Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So who do you look like?

Here are my results (with this picture, anyway - with a different pic, I get different results):

Thursday Thirteen #8

It's back! A random collection of thirteen websites I like and/or frequent often.

Thirteen Websites I LikeYOUR NAME

1. Awesome Babies - a small parenting board - if you're a parent or trying to become one, stop by and say hi!
2. Charssi - fudge you eat with a spoon, need I say more? If you want to order, best hurry, they're going on vacation soon for most of the summer.
3. Isle of Eden - yummy bath goodies!
4. Cremoso - reopening June 1, also the home of many yummy bath goodies.
5. Patrician Treasures - MORE bath goodies. I sense a theme here.
6. - like Freecycle for books.
7. - everyone can use a little mindless entertainment.
8. MyHeritage - upload a pic of yourself, see what celebrities you resemble. (I apparently look like Moby, Topher Grace and James Spader - am I sure I'm a girl?! LOL)
9. Recipezaar - my favorite place to find recipes.
10. Craigslist - great to check out for darned near anything.
11. Alibris - if you can't find a book here, it probably can't be found.
12. Jacquie Lawson - for really unique e-cards.
13. Dallas Stars - I just wish we could get past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. *sigh*

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just move it already, huh?

I was running late this morning - J fell this morning and skinned his other knee (he fell and skinned one yesterday morning, and was having a pure fit because it was bleeding and it hurt - this morning was round two). So we had another round of boo-boos and hugs and J asking me to stay home, that he needed to go see Dr. Jean. Poor baby, he was so not happy that I was leaving this morning. He kept asking me to stay with him and saying he wanted to stay with me. I'm not sure what's up. For the longest he's been real good about going on in at school without a fuss, but lately he's clingy and whiny and doesn't want me to leave. It hurts my heart, and I'm not sure of the cause. I wonder if it's because he really doesn't want to go with K tomorrow.

And K needs to move that hamster cage if he cares what's good for J. Last night J asked me again about where he'd be on Friday. When I told him he'd be going to daddy and A's, he was just inconsolable. He's cried every time I've said that he's going to daddy and A's house this Friday. Honestly, does K want his son to sob at the thought of spending time with him?! If so, keep right on. If not, he and A had best have this discussion and they'd best move the hamster. I was going to tell him this today, but he called before I left the house - he and A woke up to a flooded kitchen, there's a leak or a break somewhere, and he was looking for a mop in Wal-Mart when he called. I figured that wasn't perhaps the best time for a serious discussion.

I just don't get why it's such a big deal. I understand that with five kids in the house, you don't want to give one preferential treatment. But helping one get to sleep doesn't seem like preferential treatment - that's not like taking them all to Toys R Us and saying, OK, you get a toy, the rest of you, too bad. It's helping a need get met. It's not like sleep is optional. I don't get it. And if an adult were bothered by a noise while trying to get to sleep, he'd deal with the source of the noise if it were possible to do so - he wouldn't tell himself to just deal with it and let it go on. I really wish K and A would put the hamster in their room for a night or two, just to know what it sounds like. Maybe then they'd see why it's such a distraction for J and why it bothers him so.

I'm looking for a counselor. The ones in our area that take my insurance are all men, and I think I'd prefer a woman. I'll keep looking, though. I really think it would benefit J, and a counselor might be able to get to the root of the problem if there's anything else bothering J, where I'm not having any luck getting more than that Chuck bothers him. I don't know, if there are any other issues, if J just doesn't have the vocabulary or self-awareness to really verbalize what's bothering him, and I don't want to ask "is it such and such" and run the risk of either using terms and concepts he doesn't really understand or of putting words in his mouth and having him agree just because I asked.

My sweet boy. My heart just hurts that he's sad, and that I'm not really sure how to make it all better.

In other news: The rotten thing about taking a new position at your place of work is that you're still here to deal with crap from your old position. *sigh*

Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So what direction am I going, anyway?

I took the pre-enrollment test for medical transcription certification. The results:

From our review of your skills test and the brief narrative you submitted, we are pleased to report that we believe you have the qualifications needed to enter into the M-TEC training program.

The results of your test were:

Grammar: Excellent!

