mama bear

It’s midnight and Jordan has been asleep for three hours. In that time, he’s sleep-walked into the living room where Jim and I were watching TV twice. Each time there was a sense of panic in his eyes and he was talking about whatever dream he was experiencing through tears and the obvious confusion that comes when you’re walking around dead asleep. As funny as his sleep-walking and talking can be at times, this one has left me feeling gutted. 

It’s been a tough week for him. He was sick earlier in the week, but then he got well enough to attend a going-away sleepover party last night for a friend who is moving. It was a big step for both of us- his first sleep over with more than very close family friends and definitely his first large group sleepover. It wasn’t the best experience for him- some of the kids were very rude and treated him unkindly- but I was so proud of how well he did. The mama bear in me wanted to go and do what mama bears do when he told us how things went, but Jim and I know that this is part of life for all kids. We just need to do our part to teach him how to maneuver this time in life and trust that he’s going to be okay. (Within reason. I’m still me and can still go full on mama bear when I need to.)

After we picked him up from the party we went to a family BBQ with lots of people, stimulation and more opportunities for his anxiety levels to rise. The BBQ was at a house on a small cove on the lake, and Jordan’s big sis and her friend floated out into the cove on a giant float-toy. Jordan decided to go in the kayak to “rescue” them and, even though he’s gotten into that dumb kayak 20 times without tipping it, he just couldn’t do it today and kept tipping it over. It was so frustrating for him, but he was trying to rush so much to go and save the girls. He didn’t like them being out there without a rope or way to get back in. Some of the family was watching him struggle to get into the kayak, and of course it was comical, but to him it was far from funny. I could see his struggle- wanting to rush to get out there, feeling everyone watching, being so embarrassed that he kept tipping over. It was just an overall tough time, but again, Jim and I were so impressed with how he handled himself and how he bounced back so quickly. 

When we got home, he was so exhausted he just conked out. It’s been quite a while since he’s done a lot of sleep walking. I know being as tired as he was is a big part of it, and anytime he’s had a lot of anxiety he’s really a sleep talker. I can’t get the kid to give me three sentences about his day while he’s awake, but if he’s sleep talking I know it was a doozy. 

After his second time up tonight, we couldn’t get him to settle down enough to get some peaceful sleep, so I just decided to go to bed with him and try to keep him calm. In the time it’s taken me write these few paragraphs, he’s wrestled around three times and told me “We just can’t stay here any more. These people are not okay!” “We have to go. They don’t want us here and they’re just going to keep hurting us,” and “It doesn’t matter how nice you are to them, they will just keep trying to hurt us. This is a horrible place!” This is the same thing he’s been saying for the last two hours. 

I don’t know what he’s dreaming about, but as I lay here comforting him the knot around my heart just keeps tightening as the tears stream down my face. Maybe he’s dreaming about a video game. Or maybe the tension and anxiety from the last few days while he’s been holding it together so well are finally finding a way out. 

I know that nothing that has gone on in his world is so horrible. Kids feel left out at parties all the time. And I can’t count the times I felt the red heat of embarrassment creep over my face when someone laughed at a clumsy mistake I made as a kid- or even as an adult. This is life. But when you’re an incredibly sensitive kid managing more in life than the average person, it just sucks a little extra. And when you’re the mama bear of that kid, you just feel a little extra mama bearish too.  

Here’s hoping the nightmares end and peace can settle on his tired soul tonight. 

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 ūüėČ 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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boy: a noise with dirt on it.

I’m going to warn you now that as I write this I am weepy. ¬†I know I am more than a tad hormonal. ¬†And stressed. ¬†Those two things basically equal disaster for me in the sanity department. ¬†So, I weep. ¬†Today, I weep the sappy mommy weep. ¬†It’s okay. ūüôā

I was just chatting with Jordan’s (6) very first (and most favoritest) daycare teacher about him as a 2-3 year old. ¬†And suddenly it hit me, I miss my baby. ¬†Now, I know, I have these moments a lot lately. ¬†A friend was just teasing me about how I really should not have stopped having babies. ¬†(Trust me, if time and money were in unlimited supply, I’d be adopting those little suckers like there was a shortage.) ¬†But, truth be told, I don’t want more babies. ¬†I just want to relive some of the years with my babies, especially Jordan. ¬†(Well, today it’s Jordan. ¬†A couple of weeks ago it was Elle. ¬†So don’t listen to me.)

I missed out on a lot of little moments with Jordan. ¬†I was there for every one, but due to the nature of life at that time, there was so much that I wasn’t there¬†for. ¬†I was depressed, then I was psycho, then I was working, then I was caring for other people’s kids. ¬†Now that I’m focused on my family, I miss the parts I missed. ¬†I can’t help it.

