Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh, NOW I Remember!

So, Mr. Bush is asking us to put up 700 billion dollars to bail out Wall Street compainies that made bad decisions (apparently leaving it to one guy to decide which companies to bail out with the money and which to let sink). I won't pretend to know whether this is a wise decision or not. I am not an economist.

But the number 700 billion is so darn familiar... where have I heard that number before??? 700 Billion, 700 Billion...

It was something to do with the war in Iraq...

let's see...

Shama-Lama Mama digs through her office cabinet and drags out her trusty adding machine.

Okay now... (tap tap tap) ...the cost of the war in Iraq through last year... (tap tap tap) what it has cost the first seven months of this year... divide times seven... (tap tap tap) ...multiply that times five for the last five months of this year... (tap tap tap) add to the total so far... ...equals how much the War in Iraq will cost by the end of Bush's Presidency... (tap tap tap)


Oh! THAT'S why that figure was so familiar!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Becoming Convinced

I have scoured those questionnaires before, trying to evaluate whether my eldest has ADHD or is he just rambunctious, or do his parents practice lazy parenting, or is there some other issue? All those questions are so subjective...

Does he have trouble enjoying leisure activities quietly?

Does he talk excessively?

Does he have trouble waiting for his turn?

I mean, geez, he is a five year old boy!! And he's my first child, so its hard to compare him to your average Joe Kindergarten, if you don't know what average kindergartners generally act like, you know? What is talking excessively for a five year old? How much trouble do five year old's generally have waiting their turn? Michael and I find ourselves answering some of these questions differently on different days.

I checked out a few ADHD books from the library to read more about the diagnosis, the drug controversies, and to see whether he might have something else entirely, or is he just FIVE!? Something in the book lead me to a website, that lead to another, and I stumbled on this pack of CDs training folks to better parent kids with ADHD. I would not buy these CDs (they cost $350!), but they had a list of symptoms there that were quiet different than your average list. More specific. Less subjective. While a fraction of the list of symptoms over there did not apply to Noah, most all of them were like a blueprint totally describing my child! This is my boy:

Do you know why your child:
Has a big heart, but sabotages friendships?

Controls others, is bossy and needs to enforce “fairness”?

Relates well to adults and younger children, but struggles with peers?

Melts down over changes, disappointments and little things?

Is disorganized, forgetful and impulsive?

Appears unmotivated and underperforms academically?

Constantly makes noises?

Plays video games for hours, but can’t focus on work for 10 minutes?

Is afraid of being alone or the dark, and insists you lie down at bedtime?

Procrastinates with homework, but hyper-focuses on personal projects?

Needs you to be close or have your undivided attention?

Appears not to be listening, but remembers what you say weeks later?

Says, “I’m bored!” or "I'm stupid" often?

Eats the same food routinely?

Gets angry or impatient when you talk too much or lecture?
Can be extremely funny, but also pensive and moody?

Oh my god... If this was the Connor's Scale for ADHD, my son would score nearly 100% And these are not the usual symptoms you hear about. He CANNOT be alone, even in the bathroom, he calls himself "stupid" when angry, he CONSTANTLY makes verbal noises (although doesn't move his body so much) and the thing about getting along with older and younger folks but not kids his age is true as well. In fact, all of the above are true. I removed the 2.5 or so that did not apply.

Then, the other night, I got a call from his teacher. She is feeling overwhelmed with him, and says he is barely learning anything and is disrupting the classroom. I know everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but she doesn't seem to be able to cope with and wrangle him as well as his kindergarten teacher does (although I know he is testing her limits these first couple weeks).

When asked whether she felt he might have ADHD or not, she said she wasn't a doctor but that she had a mother of a boy she had taught a couple years ago come up to her recently, crying, saying she had finally put her son on medication and it made all the difference. So, it seems while she is not willing to give us a "yes, I think he has it", she is fine with suggesting medicating him.

I feel on the fence... I don't want to drug my kid unnecessarily, giving him amphetamines throughout his entire childhood, but I also don't want to deprive him of his ability to listen and learn (and allow others to learn) through most of his formative years, while I sit back and wonder if meds are the right thing or not.

For now, we are going to begin a new behavior modification regimen, and probably go see a behavior modification specialist that was recommended to us.
You know... sit on the fence a little longer trying to see which side is greener.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Joy Unleashed

If you would like to see photos from other Wordless Wednesday participants,
check some out here or here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yes, I Know You Are Not Supposed To Label Your Children.

