Archive for August, 2008

The Rest of The Story

August 28, 2008


We were awakened at 4 AM by Casey crying.  He wanted – indeed needed – his diaper and sheets changed.  So while we went about that, he indicated he needed to vomit.  The kid actually made it to the garbage can.  Kim and I finished cleaning, took out the trash, and started a load of wash, dosed the babe with fever reducer and bathed him.  Then Kim went back to bed.  I stayed up with a whiney mopey Casey until about 9 AM when he decided he wanted to nap.  Kim took Riley to school.  I ended up going into work late and we tried to settle into a routine with a sick toddler.  Kim took Casey’s temperature shortly after noon and he was normal so she didn’t re-dose with the ibuprofen.  Then about 2 PM Kim called me frantic that Casey was shaking uncontrollably and violently and was turning blue around the eyes and mouth.  I called his pediatrician but she was out of the office.  Her coworker couldn’t see him until 4:30 PM so we decided to take him to the emergency room. 

The poor kid had spiked such a high fever that it caused a seizure.  He was also so dehydrated from the few days of diarrhea that he had to get an IV of fluids.  Or as Riley explained later to my mom, “Casey had to get a long shot with a needle to drink apple juice in his arm.”  Anyway we were there for 7 hours, had to find a friend to pick up Riley from school – thanks Pieces of Gray – and take him all night.  We got Riley to sleep about 10:30 (the next day was his first day of 1st grade.)  We ate dinner at 10 PM and I went right to bed while Kim stayed up with Casey until 1 AM.  I got up with Casey at 6 AM and let Kim sleep another hour.  Riley may not have looked like a super model, but he actually made it to school on time.    

Now I am patiently – or not so patiently – awaiting our friends to fly in from Vermont to spend the long weekend with us.  And not so patiently waiting for Barack Obama to give his long awaited speech tonight.  Will he or will he not address issues pertinent to me?   


My son’s a creative genius, but he wouldn’t lie

August 27, 2008

If you read Chicory then you know that she’s accused my beautiful red-headed wee-angel of zipping her Sassa in a suitcase.  Let me just set the record straight.  What happened is that Sassa crawled into the suitcase by her own free will and then zipped herself into the suitcase.  That’s right.  She reached her arm outside of the suitcase and then zipped herself in.  That’s why the last two inches weren’t zipped.  See, she had to get her arm back inside the suitcase.  That is the story that Riley relayed to me.  Who ya gonna believe? 


Apparently Riley has added to his repertoire.  Not only does he ignore me, refuse to listen, bounce constantly, lose his stuff, be mean to Casey, but he’s added in the recent addition of lying. 


I feel like I can be slap happy about the incident because it turned out alright, but the truth is that I had no idea my son would lie.  Some of the things he’s admitted to are so bizarre that I just couldn’t fathom him lying or he would have for sure lied about why he needs to wash his hands for the 3rd time before going to bed some nights. (don’t ask)   Suddenly our Sunday night turned into an intervention.  The truth was uncovered (which I won’t launch into since Chicory’s rendition matches perfectly.)  The punishments were dished out.  (We took away electronics – radio, video games, television and you’d think we took away his firstborn the way he carried on.)  And then I gave him the opportunity to come clean on any other lies he’s told.  I promised there wouldn’t be any additional punishments but I wanted to know if he’s lied about other things.


He then launched into a list of lies that he’s spouted for the last 3 months. 


Remember when the teacher asked who did it… Remember when you thought I told Casey about dying.  Remember when I told you I didn’t play with a toy gun at so and so’s house.  Remember when you said I couldn’t eat chips and then you couldn’t find the chips…The list went on and he recounted a fair number of lies along with the timeline and the context.  The kid remembered each and every one.  When I asked him why he’s been telling lies he replied “because I didn’t want to go to time out.”  Then he asked, “Do secrets count as lies?”


Suddenly worried that not only does he lie, but he also has secrets, I replied, “Yes.  Secrets are just lies that you haven’t told yet.”  (I’m very proud of that quick reply.)


So he launched into his secrets.  Thankfully they were a 6-year-old’s secrets.  My favorite was that he broke up with his girlfriend because “she has a bathroom problem.”  She’s the only one at his school who’s allowed to run in the hallway because she has to get to the bathroom fast.  And sometimes she doesn’t make it.   He admitted that he broke up with her because he was worried if they got married and they slept in the same bed that she might pee on him.  He went on, “But then I felt bad that I wasn’t a free thinker and it’s not her fault that she has a bathroom problem but then I decided that I’m just six-years-old and that is too young to worry about marrying someone who might pee on you so we’re still friends but we don’t send each other hearts anymore.”  


