Monday, November 25, 2013

Of Course You'd Die For Them, But Would You Live For Them???

So tonight was the night I was going to speak to the Boy's teammates at the Y.  Swim team has been a little rough for the Boy.  He started later than the other kids this season because of some other issues, but we knew this was where he belonged.  Swimming is his passion.  Swimming is where he feels free.  He doesn't care about times or if he wins a ribbon (even though he was elated last year when he received ribbons at two different times), he just wants to be in the water.  He wants to be with his friends.  There was an incident of bullying at swim practice.  It broke my heart & made me mad at the same time.  I knew I had two choices: I could take all three of my kids & crawl into an underground bubble where no one could reach us, or I could do something productive. 

I chose to do something & HOPE that it would be productive.

After speaking to Coach Jake & Coach Ali, I determined that they were willing to help in any way that they can.  They asked me if I would be willing to speak to the team.  Of course!!!  He doesn't know the ins & outs of advocating for himself yet, so of course I will!!  I was told that 15-20 minutes at the beginning of practice was what I'd be given.  15-20 minutes?!?!  Where they crazy?!?!?  I can talk about this subject for hours on end, how was I going to discuss it in 15-20 minutes???

I got to work & started writing & rewriting what I would say.  I remembered as much as I could from when I took Intro To Public Speaking in college.  I found my index cards. I asked his psychologist for advice on how to do this.  I spoke the supervisor of Autism Services with our public school system (she knows the Boy, & I thought she might have some helpful tips). 

I had everything ready for tonight.  The Boy asked to be in another room while I was speaking (yes, he approved me speaking to the team).  This is how they did it when they spoke to his class at school earlier in the year.  He shares information about his Aspergers on HIS TERMS.  He says it's embarrassing to be in the room while people talk about him.  I respected his wishes.  He waited in the lounge; I told him that I would get him when I was finished so that he could join the team for practice.

But I was worried.....

I wasn't worried about what I'd say, I know this child better than anyone else (it's my job).  I was worried about kids not wanting to listen.  I was worried about them being naughty even after knowing what I was about to share with them.  There is a potential drawback to sharing this kind of information, and it is the reason that many parents choose not to share their child's diagnosis with others unless it is absolutely necessary--they fear it being used against them.  I am the opposite; I want everyone to have the information so that they may be a friend; so that they may understand why he is having a meltdown; how they can help.  For them to know that if they do in fact use this against him, then they are informed, but CHOSE to be a bully, & that there would be repercussions.  Someday he will know how to advocate for himself, but until then, I must do the best job for him that I am able to do.

It was time, & I walked onto that pool deck....

I excused myself for a moment to spit out my chewing gum before we started, while Coach Jake explained why they were sitting out & not swimming at the moment.  I must state right here that I love both of the coaches, but there were a few moments last year that I wasn't their biggest fan; a few hurtful (although not intentional) things were said to me--in hindsight, I know that they were confused & frustrated by the Boy's actions & didn't know what to do (his symptoms were intensifying at that point, & we didn't receive a diagnosis until February 1, 2013).  But these past few weeks have shown me that these two people care about not just having a great swim meet & helping kids to improve their strokes, they care about the other aspects of these kids lives too.

Jake started out, "When we are on a swim team, we are here to improve our times, right?  We are here to do our best, right?  We want to go faster than the person in the lane next to us, right?  Even thought we do things individually, we are a team, right?"  It was silent.  His voice boomed, "RIGHT?!?!  WE. ARE. A. TEAM.  We WILL help our teammates & encourage them to the best of our abilities, right?"  There was no silence this time.  They were in agreement with Coach Jake.

I took my speech & crumpled it up.  It was time to speak from my heart.

I told them about Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I told them about Aspergers & how it is a form of Autism.  I explain how the Boy's brain operated differently than theirs. I share ways that they could help.  I asked if any of them had Circle Of Friends at their school.  Many of them knew, & they were almost there.  I took the Lego's & Duplos out of my pocket.  I explained how some people's brains are Duplos, & how some people's brains are Legos.  Duplos fit with Duplos.  Legos fit with Legos.  The Boy's brain is a Duplo trying to fit into a Lego. (By the way, this is HIS explanation, not mine).  I explained what a meltdown is & what to do if the Boy has one.  Then I paused for a moment.

Hands went up---they had so much to ask.  So much to share.  They talked about the things they have in common with the Boy.  My Boy.  They talked about how to be his friend.

One little boy even said, "if he is coming in last, I can slow down & let him win."  I was so touched, but I told him that that wouldn't be necessary, as everyone is here to do their personal best.  "How about if you finish before him, you encourage him, no matter what his time is?"  He agreed he could do that.

The Boy joined his team for practice.  He had a great time.  I had a Mom stop me & say, "you'd die for him, wouldn't you?"  My reply?  "Of course I'd die for him, wouldn't we all?  I just need him & his siblings to know that I am choosing to live for them, so that when they are adults, they can do the same for their children.

So now it's up to me to teach him to advocate for himself so that he can be a happy & productive member of society who knows that he is loved beyond measure.  I think that I need to do whatever I can to help others who are just beginning their journey on the spectrum.  They need to know that it is so scary at first, but that it will not always be so scary.  If they need me to help them find their voices, I can & will do so.  I never thought I could do something like that.

The Boy taught me otherwise....



Friday, November 15, 2013

I Am Special Like That...

I can't believe it's been three months since I last wrote a blog.  That was when we had our last contest.  We are going to be doing another one any day now, but there will be information regarding that on the Face Book page.  If you haven't liked us yet, feel free to hop on over to Face Book & 'like' Sassy Pants Lives Here.  I post updates on a daily basis.  Actually, I usually post multiple times a day, because that's how I roll.

Anyway, yesterday I attended my first Autism Summit.  It was a conference with a wonderful keynote speaker who has Aspergers, just like the Boy.  I absolutely loved her sense of humor; she was so full of snark.  I was in 7th heaven.

After lunch, I attended a breakout session on bullying.  The Boy has had his first instance of bullying from another child, so this came at the perfect time.  I will share more than that later.

I also attended a breakout session on Circle Of Friends, but had to leave early (to pick up my children from school), so I have an email in to the facilitator, so I can forward some information to my children's school principal & counselor.

I should let you know that during one of the breaks during the conference, they had snacks for us.  I went & got myself a soda & a warm & chewy pretzel.  While on my way back to the conference room, I managed to drop that pretzel on the floor.  Don't worry, I picked it up & ate it because I am special like that.

With that, I will leave with these words of wisdom from Little Boy:
"This one time when I was at Super Hero Camp, I witerwalwy went swimming in my underwears."


Happy Weekend!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

How Well Do You Think You Know The Sassy Pants Family???

It's contest time again!!!  We're doing this the backwoods way because like I said during our last contest, I haven't figured our Rafflecopter yet.  It's all good; free stuff is free stuff, right??

So here's how it's going to go:
You are going to have TWO chances to win!!!

I am going to ask you 6 questions, and all you have to do is respond to the post this blog is linked to on the Facebook page.  You will have TWO CHANCES to answer:  In your first post, answer to the best of your ability of how well you think you know the Sassy Pants family.  If you'd like to enter a second time, you may answer the same 6 questions in an outrageous/silly way. 

For example, if a few of the questions were to go like this:
 1) What color are Mr. Sassy Pants eyes?
 2) How old is Little Boy?

