Thursday, August 30, 2012

How did this happen?

How is it that my big guy started Kindergarten this week?

He turned and ran toward his class line on the first day without even saying goodbye.  He walks with confidence, with his new backpack secure on his sturdy shoulders ready to take on the world (or at least the happy hallways of Holy Spirit School).  When I expressed my utter astonishment at his independence, one of the teachers (who I've known since Aidan started) commented that she wasn't surprised at all. "He rules this school, Peggy!  He has grown up here.  All the teachers know him and half the school.  He could probably give the class the school tour today and not many of the other newbies walk right up to the principal and give her a high five!"

She's totally right.  His whole life has revolved around sitting in that car seat twice a day as he watched his siblings go off to school and now it's his turn.  He's had to sit patiently in the back of a classroom while I volunteer.  He was loved and embraced almost three years ago when tragedy struck.  He was ready.

Me being ready, on the other hand, is a whole 'nother story.  It's been a rough week.  I am so happy for him and proud that he's made this transition so well, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I miss my little buddy.  Moreover, it's a huge transition for our family as we now have all five kids in school.  I still felt like we had another baby in our plans and for some reason watching him grow up highlights that pang.

Of course he reminded me quickly last night that he still needs me when he called from the bathroom, "Mommy!  I need help wiping!!"


Work sucks.  No other way to say it.  If I could quit I would.

Pompous, male Phd's are not on my good list right now.  In previous positions, I got used to arrogant, male military officers.  Now I've got a puffed up professor who treats me like his TA, not a colleague, and repeatedly takes my ideas as his own, looses a gasket whenever I respectfully disagree with him, and has basically cut me out of a project that I've worked hard on all summer.  I'm trying to remind myself that it's a paycheck, but my ego has taken a huge blow in the last 3 weeks.  I've got other more important things to worry about like living with a depressed teenager, sorting out M's student assistance plan (SAP) for the year and figuring out the our new logistics with the new school year and new sports seasons.

I know I'm good at what I do.  I just need to keep reminding myself and ride out these waves.


K and I are in a bit of a funk again.  Same old, same old.  Short of couples therapy, I'm not sure how to approach it.  Our marriage has definitely been one of ebbs and flows. I wish the times of us working as a team lasted longer.  When things get tough, he tends to distance himself from me and the kids.  I get frustrated and lose my cool.  Rinse and repeat.  I want to break the cycle.


So school has started.  E is a junior.  A and M are in seventh grade.  D is the king of fifth grade.  L has jumped into school with both feet and (crossing fingers) so far, so good. 

Despite accidents, funerals, pain, stress, tears, and a whole lot of crap, life still marches on.  If I teach the kids anything through all of this is that we need to keep moving forward and living our life even when all of us just want to move to Costa Rica and live on a family compound made up of tree houses (A's latest fantasy).

Here's to a new school year!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Cars and Next Steps

We just bought a third family car (or at least that's what we're calling it). It is primarily for E to use for driving to school and practice.  We're also hoping it will be used for helping me with driving to practices, etc.  I'm not sure how much of that is going to happen once school starts, but she's already driven her sister to the dentist which was a big help.

I'm nervous.

I'm excited for her.

I'm worried about her reaction when we lay down the law about her use of the car.  She seems to think that she can drive it whenever she wants.  Whenever I try to explain that's not the case, she doesn't seem to be really listening to me.  She did get the message about her phone (NO WAY) in the car.

K is vacillating between annoyance about having to deal with another car and excitement in getting a good deal on a nice, safe car for her.

I'm not sure how this is all going to play out.  I guess we'll just take it one day at a time.

In other news, I finally, finally, finally talked with my therapist about trying medication.  The nudge from you guys and a nudge from a good friend gave me the push I needed.  She thinks it's a very good idea.

She gave me some names of psychiatrists she trusts.  They don't take my insurance.  My friend said she just went through her primary care, but I'm nervous about that.  Thoughts?

I told K.  He was quiet.  Then he cracked a joke.  We haven't talked about it since.  He seemed okay with it.  I'm not sure how he'll take the expense if I decide to go out of network.

Even without the actual drugs adjusting my brain chemistry, I feel better after making the decision.  I feel hopeful.  I want to be a better mom.  They deserve it and I have to believe that this step will help me get there.  Right?

Friday, August 17, 2012

A tough week for A

Poor A has had a really tough week even beyond the "private parts" injury.  He started off Wednesday with a dentist appointment which went fine, but I'm sure everyone can imagine how much kids love dentist appointments.  While there, I stepped next door to the ortho office to find out about his palette expander and when it was supposed to go in.  They were supposed to call me and I hadn't heard yet.  Well, the appliance was delivered to the wrong office and they wanted to rush to get it in so he could get used to it before school starts.  They had an opening that afternoon, so we had to go back later and have it inserted. 

He is absolutely miserable.  In addition to the palette expander, she put in a tongue trainer to teach his tongue to move properly when he swallows.  That's making it hard for him to get food in and he's struggling to swallow.  He's talking funny, not eating and altogether grumpy.  The worst part is that he's having a hard time getting to sleep.

