Monday, March 31, 2008

To Top It All Off

My MIL came over for dinner. She's okay as a MIL. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Before we had kids, I liked her pretty well. After kids...well, let's just say that things haven't been as smooth.

Max was still in his room when she came over. I explained that he'd be out shortly and then he needed to get his chores done (reading homework, sorting the laundry, possession patrol and laying out his clothes for tomorrow).

Max came out, putzed around, semi-smarted off and generally didn't get going. Now. He needed to have this stuff done by dinner so he could go to t-ball right after dinner.

He got all pissed off at me for pointing out that he didn't have much time and should get cracking and went to pout in his room. I told him he had three minutes to get his clothes laid out and set the timer. Me doing so helps him get done with his chores and I wanted him to be able to go to t-ball. I really don't want to see him fail.

He finally gets going. I continue to set the timer and even put off dinner a bit (unbeknownst to him) so he had a chance. However, he bogged down a bit with the laundry and was goofing off. I mentioned to MIL that I wasn't sure he was going to be able to go to t-ball.

She said to me, "Nicki (I hate being called Nicki, by the way, so don't read that as an invitation), he's trying."

"He should have been trying when he had the time. Now he's probably going to miss t-ball."

She radiates disapproval. I explain to her how my day went. When I get to the physical violence part, she says, "Now that I don't approve of." Apparently everything else that he did was okay. And I should really just let him go to t-ball, done or not because now he was trying.

I did manage to get him through his stuff and he did get to go. However, we know that letting him go because he's trying at the last minute is a bad idea. It just encourages him to do the same thing the next time.

Yelling, Crying, Screaming....Music to my Ears

Please note the sarcasm. Yelling, crying and screaming are not really music to my ears and yet, that is what I'm getting to listen to as I type here.

I'm not thrilled about this. Not at all.

Max came home from school today saying that school had been fine, other than a fight with a friend. He enjoyed his snack of ants on a log (the log being banana, not celery) that Davan had made for him by her request. He'd earned back the black box just this morning and it was waiting in his room to be unloaded. Davan folded his clothes this morning as part of her morning chore and then, out of the kindness of her heart, delivered them to his room for him.

I told Max when he was done with his snack, I was going to give him 15 minutes to clean his room. This consisted mostly of putting away some trading cards, putting away his clothes and emptying out the black box. I let him know that if he did a good job, I'd go and shoot hoops with him outside when he was done.

He spent his 15 minutes spreading the clothes from the black box out on top of the clothes already in his room and searching for a wing for a transformer that he got back in the box today. This transformer had been missing for him for months. I found it behind my bed the other day. The wing is long gone. Oh, and I almost forgot, he also spent a good portion of the 15 minutes yelling and screaming that I hadn't given him enough time and it was ALL MY FAULT!!!!!!!

Okay. The screaming has stopped. He's in his room for a while. Back to the story.

I went to look after the 15 minutes was up and discovered that he'd made a much worse mess of his room that it had been in before. I told him he had another 15 minutes to finish up and then I'd be checking. I let him know that anything that had been in the black box that wasn't put away obviously wasn't important to him and would be either thrown away or sent to Goodwill. I also let him know that now that he'd mixed the clothes from the black box and the clean clothes and had no way of knowing which was which, he'd have to put them all in the laundry.

He yelled and screamed at me over the top of this and tried to shut his door in my face. So, I let him know that we'd be addressing the rude behavior when the job was done and we were both calm.

Then I set the timer and started this blog entry. He continued to scream, yell and cry for about 7 minutes, but then did get to work and was even polite (sort of) for a bit. Then, as the time wore down, he went back to the crying, yelling and screaming.

At the end of that 15 minutes, I went into his room (which he'd almost finished with) and told him he could either lay on his bed or go to the living room while I took care of business. He wouldn't leave, so I had to count down. He left, but came back. I counted again.

He went and stood on the couch. Then he climbed and jumped on the couch, which is not allowed due to the fact that it's a futon with a wooden frame. I let him know he'd lost couch privileges. He said, snotty, "I don't care." I said he needed to get down. He said, "I don't care," with even more snot. I counted and he got down. Then he took a pillow and sat on the step (we have a sunken living room, so there are two steps up and out) and banged the pillow on the floor of the hall, yelling.

I finished his room in just a couple of minutes. He lost a couple of drawings, a trading card, a shirt, three socks and a couple of cheapy plastic trash toys.

Then I went to talk to him. He took a swing at me with the pillow he'd been banging. Now, of course, this isn't really going to hurt me, but he wanted to hurt me. The intent was there to cause me pain. When I backed up, he threw the pillow at me instead. Then, as he went to his room, where I sent him for not staying in the living room like he was supposed to, he took a swing at me as he walked by.

I called Anthony. While I was on the phone with him, working out what to do, Max opened and slammed his door several times, finally leaving it open.

I came out and let him know he'd earned 10 extra minutes for that. He sneered at me.

When his time was up, I went and let him know that he could come and talk to me when he was ready. He came out a minute or so later. I took him off and sat with him, inviting him to cuddle. He did cuddle until he started not liking what I was saying, then he pulled away.

I let him know that because he didn't get off the couch when I told him to, he lost living room privileges for the rest of today and tomorrow. The whole living is off limits because if he's in the living room, he can't stay off the couch. The effect of this, though, is that he can't play video games.

I also told him that the violence had earned him an early bedtime, as is standard operating procedure. Unfortunately, he has t-ball this evening, so he'll have to leave early to get to bed on time.

His baseball pants were in the clean clothes in his room, so he doesn't have those to wear this evening. Instead, he'll wear the jeans he has on, which have torn knees and are dirty. He's upset about this because it'll interfere with sliding, which he is sure they will be working on this evening.

And finally, for the rude behavior, he has to spend more time in his room. This is to give me a break from having to spend time with someone who is rude to me.

He still has chores to do in addition to finishing this room time, all of which has to be done before dinner or he won't be able to go to t-ball this evening. He exasperated the issue by being rude again and then refusing to go to his room without being counted for, both adding to his room time.

And there he is. Shooting hoops with his indoor basketball and hoop. It's cruel and unusual punishment to have him spend time in his room with books, toys and even an basketball hoop, I know. At least, he thinks so. This I do know.

I did not yell, nor engage in any physical grappling with him. I was calm and carried out consequences that I do not think are out of proportion to the crimes. I even offered cuddling. All-in-all, I feel pretty good about my end of things.

I feel like crap, though, that we still have to go through this stuff all the time.

And just this morning, he earned two stickers, which put him over 40. He got his black box stuff back and, because of the 40 mark, he gets an evening out with either Anthony or I tomorrow. Davan will get to go out with the other parent, by the way, just because. And now this. Lovely.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

This Weekend

I really do enjoy weekends. I love having Anthony home. I love staying up and watching House M.D. together after the kids go to bed. I love both spending time all together as a family and being able to take off on a walk in the middle of the day because Anthony is home.

Today we had fruit and cereal for breakfast. We're saving pancakes for tomorrow because we had a party to go to this afternoon where there was going to be cake and ice cream.

It was a slow and leisurely morning. But, I finally got out of the house shortly after Anthony and the kids left to go to Performance Bike. There was a big sale this weekend and Anthony must attend all big sales at Performance Bike. I walked over to the library to return books and pick up a few things as well. Then I sauntered over to Boarders and got a gift for our niece, who's birthday party we attended this afternoon.

I came home and whipped up a quick soup out of a mix of frozen veggies and beans (all in one bag - very convenient). Then it was off to the birthday party where I was as anti-social as I could be without being totally rude (I'm not fond of my SIL's in laws). I did not eat any cake or ice cream. It's day 6 of no sugar. Go me.

We stopped and picked up pizza for dinner on the way home. It's not my favorite, but it's not too expensive and it's easy. Davan always pulls the cheese off. She's pretty strict about her dairy intake. We watched Napoleon Dynamite. Or, rather, I endured it for the time we were eating the pizza, after which I'd reached my pain threshold and left the room. Davan joined me. Anthony said it never did get better and he regretted the time he spent watching it. Max said it was awesome. Yeah.

We topped off the day with some games. Before Max went to bed, we did family rotational fun. After, Anthony, Davan and I played a game just the three of us.

Now Anthony is reading to Davan, after which we'll watch some House. It's a good day. Max has been sort of wiggy, but not his worst.

I'm really ready for Monday, though. Max goes back to school. Swimming for Davan starts up again. I'll get to swim both sessions all the way through this week. I'm ready for a Max break.

