Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We Skipped Out Early

It was just as bad as my free floating anxiety about it seemed to indicate. Max acted up because we were there. He didn't clean up when told to. He stayed standing when he was supposed to sit and put his head down. He didn't line up when he was supposed to. His teacher, as I was leaving, said, "I won't send a note today because he's had a great day!" Just shows how much she doesn't notice. Or how anal I am, but I don't think so, knowing that others have kids as passive agressive as Max is and knowing that other people often don't see it.

Besides. The woman was missing him for 15 minutes from her class without noticing. How much else is she missing?

There weren't any games - just crafts. The crafts were okay, but didn't take the hour and fifteen minutes alloted to them to do. I helped cut out paper dresses for pigs while Davan helped tape sticks on pig masks. Then we stood around and waited and waited and waited....then we left before the author presentation.

For one, we hadn't read the book she was going to talk about. No one had sent home information about the book so we could have if we'd wanted to. I was assuming that she was going to read the book. Silly me.

For two, I was tired of Max acting up because I was there and he wanted to see if he could get away with it.

Family Literacy Day

Today is Family Literacy Day at Max's school. There's a BBQ, games, a craft and a presentation by an author. Sounds like fun, no?

For some reason, no, it doesn't. I really, really don't want to go. For one, I don't do BBQ unless what's being BBQed is veggies. It turns out the BBQ is first and separate from the other activities, though, so Davan and I aren't going until after the BBQ. This leaves games, the craft and the author presentation.

These are great activities and right up Davan's and my alley. So, why do neither of us want to go? I'm not sure.

Davan, independently of knowing that I wasn't thrilled about going, asked if she had to go or if she could stay home.

I just have angst about it.

I can only figure that it must be two things. One is that it interferes with my daily break from Max. What a bad Mommy reason. I mean, really. Still...when I think about it, it feels true.

The other reason is that I just don't like school. I don't like activities where it's too structured. I like going to the library for crafts and/or readings and so does Davan. Herding around, though, with a class plus parents sounds like too many people and too much herding with not enough enjoying.

Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. Think positive! (I'm trying here, folks.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mulling About Names

So, we've changed Max's name. It was Judea when he came to live with us. We called him Judea for the first year he lived here, as he wasn't interested in changing his name, but it's not a name we were overly thrilled with.

In December, when we were on our way down to California to visit family and Disneyland, we came around to the topic of names. Judea was hesitant to try out a new name, but we all decided to try out a new name for a day, just for the fun of it. Davan became Jessica. Anthony became Wally. (He's a funny, funny man.) I became Jenica, not because of Davan's Jessica choice, but because I'd heard it at her gym and admired it. Judea became Michael Jordan. Not Michael, middle name Jordan, but Michael Jordan. We called him that for the day. However, that was not a long term name solution, I assure you.

I won't even go for first name Michael, last name Jordan. A person needs their own identity. And, as cool as Judea might think it is now, he won't appreciate it when he's older, I'm sure.

So, we continued to mull it over. Davan immediately went back to Davan after the one day. Anthony and I continued to call each other Jenica and Wally on occasion, for a while, just for fun. Judea continued to be Michael Jordan, with no desire to go back to Judea.

I decided to suggest a name to him that he might like and that would be something we could accept. Max sort of came to me in a flash. It seems like a sporty name and he's a sporty guy. It really fits him, as well. He agreed to be called Max for a day, maybe two.

He was called Max (with occasional slips to Judea) for two weeks without ever asking to be called Judea again. We thought we had it.

Then we came back from vacation. On Christmas Eve, over at my MIL's house, Max suddenly made a big fuss about us not calling him Judea. He seemed to be making a big deal out of it just to show that we were treating him poorly in front of the sympathetic relatives, so we sort of brushed it off.

The night before he went back to school, I had a talk with him. I asked him if he liked being called Max or if he'd rather be called Judea. He said he wanted to be called Max. I mentioned that they'd be calling him Judea at school, but we could let them know his name was Max now, if he liked. He didn't like. He wanted to be called Judea at school. Okay...but, you want your name to be Max? Yes. Okay....

I suggested that we wait until finalization and then have a "name change" party at school. He thought that was a good idea. So, the months went on.

Max had thought that we were finalizing the adoption in February and had a rough time of it when he realized February had passed. We didn't realize that until mid March. However, at the very end of February, he started saying that he didn't want to change his name. He wanted his name to be Judea.

Well, when we talk with him about it, he will tell us that he still wants us to call him Max. So, what's the deal? Right now, the lawyer has the information that his name will be Max Judea O'Donnell. But, I'm pretty sure we could do a last minute change if we had to. The lawyer might not be thrilled, but hey, we need to do what's right.

The question is, what is right? Does he really want his name to be Judea, but wants us to call him Max, like a nick name? I don't know. He isn't very clear on it, either.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'm Back!

TV Turn Off week is over at our house. Overall, it went well. There weren't a lot of complaints and I, barely, managed to get what I needed out of the computer in my alloted time, although that part was a bit stressful. Paying bills on Friday was particularly tension inducing with trying to get done in 10 minutes.

Max was very excited to get to play video games today. In fact, he chose to play video games instead of play catch with Tad-ku (my step dad whom he really loves) even though we hadn't seen Oma (my mom) and Tad-ku in two months. And he still only gets two hours. Not the wisest of choices, but there it is.

We had our usual dramas over the week with the library incident and the whole Children's Museum joy ride. Just more of the usual living with Max stuff.

This morning, though, just Max and I were up and moving about this morning, which is unusual. Davan is usually up early on the weekends and Anthony is almost always up before me. Max and I made vegetarian sausages (from tempah and white beans and spices) together and had a really nice time. Yes. You heard me. I really nice time. To bad it only comes about once a month and didn't last even until the end of breakfast. Sigh.

I'm off to play games with a buddy for a while this afternoon, after a nice visit with my parents this morning. I'm sure I'll be writing more this week, but I am still going to try to limit myself to certain times of the day for computer usage. We'll see how that pans out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day #2 TV Turn Off Week

Again, I've whipped through emails, deleting most of them, as they were from a list and of topics I didn't need to read about. I'm visiting a few of my favorite blogs and have plenty of time for a quick post of my own.

I've found, over the last day and morning, that the computer is a habit for me. I don't really do all that much on it, but I sit down here and time just goes. I'm in between things and I wander over and sit down. I get up in the morning and I want to head to the computer.

I think I'd like more time to write on a regular basis, but I also think I need some sort of designated computer time so I don't get carried away.

Max got off to school with a decent morning this morning, so that was nice. We have our usual full Monday ahead of us - Girl Scouts, swimming, gymnastics, flag football. I like Mondays, though. I'd like Anthony to be home with us, too, but I like our activities, so I don't mind being busy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day #1 of TV Turn Off Week

I've already whipped through my email and I have a whole four minutes left. Max was only mildly upset about TV Turn Off Week when we announced it at breakfast this morning, but when he realized he wasn't going to get to play video games with two friends who are coming over this afternoon, he got very pouty. Ah well.

For my part, I was a little lost when I walked out this morning and didn't get right on the computer to check email, but I'm doing fine and enjoyed my computer free time. We've already done a rotation of family fun. Although, it wasn't all fun....Max doesn't help with any of the work - like cleaning the table for ping pong. He's passive agressive about it, so you wouldn't even necessarily notice he wasn't helping if you just happened upon the situation, but it's every time, so we notice.