Sometimes it’s more of a challenge for me to think of the amazing qualities my son has, because he is also… a boy. ¬†It’s more obvious for me to think about the shenanigans he is up to and the numerous bonks and scratches and bruises and broken bones. ¬†It’s easy for me to concentrate on the fact that it takes him twice as long to learn things than it did his sister: talking, writing his name (and various other “school” related things) and let’s just be real here, wiping his own butt (although, CONQUERED! Thank God!) ¬†There is but one simple fact about Jordan that stands out more than anything in the world to me: He Is A Boy to the very core of himself and then back again. ¬†He is a boy times ten. ¬†And I love him for every single quality that is boy. ¬†Even though it’s easier to worry and focus on the things that I just can’t even keep up with, it’s so gratifying to stop and realize all that those things mean.

He is constantly dirty. ¬†He cares way more about discovering what is in the bottom of that mud puddle and how far he can splash it than he does about whether or not his shoes… or pants, shirt and hair for that matter… are clean for school. He devours bagels and toast and eggs without regard to how much of it is smeared across his face. ¬†He enjoys the meal to it’s fullest and forgets the rest, even if that means he’ll be displaying his breakfast for all the bus stop to see. ¬†You see, Mommy would wipe it off but she’s too busy chasing behind him with dropped shoes and a backpack and her hair standing on end to even notice.

He is always making noise. ¬†He loves the sound of his own voice. ¬†He loves the sound of his feet tapping out a beat to music only he can hear. ¬†He loves the sound of chewing as loudly as possible for everyone else to enjoy the delicious meal he’s consuming. ¬†He loves the sound of talking as loudly as he can so no one misses one single important thing he has to say.

He loves running and walking backward and sideways and jumping over things rather than walking around them. ¬†He loves bouncing balls and shooting guns and flying kites. ¬†He loves jumping in the deep end without a life jacket even though he doesn’t even know how to swim. ¬†He loves riding fast and jumping curbs and giving me heart attacks when bones are broken and multiple surgeries are required to repair said bones. ¬†He loves defying odds and growth charts and statistics.

He loves socializing. ¬†He loves playing after school with friends. ¬†He will play with a child that treats him like crap and bosses him around if that means he has someone to share his joy for life with. ¬†He loves children that are smaller than he is (let’s face it, most of them are.) and caring for them. ¬†He loves babies and toddlers and kids that are two years older than he is. ¬†He doesn’t care. ¬†As long as someone treats him with a tiny bit of kindness, he will overlook the rest of it and spend every waking minute devising a plan of how they can meet for a playdate every minute of every day.

If he knocks someone down in the middle of the basketball court, he will stop the game and go back to make sure they are okay.  He loves people.  He truly, deeply cares about them.

And he loves his Mom. ¬†I have never felt more love from one single person or a group of people as I do my son. ¬†I know my Elle loves me and we have such a special mother/daughter bond. ¬†I know Jimmie adores me and would do absolutely anything within his power to show me that. ¬†But the love from that boy is unmatched by anyone on this earth. ¬†It just is. ¬†I can’t explain it, I can’t rationalize it, and I can’t measure it.

When my mom found out I was having a boy, she asked me to make sure I didn’t spoil him rotten as most mothers do with their sons. ¬†“Don’t baby him and treat him like he’s special just because he’s a boy.” ¬†Well, oops. ¬†I guess I’m failing because he is special. ¬†He is my boy and I cherish him. ¬†He drives me batty and I have to punish him twice as much as his sister to make sure he doesn’t turn out to be a criminal, but he is absolutely 100% special and I will treat him that way every single day of his life.

Elle often tells me, “I’m Daddy’s Princess and Jordan is your special boy.” ¬†She doesn’t mind. ¬†She will openly admit Daddy is her favorite and I’m second fiddle. ¬†And I love every single moment of it. ¬†Because I know she’s secure in our relationship and that she knows her daddy cherishes her.

Jordan will wrestle with his dad for hours every single day if he can. ¬†He will annoy his sister and get into trouble six ways till Sunday. ¬†But when I walk into a room, he melts. ¬†And so therefore, I must melt too. ¬†It’s simply impossible not to.

i never claimed to be ‘average’

This morning my littlest bug had what’s apparently a run of the mill surgical procedure, removing the metal plate that was attached to the femur at the beginning of the summer. ¬†You might remember me freaking out that the babe somehow broke his femur just days before we were scheduled to move. ¬†It made for an interesting summer and moving process, but he took it like a champ and today was months¬†ahead of when we were initially told the removal procedure would happen.

He went in like a champ and only got a little teary and nervous that last minute when they took him from pre-op to the OR and mommy wasn’t allowed to go. ¬†We were then escorted to the waiting room where I’d spend the next couple of hours, and well… send myself into a panic attack and state of overall emotional wreckage as only I can. ¬†I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I always dwell on the WCS (worst case scenario, for those of you not currently undergoing dozens of hours of therapy,) but I do. ¬†I sat there thinking about how they were working so dangerously close to his femoral artery and it would be so easy to slip and ohmygod I don’t even want to think about it. ¬†We were in the day surgery area which isn’t completely attached to the hospital. ¬†Which got me thinking if an actual emergency did occur it would probably take too long to get to the actual hospital in order to actually save a person’s life. ¬†So that was disconcerting.