You may answer like this in your serious post:
 1) Blue
 2) 4yo

Then in a separate post, you might answer like this:
 1) purplish-pinkish-green
 2) too old for his own good

The person with the most correct 'serious' answers will win a $10.00 gift card to either Target OR WalMart......

The person who gets the most 'likes' on the outrageous/silly answers comment section, will also win a $10.00 gift card to either Target OR Wal Mart.  ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS TO HOP ON OVER & 'LIKE' YOUR SILLY COMMENT!!!!

This contest is going to start as soon as I post the link to this blog on our Facebook page.  It will run until 6:00pm (CST) on Monday, September 2, 2013 (Labor Day).

So, let's get ready.....
Get set.....
And GO.....
************EDIT***********
I HAD INTERFERENCE FROM LITTLE BOY LAST NIGHT, & DID NOT GET THE QUESTIONS FOR THE CONTEST POSTED.  I DID ADD THEM TO THE COMMENTS SECTION, BUT IT APPEARS TO BE ALITTLE CONFUSING, SO I AM EDITING THIS SO IT CONTAINS THE CONTEST QUESTIONS.......

1) What exercise do I dislike even more than Burpees??  (Although most children have no problem doing it)...
2) How far apart in age are the Boy & the Girl??
3) We have a drawer in our kitchen that contains Ziploc baggies, saran wrap, tin foil, wax paper, & parchment paper.  When Little Boy was 1yo, he would stay out of that drawer, so I took one of these items and wrapped him up in it.  Which item was it??
4) As a teenager, I spent a good portion of my life grounded.  How long was my longest grounding??
5) What do you suppose Mr. Sassy Pants does for a living??
6) What is my favorite indulgence??

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Movin' On Up...

"Oh my gosh Mom, do you HAVE to take our pictures?!?  Our friends might see us." 

That's what the Boy said when I did my annual First Day Of School Pictures this morning.  Seriously child??  Do you not see Every. Other. Parent. doing the same exact thing??  Aren't you use to me snapping a picture at the most memorable milestones in your life?  Don't you want to remember this someday when I'm long gone?  Remember, I'm the Mom who took a picture of your sister standing in the corner on a time out, then proceeded to use said photo for my profile picture on Face Book.  He just wanted me gone.  The Girl would've posed all day if I'd have let her.  She (like her Momma), has not shame.

Little Boy was pretty darn ticked off that he didn't get to start school today.  He starts Prekindergarten next Monday.  The little kids seem to start a little later; perhaps so the big kids can get acclimated & it won't be so overwhelming for the littles.

We had a morning of being really productive. I was relieved when it was finally time to meet up with my supervisor at TGI Fridays for lunch.  Yay, a chance to sit down & relax. Who was I kidding?  I had my LOUD 4yo child with me.  Everything he said came out in a shout; I'm sure my supervisor who is single & does not have children, couldn't wait to hightail it out of there (I wouldn't blame her; he was in rare form today).

Since Fridays is at one of our local malls, Little Boy wanted to ride on the escalators.  So we did.  Up & down.  Up & down. Then we did it again. And again. And again.  Finally, I told him we needed to stop into Old Navy so I could see if there was anything worth spending my gift card on.  OH. MY. GOODNESS.  They had this HUGE thing that looked like a gumball machine & Little Boy gravitated toward it, while screaming, "I've wanted one of these my WHOLE life!!"  I told him if he could calm down & talk in his "regular" voice (which is loud, but not obnoxious), I would spend that quarter & get him this bouncy ball.

He was quiet.  TOO QUIET.  I turned around to see his bottom lip quivering.

He whispered, "Momma, that person with no head touched me."
Dear Old Navy,
Thank you for the headless mannequins in your Westroads Mall store.  Not only did you scare the living tar out of my child, but you got him to shut up for 3 minutes.
Sincerely,
Momma Sassy Pants

Monday, August 5, 2013

It's A Contest ~ It's Story Time ~ Wait A Minute, It's BOTH!!

It's time for another contest for the friends of Sassy Pants Lives Here.  I have had a couple of contests in the past, & posted them on my FaceBook page, but this contest requires a little bit more explanation, so we are going to discuss all the rules here on the blog page, then I will set up the FaceBook page so that we can conduct our contest.  Many bloggers use Rafflecopter for conducting their contests, but this involves input from readers & their friends (plus, I haven't learned how to utilize Rafflecopter yet, so we are going to do this the Sassy way, okay friends??

I am going to start a "story" in the link on Sassy Pants Lives Here FaceBook post.  Each time you add a comment, you help tell the story.  Next, you may want to share this with your friends, because the top 3 comments with the most "likes," will win a prize.

For example:
I may start with: Once upon a time, there was a little girl....
Mary Jo may comment with: who was really bad about brushing her teeth...
John may comment: so her Mother took her to the dentist, who wasn't a dentist at all...


This story will be your creation, but you need to get friends to "like" your comments.  You may comment more than once.  This story time will go until 8:00pm CST this Sunday, August 11, 2013.  If by chance, one person has 2 (or 3) comments that tie for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, only ONE prize will be given to that person.  At that point, we will go down the line for the next highest number of comments.  I will not be able to "like" any comments, as much as I will want to.  I want to be fair. 

Want to know what your prizes may be??  I know you're on pins & needles......
You may win your choice of one of these AMAZING SpiBelts.  I have a pink polka dot or peace sign design for you to choose from.  These are fantastic for when you are going to hit the trail for a run or for a trip to the park with the kids.  The waistband is adjustable & the pouch expands to hold your phone, car keys, identification, & a few dollars of money for when the ice cream man rolls around.

Already have a SpiBelt??  How about a pair of socks made by Smartwool??  These moisture wicking sport socks are 69% wool/29% nylon/2% elastane.  I have 3 pairs of these & absolutely LOVE THEM!!  Also included in this package is a $10.00 gift card to Starbucks.  (I'm not sure why it didn't make it into the picture, but it comes with this prize package).

Sports not your thing??  Are you into shopping??  We've got you covered!!  You may choose a $25.00 gift card to JC Penney OR a $25.00 gift card to the iTunes store. 

The contest will begin as soon as I post in the comments on the FaceBook page.  You may share, share, & share again.  Help write the story & get as many "likes" as you can.  PLEASE...  keep it clean.  I have some readers who may offend easily, are young, or are a combination of both.  Let's have fun & win some prizes.

Good Luck & Lot's Of Love,
Mrs. Sassy Pants


Monday, July 22, 2013

Congratulations...It's an AsperBoy....

"Mrs. Sassy Pants, I am concerned about the Boy; I've observed some social issues that I think we need to address further."  That was 21 months ago at the Boy's parent-teacher conference in 1st grade.  There were meetings, forms to be filled out, more meetings, & more forms to be filled out.  Then there was the waiting.  And waiting.  And more waiting to hear from the school psychologist.  The Boy's teacher went on a 12 week maternity leave, & the school psychologist seemed to think that she couldn't do her job of testing him for the things she was concerned about.  Since when do they need the teacher present when they were doing evaluations & tests??  Of course, since when do professionals take 4 months to return a parents phone call??  The whole time I was a mess.  She thought that my child might have ADHD or Autism (or "something else" ~ she never did disclose what this something else was).

