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Posts tagged ‘sleep’

Mother’s Intuition vs. Sleep

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My day had a surreal start. Jay was at my side of the bed before the birds woke up. He’d had a bad dream about bats, a dream he’s had before, and he asked if I remembered him telling me about it. I didn’t remember; however, if I’d said no, he would have told the story from the beginning and I really wanted to go back to sleep. (Maybe he told me about it while I was sleeping. This is one of the scary ways I know I’m becoming more and more like my own mother. She can carry on what sounds like a coherent conversation if you wake her up, yet she will remember nary a word of it.) I told Jay what I always tell the kids when they have a bad dream — lie back down and think of something happy or fun until you go to sleep, and then you’ll have a good dream. I told Jay to think of his class’ recent trip to the zoo and what he liked best about the trip. He was fine with that and went back to his bed. He was back within what felt like minutes, pulling me out of sleep again. This time, he was ready to stay up. I told him to read. He went away. Then, he was hungry. I told him to get a banana. He went and ate a banana. Next time, his throat hurt. I told him to drink water. Then, he wanted to play with someone. I told him to turn on the TV. When he came again, he was ready to get dressed. Over the next several minutes, he literally put on one item at a time and then came to tell me he had done it. Swim trunks. Jeans. T-shirt. Socks. Shoes. I went in and out of sleep that many times. Finally, after the shoes, I lifted my head enough to check the time. 6:29 am. I heard Hubby sleeping soundly behind me. I told Jay I needed more sleep and asked him to go back downstairs. I couldn’t figure out why he was so needy, and at such an early hour.

A couple of hours later, after I had showered and was preparing to cook breakfast, he puked that banana all over his dad’s lap. Now, he’s laid up sipping Gatorade and watching cartoons.

I guess I should have put the cues together that he was sick. Apparently, mother’s intuition is not as foolproof as I thought.

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T.G.I. Monday

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Today, I’m grateful for the fresh start a new week brings.  Last week was difficult for Mae; transitioning back into our regular routines after Spring Break was tough.  Every morning last week, we fought about getting up and getting dressed for school.  She and Hubby butted heads getting to and from school.  And, of course, bedtime was no picnic.  One night, I told her to look at the clock.  Admittedly, it was a mistake to think she would see the time and say, “Oh, it’s 8:00. I should go upstairs and have my bath.” Instead, she said, “Just because I’m 8 doesn’t mean you should be lazy and I have to do everything.”  I laughed out of pure shock – mistake number two.  In the background, I heard Hubby begin chastising her, but I was laughing too loud to hear all his words.  Next thing I knew, Mae was in another room, in the dark, on the floor, knees pulled to her chest — crying.  Boohoo crying, snot-on-top-lip crying.  I kneeled down and asked why she was crying.  I expected her to talk about what Hubby said to her, or just having to go upstairs.  She said she was crying because I was laughing at her.  Huh?

By the end of the week, things were really strained.  Hubby sent me a text after drop-off on Friday morning saying that Mae had lost TV and computer time and would have to stay in her bedroom all weekend.  When I picked her up on Friday afternoon, she told me that she’d had a bad week because at times she had been really tired and, at other times, bored.  She said that when she’s bored, she gets in trouble because she doesn’t know what to do with herself.  Now, that’s something I know very well and have said many times to teachers and other adults involved in her care.  I didn’t think I’d ever said it within her hearshot.  Maybe I did.  Whether she came to this conclusion on her own or heard it from me, I’m glad that she was at least aware of what was happening with herself.  So, we talked about her taking responsibility for ensuring she has books and other things to occupy her time because her dad and I won’t always be around to stick our phone in her hand or otherwise keep her engaged. I told her also that it’s ok to have quiet time or just relax and think when she has down time.

Today was so much better at the start and end of the day; she even had an “awesome” day at school.  And, thus we plug along, with all the ups and downs and restarts.

