Sunday, November 29, 2009

Self-entertaining children

I am lucky. The kids are very good at entertaining themselves for periods of time so I can get some housework done. Now every once in a while that bites me in the backside because they decide to fill the bathroom with soap bubbles and slide across the floor or fling colored yogurt across white walls a la VanGogh, but most of the time it is good.

Yesterday I got 45 un-interrupted minutes of kitchen cleaning time. Woohoo! The game they came up with?

They took the rolling office chair into the living room and took turns pushing each other around while having their pants pulled down so their butt cheeks showed. 

This was apparently ridiculously hysterical based on the amount of laughter I was hearing. 

You know you wish you were me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Operation Ashley

This girl is so beautiful, inside and out. There were times I wondered if we would ever make it this far. One of us was going down. But we made it! And she is lovely, especially for a teenager. Delightful, happy, funny, kind and loving. I am so proud.

This week was devoted to catching up on all her health and well-being.  She was complaining about a tooth that had a chip in it so I got her a dentist appointment. Turns out that there was a cavity forming under an old filling and it had gotten deep enough that the corner of the tooth cracked off. The dentist was able to drill into it, fill it with medicine and re-do the filling to cover it. He also put her on antibiotics for 10 days to ward off any infection. 

Next on the list was a full work-up of her thyroid disease. We got blood work, and EKG and an ultrasound of her thyroid done, plus a new prescription at a higher dose. I will get all the results next week and then we will make a plan for future treatment.

Then, to top off the week she had an eye appointment. Her eyes have gotten worse so it was new contacts and glasses time. She also is still having some convergence insufficiency problems so it's time for some new eye exercises. 

Let me just make one thing totally clear. Long-distance parenting SUCKS! I want her here where I can mother her, fuss over her and make sure everything is just right. Her Dad is wonderful and I trust him, but I am still her mother and I need to take care of her. It's so hard this way. Maybe it just makes me appreciate the times I have with her that much more.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Have a Laugh on Me!

OK, so one of the medicines the doctor gave me today was a diuretic to draw off some of the fluid in my lungs and also to bring my blood pressure down a bit. (Apparently struggling to breathe creates issues in that area) 

Now remember, I am a woman of a certain age, who has delivered 3 children, and has lost some muscle control in, ahem, certain sphincter-ish muscles. 

I am also coughing really hard. A lot. Get the picture. 

So me, in my brilliant ways, picked up our prescriptions, took the first mega doses of antibiotic and diuretic and then headed off to work. Where I only get a small break once every hour. 

So....I spent the afternoon working with therapy kids, coughing my head off and crossing my legs. Sweet.....

A Riddle for the day

Update: Ahren has 2 ear infections, a nasty looking throat and bronchitis with asthmatic wheezing. He got 4 prescriptions.

I have pneumonia and also got 4 prescriptions. Lovely.

What do you get when you put a sleep-deprived Mommy in bed next to a possessed boogery boy?

You guessed it! A trip to the doctors office. Ahren and I will be patients #1 and #2 this morning. 

I have never really had a chest cold before but right now it feels like there are rice krispies cereal in my lungs. When I breathe I can hear the snap, crackle and pop. I'm guessing that's not good. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sleeping with the possessed

Ahren is sick again. I swear he has no immunity built up to anything. He was pretty miserable so I slept with him last night. Or at least I thought I climbed into bed with him. Instead I got a wild all-night long ride with the Exorcist. He moaned and groaned and spoke in tongues. He spun and twisted and kicked me about 67 times. He got his head stuck inside my pillow case. He repeatedly rammed his head into the wooden headboard. He thrashed and kicked and fought with the covers. Poor baby, he must be exhausted. I know I am. And bruised. 

(Note: There is nothing even remotely religious about this post. Only a sleep-deprived crazed mommy trying to function on caffeine and humor ;-)

Today is going to be ugly. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


 I ended up going with Kaytee to the modeling gig. It was way far away, and required traversing several highways during morning rush hour. I am so glad I did because we had a blast. Soon she will be off to college and I won't get to have these special days with her. 

