Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yuck

Ugh. I stink, can't believe it's been over a month (nearly two) since I blogged. So many of you keep up with us via Facebook, but that' can't really detail the things that happen over time.

Kieran continues to be an amazing big brother. And a great sleeper. Thank goodness for the second (and the first, really) because last night Mia woke up at midnight screaming crying. She got sick and kept crying off and on for an hour until she fell back asleep. No idea how he slept through that but really glad he did.

Anyway, school has started for Kieran - 2nd grade. Can't quite wrap my mind around how fast he is growing up. Seems like yesterday he was upset leaving the comfort of Goddard for his new school. Now Mia will be moving to Goddard before she (hopefully) starts at the same school as Kieran next year. I have officially put her on the list.

So much has happened over the summer. Kieran has done very well with his temper and controling his outbursts, I am hopeful this will continue into school - we'll see. He is in love with mini golf and is looking forward to swim lessons again.

I am embarrassed to say that Amelia still does not know her alphabet. She does not seem interested in learning either. We're hoping the move to Goddard will help her with this (along with our continued asking of what letters are which). I'm convinced she's getting away with a lot at her existing daycare where they love her but I know she's not behaving well (she hits friends, and doesn't listen). When we're trying to work on things at home she gets 'cute' and obviously thinks she can not answer questions by doing it. Frustrating as hell.

Have I mentioned that I don't like the three year old phase? When you know they understand you but just don't care enough to control their little 'id'? Just 10 more months, right?

OK, now that Mia is resting from last night's sickness, I feel better about tonight. I am hopeful she is past whatever was bothering her belly.

Love to all, blog again... um, one day.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Got the Keys? Stories of How I Have Lost My Mind

This past weekend I locked me and the kids out of the house. For five hours.

Thank goodness we live in the City and we could walk where we needed. I was packing up for a trip to the pool at our park, planning to hit up the dollar store beforehand to grab toys, already had the water bottle filled with ice cubes and some fruit strips for snack set in the bag. I remembered looking at the keys and thinking I needed to grab them and throw them in the bag. We walk out the front door and Kieran asks, "Got the keys?"

And I cringe. Because I know in that moment, I do not. Thankfully, I had my cell phone. Ken was at the local Kendo tournament in Annapolis so I left him a voicemail and texted him to be sure I used all methods of communication. Then, I just headed out. We did what we had planned to do. Dollar store? Check. Two and a half hours of pool time? Check. Hour and a half of playground time? Check.

Stressed mom? Check.

Anyway, it wasn't bad at all, kids were troopers and we went to Red Robin for dinner (I know, I know the kitchen was done but we hadn't gone grocery shopping yet). We had a good day and no harm, no foul.

But, poor Kieran. This had happened just a few weeks before. Ken was working and I took the kids out to the JCC in Owings Mills - about a half-hour away to hang at the pool. We were there for about four hours when I knew it was time to pack it up and head home. We get changed into our clothes and I pat my pockets down for my house keys. I have the car key, no problem. it's the house key that's missing. We spend the next 30 minutes looking for the keys. No joy. Kieran's upset but I let him know it's not a big deal, even if I've been freaking out about it, mostly it's just an inconvenience, and we'll be able to get new keys. We get to the car, I sit down in the drivers seat, exhausted.

Only to realize I'm sitting on the keys. Yep, spend 30 minutes looking for keys that were in my back pocket.

On the happier side of things, we've got a great Father's Day planned (an Orioles game) next weekend and Amelia's party the weekend after that (just a little picnic in the park). Looking forward to the next few months with a new kitchen, hopefully produce from our garden and just generally having fun in the sun.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Disarray

I feel as though our life has been in complete disarray for a long period of time. It began with needing to replace our washer and dryer. Our laundry room is on the 3rd floor of our house, and they originally got our units in via a crane. Not gonna do that again. So, we had to go with a smaller unit and busted up our stairs to get the old units out.

Then, when we finally got a new unit in, we found a pipe driping in our kitchen. Repaired but the wall (interior) looked really bad and needed to come down. Honestly our entire kitchen needed a revamp. So, we bit the bullet and did it. We got away as cheaply as we could while still investing in quality. Off-the-shelf cabinetry, lower-cost granite countertops, scratch-n-dent appliances. But the bottom line was that we had no kitchen for the past month and that we lived with LOTS of things sitting in our living room, no space to eat in the house, eating out and basically living with too much stuff everywhere.

Now, the kitchen is nearly complete, my many thanks to my mom for helping us do this. Countertops are in, everything is hooked up and working (mostly) and we have just a few more minor items to attend. Unfortunately, as he hooked up our sink and dishwasher, our plumber noticed that the pipes under our house are OLD as in, probably from the 50s or earlier, old. Need replacing within 6 months. That's gas and water lines. Oy. Joys of homeownership, right?

