Thursday, May 24, 2012

My daughter is a strong willed creature.  (you know this).  Today, she fought sleep from 11:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening, when Brent laid her down on the floor to change her diaper, and she finally succumbed to her tiredness and fell asleep mid change.  I'm glad she has a mind of her own!  But people: feel for me.  It is not like she is silently tired.  =P

I have been wrestling a cold lately, which muddles my brain, which often makes me forget to take my fish oils and vitamins, which makes me anxious.  I'm okay but it is taking concentrated effort to stay sane.

Brent and I were both going crazy today, feeling drained by Riley's constant intensity and Amarys' cranky wildness, so we took turns escaping for an hour to a coffee shop, alone.  That was bliss.  Until I got really nauseous and drove home really fast so that I could have explosive diarrhea in my own bathroom rather than a coffee shop bathroom, and spent the rest of the afternoon curled up in bed choking down pink stuff.  Shudder.

Amarys got ahold of Brent's ipod and somehow switched the language setting to German.  We can't figure out how to get it back.  If only she had chosen Russian or French, we would have been okay.

Riley is driving us batty these days.  I remember this stage with Ayden; too young (in my opinion) for preschool, but too old to be adequately entertained at home.  He's bored.  And driving us nutbar with his constant stream of requests for games he rapidly gets tired of, and devolves into a crying, begging, snarling mess of constantly asking for more screen time (Can I play Wii now?  Is a theme song around here: he is only allowed 30 minutes a day and the rest of the 22.5 hours in the day is spent pining after Wii).  I'm literally counting the days until preschool.  It's like the late stages of pregnancy; you love having the baby inside you until you just can't stand it anymore and want it OUT!  It's not like I want to be away from my kid~I love him and he's my easiest of the four by far.  But I know if he has intellectual and social stimulation for a few hours, three times a week, he will be much more enjoyable for the rest of the time that he is home.  Sweetness.  BUT the beginning of preschool marks the long march towards graduation and leaving the nest which I dread, so there's that...

I'm getting hate mail.  Not really exactly hate mail, but nasty insulting letters from one person, repeatedly, over an article I wrote on VBAC and posted on Mothers of Change (an old one that I posted in 2010).  I can't handle it.  I've always been fairly sensitive to criticism but right now I'm particularly vulnerable and am having a hard time putting it in its place.  Like, if you hate what I say (and me) so much, why don't you start your own blog about the life threatening effects of uterine rupture and scare the shit out of people and then you don't have to expect me to do it?  And everyone will love you for it.  Sheesh.

Ayden is not doing so well.  He has always been prone to worrying and doesn't react well to stress, but lately he has been a basket case.  Not falling asleep until midnight or 1 o'clock in the morning, licking his lips until they are raw and chapped and bleeding (an old nervous habit we haven't seen in years), crying with fear, refusing to go to the park, ride his bike, go to gymnastics, and coming home from school sick on five or six occasions and recovering within ten minutes of being home.  Not eating.  Breathing weird (deep and fast all the time).  Afraid of dying.  Convinced he is ill.
Our take on it is that he is actually anxious.  It started when we took Simon to Vernon last month, and Matthew got carsick in the van on the way up.  Ayden has an almost pathological fear of throwing up himself, and when he was trapped in the backseat with a vomiting brother beside him, he nearly threw up himself.  When we pulled over to help Matthew, extremely modest Ayden leapt out of the van in his underwear into a snowbank, in front of a parking lot with several other families in it.  We were so distracted with helping Matthew that we kind of didn't pay much attention, except to laugh at him for being so ridiculous.  He calmed down and we continued our trip, but since then he has been gripped with fear over possibly throwing up (and you know how nausea can be so easily suggestible?  Like if you even think about it, you feel a bit nauseous yourself?), and somehow developed fear that he has a breathing problem and that if he stops thinking about breathing his body will forget to do it and he will die.  Which of course lead to sleeping problems and difficulty with eating, weight loss, paleness, and more nausea.  And chapped lips. 
It all developed over time and suddenly a few weeks after our trip we had a sick boy who wasn't sick.  
He has always had difficulty falling asleep at night, but lately it has been SO bad, that I thought it was making the whole cycle worse.
We talked with Ayden about it and although he remained convinced he has an actual medical breathing problem, he totally agreed that he needs more sleep at night and wishes he got more.  I did some asking around and some online research and decided to try melatonin for him, low dose, for two weeks, to try and 'reset' his sleep cycle.  I also bought him some fish oils, since we talked about my anxiety disorder and how the fish oils really help me regulate it.  I figured that if we can start with sleep, it will be much easier to tackle the rest of it.  We're one week into the melatonin and it is a miracle hormone!!  He is falling asleep consistently at 8:30 to 9:00 pm.  His breathing issues have largely resolved.  He is happier, more relaxed, his colour is back, and his lips are healing.  And today Brent was able to have a long talk with him about fear, the root of his nausea, the autonomic nature of breathing, and the incident on the side of the highway in the van, and he really responded.  Brent is amazing at calming me down when I'm anxious, so he was the right man for the job with Ayden, as well. 
It is a work in progress, but we're making some amazing progress.  =)