  The job turned out to be a little different than we imagined. They had 3 models and 3 collections of the new wedding dresses for the 2010 season. They had a group of international buyers they were showing the collection to so they could place their orders. This group was from Spain. Everyone was so nice. The girls spent 4 hours putting on and taking off dresses as fast as they could go and then showing them to the buyers. They did feed everyone lunch, too. I didn't get to watch. Apparently stealing wedding dress designs is a big issue. Who would have thought? They were very happy with Kaytee and asked her about a week long photo shoot for their catalog being shot over Christmas break. She would make really good money for that. Yahoo! (Um, is it bad she makes more an hour than I do? More than TWICE what I do?) We have college to pay for, baby! The best part, though, is she had a blast. A really good time. 

  The last post I did has been brewing in my head for a year now. I have started to write it many times and then just trashed it. The pain and guilt behind it are huge, but letting it out and being honest about it felt really good. I was so afraid someone would blast me for being a complete moron but I got the sweetest support from everyone. That amazes me. I am NEVER that nice to myself! Ashley is now a confident, happy, fun teenager. I am no longer afraid she will lead a miserable life, a fear that haunted me for many years. I see her now and she just glows. She teases, she laughs, she has real emotions. In the past there were only two emotions. Anger or elation. No in between, no middle ground, and it would swing from one to the other in a nano-second, for no discernable reason. Now, she is a JOY! Man I love that girl and am so proud of who she is. 

  Work is still crazy. We went from 4 therapists to just me. More and more kids are being sent to us from the local schools as the nurses and teachers identify problems. I am feeling the pressure. I love the work, but man, what if I need time off? I will never catch up! These kids depend on me. The light in their eyes when they see 3D for the first time, when they show me their first 100 on a spelling test, when they brag about getting a high mark in reading. I just cannot let them down. Oh the pressure....

Sunday, November 08, 2009

All I learned about parenting.....

I learned from Ashley.

My first child was easy. Delightfully, wonderfully easy. I spent many days patting myself on the back for being such a wonderful parent. Katie slept in her own bed, was potty trained at 2, ate all kinds of foods and almost never cried.  She was easy.

  Then along came Ashley. It was a bit of a difficult pregnancy and when she was born she had tremors (due to a med I take for a seizure disorder) an intolerance to formula both regular and soy, projectile vomiting (we used to measure it for distance 4 ft, 5 ft...) bloody stools, and then at one month old she got RSV and was hospitalized for a week. The next two years of her life were a struggle. Constant infections, poor growth and weight gain, ear tubes twice, delayed milestones, etc etc. She had a rough start. She didn't sleep much and cried a lot. Poor baby was always so sick and had to take so many medications all the time. I would have to wake her up at night to give her a nebulizer treatment followed by chest percussions to loosen the gunk in her lungs and hold her upside down to try and get it out. 

  Ashley was demanding, unhappy, miserable and difficult in many ways. I always felt like I wasn't meeting her needs the way I did with Katie. Nothing was easy. She was just as likely to have a tantrum over some unknown injustice as she was over a real boo boo. And her tantrums were on a scale I was unfamiliar with. Screaming, kicking, biting, spitting, scratching, flailing, injuring herself and anyone near her. I was totally unprepared for this total transformation from sweet girl to possessed demon child, and could not even predict what would set her off. I would tell her no and she wouldn't bat an eye, but say we were having peaches (and not pears) with lunch...BAM. Hour long meltdown. Often I didn't even know what set her off. If I had I would have given her the pears! She would tell me she hated me and wanted me dead and it broke my heart. I loved this little girl so much and she hated me. I was failing her! It took everything I had to learn to let it roll off of my back and not take it personally.

  Her fits lasted long after the toddler stage, years longer in fact. They were completely out of proportion to the thing that set them off. They were like a volcano erupting and I could see one coming but was powerless to stop it. She was just as miserable as I was, probably more so. She couldn't put into words what was eating at her, what we could do to make her feel better or even what she wanted. Her frustration grew and grew and fed the fits. 

  We sought out counseling (did our divorce cause this?) pediatricians for a physical basis, a child psychologist, anyone we could think of. Our child needed something and we just didn't know what. I tried sticker charts, behavior therapy, rewards and punishments. Incentives and hug therapy. As she raged I would sit next to her and calmly tell her how much I loved her and how wonderful she is. When the fits stopped she would crawl in my lap and be so sorry, utterly drained. 