One of the weekend highlights was that I finally finished putting our kitchen back together since the remodel concluded a month ago.  On Saturday morning, I had a yard sale to get rid of the items I didn’t want back in the kitchen and then carted the remaining items to Goodwill.  My objective for the sale was to make enough money to pay a babysitter and have a date.  We did that, and had a little change to spare.  We hired a neighbor to babysit for us.  She’s a kind and well-mannered high school student that Mae and Jay like a lot.  On Easter Sunday, she hid candy- and coin-filled plastic eggs for them in her parents’ backyard. When she arrived at our house on Saturday, Mae and Jay were excited to see her and immediately started talking her head off after she came through the door.  Hmmm, candy and money would do that for me too.  This young lady is smart.  Hubby and I had a good time out, and plan to go out once a month, unless or until the kids break the babysitter.  Fingers crossed.

Caution. Zombie Mommy Ahead.

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Phew! The science-themed birthday party was a success. My little girl and 24 of her closest friends enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Our guest scientist, Dr. T, wowed the kids (and a lot of the adults) with his tricks and gimmicks. One little girl went to him afterwards and asked for a hug. It was so cute.

My cake idea was less of a hit. Not even my budding chemist recognized what it was. As kids approached the table to sing “Happy Birthday,” I heard a chorus of “What is that?” I’m no Cake Boss, but c’mon . . . . That said, I learned some lessons. I should have used gel icing for the liquid and bubbles. And, I should have added my cotton candy vapor after transporting the cake because it melted and hardened in the cake pan. At least the cake tasted good, and I now have a solid chocolate cake recipe. Sour cream is my friend.

I haven’t told Mae yet, but this was her last birthday party. I’ll consider a party for 16 if she asks begs. Otherwise, age 8 is the cut-off, and the same will apply for Jay. I think we can find or plan interesting experiences that are just as fun as a party and less costly.

I have a couple more weeks of PTA committee obligations. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking when I signed up to provide brownies for an event that falls on a weekday, an event intended for 300 or so people. So, despite having the party and house guests this weekend in addition to usual stuff, Hubby and I made 3 double batches of brownies last night after we put the kids to bed. I pray that the vending machine at work has Mountain Dew. Next time, I’m volunteering for paper products.

I had hoped there would be some time to rest in the upcoming Spring Break. But lately, I’ve been planning for Spring Break the way some people plan for tax refunds. My list of what I’ll do with that time is getting longer and longer. It’s kind of pathetic that I’m starting to put off basics, as in “I’ll get caught up on laundry and cleaning during Spring Break.” I’m thinking that I’ll spilt the days — the first half for cleaning and organizing and the second half for fun stuff with the kids. Maybe with a nap in between. Hmmm . . . .

Somedays, This Job Doesn’t Pay Enough

What possesses a 7-year old to wake up at 3:30 am and have a 40-minute meltdown? The devil is busy. The devil never sleeps.

Mae had to use the bathroom and she didn’t feel like using the bathroom. She wanted to put on her pajamas and she was too tired to put on her pajamas without help. She was trying to enlist my help and then her dad’s after I refused to get up. Fortunately, Jay slept through the whole thing.

We arrived home from SC at about 11:00 pm last night, all tired, and went to bed almost as soon as the car was unpacked. I helped Mae walk upstairs. She said she was too tired to use the bathroom and put on her pajamas. I didn’t dare mention brushing her teeth.  I let her go straight to bed in her clothes. I had no idea she would wake up 4 and a half hours later and punish me for it.

Mae came to our bed three times. First, she tried crying and wailing and holding my arm, saying that she was too tired and needed my help. She told me that she was upset and I was supposed to help her. Despite the fact that I told Mae she had a choice to sleep in her pajamas or clothes and that she could choose not to use the bathroom (as long as she was responsible for cleaning up any accident), she did not take note of her freedom and independence. However, once I said she would lose computer time, she went to her bed. I thought she would get tired of crying and go back to sleep. When she came back the second time, she went to Hubby. He tried reasoning with her. Finally, I told her that she had lost computer time for a day. She went away again, still crying loudly.

A few minutes later, Mae came back for the third time. She apologized and promised that she will listen from now on if I would just help her with her pajamas. I realize that if I had helped her, we could have all gone back to sleep earlier. I saw it as rewarding undesirable behavior. The last thing I want her to think is that crying like she’s being kidnapped is an effective way to get what she wants. I told Mae that she could earn back computer time if she went back to bed.