I wish I didn't earn so much to be apart from Max. I don't like feeling that way about my kid. I sometimes wish to be away from Davan, but never for long. Maybe someday that will come. Maybe it won't. I don't know.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Camping Trip (fictional)

"Shit," I cursed as yet another match went out without lighting the camp stove. It was drizzling and I was cold and hungry. Who's idea was this camping trip, anyway?

Of course, the answer to that was that it was mine. I'd been itching to get out and get this camping season started, but I guess I forgot that I was really a fair weather camper. We'd obviously jumped the gun here.

The kids were huddled under their raincoats, occasionally sniping at one another. "Stop looking at me, Max!" "What? I'm not looking at you."

"Come on, guys. Consider it an adventure. You're always up for some adventure, aren't you, Davan?"

"Yeah, an adventure," Davan answers. She put forth some effort for a while, but soon it was back to, "Stop looking at me," and looking miserable.

Max, for his part, was yelling, whining and glaring at Davan whenever he thought we were looking away. Ah, the sibling love. It's heart-warming.

Anthony finally finished rummaging in the kitchen box and came up with the flame thrower, as we affectionately call it, and we were able to get the camp stove lit.

"When is dinner?" Max yelled yelled at the top of his lungs. "What is for dinner? Macaroni and cheese! Scrambled eggs! Chicken noodle soup!"

"Fried slugs," I informed him, "Your favorite."

"Ew!!! Really? Really? Really, Mom? Dad! Really?!?!?!"

"No," I sighed, exasperated. It's hard to joke around when that's the reaction.

Anthony got the camp minestrone going while I took the kids into the tent to get dry and, hopefully, more comfortable. After the requisite struggle with shoes - Max must make a big production out of everything - we finally made it into the tent and out of wet raincoats.

It took so long that Anthony was soon handing in bowls of minestrone. Max promptly slopped his all over the bottom of the tent. Astounding. At least we'd thought ahead and didn't have him sitting on his sleeping bag while eating.

With nothing better to do in the rain and cold, we climbed into our sleeping bags after dinner and the bare minimum clean up. We at least had to clean up that soup spill before putting Max's sleeping bag down.

After the usual poor first night of camping sleep - okay, that's just me, the kids seem to sleep fine other than the sleep boxing they both engage in with whomever is sleeping next to them - we woke up to clear and cold. Better than wet!

I lingered in my sleeping bag as long as my bladder would let me, reluctant to venture out in the cold. Finally, though, it was time to face the music.

No one wanted to sit on the wet benches for breakfast. It being the first camping trip of the season, of course we'd forgotten things - like a tarp to put over the picnic table. We all ended up standing around, munching on slices of fruit, waiting for the water to heat for oatmeal.

I got out the bubbles I'd stashed away in the kitchen box for some unknown reason many trips ago. The kids got warm and giggly chasing the bubbles around while I blew.

Then the oatmeal was ready. It was warm in our tummies. A lingering bubble was stuck in the (soft) brillo pad of Max's hair. I pointed it out to Davan with a wink and we all ended up giggling.

Maybe this camping trip would turn out well after all.


We went to see Corteo by Cirque du Soleil this evening. It was a treat given to us by my parents mostly for Davan.

It was awesome. Davan loved it and sat with her mouth hanging open most of the time. I think the more you do something yourself, he more it's impressive to see others do it. I mean, how many people in the general population even try to do a cartwheel, much less the sort of things they do in Cirque du Soleil?

My favorite part was when they had four high bars in a square, with a high bar off to the side of those on each end. They did some truly spectacular stuff on those bars.

Max played with the cousins while we went because we didn't think he'd get much out of it. I'm glad, too, because I think he'd have been fidgety, which would have greatly decreased my pleasure.

We'll be taking him to a Blazer's basketball game sometime instead.

Emotional Eating

I wonder. Who doesn't have emotional eating issues? Is there really anyone out there healthy enough about food that they don't eat when emotional?

I want treats when it's been a bad day. I want treats to celebrate a good day. When I'm having a bad day, I want to eat all day. Chocolate. Chips. It's a good thing we don't keep those things in the house anymore.

Max has a really bad relationship with food. It's sad. I mean, he's only 6. However, he eats for so many reasons that do not have to do with hunger. He eats to get his share. He eats - gorges, really - because he's not sure he'll like the next thing that is served. If there's a treat, he eats until someone stops him. Literally, he'll keep eating while clutching his stomach.

In addition, he eats whenever he's feeling emotional. When we were going to see his therapist, they had snacks for the kids there. He was always digging into his snack bag when things got rough.

Davan and I went on a trip - just the two of us - in October. Anthony and Max were going to drive us to the airport. Max sat at the counter that morning and ate breakfast for something like 45 minutes. He had a banana, smoothie, toast with peanut butter and more. It was time to go. Max was still sitting at the counter. He started wailing, "But I'm hungry! I need to eat!"

I got down on his level and told him that he was wanting to eat because he was having feelings about me leaving for a while (we'd worked that out the day before after a week of really shitty behavior), not because he was hungry. He wailed over the top of me, "I'm hungry!"

I told him that I knew it wasn't about the food. I knew he was going to miss me. I was going to miss him, too. Then I gave him a handful of pistachios to keep in his pocket. I don't think he ever ate them. After all, he wasn't hungry and he got distracted by everyone leaving the house and all the commotion.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jury Duty and a Blury Wednesday

I opened a new post yesterday. I meant to write. I just never got to it. We weren't incredibly busy, but the day still went by quickly.

As I mentioned in a comment on another post, I did rescue Max early from soccer camp. It was cold and wet. I felt the need to warm up just after dropping him off. Of course, I was wet because I jumped out of the pool, thew on sweats and took him directly over to soccer camp, so I was cold in great deal to that, but still.

On the way, as we were riding in the car, looking at the rain, he said to me, "They might cancel..." in a semi-wistful way. I told him it was a rain or shine event. "Oh," says he.

After an hour and 15 minutes of camp, the skies opened up and rain dumped down, mixed with hail. Brewed a quick cup of tea, laced it with Agave nectar, threw a couple of towels in the car and went and to get him. He was very happy about that. Another kid said, "I want to go home early, too!" The counselor told that kid, "Well, if you can get a hold of your dad on the phone and he agrees to come and get you then you can."

It was hard, though, to do the nice things for him that I'd planned on - helping him into dry clothes, getting him settled in under blankets and putting a movie in. First, I found raisins and part of a banana oatmeal bar that he'd thrown on the floor of the car as I was helping him out. Why? It didn't taste as good as it usually does. So, yes, we should throw it on the floor of the car. Good plan. For a 6 month old.

Next, I discovered that it was nearly impossible to find clothes in the jumble that is his dresser. And most of his sweaters/jackets/sweatshirts are missing. Sigh. At school, I imagine. I guess we'll have to take a look at the lost and found on Monday.

Anyway, I did preserver and get him settled in for a move for a treat.

We got the official word on Davan's preliminary testing. She is far enough along to be invited to go for the third night for team preparation. Honestly, I think if it were the real test, she'd have made it even. There was very little she had problems with. She is very excited. She starts going three days a week next week.

Then for the jury duty part of the post. Anthony stayed home with the kids today while I had jury duty. In Multnomah County, we serve one day or one trial. If you get chosen for a trail, then you have to serve for however long the trail lasts. Otherwise, it's just one day.

I've gone and sat there two other days, both after Davan was born. Anthony went once and got chosen for a trail. The trail went for two weeks. It sounded interesting. I'd be interested in actually sitting on a jury sometime. Anthony, however, told me, "Don't get chosen! I can't miss that much work!"

I did get called up to a court room today, but was not chosen to sit the trail. I did tell them it would be a hardship for me if it lasted more than one day. That might have been why, but who really knows? It was interesting to even show up for the selection process, though.

Then I got to come home. Usually, I'd have gone back into the pool, but no more juries were being selected for the day, so we all (except the six chosen for that trial) got to go home.

Max was off at soccer camp and Davan had a friend over, so Anthony and I had some time together. We were lazy to the extreme and it was lovely. We seem to be addicted to House, M.D. We watched 3 episodes. About 4 hours of TV a week, including watching DVDs, is normal for me. I think I'll get in about 4 hours today. Addition. It's so time consuming.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And Now Back to Regular Weather

We had rain, rain and more rain on Easter day. Yesterday was better with lots of sun breaks. Today started off nice, but now it's drizzly and cool. Just in time for Max to go to soccer camp. Lucky him.

Me, though? Sounds like a good excuse to snuggle up with a blanket and a good book. Actually, as much as I'd like that, I'm supposed to go to a homeschool group this afternoon with Davan. I'm feeling a little ambivalent about it.