By the time I was able to get a meeting to discuss the results of the testing, it was the second to last day of the school year.  The school psychologist stated that there were a few issues that needed to be addressed, but he was "under the line" for any sort of diagnosis.  Whatever..... Not really, but it was time to start summer.  The Boy started summer school with the teacher he was going to have in the fall, so as to get ahead on his reading skills & so they could get to know each other.  I knew she would be someone whom I could work with to help the Boy succeed.

It was time for 2nd grade, and I started getting the phone calls & reports of disruptive behavior, tears, & "outbursts."  The Boy joined the swim team at one of our local YMCA's, & I started getting reports from his coaches of the Boy not listening, then the tears, the anger, & the outbursts.  It's not that I didn't believe these people, but I had never seen what they were describing to me.  My son had some quirks, but weren't those just a part of who he is?  Didn't some of these things occur just to tick me off; after all, as a kid, it's often times fun to get under Mom's skin, right? 

Then it happened.  I witnessed what they were describing to me.


It started happening more & more.  I set up an appointment with a child psychologist to see if we could figure this thing out.  Unfortunately, we had a 5 week wait.  One night at swim team practice, I walked by the pool area to see how he was doing (I work in a different part of the building), & he was in the shallow end sobbing.  He was jumping up & down.  He was pounding his hands in the water as if he were needing to punch something.  I pulled him out & took him aside.  As I held him, he sobbed, "Mom, can't we go & see that doctor person yet?!  I am so mixed up & sad."  How was I suppose to clock in & teach the class of mine that was starting in 15 minutes??

We finally got in on December 9th.  We started meetings with a wonderful woman, whom the Boy enjoyed going to see every two weeks.  She told me that she saw signs of Aspergers Syndrome, & I consented to having her test him.  More papers to fill out.  This was when I learned about a medical diagnosis vs. an educational diagnosis.  This was when I learned that the test that the school psychologist had used the prior spring was NOT the most current test.  UGH!!


February 1, 2013
Thirteen months had past since his 1st grade teacher had gotten the ball rolling, we were about to find out the results of his test.  Mind you, there is so much I am not sharing in this post, because many of you lived it with me, & for that I am eternally grateful.  A blog that started out as a cute way to share the sassy goings on of our household, also became a way for me to release some of what was inside my head & heart. 
Anyway.....
There was an explanation, & it had a name.  The name was Aspergers, & now I had proof to take to the school.  Now we could get an IEP set up for him.  We could set him up for success. 

I cried.  How could I not??  I had failed my son.  I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around this.  What was the difference between a diagnosis of 299.80 & a diagnosis of 299.0??  What is ABA Therapy??  What could I have done differently to prevent this??  Why didn't I see the signs in the same way that the teachers & coaches had??  Yep, I was confused.


I remember the doctor telling, "he is still the same boy you gave birth to, that has not changed.  Now we can work as a team to help him, so that he knows he has support."  (Sure lady, he's not your child.  He may be 8yo, but he's still my baby.  My firstborn.)

I took some time to grieve for what once was & for the fear of what new & perhaps scary events that may or may not lie ahead of us.  I want to thank my family & friends who saw me break down in tears.  The friends who gave me hugs & told me that I was strong.  The friends who reminded me that this was not my fault; that it just is. 

That school psychologist was to be in attendance at the Boy's first IEP meeting.  When she wouldn't return phone calls again, I had feeling from the year prior come flooding back.  There was NO WAY that this woman was going to be a part of any of my three children's education in any way, shape, or form.  I called HER supervisor (who at one time had been my Mom's boss when she worked for the school district), and I let loose.  I was calm, cool, collected, & I took the lead.  I made it clear that I was my son's voice.  That we will follow the plan set in force by his outside psychologist.  I did not cry.  I stood my ground.  This child has helped me find a strength that I never knew was inside of me.


This child has taught me how to be more patient.  How to be more thoughtful of others words & actions.  He has taught me how to be mindful of my words & actions.  He has taught me to slow down.  He has taught me to smile more.  He has taught me how to love his siblings, his Dad, & everyone else in our world with all I've got.  I am pretty open, & share more than you'd probably like to hear; you don't have to listen, it's okay.  He has taught me that it's okay for all of us to be who we are & make no apologies for it. 
He is still the same Boy that I gave birth to, but he is so much more than that.  I'll love him forever, I'll like him for always (you know the story - it's true)...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes....

"Just stop talking & go to sleep!!"  Those are the words that the Boy hollered yet again last night.  My three children share a bedroom, & when it's lights out, the Boy is ready for dreamland.  The Girl & Little Boy often times have to be reprimanded because they seem to think that 'lights out' means, "woo hoo, let's have a silly party!"  Last night they were at it again.  Or so I thought.  I went into the bedroom to do my lecture, & the Girl was asleep. 

What's up with that?? "Little Boy, you need to stop playing & go to sleep," I said.  "I is not playing Momma, I is talking to the silly man."  (Huh??)  "What do you mean?"  "Momma, I is talking to the man who helps me sleep; he said you was afraid of that raccoon at your Grandma's house when you were little."

Okay...what in the world?!?

The Boy hollered, "well you two keep me up ALL. THE. TIME!!  I just want to sleep!"  I asked him if he could see the man that Little Boy was talking to.  "Yes, now tell them to be quiet!!"

The Girl kept sleeping while all of this was going on.  "Little Boy"  I asked, "where is the man right now?"  "He is sitting on the dresser beside you, Momma."  "Do you know his name?"  "Yes."  "Can you tell me, please."  He told me the "giant man's" name, & I took a deep breath.  From what I gathered, he was having conversations with a friend of mine who passed away.  I didn't know (& am still not sure) what to make of this. 

I asked him about the raccoon at my Grandma's house.  When I was little, my aunt was a teenager & lived at home with my grandparents.  At one time, my aunt had a pet raccoon.  I was scared to death of it, & despised it after it left claw marks in the face of one of my dolls.  I'd forgotten about this until last night.  I asked Little Boy how his "giant" friend knew this.  He said that his friend talks to my Grandma.  Grandma Gladys passed away many years ago.

This morning, as I was looking through some photos on FB, I came across some pictures of my friends from high school.  The Boy came up behind me & said, "there's Little Boy's friend who talks & keeps me awake at night."  Little Boy came running up to look, & started giggling, "there is my friend--see you later giant man!" 

I'm really not certain what this is about, but I guess we'll just go with it.  Perhaps children in their innocence can see things we can't--I just don't know.

Please don't get angry with me or lecture me on religion, spirits, or the devil.  I am sharing an experience that I am still trying to wrap my brain around.  If this really is my friend visiting my children at night, I wish he'd read a bedtime story & lull Little Boy to sleep. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why Wasn't I Adopted?

"Why wasn't I adopted?"  That was the question the Girl asked at dinner tonight.  Never mind that I carried her in my belly for nine months.  Never mind the fear in my heart when she was born with a cleft palate & could only drink from a special bottle that cost $30.00 a pop.  Never mind that she is everything & I could ever want in a daughter.  She wants to go & get adopted.  True story, she told me so.

I'm going to cut her a little bit of slack because the family she wants to get adopted into is a very special family.  We are blessed to have this family in our lives.  They are the perfect example of family.  Again, true story.

At dinner we were talking about how our friends are finally going to be able to adopt their youngest two children soon.  Our friends have 7 children, all of whom are adopted.  Our friends have been foster parents for many years, and in the process have adopted 5 beautiful children.  The youngest two, who are 6 & 4, were suppose to be adopted several years ago, but thanks to the biological father & a screwed up legal system, they've encountered more bumps in the road than you can imagine.  Today, they got the phone call that bio dad's rights have been terminated & he did not contest.  AMEN!!!  My girlfriend has had a kind of crummy week thus far, so this was just the pick me up she needed.

