Archive for January, 2009

Jan 29 2009

25 random things about me…

Published by under amy's head,daily

everyone and their brother has tagged me to do this 25 random things about me thing on facebook.

So here goes! But on my blog! Ha-HA!

1. I don’t do memes. I don’t forward the cooking recipes with my own favorite tacked on to the end to 7 friends. I don’t pass on the super awesome way to really TRULY (except for NOT) force gas prices down, I don’t forward the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, I junk the email from the kid whose dying wish is to have his email forwarded to a bajillion people. So I’m very surprised that I am even doing this!

2. I wear my engagement ring as my wedding ring. And I wear it on my middle finger instead of my ring finger, because it comes too easily off my ring finger. My actual wedding ring isn’t very comfortable. But since I picked it out myself, I’ve only myself to blame.

3. I like to wear dishwashing gloves when I do kitchen cleanup. It’s just so nice to pull them off when I’m done and have my hands normal. Non-pruney. I highly recommend it.

4. I wore a toe ring for many many years. It broke, and I never found another one that I liked, and then the callouses went away and none were ever comfortable again. I still miss my toe ring.

5. Green is my favorite color. It’s also one of the best colors for me to wear. Once I “had my colors done” (lady told me what colors looked best on me) and she told me that often, one’s favorite color usually turns out to be the one they would look best in. Go figure.

6. When my son was a newborn, I often likened him to a frowny little old man.

7. There was a time when I thought I would like to become a lactation consultant. I still think it was be awesome to help new mothers work out the issues that can come with nursing. Nursing was one of the best mother experiences of my life, and I wanted to help others achieve that.

8. In college, I considered being a math major. I had never taken calculus. I loved math. (Still do!) But I’m not sure what I was thinking. Crazy.

9. I am a web designer, but I studied Music in college. Voice, with an emphasis in jazz. I never graduated.

10. I go through cycles, where I will wallow in the uselessness of housework – why bother doing laundry, it will just need doing again! This floor will just get dirty again after I mop it! It doesn’t matter if I pick up the main level, the kids will just come through and trash it again! I sometimes let myself get totally mired down and it makes a downward spiral of depression that envelopes everything.

11. Other times, I spring out of bed with determination and MOTIVATION! I clean and tidy and declutter! Everything must go! Everything must be cleaned! I always pray that it will LAST until a lot of shit gets done because the next circle of the cycle might be the wallowing side!

12. My very very super favorite thing in the entire universe is climbing into bed with fresh clean sheets. There is just nothing like that “clean sheets” feeling. I would change my sheets every day if it weren’t the most least economical thing EVER.

13. I consider myself from Virginia now. For a long time the Seattle area was my home, because it’s where I grew up, but not anymore. Many people live in 1 place for many years and yet never “claim” it as their hometown, but VA is my home, and I like it here. We may move out west some day, but if we never do, that would be fine by me too.

14. OMG HOW DO PEOPLE EVER GET TO 25? I may start telling you about my toe cheese now. It’s green, and it’s stinky.

15. I lied. I don’t have toe cheese. My toes are clean and fresh as a daisy!

16. Also – back to the clean sheets thing. I don’t like any type of fabric softener in laundry. OK, I take it back – we do use some in winter, when everything is so crackling with static electricity, but NEVER for sheets, and NEVER EVER for towels. I like the crisp slight stiff feeling of sheets. And towels treated with fabric softener never absorb right. They feel weird. Blech.

17. My go-to drink when I am sick is OJ and gingerale mixed together. It’s like a slightly fizzy OJ, which is perfect. Try it!

18. I am currently on a chicken noodle soup kick. It is sooooo good. I made batch #1 2 weeks ago. It was good. Batch #2 last weekend with slight alterations was even better. Going to make Batch #3 this weekend, and I can’t wait.

