready to tattle on his Gangster brother (Number Two.  Notice his gun . . .) and Number One seems to blend into his surroundings as to not cause any ruckus he may be blamed for!

This year’s Halloween costumes proved true to their personalities – Number Three is a cop, ready to tattle on his Gangster brother (Number Two. Notice his gun . . .) and Number One seems to blend into his surroundings as to not cause any ruckus he may be blamed for!

Why wouldn't there be a football in my tree?

Why wouldn’t there be a football in my tree?

Nothing in this house is used solely for it's intended purpose.   And I doubt they were wiped off afterward.

Nothing in this house is used solely for it’s intended purpose.
And I doubt they were wiped off afterward.

It seems I have entered the twilight zone . . . where not one, not two, but ALL THREE of my boys are reading.  Voluntarily.  Thankful for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series!

It seems I have entered the twilight zone . . . where not one, not two, but ALL THREE of my boys are reading. Voluntarily. Thankful for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series!

Fallible Friday

After perusing some other blog sites to see how I could better mine, I found that having a day during the week with the same theme every week is quite popular (and no, I am not too proud to admit that I scam others’ ideas  . . . but just the idea, mind you.  Not the actual word usage/theme/storyline).  Anywho, I’ve come up with two themes for the week: Mug Shot Mondays and Fallible Fridays, the latter of which we begin today.   Mug Shot Mondays will debut in a mere three days, so be prepared to see my kids’ dirty laundry aired . . . and no, that is not just a figure of speech.  I am certain that some dirty laundry will inevitably end up in their “mug shots” from the week prior – I promise to document anything stupid/silly/questionable I catch them doing . . . and Number One has a real winner from this morning.  Stay tuned!

So we begin with Fallible Fridays, where I will document the weeks’ transgressions, shortfalls, and utter failures.  Some weeks may have more than others as my moods fluctuate from stable to get-the-hell-out-of-my-way.  This week, however, is mild in terms of failure.

Huh.  Surprisingly, looking back on the week, there’s not much to complain about.  No big fails until Thursday/Friday.  Lookin’ good, Mama!

No matter how good the beginning of the week looked in terms of parenting/teaching my kids valuable life lessons, Thursday was a struggle.  It was a beautiful day, which was almost a thorn in my rose.  I stared out the window at a yard smothered in leaves and dreaded the foreseeable future, the one that found me raking all by my lonesome.  “Have the boys help you!” said my eternally optimistic neighbor.  Great idea, I agreed, until I thought about the ramifications of their “help” – bickering, complaining, whining, snacking, full out fighting, and the constant, never ending blabbering.  Sigh.  I was tired and hadn’t even picked up a rake, but I had made my first huge parenting mistake of the day by letting my kids off the hook because I didn’t have the patience to deal with them.  This is why I am still the only one (beside the other adult in the house) doing dishes, laundry, dusting, and picking up dirty undies from the bathroom floor.  Theirs, obviously.

It was near dark when I finally got a bee in my bonnet to start up the leaf blower (by myself, of course) and see if I could just blow the leaves into a pile (not exactly how that works, right?!).  Attempt number one to start the blower failed.  Attempt number two to start the blower failed, as did attempts numbered three and four.  I found myself kicking the blower, slamming the door and locking myself in the bathroom huffing and puffing and wiping tears of frustration out of my eyes.  As I got a hold of myself and left the bathroom, there was my former temper-tantrumming nine-year-old, eyes full of worry, asking me if I was okay.  How does one tell their kid they were just throwing a fit like the one their kid was put in timeout for?  Seriously, I need to know because I didn’t tell him anything of the sort.  I lied.  I told him I hurt myself trying to start the blower and not the truth (I threw a huge fit, kicked the blower, slammed the door and swore under my breath because of an inanimate object.  ‘Please do as I say and not as I do’ does not work for me.  But lying?  Yep, that’s something I can handle.).  I did end up getting that damn blower to start, but then it ran out of gas five minutes into the job.  And no, I did not know how to fill it back up.

