Monday, May 31, 2010

...a cruel, cruel summer...

Lyrics of an old song that dashed through my head today as I attended to my family's needs. Charlie is really coming into his own and it's great to see - except I am reminded that I really hate "two." There's lots of demanding and no understanding. Can Mama have 30 seconds to finish this article in a magazine that she's tried to read 4 times today? NO! "Mama play!" is heard. And we're not just talking the 2-year-old with that one.

Because of many reasons, I seem to have hit the wall of not wanting to play with Roman. But my support group helped me realize that it's not playing with Roman - it's playing Legos with Roman that I can't stand. I would play card games, baseball, what have you... but I just can't stand role-playing stuff with him. This stretches all the way back to Thomas the Tank Engine. Perhaps because I always did it by myself, I don't get the need to constantly have someone interacting. But anything I could do now with Roman is hampered by the 2-year-old wanting in on it, too.

So I realized that my summer is going to be one of those. Charlie will demand more of my attention when it's the two of them playing... and when he naps, Roman will need my undivided attention. Which leaves not much leftover for say, reading a few pages in a book or doing some Internet surfing to calm my brain. I think it'll be the kind of summer where I dread it, but in the end will find it was one of the most enjoyable because I'll be immersed with the boys. I mean, they're both at an age where we can do fun things - Charlie will "get" and learn so much from what we do, and Roman is so much more intelligent every year. I just need to find activities where both of them won't wear me out!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finding a decent babysitter

Who wouldn't babysit for this kid? What a mug.

Since we go to therapy every Tuesday evening (not to mention every other Monday Doug golfs & I have support group), we have had to find a babysitter for Charlie who was willing to keep the weekly date. Our people of choice are jobless teens from our church. We started with Mike, who was successful for many months until he got a job. Darn this economy! We moved on to his brother, who only worked out for a couple weeks until HE got a job. Luckily we were tipped off to another church family whose eldest son is also jobless & interested in babysitting. He has been with us about 6 weeks now and is working out well. We did have a conflict this week, so he introduced us to his girlfriend Anna, who came with him last week & then sat for Charlie tonight. And of all the sitters we've had, Charlie seems to have fallen for Anna.

We had been wanting to encourage boys (as you may have noticed) because Roman especially likes to play "boy" stuff & we thought it'd be good. But Charlie is still in the crush stage I think, and Anna seems to fit the bill. He talked about her for days last week, and when she came tonight she earned the coveted "Anna, come!" complete with hand gesture to call her over to play. He grinned at her, said "Anna play!" and all was right with the world.

The problem lies herein - because we have a sitter once weekly, sometimes twice, for "business" we feel slightly guilty about going out on our own for pleasure. A babysitter for a third night in a week? Not even to mention the price. Not to mention that we would like to start going out occasionally with just Charlie and doing things with him. Roman said he wouldn't mind that which is curious - until we realized that he has fallen under Anna's spell too. But who wouldn't fall for our Russian gang member here? :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When I just can't explain it.

I have to steal words from others to get you in the emotional place to understand our relationship with Roman. This is courtesy of our therapist, who posted this as a preview to an article she sent a group of us:

I know you have heard… “He’s just so cute and seems so sweet.” Or, “She behaves so wonderfully for her teacher.” Better yet, “I don’t ever see any misbehavior!” Comments such as these, for a parent struggling to develop a relationship with an attach disturbed child, is not just a slap in the face but reaches inside and takes a tight hold on those growing roots of fear. “It must be me?” “What am I doing wrong?” How do you explain this phenomenon, this abstract concept of ‘being attached’? How do you explain that what is being experienced when rebuffed by a child, your child, is something nearly unexplainable? How do you express the intimate loneliness, the loss of reciprocity so innate that it should be effortless?

Roman wants me so badly that he pushes me away. I'm sure that only makes sense to a few of you reading. He hates needing a mom - and he hates having to depend on parents. He has verbalized to me, in deep sobbing moments, that when I get angry at him he expects me to get rid of him. He gets so emotional, and so "over the edge" with his emotions, that he told us tonight he felt like he was going to die (in the throes of a rage) because his emotions were so strong. It's hard trying to parent a child like this. It's exhausting... it's lonely...