Punctuation: Excellent!

Proofreading (Spelling): Excellent! (I'm detecting a theme here!)

Required Narrative (Vocabulary and self-expression): Able to express thoughts well. Our job placement rate for our Premier program graduates is 98%, with the majority working in at-home positions (see below). Your test results are superb! You are certainly a wonderful candidate for the program, and the experience you have had with transcribing has you ready to hit the ground running since you have already trained your mind and body to work together in that unique way. Good luck to you on your new journey!

So now I need to decide. Do I enter the program and possibly change my entire life direction? Lord knows the direction it's been headed hasn't been a whole lot of fun. And I know I could do well in the program. As fast as I read and type, I don't think I'd need nearly 18 months to finish it. It's just a fairly big step, since, if I invest the money in it, I want to use it and not have it be just something else I've dabbled in. If I do this, it would be a pretty portable career, and I wouldn't feel so limited to staying where I am(i.e., if Brian is offered a faculty position at Baylor, I could pack up my transcription machine and head south and have a way to contribute to the family income :-D). I know I'd love having the flexibility to do for J without worrying that me taking time for my family was going to hurt me at work. I'd save on gas if/when I got a job working from home. I'd love to be free of corporate America - it makes my head hurt. The biggest questions I can think of are 1) can I make enough money, and 2) can I find a job with benefits? I can save for my own retirement, but I've gotten a bit spoiled to having health and dental insurance, and I don't really relish the thought of paying for that out of pocket.

I guess first I'd have to see if I qualify for financial aid. If I do, then it's decision time. I realize that, at least until I get J on a good sleep schedule (and I will, oh yes, I will), study time would cut into my sleep time a good bit. Perhaps I could hit the books three nights a week and allow for a really good night's sleep two nights a week, and play it by ear on weekends (and try for good sleep on those nights as well).

I suppose this is why they call it a leap of faith. You don't know where something will end up, but you've got to have faith it will work out.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And just for fun...

From K & A's party on 4/28 (nice party, Brian met K and K's parents, no blood was shed, and J discovered the joy of the swimming pool) - doesn't J just look like a little man? *sniffle* I was amazed that the tie stayed on pretty much all night.

I'm nothing if not determined

Bedtime last night wasn't until 10:00, but I think that's largely my fault. I think 1) I tried to make too big an adjustment to the schedule, and 2) I didn't take into account the nap at school (he only sleeps about 30 minutes, but still, it's enough to make bedtime later). I put J in the bath at 7:15. When you're used to a bath between 8:30 and 9:00, 7:15 is a big switch - I should have aimed for 8:30, then gradually moved it back earlier. D'oh. He was in bed by 8:00, but didn't go to sleep until 10:00, and the in-between time involved stories, a round of wanting to sleep in my bed, potty break, milk, rocking in the rocking chair, and finally falling asleep in his own bed. Note to self: Drastic changes will not work. LOL So tonight I'll be a bit more reasonable about it, and work on moving bedtime back *gradually*.

I'm serious about sticking to this, though. I saw such a difference in J's behavior yesterday after just one night of solid sleep that it's worth the effort to make this change if it means better sleep and better behavior all the time. He only whined a little when I told him he couldn't have candy at the video store - this would usually have gotten a screaming jumping-up-and-down fit and a pissed-off mama. He was pleasant and happy and (except for the drawn-out bedtime) a joy to be around.

Now, if I can just convince K of this....