Friday, Friday, fabulous Friday.  Seven am found one kid sick and one bouncing off the walls.  I had to turn that energy of his into something positive so we raked.

Hours of toiling over a yard smothered in leaves was surprisingly serene and beautiful.

Hours of toiling over a yard smothered in leaves was surprisingly serene and beautiful.

Well, I raked.  He de-raked, which wasn’t that big of a deal because let me tell you, exercise really is good for the soul.  I was loving the OCD-like methodology of dividing the yard into a quadrant of six . . .wait.  Wouldn’t that be a sextant? I guess not, but based on the mathematical (? Probably wrong there, too) fact that sex means six . . . anyway, it was smooth sailing for me.  My stress from the week was a meltin’ away.  I was even looking forward to mowing the whole yard after the leaves were gone, and wouldn’t you know it?  It was the mower that spoiled that fun for me.  That a-hole wouldn’t start.  All I wanted to do was mow the stinkin’ yard after the hours I spent raking all those leaves.  One would think that after the raking, my arm muscles would be bulging and pulling the mower rope would be a cinch, but sadly, no.  Hopefully none of my neighbors were within earshot of me muttering to the mower and myself, and thus doing my children no favors at all by my nonexistent approach to filtering myself and censoring my less-then-positive behaviors.

Soo, long story short, I’ll keep the griping and complaining to Fridays because we all know I’m going to do it anyway.  I might as well find the right outlet for it.

Unsolicited advice for all you ADHD/ADD virgins

When my son was first diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, I was thrilled to have an answer for why he was so difficult, but simultaneously gobsmacked by how much I didn’t know about any aspect of it: the testing, the therapy, the psychology, the copays, the medications, the behavior training, etc.  It terrified me!  I wished, while I was going through it all, that I had known someone who had also gone through it and could give me their sage, sweat-soaked advice.  Recently, a family member approached me and asked my advice in the subject – and while I highly doubted my sarcastic input would suffice, I was immediately grateful that my somewhat arduous experience could benefit a newbie.  The following are some tips I’ve compiled and should be read as an opinion and certainly not professional advice.

You may wonder when your child sprouted fur and turned in to a guinea pig.

The sad reality is that anyone, kids or adults, with behavioral/mental issues will eventually feel like a guinea pig.  And yes, it is normal.  I think we tried five different medications and combinations of insomnia-fighting agents before finding the perfect mix for us, which happens to be fifteen milligrams of Focalin XR and three milligrams of melatonin.  We started out at five milligrams of Focalin and gradually upped it over the course of a week.  With Number Two being only seven, our hands were kind of tied with what we could give him as he was not yet able to swallow whole pills (and still can’t at nine).  So there went the vast majority of behavioral health medication.  We tried Adderall (made him a total zombie.  No joke.  Sat and stared for hours.)  We tried Concerta, Strattera, and Metadate.  (These were tried two years ago, so I can’t remember the exact side effects, but at least one of these was a whole pill that I was never able to get him to swallow, try as I might.  And try I did – bribing, cajoling, yelling, hiding it in a bite of lunch meat or in a spoonful of ice cream . . . and crying.  Yes, I totally cried in front of my kid to show him how important it was to take it.)  I began giving him a dose of Benadryl at bedtime to counteract the stimulant side effect and lived for a week with him not falling asleep until 2 am.  Once I discussed this with the doctor, he suggested melatonin – a lifesaver!  Three milligrams in his mouth as I’m kissing him goodnight and it’s lights out in fifteen!  Easy, peasy.  But be warned – melatonin does not cause sleepiness per se.  It simply assists a person in falling asleep.  I have learned, through many cases of trial and error, that there is a window in which it can help.  When I say I give it to him while he’s in bed, I mean it.  That way he is laying still and quiet in the dark and then has the opportunity to help sleep arrive.  There have been times when Number Two comes out of his room ten minutes after I tuck him in and I know we’ll miss the window . . . and I really don’t want that to happen to you!