Even with 7 kids, my friend 'M', will do anything for anybody.  She is the first person to ask, "how can I help" when their is a crisis at your home.  If you are under the weather, she will offer to take your kids so you can rest.  If you are running late to pick up your kids after school, she is there to help out.  If you need to vent because things are crappy, 'M' is there.  In my eyes, she is part of the pot of gold of friends that I have made since we moved back to our hometown 5 1/2 years ago.

Let me also tell you this:  another thing that I love about my friend is that she is not one bit pretentious.  She is as real as they come.  I've seen her raise her voice with her children, & I've seen her follow through with discipline.  She interacts with them & takes them places.  She'll be there at the park playing with her children--ALL OF THEM!!  I wish I had her energy.  However, she knows how to let them trip & fall & learn from their mistakes, always letting them know that she loves them. 

We have a small group of us who meet once a month for Girls Night Out, but we've modified it a bit.  Ours is Girls Taco Night, and we meet up around 8:00-9:00pm on a weeknight.  After our husbands are home with the kiddos.  This woman has us in her home.  We all bring a dish & we sit & chat.  Or vent.  Or have a margarita.  Or two.  Her home is welcome to anyone of us at anytime. 

She is a friend.  She is a wife.  She is a Mom.  Her kids came to her differently than my kids came to me, but she is an example that all Mommy's should follow.  And I am so excited that the day is closer than ever for her & her husband to finally able to make the two Littles in their family "legal".

Yep, I'm sure there will be a giant giant celebration coming soon.  Perhaps this is why the Girl wants to be adopted into 'M's' house; every girl loves a party, right?  Or perhaps it's the wonderful family we've become friends with. 

About 4 years ago, I was driving home from the first kids consignment sale that I'd ever been to (guess what Mommy told me about it?), when I heard this wonderful song on the radio.  It was a song from a Dad to his adopted child.  I knew I wanted to include it for you tonight, but for the life of me, couldn't find it.  Of course, I couldn't remember who sang it.  Or even what the name of it was.  HAVE NO FEAR!!!  I found that song, & would like to share it with you & ask that you think of my awesome friend & her wonderful family.
                                             You start with hope
The wait can make you cry
Unanswered prayers
Things turn, you wonder why
 
The road can take you where it wants
Sometimes you have to just let go to hear life's song
 
It's meant to be
It was written in the stars
For us to see
A little angel to be ours
We're a family
We'll tell you where you came from
But you were born in our heart
 
Faith lights your path
Then one day lets you in
Inside the dream
Of something never seen
 
The beauty of your little smile
Each little sound you make
Takes our breath away
 
It's meant to be
It was written in the stars
For us to see
A little angel to be ours
We're a family
We'll tell you where you came from
But you were born from our hearts
 
Mr Ray (Ray Andersen)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I've Got Your Number....

I've always shut the door to the bathroom when doing my business.  Because I livedwith other people, that's what I was taught.  When I had roommates I shut the door even if they weren't home.  I married my husband, & even then I still shut the door.  It's a privacy thing, right?  It's a respect thing, right?  Everyone does it, right?

Then I had children of my very own......

These cute little creatures have an agenda all of their own.  They are so cute so that we don't toss them to the curb on trash pick up day.  Maybe it's my fault for keeping the door open once they were able to crawl.  I mean, you need to be able to keep one eye on them while you are apply mascara to the other eye.  Not long after that, they thought it was their right to be in that bathroom whenever they darn well pleased.

I tried to lock the door, but then the day came when the Boy & the Girl knocked a television off of a dresser, after knocking the dresser onto the floor.  Mind you, anytime that I ever needed to move that dresser, when rearranging furniture, I had to put my full body weight up against that sucker just to get it to budge.  I didn't lock the bathroom door after that.  If my husband wasn't home, it stayed wide open.  My kiddos have seen me do #1 & #2.  They seen me change a tampon and they've seen me shaving my legs.  Then they started getting a little older, & they started getting it.  Often times, they'd stand outside the door & try to have a conversation with me, all while I was hollering, "wait until I'm done; give a minute to finish up in here; did you hear me?  Is anyone bleeding?"  We were getting a handle on things.

Then Little Boy came along.  He was a clingy baby.  A true Momma's Boy in every sense of the word. Oy vey!!

Forget bathroom privacy.  Little Boy was here to stay.  He would never ever let me out of his sight.  I figured I was doomed.  This child has imitated eyebrow plucking, tampon changing, & has offered to get me a pad (even when I didn't need one).  A few months ago, he started getting better, so I started locking the door. 

Then this morning happened.

The Girl was at Grandma & Grandpa's house for a sleepover & both boys were still sleeping, so after the Husband went to work, I grabbed my coffee & hopped in the shower.  Even though the boys were in bed, I locked the door.  Why do that if they were in bed?  Because I can, that's why.  I hadn't been in there for 2 minutes, when I heard the commotion.  The Boy was yelling something.  Little Boy started screaming louder.  I heard him coming down the hall.  He tried to get in & couldn't.  Now he was going ballistic.  It was not an 'I'm hurt' kind of cry, so I kept on scrubbing.  He had thrown himself on the floor in front of the bathroom door, & was mad as a hornet at his big brother.

After I opened the door, I found out that the Boy had sat down in the chair that Little Boy wanted, so in true 4yo fashion, he lost it.  To try to divert his attention, I tried to get LB in the shower.  I tried to convince him that he would feel so much starting out his day squeaky clean.  He wasn't having it.

So...I walked over him & went about my business, then told the Boy that he needed to hop in for his shower before getting ready for day camp.

This made my little man so mad that he stopped crying & looked at me in disbelief.  The look on his face was like, 'what do you mean??  It's MY turn to shower.'

Once I got dressed & LB was STILL on the floor, I went into action.  I used my Mean Mom voice & told him that he would get dressed now.  I told him that under no circumstances was I going to tolerate naughtiness anymore.  I told him to get dressed NOW!  He did as I said.  While I was making breakfast, he stated that he had to go potty. 

He was MIA for 15 minutes....

When I found him, he was sitting in the bathtub with his clothes on.  The tub was still wet from everyone else's showers.  When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "waiting for my breakfast."  If we hadn't been running late at that moment, I would've snapped a photo.
Here's a photo of Little Boy.  This was taken during a moment of nice behavior.  I suppose we'll keep him. :)


Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Married Mr. Right-Just Ask Him...

It's been raining where we live, so normal summer activities like swimming, riding bikes, & going to the zoo have taken a backseat to indoor games these past two weeks.  My lovely little offspring have been driving me nuts!!  I'm not afraid to admit it.  Truth be told, I don't blame them.  I'm going a bit stir crazy myself.  However, today has been the worst.  It started a few days ago.  I guess I should start from the beginning....

It started with a backyard project that my husband has been carrying on about for quite some time.  He does that, carrying on about projects, yet does nothing about it until one day, he wakes up & is ready to do said project.  AND TEN MORE THINGS!!

Last year we purchased an above ground pool for the children.  The only flat spot in the yard for it was under a huge walnut tree, so we only had sunshine on the pool for a very short time during the day.  At the end of summer, Hubby talked about moving the pool to a different part of the yard & putting it on a cement pad.  This meant that we (& by "we", I mean him) would have to level out part of the very steep backyard, which meant tearing up the entire backyard.  Which translated into dollar signs that we just did not have.