The kids have playdates this afternoon for a couple of hours. I'm reading a non-fiction about nutrition - "The Thrive Diet" - which is interesting and have a fiction book in line to read - "The Greys." Plus I want a walk. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

TV Turn Off Week

TV Turn Off Week is upon us. We've participated in this event in past years and plan to this year. We didn't participate last year. We needed a dumb box to help us get through all the intensity of being a family together. Now, before you go and misunderstand, we're talking about a movie or two a weekend after spending all day doing family things together. But, we needed it. Boy did we need that break.

I'm not saying that we don't now, as you know if you've been following my blog at all, but we are still participating this year.

I haven't told Max yet. Why? I'm afraid he'll be really pissed off about not having video games all week. I know he'll consider it punishment. I'm putting off having the conversation.

I don't know when the official TV Turn Off Week is supposed to start, but we're doing it tomorrow through Saturday.

I'm only allowing myself 10 minutes of computer time each day, so I may not be keeping up the blog this week. Or, at least, only a short message or two here and there. I've gotten into the habit of overusing the computer and have been spending much more time than I need to on it. I'll be wandering by..."Oh, look, I could just pop on in and see if I have any new email. I need to see if anyone has posted something new on their blog today....so what if I checked it less than an hour ago."

That needs to stop.

What I really need is a book I'm really into. I haven't had one for a while. The last one I read took forever because I didn't really want to be reading it, but was making myself. It was a parenting book. For the life of me I can't remember the title. Anyway, it was about reforging lost connections between parents and their children.

It was all about how to connect with your child - to offer unconditional love and forgiveness. It was not at all about how to give proper consequences or anything like that, but the author did recommend that you do so. He just said the most important thing was your bond with your child.

I appreciated the message, for the most part. What I've found lately, though, is that parenting books depress me. Mostly, I'm already doing a lot of what they want me to do - show affection, be playful, yadda, yadda. However, I can't do it all the time. I'm not perfect. Reading parenting books make me feel like I'm supposed to be, though.

Then I moved on to "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog." Not light reading. After reading a bit, I put it aside. It was interesting, but not what I want to read right now. I'm tired of trying to understand the inner lives of traumatized children. Sorry. I have done a lot of that, but I need a break from it. Plus, this book was actually pretty technical and was just not working for me.

So, what to read? I may need to raid Davan's bookshelf for some of her current favorites. One series has her very excited right now. I could try it.

But, the thick and thin of it is, no TV, video game and minimal computer this week. Yes, indeed. See you next week.

Spring Renewal - Say Something Saturday

Hmmm.....I've been trying to answer the question of what I want to say good-bye to pretty much at least monthly sense Max moved in. Before Max, it was much less often, but still an idea I'd look at fairly frequently.

I would like to let go of my anger and resentment. Yup. What's holding me back? Other than Max? I don't know. It's a really hard thing to do. I try to take deep, cleansing breaths. I get my exercise. I mostly eat right. By mostly, I mean all but one or two meals a week, including snacks. I practice relaxation through doing things I enjoy - stretching, reading, walking. I don't want to be angry, but I am. A lot.

It's awful to blame my anger on another person. After all, as I keep telling Max, no one can make us do or feel anything. We choose how to react to what other people do.

Maybe what I need to let go of and leave behind is Max. But what form would that take?

There's the literal - disrupt the adoption. Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's not happening.

There's figurative - let go of my need to control him. Does that mean I let him play video games all the time, scream so it hurts my ear drums, get into my personal space in an aggressive and/or annoying fashion, throw food on the ground, not eat any fruits or veggies, have a room so messy I can't set foot in it, never clean up after himself? I could think of more that he'd do if I let go of my control, but that's enough to give the basic idea.

How else can I let go? I can try to let go of my desire to have a positive relationship and just accept that I either have to put up with the obnoxiousness or be more controlling than I ever wanted to be over another person.

I don't know. I'm stymied. How can I let go of what bothers me about Max without actually letting go of him? I think if I could figure that out, it'd help with the stress, anger and resentment. Let me know if you have the magic pill. I'd like to give it a try.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The 4:00 Hour

I'd actually been feeling alright about Max coming home sick today. He was staying in bed, even if he was grumpy. I'd been wanting a laze about day. It was turning out okay.

With the change of the clock to 4, though, a change has come over the situation. Max got up without permission and tried to refuse to go to back to bed. I had told him earlier that if all the food I'd given him in the day stayed down and he was resting that I'd let him get up for dinner, his Thursday haircut and bath before going back to bed.

So, I reminded him that he needed to go back to bed to be rested enough to get up. Now he's screaming and thrashing about. He was playing with his water bottle and refused to give it to me. He keeps saying, "I didn't come home sick today! That was yesterday! Why do I have to stay in bed? You didn't say I'd have to stay in bed if I came home! You're just saying it now to make me be in bed," and the like.

I've gone in and calmly explained, over the back talk, that if I heard him yell again, then he would not have been rested enough to come to dinner and that if he was sitting up, goofing around, then I would not put a new book on CD in for him to listen to while he rests.

I am loosing my patience, though. After all we went though this morning, which I didn't even post about, this is a little too much.

And dinner will be a little odd because I haven't been able to go grocery shopping today, which I pretty much needed to do. I'm fine with dinner, but I don't know if the rest of the family will be. It'll be interesting.

Not Really Sick

Well, it didn't come as a surprise to me that, after napping for an hour, Max was feeling just fine. He's chafing at having to stay in bed for the rest of the day because, "I'm not sick, Mom! See, I haven't thrown up or anything!"

He is also hungry. So far, I've given him a half a banana and time to see if that stays down okay. A little plain rice and time to see if that stays down okay. And, just now, an orange worth of whole-orange juice. And, of course, time to see that it stays down.

He is not a happy camper. And, it does show that he's made some progresses. Early in his living here, he'd have gotten down from bed no matter what I said. Now he's staying, but throwing things around, yelling out, complaining and generally grumping.

I am letting him listen to books on CD, so he even has entertainment. How nice is that?


This time the drugs are for Max, not me. As Anthony says, it's probably better to drug Max than me, Anthony and Max's teacher.

We had a therapy session yesterday afternoon. Max's therapist says that with the behavior he's showing having gone on for more than a year of steady parenting, she thinks it's time for drugs for him. We have an appointment in two weeks to talk to the prescriber in their group.

This, actually, gives me new hope. Maybe they'll really help. The drugs would be for depression and/or anxiety, which he displays high levels of. It also comes out in aggressiveness and grumpiness. Gosh, if we could curb those things, we might be okay.

I'm trying not to count on this for my miracle, but I am feeling hopeful.

Quite the Jump in Readership

Wow. There has been quite a jump in readership and comments in the last few days. So, a little background for those who are new to reading and don't have the time or inclination to go through all the archives (I don't blame you!).

Max has been living with us for 16 months now. He's 6, getting close to 7, years old. It's been a hard road. We thought we were being careful about what we could take on, but Max turned out to have more issues going on than we'd been made aware of. He has attachment issues and, after a year of settling in, we're pretty sure his other main issue is depression and anxiety. He qualifies for a diagnosis of ODD for what it's worth. It's not like that is treatable other than consistency and follow through. He did have some exposure to drugs and alcohol prenatally and shows many signs of FAE, but the doctor we saw for it says it's not enough to give him the label. He is very passive agressive.

