Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On Each Other's Team

So Alyssa has this animosity toward her dad that I just don’t get.

Wait, let me take that back. I guess I do get it. I get that she feels like he gets on her about the smallest things and that he takes on a ‘mean’ voice the first time he tells her to do something, even if it’s something she’s never been asked to do before.

I’ve talked to him about this. I’ve reminded him that we can’t expect her to know things we haven’t taught her. We can’t get mad at her for not doing something we didn’t ask/tell her to do. And we have to remember that she’s twelve, she needs to be reminded to do things because, well, twelve year olds are intrinsically selfish and self-centered. If it doesn’t affect them, they’re not going to remember to do something. It is up to us to help them work on that selfishness, to help them see that the world isn’t all about them and that they need to look beyond their own wants and needs.

So yeah. Anyway...she’s sort of annoyed with him most of the time, even when he’s being his most pleasant.

When I was sick a couple of weeks ago, Alyssa was particularly protective of me. Anything Tom said was misconstrued by her as an insult to me or somehow offensive to me.

I wonder, sometimes, if her need to defend me against her dad comes from some deep down feeling in her that I don’t defend her against him enough. Hmmm, something to ponder.

But when she was arguing with him that weekend, I tried to weakly intervene, reminding her that we’re actually all on the same team. We’re all on the same side. I’m not sure she believed me but I tried.

And I continue to try. I hate that Alyssa and Tom aren’t closer. I hate that she feels like he picks on her, or like he babies Olivia. I hate that she doesn’t feel like she can talk to him the way she talks to me. I’m so, so glad she feels like she can talk to me and feels close to me but I want that for him too. I want him to take the time to get to know her for the amazing, smart, funny girl she is. I hate that he mostly sees the sullen twelve year old she can be. I feel like that’s the only side she shows him because it’s the only side he looks for.

It’s tough.

I will continue to remind them both that we’re on each other’s team. We’re all on the same side. We’re all Team Ordinary. It’s us against the world so they both better figure it out and get on board, is what I’m saying.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Off to the Movies

Olivia and I went to see Cinderella yesterday at the theater. We’d planned to go the week before with Ayssa and my mom and a couple of my aunts but O and I were down for the count with whatever sickness descended upon our house and so we sent a healthy Alyssa off with Gram and spent the day on the couch/recliner.

But we’re all better now and so we headed off to the movie. Olivia was so excited to have a date with Mom.

Alyssa was scandalized that I was letting Olivia go out in public in pajamas. And worst of all? The pajamas O was wearing didn’t even match. She wore a pair of minion pants with a Sponge Bob shirt.

I’m kind of relaxed about that sort of thing.

First of all, she’s eight. Who cares? Second, I counted no fewer than ten people in that theater wearing sweats. What are sweats but pajamas people consider a bit more acceptable in public? She was comfortable, which is important when you’re eight with the attention span of a typical five year old and are being asked to sit in a dark theater with twenty or so strangers (and your mom, of course) for a couple of hours.

I asked Alyssa why she even cared since she wasn’t going with us. She shrugged. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

For what it’s worth, I did brush O’s hair, so there’s that.

And why didn’t her pajamas match? I’m glad you asked. They didn’t match because laundry is a bit of a mess these days after my weekend of being sick. Everything is washed but nothing is put away. We have at least three baskets full of clean laundry sitting in the basement waiting to be folded and put away. I did actually put away a few loads through the week last week but none of her pajamas have made it to her drawer with their match. Weird.

So we made do. And hey, on the positive side, the minion pants and Sponge Bob shirt were both yellow.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spilled Milk (Spoiler: She Cried)

With all the medication having to be swallowed around here, Olivia has developed a new and improved love of milk.

Tom is thrilled beyond words.

I’m, um, happy she’s happy? Yeah, that’s it; that works.

So the evening that Tom headed to Urgent Care I got dinner around for the girls. O’s medicines suggested being taken with food to help ease potential stomach aches. After dinner, I got her both medicines in the appropriate doses and a cup of milk so she could take it all.

My first mistake was giving her the milk in an open cup.

Yes, I know. She’s eight. But she’s used to cups with lids and/or straws. My bad.

So there we were, at the table. She’d taken both doses of medicine and I was about to take the cup of milk away when she said she wanted to sip some more of it.

I knew…I KNEW I should have taken the milk right then and put it in a more user-friendly cup. I flipping knew it. And yet…I turned away as she picked up the cup.

The instant my back was turned, I heard the cup hit the table and the milk spill all over the table only to run off the edge onto the floor.

Let me state right here that I know I didn’t react as well, as lovingly as, as patiently as I could have. I know this. In my defense, I was still feeling like crap and I was tired and I knew that since Tom was officially ‘sick’ I’d have no more rest for the rest of forever.