J has started in saying he doesn't want to go to daddy's this week, he doesn't like daddy and A's house, he wants to stay with me all the time. I *think* that the problem is Chuck the damn hamster. (I am never, ever getting a hamster. If I'd ever wanted one, I don't after hearing about Chuck. So much drama for such a small rodent.) After I asked him several times what he didn't like at daddy's, why he didn't want to go to daddy's, J finally told me Chuck is in his room and makes noise, and the noise hurts his ears. He also said that when A's 6-year-old (with whom J shares a room) was with his daddy, they moved Chuck to the game room. I talked to K this morning and pointed out that that's a lot for J to adjust to, a relatively unfamiliar place he's only at every couple of weeks, sharing a room with another little boy, not having anyone sit with him or sing to him or anything at bedtime, *and* a strange animal making noise, and I suggested they might want to consider moving Chuck while J is there. K said he's fought that battle already, that A says no special concessions. I tried to point out that it's not a concession, it's not forever, it's an adjustment, and that J has never had the flexibility to deal well with changes in routine, and K just said he wasn't going there again. I bit my tongue and didn't say that while I see A's point about not treating one child specially (although would she feel differently if J were a child with a quantifiable "special need"? Why can't difficulty adjusting to change and sensitivity to sounds be treated like any other need, and accommodated accordingly until J adjusts? Does she know what's best for my child? I think not), I don't agree that J should be plopped in the middle of one big ball of "different stuff" and basically told to deal with it, especially knowing he's not (and never has been) one of these kids that can "go with the flow", and I think she's being unreasonable to not allow some modifications while J adjusts to the new environment, and would K like me to talk to her. If J keeps having problems and keeps insisting he doesn't want to go see daddy, I *will* talk to her. J is my son and if I don't stick up for him, who will? I don't want to cause problems in K's marriage, but I also don't want my son miserable at the prospect of going to see his father, and I don't want him feeling like his feelings and needs don't matter. So that was a delightful way to start my day. If I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep, I'd have been very bitchy about it. (Sleep makes a world of difference - I no longer feel the need for Wellbutrin, at least not at the moment.)

J suggested earplugs himself, and I told K I'd get a pair and we could try that, if A is insistent that no changes be made. But if those don't help, if it becomes a battle royal every other weekend to get J to go see his dad, something will have to change. I don't want to force J to go somewhere he clearly doesn't want to go, I want him to be able to enjoy his time with his father.

I've told K that I saw a world of difference in J's behavior yesterday, after he slept so well on Sunday night. You'd think better behavior would be a pretty good incentive to help J get a good night's sleep. But if K and A prefer the drama, well, then, leave the effin' hamster right where he is.

Yeah, it irritates me. I know this is hard enough on J, and I'm sure K feels caught in the middle, between what J really needs, how A wants things to go, and how I'm telling him I'd like to see things go. When it comes down to it, I personally think taking care of J is most important. K and A are together every day, J is there two days out of every fourteen. Me, I don't see it as complete upheaval and chaos to move the hamster. I don't see it as letting a four-year-old run the show. I don't see it as special treatment. I see it as doing what needs to be done to help J be comfortable in strange surroundings. It feels like I'm the only one who does, though.

Weekend update and finally, a good night's sleep

We had a big busy day on Saturday. We ran by the bank and the post office first, and then went to the park. It's a nice little park - it has one play area for younger/smaller kids, and one for bigger kids. Unfortunately, the play area for bigger kids was pretty full, with someone having a birthday party there (and it was a bunch of little girls, so it wasn't like J really wanted to play with them! LOL). The crowd bothered J, so we tried the smaller playground. Alas, he's too big to fit comfortably in most of the equipment there! So we gave up on the park before too long, but we'll try again another Saturday. After that, we went to Trade Days. It was small, not a whole lot of vendors, and I didn't see a tremendous amount of truly handmade stuff, certainly not in the bath and body/candle realm of things (hooray! Opportunity! That is, should Brian and I get to where we're proficient enough at making stuff to have enough to sell - we've talked about trying to get into soapmaking/candle making/bath and body stuff, either as a side business or maybe, someday, after a shitload of hard work, an actual brick-and-mortar business). There was a John Deere tractor display, though (one of the local lawn and garden shops had some of their products on display), and J had a pure fit over that. He had to sit on every tractor and pretend to drive it, more than once - I wished I'd had the camera for that. There were also puppies there - we looked at them, but he didn't ask for one. (Good thing. I'm not inclined to get a puppy. A small boy is enough work.) We bought a lucky bamboo plant for me and two little dog figurines for J - one of the dogs he got has its leg hiked up and is peeing on a fire hydrant, and J thinks that's the funniest.thing.ever. He is such a boy. After that, we went to McDonald's - I ate, and J took about three bites of his food and ran around like a wild thing in the Playplace. I told him he had to eat, or we wouldn't come inside anymore, that I wasn't paying $4.00 for a Happy Meal just so he could play. We probably stayed there an hour, and then ran by Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things - we had to get a present for J's little friend Jackson, whose party is this coming Saturday at Pump It Up - I think that might be a good place for J's party, if he likes it), and some other odds and ends. Given what I realize now about how sleep deprived he's been, he did remarkably well. After that we just went home.