  Then, a few years ago one doctor realized that her thyroid was enlarged.  It was big and full of nodules. Not a good thing in an 11 year old with a family history of thyroid disease. They started her on synthetic thyroid medicine and her mood started to lighten. It was slow at first, not really noticeable. Then one day it was like she was the happy, wonderful girl we had only seen glimpses of in the past. The fits came less and less often, were less severe and eventually pretty much stopped. She still has her moments, but now it's more like the typical teenager attitude. She seems so happy. She is a joy to be around. My Ashley shines!

  Do I think that the thyroid issue was the whole issue? No, I don't. I think she had some RAD* like behaviors going on, and I think they were caused when she was so sick during her first two years of life and me, her mother, couldn't stop the pain. I think she didn't get that healthy dose of 'Mommy can fix everything' that most babies get. I couldn't nurse her because of the seizure meds so we lost out on that bond from the get-go. I don't think she trusted me to care for her and meet her needs. She never treated her Dad with the anger she directed at me, and I think it relates back to this fact. She couldn't trust me. How sad is that. To this day I tear up and it breaks my heart to think she couldn't trust me. My sweet sweet baby. 

*RAD Reactive-Attachment Disorder  A condition where a child has a hard time emotionally attaching to a parent. Many children with a history of abuse, institutionalization or trauma have RAD issues. (That's a pretty short description) 

  Now that we have Ahren I see some of the same behaviors emerging. The constant arguing, the tantrums over inconsequential things, incessant non-sense questions, very dramatic and demanding personality, the physical aspects of the rages (hitting, kicking, spitting, scratching, hurting himself) and the need for constant reassurance. This time, it is easier. I am much more consistent and calmer. Even when he tells me he doesn't love me and I am not his mother. I just smile and tell him he doesn't get out that easily, he is stuck with me and I love him very much. I will not engage in an argument with him. If I say it's cold out and he says, 'No it's not', I drop it. He can go outside without a coat and see for himself. I spend more time down on his level, eye-to-eye, letting him know I see him, I hear him, I love him. It seems to be helping. 

I just wish I had known then (when Ash was little) what I know now. I hope Ashley can forgive me. I did the best I knew how but it wasn't enough. 

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pic Post

Levi and S. They both wear glasses because they have the 'Wonky Eyes'. 
My boys love S and her sister M and fight over them, even when they aren't here.
I have to say my boys have very good taste in wimmins.

Our Trick or treaters. From left we have Belle (Mina), Anakin Skywalker (Levi), Tinkerbelle (Holly), and a Goofy Golfer (Ahren). I took 10 pictures of them and this was the best I could get. They were pretty wound up about getting to trick or treat. 
Examining their bags of booty.
I came home one evening to find Ahren's knees absolutely black. How in the world do little boys get so filthy? I had to scrub and scrub and the bath water was gray when he was done. 
Baby Henry, age 8.5 weeks, attending his first football game. He is a true Texan and the Friday Night lights tradition is a must. (Did you know this munchkin came many weeks early, weighing in at just under 5 pounds but is now 9.5 pounds at 8 weeks old? Can you say OINK!) Baby Henry is Holly's new baby brother and just as irresistable as she is!!!
My boys at the football game. Football means Nachos to them. And watching Kaytee cheer. Well, maybe just Nachos....
Go, Fight, Win!
One thing in life where it is a good thing to be really loud. Nuff said.
Speaking of loud, the boys get earplugs for the games. The fans here are insanely loud. (Much like the cheerleaders...Hee)
Kaytee, immediately to the right of the big red M in the pic.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Calling all friends

I need a huge favor. On Monday Kaytee has a 3 hour photo shoot for a wedding catalog. I have always gone with her on her shoots. This time, I can't. I need help. I need someone who can ride with her into Houston, watch the shoot and ride home with her. A moral support, keep her safe kind of job. 

Any takers? I will reward the volunteer!!!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Beautiful Butterfly

The last hurrahs of summer are here. The flowers are fading away and the last of the butterflies are migrating through. This beautiful specimen stopped by for a bit of nectar and a rest of his/her wings. I didn't doctor the photos at all besides cropping a couple. That is just what it looked like. Isn't nature amazing????