You may not know how to give your child the medication and consider just shoving it down his/her throat.

Especially if he/she can’t swallow pills.  Most whole pills absolutely should not be crushed or cut in any way, and honestly, you may be on your own there!  I have no clue how to make a kid swallow a pill . . . because my kid is super oppositional.  But, on the bright side, I can tell you little tricks I’ve worked out with taking the medication that can be opened and poured out.  When our psychologist suggested pouring Focalin into a spoonful of applesauce, I didn’t really think that was the only medium we could use (but I am no professional . . .).  I gave it to him in spoonfuls of sherbet and pudding (super yummy and agreeable, but we noticed no change in behavior those days because it seems Focalin beads won’t dissolve right in the body with these consistencies and one should not do this unless they want to waste that super expensive pill) and peanut butter (okay, in hindsight, this was child abuse.  He licked and smacked and chomped for ten minutes.  And there were tiny white Focalin beads still stuck to his lips when he tried to go out to the bus. Needless to say, peanut butter did not work!).  Applesauce gets boring, so we try to switch it up between cinnamon and regular as much as we can.  There have been days where he is throwing fits all morning and absolutely refuses to take his medicine.  Those days I am not ashamed to admit that I bribe him with a sucker, a cookie, or even a full size candy bar before school.  After all, if he takes his medicine and it helps him focus, how bad is that sugar going to affect him, really?  (Click here to read an article about sugar and ADHD.  I told you I was no professional!)

You may not understand the full benefits of the timing of the medication and/or why they can’t just make a constant release medication (these drug companies must not know a single child with ADHD).

I learned the hard way that this type of behavioral medication should be given as early as possible to keep you from strangling your child, but not too early that it wears off before homework can be completed (and you strangle your child).  In our home, Number Two gets it at eight am, after a big breakfast (remember, this stuff has the tendency to curb the appetite, resulting in a child that looks like they’re on meth . . . well, dexmethylphenidate).  That way, there are still a few good hours after school when he can complete his homework without too much of a fight (if he doesn’t lie about not having any.  Behavioral medications are not miracles in pill form!). I once forgot to give him his medication and remembered at noon.  Being new to the situation, I gave it to him then and then struggled until nearly three am to get him asleep.  Needless to say, that wasn’t pretty!

If your kid already mystifies you, be prepared for when they try to tell you about how the meds make them feel.

My son says some pretty weird things already – his psychologist actually asked me if he “normally communicates that way,” causing me to immediately question if his diagnoses were the only things wrong with him.  The doctor assured me that this difficult-to-understand way of communication was pretty normal for ADHD as the hyperactive brain may fire differently, causing the thought paths to crisscross and jump around (that’s how I understood it, anyway).  As his mother, I understand a lot of what he means, but strangers most likely have no idea what he’s talking about.  When asked how the medication makes him feel, he has responded with “heavy,” “my heart hurts,” “my brain pays attention,” and “I can’t stop thinking.”  I guess I understand that.  Wouldn’t it make so much more sense if parents could test out the medication first before giving it to the kids? Instead, we expect seven-year-olds to tell us what is happening in their brains – most of the time, seven-year-olds cannot properly convey what is happening in the bathroom!

Like I mentioned more than once, I am not a professional.  I also don’t know what I’m doing and am most likely completely and utterly unqualified to offer advice.  But, if you are going through something similar, I’d love to hear about your experiences and/or tips!

Love/Hate Top Five

As many stay-at-home mamas out there can agree, there is a definite love/hate relationship with the job that I think most women aspire to have.  While listening, once again, to my four-year-old’s incessant diarrhea of the mouth earlier today, I caught myself simultaneously hoping to stay home longer and hoping to get the heck out of Dodge asap.  I created a short pro/con list to assist me in my decision-making prowess.