On Sunday, he was up at 6:30 (after going to sleep at 10:00 - yeah, 8 1/2 hours with no nap, that's not nearly enough - that's about like me getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep). I had jumped out of bed at 6:00 when I heard the cuckoo clock, thinking it was really 7:00 and I was insanely late for work, and then I realized - it's Sunday. D'oh. So I'd just gotten back to sleep when here came J, ready to go. I didn't realize it was 6:30 until I sat up, and then I told him we needed to lay back down, and I made some comment about going back to bed. He started sobbing hysterically, and I hugged him and asked him what was wrong. He grabbed onto me and said, "No, you can't come back to bed, I don't want you to leave me in the living room by myself!" Poor darling, he'd thought I was going to leave him. I told him no, I wouldn't do that, and he settled down a little bit. He was just berserk at the thought of me leaving him, though. I'm still not sure what's up with that.

Mother's Day was a low-key day. Much to my surprise, K came by and brought me a card and a little something from J. It was a package of dried cherries covered in chocolate - not a big something, but it's the thought that counts. J signed his name in the card and brought me the card and cherries. He said, "Daddy said I should give this to you." LOL I love four-year-old honesty!

I tried to get him to take a nap around noon. We laid down for about five minutes, and he spent 4 1/2 of that screaming that he wasn't tired, he didn't want to lay down. (That's when I decided bedtime would be EARLY.) We spent the rest of the afternoon playing and doing wash and what have you, and I popped him in the bath at 6:15. I guess we played in the bath for about half an hour or so, and then he got into bed and we read our books. After that I tucked him in (he didn't even comment on it still being light outside, so you KNOW he was tired), and we did the me-checking-back-every-couple-of-minutes thing for a little while, then he asked to rock in the rocking chair. We did, and I sang to him (he's partial to songs from the Baptist Hymnal, so that's what I sing!), and after we'd gone through two or three, he asked me to sing him one more Bible verse and said then he'd go to bed. We did, he got back in bed, and he asked me to sit with him and just be quiet. So I did, and in about five minutes or so he rolled over and curled up into a ball, and he was out. Such a tired little boy.

I sure hope we can work the schedule to where he can get more sleep every night. He needs it, and I do, too. It's not realistic to expect that I'll have him in bed by 7:00 every night - most nights we're just getting home then, and I don't have a spouse or other family member who could pick him up earlier and get him home sooner, so we'll have to see what we can do. I can turn the TV off earlier, though, and keep him completely away from caffeine and sugar in the evenings, and I may even get a light-filtering shade for his room to help with getting him to sleep earlier in the evenings (as the summer goes on, it may stay light until 9:00 or 9:30). But we've got to get better about getting sleep, and we need to make that a priority. If it means no trips to Target or Wal-Mart during the week because that keeps us out too late and up too late, then that's how it will be.

Friday, May 11, 2007

And who couldn't use a good night's sleep?

Bedtime has been fairly dreadful lately. The idea of me checking in on J every few minutes as long as he stayed quietly in bed worked OK for about three nights, and then he started with this weird separation issue and it all went to hell in a handbasket. He'd cry for me if I so much as stepped out of his sight during the day, much less if I actually left his room of a night. Of course, K would tell me to lay down the law and that maybe I should consider spanking him (I'm not sure he intended that for bedtime or just in general, but J is not the kind of child who will respond well to spanking, I don't think - he may be contrite in the short run, but I don't think the iron fist teaches him to control himself and govern his own behavior, and mama and daddy won't always be there to enforce that control for him - but I digress, back to bedtime). So the last three or four nights have been absolute flaming hell at bedtime, because I persisted in trying the in and out thing, and J persisted in screaming his little head off and fighting it and me for all he was worth. Good times.

