trenches

I made a comment on the Facebook a couple of months ago about how I miss the olden days of “mommy blogs,” and what they meant to me. I can’t even tell you how many of my friends were all “preach it sister! We need to bring back the good ol’ days!” (or something far more profound than that.)

Years before this particular blog transpired, my daily lifeline was the blog I wrote when the kids were babies.  A stay at home mom of two little carpet monkeys, deep in the trenches of lifeMySpace and my blog were my life’s blood.  There were mornings I’d stumble to the computer with a baby attached to each limb just to reach out to someone who could relate. –You guys, this was before the smart phone.  There was no rocking the baby while browsing the Facebook (There was NO Facebook.) This was haul out your laptop (if you were so lucky) and hope that the typing sounds didn’t wake the precious little life-drainer.  There were no baby wraps and slings- we balanced those little buggers on one knee and typed with one hand. This was OG real shit. God it was good.

As women, we were a unit.  We rallied around each other when the nights were long and sleep was short.  We congratulated each other on showering and the ability to survive “crying it out.”  We reminded each other to put on our big girl panties and press on through the tantrums and puke-fests.  We cried together when jobs were lost and cross-country moves were made.  We cheered one another on when we managed to handle whatever curve-ball life threw at us.  And we high-fived each other when we somehow managed to sneak in sex and actually enjoy it.  We were REAL, and we saved each other.

I mean this with the utmost respect, but these young/today moms don’t know what they’re missing. I love that they have their instagram and their communities and their pinterest-worthy etsy creations (whatever they may be,) but it’s just not the same. If I were a young mom today I would hide in the bathroom with a bottle of wine and cry myself to nap time. There’s so much damn pressure.  All this “what I’m doing now” staged photography and “join my circle” stuff I can’t even begin to follow makes my head spin.  Girl, if someone told me to take a selfie and post it for my “community” when I was in the trenches I would have asked how much they’d been drinking and did they have more to share.  A SELFIE! After three days of no sleep?  How about you go and fuck yourself?!  Here’s a photo: my dog puked on the floor and my new crawler decided today would be a fun day to discover finger painting. How’s that for a photo op?

I LOVE that things are evolving and social media is what it is.  It’s still somewhat of a lifeline to me, but I don’t have time to stage my house to look like it’s clean so I can take a “what I’m doing now” selfie.  My kids may be in school, but one of them has been sleeping on my floor for three weeks because that damn XBox game with the zombies scared the shit out of him. And I can’t sleep with him snoring at my feet! I’ll pass on the selfie documentation of these bags under my eyes, thankyouverymuch. There’s no less than 6 loads of laundry on my dining room table because my back has been out for days, and I think my dog just peed somewhere. That makes a lovely photo backdrop, right?

My point? It’s just too much. But I do miss having that kind of community.  I miss my ladies laughing and high-fiving, and even crying through the cyberspace together. I miss the men stumbling into our world and getting a brief “oooohhhhh” moment and understanding just what the hell was going on in our minds.  (Or an AAAAAHHHHH moment and running away for dear life!)  I miss the encouragement and the camaraderie.

This past month the OG mommyblogger of us all, Dooce, hung up her keyboard and is moving on from the blogging world.  (Real talk, I didn’t even know she was still blogging.  I kind of assumed that when I stopped so did everyone else. Because…I’m self-involved?)  Heather was a pioneer of mommyblogs.  She made people want to lay their shit bare and gather round one another. When I read about her decision today it made me sad.  Not for her, but that we’re in a time that people don’t gather around one another and push through the trenches together.  People clean one corner of their otherwise CRAZY house/life so they can snap perfectly filtered snapshots of their tidy little life to impress one another.  I’m sure their communities are encouraging and uplifting in their way, but it’s just…not the trenches.

Motherhood is raw.  It’s messy.  It’s ugly.  No instagram filter can hide the vulnerability of motherhood. So who do these women have?  There are people that I love and eternally respect because of the bond we made in the trenches. I ache for those relationships some days.  It’s been twelve years and I still need them on days that my daughter rolls her eyes at me and stomps away. (Usually to remind me that she’s just like me and that yes, I must actually let her live to see another day.)