Two weeks ago, Hubby discovered that he was going to have to cut down the beautiful walnut tree, as it appeared to have some kind of disease.  Hubby enlisted the help of several friends to get the job done.  Once the tree was down, he saw that the carpenter ants were destroying the tree, & very rapidly at that.  He decided to lay the cement pad where we had the tree last year, since the tree was now gone.  YAY!!  Now this project wouldn't be so costly.

Right.....Not so costly.  He decided to level out the backyard (or at least make the incline less steep).
But he wasn't done....

He decided that we needed to widen the top part of the driveway, rip up the front walkway to the house, & rip up & redo the steps leading up to the front porch.  And let's not forget the sod he wanted to put down in the backyard.

So the project is about 93% finished and I might add that he did a great job of bartering services with our friend, Mr. M, who is our "cement guy". 

Last night at dinner, Hubby was looking rather green.  No, it was not my dinner of chicken Parmesan, fettuccine Alfredo, & broccoli.  He was running a fever.  Then the vomiting started.  Yes, it's like having another child whenever my husband gets sick.  Yes, I will do my best to make him feel better.  Yes, I love him.  Yes, I wish he'd crawl into a cave & not come out until he feels better.  True story.

Tonight I had to go to work for a staff meeting.  We live 3 blocks from my job.  I was gone just under 1 1/2 hours.  He insisted he'd be fine with the kids; he's their Father for crying out loud, not some first time babysitter.

Note to self:  DO NOT leave children with their Father when he is sick!!!

I came home & the kids (who had been at each others throats all weekend) were running around like like they were on crack, Hubby just HAD to tattle on every. single. thing. that they did that got on his nerves.  All while telling me about how his body was achy, his eyes hurt, his throat hurt from vomiting, & anything else he could complain about. 

Solution?? 
1) Send Hubby to bed.
2) Get kids bedtime routine started.
3) Send Hubby back to bed when the noise was too much.
4) Get kids tucked into bed.
5) Get plan of action for tomorrow ready, since Hubby has already called in sick.  You know our usual routine will be out of whack with a sick Parental Unit in the house.
6) Pour a glass of wine & write a blog, so as to be a nice & tolerant wife.

As I was tucking the kids into bed tonight, the Girl summed it up best.  She said, "I'm glad you sent Daddy to bed, because he isn't a very good Mommy."  I'll take that as a compliment, thank you very much.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy Pills...Or Sex (Also Known As "Having The Talk")

I was so thankful yesterday was Friday.  Last week was super busy in our house, & I was ready for it to just be over so we could have some down time.  After I dropped off the Boy & the Girl at school, I ran Little Boy to the Y so he could hang out with his friends while I went to the Science Fair at the elementary school.  The Boy had already told me that the Science Fair was a place for "people with smart brains--not for little brothers who are annoying."  (I constantly pray that these children will band together, & not throw each other under the bus on a regular basis).

After a fun morning at the Science Fair, I picked up Little Boy & his friend, and we went to lunch before they went to another friends house to play so I could go back to the school & pick up the Boy for an appointment at his doctors office.  Afterwards, we picked up Little Boy, then were off to retrieve the Girl from school.

YAY!!!  The weekend was finally here!!!

Not so fast.....It never goes that smooth.  It's never smooth sailing when the weekend gets here, who was I kidding?

We were barely out the doors of the school when they started showing their true colors.  "I was there first!"  "Get out of my way!"  "That's my spot!"  "Stop touching me!"  "You smell!"  "You are so ugly, nobody loves you!" "You're going to get me in trouble!"  "Why don't you just shut up!" "I hate you!"

There were more, but I think you get the idea.

That was the point where I was about to get into the car.  I mumbled something like, "Mommy needs a happy pill....or sex."  I saw two of my Mommy Friends waiting for their children & smiled hello to them.  The smiles on their faces told me that I was not alone in this business of bickering children.  I got in the car & we were on our way.

We stopped at the gas station before going out for a Science Fair Celebration Dinner.  While we were driving to the restaurant, the girl asked, "where is Daddy?"  "He is working late, why?"  "Well Mom, I don't know if my question should be for him or for you," replied the Girl.  Foolishly, I asked her what her question was.  "What are happy pills and sex?"

Just great!!  Of course they heard me when I thought they were fighting.  Of course my husband was working late & I had to field this one alone.  Just great!!

Okay here's your chance to answer this in terms that they will understand, without making anyone uncomfortable (except for yourself).  C'mon Mom Of The Year, you've got this.....

"Sometimes people's brains get mixed up & kind of foggy, & it's hard to see things clearly.  Sometimes they will get sad over things that don't make most other people sad.  Sometimes they will get grouchy & snap at people for no reason.  Often their doctors will have them take medicine to help them see things more clearly.  There are many different kinds of medicines for this, so we call them happy pills.  You guys were fighting & stressing me out, so I said that I need some happy pills."  Then the Girl asked me, "did your doctor ever have you take some of those happy pills?"  "As a matter of fact, yes I have.  They help me so much."  "Well I'm glad to know that they help, but I don't think they work very well, because you still get angry & yell."  She wasn't getting it, so I explained that I still get in bad moods & that I still get angry, but I don't get sad all the time, & that I can handle my emotions better.  Her response?  "Okay."

Then the Boy piped up.
"What about the sex, Mom?"

"What about it, son?"

"Does it make you happy, just like those pills?"

"You could say that."

"And it sounds like something that's one of those grown up things you talk about, right?"

"Yes sweetie."

"Then don't tell us about it, because grown up things are boring.

(Okay then....you heard the Boy.  Grown up things are boring).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Her Crazy Has An Undercar Garage.....

The Girl has been a pistol today.  Her sassy mouth has me living in fear of her teenage years.  I am sure we'll survive.  One way or another.  I hope we are raising her to be a kind, caring, loving, productive member of society.  I hope we are not raising a future PDM.

You may ask yourself, who is this PDM you speak of Mrs. Sassy Pants?  Those who are friends with me on my personal Facebook page know EXACTLY who PDM is.  PDM is short for Play date Mommy, the Mommy of a little girl who was in The Girl's kindergarten class last year.  For those of you who are new here, allow me to share some of my experiences with this woman.  You may very well have your own PDM experience.  Maybe you can tell me what to do (or not do) about her. 

I seem to attract crazy wherever I go.  True story.  It's happened my whole life.  I attract them like bees to honey.  This woman is a different breed, I am convinced that she needs meds or she is just as clueless as they come.  Before you go & get all on my case about being snarky about this woman, please know that I am sharing true experiences, & I am constantly trying to justify her actions (a friend told me that I am over kind to PDM) so I can explain away the crazy.

PDM is a person who will call you at noon and say, "L would like to have a play date with the Girl, would that be okay?"  Just as you are about to say, "sure, when would be convenient for you?", she says, "great, I'll bring her by in an hour."  The first time she did this, I was flabbergasted; I had to pick my jaw up off of the ground.  Isn't the "rule" that if YOU initiate the play date, then YOU are the one to host it?  She brought her child over at 1:00pm & said she'd be back at 3:00pm.  This woman didn't show up until 5:30!!  This happened many times.  She called all. the. time.  Whenever the kids had a day off of school, she'd call.  She is a school teacher, & had to work many of those days, so rather than send her school age children to daycare with her infant, she'd call me & tell me that L wanted to come & play with my child. 