Davan and I went to the dentist this morning while Max played with a friend. We both got rave reviews of our dental health. Davan got a gift certificate for a free kid's meal at Red Robin and is jonesing to spend it, so I've agreed to go there for dinner tonight.

An update on her toe - the nail was totally off by Monday morning. We've been keeping a band aid on it to protect it most of the time, but she's airing it out while hanging out in her room as I type. She did fine at gymnastics last night, too. The testing went well, it seemed, but we'll have the official results on Wednesday.

I'm off to deliver Max to soccer camp. Poor kid.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Ups and Downs

Back into the week - sort of. It's sort of a normal Monday and sort of not.

Normal: Anthony is at work. Davan had Girl Scouts. The usual chores to do. Davan has gymnastics this evening.

Not normal: Max doesn't have school. Neither Davan nor I swam today. I didn't because I couldn't figure out how to fit it in with Max home and needing to get to soccer camp at 1:00. Davan didn't because the classes are off for spring break. Max is at soccer camp from 1:00-4:00.

Our morning didn't go great. It wasn't a disaster, either, but we had whining and crying and rudeness over chores mostly. We involved Max in our chore system - we all just work on a list together - and that was sort of frustrating. Max said he wanted to do it, but he dragged his feet so much that he did one thing off the list of about 10 things we had this morning. Of course, if he were only doing his assigned chore, he'd have gotten he same amount done, so maybe it's okay. Still frustrating, though, and I'm trying to figure out how to let it go.

As an aside, a friend told me at Girl Scouts today that my ring is much prettier in person than in the pictures. Take that as you will.

I'm off to do some yard work while Davan has a friend over and Max is at soccer camp.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ring Pictures

First, me and the ring. It only took a dozen pictures to get one of me with both eyes opes.

Next, a close up of the ring. It's maybe not the best shot ever, but you get the idea.


Now that I posted about Anthony and I doing well with Max for a few days here, I am worried about tomorrow. Anthony goes back to work and Max is home. He has a soccer camp in the afternoon, but still, he's home a lot.

I'm worried it won't go so well with only one adult. Sigh. Hopefully I can keep my patience and the last few good days will help him have a good day, too.

Eggs, Eggs Everywhere

Easter was cool. Yup. Totally cool. We had to wake Max up at 8:30 to get things going - so rare - and he was totally mellow. He said he didn't feel well, which is too bad, but the mellow was nice.

Max and Davan hunted for eggs and then opened them all up. Max loved his Star Wars Lego set and Davan loved getting a puzzle. Max wasn't so excited about his football helmet, which, I guess, wasn't all he'd thought it might be after asking for one for more than a year. Go figure. Davan was thrilled with gymnastics meet tickets and a day with Mom and Dad.

And I got....drum roll please.....mind you, Anthony and I don't usually exchange Easter gifts...a slip of paper. That lead me to another in another location and on and on. We do that for the kids sometimes, but haven't for each other. At the end was.....a new wedding ring! It's a totally cool ring that I fell in love with at the Saturday Market. I've been wanting a new one for years. I lost my original ring when I was boogie boarding in Hawaii. It was lost somewhere in the expanse of the Pacific. It was very sad. The replacement one never did find a place in my heart, even though I wore it for 8 years.

I saw my ring there about a month ago when I went to browse with my mom. I fell in love, but didn't think I should spend the money without talking to Anthony about it. Plus, it does effect both of us. It's my wedding ring, ya know?

So, we went back a couple of weeks later together and Anthony was wishy-washy about it, so I let it go. I suggested looking around some, but he didn't seem enthused. I decided to let it lay for a while.

Well, that sly devil called the artist and went to pick the ring up from her studio Thursday after work. Then I got it this morning! It was very cool. Definitely kudos for Anthony.

After the eggs, we had our usual weekend morning meal of chocolate chip pancakes, veggie sausage, peanut butter and fruit galore.

I got in some online cribbage with my best bud while Anthony got a veggies tray together (more kudos) and then we were off to my sister in law's where another egg hunt - this one a free for all - ensued. We had dinner and dessert. The trading for what was in the eggs was hot and heavy, but everyone seemed pleased.

The only down part of the day was that Davan ripped her little toe nail off almost completely. It was very painful, but she's doing well and hoping to be able to do gymnastics tomorrow night, as it's preliminary testing for moving up to team tomorrow evening.

Max had a good day. And, if I do say so myself, Anthony and I have been doing a very good job with him for the past few days.

We tried to take pictures of the new ring, but I look drugged in all of them. Which isn't unusual for me in pictures. I'm a blinker. You'd think I was drunk or drugged all the time. And I'm totally a tea-toiler.

We'll try for better pictures and then I'll post one. But don't hold your breath. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Taking Time Off

I am currently taking the afternoon off. It's lovely. Really, really lovely. After breakfast, I put on my shoes and backpack and took off for less demanding parts. I've been at the library for over two hours and my plans for the next couple of hours involve more walking, probably Boarder's and very possibly a coffee shop. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I do like the occasional much doctored mocha and I like the ambiance at Cafe Delirium. (The link is to trip advisor, rather than to Cafe Delirium's site, as I don't think they have one. Besides, the review there was written by my very best friend. :) )

I felt so light as I walked out the door, in spite of the backpack full of books to be returned to the library I was carrying on my back. Should I feel guilty about that?

The Injustice of It All

Max was on compost duty up until yesterday due to a recent food wasting incident. Let me be clear that his food wasting incidents aren't like, "Oh, I got a little too much and I'm not that hungry," or even, "I don't care for this and don't want to eat it." No, it's more like, "I've decided I don't want this banana, even though I usually love bananas, so I've shoved it behind the cat food dish and now I'm telling you I've eaten it."

Any-who, he was off compost duty as of this morning. I took the compost out and, as usual after he's been doing compost, I found food stuffs strewn about outside of the compost bin.

I came in and let Max know he needed to go clean that up. He protests that he hadn't spilled that stuff. Right. Then it was the neighbors throwing food waste over the fence again. I really wish they'd stop that.

I was very calm and just repeated that he needed to clean it up. He, with very loud sound effects (some combination of singing, yelling, chanting, wordless semi-animal sounds) got his shoes on vvvveeeeeerrrrrryyyyyy ssssslllllooooowwwwllllyyyy and went out with a major chip on his shoulder to do the task.

Anthony called him over to say that we weren't mad, but he did need to take care of it and that he shouldn't let it ruin the rest of his day.

Of course, things were missed the first two times, so there was much protest and anguish over that.

Then the 10 minute ordeal was over. If he'd just done it, it would have taken about 2 minutes tops. Including putting on his shoes.

We are cruel. So cruel.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Nice Friday - Wow!

We had a nice Friday. It was great. The skiing was so-so. It was really windy and Max had reached his cold limit after just under 2 hours. I get to ski pretty often and was cold myself, so I took him into the lodge while Davan and Anthony skied some more.

Before going into the lodge, Anthony mostly worked with Max on his skiing and he was cooperative and looking pretty good!

Max and I had some nice one on one in the lodge with him all giggly and us playing games. About the worst that happened then was that he was eyeing other people's lunches longingly and that is fairly understandable. We had some trail mix with us and the rest of our lunch was waiting in the car. He sat on my lap and we played games - word games and such.

The drive home went well and uneventfully. The kids had been asking to go to Target to spend their money and we had to pick up a few things for Easter, so after unloading and such (Davan and I took a shower - more nice one on one time with plenty of silliness), we headed over to Target.

I'm happy to say that I didn't buy a single piece of candy for Easter this year. The stuff I got yesterday was for eggs to take to my sister-in-law's house Easter afternoon and I'd been thinking I'd just break down and do candy for that, but no! I was strong. :) I got Spiderman tattoos, toy butterflies, balloons and poppers to load into the eggs.

Max got another Lego car like his first, after much deliberation and near purchase of some hot wheels cars.

Davan, after much deliberation between a few wooden building kits and a little sister of only hearts club girls, made it all the way to check out with a little sister before opting to save her money.

I was feeling like eating out - for the second night in a row. Bad me. So, we went over to Red Robin and had steak fries to our heart's delights (or detriment's, probably) in addition to our other food items, of course.

After returning home from dinner and Max's lotioning (due to the crying and wailing about putting on lotion, Anthony suggests that I leave out the sulfuric acid next time - kill joy), Anthony and the kids putzed around with Legos for a while and I messed on the computer and put a snack together for the kids.

Because, after that, it was off to open gym night at American Elite for the kids. They've been wanting to go for a long time, but it starts at 7:30, which is 15 minutes before Max's bedtime. We went ahead and let them have a late night, though.

