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Archive for the ‘stress’ Category

Failure

I spent a long time writing this post, erasing, re-writing, debating, questioning … and I have mixed feelings about publishing it.  I know that we all struggle as parents sometimes, and I know that, for the most part, I am a good parent.  It’s just that sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough.  Sometimes it’s hard to admit that “good enough” has to be good enough.


They say about kids with ADHD that the adults in their lives are constantly holding their successes against them.  “I know he can stop being impulsive – he did just fine yesterday!” or “I know she can sit still and concentrate – I’ve seen her do it!”  The fact is that the only thing that ADHD kids are consistent about is their inherent inconsistency.  There are successful moments when the whole universe falls into alignment – but that doesn’t change the underlying disorder that kids with ADHD suffer from.

This I know, and embrace, and believe.  But sometimes knowing that a child can’t help themselves doesn’t change the frustration in the moment when things aren’t falling into place.  Thing is, J-man went a solid six weeks with nearly no behavioural issues, with nearly no fighting about taking his medicine, with nearly no less-than-optimal days at school, with nothing but successes packed in his corner.  So when things started falling apart again a couple weeks ago, well, it was really hard to remember that he can’t control this and that just because things were working for a while doesn’t mean that the current behaviour is totally within his power to change.

Two weeks ago, I called Ye Olde Developmental Pediatrician to say that it’s just getting harder, not easier, to get him to take his morning medications.  It had been relatively easy when he was taking Prozac, but we found that the Prozac was over-activating the ADHD (a common side effect of Prozac in kids is hyperactivity).   Our next try was Zoloft, which wasn’t helping at ALL and his anxiety about taking medicine by mouth became completely out of control.  YODP and I had a heart-to-heart about it and he said, you know?  Maybe we just need to accept that J just can’t take medicine by mouth right now and we need to just see how he’ll do in the short term with the Daytrana and Clonidine patches alone.  If you can’t solve the problem, eliminate it.

So we tried that.

And… it was a colossal disaster.

I admit, the hardest part of the only-patches trial for me was the feeling of failure.  I had failed this child, again, in trying to help him push through his anxiety so he could just take the medicine, for the love of pete.  After all – we *know* he can take medicine without fighting it – he did it for six solid weeks!  Surely he can do it now!  Except, see?  That’s me, holding his success against him rather than helping him through the less-successful times.     But we pushed through it, got him back on Prozac, had a few excellent medicine-taking days, and though he was a little more active than I’d like, thanks to the Prozac, he was otherwise having success.

The trick, I found (at least for a few days) was to not allow him to see me getting tense over his medicine.  He picked out a special treat ahead of time (I used to make him wait until he was done taking the medicine) and then put the treat AND his medicine on the table and walked away.  Walking away was the key.  If I saw him hemming and hawing or whining or crying about the medicine, I lost all sense of empathy and just got tense – which only made matters worse.  Leaving him alone meant he pretty much took his medicine within a “reasonable” period of time – even if not as quickly as I would have liked.  But it worked.

Until today.

Today he wouldn’t take it. “I wish I could take my medicine in the kitchen.”  Fine, we moved to the kitchen.  “I wish I could take my medicine at the table.”  Fine.  We moved back to the table.  “I wish…” and I walked away, realizing I was falling into the trap I’d so gracefully avoided the rest of the week.  When I came back, twenty minutes later, he had eaten his special treat – but hadn’t touched his medicine.  I wasn’t graceful about it, either.  I was, I’m ashamed to say, furious.  And again, I was failing him.

Today was a very bad day for a lot of reasons, despite there having been a lot of good.  It’s days like today that me wonder if I will simply fall into the traps my own parents fell into.  My memories of my mother while I was growing up are… universally unpleasant.  I know that there were lots of good times, and she did lots of good things for and with us.  I know that she probably had more strong points as a mother than weaknesses.  But that’s not what’s etched into my permanent memory of her in that period.  Will my children see me the same way?