I want us to revive the trenches.  I want to walk through the next twelve years of motherhood with the same community I started the first twelve with.  I want to show the younger moms that the trenches of motherhood are filled with a love and beauty so deep that a filter can’t begin to mimic its glow. I read about the “Mommy Wars” and I just shake my head.  We had mommy wars, but we were all fighting for the same thing: survival.  If you’d stop trying to make yourselves look so damn perfect,you wouldn’t have the burning desire to tear one another down. (I mean, there will always be that guy, but I just don’t think to the extent that we see now.)

I don’t know, maybe this is just a pipe dream, but I think it might be becoming my dream.

elle1

there’s rarely a time when facebook isn’t to blame.

If you follow me on facebook, you probably saw that photo yesterday.  Elle was home from school and locked in the office for a long time on the computer.  I thought she was working on schoolwork that she was missing while home playing hooky. I was such a proud mother.

Then, about an hour and a half later, she came out of the office and gave me a huge hug. And then began talking about a million miles per hour.

I found your blog, mom.  And it’s AMAZING.  I’m so glad you’re going to start writing again.  You are soooo good at it.  But wow, you really swear a lot.  I mean, A LOT.  It’s okay though because it kind of makes it so much funnier.  But wow. You swear a lot.  I mean. A. lot.

I had a moment of sheer panic. How on earth was I going to explain and justify and try to re-hide this from her? HOW DID SHE EVEN FIND IT? Ohhhh…the Facebook.  Damn that Facebook.  This is exactly why I have never accepted any friend requests from my friends’ kids.

That picture up there is the face she made when I asked her how she felt when she discovered the blog. Hahaha. She is hilarious.  The nice thing about having an incredibly mature tween child, is that you can mostly just be you, and they can be them, and life just works.  If she sees a blog post that makes me a little more human and flawed and easier to relate to, I’m okay with that. I may have to limit her exposure to topics that are too mature for her or more embarrassing than either of us wants to live through, but so be it.

I started writing when Elle was three.  Part of that was so I could leave something of myself behind for my kids after I’m gone- a way for them to know their mom forever, and witness my struggles and successes firsthand.  I don’t lie to my kids and I answer all of their questions as honestly and candidly as they are mature enough to handle.  I’d say very little about me will surprise them, especially Elle, at this point.  That’s not to say I’m going to give her unlimited access to this blog.  Not yet, anyway.  Jimmie and I are smack dab in the middle of a 30 days of sex challenge and I doubt she’s going to want to hear anything about how it’s changing our marriage. After thirteen years, sometimes you have to set alarms and reminders, folks. It’s a sad, sad truth. ;)

family

what do you title a blog post after being MIA for years?

There’s a solid chance three people will read this.  I am kind of confident people don’t even blog anymore.  I’m not even kidding- the new kids have instagram and tumblr (is that even still a thing?) and, honestly, I don’t even know what else.  I think we all know I can’t speak my mind in 140 characters, so that’s out.  But, I’ve had a few things happen recently that has given me the itch. (to write. that’s it, promise.)

Someone must at least read blogs somewhere, because I’ve had three completely unrelated people ask me what the heck happened to me and the blog in the past two months.  I’ve been desperately needing my therapeutic outlet, and Jimmie all but scolded me yesterday (okay, he scolded me, the jerk!) for neglecting this process and my voice.  So…there you have it folks, I guess I’m back to blabbing on this blog.  I can’t guarantee it will be often, but let’s face it, it hasn’t been often since the days of myspace.  Yipes.

I know there are people that leave their blogs for months at a time and then come back like it’s been a week and pick up where they left off.  I don’t know that I can do that, so I have to at least give a little rundown.  I hope you’ll just bear with me. My last post was 18 months ago and it could barely be called a post.  I guess the last time I really wrote anything of significance was when we began pursuing diagnosis for Jordan and ADHD.  YowZa, that seems like a lifetime ago.

In the time since Jordan began therapy and treatment for ADHD and SPD (when I last wrote,) he has since been diagnosed with Aspergers (no longer even the clinical “label” as it all just falls under Autism Spectrum Disorder now, but I digress.)  I guess that was the beginning of the end of writing for me.  I don’t feel like I can just skim past that point. Maybe that’s where we’re going today.

