oh spring, is that you I see?

I am loving today’s weather. It felt great to be able to walk to school this morning in just a hoodie, instead of getting all bundled up.

But the real joy came in the afternoon. Because I worked at home today, and the kids did not have one single fight.

I can’t remember the last time that happened. Being cooped up for the coldest winter on record sure has sucked.

Spring, you beautiful vixen, you can’t come quickly enough for my tastes.

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March 8, 2010. parenting ain't easy. 3 comments.

kid theft

The Bee has a nemesis. They’ve been in the same class since kindergarten–the blessing and curse of a small school being that you can never get away from your enemy.

Landisdad and I had a long talk this evening during dinner with the Bee about the fact that her nemesis has stolen stuff from her recently. Not big stuff–things like a pen, a highlighter, her calculator. The Bee, to her credit, has not freaked out about it, though she is upset.

She saw the girl using her highlighter yesterday, and confronted her about it. The girl denied that it belonged to the Bee, but the assistant teacher was in the room, and backed her up. I think she’s given up hope of getting the pen back, but she really wants the calculator, although she didn’t have any proof that the girl had taken that.

Until today, when she saw it in the girl’s desk.

We asked her if she wanted to tell the teacher about it, and she said no. She doesn’t want to rat out her classmate, so we talked about some strategies for confronting the girl directly, and not getting upset if she lied again. We told her that she should ask her for the calculator back in front of other kids, since it would be good to have witnesses, if the situation got heated. And landisdad role-played with her what she should do if the other girl started yelling at her.

I’m more and more irritated by this girl every year, and can’t wait until she and the Bee are in middle school, and can keep their distance from each other more easily. I’m sure that there will be other girls, in other futures, with other problems, but this one can get gone, as far as I’m concerned.

October 28, 2009. parenting ain't easy. 7 comments.

on therapy

A couple of months ago, I posted about the fact that the Bee’s anger management issues were coming to a head, and that we had found a therapist that we liked. I thought I’d come back and update on progress so far.

Here’s a news flash–this shit is hard.

The Good

The Bee has made substantial progress in controlling her violent outbursts. We’ve had many fewer instances of shoving, and have gone 2 months without having anything in the house broken (fingers crossed that I’m not jinxing that just by writing it down). Our ‘active listening’ training as organizers has definitely paid off—having the ability to just say, “I hear you saying that X makes you angry” has helped her feel listened to, and that has made a big difference.

The Bee really likes the therapist (and I like her more and more every time), and wants to go talk to her, and (so far, at least) is willing to hear things from her that she won’t listen to if landisdad and I say them. (Most of these things include the rationale for why we won’t send her little brother to a Turkish prison camp while she finishes growing up.)

The Bad

On the other hand, the Potato seems to have taken the Bee’s dialing-it-down-a-notch as a cue to launch his own personal rebellion. I’m not sure if he’s decided that it’s his turn to be obnoxious, or if it’s that in our somewhat-calmer environment, he’s more noticeable when he’s obnoxious. Either way, he’s clearly testing more boundaries and pushing more buttons than ever before.

There was one session where the therapist wanted to see the Bee and the Potato together. She put them into a situation where they were going to get in a fight, so she could watch them fight and talk to them about how to handle difficult interactions, both together and one-on-one. When she asked the Potato what he liked about getting into fights with his sister, he told her, “she pays attention to me.” Not what I wanted to hear, exactly, but good to know, nonetheless.

The Ugly

I’m coming to the realization that we will never have a calm, quiet household where everyone gets along in perfect harmony. While I don’t think that we are anywhere near where we can be, after more therapy, the reality is that we have a house of yellers. In addition to that, the Bee seems to have some kind of low-grade anxiety disorder, and we will always need to be mindful of the various things that trigger that anxiety. Unfortunately, she tends to manifest her anxiety by being rude to people, including me. Which is not exactly sympathy-inducing.

We’re working on it.

July 6, 2009. parenting ain't easy. 8 comments.

can someone please explain to me

how the girl who never shows any at home could possibly win an award for being student of the month when the character trait being celebrated this month is self-discipline?

March 29, 2009. parenting ain't easy. 4 comments.

back to the poop

Didya ever see that old SNL skit “Super Colon Blow?” A classic, to be sure.

Sadly, the real-life equivalent of Super Colon Blow has become a staple in our household, after our visit to the pediatric gastroenterologist. We’ve also said goodbye to white flour in its many, delicious forms. But that’s not all!

We had to give the poor kid two enemas. And while the first one was really unpleasant, the second one was almost unbearable. Can’t remember when I’ve had more fun! Especially the part when I had to hold him down as he screamed, “You’re torturing me!”

It’s times like these that I’m happy that I decided, years ago, to keep my blog anonymous. Because I can’t imagine much that would be worse for the Potato’s high school dating years than having this story associated with his real name.

January 27, 2009. parenting ain't easy. 6 comments.

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