19. I can’t believe I’m on 19. What to write what to write what to write. I love Strawberry Shortcake. Like, the toys. I am a sucker for all SS merchandise. Jocelyn has a bajillion SS toys, and it’s all because of me. I secretly want them all for myself. MINE!

20. Only 5 to go! I like to watch movies that I’ve seen before, sometimes many many times before. Although “watch” is an overstatement, I like to have them on in the background while I clean the kitchen or some such thing. Same with old TV shows that I like, like Friends, Mad About You, NewsRadio, or SportsNight.

21. I also like to reread favorite books. My favorites are generally young adult literature. I usually reread several standards every year or so, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Where the Red Fern Grows, and just about anything by Lucy Maud Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame). I just reread My Side of the Mountain, which was a kick. I recently ordered the Little House on the Prairie books through my kid’s scholastic book order and am giddy with anticipation. Haven’t read those in a VERY long time.

22. And yet, I can’t seem to find the motivation/want to read NEW books. I love to read, but I just can’t be bothered. Even if I know they’re good. Same thing with movies and/or TV. I have to make myself sit down and watch/read something new, and it just seems too energy consuming to me for some reason. I am a weirdo in this regard.

23. Unless it’s the Daily Show. I watch that religiously :)

24. Twenty-four! I’m almost done! I could kiss you twenty four! I am a total obsessive compulsive type person. In a non clinical sense – I just mean, I will obsess over something and be very impulsive about it (obsessive impulsive?) until something else shiny catches my eye and I move on to it. Obsession de jour: JEWELRY MAKING!

25. This has been extremely hard to do. Now that I’ve done it, I will not do another one like it for many many MANY a moon!

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Jan 26 2009

Ethan Update Part 2

Published by under amy's head,kids

Ethan had a pretty good spell at school right after his 2 week break for the holidays. He was very excited to get back to school, colored in 8 pieces of his space shuttle that first day and was “green” for the first two weeks (they get greens for good behaviour). But I think now, he’s pretty much back to “normal”. One good thing – normal seems to not include nearly as much hurting other people. There was always something going on, each week, kicking someone, punching someone, some sort of scuffle, and thankfully, it seems to have lessened quite a bit – he did do some pinching last week, but that has been it so far this year.

Just a general sort of round up on his behaviour: He has a few friends in our neighborhood that he will play with, but James and I feel the need to “hover” if they’re outside or even inside, to mediate any issues that come up or step in if things get rough. When he is over at their house(s), we worry the whole time. At school, he will roll around on the floor at times, if too close to his neighbors, he will get in their space and/or poke them – his desk is generally pulled away a bit for this reason. He will sometimes circle his desk around and around. Some sensory things we’ve noticed, he will also often chew on things, and will make a sort of whistling noise through his teeth. He loves to wear super soft clothing – he won’t wear jeans, and loves the pants that are made from sweatshirt-type material. He loves footsie jammies partly because he prefers to be on the warm side when he’s sleeping, but partly because every inch of his body is covered in softness.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think he’s stopped the chewing (or if not stopped, it’s lessened a great deal) as well as the whistling through his teeth.

He is very inventive and curious about all sorts of things. They were doing surveys and votes in class, and he decided to do one at home – he counted up all the smoke detectors and all the sprinklers and tallied them up with tally marks. He loves to tinker on James’ workbench – taking apart an old printer, or attaching components to an old mother board. He knows how to make a computer fan work by attaching the wire ends to a 9volt battery. We used to have him read us a book every night, but during the winter holidays he complained he was too tired at the end of the day, so we switched it to mornings, and we call it our snuggle reading time. He is growing more confident with reading, but still will sometimes just look at the beginning of a word and guess at the rest instead of seeing the whole word. He’s grown so tall that it’s hard to snuggle with him (and yet we still manage somehow!)