TonightJ wanted me to stay with him at bedtime, so I did. Lo and behold, no fuss, no muss. After he fell asleep, I picked up my other Mary Kurcinka book, Sleepless in America (I also have Raising Your Spirited Child), and I cried as I read it. We're both sleep deprived. Sleep deprived children fight sleep and sleep less, they're argumentative, easily frustrated, wired, bouncing off the walls, more clumsy, more likely to pick fights and resist parental guidance, quicker to whine and say "no" and throw tantrums over the most minute of things, and I saw J in every word. It also talked about how to recognize if you as a parent are sleep deprived - do you get set off more easily, yell, feel guilty for having no energy for the kids, get really sleepy during the day. Yeah, we both need more sleep. I just ordered copies of that and of Raising Your Spirited Child to give to Kevin, and he better read every word, because I don't want one more word from him about how we just need to lay down the law. After reading that, I'm convinced that sleep deprivation is at the root of a lot of these problems, and that behavior can be drastically improved if we can get J into a routine where he's more easily able to get the sleep he needs. I don't give a rat's ass what A does with her kids, J isn't those kids and he can't be treated the same way, necessarily. If K can't see J in the pages of those books, he's not paying attention, because every sentence, every paragraph just leapt off the pages at me and smacked me upside the head.

At one point the author talked about having the parents in a class she was teaching list all the strategies they'd been told to try, by family or friends or doctors or whatever, to get their kids to sleep - let them cry it out, put your foot down, don't respond to them when they call, just stay for a couple of minutes and then leave, shut the door, don't comfort them, don't rock them, and so on. At the next class, she then told them she was looking for a care facility for her dad who had Parkinson's, and she described a (fictional) place where the philosophy was, we're in control, we won't mollycoddle the patients, they'll go to bed when it's time, no exceptions, if they're in pain or wet or whatever they can wait until rounds start at 6 AM, if they wake up during the night no one's going to go in and hold their hands, they can just learn to deal with it on their own, basically everything that's traditionally said about getting your kids to sleep. Of course the parents were appalled, said it was inhumane, such a place should be shut down, you can't treat people that way - and then the author made the point, why are we horrified at the thought of treating the elderly this way at bedtime, but not our children? Smack, right in the face. If a child isn't getting what he needs to be comfortable, he gets tense. More tension, less sleep. Less sleep, worse behavior and more tension, and on and on. So, new approach. If J needs me to sit with him, I sit. As long as he's not taking two hours to get to sleep, if he'll lay in bed quietly and make an effort to sleep, I'll stay. Tonight when I turned out the light, he reached out and grabbed my hand and said, "Don't leave me." Not crying, not whining, not demanding, just very softly, as if he expected me to go anyway. I could have cried right then, and I'd no more have left than I'd have jumped off a cliff. It took him about half an hour to get to sleep, but he laid in bed quietly for most of that time, and that was OK. If me being there is what he needs right now, then that's what he'll have. And I'm going to try my best to start getting more sleep myself. A break from transcription could be a blessing in disguise in that regard.

Yeah, a break - not sure what's happening with my part-time job. I can't do overflow for Julie anymore, because she quit - she got a full-time job in her field, and understandably gave transcription the heave-ho. So, the last time I called to ask about work, I was told that they'd gotten a company to help them catch up, and that they had my number and would call if they needed any help. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a blow-off to me. Oh well. I'll try to find something else if possible, and life goes on. Sucks, though, because the extra money was a help, and there isn't another part-time job I can think of that I could do from home and do that well with, and finances aren't bad enough that 1) I want to have to try to ask K for more help with J (I have a feeling that wouldn't sit well with A, and I guess I can understand that), or 2) I want to lose even more time with J. I feel like my time with him is short enough as it is.

Let's see, what else has gone on? Brian and J and I went to K & A's reception a couple of weeks ago. It was a nice party, and Brian got to meet K and K's parents and a couple of other relatives. I didn't think it was awkward, and we had a good time. J wore a tie for the first time and looked like quite the little man. I'll have to post a picture.

And last weekend, Brian and I did the "meet the parents" thing. I think it went well.

I'll write more later, I've got to get to bed if I'm going to get more sleep!