I have to be honest, I was not able to authentically be me on this blog (or otherwise) when we started this path with Jordan. I think anyone who has read me or known me for any length of time knows, if I can’t say what I want in the way I want, I can’t write or function in any way really.  To express the feelings I had when this journey began with Jordan, was just too raw for me to express publicly or even to those closest to our situation.  I very much went into a protective cocoon for…too long.  I guess this is my coming out party.  Here I am, a beautifully flawed mother butterfly, just trying to lead my baby caterpillars through the beginning stages of their own life metamorphoses.  (I also should tell you I’ve become quite poetic while I’ve been gone, in case you didn’t notice.)

It’ll probably take a little while for me to get whatever the writing version of “sea legs” is back underneath me.  Just these few paragraphs are kind of agonizing. It feels like part “holiday card brag letter” and part “miserable group therapy session.”

The fact of the matter is this: I am crazy in love with this life I live.  It’s so incredibly complicated and full of drama that is complete bullshit half the time. I am surrounded by the most bat-shit crazy people you could possibly imagine.  We are so flawed and imperfect and fun and just wicked wonderful.  My children are so imperfectly amazing, I simultaneously want to kiss them and kick them in the shins every single day.  My husband is a saint of a man who also makes me want to spit in his coffee at least two days a week.  My life moves in contradictions.  I think (God do I hope I’m right about this) that most of the people around me feel the exact same way, at least part of the time.

In order to be who I am, I have to release those contradictions into the universe from time to time.  I guess that is where this space of my life comes in handy… I hope there’s still one or two people in the world that will join me here. I like it when there’s at least one person who will high five me for spitting in the morning coffee.

This is my sanctuary.  This is where I find my peace.  This is where you can find me…

family

tales from the couch.

I’ve had a few posts rolling around in my head for a few days, but I haven’t had a chance to write them. Now, I’m all laid up on the couch wondering if I’m the next feature on that “pregnant and didn’t know it” show or in the midst of kidney stones or death. So, I’ll catch you up on the high points.

Jordan is seriously amazing and rocking the crap out of life in general on his meds. We’ve had some dosage adjustments over the past couple of months and some days better than others, but he’s currently on a break from OT and just enjoying being a little boy. I regularly cry tears of joy. Like, almost daily.

In the past two months, we’ve moved into our new house, our forever house (it better be, dammit.) and in the midst of that I planned and coordinated my most involved wedding so far. It was stress-inducing and fabulous to say the least. We’re all moved into the new house and have more empty rooms than you can imagine. So I’m scouring Pinterest for projects and have a honey-do list a mile long for Jimmie. He loves it.

The baby I watch three days a week is six months old now and he has stolen my heart. Although, today, he’s teething and is testing my love and devotion. :)

This isn’t very exciting, I know. But I’ve felt out of touch so I just wanted to say hi. What are you guys up to? What’s new? Is it so lame that I’m asking that? Whatever. I don’t even care. I have to go pass a kidney stone. Or gas. I don’t even know but I hope it’s not serious because, you guys, I’m in serious pain over here.

week one.

Jordan has been on a minimum dose of a common stimulant treatment for ADHD for one full week. Jim and I just keep looking at each other shaking our heads in disbelief. The child we see is such a dramatic difference than the child we are accustomed to I can’t even tell you. The positive changes are really remarkable. The side effects are actually very minimal to this point.

I decided to keep a log of all of this for two reasons. One, I want to be able to look back on this for us and for whatever use we will have. Two, once we are comfortable with where we are in this process and how Jordan is doing, I want to be able to share our journey with other moms and dads and caregivers. As we sat in our IEP meeting today, one of the counselors told me I should keep notes so I can share one day with others. I just giggled. She doesn’t know about my compulsive writing of all the details. Ha.

So, as I said, week one has been mostly euphoric for Jim and I. The doc told us we should see results of the meds within around three to five days, but that some effects could be seen right away on day one. So we were hopeful that we’d see some little something on day one. We didn’t expect it, but we said we thought it’d be great if there was something.

I gave him his first dose, told him of all the things I wanted him to pay attention to in his body while he was at school, and I put him on the bus. Just like any other day. HA! Then I emailed the teacher, his primary counselor and anyone else with a pulse at the school and asked them to be watching him closely. “Watch for tics and increased stuttering. Watch for fits and aggression. And for God’s sake please let me know if he looks like his pulse is racing.” Or some version of this.