He is very sweet and compassionate, loves anything that is “cute” (puppies, kittens, wee little robots, the color pink) and lately the WALL*E obsession in our house has reached epic proportions. A number pad has been installed in front of the stairs where numbers are entered before walking up them. “Trash cubes” are made from anything handy (blankies and laundry mostly). Anything picked up is picked up with robotic WALL*E-ish movements, and whole conversations from the movie can be repeated verbatim. “Give me the plant! -Tell me Auto! That’s an ORDER! -Very well sir.” “HALT!” is also a common order given around our house, like the steward bots on the Axiom.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. We’ll see how it goes from here.

-amy

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Jan 24 2009

Ethan Update

Published by under amy's head,kids

I haven’t updated on Ethan in quite some time (except for my cryptic twitters), and so it’s about time I did so.

He has been going to a weekly “Social Achievers” class at the counseling center for about 2 months now (big gaps for the holidays) and each time, they’ve said he has really struggled with it – giving attitude and fighting the redirecting they’ve done. The last few times have been better though, with less attitude and more cooperation.

In the meantime, he was tested by a psychologist in the same center for ADD/ADHD in mid-November, and before we received the results of that testing, the school asked us to come in for a child study. This was in early/mid December.

The child study went well. “Well” being defined as my ability to hold it together and not be too devastated by what was discussed! Also defined by the sensitivity and obvious compassion those involved displayed for my son. His teacher, the vice principal, the reading specialist and the school’s psychologist were present at the meeting, as well as James and I. We went over areas that he shows strength (science, math) and areas that he is weak on (reading) and his behaviour throughout everything. Even though he is struggling in reading, he loves nothing more than to sit with a book or be read aloud to.

His teacher and the reading specialist have worked out a system of rewards for good behaviour, when he is on task and staying focused he will get to color in part of a space shuttle. When he has colored a certain number of pieces he gets a bigger prize, such as lunch with his teacher, extra time in an activity he loves, lunch in the classroom with a fellow classmate, etc. His teacher also has been charting how often he is on task, with the goal that he stays on task 70% of the time. This means that she marks down how he is doing every ten minutes throughout the day. She also keeps James and I appraised of how his day went with an email home at the end of each day. I can’t tell you how blown away I am by the school, his teacher, and the administrative staff. I am so grateful that they have been so open and helpful and truly concerned about helping him be the best student he can be.

After discussing Ethan in great detail, they basically said that we can just continue as we have been, and have another meeting in the spring to see how he is doing, or we could start testing to see if there is more going on that we don’t know. We opted to start testing. They will test for a wide spectrum of items and hopefully it will give us a bigger picture and more insight into how we can help him.

In the meantime, right before the holidays I received a few voice mails from the psychologist who did his testing at the counseling center, and after playing phone tag, got a meeting set up to go over the results. We met with her last week, and she has diagnosed him with ADHD with a recommendation for a psychiatric consultation for medication.

I don’t know if it’s because of some of the possibilities that were tossed around in the school meeting (Asberger’s was one) that totally freaked me out and made ADHD a walk in the park by comparison, but I took this news very well, although it was exactly what I had been dreading. I am totally freaked out at the possibility of giving my SIX YEAR OLD a DAILY medication. (Totally. Completely. Did I mention I’m totally freaked out? LIke, WAY FREAKED OUT. A medication EVERY DAY. That will screw up WHO KNOWS WHAT as a side effect. Just want to be clear here! Me = FREAKED.)

From what I’ve read, ADHD can be a pretty subjective diagnosis. But I can’t avoid the fact that Ethan definitely has some problems that points pretty clearly to ADHD. I am not fighting this diagnosis, I just want to make sure that the help we give him will be the best for him, his health, and his physiological well being. I’ve talked to a few friends whose kids do use medication, and heard their stories. I’ve talked to my sister who has kids with ADHD and does not medicate. I am definitely more open to medication THAN I WAS before the holidays, but I honestly don’t feel the rush to make a decision RIGHT NOW.