One day last summer she called & invited the kids & I to meet up with her & her children at the neighborhood swimming pool.  When I declined because of a prior commitment, she spazzed out on me.  I kid you not, she said, "well what am I going to do with my kids, I have errands to run!"  WHAT?!?!  She did not just say that to me, did she??  She used a pool play date as a means of getting us there to watch her children?  I asked her if she could take her children with her on her errands, I mean that's what a parent does, right?  She said no.  I said that perhaps she needed to enlist the help of someone in her support system, like a parent or sibling of hers or her husbands? She said nope. I said that she just may have to wait for her husband to get home from work to run her errands child free.  She shouted, "he can't babysit all three of them!"  First of all, it's not 'babysitting' if it's your own children, it's called pulling your weight & being a parent.  Secondly, if MY husband even tried saying something like that, he'd be in divorce court faster than he could get the sentence out of his mouth!

There are many other instances that my poor Facebook friends have had to read about.  Many are appalled at this woman's behavior.  Some try to get me to see that I don't live in her house, & I don't know her situation, so perhaps I could put up with a little bit of her craziness since our daughters like each other so much.

Anyway.....

This afternoon the Girl had a play date with her friend, L-2.  She, L, & L-2 are three little peas in a pod.  We've never had L-2 here before, so the Girl was so excited to have her over.  When L-2's Mom came to pick her up, we stood in the driveway talking about getting the girls together again soon, when her phone rang.  L-2's Mom groaned & said, "I'll let it go to voicemail, that woman drives me nuts."  About 30 seconds later MY phone rang; caller ID said it was PDM!!  I said, "we'll see if she leaves me a voicemail."  I looked up at L-2's Mom & said, "sometimes you have to screen calls."  Well she started to carry on about about PDM!!  I heard about how PDM's husband called L-2's Mom a 'Stupid Fat Whore' for parking on the wrong side of their driveway when she had to bring their daughter home after a play date that lasted 6 hours (it was planned to be 2-3 hours long, & he refused to come & pick up his child).  L-2's Mommy told me several stories that mirrored my own experiences with PDM.  She asked me if the Girl had ever had play dates with "L".  I told her yes she had, & I try to limit them, as I don't like to be taken advantage of.  I told her that PDM had just left me a voicemail.  "ME TOO!! she screamed.  I told her that being up front doesn't work with some people, & that we have to weigh the pros & cons if & when we decide to let the kids get together.  I told her that some people just don't get it. 

I also reminded her that the kids have a four day weekend coming up at the end of this next week......


Friday, April 12, 2013

Reaching For The Brass Ring....

Document, document, document. 

Praise and reward the good behavior.

Don't allow the diagnosis to be an excuse to be naughty, do a half baked job, or to not work up to potential.

These were things that we were told by the child psychologist when we started working on a way to control his meltdowns.  We wanted (& still want) him to be able to recognize those feelings inside when things start to get confusing & too overwhelming for him.  I said it before & I'll say it again, we want him to be the best him that he can be.  We want him to be a happy, healthy, productive member of society who is compassionate, kind, caring, & loving.  We want him to know he is loved beyond measure, & that we will do whatever it takes to encourage & foster these qualities in him.  Yes yes, we want this for all the children in our family.  We want this for the children in your family too.  Please know, we really want this for all children, but this is about the Boy.  My child.  My firstborn.  The child who likes to be the oil to my water.  The one who is teaching me about patience in a way that is frustrating yet wonderful, all at the same time.

Four months ago, when his psychologist implemented a reward program for him not having any outbursts/meltdowns at school, I thought she was out of her ever loving mind.  C'mon now!!  In the real world, we don't praise someone every time they do what they should already be doing, right??  I was resistant, but I knew that we all had to be on the same page, & I didn't think that this was going to work.  When this child was potty training, he had a sticker chart for taking care of business in the potty.  He would peel the stickers off of the chart & throw them in the trash.  We tried using fruit snacks & M&M's.  He didn't care if he got a treat; he could take them or leave them.  Bribing with a new toy or book??  Meh, who cares??  But like I said, we had to be on the same page, so I got on board with the doctor.

It started out with 1/2 hour increments in his school day.  For each half hour that he didn't lose it, he'd get a 'guy' on his chart.  When he got 11/14 guys, he's get a pull from his grab bag.  These slips of paper were rewards such as a toy from the dollar spot at Target, family swim time at the Y, 15 extra minutes of TV time before school, & having a friend spend the night, to name a few.  As he made progress, we made things more challenging for earning the reward.  He also started refusing to do his schoolwork, so more stipulations were put in place.

His latest goal has been to earn 14/14 'yes' spots on his charts (he no longer wants to 'guys'--the chart was too large, & he was embarrassed for his friends to see it.  We made the chart a yes/no chart, & it is in a small enough format that it can be kept taped in a corner of his desk so he can see his progress as the day goes on.  He is no longer embarrassed, because many children in his class has yes/no charts that go home each day also.  We just told him that his must be kept in plain sight, taped to his desk.  No ifs, ands or buts about it; he needs to see his progress to help remind him of the reward at the end of the day.

There is a little more to it than what I've shared, but you get the idea.  The Boy  & I came up with an additional reward.  I told him that if he could 3 days (in a school week) of 14/14 yes spots filled, I'd let him pick out a video game for his DS or for the Wii.  He's had so many weeks of struggle, where he'd get 2 days, then that third day of '14' was just out of his reach.  My husband & I have been encouraging him, & the Boy has been so frustrated.  He told me, "it's never going to happen; I'm just going to have to put the game on my wish list or save up for it & buy it with  my own money." 

This school week started off with two phone calls from the teacher on both Monday & Tuesday.  We kept plugging away.  We kept encouraging him of his potential.  We assured him that he could do his work.  We assured him that he is so smart.  We assured him that it's okay to use his 'good coping skills' when he gets frustrated.  We constantly assured him of our love for him (even on those days when he & I didn't like each other very much).

Wednesday was fantastic-he did it!!  Yep 14/14 yes spots.  Thursday was the same.  YAY for the Boy!!!  This morning as I was taking him to school, he looked at me & said, "Mom, I'm going to get it today; I'm going to use good coping skills if I get frustrated.  I just KNOW that I can do it!"  I was so proud of him (he's usually quite negative in the morning, especially if one speaks to him too soon).

Little Boy & I went to visit the Girl at lunch today.  When the Boy's class came in, he was scowling.  Uh oh!!  He came up to me & snarled, "it's your turn to sit with ME, not HER!"  I calmly told him that it was our turn to sit with the Girl, not him.  He turned on his heel & ran towards the wall at the oopposite end of the lunchroom. I though to myself, "great, here we go...now the teachers & principal will get to witness him doing "it" to me.  They'll see that he has outbursts with me too."

My Boy did NOT have an outburst!!  He did NOT have a meltdown!!  I watched him as he was facing the wall.  I watched him wipe his eyes before turning around & walking back over to me.  He breathed in deeply, & said, "Mom, when you & Little Boy are done with lunch, would you like to come & sit down with me & my class?"  THIS WAS HUGE!!!!  He handled this situation in a way that was appropriate!!  I was so proud of him.  To you this may be nothing, but I'm telling you it really & truly was a positive step for this boy of mine.