I sat in a seat that enabled me to look back into the pre and post op areas, just feet from the OR. ¬†I figured if there was something bad going on, I’d definitely be able to see the nurses and emergency type people scurrying around back there looking for crash carts and screaming “CODE BLUE, ROOM TWO, STAT!” ¬†I wish I could tell you I casually peeked through the frosted window panes occasionally, but in all actuality, my eyes were glued to those windows all 127 minutes I sat in that room, just watching for someone to look a little concerned. ¬†Every time the door to my area opened, I accosted the nurse with my jedi mind tricks to ensure they weren’t hiding anything from me. ¬†I’m confident they all started to wonder if I was nuts.

Then, when the doctor came out to tell me all was well, I confirmed all of their suspicions that not only was that freaky ass mother in the waiting room possibly crazy, but someone should call Psych a freaking sap and get her admitted.  Because, you see, as the doc was talking so calmly and reassuringly about how well things went, I freaking burst into tears.

Now, I have had an interesting couple of days. ¬†I have a lot of… emotions, if you will, running about just under the surface of sanity. ¬†So, I’m not sure it was 100% nerves about the surgery that I was letting out. ¬†But I released what some might consider a metric shit ton of emotion. ¬†And made a complete ass of myself. ¬†Everyone was quite reassuring, telling me it was nice to see a mother that cared so much about their child and blah de blah blah. ¬†But I saw them running around the post-op, making sure all the sharp objects were properly stored. ¬† Jimmie could barely contain his laughter as he watched me. ¬†Oh sure, he was hugging me and telling me what a great mom I am, but I saw that twinkly glint in his eye that tells me he’s mentally going over the checklist of padded room necessities. ¬†I know inside he was trying not to laugh and what a loon toon we all know I am.

Then we went back to post-op. ¬†And the PA was telling us all the particulars of recovery. ¬†And at the end, I winked at him. ¬†I don’t know why. ¬†It just happened. ¬†My left eye closed in a definite winkish sort of way. ¬†And I wanted to crawl under the bed. ¬†But when he came back, he winked at me!¬† So I think we have a date now.

And Jordan is fine.  Watching Batman cartoons and sipping on a vanilla milkshake.  Enjoying the benefits of Vicodin.  Wonder if he would consider sharing.

emotional constipation. it’s a real issue, folks.

Today was the day.  I took my babe and left him in the cold cruel world all alone.  What a horrible feeling.

Well… okay. ¬†Maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic here. ¬†What I did, was take my last born child and drop him off with a super sweet little lady who will begin him on his educational adventure. ¬†There, that sounds less “someone call CPS on this bitch” and more “awwww… that’s a sweet mommy.”

Yesterday Jordan and I were running some errands together and he looks at me and says, “Well, Mom. ¬†This is it. ¬†Tomorrow I’ll be at school and we won’t have any more Mommy dates. ¬†You’ll just be doing this alone and I’ll be at school like Elle.” ¬†{Well thanks for breaking my heart kid!} ¬†He must have sensed my sadness because he followed it up with a “But don’t worry, I still have weekends off so we can have Mommy dates then.” ¬†{Well thank god!}

So we dropped the munchkin off at school (complete with photos and the whole boo-hoo breakfast experience) and he didn’t even blink an eye. ¬†He is so damn ready for school it’s weird. ¬†Jimmie went along with me because this is a big deal. ¬†But also because I think we were both expecting me to have a Sally Field in Steel Magnolias moment and weep on the school sidewalk or something. ¬†I ugly cried a solid ten minutes when Elle started school before I could even pull the car out of the parking spot. ¬†That was just the beginning.

Today? I didn’t shed a tear. ¬†I was not going to blubber all over the place in front of everyone. ¬†So every time I got a lump in my throat I thought of random things ¬†(like army ants or cucumbers) to get my mind off of it until I could just make it to the car. ¬†Then I got to the car and remembered I had to go back to the school office. ¬†So I pulled my shit together and did what I had to do. ¬†When we finally started the drive home Jim was like, “You’re freaking me out. ¬†Why are you not freaking out right now?” ¬†I didn’t know. ¬†I don’t know. ¬†Crap. ¬†I waited too long and stuffed it down to much and it’s dead. ¬†I don’t know!

Then we got home and it hit me. ¬†It is freaking quiet around here. ¬†I cried for about a second. ¬†Then nothing. ¬†Then Jim said we should get a patio set for the back patio so we could sit and have coffee together on the quiet mornings he’s home working, and I lost it. ¬†For about three seconds.

I’m emotionally constipated, you guys! ¬†I feel all of it brooding around inside but it just won’t come out. ¬†I need a good cry so I can get over it, but I just can’t. ¬†What the hell? ¬†Maybe I am just a seasoned vet. ¬†I don’t know.

This is the child that has never had a professional photo taken of him. ¬†He’s the epitome of a second born child and I suck. ¬†I can’t even cry that he’s off in the cruel world alone now!

Maybe it’s just that I know how great this is going to be for him. ¬†Maybe that’s it. Shit. I. Don’t. Know!