Those have been the challenges. We question ourselves and our parenting all the time. Up until a couple of months ago, he was presenting as the perfect child at school, which made it doubly hard. Were we making mountains out of molehills at home? Was it our parenting style?

Max, of course, has good qualities. He is attached to us, at least as well as he is able. He does seem to truly love us, but he has a definite push and pull relationship toward us. He is smart. Very much so. Sometimes he is helpful and seems to try to be a decent person to be around. He is very enthusiastic about sports and treats.

Even as I was writing that, though, I was thinking. Gee, yeah, he uses his smarts to try to manipulate us. He is enthusiastic about treats and equally angry about the lack there of. He lies a lot, even about little stupid things.

He's home sick today from school, but I'm pretty sure he's not actually sick. I made him go to school and he got himself to throw up (he can make it happen if he tries hard enough). He was fairly convincing, but his behavior was not enough consistent with being sick that I believed him. And he certainly has a tendency to cry wolf. But, after throwing up, he got to come home. He did nap for a bit, but now he's mad that he has to stay in bed and rest. And he is hungry. I just gave him a half a banana and told him we'd see how that stayed down before moving on to maybe a little rice.

Anyway, that took me a little off course. I was talking about how it's been sense he moved in. Here's the thing. I don't think I've bonded to him. I try hard to give him loving gestures, but my heart isn't in it. Maybe he feels that? I hug him, I pat him, I tell him I love him, I hold him on my lap, I read to him, I do finger rhymes, I hold his hand, I sing to him, I groom him, I play with him. But I'm making myself do these things. And it's hard. I keep hoping that if I act the act enough, more will come, but it doesn't.

Max is just a little kid. He acts the way he does because of his background. It's understandable in the context. I can see that, objectively, but I can't see it moment to moment in living with him and his abrasiveness.

I think, quite often, that Max is just a typical, very rambunctious little boy. I have a hard time even dealing with that, though, because of all the other stuff. I have a hard time letting go of my negativity toward him. I'd like to. But, let's face it, folks, if I were in a relationship with a man who treats me like he does, everyone would think I was stupid for not leaving. So, I can see why some people think the right thing to do is disrupt.

With Max, it's different than with a grown up. He's a little kid. There is hope for him to change. I hope. That is why we stick with it. But then I question myself. Will he change if we don't truly love and accept him? Will he change even if we do? Will he develop into a person who can really connect with other people no matter what we do? Will we be able to survive and thrive as a family if he doesn't?

And, I have an answer from Anthony. He doesn't think we should disrupt. Well, neither do I, really. As I said, I don't feel like we have a choice about it. But, if he feels so strongly, maybe he should become the stay at home parent. :P Only partially joking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This lady is dealing with a child who sounds a lot like Max. She's posted about this daughter of hers before, but this post really resonated with me.

Sometimes I have trouble bringing up her blog, just to warn you. She has 10 kids and this one daughter is effecting her in similar ways to how Max effects me. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm not crazy.


Anthony and I took Max to a Blazer's basketball game last night. We had a good time. Not every minute with Max is bad. Just enough of them.

Davan stayed home with her friend, Emily. Just so you know, Emily is a 20 year old friend, not a 10 year old like Davan friend. She didn't care to go to the basketball game.


My father in law was over for dinner last night. I'm thinking about saying he can't come over anymore. I know that's awful and he's a good man, for the most part. He really wants to be involved in his son's life.

However. He is constantly interfering with my parenting of Max. Last night, I decided I needed to say something. Max was throwing a fit over cleaning off the counter in the bathroom where he'd smeared hair lotion. FIL went to comfort him. AHRG!!!! I let it go a bit, but then, finally, it had gone on too long. I went in there, got Max back on track and then told FIL with a hand on his arm, "Now we need to just let Max be unhappy without an audience," and turned to guide him out. He stayed!!!! What is he thinking he is doing!?!?!?! And he offered more words of concern. Max knows what the hell to do and the more he acts up and gets positive attention from grandpa, the more rewarding it is to cry.


It is yet another busy day and I should be making dinner now (even though it's not quite noon) because I have to have it made before we go swimming today so that I can pack some for Davan to take to her friend Zoe's house this evening. After swimming, Davan goes home with Zoe for the afternoon while I take Max to therapy. Then Max and I will come home and just have time to eat our pre-prepared meal before I take him to flag football. They want parent volunteers this evening. We're supposed to go in running shoes and shorts. Given the weather, I think I'll make it sweats, but, hey, I guess I'm a wuss.

Zoe's mom is taking Davan to gymnastics at 6:15. Have I mentioned that Stephanie is a saint? She's the one who is picking Max up for me on Wednesdays, as well, while Davan and I are swimming.

Then I need to bring Max home to Anthony (who is going to be at work late and, thus, not home before 7:00) before going off to catch the last of Davan's gymnastics class.

I'm PMSy and feeling like I'd really just like to laze about all day. Of course, the PMSy thing has something to do with my miserableness about the whole adoption situation, too, but don't let that fool you into thinking there isn't really an issue there.

Why I Don't Feel Like I Have a Choice

Thank you, my three readers :), for your comments and support. I'd like to attempt to answer the questions.

I do, technically, have a choice. And Anthony is supportive of whatever choice I make, but it is, in all honesty, my choice.

We can disrupt, if we do it before finalization. We can say, "No, we can't handle this. Sorry." Max would go back into foster care. They would try to recruit for a family to adopt him again. His chances would not be good for finding another adoptive family. He is a black male and would have a disrupted adoption on his record. In reality, he'd be looking at aging out of foster care. I can't imagine that his life would go on any sort of good path.

Even if he was lucky enough to be adopted, he'd be further down the path of attachment issues for us having blown his trust. We've told him over and over again that he is here to stay. To then not follow through would be devastating for him. We have had the best of intentions when we've said these things to him. We keep hoping that he'll settle in and trust and things will be easier. Any (highly theoretical) family that might want to adopt him would have to overcome all of that.

We've talked about asking if we can turn into a long term foster family while they look for an adoptive family for him, which would at least save him from having to change homes an extra time or two, but we'd still be bailing on him. Plus, what if they don't find anyone?

We have hopes that finalization will bring with it some calm, but I'm trying not to get too invested in that hope. It could get worse. Sometimes that happens.

I could go back on Prozac. He seemed better when I was on Prozac and I felt glad then that we'd kept him. A lot of the glad feeling is just how guilty I'd feel for tossing him out on his ear. However, that was the only good thing about Prozac. Lack of sex drive, weight gain, no real joy. I don't want to go back to that.

We could delay the adoption. We've already done that. We sat on some paperwork this summer for quite a while because we were having serious doubts. We went through the whole disrupt or not decision making process. We decided not to disrupt. We had several reasons for that.

The above mentioned repercussions to Max were definitely some of those reasons. However, also, we were looking at the impact on us. Max's therapist, who, of course, doesn't want to see us disrupt, told us that even though it seems like it will be a relief when the child leaves your home, it really impacts families as more of a death of a child and can be devastating. Now, the sensible thing is to take that with a grain of salt, as her primary interest is in keeping Max in the family, but it does make some sense to me.

In addition, I don't know if I can live with the guilt. I don't know if I can face people and say, "Yeah, we sent him back to foster care." What if his life tanks and we could have made the difference if we'd stuck it out?

I don't want Davan to think that people are disposable. I don't want her to wonder, "How bad to I have to be before they send me away?"