We were really surprised, what with Michael and I being the fun-loving, goofballs that we are, that Noah turned out to be such a serious child. He can be drawn into goofiness at times, but just as often he scolds us for playing around with him. He has actually asked out loud at times, "Why do I have to have TWO silly parents???" and will yell, "Stop being so silly!" to which we will reply, "Stop being so darn SERIOUS!"

As it turns out, he is also very left brained and logical. He is a thinker, not a dreamer. A doer, not an "imaginer". He was navigating computer menus and playing games by 2 and a half. He is curious and often asks questions about how things work. In his father's line, most folks become doctors or engineers. I think Noah would veer toward Engineering.

Luka has been well-balanced and on the move since he toddled up onto his feet. He can stand on the arm of the couch without a waver, and jump over a daddy laying down on the floor in a single bound. He loves to climb, and go under things, and often hops from room to room. Why walk when you can hop. He has always been in touch with his body, while Ethan was always still a bit unbalanced and unsure of his step. We wonder if Luka might become a jock, into sports and and all things physical.

I used to call Noah "my thinker", Luka "my jock" and because Ethan didn't really show signs of what he would excel in yet, I called Ethan "my lover". He is good at what he calls giving "hugs and kisses and love".

But just lately, a new aptitude for art has just shown itself and is starting to blossom! At first, I was surprised to find him able to put Legos together far earlier than Noah ever was, making a "+" shape and declaring it an airplane, building a stack and calling it a tower. Then, I noticed he would have a space on a Lego "thing" he was building that only a "two dot" Lego would fit in, and he would dig until he found the right shape and then fit it into the spot! I think he has a talent for spatial thinking that the other two haven't showed. And, even though Luka is the physically gifted one, Ethan is the one who can throw a ball right to you every time.

Ethan was playing with his Magna-doodle the other day and I drew a circle and asked him if he could draw a face in it. I took him step by step through it, two eyes, now a nose, and a mouth, and you could see the light bulb go on. Now he gets crazy if you draw the circle for him and all day he draws face after face proclaiming, "Happy!" or "Sad..." depending on how it comes out.

While Ethan is still a lover (they all are, really) I think I need to change his label to "my artist". Above is a photo of the very first face he ever drew. He was so proud.

So was I.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Les Misbarack

I know this is the SECOND video I have swiped from a friend's blog today, but they are both too good to pass up, especially if you are following the election, AND you like theater!

For those out of the theater loop, this song is the best "End of Act One Song" ever written from Les Miserable.



A Good Laugh

We had a great weekend, which included a visit from Michael's brother, Mark. This allowed me to go out shopping (for fun!) and Michael to have an evening out with his brother and a chance to talk computers with someone more knowledgable than me.

This week, Michael will be attending a conference here in San Diego, so I will be alone with the kids from very early to very late, but Michael will be getting to hang out with some of his collegues from back in Ohio where we used to live, and I think he is looking forward to the change in everyday schedule today through Sunday.

I haven't much to update, but I just HAD to share this video in case you haven't seen it yet. Everyone's been talking about it, and it's just too funny not to share! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Noah: Mom, I have a joke for you! I just made it up!

Mama: Okay, go!

Noah: Okay. You know Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants?

Mama: Yeah...?

Noah: Okay! You know how he likes sex?

Mama: Um... uh... I'm sorry, WHAT??

Noah: Mr Krabs!

Mama: WHAT about Mr Krabs?

Noah: You know how he likes CENTS?

Mama: OH!!! Cents! Like money?

Noah: YEAH! Cents!

Mama: (wondering if its time to get a new hearing aid) OH! Yeah! Okay...

Noah: Well, that means he's really SENSITIVE!! Get it? CENTS-itive??? Get it? Get it?

Mama: (sigh) yeah, baby. That's great! Good joke, Sweetie. (wipes sweat from brow.)


Noah: Mama? You are the bestest, most loving, sweetest Mom in the WHOLE UNIVERSE!!

Mama: I am??

Noah: Yeah. I love you.

Mama: But, what about when I am all cranky and mean, sometimes?

Noah: Umm... Well, I guess, then you are just the bestest, sweetest Mom in the whole world. But not the whole universe!

What cracked my husband up while on the phone with me today:
"NO, Noah! You are NOT allowed to pee in the waste basket!"
Noah: Mama, when is Hanukkah?

Mama: It's between your birthday and Christmas, in about 3 months, Sweetie, why?

Noah: You know what's the best thing about Hanukkah?

Mama: What?

Noah: It's all the guilt you get!

Mama: The what?

Noah: The GUILT! I love guilt.

Mama: You mean the GELT??

Noah: Yeah. Whatever. Hannukah guilt is awesome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

It seems we have fully stepped onto the childhood wheel of life: the school year.