After I picked the kids up from school I took them to the park to run off steam and enjoy the windy yet sunny day.  As I like to say, when we go anywhere we don't visit we INVADE, and the park was no different.  People look at me weird when I take everyone to the park, because (a) I have so many kids, (b) one of them looks different from me but calls me mom, (c) I have three boys, and (d) they are incredibly noisy and energetic.  Frequently in our area there will be a handful of moms at the park and some of them will obviously have daycares or look after a few extra kids for income (and love of children) because they will have four or five kids about the same age.  Not me.  My biological kids look so alike they could be triplets if they were the same height, and we are just so obviously a family. 
When I go to the park with just Riley and Amarys the other moms treat me very differently than when I go with everyone; it is remarkable how differently they relate to me.  (On the other hand I AM crazy and an anxoid with social phobias, obsessions, and overwhelming awkwardnesses so maybe I am reading far too much into reactions from other moms at the park).  It SEEMS TO ME that with one three year old and one one year old, I'm just another mom at the park.  But with a nine, seven, three, and one year old of mixed races I'm a wild freaky lady who probably has weird ideas and makes her kids eat only raw, organic vegetables and take three baths a day or something.  OR SOMETHING.  People never just chat with the mom with four kids.  They stare, and they tattle.
What's with adults who tattle?  Seriously.  I don't mind other moms who notice something my kids are up to while I'm distracted and alert me to it; particularly if they are polite about it, but mostly if they just have the attitude that it is pretty normal for kids to be kids, you know?  But I don't need grown ups running up to me and tattling for perfectly normal kid behaviour.
Now we all have different versions of 'normal kid behaviour' and I certainly have lots of grace for moms who have little kids and just don't know yet what a nine or a seven year old might be physically capable of.  You know, like climbing eight foot high trees and stuff.  But it is ALL IN THE DELIVERY.  Being cranky, confrontational, or outright rude is never cool, folks.  Never cool.
So anyways, Matthew starts off wildly stripping leaves from the branches of maple trees at the park.  Not super cool, but is it really going to hurt the tree?  No.  Then he starts pulling the lower branches back reeeeeally far and letting them go, yelling about slingshots and catapaults.  No one was in danger and again, did it really hurt the tree?  No.  So I let it go without comment.  Then he starts screaming at the top of his screechy little voice and running around the park like a stuck pig, but I figure he's got energy to burn and hopefully no one will complain about the noise.  Outside.  At a kid's park.  Then he starts climbing every tree and manages to get up in a pine tree but it is too far from the other kids at the park so he climbs another tree smack in the middle which is about eight feet off the ground, heavily laden with pretty sturdy, pollen saturated flowers (Matthew is very allergic to pollen but what's a mom to do; a kid's gotta be a kid right?).  Ayden sees this and wants to join the fun so up he goes, too.
Another mom at the park decides she's going to confront me on my childrens' behaviour.  I'm not sure if she disapproved of everything she saw me do prior to the tree climbing and disapproved of all of it, or if she's just really bad at interpersonal skills but, um.... Anyways, she was visibly angry. 

"Excuse me, but your children are shoving each other in that tree and I really think that they shouldn't be doing that."
I was actually speechless.  (Remember?  I'm socially awkward.  I can NEVER think of the right thing to say)  But I'm not down with her criticizing my kids' behaviour in a tree so I kind of look at her weird.  Like "You're weird" kind of weird.
"Those ARE your KIDS, AREN'T THEY?!!??"  She says, gesturing towards the tree.
"Yes, they are mine," I reply, suppressing flashbacks of other crazy women at the park accusing me of child abuse and neglect (and rudely asking if I was Matthew's foster mom), and gritting my teeth at the memory.
"They are shoving each other in that tree and I just think that is very dangerous!"  And she marches out of the park with her children in tow.