So, the short answer is, yes, there are choices and we've already made them. I still feel trapped and like I don't want to do this. I wish I could turn back the clock and do it differently by saying no after the first day we met Judea and realized he wasn't a good match for us. Or by saying no before he moved in when we realized that we were going to be miserable. Or even by sending him back to live with his foster family after a month or two when the impact would have been less. Each time, we kept thinking, "It's just the stress of moving and a new family for him. It'll get better." Or by saying no when we got the full influx of his paperwork before we'd met him. We messed up when we didn't say no then, but we were worried about if we'd be able to adopt if we said no and we'd been verbally told that he was doing fine.

If I knew that he could go to a family that would stick by him and appreciate him for who he is and was brown like him, I'd step aside for that family. But, there is no dream family like that. We're as close as it's going to get, even with me dragging my feet the whole way.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finalization Woes, Whining and Complaining Ahead

I don't know if I can do this. Really. I know I must. I know I will. But I am loosing myself. I am so tired of dealing with the drama.

I am loosing my patience, my tolerance, my humor. My enjoyment of kids in general is sharply down. I don't want to be the person I'm becoming. It turns out that I wasn't strong enough for this.

I don't want to face all the years ahead with Max. I want the kid who was in his teacher's class for the first half of the school year to come and live with us. I want the kid who doesn't have OOD or FAE or attachment issues that we were told we were getting. I want the state to step up and say, "Oh, gee, there's a better home for him. One where he'll be loved and accepted and even appreciated for who he is. One where the family is brown like him." I'd like to be kept up to date on how he does there. I'll give up on the adoption dream now that I know I'm not cut out for it.

That's the only thing he asked for in a family, that they be "brown like me." They didn't give that to him. I think it was a mistake.

I want to enjoy my kids. At least most of the time. I know I enjoy Davan less, too. And that's sad. There is so much that is sad.

I don't want to finalize. I will, though. I have no choice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Conversations with my Daughter

When Davan and I really get into a discussion, I like talking with her. She can hold up her end of the conversation, she is smart and she's really interested in what I have to say.

A lot of times, though, I find casual conversation with her painful, I'm sad to say.

This evening, Anthony was talking about a kid on Max's t-ball team who, he said, must have been only about three feet tall. I react. Something along the lines of expressing surprise. Davan held her hand up. "Three feet? Like this?"

"Yeah, about like that."

"How old is he?" (We'd just talked about how all the players on Max's team other than Max and one other kid were only five.)

"Five, I imagine," Anthony says, "Maybe he's not really three feet tall, but he's very short."

This doesn't sound like an annoying conversation as I type it out, but, truly, it was. I think it has something to do with her being so literal about everything and nit-picking things. She doesn't mean to be annoying, but she seems to feel the need to get to the bottom of every little off hand comment. I find this frustrating.

Or there are the times that she asks me about something and I go through this whole explanation with examples and she seems very interested, but then, at the end, she says, "Like what?" when I've been giving examples as I go. Does she not get it? Is it over her head? Is she just trying to look like she was paying attention by asking this question when, in reality, she was day dreaming? But then, why make me go through the whole thing. I'd kind of rather hear, "Wait, Mom, I'm not all that interested after all. Let's move on to something else," before I've invested so much time.

I don't know. I'm sure a lot of it just has to do with being a kid, but, man, it's been bugging me lately. Maybe it's all my problem and my tolerance for all things kid is just low. Sigh. Some mom that makes me.

FreeRange Kids

Have you heard about this? It started with a mom who wrote an article about letting her 9 year old son find his way home alone in New York on the subway. She started a blog about it. There's been tons of response, both positive and negative.

I agree with the idea behind FreeRange Kids whole heartedly. I see why people are worried. And it's easy to succumb to peer pressure. So many parents out there don't want their kids out of their sight. When you're the one parent in your circle of friends who is okay with your kid going to the park by themselves or walking to a friend's house by themselves, well, it sure can make you feel like you're being criminally negligent.

I do think that exactly how much freedom you allow should depend on your kid and his level of maturity and problem solving skills. Davan gets to go to the park around the corner by herself. Max gets to go anywhere within the park he wants while I'm also someplace in the park. Eventually, I'd like to give him more freedom, too. He's not only younger, though, but has a track record of poor decision making skills.

When Max ran all the way home from school about a month ago, my main concern wasn't about him coming home alone. My main concern was his lack of courtesy and the fact that he was gone for 15 minutes without his teacher being aware that he was missing.

Of course, we can all agree to disagree, but please don't tell me that it's not as safe as it was when we were kids. The statistics just don't add up for that. More aware, maybe, but safety level has not gone down.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Report

We had a very busy Saturday. Max had his first flag football games - two in a row because his team played a double header. Max is currently the quarterback (supposedly there will be more kids who learn the position, but for now he's it) and also plays well on defense, so he was out there almost the whole time for both games. He enjoyed it and it was fun to watch him, even though it was very, very windy and we had to be there at 8:30 - early for us on a weekend.

We have some concerns about his coach, though. He was very focused on winning and put kids in who played well more than kids that didn't. It's through the YMCA and that's not supposed to be the deal. At the end of every other Y sporting event we've gone to, the kids from one team have all cheered the kids on the other team, but Max's coach had them cheering their own name and drove home to them that they'd won. Hmmm.

After the games, we took Max to meet the cousins to go on a field trip to the air reserve Air Force Base for a tour. He spent the rest of the day and the night with them, going to a sock hop at their school in the evening, before heading to bed. He came home this morning after going to church with them. More about that later.

Davan, Anthony and I took off for Davan's Easter gift, which was a day trip to Corvallis to catch the college regional gymnastics meet. We drove down, did a letterbox thing, had dinner and then went to the meet.

The meet was a lot of fun and we saw some really great gymnastics. Oregon State University pulled out a win over higher ranked University of Michigan with the home crowd cheering like crazy. Those two teams will go on to the national meet. Davan's coach's daughter is the star gymnast for University of Michigan, so we got to cheer for two teams and both teams are going to nationals.

While it was great fun, it was also very late by the time we left. It was nearly midnight when we got home and we were all tired. We came home to a message from Max saying that he was going to go to church with the cousins' the next morning and would be home around noon. So, we got to go to bed without having to worry about being up for Max to come home before church, which was nice.

It was funny about the church thing, as Max had told me he didn't want to go. He wanted to be dropped off before they went. But then, when Angie (SIL) asked him, he said that he was going to church with them. We'd offered to arrange for him to go with them before, but he'd refused.

When he got home, I asked him if he wanted to go again and he said that he did. I said I could set it up for him to go every week. He didn't want that. He then suggested that he could go every other week. We'll see what ends up happening.

Max had to make a tough decision today. He is signed up for both t-ball and flag football this season. We'd hoped that they wouldn't interfere with each other too much. However, both sports have things happening 2-3 times a week and they happen at the same times. Monday evenings, Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. We told him that he had three choices. One: He could quit t-ball. Two: He could quit flag football. Three: We could try to do both, but he'd miss some of each and that meant that he wouldn't be able to remain the primary quarterback for football.

He very sadly chose to quit t-ball, although he tried to then make it not so for a while. I held him while he cried and was sad for a long time. He seemed to feel better, but still sad. Then he started up crying again. And kept crying. And whined. And plea bargained. I have no control over the schedule. It doesn't help to do this in front of me.