Max was thrilled to be staying up late and wanted to close the place down at 10:00. Davan wanted to be picked up at 9:00 sharp so as to not have too late of a bed time. She's strangely attached to her bed time and hates to go to bed late. We compromised on 9:30.

During that time, Anthony and I picked up groceries for what we're taking for Easter dinner and stuffed plastic Easter eggs while watching an episode of House, M.D. before it was time to go pick the kids up again. We're such party animals.

After returning home and getting the kids off to bed, we did get in a little loving and then watched another House episode.

It was a lovely Friday. Nice.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Still (Gasp) Alive (Gasp)

Here we are. It's Thursday. It's almost 5:00, which means it won't be too long before Anthony comes home. Anthony has tomorrow off - the first Friday he is supposed to have off that he actually has gotten to take in over a month. Yay!

I haven't been at all physically aggressive with Max, nor have I yelled at him, nor spoken to him in a humiliating way.

Max, on the other hand, has yelled at me, spoken over the top of me, spoken extremely rudely to me, physically attacked me with a large blue hard plastic bin and much more. All except the blue bin deal was many times today.

Yeah. I know. He's the child. I'm the adult. It gets real old, though. Like I've said before, especially when he was really into hitting me, I feel like I'm living in an abusive relationship. If he were my husband, everyone would be telling me to leave him. He's not, though. He's a little kid who's been through a lot. So, we stick with him. That doesn't mean I have to like it.

Magic Pill

I stumbled across this parenting program called The Total Transformation. From the testimonials, it sounds like a magic pill. Of course there is no magic pill. Right? (Imagine that spoken a little desperately.)

I'm guessing that there isn't much in there that I don't already know. The two gems I've gleaned from reading testimonials and such (they don't give much away - they want you to buy, buy, buy!) are "say what you mean and mean what you say" and don't argue. On the whole don't argue thing, that means if you're asked "Why do I have to do my homework?" you just say because it's you're job like X is my job or something equally short. If your child argues, you just turn and walk away.

So, here's the thing. I know this stuff. Plus a lot more. I can't seem to stick to it in the heat of the moment, though. My problem isn't a lack of know-how, it's loosing my temper and getting warn down by it all day after day. It's that Max doesn't make sudden breakthroughs when I parent properly. Even for long periods. And I loose it sometimes. Where's the magic pill for that? Will this program somehow help me out? Should I drop over 300 smackers on it? (Or perhaps less on E-Bay, although the reserve seems to be high. On closer inspection, it looks like about $220 or so for the reserve, which is a lot cheaper, but still not cheap.) If I knew it'd help, it'd be worth it.

It's easy to find testimonials about books such as "How to Talk so Children Will Listen and Listen so Children Will Talk" that are just as glowing as those about "The Total Transformation." I can get those books from the library for free. And I have. And I'm still here, feeling desperate some days. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trouble at School

I had Max's parent/teacher conference yesterday. He's been having trouble at school for the last couple of weeks. In addition to the running away thing and the pencil thing, he teacher says that he told her he feels left out by the others. She says she doesn't see this, but, gosh, what does she see? She didn't see him running away. She didn't see him ripping erasers off of the pencils, she didn't see him freaking out about people being too close in his reading group (his reading teacher saw that). She doesn't see him getting upset about something that happens until he's already angry. So, would she see him being left out? Me thinks not.

Max has been talking about home about having a hard time at school. He still wants to go, though. I don't know, myself, what the right decision is. I know I like the break, but maybe, if it's starting to cause him so much stress, it'd be easier to have him at home. Of course, being at home is stressful, too.

I don't understand his ideas about friends, either. He keeps wanting to invite people over. J for example, though, has been over a bunch of times and only once did they not fight about what to do. He wants B to come over, but he's been complaining about B ignoring him at school for weeks now. So why have him over to play? Probably because there isn't anyone else and he's desperate for friends. So far, he's shown a poor track record for repeat playdates, though. That is, other than with J who seems dysfunctional, also. Neither of them seem to care that they don't actually have fun together. Odd.

Today he has a friend over. Actually, it's the little sister of a friend of Davan's. The last time both girls came over, it was great. They really played and had fun. This time, though, they are having a hard time finding a grove. Max keeps wanting to do stuff she doesn't want to do and refusing to do what she does. I've seen her give in a few times, but when he gives in, he's very passive agressive - just kind of sitting through the play.

Social skills are still very much in development. His teacher, though, doesn't see it at all.

Frankly, though, I must say I'm glad that he's having some trouble at school. Whew! Other people will know he's got issues and it's not just us.

Everyone is Still Alive

It's 9:45 Wednesday morning and we're all still alive. I haven't even yelled. We've done out loud reading (me to each kid), chores and breakfast. I have asked Max to go to his room a couple of times just for sheer annoying me and he did earn another day of compost duty for complaining about it. But, BUT!, no yelling and no lectures. Whew.

When the kids are done with their cinnamon raisin English muffins (with peanut butter for Max, without for Davan), it'll be reading time. 20 minutes of quiet reading. Then it's a free for all until we leave for my swimming followed by Davan's swimming, during which I have to go to the parent/teacher conference for Max.

Then it's back to free time until dinner and evening gymnastics for Davan and a parent player meeting for Max's spring t-ball.

I will make it. Well, of course I will. Max will make it, too. That's the iffy part. ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Logical Consequences

I try hard to think of logical consequences for poor behavior. Really, though, we really have to justify many of the things to ourselves to make it logical. Some examples of what we've come up with:

-wasting food = compost duty

-name calling or hitting = early bedtime because it's not fair to make people be around someone who is so rude to them

-being reckless with the ball inside = no playing with balls inside for the rest of the day (2 days, whatever time period seems appropriate)

-shirking chores or complaining excessively about a chore = an extra chore

-smearing peanut butter all over the counter = wiping down the counter

And, some natural consequences are easy:

-taking forever to lotion up at bedtime = not much time to play

-loosing your lunch box at school = you don't have the lunch box to use anymore

There are times, though, that I just have to send him to his room or I'm worried I'll hurt him. Like today. I should have sent him to his room before talking to him about echoing me when I was correcting Davan about something (that the veggies needed stirring for something like the third time this meal - she loves to cook, by the way). Instead, I kept him there to yell at him and got more and more pissed off because he was wiggling his lose tooth and looking off into space, humming and looking off into space, rubbing his head and looking off into space. The whole episode took about 45 seconds, but, really. All that happened. And I was an idiot. I grabbed his arms and yelled louder.

Sometimes, things don't need to be natural or logical. They need to happen just to keep everyone safe. Sometimes that means him having to spend time in his room.

I'm in Trouble

Max had his last day of school today before spring break. I've already yelled at him and, embarrassingly, physically forced him to put his hands down by his sides rather than fidget while I yelled at him. Man that kid can push my buttons.

This is why I've seriously considered disrupting. This is why I went on Prozac. I hated Prozac. I'd hate myself for "throwing him away." I hate this situation.

A lot of times I think he's just being a kid, rather than being an intentional butt head (which, let me assure you, he is sometimes doing), but even that sets me off. It's a problem. I'd blamed it on prior bad feelings before I went on Prozac, but it's not. I feel like I'm over the prior bad feelings from when he was really being a shit with hitting and all. It's just that this kid rubs me wrong. I wish he didn't. Oh how I wish he didn't. I'm so sad that the adoption turned out this way.

And it seems to be just me. Or, rather, just me and Anthony. His teachers love him. Grandparents think he's a great kid. I want to say, "Want him?" How awful. I feel ashamed of feeling this way.

Of course, maybe others would feel this way if they had to live with him. But, maybe they wouldn't. Which, again, is why sometimes it seems like we should disrupt. We won't. It was a permanent decision when we finally started the finalization paperwork.

Before we went to adoption committee for Max - before we'd even met him - we had a couple of conversations with his foster mom. He presented as a neat kid who needed a lot of adult attention. She thought he'd do better in a smaller family than hers (7 kids, including Max).

However, after he moved in, we had another conversation. In this conversation, she confided that she was worried that we were going to send Max back because we'd had such a rocky transition. She said that, in her many years of foster care, she'd had 3 kids "sent back" from adoption placements. She said that all of those kids were kids with serious issues, though, "nothing like Judea."

Less than five minutes later, she told me that it was amazing the changes that happened in her house after Judea moved out. "Everyone was so much calmer. Behavior turned around 180 degrees. I didn't even realize how much stress everyone was under until Judea left."