Hoity, toity.  Bitch.  Really, the most articulate thing I could think of to say was "FUCK OFF," which you don't say at the park with your kids running around, so I said "Oh really," and went back to watching my nine and seven year old have fun in a tree.  (Eight feet off the ground, I kid you not).

The worst part about TreeBitch Lady was that I was all funked up for hours afterwards.  It's because of me having a tough time with my anxiety and not remembering to take my fish oils and stuff, and it just reminded me of how we need to be kind to each other, because you really just never know.  Someone's mother could have just died, or their baby diagnosed with autism, or their husband with cancer, or she's considering declaring bankruptcy, or she's just wrestling an anxiety disorder and might need a little extra love. 

I better go to bed, lovelies.  That is all for tonight.



Caryn Ouwehand said...

Okay, so crazy stick-her-nose-in-your-shit lady is out of line. Dude, if my (hypothetical) 2 kids are up a tree shoving each other it is my own damn business if I want to do anything or not. I mean what the hell lady. I don't get people who interfere, like, not in any way. If Matthew or Ayden fell out of that tree or something (GASP!) its not like it would be up to the OTHER parent to deal with the consequenses... and what is the worst that could happen... like a broken arm, maybe. Whatever. We can't put our kids in bubblewrap, and sit them on the couch. Kids need to explore their boundaries, and yes, that includes the boundaries of gravity and nature. Let them climb trees.

When I was 5 my parents repeatedly asked me not to climb "quite so high" in our front yard tree. After a whole summer of sort of disobeying them and going too high they just stopped asking. On Sept 1st, 1988 I fell from that tree and broke my leg in 4 spots. And guess what? I was okay. Once (years later) my Mom told me that she did have some guilt about not being more firm at the time but quickly dismissed it, knowing that "kids will be kids" to a certain degree, and any more intervention was just exasperating me. Every parent is their own judge of when to and when not to intervene... and it is no easy balance! It depends on the particular situation, and the temperment of the child involved. Now if Matthew had been juggling a flame thrower while trying to shove Ayden around that would have been a totally different thing!

Sheesh, dumb Beeotch.

Amy Willa said...

I'm not even going to go there (up on my soapbox to defend you . . . because I'd be here all night) but *HUGS*

Jen McV said...

I've never commented on your blog before - heck, I only just found it recently - but I have to say that this post is a masterpiece, Melissa! Seriously, you should write a book. Love. It.

Ruchi said...

I totally hear you on ppl kind of staring at the crazy lady with the four super energetic kids...oh my goodness- boys! i cant believe I have 3 of them...
and about that nasty woman...i had a similar incident in a park once too. it really hurts when people criticize your parenting even when you know they are wrong. sending you lots of positive vibes. hang in there mama and take your fish oil!
also- melatonin is awesome. we use it with Y when he has trouble sleeping.

nancy said...

Your mother loves you and loves the way you parent!

Sandra said...

Try this:
Einstellungen > Allgemein > International > Sprache > select ENGLISH
Yup, I'd like to think I know German ;o)

Riley reminds me of Leo =o) I wish we lived closer so we could have play dates!

What your kids do seems dramatic to others sometimes. I got bitched at because my daughter didn't have any shoes or socks inside Walmart. She likes to pulls her shoes and socks off so I let her and put them back when we go outside. I have manage to stay quiet while people give me unwanted parenting advice this far but soon I just might say something like the f-word up. Or something.


Andrea said...

Wow, I can't believe that happened to you. I just read your older post that you referenced and that incident was truly horrible! Yeesh!
I ran after someone else's 4 year old kid the other day because he darted out the school door on his little bike (at strong start) when his mom was looking the other way, talking to someone else and my 3 year old was opening the door for me. I kind of felt responsible because it was my kid who opened the door, so I was full on running and shouting his name with baby in my arms and my three year old by the hand running along too. I realized I wasn't going to catch him and he was out of sight by that point, so I turned back and saw his mom coming out of the school like 100 meters away, looking at me like I was kind of a lunatic. I kind of sheepishly just said hi, like this was totally normal behaviour instead of just explaining what happened because I realized by that point that she was not concerned about her son being out of sight. Maybe that changes between age three and four? Sometimes it's hard to know when to help - the whole "village" idea, but...sheesh, those people you had to deal with in both situations sure sounded awfully judgemental and NOT helpful!