I finally retreated to the garage where Anthony was working on his bike and complained to him. He went into a whole song and dance about how Max was just sad, yadda, yadda, yadda. It didn't feel like that to me, though. And, geez, if anyone should give me sympathy about this kid, it'd be the other adult who knows him so well and knows his tricks. I was pissed and told him that if he felt that way, then he needed to get his ass in the house and be the one to listen to the bitching.

However, when I stormed back into the house, Max had stopped crying and was cheerful. This pretty much proved my point in that he stopped when he lost his audience. I told Anthony he didn't have to come in, but I was right. Anthony came in anyway.

The rest of the day involved...giving Max some lunch, doing some dinner prep, Anthony going back out to work on his bike while Max shot some hoops, playing family rotational fun, making cookies (sugar and fat free, but still yummy), finishing dinner, eating, getting Max off to bed, Davan, Anthony and I starting a book to read out loud together while working on our current puzzle and getting Davan off to bed.

It sounds like a nice day on paper, and it was in several respects. However, Max spent the day crying over everything - putting on his shoes, not wanting to shoot hoops, wanting to shoot hoops, his shoes, Davan asking him not to jump on the balance beam when her feet were under it, what other people chose for family rotational fun, his shoes, wanting to help, not wanting to help, his shoes, laying out clothes for tomorrow (oh the drama over this one!), dinner, taking a break from the table in his room, dinner, bedtime, lotion, putting his clothes in the hamper, on and on. It was crazy.

By the clothes for tomorrow, he was also becoming very rude and nasty. He got glares, huffs, yells, snotty remarks, stomping feet and being yelled at that we are "not my mom and dad!!!!" Yeah. Nice.

I attribute it to being very tired. He was so tired that when he was waiting his turn for the add on game on the trampoline and was sitting down, he couldn't stay sitting. He slumped over big time.

It could also be from separation, but he certainly didn't sound like it. He was very pleased with the activities he got to do and the food he got to eat.

We'd bought him tickets for the sock hop and he'd gotten a hot dog, chips, a Mug root beer, nachos, two airheads, two cookies, won the cake walk and received a dozen muffins for it (which he shared with the cousins) and...there was something else....some other sort of candy....but I don't remember what. Obviously, we'd gotten too many tickets for him! Geez. He must have had a sore tummy after all that.

This morning he had pancakes. I'm sure they were traditional fluffy nothing pancakes with lots of butter and fake syrup. That's fine, even though it's not what I'd feed him all the time, but it's the kind of food he loves.

Still, I'm going for tired. He usually goes to bed at home at 7:45. One of us reads to him until 8:00, then, as long as he hasn't lost the privilege, he gets to listen to a CD's worth of book on CD. So, he's not really trying to go to sleep until close to 9:00, but he's relaxing a lot and getting ready for sleep.

What time did the kids get sent to bed last night? 10:00. We don't know what time they got up this morning, but Angie tells us the kids are regularly up at 6:00 on weekends. Eight hours may be enough sleep for most adults, but the ten hours that Max has available (I wake him up just after 7:00), is often not enough. Often I'm actually waking him up and he's still tired.

So there it is. My long, rambling post about the weekend. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. If not, I don't really blame you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

More Outdoor Time

Davan asked if she could make Max's after school snack for him and serve it to him in the fort. Of course that was fine with me. She made him good snack, made a woven place mat out of paper, gathered flowers (dandelions) for a bouquet and had it all ready for him when he got home.

You can't see his snack in this picture, but it's there, in the fort with Max.

Sadly, he'll have to come in soon because he has to get his list done before dinner so he can go to t-ball this evening.

By-the-by, Davan and I painted this swing set years before Max moved in. I've been thinking we need to get the paint back out and put a "Max" or two on there.

Another Cheery Morning

Max had another morning where he just woke up out of sorts. It wasn't as bad as the last one, but there was a decent amount of grumping, whining and crying.

When we got to school, I had to go in for two reasons. One was because he'd brought home a small toy frog yesterday without a note. His teacher sends a note home whenever he's bringing home something that is alright for him to have. I actually believed him on this one when he said he'd forgotten the note, but given his track record, I needed to make sure. She had given it to him and he had forgotten the note.

The other reason was to pick up an evaluation that his teacher filled out for him. She'd done one for him toward the beginning of the year in which he was pretty much the perfect child. That sucked for me, even though it was good that he was doing well at school, because then I felt like there was something wrong with me. Well, now that he's starting to act at school the way he does at home a little bit, the picture was much different. I take it into his therapist to have it evaluated for possible medication. We'll see what comes of it.

Great Weather for a Hike

It is in the 60s and sunny today. It was a great day to be outside. Davan and I went on a hike after open gym this morning with a packed lunch and had a really nice time.

Here's Davan under a cool split tree:

Here she is, enjoying the spray from the waterfall we hiked to:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sitting at the Table, Doing Her Schoolwork

I just had to snap this picture of Davan this morning. She's sitting there, looking like she is doing school work. Just like a good little homeschooler. LOL

Actually, as we're unschoolers, she doesn't have assigned schoolwork. This morning, though, she decided to make a count down calendar until an overnight trip we have planned in May. She wanted to remind herself about all the fun stuff between now and then, so she's busy writing in things like gymnastics, game day, swimming, Girl Scouts, a planned hike, and on and on.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Negative, Postive, Where Do I Want to Be? Where Am I?

After my early post this morning, I started thinking about negative tone in my posts. I started feeling like I was negative all the time and not ever positive about my life and kids. I started thinking about a posting my blessings post.

Then I started thinking, "Hey, I'm not all negative! The post about Davan's meet was very upbeat. My excitement about working out the new swimming schedule was good." But I can't really think of anything else lately.

I've been pretty negative with Davan lately, too. She told me yesterday when I expressed disappointment that she seems to have lost the skill to put on her own skis that she felt like I was disappointed in her a lot lately. That got me to thinking. I do feel that way. I feel easily annoyed. But, Davan, including all her quirks, is a great kid and I shouldn't default to annoyed and disappointed with her.

I apologized to her and then spent about three lift rides up enumerating all of the things about her that are just great. Included in that list was how well she takes compliments. She just said a pleased thank you every so often. Perfect.

I let her know that I love her no matter what. I love all of her good characteristics and that her not so great characteristics are only to be expected. Not a single person in this world is made up of only good characteristics. And 10 year old girls, particularly, are not expected to be perfect.

I'm trying hard to look at the good and point it out. It's a challenge, though. At any rate, with no further ado, here are some good things, blessings, if you will, from today:

-Max had a good afternoon. He only had one crying fit.

-Max is one of the two top spellers in his class and gets to compete in the school-wide spelling bee.

-Davan and I worked together on our chore list (as we do every morning, but still).

-Davan gave me a good workout today. We did a half an hour of calisthenics and stretching. She's been coming up with work outs for me, ranging from about 10 minutes up to the 30 minutes we did today. She does a good job. It's not repetitious.

-I beat everyone in my swim group in all of our swims today. Yes, I am competitive. And, yes, there is another adult in my class. And, just to, you know, say, several of the kids in the class are teenagers. :)

-We had brown rice pasta, broccoli, zucchini and carrots in a peanut sauce for dinner. It's one of my favorite meals.

-Davan helped with all the chopping for dinner.

-I got to go watch Davan do gymnastics inside this evening rather than stand in the rain for flag football. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind watching flag football. However, given the choice between rain and indoors...well...

-We had popcorn and smoothies for a snack after gymnastics and it was just what I wanted.

-Anthony wants to watch a House tonight. Yipee!