But I got a couple of towels and started to clean up the mess, muttering things like, “I knew this would happen. I knew it! Livie, you’re eight years old, what the heck?”

As soon as she dropped the cup, Olivia said, “I didn’t mean to!”

As I knelt on the floor to sop up the milk, I glanced up and saw Olivia looking across the table at Alyssa, smirking. Olivia was SMIRKING as I cleaned up the puddle of milk on the floor beneath the table and her chair.

That smirk set off a grenade of fury inside my head.

I stood up and smacked my hand on the table beside her and said quite loudly (but not screaming, no, not screaming or even really yelling), “This. Is. Not. Funny!”

I watched Olivia’s face crumple and the tears start to fall. Then I went back to cleaning up the floor, this time not so quietly. I talked and talked and talked about how I was still sick too and I was tired and I wanted to sit down and rest but I couldn’t, could I? No, I couldn’t because I had to clean up messes made by other people. I even said, “You know, Liv, I’d love to comfort you right now, but I’m too busy cleaning up this mess.”

It was ugly. I’m not proud of myself. I had an internal dialog going the entire time my verbal rant was going on too. The internal dialog was telling me she didn’t do this on purpose, she was still sick too, she was probably smiling because she was nervous about the stupid spilled milk.

Finally, my internal dialog was louder than my verbal rant. I started saying, “And poor Lyssie is sitting over there thinking, ‘Okay, Mom, she gets it. Let it go already. You’ve said everything that needs to be said. Stop with the complaining already.’”

I saw Alyssa fight a smile as I turned my inner dialog into what I thought she might be thinking.

Olivia had already moved to the couch where she had to recline and recover from her hurt feelings. When my tone changed from one of anger to one of almost apology, she called, “Will you come and sit by me?”

I calmly replied, “I can’t quite yet, I’m still cleaning this up. But I will soon.”

She hiccupped (she’s a bit of a drama queen, even though this time it was sort of justified) and said, “Okay.”

By the end time the mess was cleaned up everyone had calmed down and it was just one more memory of mom losing her shit for a few minutes before coming to her senses, apologizing and moving on.

I’m really lucky that my kids are so forgiving.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I.E.P. Meeting: Take 2893

I met with Olivia’s teacher, principal and therapists on Tuesday to discuss plans for next year. She’s heading to second grade. First grade has been awesome from an academic standpoint. Her teacher is thrilled with her progress.

I’ve been to more IEP meetings than I can count at this point. It’s not that big a deal. I feel lucky to be able to say that. I feel so, so lucky to feel like the school and I are on the same team, Olivia’s team. We all want the best for her. We all want to challenge her and yet not push her so hard that she shuts down.

The OT spoke first. She talked about Olivia’s weak little hands and how hard writing is for her. Yep, got it. We see this at home too. Coloring is something that can strengthen O’s hands. Awesome, right? Sure, for me and Alyssa. We love to color. Olivia isn’t as big a fan. Guess why…yep, weak hands. Coloring is hard work. Looks like someone will be getting some Frozen coloring books in her Easter basket.

The PT was next up. She said that while she’s keeping Olivia on for one more year, she isn’t sure how much farther she can take O. Olivia is very functional at school. She has no trouble keeping up with her peers when they’re walking down the hall from one class to another, she can keep up in gym class (if she’ll stay on task) , she can hold her own at recess when the kids race to the swings. All of this points to a strong core and excellent gross motor coordination.

I always kind of figured a kid who can do no-handed flips has pretty darned good gross motor skills. But sure, why not keep at PT for one more year, right?

Next came the ST. Ahh, speech therapy, how we love you. Olivia has excellent expressive and receptive language skills. Where she is weak is in socialization. She CAN do it all, but she doesn’t always choose to do it. She’s perfectly capable of interacting with her peers. She’s done it in the past. But she doesn’t choose to do so on a regular basis. If given enough time, like up to five minutes, Olivia WILL respond to a peer when greeted or when playing a game. But how often do we have five minutes to wait for her to say hi?

So for next year…Olivia will be heading back to the regular classroom. Her teacher and therapists feel like she needs more opportunity to interact with her peers than she’s gotten this year with the placement she’d had. Her academic progress is great but her social life, such as it can be in first grade, isn’t where they’d like it to be. They want her, we all want her to make friends. We want her to talk to her classmates, to interact, to play, to converse.

She’ll continue to receive some help from a one on one aide to keep her on task when in the classroom but she’ll not be pulled out of the classroom for special instruction more than 40% of her day.

I’m still processing it all, to be honest.

Last year I lamented the loss of the social time that came with her being in a self-contained classroom.

This year I’m lamenting the one on one time she’s losing by being back in the thick of a typical classroom.

I can’t seem to be satisfied, can I?