The kids have been amazing troopers during this, but I know it's been a long time when Kieran asks "when are we going to stop going out to eat?". We were able to have our first 'meal' in the kitchen last night - pasta. It wasn't much, but it made me ridiculously happy to not have to eat someone else's cooking (besides Ken's) for once.

So, kiddos update....

Mia has hit the really terrible part of being (almost) 3. She has realized she is an independent being and can actively resist me. "No" is her favorite word and when she decides she dosen't want to go somewhere she'll run away from me, when I catch her she'll go boneless to make it harder for me to pick her up. *sigh* I know this, too, shall pass. But it can't be soon enough.

She's also hit the cuteness factor of giving hugs and kisses to show affection. She's great with the animals (still not 100% on Devin but she does give him kisses now and again) and continues to mimic her brother, to his consternation.

Kieran has been amazing these past few weeks. His doctor told us we could go at least a month between treatments and see how that goes, given he has repsonded so well so far. His doctor believes the issue to be with Executive Function (impulse control among other things) and that's a part of the brain we can exercise a bit. So, no medication, just keeping on what we're doing. I'm excited and sad for him at the end of this school year. His teacher this year has been AMAZING and I just hope he gets someone nearly as dedicated next year. I've been trying to figure out what to get her as an end-of-year gift and Kieran came home with a piece he did on her. It was a fill-in-the-blank to future students. What struck me (and Ken) as funny was at the end it said "When she gets made she...." and he wrote "Needs coffee." So, I guess I know what I'll give her, now!

Love to all, blog again soon. Hopefully with new kitchen and 1st grade 'graduation' photos.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Little Brony

So, Kieran may never live this post down, but I'm doing it anyway. In our never-ending search for things that both kids will watch, we came across the newly-revamped My Little Pony. Kieran became a quick addict of it and went back to watch the show from it's (new) beginning a few years ago via Netflix. Mia's OK with it, but not as excited.

When I asked him why he liked it, he talked about the fact that he's probably the only boy who does like it. Which is when I explained the term Brony to him and assured him he was not alone in liking the show. But he hadn't answered my question... just what did he like about it? The adventures, he repsonded.

I thought about it. The show does have a bit of a D&D quality to it. Each team member has their own special power/ability/contribution and each epsiode they have a quest or problem to resolve. If it wasn't in pink and purple shades, I'd bet more boys would flock to it. I love my son for liking what he likes - making no bones about it. He knows he could be teased for it, and he doesn't care. I love that about him.

On another note, we had our second meeting with his new doctor. He's given us some games to play with Kieran - ways to keep track of his anger issues and ways to work on his concentration/attention. Kieran likes the game that Ken came up with - a Sherlock Holmes style game where we have him turn around and then close his eyes. We'll ask him questions like 'how many blue cars did you see?' he loves this game and requests we do it (and then it's my or Ken's turn).

The doctor also said that Kieran fencing is OK because it does not use hitting or punching. If Kieran is able to control his temper throughout the summer at karate camp, we can discuss re-starting his martial arts lessons.

He's had a few good weeks - a bit of craziness, but nothing with a huge blowout. We'll keep at it and see how it goes. Just found out that the teacher he was dying to have as his 2nd grade teacher is going back into the PreK rooms. He was not happy, but understood this was something out of everyone's control. And that maybe his sister would then be able to have her as a teacher, and he liked that idea.

OK back to work for me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Following Up

Several people have reached out to me (Thank you one and all) to remind me that what is going on with Kieran is not mine or Ken's fault. That we're doing the good parenting job of finding help and addressing this issue now instead of later.

Anyway, we had our first appointment but haven't really had a full-on counseling session as of yet. Kieran likes the doctor (and so do I). He seems nice enough and is definitely trying to get a sense of everything that's going on.

Kieran's got another appointment this Thursday and it's killing me that I can't be there. So far, since his appointment, he's been pretty good overall. Had one red day last week but the rest were green and role model (parents will know what I'm talking about).

With all that going on, we're also remodeling our kitchen - ugh. I can't wait to cook a meal again!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Putting It Out There

I'm having an insane day. I'm watching/managing a virtual event, responding to ongoing chats, hosting presentations, posting recorded presentations and watching Facebook because that's how I can communicate with Ken.

And, on this continually crazy day, Kieran had another incident at school. Thankfully, they are not suspending him, but he has 2 days of detention. He was disrespectful to the janitor - again. I'm frustrated and upset and more than at my wits' end here. We've set Kieran up to have an appointment with a therapist. We mentioned it to him before, but now we do have an appointment on the books. It's scary and frustrating and feels like failure.