However, what we are going to do RIGHT NOW, is get him in to see a psychiatrist. I’ve always felt like what we’re doing for him now is not right, or rather, not enough. I think he would benefit with one on one sessions, and I think James and I would benefit as well – part of the reason I don’t like what’s going on now is it gives James and I no feedback with how we should be doing things. When he acts impulsively or throws a tantrum, or comes home from school with a report of a bad day – are we handling it adequately? Is there something we could be doing better? I feel like we could use someone to help us with ideas on the homefront that we can employ in specific situations. I mentioned this once to the counselor who runs his class, and I think she thought I was playing a “But I’m such a BAD PARENT!” sympathy bit or something and told me I’m not a bad parent, I’m doing fine.

But I didn’t say I was a bad parent – and I don’t think we are bad parents. I don’t have to be a bad parent to want better parenting skills and skills to help Ethan cope better, not to mention, skills to help ME COPE BETTER. I think some one on one sessions well help Ethan, but also help us, and after a psychiatrist knows him and has worked with him a bit, I’ll be interested to see what their opinion on medication is.

So, once again, I’ve looked around for a new psychiatrist/clinic we can switch him too and once again I keep looking at this clinic that was recommended to us and moaning that they aren’t in our insurance. I called to get their self-pay rates, and even though we would be reinbursed 50% for out of network providers, AND we pushed our medical flexible spending account sky high for this year, it would be tough to say goodbye to that much money. The office staff person actually had one of the doctors call me back and after talking with her for a minute, she recommended some other psychiatrists in the area – one of which I had actually looked up after finding him on the insurance website’s network of providers. Relieved, I called this clinic and set up an appointment.

So right now, we’re kind of in a wait and see mode. Wait and see how it goes with the psychiatrist. Continue taking him to his social achiever’s class until we see the doctor. Wait and see what the school testing results looks like.

Since this is getting pretty long, I’m going to write more about Ethan himself tomorrow, lest I kill anyone with all these words!

-amy

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Jan 08 2009

Jocelyn at Four And Three Quarters

Published by under amy's head,daily,kids

There are so many sweet things going on with Jocelyn that I want to document it, mostly for myself for later, so I can read it and remember how my almost 5-year-old was.

Jocelyn loves to sing. She loves to dance. This year, Santa brought her a Barbie CD player with two microphones. It has been a hit. She will put a cd on and dance to it, or sing along to it. The only downside is that the mics are really not that great, and in order to make her voice amplified, she sticks it practically in her mouth and the resulting sound is pretty unintelligible.

jocelyn in ballet dress up

Lately she is into letters, sounds, words, and especially RHYMING. She is right on the brink of really reading, and she will look at a word and sound out the letters to herself quietly. On cereal boxes, fast food cups, pieces of mail, everywhere, she will be looking and seeing this world of written language around her. She is asking how things are spelled (even nonsense words) and then repeating it back with glee.

The rhyming is especially cute. And CONSTANT. She cannot say a sentence without rhyming the last word a few times.

“Hi Mom!”
“Hi honey.”
“Honey, money TUNNY!”
*giggle*
“TUMMY! Tummy plummy wummy! Mom POM!”

It is very cute, but she will get so caught up in making all these links and connections in her head that she can be completely and totally oblivious to what is going on around her. Getting her to complete a task can take a monumental effort (mostly in patience) by the parent. Sometimes when I ask her to do something, she will be looking right at me, but I can tell that she hasn’t actually heard a word I’ve said.

jocelyn making sugar cookie cutouts

I’ve found that it is often best to get her to “surprise” me with a completed task. For example, I will said, “Eat 3 bites of your dinner,” and she will insist that I close my eyes. Then after she’s eaten the bites, she let me open my eyes and will squirm with delight as I demand to know What HAPPENED to her dinner! Someone came and TOOK her dinner! Quick, look under your plates, everyone, Jocelyn’s dinner is MISSING!!! Until she laughs and reports, “It’s in my TUMMY WUMMY PUMMY!”