The three boys each have a lovey that they've had since they were newborns. A has "Rufus" (Ru or Rufie).  D has Louis (or Lou...pronounced LOO-ESE with a Spanish accent when he can't find him).  L has Boo and Blanky (or blanks).  A has always slept with Ru.  He sucks his fingers (hence the ortho) and sniffs Ru.  Prior to the accident, Ru was kept on his bed and only used at bedtime.  For about 6 months after the accident, Ru went everywhere with A.  In the car, while watching T.V, the computer or drawing.  We let it go because we knew he needed the comfort.  He got better with Ru for a little bit, but for the last few months Ru has come out again in full force.  When home, he always seemed to have Ru in his face.  We have gently reminded him this time to put Rufie up in his room, but again see this as a stress relief for him and tried not to make a big deal.

The tongue trainer, however, keeps him from being able to suck his fingers.  The cold turkey approach is probably what is best, but I feel so sorry for him.  He already is sore from the skateboard accident, his teeth hurt, he's not eating normally, and now he can't have Ru.  The mommy in me has tried to be supportive and be practical about it.  The mommy in me also cried in the shower yesterday as I thought about my little boy growing up and putting aside a piece of his childhood.  The gradual transitions of growing up are just that, slow and not that noticeable until you pause to consider.  This sudden change has been hard.

In typical A fashion, he's whined about the unfairness of it all, but found a way to make the best of it.  He started playing soccer Wednesday night too which makes him a bit sore "down there" but he says he's okay and will be able to play in his soccer tournament this weekend.  That makes his coach (daddy) happy and has been a good distraction.

It's hard to see him hurting and upset.  He's a cool kid and has already had to deal with so many heavy things.  Check out his latest video when he came across his first timber rattlesnake.  There is also a cameo by his little bro which is pretty cute.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I'm tired.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm struggling in so many ways, but...

I'm going to attempt to capture some of what is going on here on my blog before I completely lose my writing mojo.  All I can muster is a boring list, so here goes...

The good:
--For the most part, we had a nice time in Hilton Head.  The weather wasn't great, but we had more fun times than bad.  Golf, beach, pool and lots of ice cream kept the little kids happy and exhausted most days.  Multiple alligator sightings didn't hurt either.

--I drove down by myself with the boys.  It took us close to 11 hours, but with three great movies, good tunes and a laid back attitude by all we had lots of fun.  K drove the girls down later after their all-star swim meet.  It ended up being a great decision.  The boys got me all day without drama from the girls and the girls got a little focused time with K.

--Spending a full week with K without the distractions of work and coaching was awesome.  He definitely took the pressure off me with the attention seeking from M.  They get along really well.  He doesn't necessarily "parent" her in terms of discipline, etc., but he relaxes her in a way that I don't and that is worth an awful lot.  He also did the brunt of mini-golfing and made breakfast for the kids each morning so I could sleep in a bit.

--L is just the cutest kid ever.  I love every age, but five is so much fun.  He is getting more and more independent (dressing himself, getting his own ice cream, learning to swim), but is still my tenderhearted little guy.  I can't wait to experience kindergarten with this special boy.

The bad:
--E has been really difficult.  We can never do anything right.  Teenagers are so hard.  Depressed teenagers are astronomically hard.  I'm getting conflicting advice from my therapist and her psychiatrist on how to deal with her constant neediness while trying to be there for the other kids.  I don't even really know how to articulate the confusing, exhausting, and emotionally draining nature of dealing with her.

--While on vacation, A hurt himself pretty badly skateboarding.  He "credit carded" himself which necessitated a trip to the ER and four stitches in a very sensitive place for a boy.  He is still bruised, swollen and sore.  Everyone is calling him "numb nuts" or "split balls."  It pretty much ruined the trip for him and scared me.  I was calm and cool during the ordeal, but balled like a baby later that night when I thought about the terrified look on his face.  5 days later I still feel sick to my stomach thinking about it.

--The swimming explosion from L was awesome.  The resulting ear infection was not, especially since he was up all night the night before I had to drive him home 11 hours on my own. (K did a side trip with the middle 3 on the way home).  Antibiotics for 10 days.  Yuck.

--My sister-in-law's marriage has completely imploded.  The kids are a mess.  Neither of them will grow up and put their own issues aside and parent their hurting children.  My heart goes out to K's parents who are trying to help as best they can.  Both K's sister and her husband have tried to drag me into their drama.  K and I are just trying to be there for the kids (especially the youngest R who is very close to our kids).  I can't take on any more stress.

--Work is simply awful.  I just can't be the analyst I need to be and deal with the chaos of home.  I'm hoping things will get better when they all get back to school, but I'm not sure it will help.  Without going into too much detail, work is causing me immense stress and requiring late nights which creates a vicious cycle of not enough sleep.

--On that note, I am simply not sleeping well.  I go to sleep fine and then wake up either on my own or when L climbs into our bed sometime in the night (yes, it's still going on) and then I can't get back to sleep.  My mind races non-stop about how I'm going to get everything done and worry about the kids. In a similar vein, I'm not eating well either.  Bad, bad and more bad.

So.  The same cast of characters with our same issues and drama.

I need to start writing again.  It helps me in so many ways.

I try to remind myself to take deep breaths and find little ways to "escape" and give my mind and body a break.

I need to sleep.  I need to eat.  I need to try not to take everything so seriously.

Medication is becoming more of an option in my mind.  I need to get over the idea that it would be a move of weakness rather than a step in the right direction.


One of my favorite albums by Peter Gabriel.

A simple word that can express your emotions in the superlative or denote utter exasperation and a loss for what to do next.

It seems to fit me right now.