Saturday, January 23, 2010

worst mother in America?

In direct opposite-ness of the last post, let me tell you the many reasons why I could win that award today.

1. Made a pot roast in the slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, & onion.
Everyone knows kids won't eat it!

2. Gave Charlie a gummy bear.
Listened to his chant of "more candy" on the way home in the car. Seriously, he can say about 3 two-word phrases and that's one of them. Found said gummy bear stuck to the side of his car seat when we got home.

3. Wouldn't let Roman play with his friend. Wouldn't commit to playing tomorrow, either.
Can you believe I want our family to spend time together having fun with each other?

4. Yesterday, dared to take a picture of Roman.

5. Wouldn't simultaneously hold Charlie while I'm standing up, and grade papers.

6. Did not get up to soothe Charlie when he yelled at 3am.

7. Roman was accidentally poked in the eye by MY glasses when he was screwing around.
Never mind that he grabbed them & was trying to play keep-away.

I'm sure I could think of more... but I'm going to drown my sorrows with some power-shopping. Buying Becky Higgins' Project Life on Woohoo!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy things, making me content.

Being that I have intense moments with my oldest, & the youngest has officially reached "terrible two" age, I realized that this year wasn't the year for resolutions. It was the year for reshifting & remaking priorities. My biggest need - a feeling of calmness. Serenity. Being centered. Content. Balanced. I could go on like a thesaurus, but I'm sure you know what I'm getting at.

This actually started last Fall, I guess. At least, it's when I started noticing that I was getting more content. The housing market, or lack of, made me realize that we are here in this house for quite a while yet. And I didn't want to keep thinking stuck here. I just wanted to be here. To get to that point, I had to start looking at the good things about this area. And a funny thing happens... you do it long enough, and you start seeing even the smallest things that are good.

Next I realized that since the holidays, I have been going to bed each night feeling very content in my soul. The boys are asleep, I'm next to the man I love, and life can't get any better. I feel this every night now. It's awesome.

I've been even further motivated by receiving a book I had asked for from my Mom for Christmas, called "Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It's a daily-read book with nuggets to think about & reflect upon. I started a gratitude journal -really, just a notebook in the bedside drawer - of things I am grateful for. And combining all these things, I really don't feel the stress & the need for rushing that I did just a few months ago. I am loose of all my outside commitments as well (as of two days ago) & I feel like I've been given a chance to "do-over" the structure and important things of my life.

This is all pretty fabulous. And before you think I'm going to get all new-Agey and stuff, I can tell you that one of the things going into my gratitude journal tonight is Cheez-It White Cheddar crackers. They are SO good. :) It's just simple things like that - noticing the small things - that is making life so good right now.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Charlie - almost 2!

Stating that Charlie will be two years old tomorrow doesn't sum up all the wonder the thought brings me. Having a second child has brought us so much more fun memories & happiness than we imagined. It's wonderful to see Roman interact with Charlie too, and how Charlie imitates everything Ro does. In fact, he doesn't play with his own toys a lot because he always wants whatever Roman has!

Charlie is the opposite of Roman in every way, both good & bad. Which has made life interesting at times! But the best part about Charlie is his joy. He is almost always in a good mood (unless you are denying him something). He loves to smile, to be tickled, to make silly sounds, and shout out people's names. In fact, that's his favorite game - to call out our name & wait for us to call his back. He has been spicing it up by doing it in different voices or lengths, and we have to respond in the same way. (Example: "Mahhhmeee!" I respond "Chahhhhrleeee!") He likes Toy Story, Cars, & even Kung Fu Panda. He goes to bed so easy - he cuddles up on his tummy with a blanket over him (that lasts 10 minutes) then says "bye bye!" as we leave.

At times I feel like I've missed so much more of Charlie's endearing-ness because we both work full time and have an older child. So much is probably slipping through the cracks. But we adore the time we do get to spend with him and luckily, he's still at the point where he loves having his picture taken!

Happy Birthday, Charlie-boy. We are so glad you are part of our family!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"I will not become dysregulated!"

So sayeth Roman, when he wanted to play Wii after 7pm tonight & was trying to convince Daddy (with fists clenched and raised voice) that he would be okay. Nice try, bud. We have lots of new terms that we use now like dysregulated, and phrases such as "shrink his world." Our work with a therapist is yielding good results - we're digging deeper with each meeting and Roman is now willing to show where his buttons are. Here's how Tuesday went in our house:

We arrange for Roman to stay in after-school care because I have to take Charlie to the doctor. Doug calls school and arranges it. I pick up Roman and the teacher makes an offhand comment, "he was beginning to get worried." The bells begin to ding a little in my head but I ignore them.
We get home and Roman has a laundry list of impossible things he wants to do - go to Target, play with a friend, have a large snack just before dinner, the list goes on. I continuously have to say no. Roman gets so angry (& dysregulated) I decide a little holding is in order. (please note: we do not ascribe to the traditional "holding" therapy - it's more physical touch & being with him unless he lashes out physically at us).

I spend the next 15 minutes restraining Roman in my arms while he attempts to kick, hit, bite, & head-butt me. Doug comes home and Ro calms enough to eat dinner & go to the therapist's. He has 2 more dysregulation/meltdowns at the therapist's office, one where she has to hold him & then I take over, and one where Doug holds him. In between these two dysregulation times, the therapist has Roman repeat after her. He repeats many things such as "I am a good boy" "It's not my fault" "I can be angry at my birthmom" but when she says "I love my birthmom" he refuses to repeat. He also tears up and almost cries when he repeats things such as "I was in her tummy & she loved me." (hence, the 3rd episode of the day).

It turns out, what set him off this day - when he got the message to go to after-school care they didn't tell him why. His fear-of-abandonment kicked in and he finally admitted to me that he thought I had decided to leave him there and wasn't coming to get him. He was so emotionally upset thinking I had abandoned him, that he couldn't handle the rest of his evening.

Whew! These episodes are worth it at the end though - when he finally truly calms down he cuddles, he looks into our eyes, and he sits still with us. We are listening to Heather Forbes a lot and learning to keep ourselves calm to help show Roman how to calm down when he does get dysregulated. I also joined a support group through the therapist's office - 8 of us moms who are dealing with attachment disturbances (like Roman) or full-blown Reactive Attachment Disorder. It was so great to hear other women's stories & when I explained mine, to have people nodding in empathy. To demonstrate how rare this is, we are 1 of only 2 groups on the east side of the state; the only one in Metro Detroit.

Which leads me to how great God is to make things work out for the best. The therapists' office is just 3 miles away from our house. He certainly allowed things to occur so we're in the right place & time to help Roman.