Jim stayed close to home and worked on some projects. I think he mostly just knew I was going to drive myself nuts all day worrying and wondering. I walked to the bus to meet the kids and waited anxiously for him to do his usual descent from the steps and run my way screaming and wildlike. He sauntered down, strolled my way and gave me a nonchalant “Hey mom, what’s up?”

What the WHAT?!?! Who was this child?

He spent the better part of the last week being himself, but a little more chill and a lot more “I can’t put my finger on it but something/almost everything about that child is different in a very good way.”

We were around 5 weeks worth of homework behind. It’s not that we don’t work on homework with him every night, it’s that it takes so long we just can’t keep up with the class. This week, we did one week’s worth of work each night. Yes. We are now caught up. And he wanted to do homework. He asked to do it. He was proud of his work and he mostly understood what was going on. It honestly felt nothing short of miraculous.

The downside? He can’t sleep as well. At least the first few nights he really couldn’t fall asleep for hours. It took its toll on him. He has been taking Melatonin to help him fall asleep for a few years. We made sure with the doc that this would still be okay and continued as usual. Night one I had to triple his dose to get him anywhere close to falling asleep. No biggie- he wasn’t taking much to start with. It’s still a healthy level. The last few nights, it hasn’t taken as much.

The last few days have had a few changes. He’s still pretty level. The only difference I’m seeing is more of a “sensitivity.” He’s a little crankier than usual. He has had a couple of meltdowns when he doesn’t get his way, which wasn’t happening the first few days of meds. It is pretty typical from before meds though. I almost feel like his body/brain are getting used to the meds and they aren’t working as well. But, he also has a cold and it’s been a very long week of working double time on homework catch-up and his body getting used to this new normal. So I could be wrong. It could be anything. That’s why the doc has asked us to wait a month before re-evaluating his dosage. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of ups and downs.

So far, I’m glad it’s mostly ups! No side effects except the decrease in appetite (we are not concerned about this one!) and the sleep thing. So far, so good.

the decision.

{This post was written a few weeks ago and is the first in a line of “we choose meds” posts that I’ve been writing since.  We wanted to get through the initial stages of medication privately before we told anyone. Without spoiling the ending ;) I can tell you our life is forever, fabulously changed.}

 

This time last  year, as we sat down with the professionals at Jordan’s school and learned their take on his “setbacks,” the first words out of my mouth were, “We will pursue all lines of help possible, but we will not be drugging our kid so don’t even bother going there.”

Last night, at 5:45 pm we sat in our pediatrician’s office and said, “Yes.  We feel like it’s time to look into the medications that could help him.”  It’s as simple as that.  It’s time.

I won’t be publishing this post for quite a while, if ever, but I do want to write it today.  It’s important I write it now both for me and so that eventually, if I do decide to share this, it will be the way I actually felt all the way through it.  Today, as he takes his first 18 mg dose and heads out the door for school, I feel like a nervous wreck.  He knows he’s taking special medicine that might help him slow his engine down and make it easier to listen to his teacher.  He also knows it might make him feel funny, which Mommy needs to know about right away.  He knows his heart might feel like it’s beating really fast and he needs to tell his teacher.

What he doesn’t know, is that Mommy is praying her face off that this special medicine only gives him all the benefits and none of the side effects.  Is that too much to ask?  I honestly don’t think so.  I don’t want him to get a nervous tic or to begin stuttering worse than he ever has.  And that’s just the beginning.  I don’t want him to have heart palpitations or fits of aggression.  I just want him to have a good day.

I just want him to be able to sit in his chair and complete a worksheet that kids half his age can do without a problem.  I want him to be able to sit on the floor with the rest of his friends during carpet time rather than in a chair next to the teacher to keep him from rolling around on the floor.  I want him to walk down the hallway rather than jump and fall and roll down the hallway.  I want him to learn to read and understand that numbers are more than just a symbol on the page but they mean the same thing as the blocks he has stacked up in front of him.  These may seem like silly things to care about.  But they aren’t.

They aren’t silly because that’s what’s important to the seven year old giant child that crawls up on my lap and tells me that today he wants to put the plastic bag on his head and stop breathing because he’s stupid.  There’s nothing silly about feeling so different and so stupid than everyone else around you that you just want to give up.