I was starting to regret my stance on secrets.  We had talked for 2 hours.  He cried for almost an hour because he wouldn’t be able to watch TV for the week.  Then he cried for another hour because he let us down.  Finally, exhausted, and midnight we went to sleep. 


Only to be awakened at 4 AM to….

                                                            To Be Continued

Ritalin or Prozac?

August 18, 2008

I just got back from a mini-vacation with the family.  The 4 of us spent every waking moment together for five full days.  My son needs Ritalin.  Or else I need Prozac.  Or both.  Maybe both.


I love him.  I love his creativity.  I love his questions.  I love his energy.  I truly adore him.  But I cannot handle him.  I cannot make him comply.  I cannot make him focus.  I cannot calm him down.  I cannot make his body hold still.  And I am at a loss.


He loses everything.  We talk about organization.  We set up systems. We hung hooks outside his bedroom so there’d be a place for his school bag, his jacket, and his hat.  Now there’s a place for these things.  But these things are not in their place.  He cries.  He doesn’t want to lose his hat.  He knows it disappoints us.  We talk about valuing his belongings.  He cries.  He gets so angry at himself.  I feel so bad I want to cuddle him up but I don’t and I think, ‘Next time.  Next time he’ll remember not to leave his hat on the bus.”    Only, next time happens the very next day.  And he loses his hat again. 


He bounces.  He talks.  He interrupts.  He has no impulse control.


Last night Casey was riding around the living room on his toddler scooter.  I saw Riley get the idea to stick his foot out.  I literally saw the idea twinkle in his eye.  Before I could even say, “Do not trip your brother” Riley stuck his foot out.  Casey ran into his foot and crashed to the floor.  Riley was visibly upset.  He leaned over and picked up Casey and hugged him.  “I’m sorry Casey.  I didn’t mean for you to get hurt.”  I told Riley that I was very angry because it wasn’t an accident.  He started crying.  “I didn’t mean for him to get hurt,” He said again.  “Then why did you trip him?” I asked.  “Because I thought it.” he replied. 


And it scares the hell out of me.  What other things will he think of throughout his life? 


I feel really vulnerable putting this in writing.  I guess this is partly because I’ve taken on these challenges with him as being possible flaws in my parenting.  And I don’t want advice.  I don’t want anybody writing and saying what you think he needs.  That I’m not consistent enough.  Or that he just needs more sleep.  Or that I ought to try giving him less sugar.  Or more caffeine.  Or less caffeine.  Or a good hard spanking. 


And I feel even more vulnerable admitting that parenting isn’t bringing me joy right now.  That nothing is really bringing me joy even when joy is due.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of managing details.  I’m tired of being a partner of a Ph.D student.  I’m tired of the pressure of work, the details of managing a home, struggling to make ends meet and feeling guilt that the boys can’t be in all the extra things they want to because of time.  And money.  And  because it’s just one more thing to manage. I don’t even know that I want to be a stay at home mom.  But I know I don’t want to work right now.  Or maybe I can say I don’t want to work because that’s the one thing that just isn’t an option at all.  Not working.  Its just not possible.   My job doesn’t feed me the way I thought it would. 

After Casey was born I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old.  I went back to work full-time like many people do.  And I felt exhausted and drained and chalked it up to post partum.  It didn’t go away.  I thought maybe my job was bringing me down.  I’ve changed jobs.  It’s not parenting.  It’s not post partum.  It’s not my job.  It’s not winter. Maybe it’s just me.


This weekend after dinner while we were still at the dinner table with Riley’s grandparents and Riley started talking about how he needed a box and rubber bands and how we was going to make a guitar out of it.  And of course I started in on “no.”  We’re eating dinner.  It’s not the right time.  Just play legos.  We don’t have those things.  He turned to his grandma and said that his “Momma Ruth says no to anything that makes her have to get up.  She’s that lazy.”  His Grandpa got up, went to the basement and returned with a frying pan with rubber bands on it.  It looked more like a banjo but Riley was happy enough.    


So which is it?  Ritalin?  Or Prozac?  Or both?  Maybe its both.  (Totally a rhetorical question by the way.)

I’m writing to tell you why I’m not writing

August 5, 2008

I’m off to a conference for several days.  When I return I’ll be home for a day before traveling to see friends and family.  It will likely be 2 weeks before I post much – unless I blow off a session at the conference to blog in the “business center” at the hotel. 

I’ll take notes of funny stories to tell when I return.