Monday, September 29, 2008

Subtle changes

A friend was recently talking about a shift she had noticed with her children recently, and how subtlely (is that spelled right? I can't tell. I am really too lazy to spell check or grab the dictionary. So I am imposing poor spelling on you helpless reader.) the changes came about.

Kids seem to do that once they are past those rapidly changing infant/toddler years. Once the preschool and ESPECIALLY elementary school years hit, things just seem to go along and then BAM, or perhaps rather whisper..there is a barely perceptible change that creeps up on you.

I think some of that is happening at Chez Babble. A just noticeable change. I think it is around responsibility and "taking care of business" as we refer to it around here. I don't have to nag or remind as much for things like chores to happen. They seem to finally get the idea that the sooner we take care of business the more time there is for leisure. I think it is change in development. Interesting to observe. Exciting to experience. A slight twinge of sad is in the mix for it means less dependence and more independence which is not always as welcome as one might expect.

On to other topics.

I am getting all kinds of worked up about this election. I don't think I am getting worked up in a healthy or productive way either.

I doubt that it is good/healthy/prudent of me to want to walk up to a stranger in the store wearing a McCain/Palin t-shirt and pummel that person while screaming, "WHY???WHY???? FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS WHY WOULD YOU WASTE YOUR ONE PRECIOUS VOTE THAT YOU ONLY GET TO USE ONCE EVERY FOUR YEARS ON THIS COUPLE???????HAVE YOU SEEN THEM IN ACTION???I POOP MYSELF NEARLY EVERY TIME ONE OF THEM OPENS THEIR MOUTH!!!!!!!!!I DON'T WANT YOU TO HELP ME UNDERSTAND I JUST WANT YOU TO STOOOOOOPPPPPPP!!!!"

Nope....not healthy at all.

November can't come too soon. God help me if things don't go my way, as I am afraid I will do something ridiculous.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Time For the Latest Installment of....Conversations in the Car!!

In today's episode we find the Mother driving her two children to school....

Mother: Hey you guys are pretty quiet back there! What are you doing.

#2: Ohhhh I am just thinking.

Mother: What are you thinking about?

#2: Lot's of different things. Like Mittens.

Mother: What are you up to #1?

#1: Just staring out the window.

Mother: What do you see?

#1: The same things I always see on the way to school. I wish something interesting would
happen while I am at school today.

Mother: Like what?

#1: Like...finding an alien dog.

Mother: Uhhh...I see...........

Stayed tuned to see if #1 indeed finds an alien dog!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Adult Conversation

My life pretty much revolves around kids. I work with children all day, and then come home to take care of two children. I have trouble thinking of activities in which I engage that do not in some way involve at least one child.

It stands to reason I guess that the vast majority of the conversations I participate in tend to have children as the central topic most of the time.

I love kids I really do. However I am beginning to find myself wishing more and more often for a few activities and conversations that have nothing to do with children. In a word I guess I am interested in more moderation and less saturation.

That is tough to do in my current situation.

Today I did have some success and I was ridiculously giddy about it afterwards.

I had lunch with a good friend and we were able to discuss things like religion, politics, important issues and other stuff.

It was very refreshing. I was so glad that I felt that I actually had something to offer to the conversation, as I feel horribly out of practice discussing such adult matters.

I was so excited that I could hardly wait for my husband to get home so I could tell him all about it!

I came away with a few things today:

  1. I need to get out more
  2. I need to stop just saying I need to get out more
  3. I might want to pick up a magazine/newspaper/blog that deals with grownup stuff every now and again.

There may be hope for me yet!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't read if you don't want to hear complaining

My week has sucked and I don't want any more of it.

Monday: Extremely busy at work. Got home late. Had dinner late. After late dinner #2 smashes her hand in a door. Much screaming and bleeding. Difficult to determine if it needs stitches. Notice that Minor Med is closed for the evening. Reluctantly decide that she is probably ok.

Tuesday: Extremely busy at work. Get home late. Run around like a crazed person to get children picked up and #2 to piano on time. Sit at piano lesson and look forward to coming home to husband and dinner. Get home to find no husband and dinner still in the crock-pot. Dinner is even later than the night before. Check out #2's wound, see that it is still bleeding. Decide that is probably not right and take her to Minor Med. Soothe child while she receives 2 stitches. Reluctantly agree to bring child back the next day for an x-ray. Off to Walgreens for antibiotic and get home to put #2 to bed late.

Wednesday: Very busy at work. Behind on paperwork. Fret all day about whether or not x-ray is REALLY necessary since child seems to be ok. Decide to follow doctor's advice. Take child to x-ray appointment. Wait a long time. Find out finger is broken. Feel like a crappy parent because I was thisclose to skipping the x-ray. Obviously my injury judgement is not to be trusted. Go back to work. Rush home with 5 minutes to change clothes and get child to dance class. Come home shower children and get them in to bed. Do other chores. Fart around on the computer. Notice that I am really hungry. Notice it is 9:22 and I have not eaten since lunch.

Guess I better go eat.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Long Overdue Milestone

We have been working on a big project with #2 all summer long. It is a project that we avoided for a very long time, hoping against hope that the project would take care of itself. Alas it did not take care of we were left to deal with it.

The project has been to help #2 stop sucking her thumb.

Yes my 7 year old daughter sucked her thumb up until a few weeks ago.

When she was a baby the thumb sucking was a blessed thing. She would not take a pacifier, and at first often used my pinkie to soothe her self and satisfy her needs. Since I could not always be there to offer a pinkie, she eventually found solace in her own thumb. We vowed at that time that we would let her give it up on her own, and not do foolish things like paint her thumb with foul tasting stuff to deter her. We naively assumed that she would give it up by the time she entered school, much as her sister gave up her beloved blankie.