The same tactics can work when getting dressed – it goes much better if I leave the room and tell her I want her dressed when I come back, rather than sitting there and guiding her through each step – Put on your pants, now shirt. Where are your socks? What about shoes? (plus, leaving the room makes mommy not so frazzled!) This is a great tactic for Ethan as well, because he loves to surprise us, not so much because he is too wrapped up in his own world to hear us.

jocelyn and ethan

She has also been getting hurt a lot. She has always been more prone to putting on the special effect tears whenever she gets the slightest bump or scratch (whereas I’m convinced Ethan could go head over heels through briars and broken glass and emerge hollering, “I’m fine I’m FINE!”) just for the attention it would garnish her, and let’s not forget, the ETERNAL quest for BAND-AIDS! But lately she actually HAS been stubbing her toes, tripping over her own feet, and knocking into things. Part of this I think is because of all these new things she’s thinking over and putting together in her head, all these language connections – she is sometimes not even aware of what’s around her.

Another part is she is a dancer. She cannot walk somewhere, she bounces there. She skips there. She sashays there! She TWIRLS there! She flitters there! She tries walking backwards there! Or of course, she RUNS there! It’s hard to find a balance between squashing her desire to experiment with the movement of her own body and trying to get her to a) actually go where you wanted her to go already! and b) protect her from the inevitable tripping, falling, or bumping into something that will come.

jocelyn in ballet

If she is unhurt, she is super quick to say “Sorry!” in a cutesy voice, as over time she has worked out that this is a good method for circumventing any trouble (like if she’s knocked something over), and as always, if it is called for, put on her whiney voice and walk over to extend her injured body part and state, “I hurt my aaaarrrrrrrrrm I need a baaaaaand-aid!” Again – it’s hard to find the right balance between telling her to brush it off already, it was just a bonk, and giving her the attention that a good bonk might required. And there have been a few instances of Actual Injuries that have gone Unnoticed because they were marked down in the parent’s mind as a Superficial Injury instead of Actual Injury. Oops. What can I say – when you get 10 Superficial Injuries in a day, it’s not hard to brush off the one Actual Injury!

She is a lagger in getting out of car/walking somewhere public-type situations. She lags getting out of the car and she is perpetually 5-10 feet behind me as I walk. I recently discovered a good tactic for this though. I used to say a lot of, ‘Come on’, ‘hurry up’, or ‘stay with me.’ Now, I point down at the ground next to me, and I say, “See this spot? I want you to walk right in this spot next to me.” It works probably 85% of the time (which is much better than the 40% success rate of previous nagging techniques!) She will find some way to make a game of it and get wrapped up in it in her head again (for example, she’ll try to stay right ON my shadow), but it keeps her next to me which is fine by me!

Another aspect to Jocelyn (which maybe contributes to the touch of klutziness?) is her height. I don’t know her height in inches, but she is tall. She will be 5 in March, and is about a head taller than all the other kids in her class in daycare and also ballet. She already pretty much can’t wear any shirts from the toddler’s department (Target goes up to 5T) and by summer I think she’ll be out of the 5T pants as well. I never thought I would be buying clothes in the girls’ department before she’s even in kindergarten!

jocelyn cutting out snowflakes

Ahh, my girl. She is full of excitement and still has that little kid excitement about many things that Ethan is now jaded about. She loves to make things and draw and her artwork is taped up on walls all over the house (sometimes in curious places!) She adores envelopes and there’s been many a letter or drawing stuffed into an envelope, addressed and stamped and sent via the postal service straight back to our own house. (This has also been a great tactic to have Ethan do some writing at home.) This year of 4 has been great, and is finishing up with a bang.

jocelyn

-amy (pay-mee, way-mee)

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Jan 08 2009

Free Upgraded Rush Delivery

Published by under overheard,random

Isn’t that what someone ordering “male enhancement” products is trying to prevent?