Noah's school is one of many here in our city which is on a year-round schedule. I wasn't sure I would like it, after growing up with those long, lazy summers, but it seems kind of nice. Instead of having three months off each summer, we have three single months off three times a year. So our summer was only one month long.

We also don't have the brown crispy leaves of autumn to crunch through on the way to school and sweater weather won't start for at least another month (I can't even bring myself to pull on jeans yet!) But there is definitely a "beginning of the year" feeling in the air that January 1st doesn't even bring with it.

Noah seems to be liking first grade well enough, although what with kids being "old enough" now that they don't need to signed out anymore, I feel a bit more detached than I did last year from his teacher, his classroom and his daily life. That's mostly because when the classroom door opens, the flood of children pours out yelling to go home or play on the playground. Last year, the parents entered the classroom and signed out each child, chatted with the teacher, and there was the daily mini-report of how things went.

On another front, I also tried out this interesting pre-preschool for the twins yesterday. It's like preschool except the parents stay there with the toddlers. It's meant to give them chances for socialization, to recognize a classroom setting and methods, while having the comfort of their mama's lap right there whenever they want it. It's even free! I tried out the first class and while it was a chaotic first day with too many people, she assured us that we would fall into a rhythm and that a lot of folks would drop away and we would end up with a manageable group. I even met and clicked with another mom of twins. The "preschool" is twice a week for three hours, and I welcome the adult conversation and the new toys and materials to play with.


Thanks, by the way, for all the good vibes and advice you all sent me on my last post. I assure you I am not a blubbering, despondent mess. (I know you know this!) I just have hard days. Don't we all? I give thanks to all the wise women I have who gather around me here on this 'ol blog and lift me up when I am down. You guys rock.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

When Your Glass is Less Than Half Full or More Than Half Empty

Oh man, I am tired.

I mean my whole psyche is tired.

I don't want this to become a post that moans and groans about how much trouble a kid can be, and "why does he have to act like this" and "why does he have to make things so hard?" but, MAN, parenting can be difficult sometimes, you know?

The twins are toddlers, and yes they bite, and yes they push each other off the slide, and yes they hit and take toys away from each other, but I am fine with the redirection and the constant correcting and explaining of what is expected of them. They are toddlers.

But I have less patience with Noah because it seems I stick with the proper methods, I don't get lazy with the time-outs, I give him more attention when he starts to act out (in fact he gets a lot more attention than the twins seem to get from me) but his behavior issues just keep on keeping on!

He goes from Pleasantville to Ugly-Monster-Boy-Spitting-Venom at the drop of a hat (or at the suggestion that he come to the table, or because I put my face in front of his face when he seems oblivious to me asking him a question). If you give him a warning to stop being rude, he will often lash out in some way: kick you or hit you with a toy his is holding (although he usually pulls his punches).

And I am tired.

I am weary and I am weakened and I wonder sometimes how much of a child's behavior really DOES come from lazy or misguided parenting and how much is just personality. Did I make him this way? Can I change him? Can I teach him to change?

How do you know if a child's behavior is born in him, or caused by your parenting?

Can you teach a child to WANT to be generous instead of selfish? If a child is rude and acts deserving, can you teach him humbleness and humility?

How do you know what is a phase you can work your way through, and what is just something you will have to live with for the rest of your relationship with your child?
Answers? Anyone?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My First Grader

I guess he is an old hand at it already.

Noah started first grade today and after a week of hinting at not wanting to go, and asking to stay home with me for the rest of his life, he tossed his backpack over his shoulder and headed out with Daddy for the first day of school without a qualm.

Our school district is trying out a new idea... to keep a whole kindergarten class together as they move forward into first grade, and then again into second grade. It's to help them have some stability and friendships in place as they move out of their comfort zone into a new room with a new teacher. At third grade they will begin mixing kids again.

I picked Noah up after school and he said he had a great day, and was eager to show me around his new room. He seems to really like his teacher who gave him a paper cone filled with candy which is apparently a custom in Germany.

Things seem to be going very well so far, although we have seen a pattern of very disruptive behavior about 2 or 3 days into school after a long vacation break, so this time we are prepared for any backlash.

On the way back to the car, he asked if we could pop into his old kindergarten room. When we found his kindergarten teacher from last year, he asked her if she was enjoying her new class, and then said he had stopped by so he could give her a Hershey Kiss out of his cone.

She nearly cried. So did I.

He really is a great kid.

Wordless Wednesday: Can I Give You a Hand?

Check out other Wordless Wednesday postings here and here.
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