That's not a kid with fairly serious issues? Enough to disrupt a family of 9 people by his little lonesome?


Monday, March 17, 2008

45 Minutes

It took Max 45 minutes to heat his after school snack today. 45 minutes, people! This was a snack. Not a four course meal. I suppose, if he wants to spend his time that way, I why should I care? And yet, I do. It majorly tried my patience to have him sitting there for 45 minutes, not really eating.

I suggested he might not be hungry because his wonderful school hopped him up with three St Patrick's Day cookies and some candy today. I've about had it with this school. I'd really like to send him to a different one next year. Meanwhile, in addition to the candy, no mention was made of the erasers he spent last week ripping off of the classroom's pencils. I mean, really.

Max has a cold right now. The cough acts up, amazingly, whenever he sits down to eat or read. I imagine that, at school, it's the same thing. He as so much energy that he had no trouble participating big time in PE today, but I'm sure his teacher things I'm sending him to school on death's door because of the coughing. Sense getting up from his snack, he has not yet coughed. That was 15 minutes ago. While eating, it was about 4 coughs a minutes.

The rule about coughing is that he has to cover his mouth, preferably with the crook of his elbow and turn his head away from anyone nearby and from anyplace where we eat or prepare food. He was sitting there eating, mostly remembering to turn, (Ah, he just coughed!) but occasionally forgetting. I looked at him to make sure he was turning at one point. He looked at me, coughed again and then started wheezing.

Now, Max was on in inhalant steroid and an oral steroid in addition to taking a daily antihistamine when he came to us. The reason for all of the drugging? An asthma cough, according to his foster mom. I can't imagine what doctor gave him all of this medicine. He coughs because it's dramatic and gets attention. The steroids are dangerous. He does not even have asthma. He has an attention-getting cough. But, he thought he'd see if he could get my sympathy with the wheezing. Once I made it clear that I wasn't impressed, he dropped it.

He is now, surprisingly, entertaining himself. This is surprising because it so rarely happens without the aid video games. And it's great. But the reason why isn't so great. He has to write a note to his teacher, explaining that he ripped the heads off of at least 10 of the class room pencils. He was given the opportunity to do it verbally this morning, but chose not to. So, now he has to write it out. Until that's done, he's on a sort of grounding - no video games, no playing with friends, no playing with Anthony or Davan or I, no sports practices or meetings. Rather than write the note, he's playing by himself.


I just got a call from his adoption lawyer. The adoption should be finalized in about a month. Max was very nonchalant about the news. Hmmmm.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Max's Latest Hair Cut

I put a 5 on the back of his head for his last basketball game. You can't see it here, but there's a basketball on the top of his head, too. He gets a new cut every week or so and, as long as he's being cooperative and not whining, he gets to pick the pattern for his head. Of course, it has to be within my limited artistic abilities, so that limits things somewhat.

Lots of Family Time

We've spend our whole Sunday together. This is not unusual, but often I'll go for a walk or the kids will have a play date for an hour or two in the afternoon. Sometimes Max will play video games for a couple of hours, also, all of which means that we're not spending time together as a family for those periods of time.

Today, though, we spent all day together. I'm happy to report that Max is still alive. It was close a couple of times. (Joking, of course. Mostly.)

After our breakfast for chocolate chip oat pancakes, Morning Star Farm's sausages and lots of fruit, we started in on FAMILY ROTATIONAL FUN!!! See all that excitement there? We each put in a frivolous and a productive choice. Each thing was supposed to last about a half an hour. However, our first productive one was really clean the toy room. We spent an hour and 15 minutes on that one. So, we opted to toss out on of the work ones. Sadly, we chose Max's productive one. That one was building a sauna. A good idea, but not really practical.

With all the togetherness, came stress, of course. When I mentioned to Anthony something his son was doing, he demanded a paternity test. Sadly, I think Anthony is finally going to have to face the fact that Max isn't his biological kid.

I think he'll be devastated.

Musing About Readership

I've been musing about people reading my blog. It is a public blog, so I sort of expect others to read it. I think all of about 4 people do. That's should be okay. I'm writing for me.

However, I find myself checking my stats for how many people have come to my blog. I finally set up email notification for when someone comments because I was checking all the time for comments. I does seem to matter to me if people are reading. I'm curious about what people are thinking when they read. Of course, hardly anyone reads, so not many people are thinking anything.

All this really shouldn't matter. And it mostly doesn't. I write because I want to. However, if it were totally just for me, I'd be just writing to my hard drive, right?

Mostly just musing...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just a Saturday

We had what sort of felt like a full Saturday, but in reality, involved a lazy morning and significant down time in the afternoon.

After starting the day off with apple muffins and lots of fruit, we were off to Max's final basketball game. Before going, Max said he wasn't feeling too well, but, of course, he still wanted to go. He played fine, but was really sniffing and coughing by the time we got home. He also has said he's throat is sore. Sounds like what Anthony had last week and is just starting to feel better from. Yay. Another illness to sweep through the family. I'd been hoping it was something the rest of us hadn't already gotten when Anthony came down with it.

We had snack stuff for lunch - trail mix with nuts, raisins and dried cherries, lettuce, cucumbers and zucchini to dip in a peanut sauce, some sliced apples and pears, sectioned tangelos, and these yummy peanut butter ball that Davan made out of Ezekiel cereal, raisins, shredded carrots and peanut butter.

Max had a melt down. And then another. And then another. I ended up sending him to nap for a while, under protest.

I got in some DDR, which I haven't done sense our Playstation moved back in for Christmas. We'd had to put it away because Max was obsessive about it. I missed DDR, which is a great workout.

We did some family reading, where in Max had another melt down. Sigh.

Then it was time for Max's end of the season pizza party for basketball. I hate these things. Actually, I don't think I would if we just went and got ice cream and the kids got to buddy around with each other for a bit. I hate having to go out to eat, though, at a place I wouldn't necessarily pick myself. I hate coughing up cash for the trophies which just mean, "Hey, my parents paid for this!" not, "We had a winning season!" or "I was most improved on my team!" or whatever. But, none the less, we went and coughed up the trophy money.

We had to leave post-haste, though, because we had Family Fun night at Max's school tonight, where Anthony and I were each taking a volunteer shift. I called out Bingo numbers. It was fine. Sort of fun, even.

Max and I are now home. He's getting ready for bed. I brought him home early because of the whole sick thing. I didn't want him to have a late night. Davan and Anthony are both still over there. Anthony is selling tickets and Davan is bouncy housing to her heart's delight. That's really all she wanted to do and the line doesn't go very fast, so she still had tickets left when Max and I took off. Max, on the other hand, chose fast things as well as buying a root beer float, which was 6 whopping tickets.

Max, who's bedtime routine includes lotioning up, putting on pjs, and brushing his teeth just finished after 40 minutes of effort. If that kid ever learns to move, he'll have more time than he knows what to do with.

Well, I'm off to read to the Max-man.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Today - Babbling On

It's been a fine day today. Max was cooperative this morning. He had to go to the principal's office again today, but I think this will be his last time. The regular principal doesn't seem concerned about him doing so, but the substitute principal was back today.

Anyway, I have no particular reason to be concerned about when he comes home today, but somehow, the day seems to be just rushing forward to him coming home and I'm not looking forward to it. I wish I didn't dread him coming home. I wish I didn't dread him being off school.

There are times I want a break from Davan, too, but it's different, yet again, like so many other things.

Historically, Friday afternoons are tough. Max seems to be tired and out of sorts. But, still. It's not just that it's Friday. It's most days, to be honest.

I was so proud of myself last Friday. I actually went and sprung him early from the institution to take him swimming, rather than figuring out how to maximize the time I had away.

Davan and I were going to go skiing today, but it's dumping snow up on Mt Hood. The last time that happened and we went anyway, we were an hour late getting home to met Max after school. It was a huge drama. I can't even remember if I wrote about it here. I think it was before I started blogging again. Yup, it was. I went and checked. So, with no further adieu, the day Max came home to an empty house!

It was a Tuesday. Davan and I went skiing. It was snowing, but not, it seemed, horribly so. After all, we were most of the way to the ski area before we had to chain up. However, when we got up there, there was so much powder that skiing was a challenge. We had fun with it, but it was definitely a challenge.

We left with plenty of time, so we thought, to get home. It takes about an hour when the roads are in decent shape and maybe an hour and a half when we have to have chains for part of the trip. Max gets home around 2:45. We were at the car before 1:00.

Sadly, things did not go as planned. The snow was so bad that part of the stretch of road that we use to come home was closed. We had to go in the opposite direction and come around the mountain. We were chained up for about half of the trip. Also for a little more than half of the trip, my cell phone service was out.