One response so far

Jan 05 2009

added things to my etsy shop

Published by under amy's head,crafty

handmade jewelry earrings necklace bracelet lucite vintage czech glass beads

So yeah. Things are in there. In that shop. My shop. For sale. And stuff.

I feel very weird. I have gone through many different obsessions in this blog’s lifetime (the very first of which was blogging! Imagine that!) and I feel so weird with this new obsession because I am now selling what I am obsessing about. So I feel all conflicted, because I am having a blast and want to show it off, but also, I feel pushy and shilly (shilly? schilly? def: When One Hawks Their Wares On Innocent Blog Readers) and I don’t like that feeling (but let’s be honest, I’d get over it in a hurry if someone bought something) and FINALLY… I bit like the girl who gets all dressed up and goes to the school gym but is worried no one will ask her to dance.

But you know what? I will be fine. I’ll get over the conflict. I made a bracelet last night that is so beautiful I may sleep with it under my pillow :) That’s the feeling I will keep on the surface the most! However, even if you don’t buy anything, feel free to say, “Wow, Amy, the things in your shop are so stunning!” — You won’t hear me complain!

And as an aside – how awesome is fd’s flickr toys? I actually made the above mosaic FROM MY IPHONE. That is how awesome the interface is. I usually can’t STAND to do things that might require a lot of typing on my phone– which is why it was awesome! No typing required! I heart fd’s flickr toys!

– amy

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Jan 04 2009

Life Lessons

Published by under amy's head

Last night I was putting the kids to bed, and I’ve found that instead of constantly reminding the of what it is they are supposed to be doing (which doesnt even register in Jocelyn’s brain, so busy she always is with whatever she is doing) i will set a timer and announce that I want jammies ON by the time it goes off.

I gave them 4 minutes Jocelyn had her jammies, but Ethan’s were in my room.

“Will you come with me?” he asked Jocelyn, because when you are 6 and 4, you are afflicted with Must Never Be By Yourself syndrome.

“Shore!” jocelyn replied, and off the went across the hall to my room. Jammies obtained, they headed back.

When you are 6 and 4, you are also afflicted by I Want To Be First. Ethan has this affliction bad, exacerbated by the fact that he is older and faster than his sister and can usually make it happen.

Now, my account of the incident is sketchy, as I was in Ethan’s room out of eyesight. But I was in earshot, and this is what I heard:

Kids scampering back my way.
E: “I’M always first!”
J: “NOOOOO!”
Crashing sound of kids colliding and falling to the ground.
Jocelyn crying. A real, “i’m actually injured” cry, not just special effect tears.

And sure enough, I scrambled over and there was Jocelyn exactly where she fell, sprawled fully on the floor, including her face, which had hit the deck as well.

I gathered her in my arms, and held her while she sobbed, noticed some blood mingled with tears and drool, investugated for injuries – cut gums or something in that vicinity.

I got a cloth and held and rocked her until the tears turned into special effect tears, which was for 4 minutes because that was when the timer went off.

We went back in Ethan’s room, and I gave him Standard Lecture #129 on Not Shoving To Get In Front Of Others and Look What Happened To Your Sister. He came over and said sorry and I thought about what I had said probably went in one ear and out the other…

“ethan, sometimes, sorry is not enough. Sometimes you need to do something more to make up for what you did.”

He listened quietly as I continued, so I kept it brief and lecture-free, “I think tomorrow, all day long, you should let Jocelyn go first. I want you to think that over, and decide if thats something you can do.”

This morning he hopped into bed with me momentarily before heading downstairs for his daily TV-fest while mom and dad are still sleeping.

“Have you thought about letting Jocelyn be first today?”

He nodded.

“And?”

“I’m not telling.”

Which I take to be a good sign – he loves surprises and he probably wants to surprise us with his choice.

Guess we will see!

……..

He did let her go first. Not super consistently, but enough :)

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