I struggled with whether or not to blog about this. I don't want him labeled as a 'troubled' kid. I know that as he grows older that it is possible that people will be able to view this content and, perhaps, use it against him. But I want our culture to change. I want people who go to therapy, who get help, NOT to have a stigma attached to them. So, I'm starting with my own kid. Who is awesome and wonderful. But who also has issues that we as parents have not been able to help him curtail.

He does things like sit with his sister and keep her occupied so we can put dinner on the table. Or he'll ask her to chase him when she's getting clingy or hug her for no reason at all. He wants to help animals of all kinds. To be a superhero. To fight bad guys. To play with his friends (he set up his own playdate last weekend).

He also does things like this. Where he is disrespectful, hurtful and mean. He can throw punches, push and get so angry he can't talk. We began reading a book about controlling his anger, but I'm not 100% sure that anger management is really the issue.

So, soon he'll go and meet with someone who I hope can help us all. Because this, these gut reactions, aren't good for him. They aren't good for us. And I know he is capable of so much more. I don't expect him to be perfect 100% of the time - no one is. But this is a recurring issue enough that I feel we haven't gotten through to him.

And it's OK for us (and him) to ask for (and get) help. There is no shame in this though I feel horribly failed as a parent that I cannot help him. But I hope to feel empowered once we have some new strategies and ideas from the therapist.

I hope anyone reading this who is considering help thinks about what they want for themselves (or their kid) long-term. And I hope it helps.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Frustrating but Still Wonderful

I've been remiss in blogging, but in my defense things have been insane. My grandmother died at the end of February and while it was not 100% unexpected the 'business of death' was. The going through of the things, the figuring out what goes where. Making sure my mom did not have to do this alone. Many commented on my help and my response was the same - just because my mom was an only child does not mean she should have to do this alone.

At times it was hard, getting rid of things we knew meant much to her but would not mean as much to anyone else (the 5 or 10 years worth of knitting magazines she had) was hard. Finding about 20 different pairs of gloves - 1 in EVERY jacket as well as several others, including opera gloves she had not worn in 15 years was funny (as was the balled up tissues found everywhere). I kept a few things, Kieran actually asked for a few things as well and I am happy to have them in my house. I wear a necklace that she did nearly every day and it makes me smile.

So there was that.

Kieran's up and down temperament came to a head when he punched a teacher. Yes, you read that right. So, we're at our wits end and have reached out to get additional support. It is frustrating and feels like we have failed him as parents, though I know that we have done what we can. He knows what to do, but his temper just gets the best of him. Hopefully, a fresh set of eyes and ears will help us and put Kieran on a path to better behavior overall and less physical reactions. I cannot begin to express how upset I am at the whole thing, but I am trying to look forward and not backwards.

Amelia's doing well, though very defiant. She's getting somewhat better (though I admit the difference is microscopic, at best) but she still responds with "no" a lot. She gets the "I wasn't asking" response from me a lot. A daddy's girl at heart, she will let Ken comb her hair without issue. But I put a comb to her head and you would think that I was hurting her just by holding it in my hand.

This past weekend was Ken and my 17th wedding anniversary. Ken went to a tournament in Cleveland. Originally, we were all supposed to go and I was going to take the kids to see a friend, but unfortunately that fell through. Though, after sitting in the car with Amelia for an hour and a half on Friday (traffic) I can honestly say I am grateful for how it played out. Ken came home Sunday and we celebrated at a restaurant. It was fun and quiet.

Because Ken was gone, I ran the kids ragged all weekend - Friday night after school/work Kieran had a good day so we went to the rec center's Fun Friday. Mia was so tired afterwards she didn't even want bedtime stories, just a chance to sleep. Saturday we spent an hour and a half at the playground, followed by lunch, followed by the Fairtale Festival at the main branch of the library (which requires a bus ride). By the end of the day, Mia again was exhausted (so was Kieran) but both had a great time. Saturday night, however, was AWFUL. Amelia slept fine from 7-10 pm but was then up off and on until 2:30 AM. She woke up at 6. I had to get up at 5 to be sure I could shower before the kids woke up. So I was no fun on Sunday. There was a lot of yelling involved until Ken got home and I could get Kieran out of the house (Mia refused to go anywhere after shopping, but also would not nap for me). Some time at the playground followed by the dinner out was just what the doctor ordered. Everyone slept well last night.

Now, back to our crazy everyday lives. Sorry it's been awhile. I still need to post some newer pics of the kids. I will endeavor to do that in the next month.