The top five reasons I love my job:

1)   I get to hear everything my kids say. 

I really do love this – sometimes I overhear the older ones making plans about what game they are going to play outside and my heart melts a little at their collaborative kindness (“if we’re playing Hunger Games, no sissy fighting, okay?  Only real fighting.  Yeah, I know I made your nose bleed last time, but it’s not accurate if we don’t get hurt”).  Every once in a while I hear my four-year-old involved in playful chatting with his friends, the cat, or his toys . . . no matter who is on the other end of his soliloquy, he is full of vigor and passion for his topic.  Just this morning he was talking to the iPad about the game he was playing.  ‘Woohoo, I’m home.  It was cold out there.  Yay pirates.  It’s loading, that’s why I have to wait.  Oh, there you are.  I have a cold and I need a tuh-shoe.”  Who knew Siri was such a great listener?

2)   I do not have to be dressed well in order to do my job.

I can perform probably ninety percent of my job wearing pajamas.  Meh, scratch that. Ninety-five percent.  I technically could grocery shop in pajamas, though I try to be classier than that.  Oh, and I don’t grocery shop.  But I do wipe noses and butts, counters and toilets, floors and windows. Who wants to be wearing heels and a slimming cami while doing all that?

3) I perform nearly every aspect of my job when I want.

If I want to do laundry at ten pm, I do.  If I want to vacuum at seven am, I do.  If I want to wash dishes at midnight, I do. If I want to run to the post office while my kids eat dinner, shoeless and possibly shirtless in the backseat of the van, I do!  I wouldn’t suggest this, though, as the past few times it’s been attempted it has resulted in a messy van, crabby kids, and a closed post office. It’s a little exhilarating being able to freestyle like this.  My old boss wouldn’t let me behave this way.

4)   If I have a giant pimple, my kids are the only ones to see it. 

Need I say more about this, ladies?  We understand the importance of a little ignorance.

5)   If I have a sick day, I don’t have to be embarrassed to call in. 

If I’m sick, I can curl up in bed all day, not shower, blow my nose with no inhibitions . . . sleep when I need to . . .

The top five reasons I hate my job:

1)   I get to hear everything my kids say. 

Everything.  Every.  Thing.  The most disgusting things, like the little guy talking to Sissy tonight – “I have boogers.”  The most mundane – “And then Caden said hi and I walked down the hall and saw Merri at the library and she had a book . . . I can’t remember which one . . . wait Mom, I wasn’t done.  Then the teacher told us to get our books out and a pencil fell on the floor and I picked it up with the finger I slammed in the . . .” and I’m done.

2)   I do not have to be dressed well in order to do my job. 

Even in the middle of the day when a solicitor/FedEx delivery guy/neighbor knocks at the door.  How many times have I been caught in dirty pants (we’re talking food smears and cat hair all over), braless, and in a shirt with holes in it?  Too many I tell you!  I should probably try a little harder to be presentable at most working hours of the day.  It’s a bit damaging to my pride.

3)   I perform nearly every aspect of my job when I want. 

And in my world, that means if I don’t want to do it, then I don’t.  So most mornings I’m scrambling for clean pants with no holes for the big boys, or to make their lunches at the last minute, or doing four loads of laundry in one day.

4)   If I have a giant pimple, my kids are the only ones to see it. 

But while they are ignorant to many, many things, if they do end up noticing an imperfection, they don’t keep their comments to themselves as most adults do.

5)   If I have a sick day, I don’t have to be embarrassed to call in. 

Because I can’t call in.  That pretty little picture I painted about curling up in bed?  Yeah, that’ll never happen for longer than ten minutes, which is about the time frame in which the little one can go without a big orange juice or a snack.  And no, he can’t get it himself.  Unless I want to clean up another mess.

I’d say that after thinking it over, I’m still fifty percent sure I want a new job.

And fifty percent sure I don’t.