There was no school and work today, so we toughed it out. Mae did have a 9:00 am dental appointment this morning. I thought she would be a monster when I went to wake her. Nope. It was as if the whole episode never happened. She was cooperative and, according to the mood watch she was wearing, “serene.” At the dentist’s office, she had the hygienist laughing with her charming and funny self. You would not have known.

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As a matter of fact, when Jay cried during dinner about having to eat his broccoli in order to get dessert, Mae attempted to intervene on his behalf. She explained to me that I was upsetting him and that he probably was too full to eat his broccoli because the acid in his stomach hadn’t yet broken down the broccoli. I told her to focus on herself. She then asked if she could speak to me in the family room. As if? Like a private talk would give her a better opportunity to sway me. I said no to the private talk and turned back to telling Jay that I could save his broccoli and dessert for tomorrow.

I’m not saying that I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. But, work will be a breeze compared to this, and I’ll get paid to listen to others whine and cry.

Monkey Business

My biggest accomplishment this weekend may have been making monkey bread for the first time.  It was one of my childhood favorites, and I was happy to share it with the kids.  Actually, Mae and Jay did most of the work.  They enjoyed cutting the canned biscuits and rolling the pieces into balls.  The good thing about this recipe is that, unlike most baking, it’s random.  The balls don’t have to be uniform in size or shape.  The kids could wildly throws the balls into the plastic bag that held the sugar-cinnamon combination and stuff the covered balls, raisins, and chopped pecans any which way into the bundt pan.  Jay was giving me instructions by the end.  When I put my fingers into the plastic bag to cover the dough balls evenly, Jay took the bag.”No, Mom.  You have to shake it like this.  See?”  Mae loved the finished product.  Jay, not so much.

We continue to live with late nights and early mornings on the weekends.  On Friday, we let Mae and Jay stay up until almost midnight even though they had a full day of school and aftercare, and then swim lessons.  They should have been tired enough to sleep late on Saturday morning.  Noooo.  Mae was up just before 7 a.m. and Jay at 7:25 a.m.  However, of course, when I needed them up at 8:00 this morning to get ready for Dharma, they were sound asleep and slept until 8:30.  No fair.

Yesterday, I went to the library without them and checked out books for both.  One is Don’t Wake Up Mama from the Five Little Monkeys series.  A clever choice, I thought, especially since it’s Mama Monkey’s birthday in the book and my birthday is coming up on October 7.  As Hubby was about to read to Jay at bedtime, I asked him to read Don’t Wake Up Mama.  Well, he didn’t.  After reading time, Hubby said that Jay didn’t select it when asked what he wanted to read and besides, it was “propaganda.”  It was worth a shot.  I had nothing to lose.

Taking (little) chances.  That’s what I’m trying to do these days, upon my seven-year old’s advice.  I’m almost 40, so I made baked ziti today for the first time in years.  I stopped making it (and a whole bunch of other stuff) because it’s the kind of dish Mae and Jay are unlikely to eat.   For one thing, it has tomatoes and they don’t like tomatoes.  I decided to make it anyway, put it on their plates, and just see.  Mae was interested enough to come into the kitchen at one point, and ask, in her supervisory voice, “How’s that ziti coming along?”  She tried it and actually liked it, or at least she liked some of it.  She pushed aside the tomato and sausage pieces and ate the ziti.  I’ll take that.  Jay started whining as soon as he saw it on his plate.  He asked about a dozen times, “Can I eat my broccoli and then get three M&Ms?”  He seemed to think that three M&Ms was a reasonable trade-off for eating broccoli, and that the least I could do for even putting ziti on his plate was give him three M&Ms.  I turned into my tape recorder self.  “You can eat your broccoli and then go to bed, or you can eat your broccoli and ziti and then get three M&Ms.”  Finally, he ate all of his broccoli and I fed him the ziti while reading books to him.  He finished it all and I gave him five M&Ms.  I’m a reasonable person.

They are tucked away in bed now, and it’s time to wind down and get ready to start the week.  Mae begins a new reading plan this week, including two days a week with the third grade class.  She continues to have mostly good days at school, a relief, and I hope the change in routine won’t throw her off too much.  Aftercare is another story and I’ll come back to that later.  For now, since I seem to be the only person here who cares about my sleep, I’m going to bed.