We finally got to where there was a pay phone at 2:40. The pay phone was not the sort you could use a credit card on, however, the deal was that for two quarters, you could call anywhere in the US for 2 minutes. I had exactly 2 quarters on my person. I called Anthony at work. Now, Anthony is about an hour away from home himself via bike or public transportation, which is what he uses to commute.

I gave Anthony a list of possible people who could go get Max and their phone numbers. Then my time was up. We started driving again in hopes we'd get to cell phone service. We did about 20 minutes later. Anthony had left work, but had left a message saying that Katie (a nearby friend) had gone to get Max. Whew.

Max ended up with something like 5-10 minutes that he was at loose ends. He ran back and forth between home and the bus stop several times. When Katie first showed up, he thought someone was coming to kidnap him, until he recognized Katie.

By the time we got to Katie's house at 3:45, Max was asking if he could go over there after school again. He'd gotten cookies and got to watch cartoons. I traded Davan for Max (Katie is also one of Davan's best friend's moms) and we went on with life. It was exciting, though.

Now if it's snowing more than a little bit, Davan and I don't go skiing. We don't want a repeat.

So, instead today, Davan and I went to open gym, where we got to stay an extra 1/2 hour today due to them being in the process of changing open gym times. Friends were there, which was fun. Then we ran errands. Davan needed a new swim suit and we needed to go the library.

I also picked up some Easter stuff. We've decided not to do candy at all for Easter this year. We've always done a "welcome to spring" gift in addition to hiding plastic eggs with candy (mostly) in them. We're still doing a spring gift. The general idea of a spring gift is something to enjoy outside as the weather is getting nicer. Max is getting a football helmet. Davan....well, we don't know yet. But, we do know what we're doing for the eggs. Davan is getting a puzzle split amongst her eggs. We do color coded eggs so that we can give the appropriate level of challenge to each child. Max is getting a Lego set split up the same way.

Now, the whole Lego thing is a whole issue in itself. When Max first moved in, he told us, as did his foster parents, that he was a Lego lover. We spread the word and Legos came pouring in for welcome gifts and Christmas gifts and such. Max had a heck of a time with them. He didn't have the patients to build them. He hated waiting while Anthony or I or Davan built them. It was frustrating to him to play with the built things because they fell apart easily and he couldn't fix them. It was a mess.

We finally put the Legos up for a while. Years maybe. It was devastating to him. Earlier this week, he bought himself a Lego set. It was a small one. I told him he could, but that he had to know that if it got to be too intense, we'd have to put them up with the rest of the Legos. He agreed. He did pretty well with building it. He did it all by himself and was very proud.

So, we're considering this Lego set to be a sort of test set. It's still small, but more involved than the car he got for himself. And it will fit in plastic Easter eggs. So there it is.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Not the Only One

Here's an interesting article about antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. The flat line thing is what I was feeling, which I really noticed when I came off of the meds, but not so much while I was taking them.

Luckily, I never had a walking blackout.

More About Sugar

I've continued to mull over the whole sugar thing. I have not been sugar free sense my last sugar post. I sent Anthony out to TCBY Sunday evening. Sigh. I didn't even enjoy it all that much. Double sigh.

Here's my current thoughts. I don't know if I can, at this point, swear off chocolate. We have chocolate chips in our vegan, fat free oatmeal pancakes on Saturday mornings and I'm pretty sure my family would lynch me if I said we couldn't have chocolate chips in them any more. I also don't think I could stand being the only one without chocolate chips in my pancakes. Also, the occasional piece of dark chocolate really seems to be not asking too much. The trick, of course, is to not go over board.

So, for the moment, I'm think that I'll allow myself dark chocolate, but not any other sugary-treats. It seems like a good middle ground to me. I can even take a little dark chocolate with me if I know there's going to be something I'll want, such as birthday cake, at an event we might attend. I'm not yet feeling ready to make the full commitment to this plan, but I'm leaning strongly this way.

Geez. It's a good think I never took up smoking and don't really enjoy alcohol. (I don't care if others drink, but I've never enjoyed the fuzzy feeling of alcohol haze.)

A New Day

Max was cheerful and cooperative again this morning. He had to go directly to the principal again. I'm not sure how long this will go on. Just through tomorrow? The regular principal was back today, but in a meeting when we got there. Hopefully she'll be around tomorrow morning and I and ask her how long she wants Max to go the the office when he gets to school.

Davan and I have started a new thing with morning chores. Previously, we've had assigned morning chores - each certain things. Yesterday I was writing down some things I wanted to remember to do. I decided to just write out all the chores that needed doing, both mine and Davan's. Included in the list were some phone call type chores.

After getting Max off to school, which, of course, involves household chores in itself - making his breakfast and lunch, cleaning up after and I usually work on a kitchen chore, as well, such as starting to empty the dishwasher or stirring up a new jar of natural peanut butter or whatever needs doing - I woke Davan up with the song about loving her and some reading and then we consulted the list as to what needed doing and each just picked chores until they were done.

It worked really well. Davan was thrilled about tackling everything together and said she felt very helpful. So, we did it again this morning with success again.

I don't know how well it'll work with Max, who is a master time waster and chore avoider, but I'm thinking of trying it out over spring break. Right now, Davan and I do our chores in the morning and he does them in the evening, so we can't really do them all together. Of course, we have evening chores, as well. Davan makes dinner twice a week and I do the rest of the time. There's setting the table and doing dishes. However, even when Max's chore was setting the table, which he did while I was making dinner, it never felt like "we're all working together to get this done."

So, I don't know how it'll go, but I'm willing to give it a try. It feels like it'll sort of be a practice run for summer vacation.

Meanwhile, it's game day this afternoon - yay! Tomorrow, weather permitting, Davan and I are going skiing. I'm worried it'll be too snowy, as we're getting quite a rainfall today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

Well, Max had a good morning did fine this afternoon right up until her chose a challenging book for reading. Even with help, he was getting less and less into it and more surly. I suggested switching to an easier book. He opted to switch, but to another one he's been having trouble with and needed help reading. I let him know I didn't think that was a good choice, as my patience for helping was about exhausted. He got more and more pissy and less and less motivated to actually try until I finally sent him to his room for a bit to give us both a break.

After shooting hoops on his indoor basketball hoop for a few minutes, I invited him to try again. He started out cheerfully, but disintegrated fast. Somewhere in all this he yelled at me that the problem was that I wasn't helping him. Yeah.

We continued to have conflicts up until dinner time. I did my best not to engage. So, I should say that he continued to try to force conflicts up until dinner time.

My general feeling is that it'll take time for his behavior to come back from the dark, dank cellar it's been in, but who am I to say. Maybe we didn't get to the root of the problem after all.

I called our attorney today to check on the progress of the adoption, but got her voice mail and haven't heard back yet. I don't know if knowing more details will help him or not.

Meanwhile, almost everything I said to Davan this afternoon caused her to burst into tears. Perhaps we're PMSing again. Davan is just barely showing signs of puberty, but she is definitely cycling with me. It makes for a fun few days each month.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And the Drama Continues

So, just as I was loading pictures earlier, there was a knock on the door. It was a little early, but I was expecting Davan's friend, so I thought nothing of it. I went to answer the door and who is standing there? Max.

It was 1:05. He usually gets home between 2:40-2:50. He didn't have his coat or books or anything. He was muddy. His face was muddy. His shirt was muddy. He was out of breath and upset.

Me: "Max! What's going on?!?!?"

Max: "I just came home. I hate school! I don't like school. I just came home."

Me: "Are you okay? What happened?"

Max: "I'm okay. I just came home. I hate school."

Me: "Did something happen?"

Max: "I hate being bossed around all the time at school. I don't like school. I just came home."

Me: "Okay....I'm glad you're okay. Does anyone know you left?"

Max: "I just left."

Me: "Was it recess?"

Max: "No."

Me: "Okay. I've got to call the school and then we'll probably need to go back up there."

Max, cheerful: "Okay."

I called the school. They didn't know he was missing.

I asked him what had happened. He said that he was doing writing when his teacher asked him to move his desk back. He sits with 5 other kids and often is asked to move his desk back because he talks when the are supposed to be working. Then she asked him to move his desk all the way to the wall and he didn't want to so he just left.

I sent Max to his room so I could call Anthony and figure out what to do. The school called on the cell phone, asking me to bring him back up. After figuring out something for getting Davan to her afternoon activity, I did.

His teacher mostly said the same thing that he did about what happened, adding that he was asked to move his desk because he was talking and moving around the group. After the first move, he was back to talking and moving around the group after a few minutes. Thus, he was told to move it more.