-My mom is going to be in town and help with watching the kids while I go spend 5 days with my best friend in early May. Anthony won't have to take more than a few hours of vacation time. Big yipee!!!!

Another Morning in Paradise

Max woke up cranky this morning. He was upset about everything from where my hands were when I caught him as he jumped down from his bed to me to how difficult his pj pants were to take off to his pants being too short for him to breakfast not being what he wanted and on and on. He cried, much of the time bordering on screaming, for a good 40 minutes out of the 50 we spent together this morning.

Sometimes I feel so down because there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

Max and I went to see his therapist yesterday. She said he's looking well, but that, of course he's going to continue to have issues because he has attachment issues (but she won't label him as RAD - I know other therapists would because many therapists label kids as RAD, but then go from mild to severe. He's definitely not severe, but on the strong side of mild. As a by the by, we'd said NO! to any attachment issues, but oh well), there's something organically wrong with his brain (we all suspect prenatal alcohol and most likely drug exposure) and he has a very strong, controlling personality. I don't think I can express how much this sort of talk drains my hope for the future.

Max's therapist also suggests that I stay well out of the discipline for infractions at school. She thinks that me enforcing their rules is bad for a couple of reasons that make sense to me. One is that they'd really just be shooting themselves in the foot with the "wait until your father gets home" sort of philosophy. They wouldn't be in control over him at all.

The other reason is that she feels it'll interfere with our bonding. I'd say this is true. We have enough issues at home without me having to further inflict punishment for school misbehavior.

I went in to talk to Max's teacher this morning about that, plus give her a form to fill out that his therapist sent (looking for possible needs for medication) and discuss with her a mysterious book that showed up in Max's room. She didn't recognize the book nor know where it might have come from. It didn't come from where Max says it did - none of his confused explanations make sense. So, I don't know where to return it to, but he won't get to keep it, either.

As far as what to do about him misbehaving at school (running out of the class room, taking things, exploding anger), I told her what Max's therapist had said. She says that she just doesn't know what to do. I said that I knew where she was coming from and it was very frustrating. I did offer a couple of idea that they could maybe work out. We'll see.

In other news, Davan and I went skiing for the morning yesterday. It was cold, snowy and windier than had been forecast, so it wasn't a great weather day. I still had a good time, though, and got in a few runs on a course that had been set up for ski races over the weekend, which was a blast. Davan is loosing interest in skiing for the season. Sigh. She hasn't wanted to go the last few times and, mostly, even before that, has been just as happy if we didn't go for some reason. I'm debating about what to do about passes for next year. Not get them at all, just get one for me and find something else for Davan to do about once a week....I don't know.

This afternoon I get to look forward to another afternoon of herding Max through his chores so that he can go to flag football practice this evening. Joy. Hopefully it goes better than Monday afternoon, but with our start this morning, I'm kind of doubting it. How's that for the power of positive thinking?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Button Pushing

Max has a great talent for pushing my buttons. He's lucky to just be in his room right now. It would be much more gratifying if I'd been able to throw him around a little and then send him out in the rain to try the running away plan.

This afternoon:

Max came home from school and I hugged him and welcomed him home. I asked how his day was. "Good, Mommy!" Then he took care of his backpack, shoes and coat, then putzed around in his room for a while. Max came to ask me if I had his snack ready. I was working on it. I showed him that. He sat and waited for his snack.

He started eating his apples and peanut butter, then mentioned that he's sure like some orange juice. Or apple juice. Yes, that's sure what he'd like. I made him some orange juice. He enjoyed it. He finished his snack, then ate the blue raspberry air head that Davan gave him. It had been in her goody bag from the meet and she didn't want it.

He was very jazzed that his tongue was blue and went to admire himself in the bathroom for a while. Then it was time for him to get going with chores. He has flag football practice this evening at 5:30 and we'll be eating dinner before.

I gave him 15 minutes to clean his room, after which, if he'd done a good job, I'd play catch with him with the football for a bit to help him warm up for this evening. He did get done, but hadn't done a good job. I had quite a few things to take care of. No catch. He cried and screamed.

I gave him 10 minutes to sort laundry. He yelled and screamed. He got it done in time. We played catch. I told him that for the unacceptable reaction to being told to do his chore, he would get to practice how to respond correctly by having another chore to do - setting the table. He shrugged - no big deal.

After catch, I told him to do the blue bin (that means get his clothes out for school the next day). He told me, "I've already cleaned my room and done possession patrol." "Yes," I said, "and I'm telling you to do blue bin now." He stands and stares at me. "I'm giving you two minutes, Max." He runs off to do it with high pitched short screams.

He got it done in time and I praised him. Then I told him to set the table. He started shrieking again, but did it. I told him that was also an unacceptable verbal response. I wrote up another chore on the board. It was putting a scoop of food in each of the three cat food dishes we have. He came over to read it, complete with high pitched shrieks in my ear. I wrote another chore down. He continued to yell and started to push on me with his body. I told him he'd have to go to his room for a while for that. He was clutching a water, which I told him to put down. He said, "No way!" I took it away from him and got him going toward his room. He went as far as I put him then turned and glared at me. I said he'd have to stay until I was ready for him to come out because he didn't just go, let him know it would be even longer if he wasn't there by the time I was done counted and started the count down. He went.

I'm feeling calmer now and ready to deal again. But this sucks.

Max's Choice of Friends

There is a house I pass on my morning walk every day. The yard is a mess. It's not just strewn with toys, which, while maybe is maybe unsightly, isn't a great offense. There are toys, don't get me wrong, but the problem isn't the toys.

No, it's trash. Literally trash. It's been this way for weeks now. A couple of trash bags were open and the contents were strewn about. The strewing has gotten worse. The bags themselves have been picked up now, but the contents are still all over the place.

This trash is on top of the string of Christmas lights laying mostly in one corner of the yard. I see kids out there playing sometimes on the weekend or in the evenings. They are usually not being particularly nice to one another. Nor do they pay attention to passing cars, playing freely in the street.

Guess who Max wants to play with? Yeah. The little boy who lives there. I won't necessarily stop this from happening, but the timing isn't easy because the little boy goes to day care after school. Thus, it has to be a weekend. We're usually pretty busy on weekends. So, I won't stop it...but I'm not making a great effort to make it happen, either.

Some of his other friend choices? A boy in his first grade class who just turned 8. Another boy who Max tells us picks on other kids. And, of course, the boy who comes over to play sometimes, but with whom Max never seems to be able to find something to do with. Yeah.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Davan's Fun Meet

Davan had her first meet as a Devos today. Devos is the name of the developmental program at her gym. It's for girls who have the ability and drive to make it to team. All the girls sign up for recreational classes to start off and then the rec coaches look for girls with talent or drive or both and recommend them to Linda, the head of the Devos program.

Now, this didn't actually happen for Davan. Even though Davan progressed through the rec program at a phenomenal pace, she was never pointed out to Linda. She ended up in Devos only because the rec coach for her level quit and her class was combined with Linda. Linda lost no time in telling me that Davan should have been recommended to her and that she had no intention of sending Davan back to the rec program when a new coach was found. Davan was thrilled.

It seems like the problem, the hang up, if you will, was that Davan was older. Most kids that are recommended for the Devos program are little - 4, 5 maybe 6 year olds. Davan was 9 when she started gymnastics, but she still should have gone to Devos. Ah well, all is well that ends well.

There was a lot of well in that last sentence. Hmmm.