Mom, Who’s Your Favorite?

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Lately, I’m reminded of how difficult and thankless a job is parenting.  I should say before I go any further that I gave my share of fits as a child.  I was unappreciative and stubborn at times.  I didn’t like being told what to do.  I talked a lot and I talked back.  Somebody or somebodies put up with me.  None of that vindicates the difficulty of raising the kids I have.  When they are not being fun, loving and kind, they are being unreasonable, ungrateful, and plain unfair.  I refuse to believe, and I’m not even going to ask my mother, that I was on this level.  I’ve had to give so many reminders recently to say “May I” and “please” that it feels like we’re going backwards.  The sarcasm of both the seven- and four-year old is so teenagerish that I have no idea what to expect five to ten years from now.   Unless I’m in some kind of denial, I think the scale tips more on their cute/funny/clever/mannered side.  However, I’m starting to think someone is messing with the scale.  Or, maybe I’m not the drum major I thought I was.

This evening, Mae asked me if I liked her shirt or Jay’s shirt better.  I said that I liked my own shirt best, thinking it was a quick (and clever) way to end the conversation.  She then went on to say that it seems that I like Jay better.  I said that wasn’t true.   I should have stopped there.  Noooo.  I asked what made her think that.  The only example she could think of was that he gets more things at Christmas, although, when I pressed, she couldn’t remember how many things she had gotten nor how many things he had gotten.  Truth be told, she probably doesn’t remember what either of them received nor who gave it to them.

Since Saturday, Mae has asked me a few times whether I like her or Jay better.  She has not been satisfied with my answer that they are both my favorite.  Choosing her words carefully, she has been saying basically that I am nicer to Jay because “he does things better.”  What she will not say is that she gets into trouble more than he does.  She says instead that other people get her into trouble, even when she is not doing anything.  We had a version of this conversation on Monday and Mae said that she “never” does anything wrong.  I asked if all her choices are good choices, and she answered, “mostly.”  I could tell by her voice and face that she wasn’t confident in that answer.  She’s good at sticking with the story in her head.

On Tuesday night, she was super tired.  It was a long day for her.  She’d woken at 4:57 am complaining of both hunger and a stomach ache.   I wasn’t surprised after a weekend of fast food and junk.  I offered her a snack, gave her some medicine and sent her back to bed.  However, she didn’t go back to sleep and that was one and a half hours of sleep lost.  To her credit, she was amped about school and dressed herself before Hubby and I were done showering.  It was the first day of school, the first day of the new aftercare program.  By bath time, she was worn out and that precipitated a fight about getting off the computer and going upstairs.  As she cried and screamed on the floor beside the bathtub, she could barely keep her eyes open.  I don’t understand what is so wrong about feeling tired and going to bed.  Why choose a fight over a hot shower and a soft pillow?  I know that she is much more reasonable when she is not exhausted.  I haven’t forgotten that.  But, her unreasonable state is so intense that if a UFO had hovered outside the bathroom window and asked for her, I would have packed a suitcase and a snack.  If she had asked me at that moment if I liked her or Jay better, I’m 95% sure that I would have yelled “JAYYYY!”  She didn’t ask because she was in her “nobody likes me” mode.  Usually, I think to myself and/or I say to her, I like you though sometimes I don’t like something that you said or did.  Tuesday night, though, I had a shift.  I didn’t like being a parent.  It was more about my reaction than her behavior.  As she was yelling and throwing her socks at me, I stood there thinking that that very morning, I’d gotten up at 4:57 am to get her water and grapes and give her a suppository (something that might have been sufficient birth control had I known it would be part of the job), and there she was, having a fit about not having enough time on the computer.  Her behavior may have been typical for an exhausted seven-year 0ld or it may have been the inflexibility of Asperger’s.  I didn’t know and I didn’t care, and I just wished that it wasn’t my job to deal with it right then.