There was a substitute principal there today, which was too bad, but I felt like we got somewhere. Max is going to have a consequence for his action. He's also going to be spending time with the school counselor.

I also found out that he was AWOL for 20 minutes this morning, in addition to his afternoon disappearing trick. He wouldn't tell his teacher where he was. I found out on the way home that he was hiding amongst the coats in the class room coat area. He told me he just didn't want to go. I'm sure he was pissed off about this morning.

I also got a clue as to what the deal with the trying last couple of weeks has been. Max told his teacher that he was going to have an adoption party in February. He thought that was when the adoption was going to be finalized. I can only guess that as March went on and the finalization didn't happen, he was freaking out that we didn't want him after all.

In the last few weeks, he's talked about running away, wanting to live with his foster family again and has generally been a shit. More than usual, that is. And his good times seemed to be getting further and further apart. We'd asked him what was going on, but he kept saying that school wasn't going well. A little girl was bossing him around. It turns out she'd told him something like twice after winter break to do something. That didn't really seem to be the issue, but he wouldn't say and we couldn't guess.

After what his teacher said, though, I asked him if he was nervous about the adoption. He said he was. I asked what he was nervous about. He said he didn't want to be adopted. He wanted to go live with is foster family, but that if he did, we'd be mad and might hurt his foster family.

I told him that if he did go live with his foster family, we'd be sad, but would never hurt them. I also explained, though, that it wasn't possible for him to go live with them. For one, they've moved out of state. For two, they chose not to adopt him. I didn't explain the one and two to him, but that it wasn't possible for him to live there. I did let him know, though, that it wasn't our decision to take him away from his foster family.

Then I asked him if he was worried that the adoption wasn't going to happen because February was past and he thought it was going to be in February. Yes, he was thinking that. I reminded him that the last time Barbara was here we'd talked about that it would be in the spring, when the weather was warmer. I told him that, although it's been warm for the last few days, it wasn't really spring yet. I explained that things are still being worked on for the adoption and that we still do want to adopt him.

He complained that it seemed like it would never happen, but he seems to be relieved now. He's been doing well this afternoon. He got his week day list of stuff done (tidying his room, picking up his belongings, reading) with little fuss. He earned two stickers by helping Davan with making dinner, taking out the compost and being cheerful.

I guess we'll see.

More Pictures

A Picture

Here's a picture of Davan, Max and myself from this summer. We've finally upgraded from dial-up, so uploading pictures isn't so painful.

Two Steps Forward, Ten Back

I'd meant to post about Max yesterday. We had a good morning. He earned a sticker for getting dressed quickly. He was relatively cheerful and cooperative about getting ready for school. We chatted and sang amicably on the way to school. After school, I took him to Target where he'd been dying to go to spend some allowance money. He picked out a few things and then tagged along for a quick grocery store stop with me. It was all more or less pleasant. Nothing worse than typical little kid stuff. You know - forgetting things, jumping all around, making incredibly lame jokes, a little whining about the grocery store - that sort of thing.

This morning, he woke up and stuffed his new Lego car down his undies to try to smuggle it to school. The school has a no toy policy. I could care less about carrying a toy around, but choose to follow the school's rule on this. Perhaps I shouldn't. They don't actually seem to care, regardless of the policy, but I digress. Back to the car in the undies.

After our love you rhyme and book, we come into the kitchen/dinning room and Max starts to get dressed. I, being a savvy mom, had realized what he'd done with the car and I told him, "Max, remove the car from your underwear."

"The car?"

"Yes, the car, remove it from your underwear."

"Why are you looking at me?!?!?!?"

"Max. The car."

"Why are you looking at me?!?!?!? Why are you looking at me?!?!?!"

I went over and removed the car myself. He stood there and let the time run down on his getting dressed timer. I mentioned that I didn't really care if he went to school in his undies and pj top. He yelled at me to "just stop it!" Then he got dressed.

He didn't have time for his sweatshirt and tried to still get to wear it by throwing it on top of his coat. I told him that, as it wasn't his coat and it wasn't on, it wasn't going to school. I went to put it back into the blue bin. He blocked my path, then threw himself on top of the blue bin to prevent my putting the sweatshirt in it. I told him to have a seat on his bottom. He didn't. I counted. He still didn't.

I led him out to stand by the front door while I took care of the sweatshirt. He yelled over and over, "I hate you! You're a stupid Mommy!"

I discovered that, rather than take care of his dirty clothes, he'd shoved them into the blue bin.

I went to get him and he'd wrapped his chain necklace around the front door knob and was pulling, so I went to take it and put it in the black box. "It's mine!!!! I needed it for the party!!!!!" Then he hauled off and hit me. Yeah. It's been a while. Especially for a full no hiding it assault like that. Cocked his hand back and hit me right in the chest. Hard.

I said, "Oh, Max" and escorted him to his room.

After a few minutes, I went to let him know he could come out and eat his breakfast and that I was starting the timer for when breakfast ends. After a little bit, he came out and started eating his grapes. We always do a fruit first and then whatever else - cereal, toast with peanut butter, dinner leftovers, whatever.

I let him know that the things there were conflicts over today plus the stuff that was in the blue bin and shouldn't have been would all be going into the black box. He let me know that was no big deal because he only needs two more stickers anyway.

I also let him know that, due to the name calling and hitting, there would be an early bedtime tonight. That means he can't go to the dress rehearsal of a play I was going to take both kids to tonight.

He listened impassively. He opted not to finish his grapes - opted not to even eat up until the time limit. Then we were off to school. I got him up there and didn't yell or do anything aggressive. Victory for me.

I even told him when I turned to walk away that I hoped he had a good day and that I still loved him even though I was very angry.

I wish it didn't have to be so hard.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hello, My Name is Nicholina and I'm a Sugar-holic

The post-Prozac initial weight drop didn't last. In fact, I'm now up a pound. I can't blame it on the Prozac anymore. I still feel like getting off the Prozac was a good idea (see previous post), but it wasn't what was causing the weight gain. Sadly. That would be an easy fix, no?

I've been skirting around the truth of being a sugar-holic for a while now. I keep saying I have an unhealthy relationship with sugar. I keep going back to eating it anyway.

Some people can eat sugar socially, just like some people can drink alcohol socially. Other people, like alcoholics, find themselves eating just one more piece of someone else's birthday cake. And then just one more. And then, that night, back at home, thinking about the cake and maybe some ice cream would be a good idea. I'll just run out, shall I? And then, if the sugar doesn't continue to come, there are withdrawals. Cravings, irritability, hunger without cause (say, after a large and satisfying meal). That's me, people.

This is not the first time I'm saying this, but I really think I need to just not eat sugar. No cookies, no ice cream, no cake, no candy. Before, though, I'll also say, except for's someone's birthday...someone is offering me a homemade's Easter/Halloween/Christmas...I've had a really bad day. Not really on the last one, but, yeah, that's caused me to hop up on sugar even after I've said I won't do it.

I'm seriously contemplating a just say no policy. Period. I don't seem to be able to handle social sugar.

All this said, I'm not really into dieting, per say. I think it's more important to focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods. I don't worry about dried fruit (very high in natural sugars) or nuts (very high in fat). I do think, though, that these sugar cravings/needs/desires I have are unhealthy.

We get into dangerous ground here. I do think that being thin is healthy. I want to be healthy. That is the primary reason for wanting to stay slender. However, I also like the way I look when I'm thin. I also don't want to grow out of my clothes and have to buy new ones.

There's the whole movement about being happy with your body the way that it is. I think there's something to be said for that. Eating disorders abound if you focus too much on how you look. However, I must say that I think eating too much and becoming overweight is an eating disorder, too. It may not be as immediately life threatening as anorexia or bulimia, but it is life threatening to be overweight. The fact is that if you're overweight, your life span will, statistically, be shorter than if you're slender. Potentially a lot shorter. That sounds like a problem to me.

Back to sugar. I truly think I need to be done with it. However, I feel like I need to be really sure and strong about it before I make a definite declaration. Again. Or, is waiting not good, either? Perhaps it's best to keep saying, "I quit!" until it sticks one of these times.

Sugar is just such a socially acceptable habit. Like smoking used to be. It's hard to be the one who says no. To be different from everyone else.

I don't know, but I'm thinking about it a lot. For now, though, it's off to bed. And perhaps some "bed time activity" if Anthony is feeling well enough - the poor guy has an unpleasant cold. Fingers crossed!