And that’s why, at 5:45 pm I sat across from our doctor and told him that yes, we are ready. We choose meds.  Not because I’m a lazy parent that just wants the meds to turn my kid into the perfect child without me doing any of the work.  Not because I want to appease the teachers that expect too much of little boys these days and don’t let them be “boys.” Because in 2013 society expects seven year old little boys to be able to read and count to 100.  And 85% of seven year old boys do know how to do that without any problem.  And trust me, seven year old boys know if they can’t do something that “everyone else” can do, and it makes them feel stupid and for some of them, it makes them depressed at times.

We aren’t telling anyone other than his teachers about our decision right now.  Someday we will, but he certainly doesn’t need the added pressure of being in a fishbowl as it gets figured out right now. It’s time he’s just allowed to be a seven year old little boy.

 

when lightning strikes

Follow me on a little journey if you will…

A beautiful, well-organized, and lovely woman with a smoking hot body is on a relaxing stroll in the sunshine through the park. She has her perfectly behaved children and adorable puppy with her. The love of her life is off working at his perfect job and enjoying all that life has to offer. All of a sudden, storm clouds roll in, thunder booms in the distance, a downpour begins and the woman is suddenly struck by lightning.

Replace the woman above with an average looking, occasionally-organized, paunchy mom in sweatpants; the perfect children with unusually maniacal deviants; and the husband with a typically stressed and exhausted dad and you’ve got our life a year ago. There we were, walking through life with its usual stresses, but mostly just living a wonderful existence as a family. Then one day, lightning struck- figuratively, not literally. Don’t worry.

If you used to be a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that aside from the occasional “OMG I have to get this out of my head or I’m going to burst” posts about my children, I have been mostly MIA for the past year. My profanity-filled, snarky and sarcastic bitching about our silly life have pretty much dried up. I have recently received a few emails asking me “where the hell are you woman? What is going on?!?” Thanks to those of you that have wondered about me and asked. That means a lot!

Everything is fine at our Improper home! It’s just that, well…I got struck by lightning! This time last year, we began to realize that Jordan was having some learning issues at school. We were working hard with him to keep him caught up, but it became more and more obvious that more than just the “little boy wiggles” and distractions were keeping him from keeping up. In kindergarten. You’ve read this before, I won’t go into it again. Jordan has SPD, ADHD and an alphabet soup (as other moms so aptly put it) of issues going on that hinder his learning and behavior.

For a lot of people, this is no big deal. For me, it was truly like getting struck by lightning. I’ve been feeling the “after-shock” for a year. We’ve all been relearning how we live life. It’s not a big deal. Except it really is a big deal, for me at least. I’m a perfectionist. I need life to be perfect. When life isn’t perfect, someone freaks out. That someone is usually me. So basically, I’m always freaking out inside. Because when the hell is life ever perfect?

That’s not actually totally true. We’ve faced a lot of obstacles in our life together, Jimmie and I. Life has obviously never been perfect. We’ve faced all the usual situations- having babies, losing jobs and careers, being so poor you don’t even want to know, making questionable-at-best decisions, facing some pretty serious health conditions, being poor again, you get it. For me, none of that compared to having a life-altering situation to deal with in one of my kids. All I know is, thank God it wasn’t more of a health concern. At the time, I would have had a hard time handling it.

All of my days that were previously a leisurely time spent making our home and browsing blogs and socializing and being your average spoiled homemaker are no more. I have become obsessed with finding solutions to this problem and that; running to therapy appointments; reading books, blogs and articles on how to help with this thing and that thing, working with the school and teachers and counselors on what will best help which part of that piece of the puzzle and so on, ad nauseam. I’m obsessed with giving my son his best chance at life and a successful future while at the same time giving both my kids (and their dad) the most normal and rewarding home and school and social life I can. Basically, what I’m telling you here, is that my brain has been focused on one thing and one thing only for the most part- fixing this (unfixable) problem.

Most recently, I’ve been on burn-out. The “throw my hands up in the air, nothing is working, no one can fix my kid, I give up” type of burn out. It’s stupid. So, here I am to find balance. I want to help my kid. I will keep running to this thing and that and reading and researching. But I will also make time for me and friends and my husband and fun. And I will make time and space in my head for writing. Because it is, as usual, how I get the crazy out.

You’re welcome to walk away from this blog right now and never look back. It might actually be recommended. I know it won’t always be funny. There will be too much mommy talk and not enough cocktails and bunco. If that’s not okay then I understand. I won’t be mad. Thanks for being around for the journey up until now.

 

 

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