Any-who, today she had her first Devos meet. She was so excited and had so much fun. It was a little dull for the watchers, as there was only one coach so not much could happen at the same time. Anthony and I still enjoyed it, though, and Max played with some other siblings and had fun, too.

I did Davan's hair for the event. I also did her friend's hair, but as her friend isn't my kid, I won't post her picture. :)

Here's Davan on her beam at home before going to the meet. She's wearing the official Devos leo.

Davan did very well. Here she is collecting one of two prizes that she earned for being the best in her group at a particular event.

And here she is, collecting her 4 blue ribbons. The ribbons are given based on how many spots were needed and/or how many tricks were missed. Blue means one or fewer spots or misses on the event.

There are some other cute pictures, but they all have other people's kids in them, so I won't post them here. But it's too bad. They're cute. :)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Keeping Jenny Safe - Say Something Saturday

Sarah lay on her stomach in her yard under her climbing tree after dinner, staring at her egg, Jenny. Well, actually, Jenny was both hers and Gretta's. The two of them had been sharing care of Jenny for almost a week now. By Friday, only a few pairs of their fellow day campers still had intact eggs. Today was Sunday. She and Gretta were hoping that they'd be the only ones to make it though until Monday and then they'd win the camp prize.

It wasn't as hard for Sarah and Gretta as it was for some of the other campers. For one, they were next door neighbors and best friends, so sharing their egg was easy. Plus, they had fun with Jenny. They'd drawn on the egg to give her some personality. First a pair of eyes, then a mouth. The nose was a little crooked, but you got the idea. Jenny had a little pink bonnet drawn on and a bit of cloth glued on for a diaper. She was cute.

Sarah was in charge of Jenny all day today. Gretta and her family had left early and were supposed to be back after dinner. Gretta and Sarah had decided that it would be safer for Jenny to stay with Sarah at home rather than go to a wedding and reception with Gretta where there would be too many people.

It was a little lonely caring for Jenny all day by herself. She'd touched up Jenny's eyes, changed her diaper and had even taken Jenny out to collect dandelions to give to Gretta when she came home, but it was more fun when Gretta was there, too.

Sarah hoped Gretta would be home soon. She decided to climb the tree to see if she could see Gretta's family's car coming. She tucked Jenny carefully in her right pocket and the bunch of dandelions in her left pocket and started to climb. It was difficult being so careful of Jenny, but finally Gretta made it to a good perch.

She pulled the dandelions out and tried to make them look a little more alive. They were kind of smashed from being in her pocket. Oh well. The important thing was that Jenny was safe. And she was! Gretta would be so happy that Sarah had kept Jenny safe! Sarah couldn't wait to show her!

Sarah thought she heard the sound of a car coming up the street. She craned her neck to peer out through the leaves. Was that Gretta at last?

A Full Friday

Davan and I had a very full Friday. It was great fun, but tiring. We went skiing this morning, but the conditions sucked (I still really enjoyed the skiing), so we came home early. Anthony had the day off and went with us, otherwise, given the weather report, we probably wouldn't have gone up.

Because we came home early, we got to go to the open swim for the homeschool swim lessons. Because I'm signed up for those lessons now, I got to participate in the relays for the upper levels that happen before open swim for all levels. Whew did I wear myself out! It was lots of fun. Whole families are invited to participate in the open swim part. I invited Anthony to get Max out of school early and come on over to swim, but he declined.

I got to dive a lot at open swim, which is an activity I really enjoy. A young friend asked me for some diving help, so I worked with her for a bit. After watching that, the main swim coach for our classes asked if I'd teach a spring board diving class on the side for the homeschoolers. Other than today, I've never taught anyone diving, but I'm willing to give it a go. It might be fun.

After swimming, we came home for about 10 minutes to change (having gone straight to swimming from skiing as I'd taken the swim bag along in the car just in case), say hi to Max and grab a snack before we were off to Davan's special Friday night gymnastics class. Davan spent another hour and a half being active. It was pretty amazing. My arms and legs are worn out without that additional activity.

We came home to a partially done dinner. Anthony was going to have it ready for us, but he didn't get it started in time. It wasn't too long after we got home, though, that it was ready.

Max was in need of a hair cut, which was scheduled for post dinner. Unfortunately, he cried when I told him to go get ready for his hair cut, so he had a shave instead of the Mohawk that he wanted. Next week he can get the Mohawk if he's cheerful and cooperative.

Sadly, I think that part of the reason I enjoyed my day so much was that I didn't spend much of it with Max. While Davan and I were at her gymnastics class, Anthony had a blow up with Max. Just because I wasn't here, I got to miss that. Whew. It made my day better, that's for sure.

Now it's time for a quick game before Davan goes to bed. Then some House. Yes, indeed.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

More Running

I got a call from the school counselor this morning. Max had run out of the classroom. He was just standing in the hall, so at least he didn't leave the building. Max's teacher called the office to say Max had run out. They sent in the counselor. The counselor fairly sternly (according the said counselor) told Max that he needed to go back into the class room and sit down. Max told him that he didn't want to do school anymore, that it wasn't fun and he wanted to go home and be with Mom.

This would be heart-warming if it were, in fact, true, but as Max spends his time at home telling us how mad he is and that he wants to run away from here, I take it with a grain of salt. Okay, yes, he also tells me that I'm the best mom in the world, but I take that with a grain of salt, too. Back to the story.

Max did go back into the classroom and then the counselor called me. I told him about everything that's gone on over the course of the year, most of which he didn't know about. Yet again, I requested some sort of accountability for Max's behavior. I think I might have actually been heard this time, but we'll see. I'd felt heard when I talked to the substitute principal, as well, but as she was the substitute, she is gone.

I don't know what to do about all this. Max tells us that he wants to stay in school. He says he doesn't want to homeschool. Max tells them he wants to be at home. Many times, though, Max has trouble just asking for what he really wants. I did tell Max that if he continued to show me with actions and negative words about school that he didn't want to be there, we'd probably pull him out and homeschool him. That makes me think about dinner last night.

We had salad and soup for dinner. Max was not enthused about dinner. He ate his salad with his mouth hanging open and then, when he got his bowl of soup (which he did ask for), he ate a decent part of it, but then got down to the broccoli and lima beans and stated that he didn't care for those. I told him it was fine if he was done, he could just clear his plate, wash his hands and move on with his evening. He didn't. But, he started acting up. I let him know that if he showed me with actions that he was done, he'd be excused. He thrust a piece of carrot out of his mouth with his tongue. He was excused. He couldn't say, "I'm done." Instead he had to act up and make it my fault that he was sent away from the table.

Perhaps this is his plan with school, also. He doesn't want to say, "I'd rather be at home. I want to not go to school anymore." It'd be better for him to have me say, "You can't go to school anymore. I'm homeschooling you." Then it would be my fault.

The problem is multi-fold here, though. Davan would be very unhappy to have him homeschool, too. That isn't my primary concern, but it is something to consider. I enjoy the break I get while he's at school. He's difficult to be around a lot of the time. He doesn't need more ammunition for his anger and he'd be angry at me for pulling him out of school, even if it's what he wants.

On the other side, he also doesn't need things that make him different from the rest of the family. We really identify ourselves as homeschoolers. He doesn't need to be in an environment where he's not held accountable for his actions. He could probably use the boot camp bonding of homeschooling and being around each other all the time.

It's a mess. I don't know what the answer is. I'd thought to just leave him in school for the rest of the school year, but things are getting ugly.