Drug Free Update

It's coming up on two weeks with no Prozac. I realized a couple of things last night. While on Prozac, it was easier for me not to feel aggressive toward Max when he was really pissing me off. I also did not frequently feel close to tears. I have that to say in favor of Prozac.

However, also while on Prozac, I never once did a cartwheel on our balance beam, which I love doing. I never initiated "bed time activities" as Anthony ever so delicately put it, and I was very tired. I'm still tired, but not in the same yawing-my-way-through-the-day way.

Now I'm back to being enthusiastic about more things, having more energy and feeling more strongly. All-in-all, I think it's a a better way to live. I don't like being drugged.

As for weight, well, I have a whole other post in mind for that.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I really don't get it

Today when Max got up, he found a gift from the Tooth Fairy. It was a basketball video game. Granted, I got it for $1.99, but it is still very cool and something Max was very excited about. Max got in his 20 minutes of reading and then entertained himself while hanging out with Anthony, who was making pancakes. This is Max's favorite weekend breakfast.

After breakfast, Max wanted to play his new video game, which was totally fine. Anthony played a couple of games with him, then Max wanted to try on his own. I was out doing yard work, Davan was entertaining herself and Anthony joined me with doing yard work after his couple of games with Max.

I came in, put out a snacky type lunch, let Max know his two hours of video game time was up for the day and then played Cadoo with both kids. Davan declined a second round of Cadoo, but Max still wanted to play, so I played another with him and (not obviously) let him win. After which, Max freaked out, became defiant and semi-aggressive, got sent to his room, grabbed a toy on the way, refused to hand said toy over, finally threw the toy, laughed in my face, open and shut his door a few times and then finally settled in for his room time.

What I want to know is why? He'd had a good day with lots to do. He still had his basketball game to look forward to with it being his snack day (Cheeto's) and then open gym at Davan's gymnastics gym to look forward to. So, why become such an asshole?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Spring Break Plus

I found out last night that Max's spring break isn't just one week. It's a week and a half. They've accomplished this by having three days worth of parent teacher conferences the week before spring break. To say that I'm not thrilled about this would be an understatement. We'll just have to see if he makes it through the whole time or if the world has seen near to the last of poor little Max. I shudder to think about summer. And this is from a die hard homeschooler. My god, Man. What have I come to?

I've got Max signed up for a half day soccer camp for spring break. Of course, now we have three extra days to do something with. He'll just have to come along for our usual Wednesday stuff - swimming for me followed by swimming for Davan. That should be thrilling for him, doncha think? Actually, while Davan swims, he'll have a friend to play with, so it shouldn't be too awful.

Thursday will be game day, which will help the day move along. Maybe I'll take the kids skiing on Friday. We'll be fine, I'm sure.

I've started thinking about camps for the summer already. I'm not signing Davan up for any, as she's going to team and will be doing gymnastics three days a week all summer. Max, though, will need something. Many somethings, in fact. Sports camps are best for him. There is one outfit in the Portland area that does an unlimited sports camp deal, which would be great except that most of the camps are about a half hour drive away. I wouldn't be thrilled about that commute morning and evening.

And, again, I have to ask myself, where are my homeschooling values? Family time and down time are important, right? But the thought of Max home torturing me all summer is...unpleasant.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Back to the Gym and Other Thoughts

Davan and I go back to the gym this evening. We actually went for preschool play gym yesterday. (Shhh! Davan's not actually a preschooler, but we still go!) I talked to Linda - her coach and the main office person. Indeed, there was more to the story and the coach that quit was given previous instruction to find a sitter or make sure a mom would be available to watch her baby. Also, said coach responded to "You can't bring her anymore," with, "Okay. I was going to give my two weeks notice anyway."

Plus, and I had figured this before, kids were actually leaving because their families were unhappy her coaching. So, that's the gossip for the day and it's back to the hotbed of intrigue this evening.

Today was the last day of the book fair at Max's school. Yay! 20 more minutes of sleep tomorrow morning!

Max started off the day right by knocking on the wall. Yeah. While others were still sleeping. He thought it was cute. I did not. However, after that inauspicious beginning, he was very quick to get dressed and ready for school, earning himself two stickers. I had a heck of a time talking myself into giving him the first one after the knocking incident, but that was my hang up.

Off to grocery shop. We're out of apples and low on bananas. That just won't do. Although, I did get strawberries yesterday and am very much looking forward to them with lunch, even though they've been shipped in from California and will taste like a pale facsimile of a real live strawberry.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

High Drama

Davan's gym is falling apart. At the end of summer, we had two coaches leave. One was a planned leave taking and she still sometimes fills in for classes. She was a recreational coach.

The other coached both the higher level recreations girls and team. That one...well, I don't know the details, but it was not an amicable leave taking. It was very sudden. The gym was left in an awkward position. Classes were scrambled and mixed. Things were in upheaval. It all more or less worked out, but they've been looking for a new coach ever sense and still haven't found one.

In September, the main compulsorily girls' coach had a baby. The agreement was that she could bring her baby to work with her. That's been going on for a while. She brings her baby, the baby stays until Dad is off work, then he picks her up.

Now, again, I don't know all the details. I've only heard one side of this story. Apparently, yesterday, the coach was informed that she could no longer bring her baby to work with her. As of right now. Last night was her last night. She quit.

I'd guess that there was some lead up to this, as opposed to just springing it with no warning, but I don't really know. What I do know is that this leaves the gym in a lurch, yet again and even more so.

We now have the head coach, who mostly coaches the optional girls - higher levels and one team coach who, right now, only coaches the level fours. There's no coach for level fives and sixes. I'm sure that it'll be covered somehow, but it might not be pretty.

Knowing all this last night, I've started to look into options for other gyms. After all, before she starts team would be the time to move. However, my main thought was to just ride it out. Gyms go through upheavals. It usually smooths out.

I found out this morning, though, that the compulsory girls (levels 4-6 and the bulk of the gym) are talking about a walk out for three months. The plan would be to put the head coach out of business so another coach can buy it and take over. I'm not overly thrilled about this idea. Davan doesn't want to miss gymnastics. She's only pre-team now, but would be team before the walkout was over.

Plus, I'm not totally convinced it's all Brandon's fault. I'm not sure running him out of business is a good thing. All-in-all, high drama.

On the plus side and on a completely different subject, Max and I had a decent morning. He wasn't overly motivated, earning no stickers, but he was on time and more or less pleasant to be around.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Apples and Carmen

Tonight was family reading night at Max's school. The book fair is open for those who wish to buy books. There's a free book for every family thanks to a partnership with our local library. They feed you (corn dog and tator tots) and there are activities.

Anthony and Max went over to the school, but Davan and I had to go to her gymnastics class this evening, so we, sadly, missed out on the corn dogs. Actually, I must say that I'm pretty glad I missed the corn dog.

Max told us this evening that the activity in his class room was going to be apples and Carmen.

The rest of us: What's that?

Max: Apples.

Us: We get the apples part, but what was the other word?

Max: Carmen.

Us, musingly: Apples and Carmen....

Finally my mother in law, who was over for dinner as she is every other Monday evening, said: Caramel?

Max: Yeah! Apples and caramel!

Us: Ahhhhh! Apples and caramel!

Drug Free

I've decided I'm done with the Prozac. I had planned on Prozac being a temporary measure, anyway, but I was going to do it for 6 months. It's only been 3. However, I have my reasons.

First, the logical ones. I don't really want to lead a drugged life. I like feeling the full range of emotion. I think I've been on it long enough to loose the strong negative feelings I was having toward Max. I have an exercise program in place that I'm doing pretty well with. Exercise, I've found in the past, is a great anti-depressant for me.

Now for the real reason I've decided now instead of later. I've been gaining weight. At first I was blaming it on the holidays. But, truly? Yeah, I ate some treat food, but not a ton. I've still been gaining, though, and it's significantly after the holidays. Not just maintaining extra weight, but gaining. Even though my eating patterns have not noticeably changed from how I've been eating in the last year. And even though I've increased my exercising fairly significantly.

I've been noticing this with some alarm, seeing as how my clothes are getting snug. Then, I remembered a story of a friend of a friend who gained a whole bunch of weight while on Paxil (same family of drugs as Prozac). Then I realized that when I was at my max weight ever, I'd just come off a six month course of Paxil. I'd been going through some depression after being in a fairly serious car accident. It's a whole separate story. After that, though, I fairly effortlessly shed some pounds and it was my highest weight ever.

So, I'm done. I took my last dose last Wednesday. So far, all is well. Nicely, even though it's that time of the month, I've even had a nice return of 'ye 'ol sex drive. And I'm down a pound. So there it is.