Ohhh how wrong we were.

We did put some limits on thumb sucking. Once preschool started we instituted the no thumb sucking at school rule. Not too hard for her, as she relied on it mainly for when she was very upset, sleepy, or at times when she was inactive. We then moved from there that there was no thumb sucking outside the home. That was tougher, but still not too bad. Still we assumed she would give it up herself.

A few years in to school and she was still at it. Now our avoidance had everything to do with total dread of the hell we knew was going to come from trying to make her quit. So we put it off.

Then last spring she was invited to a slumber party at her best friend's house. This activity was NOT met with the enthusiasm I expected. Of course being the mom that I am I starting asking, "whassa goin' on???" Finally #2 confesses that she does not want to go because she does not want the other kids to see her sucking her thumb at night when she is going to sleep.

Now at this point my therapist red flags start going up. We are now broaching the "behavior interfering with participating in life activities" range. I had a conference with BH immediately and it was decided that we could put off addressing the issue no longer. (OK we decided to wait until summer break, but you get the idea!)

So it was decided that we would take things slowly. We began by giving up thumb sucking during times that she was really not engaging in the behavior that much. We took things in increments of a few hours. Rewarded her for each successful day with a dime, and every three weeks the no thumb sucking time was increased. The end reward for giving up the thumb altogether was a slumber party with her friends.

I have to say this all went MUCH MUCH MUCH better than I ever anticipated. She was very edgy about the idea, but really motivated by the rewards. In the end she took the initiative to make the increases sooner than we had stated and moved things along at a good clip. There were some tough moments, particularly as she was figuring out new coping skills, but all in all I was shocked at how easily this went and kicked myself for not trying it sooner.

The last time to go was night time. Boy did we dread that. The time to move on to that one came just as we were going on vacation, so we put it off. Then when we got home it was time to start we put it off again. Also we had no f'ing idea how to go about this one. This was the mother of all.....


Two weeks ago at bedtime #2 asks when it is time to give up the thumb at night. We told her we could start in a few weeks once she was good and settled in to school. #2 says I think I would like to start tonight. BIG PAUSE. "Okkkaaaayyy" we said cautiously, "if you are sure...." She was definitely sure. So on we went. I fully expected her to come out in about 5 minutes completely distraught and saying she had changed her mind and couldn't do it. No such thing. We checked on her and she went to sleep with very little trouble NO THUMB.


She had one night where she was wavering, but it was an up too late overtired moment that a solid bout of snuggling helped her through. She has come up with some good ways to help cope when she wants to suck her thumb and we have now gone almost three weeks thumb free at night and recently we were able for the first time to put nailpolish on all 10 fingers!

HOOORRAAAYYY!!! Mission accomplished!!!

Tomorrow....Slumber Party! Complete with two good friends, pizza, popsicles, popcorn, much giggling, games and likely little sleeping. She is so excited that she is having trouble sleeping tonight and has reminded me no less than 50 times since I got home from work at 5 that,


Indeed it is.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Living Like the Quimby's

Here at Chez Babble we all gather on the Big Bed to read together right before the children go to Dreamland.

In the past couple of months we have read a few of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Can I say how much I am enjoying the girls being old enough to appreciate some of my favorites from when I was their age. Little House, Ramona, The Boxcar Children. It is F-U-N.

For those of you for have never had the pleasure of reading one of the Ramona books, or if it has been so long that you can't remember let me refresh your memory.

The books begin when Ramona is about 5 years old. She is a rather precocious, funny, and some times annoying child. She lives at home with her parents and older sister Beezus, whom she annoys greatly.

As we have read these books, I have been surprised at the amount of conversation that has been generated among the four of us as we compare the "life" of the Quimby's to our own. There are some pretty major differences. A major theme in the books is the fact that the Quimby's are not a family that has a lot of money. They are not living in poverty by any means, but the words scrimping and saving are present with some frequency and there is often mention made of the fact that the family can not afford many things. For the Quimby's a bag of chips or Gummy Bears from the store is a treat that only happens on payday. A trip out to eat at a restaurant is almost unheard of. At one point in the series Mr. Quimby loses his job and is out of work for several months and treats of any kind are stopped altogether.

The life of Ramona and her sister is pretty different from the life my girls lead where what are considered treats for the Quimby's happen on nearly a daily basis. We think nothing of throwing a bag of chips in the grocery cart, my kids get candy FAR more than they should. Trips to get ice cream are commonplace and don't get me started on how often we go out to eat in a single week. It is disgraceful really. My children take piano, violin, tennis, and dance lessons (that is two activities per kid, not all four for each child!) They get to spend at least three weeks at a fun day camp in the summer.

We had a good discussion one evening (walking home from DQ funnily enough) about the differences between our family and the fictional Quimby's. I have to say that what my kids likely consider to be a treat, would be considered out of the question were they a Quimby.

This month as the bills rolled in for vacation, we had a tough decision to make, pay them all off now, or later. Knowing the right and smart thing to do was to pay them off now, we bit the bullet and did it. That means a skintight budget for the rest of the month. No eating out, no trips for ice cream, all those extras are G-O-N-E. I am also giving up my yoga class for this month. So we sat the kiddoes down and explained that this month we were going to live like the Quimby's. We expected wails, whining, and gnashing of teeth.


We got none of that. They were totally cool with the idea, and we have heard nary a complaint. #2 was worried that we would have to postpone her slumber party that was already in the works BEFORE we paid the bills and saw that we needed to be frugal because the plan had been to order her favorite pizza for it. We were smart enough to make sure that was covered to reassure her worried little head.

So here we are three days in to it and so far so good. I hope that this will maybe....MAYBE be the start of something new and better for us.

Living a little less large will benefit us all I think.