But I take comfort in the fact that she will be monitored and these things are never set in stone. We can adjust it as we go, as she indicates it needs to be adjusted.

Olivia is amazing. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s sweet. Her classmates want to know her. They want to interact with her. So we’re giving her the opportunity to do just that. And if she starts to lose ground academically, we’ll make adjustments as needed.

She’s got a great team behind her, at home and at school.

She’s going to be fine, we’re all going to make sure of that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another One Down

You are NOT going to believe this.

We have a third infection in our house.

Three quarters of us are now on antibiotics. Half of us have had a prednisone shot and a different half (but not the other half…hmmm) are taking oral steroids as well as their oral antibiotics.

I am not going to say which of us is still holding strong for fear of karma, et al. but she is trying to stay well until spring break. She figures if she has to get sick, it may as well be during scheduled time off school as she’s going for perfect attendance this year and really, REALLY doesn’t want to miss a day.

I’m beginning to think that a deep cleaning of our house isn’t going to cut it. We need a fumigation or something. Perhaps we should just burn the whole thing down and start over.

I feel awful for those of out there who deal with chronic illness. Just two weeks of nastiness and I’ve had it.

I know we all managed to figure out how to handle whatever we’ve been given but gah! Will this winter ever end?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Deep Cleaning

Our house has become the sick house lately. I can’t wait to feel well enough to give it a deep cleaning.

The carpets need to be shampooed because I know there is no way Olivia managed to get every drop of the puke the was expelled from her stomach over the last seven days into the bucket that has been her constant companion.

The kitchen floor needs to be swept and mopped. I think there are still sticky places from there Olivia spilled 7-Up the night she first started vomiting.

The couch and recliner in the living room all need to be sprayed down with an entire bottle of Fabreeze, but only after they’ve been disinfected since Olivia and I spent the entire weekend lying around, asking Tom for frozen Cokes and strawberry ice cream.

I’m lucky that Tom stayed on top of the laundry. Well, on top of it to the point that it’s washed and dried. It still needs to be folded and put away. It’ll happen…eventually. Maybe after my next nap.

All the bathroom floors need to be mopped because I’m pretty sure I managed to throw up in every single one of them at some point during the weekend. And as much as I tried, I probably didn’t managed to aim accurately every single time.

Same goes for the toilets because, yeah, ewwwww.

I want to change the sheets on all the beds just because it feels like we’ve been sick forever and everything needs to be washed just to clear the air in the entire house.

It snowed here yesterday; to the point that the ground was actually covered with snow this morning. When Olivia and I were leaving to go to the doctor yesterday, she looked up at the gray sky that was spitting snow all around us and declared, “What happened? Someone stole our spring!”

Yes indeed, some has stolen our spring. And yet, it’s predicted to reappear tomorrow when the temps are supposed to reach a high of 58. We’ll see.

Until then, we’re going to continue to hunker down in our filthy house and rest just a little longer.

Friday, March 20, 2015

She Beat Me to It

I was all set on Wednesday night to get home, lie down and rest the entire evening.

See, I’d gone to the doctor that day and was ‘officially sick’. I got to call in all the favors and just sit around, no cooking, no parenting, just resting, getting well, if you will.

Except no. That’s not how the evening was going to play out.

Before I even got to play my trump card of having a prescription of antibiotics and receiving a shot while in the doctor’s office, Tom told me that Olivia had something to tell me.

Olivia was in the living room, wearing a pair of pajamas, settled in the recliner with a blanket and, wait, is that a bucket? Oh dear, it is a bucket.

I went in and kissed her head and asked what was going on.

“I barfed,” she told me cheerfully.

Alas, that would be the last cheerful thing she’d say for the next twelve or so hours. She threw up pretty much every twenty minutes or so for the next few hours, than finally, thankfully, fell asleep.

Instead of getting to settle in and bask in my own sickness, I did three loads of laundry, made dinner for Alyssa, checked Alyssa’s homework, fetched cups of water for Olivia when she was awake and washed out her bucket more times than I want to count.

We knew she wasn’t going to school on Thursday and as much as I wanted to stay home with her, there were a few things at work that had to be done so I called my mom and asked if O could go there for a few hours until I could come get her and take her home for the afternoon. Normally, Tom would just stay with her but he had somethings to do outside the house that couldn’t be changed either.

Olivia was thrilled to spend the morning at Gram’s with the promise that I’d be there by noon to take her home.

We were both happy to get home where we both napped for a few hours and then the puke-fest resumed.

More blankets, pajamas, sheets and towels were washed and buckets were rinsed.

But, good news, we’re both on the mend.

Times like this make me realize how lucky we are to ‘only’ be dealing with these random illnesses. My sympathies go out to those who deal with chronic illness. I can only imagine the stress involved in situations like that.