I see that Jay is trying to make sense of Mae’s meltdowns and figure out how to respond.  Sometimes, he makes a point to distinguish himself by saying that he is listening or being cooperative.  Or, he’ll ask why Mae is crying so.  Recently, he’ll say that he had cried at some time during the day or someone had been mean to him.  These are things that he hears Mae talking to me and Hubby about and I fear that he sees those topics as attention-getters, even if the incidents are not very serious.  So, now we have to work on nipping that.

Last night, Wednesday, was much better.  Mae had lost computer time because of her behavior the night before, and she whined only for a second when I reminded her.  She was cooperative at bath time, even with a new rule of TV off at 7:30.  She and Jay played well together — not a single fight.  She earned a couple of mickeys for being helpful to him.  They gave me a break, a much-needed break.

I Saved the Tooth Fairy

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Another one bites the dust.

Mae lost another tooth on Saturday, a stubborn one that she’d been pulling on and wiggling for months and months.  I probably didn’t need to, but I reminded her to place the tooth under her pillow so that the Tooth Fairy could get it.  Lo and behold, Mae crawled in the bed beside me on Sunday morning with a long face.  I was half awake because Jay had nudged me over and crawled into the bed earlier.  Mae opened her hand and showed me her tooth.

Mae, in a pouty voice:  “The Tooth Fairy forgot.”

Me, groggy:  “Maybe the Tooth Fairy had a really busy day.  Put the tooth back under your pillow.”

Mae, still pouty:  “It’s no use.  It’s not going to work.”

Me, still groggy:  “You like to be given second chances, right?  Give the Tooth Fairy a second chance.”

Mae, more pouty:  “It’s not going to work.”

But, Mae did take the tooth back to her pillow.  And, voilà, the Tooth Fairy did visit on Sunday night.  She probably would have forgotten again had I not set an alarm on my cellphone to summon her at 9:30 pm.  Mae was delighted to find five $1 bills and a bag of M&Ms under her pillow this morning.  And, she agreed when I asked her to keep the M&Ms a secret from Jay until I picked them up from camp, at which time I would give him a comparable snack.  She understood when I explained that he had complained recently about not getting everything that (he thinks) Mae gets.

And, since we’re talking about fails, I entered the kitchen on Saturday afternoon to find a strange scene — a stack of bread slices, the jelly jar, and a plastic knife on the counter, and a slice of bread on the floor. 

I was confused because it didn’t look like something Mae or Jay would have done.  They can both create their own brand of havoc, and this scene did not match their M.O.s.  Honestly, I would have pinned it on Hubby, but he wasn’t home (Sorry, Dear.  I’ll explain that later).  I asked, “Who did this?”  Mae looked over from the dining table. “Not me.”  Jay came from the play room when he heard me ask.  “Not me.”  Usually, if they are trying to fake me out, they end up struggling to hide a smile.  If I look at them long enough, the smile breaks and it’s over.  I looked back and forth between them, waiting to see the corners of a mouth twitch.  No twitching.  Mae said again, “It wasn’t me” and went back to her computer game.  I remembered that Jay is my sneaky one and Mae is almost honest to a fault.  I remembered also that Mae is not a fan of sandwiches, and not a fan of jelly.  I turned to Jay, and told him that I would be very disappointed if he wasn’t telling me the truth.  I said, “Are you telling me the truth?”  He nodded yes, with a straight face, no twitching.  I told him that I would be able to help him if he tells me the truth, and not telling the truth would be worse than making a mess.  I asked if he had been trying to make a sandwich, and he nodded, more slowly, yes.  I told him that I was proud of him for trying to make his own sandwich, and that it would have been better to ask for help.  Apparently, the bag ripped when he was trying to open it and the slices fell out.  At that point, he abandoned the project.

I was genuinely more disappointed than upset because although Jay can be a bit impish, he’s good usually about recognizing when he has made a mistake.  To make matters worse, later in the day, he snagged a juice box from the counter that I’d told him was going into his lunch bag.  As he was bringing the empty box into the kitchen to place it in the trash, I turned from the sink and saw him with it.  I think he’d hoped to get it into the trash can without me seeing it.  So, he drank water with his lunch today, or maybe he was just parched, with serves him right for lying and stealing in the same day.  Ok, ok, that’s too harsh.  Maybe this is just a phase, and he’ll think better in the future..

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