After school, he came walking up to the car really really slowly.  My heart fell to my feet, as I figured that I'd have to console him & encourage him that he'd earn his video game another time.  He had a somber look on his face, looked at the ground, then looked up at me.  He was grinning from ear to ear!!  He'd earned all 14/14 yes spots!!  His smile got even bigger when I told him we were going straight to the store to get his game.  He looked at me & asked, "right now?"  Yes son, right now.  His smiled got even bigger.

After we got the game, I asked him to pose for a picture with his new DS game.  For once, he didn't give me a cheesy grin; you know, the grin that is fake & not the real child.  He smiled a real honest to goodness happy smile. 

His new goal?  He wants to have 14/14 yes spots FOUR days of the school week!!  I'm thinking that the child psychologist knows what she's doing.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Read The Job Desrciption Before You Apply....

There is no harder job than being a parent.  You've heard that adage before, right?  Well there is.  Want to know what it is?  It's the job of stepparent.  Remember the Step Mom in Cinderella?  Or the Step Monster in St. Elmo's Fire?  Yep, when I married my husband, I also married his four children from his previous marriages (yes, that is plural: marriages).  We have some friends who joke that it just took him a few rides around the block on the short bus to finally get it right (& nope, you don't need to get all offended because I joked about the 'short bus'; he is the first to admit that often times it takes him awhile to get things right).  Anyway, I proudly tell people that when I married my husband, I also married his four children.  I was thrilled.  I finally had the family I had always wanted, & I was thrilled when we were able to add the Boy, the Girl, & Little Boy to the family.

It hasn't always been a walk in the park.  You are not their 'real' parent, & there are moments when they make sure that you haven't forgotten this fact.  There are times when they will show you so much disrespect, it puts your spouse in the predicament of my kid vs. my spouse.  They will test their boundaries & they will test your patience.  They will do what kids do.  And you will love them.  You know that if you & their Dad were to divorce, they are still your children's siblings.  You know that if their Dad were to remarry (not my husband; remember, he finally got it right), you would want THEIR step mom to love them & treat them with respect.

I've had one of my step children call me while in an elevated state of mind, & tell me that when I married his Dad & gave birth to "those brats", that we took everything that was rightfully his.  He said that money that should be for him was being spent on "brats who shouldn't be here." 

While running a 'clean up' on the computer one day a few years ago, I opened a file that contained a conversation one of my step children had had with a friend.  It appeared to be a chat room type conversation; it took me a bit to figure out exactly what it was that I was reading.  It was all about what a bad Mom I was.  My step child didn't like how I was parenting my young children, & that a monkey could do a better job than I was doing.  It talked about what a "stupid fool" that I am.

Then there was the note.  One of the kids had gotten in trouble while at our house.  As usual, I had to be the bad guy.  I'm no different with my step children than I am with the children I gave birth to:  if you do wrong, you suffer the consequences.  This child "accidentally on purpose" left a note that in part said this:  "Sheila is so far on my shit list that even saying sorry AND MEANING IT won't change a thing.  You really dug a grave for yourself this time; you need to die, because being nice at this point won't change a thing."

I am only sharing these examples to let you know that things aren't always perfect when you are a step parent, but that they aren't all that bad, either.  I am human, they are human, and I love them like my own.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  My husband & his ex-wives have given me some of the most wonderful (& ornery) gifts that I could ever ask for.  They ground me & show me that I need to have a sense of humor.  Their three youngest siblings love them like there is no tomorrow.

So why do my older daughter's friends keep breaking MY heart??  Don't understand?  Allow me to explain as best I can.

I have three step sons and a step daughter. ( I HATE saying 'step' children, but I don't really have another word for it, since I am not their Mom).  The boys live here in town, but my daughter lives in Washington with her husband & her three young children (yes, my daughter & I were pregnant at the same time for part of 2 of our pregnancies).  I will tell you this: it is awful not being able to be close to them.  I'd just about give my right arm to have them live here, but they don't like the Midwest summers & we're not fond of the rainy season that they seem to always have. 

Anyway......

About 6 months ago, my daughter started having some serious health issues.  She had a diagnosis of Lupus, then there have been autoimmune issues associated with all of that as well.  She has been unable to work, & has been in the hospital at times.  It has been very difficult being so far away from her while this is going on.  She & her husband are hard working proud people.  They are the most loving parents you could ever meet.  I just want them closer to us.  Since she's been "under the weather", many people have said, "don't hesitate to let me know if you need anything."  I've seen it on her Facebook wall.  I've said it to my own friends as well. 

Lately, when phone calls have proved ineffective, my daughter has taken to Facebook to ask friends for help.  Maybe for a ride into town, or for some help with the children. or simply for company.  The response to her request 99% of the time is something like this: "I wish I could, but..."

But what??!?

If you offer help and don't/won't can't follow through, then DO. NOT. OFFER. TO. HELP.  Period.  End of story.  Do not say it just to make yourself feel better for saying that you offered.  Sometimes when people need our help, we have to rearrange our schedules a bit.  Just a little bit.  That little bit means the world to someone who needs us at the time.  I am just livid that she has the same small group of people to help her, even though an entire group has offered.  She doesn't want to burden anyone, & feels like the ones who are helping are going to burn out from helping so darn much.

It has me in knots.  I want to be in Washington.  I am in Nebraska.  I want to help my family.  When her own Mother was alive, I promised her that I would love her two children (my oldest step children) as if they were my own.  I promised to respect them & do anything I could do to help them.  Her Mom hugged me & said shewas thankful that I made her ex-husband & her children happy.

It doesn't matter if you give birth to them, adopt them, foster them, or marry them, they need our love, support, & respect.  This parenting job is not for the weak at heart, you've got to be a ninja (or something like that).




Monday, April 1, 2013

Reward or Punishment??

Chores.  Homework.  Dinner.  Showers & baths.  Downtime.  Bedtime.  That was our night tonight.  Tonight was the night to add up points on the children's chore charts from last week.  We usually do this on Sunday evenings, but Easter took it's toll on the kids, so we waited until tonight.  If the kids earn a high enough number of points on their chart, they receive a set dollar amount for that week (ranging anywhere from a quarter to a dollar) AND a ticket from our chore bin.  These tickets include things such as alone time with Mom/Dad, an ice cream cone, the chance to pick out dinner one night, a 15 minute delay in bedtime, & having a friend stay the night, to name just a few.

Tonight there was a lot of whispering when it came time to pull tickets out of the bin.  Everyone had earned tickets, & usually they are all fighting to get their drug of choice prize.  After we put the bin away, the Boy asked me if he could use one of his tickets tomorrow after school.  I told him yes.  Then the Girl asked me the same question.  Obviously, they were up to something, but I said yes to her also.  THEN Little Boy asked, "Momma I use my ticket to you tomorrow too?"  (Great, they involved my baby too)  I told him yes; why spoil their fun now?

That's when they all showed me their tickets.  They carefully planned it so they would each pull the ticket that read, "Someone will do a chore for you".  They were being too silly to be ganging up on each other, or they didn't think that one of their own could do a chore for them, and Daddy is out of town for work this week. 

I played along.  "Who would you like to do a chore for you tomorrow?"  Of course, they said that I have to do a chore for each of them tomorrow. 

Tomorrow I will be vacuuming upstairs (the Girl's chore), vacuuming downstairs (the Boy's chore), & taking the hampers to the laundry room/sorting the laundry (Little Boy's chore).  The catch??  I can't do it while they're at school.  They want to supervise & make sure that I do it right.