I've put in a call to his therapist and will be setting up an appointment to go see her. He, obviously, has some things he needs to work out that aren't getting settled with just us - his therapeutic parents, as his therapist tells us.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Swimming - All Figured Out!

I am going to swim with the homeschool lessons, but not in Davan's class. I'm one level up from her. Go me. LOL It's so cool because it's only $25 instead of $60 for close to the same amount of swimming I was getting. I'll get to stay at Girl Scouts until the end and I don't have to run around all over the place on Wednesdays anymore.

I came up with the idea of just picking Max up early from school on Wednesdays and taking him to the pool with us. There are other kids around while siblings swim, so it's not like it would be a hardship. I wanted a mom who is there to agree to keep an eye on him, though, so I asked a friend and not only did she agree, but she offered to go pick him up from the bus and bring him over so he doesn't have to leave school early. Stephanie rocks.

I'm all giddy with excitement about the new plan. Also, I'll get to swim in relays on Friday fun swims when they come around, too. :) Yay!

Bumper Sticker

I saw a bumper sticker that I enjoyed this afternoon.

Whatever you do,
is it necessary, truthful and kind?

I think it makes a nice benchmark. However, I do also wonder about the necessary part. I mean, it is really necessary to go skiing? It's fun and, I suppose it's necessary if you look at it from a mental health perspective, but there are probably other, cheaper ways of gaining mental health.

Just mussing on it....


Mondays and Wednesdays are swimming days around here. Both Davan and I swim both days. I swim from 11:45 to 1:00. Davan swims from 1:00 to 2:00. Both days I pack lunches, but the schedules are different.

On Mondays Davan gets a ride to the pool from Girl Scouts with a friend who also swims. She eats lunch in the car on the way to swimming. Mondays are nice for me because I get out, shower and then eat my packed lunch while I watch Davan swim. We leisurely make our way home in time to meet Max off the bus at 2:40.

Wednesdays involve more of a rush. Well, sort of. We leave later in the morning because we don't have to go to Girl Scouts first, but then the rest of the time is much more rushed. Davan hangs out with the children of the Wednesday swim coach. She has a little boy who is 2 and a little girl who is 5. The 5 year old goes to kindergarten, but thanks to our wacky Wednesdays in the local school district, she is out of school every other Wednesday and comes to swimming. Davan always packs stuff to play with the two kids. When the 5 year old won't be there, she packs a bunch of books to read to the 2 year old. She quite enjoys the time, which is great because she complained bitterly the first couple of times she had to go to swimming with me on Wednesdays.

In between playing, Davan eats lunch. If the other two didn't bring snacks, I don't know if she'd ever be able to tear herself away to eat, but, luckily, they do. She goes to the locker room about quarter to 1:00 to get ready for her swim class.

When my swimming is over at 1:00, I jump out of the pool, do a quick towel dry, throw clothes on over my wet swim suit and race home so I'll be here by the time Max gets home about 1:15. I shower at home, then gather up Max, his entertainment and snack and my lunch and head back to the pool. Luckily, the pool is only about 5 minutes drive away. Still, I'd rather not have the running back and forth. I'd like it if Max had a regular day on Wednesday, but, there it is.

Davan loves swimming and even tries to come up with ways to practice at home. She was just standing here, bent over at the waist, doing the freestyle stroke. She thought through things she needs to work on and came up with ways to practice. One method involved laying on the couch with her legs hanging off the edge and with a book on her knees. This was to practice breast stroke kick without pulling her knees up. I'm glad she likes swimming so much.

Me, though, I'm having thoughts about quitting. I like it fine, but I don't love it. It's a bit expensive for me to do it without loving it. I'm thinking about taking Davan's class with her instead, but then I'd have to come up with some plan for Max on Wednesdays. While Davan's swim class is a lot cheaper, paying for baby sitting isn't.

What I'd really like to do is take gymnastics. There is only one place near here that offers gymnastics for adults. Apparently, the cost of insurance sky rockets for the over 21 set, which makes it cost prohibitive for most gyms. The gym that offers adult classes is about a half an hour away and is in the evenings. I don't know if I can fit it in.

I'm considering a martial arts class. I've done a little of this before and enjoyed it. I also know that I enjoy working on the forms between classes, so I think this would be a good solution. There's a local place that offers day time classes that I could take on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which would be good for the schedule.

Really, I think I'd like to do both the martial arts and Davan's swimming classes, but then I have to figure out what to do about Wednesday with Max. He doesn't have a friend that he swaps playdates with yet. It's only an hour that I need....what to do, what to do.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Running Away

When Davan and I got home from gymnastics last night, Anthony told me that Max had confided in him that Max has been thinking of running away for months now because "it's just not fair here."

They talked about it for a while and made lists of things they didn't like. Max doesn't like being yelled at. Yeah, who does? He doesn't like when Anthony holds him down with his hands behind his back - which happens when Anthony witnesses a physical attack on me. He doesn't like any hurting - vice grip on his arm when he's trying to run off in the store, being pushed around, that sort of thing. And he doesn't like being told he is rude.

The hilarious thing about all this is that I've done a hurting thing to him something like 3 times in the last 5 months. Before that it was more frequent. I've finally about broken the habit, although it's hard sometimes when he's being so defiant and in my face. And I didn't yell at him at all yesterday, but that's the day it comes up about wanting to run away for those reasons.

He's mentioned wanting to "just run away from here" before to us. And, yeah, a couple of months seems right for him having those sentiments and generally being a jerk. Worse than before, that is.

However, that is not all on the running away front. Yesterday at school, it turns out, he did the running thing again. This time he didn't make it out of the school area. The full story (pieced together from him and his teacher) seems to be that he was play fighting with another boy from his class at recess. He pretended to knee this boy in the crotch. His teacher saw it and pulled Max aside to tell him that wasn't okay. Max just kept talking over her, telling her that others were fighting, too, and then he finally just ran off.

The playground attendant caught up to him and he stopped for her. Then he talked to the principal for a while about safe places to go if he felt like he had to run.

If found out about this this morning when I went in to the school to look through lost and found (4 of Max's sweatshirts have been recovered) and Max's teacher approached me to tell me about it. Max, after being pissed at me for bringing it up, told me about it this afternoon after school, as well.

What gets me is that Max said that the principal just happened to be walking after that and invited him over to talk to her. She asked him about spring break and "I wasn't in trouble or anything." What does he have to do to get in trouble? What does he have to do for anyone at school to express disapproval? I find the whole thing troubling. He acts up and the school says, "oh, how can we make it better?"

Don't get me wrong. I do think that addressing the underling issue is the most important thing. And, with a kid who is mentally healthy, that might be all that needs to be done. Max, though, is learning through all of this that he can do what he wants and he'll get extra attention. No one will think he's acting inappropriately except good 'ol Mom and Dad.


In other news, it was out for the evening night for Max's 40 sticker reward. Max chose me to take him out and chose The Olive Garden to go to. We had a nice evening. Dinner was followed by a little shopping so Max could spend his April allowance that was burning a hole in his pocket.

The only part of the evening that didn't go well was that when I was going in to read to him, I found a bent up push pin that he'd been jamming repeatedly into his wall when he got mad. Great. I'd already taken a push pin away from him, but I made it clear he was not allowed to have any sharp objects at all until I believe he can be trusted with them. The only exception to this is that he can use scissors in the dinning room (where we also have our art supplies) as long as there is supervision.