It's a lot of work. Imagine planning for an emotional outburst a week before Event A happens. Or some random change in the schedule means a half-hour meltdown & helping him deal with it later. I know you can't, gentle readers. But we (all of us) as parents of attachment-issue kids begin to suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ourselves. We emotionally flinch when we hear a tone of voice or certain words. We avoid doing things that "regular" families do because we know what it would mean later (grocery store? Too stimulating! Something unusual or special on a school night? Dysregulation for 2 days afterward).

So sure, we smile & say everything's fine & we're doing okay. Because I know my attempts at trying to explain life with Roman will never make sense to others.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

a grocery store for working parents

I have just concocted a new business idea. A grocery store for working parents that labels their aisles a little more clearly. I just spent 15 minutes wandering around Kroger because I couldn't find Hamburger Helper. Why the heck is it in the "canned goods & rice" aisle? Another pet peeve is tomato sauce vs. pizza sauce vs. spaghetti sauce. Why can't they all be in the same place? Tomato sauce is in the canned vegetable aisle, while spaghetti sauce is near the pasta, and pizza sauce - sometimes I can't even find it. And don't even get me started on Manwich or canned chili.

I think they should label things more obviously. "Boxed dinners" aisle. This would include mac & cheese, Hamburger Helper, etc. How about a "Cans & Jars" aisle, so there's only one place I need to go? The "Food to pack in a lunch" aisle would include pb & j, those to-go cups of fruit, applesauce, etc.

I think this would be a hit. I can't be the only one whose brain organizes this way, am I? And people wonder why Doug does the grocery shopping around here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Out of sight, out of mind

Man, has it been awhile since I've been here. I think about posting every few days but am so exhausted. End of the school year, students had projects I was furiously grading, you know... excuses, excuses. Here are the highlights of the last couple weeks:

Charlie can drink out of a regular cup. He's very proud of himself, too.
Charlie also loves to eat his boogers. Complete with a satisfied "Mmm!" as he sticks his finger in his mouth.
We went to the Blossomtime Parade in my hometown a couple weekends ago and Charlie loved it. He appeared to like the floats best, as well as the characters in the cars like Elmo, Big Bird, & Ronald McDonald.
Charlie would survive on oatmeal if we let him. It's his request for every meal. Apple Cinnamon or Dinosaur Eggs (maple/brown sugar). He even dreams about it - we heard him call out the other night in his sleep, "oatmeal!"
His greatest desire is to be outside in the backyard. Not even the suggestion of a bath will bring him inside anymore.
He adores his big brother & imitates absolutely everything he does, and says. Which is sometimes pretty amusing.

Ro started coach-pitch baseball last weekend & even got a hit. He wants to go practice in the backyard every evening now, and he prefers to bat. Still struggles with throwing & catching. This works out well since little brother wants to be outside as well.
Roman has worked out a way to play Quidditch (a game in Harry Potter) in our backyard complete with goal areas, pretend brooms, Quaffle & Bludger. Haven't figured out how to get the Snitch to fly yet.
Roman has finally branched out into cheeseburgers from fast-food restaurants.
His best buddy, who lived across the road, moved to a different neighborhood last weekend. This has caused much sorrow for Roman & a slightly challenging adjustment in our home life.
Ro's favorite part about the parade was the Indianapolis Police motorcycle precision team.
School continues to go well for Ro, and he gets a "good behavior" stamp every day now.

As for Doug and I? We celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss last Thursday. We went out to dinner without kids, and have made plans to get away for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS in August without the kids. That will be the first time since mid-2004. Yeah, I think it's time.

Golf season has started for Doug and he happily plays one night a week. He tested for his green belt in tang soo do this past weekend & passed! So he's officially "6th gup." He's also doing serious research into concrete & garage prices, as we have to apply for a variance to our city to build a 2-staller.

Me, I am close to counting the days until summer vacation. It's been a rough second semester and the 8th graders have gone off the edge - they're checked out. Because of strange retirement goings-on in the state legislature it's been difficult for my principal to do a schedule for next year, but from what I hear I will have it's not bad. Still on a cart, though. I sure would love to have a room again. Next year will be my 7th year on a cart. Now that swimming is over I've been branching out into crafts again. Am considering taking up needlepoint (less concentration with kids than cross-stitch) and am happily playing with scrapping & card templates on the computer.