Yep, they listen more often than I give them credit for.....

Personally, I would have picked the ice cream, but apparently watching Mom do chores brings greater satisfaction.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm Up For The Challenge (I Think)...

While I was browsing through Facebook this morning, I noticed an article that a friend of mine shared.  It was titled, "10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling At My Kids".  The author, The Orange Rhino, wrote about how she made a promise to her 4 young sons to go 365 days without yelling.  The author learned many things about herself, such as 1)My kids are my most important audience, 2)I can't always control my kids' actions, but I can control my reaction, 3)Two words you should always remember are "at least" (as in even though xxx happened, at least yyy didn't happen), & 4)Yelling doesn't work. 

I got to thinking, if she can do it, why can't I??  Of course when I do something, I can't just do the simple (as if not yelling at your children for an entire year is an easy task), I have to be more specific.  I have to give it my all. And I need support of all those around me (or at least as many as possible). 

Here is my challenge that will begin one week from today. You may ask, why not start TODAY?  The answer lies in the fact that next Monday is April1st, the beginning of a new month.  This gives me one week to share with people whose support I need.  This gives me one week to begin to practicing my specifics (especially for #1-yes, there is more than one thing I will be doing). Besides, starting this on April Fools Day is just a fun little perk.  My challenge for myself will go for 9 months: April 1, 2013-December 31, 2013. 

* I will not use the word "no" with my children; I will find positive ways to say negative things to them.  Have no fear, they will still know when they are in trouble; I would just like to avoid the word "no" for 9 months.

*I will make it a point to have go on a date with my husband two times a month.  Whether it is an actual Date Night or meeting up for lunch, we need to make us a priority.  If this means putting things on a calendar & finding a sitter for the kids, then so be it.

*I will do something for me.  More specifically, I will begin working out again.  Since coming down with mono in early February, I have been under  doctor's orders to rest as much as possible, & this means NO WORKOUTS for me!  I have put on some weight that I am NOT proud of, & training for a half marathon in early May has been tossed out the window.  Early this morning, I went in for another blood draw, & fingers crossed, I can start working out again soon.  Even if I can't do full workouts, I know that I can get on the treadmill & walk (I mean how much exercising while I'm sitting at the computer each day?).

I will spend the remainder of this year doing something extra for my children, something extra for my marriage, & something extra for me.  You may already do these in your life & I applaud you.  These challenges are to hold me accountable for some of the bad habits that I've slipped into. 

I have a feeling that at the very least, this challenge is going to present some insights into myself.  Who can't stand to learn a few things about themselves?

If I learn nothing about myself, then I suppose I will have some new & interesting things to share with you in blog posts to come, won't I??

Saturday, March 23, 2013

You Say Sarcasm, We Say Sassiness...

Here in Sassy World, every family member has had the title of Sassy Pants at one time or another.  I'd say that the Girl is the Princess of Sass, because somewhere in her gene pool lurks the Queen of Sassy.  If you must know, as a child, I was NOT sassy.  Seriously.  No really, I was a crybaby Mama's Girl.  My very own Mom was a bit of a rebel, so we will say that it was passed down from HER side of the family.  If you want to talk about little nuggets of sarcasm, then I MIGHT claim the title.  Okay, the sarcasm is directed at my children via my Facebook and blog posts, but it's sarcasm just the same.  Okay.....it MIGHT be directed at a lady whom we call Play date Mom (PDM for short), or for some other clueless person that Sassy Family may or may not need to educate.  Don't worry if you don't know who PDM is, I have plenty of reality tv real life experiences to share, but not today. 

Examples of sassiness in our house:
"Stop it right now or I'm sticking your head in the toilet!"
"Eww, he's trying to lick your butt!"

"Quit being stupid!"
"If you put your nose in my armpit again, I'm going to chop your head off!"
"I'd like you to have another baby; it should be a girl; and I'd like you to name her Lola."
"If you let me eat cookies for breakfast, I'll give you a quarter for the cart at Aldis."
"When you aren't here, Daddy let's us eat ice cream, candy, and Doritos."
"You just don't know what it's like to live in MY head!"
"When I grow up & live in my own house, I'm going to lock all the doors so that YOU can't get in Mom!"


And my favorite from the day the the Boy & the Girl discovered that their teenage brother had armpit hair:
"I am SO GLAD that I am a girl.  I don't think that I would like to grow hair THERE!"  (I just smiled & nodded my hair at her.  My husband & I didn't want to ruin the surprise for her).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

We Don't Have Time For You, Miss Braggy Braggerton McBraggypants

I try to be a good Mom.  I try to be a good wife.  I try to be a good daughter, friend, employee, citizen, & any other title you throw my way.  I love to share experiences about our little lives.  On occasion Often times, I will share more than you would like to hear; I am honest about this fact.  I am not going to pretend to be someone that I'm not.  I am not going to pretend that my children are someones that they aren't.  You can take us or leave us.

So why do the OAM's have to ruin it for the rest of us.  The OAM's are the Overachieving Mom's who have & do it all.  Their children are perfect.  Their children can do no wrong.  Everything is everyone else's fault.  They pin & do every craft on Pinterest.  They actually move their Elf on the Shelf in the days leading up to Christmas.  They schedule play dates for their older children for the day after they get home from giving birth to their 2nd perfect child.  They bake everything from scratch.  Their children are involved in & are the best at every activity they do.  Perfectly manicured nails?  You betcha.  Hair in place, with perfect highlights & low lights?  Of course!  Where did they come from??

Let me say this:  I have friends who do the crafts & cook the foods that they've pinned, & I love these women.  I think their Elf on the Shelf ideas rock; I didn't buy mine until AFTER Christmas this year (you know there is going to be something different now that we have one at our house).  Yes, my friend did plan a play date for her older son for the day after she got home from giving birth to her younger daughter; she's also 15 years younger than me, & I say all the more power to her (she just doesn't know how to sit still).  I too, bake from scratch, it's just not done on a regular basis.  I'm glad their children are involved in lots of extracurricular activities; it just wouldn't work in our house.  Mani/pedi's???  YES, YES, YES!!!!  I receive gift certificates, & I only go every three weeks.  I could live without this if I had to.  No really, I could.

These regular people are not OAM's, though.  They are regular people, living regular lives.  It's the one's who feel that they must brag about every. single. thing. their children do.  While I'm busy wiping my youngest butt because he finally got this potty training thing down, their child can ask to go potty in 4 different languages.  While I am trying to sort through toys to keep, toss, or donate, her family has gone to some foreign country over their 4 day weekend to help build homes for the underprivileged.  While my friends & I were having our monthly Taco Night at 9:00pm (after kiddos were in bed), she & her friends were having a Girls Weekend in Cabo, while their nannies took their children on a shopping spree to FAO Schwartz. 

These are the Mom's who like to look down their noses at those of us who are living a real life.  If you think I am making up the above scenarios, you would be half right.  I have met people who have done some of these things.  I try not to judge, because I don't know their whole story.  Nor would I trade places with them for a million bucks; they've got problems just like we do; just on a different level.  I can choose to ignore them.  Or not follow their blogs.  Or not be their Facebook friend.  I can smile at them & say nothing, then carry on with my life.

Then I can vent & be a tad bit snarky in my not so perfect blog.  Yep, that's what I'll do.