I realize now, that what I needed to do was walk away.  Forget about the stupid medicine.  Let him be unmedicated for a day.  Truthfully, the consequences of an unmedicated child wouldn’t have been any worse than the consequences of fighting about it for so long.  More than two hours before that kid finally took his medicine.  And he didn’t do it until we had both calmed down.  A lot.  I went into his room once with the medicine in my hand – I had been crying from the frustration – and he said, “Are you okay?”  He was concerned about me and my puffy red eyes.  In the midst of this unbelievable struggle, this boy needed to make sure his mommy was okay.

The fact is, when we have days that we struggle, like today, I forget about the joy that he brings to everyone around him.  I need to re-group and re-focus on all the positives that he has.  He’s the most kind-hearted child I have ever met, and I can’t honestly imagine our lives without him.  He cares about everyone, he’s concerned if the triplets are upset, he brings them blankets when they’re sad.  If I’m sick, he covers me up and tucks me in, pats my arm and says, “I hope you feel better soon.”  When he sits down for dinner he asks, “Are you going to join me?  Do you think you can eat a pretzel today?”  Unfortunately, I haven’t been keeping even pretzels down anymore.  “That’s okay, Eema – you can just sit with me until you feel better.”

He is, in so many ways, thriving.  Things are starting to fall in place with his speech pathologist and he’s really getting the hang of this reading thing – he’s started to recognize a few words on sight.  He can write his name – a feat that seemed impossible a year ago (though, I admit I wasn’t so pleased to discover that he had practiced writing his name  with a marker… on his wall!).  He loves school and is engaged and interested in learning.  On his good days, which to be honest far outweigh the less-good days, he is eager to learn, gets upset if he thinks the class isn’t going to do “centers” (when they focus on math or reading or science, or whatever).  He is a beam of sunshine most days.  He is a leader in his class – and all the kids look up to him.  On his good days, he’s a powerful and positive leader.   Fortunately, he mostly has good days.

He shares, he loves, he giggles, he laughs.  And yes, he struggles.  Don’t we all?

Sometimes, we get lost and can’t see the whole forest – just the one tree that isn’t faring as well as the others.  But if I’m honest with myself – the positives far outweigh the hard times.  It’s just that when things are going well, we forget to notice them.

But this little boy has nothing but love in his heart.  He has so much joy to bring to the world.   He has brought so much joy into our lives with his toothless grin  and his dreams of a future filled with unlimited bionicles, bakugan, and dinosaurs.  I just hope that tomorrow, when I’m struggling to hide my tension about him taking his medicine, I can remember and focus on all the good instead of focusing on that moment and ruining it all.  After all – the truth is, he can’t control this right now.  He can’t just decide not to fight the medicine.  The medicine is treating a disorder that is characterized by a true inability to be consistent, a true inability to control impulses.  Sometimes knowing that he “can’t help it” doesn’t make it easier in the moment.  But it does help when you’re trying to find a tiny grain of empathy in your body for your child.

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Life. Falling. Apart.

2009 has sucked.  Royally.  Everytime it gets bad, it gets worse.  I have so many blessings and joys in my life and I know this and I'm not ungrateful for any of them, so please don't suggest that I am.  But honestly?  2009?  Sucks. 

I thought maybe getting past March would make things a little less stressful, but April?  Has been even worse.   Sam went to the ER because he got a cut above his eye that the pediatrician said was open too much to heal by itself.  It wasn't a huge deal, but it cost me a few hours of work, made for one unhappy Sammy. 

That same day, we found out what we'd be owing in Federal taxes.  It wasn't pretty.

This is my busy season at work.  When isn't?

I've been sick for two weeks with a "cold or something" that I haven't been able to shake.  In fact, it's only been getting worse.  I'm beyond exhausted and it's far more than my usual "I don't sleep much" kind of exhausted.  It's a beaten down with a stick kind of exhausted.  Small wonder… I've got a sinus infection and I'm now the proud owner of 40 Augmentin XR tablets.

My cleaning lady broke the inner glass on my oven door, then lied to me about it.  She also did a piss poor job of cleaning my house that day (and for the three years prior).  I couldn't care less about the oven door breaking – she did something stupid that caused it to break (no matter what her story is, my nanny was standing there watching it happen, and she doesn't have any reason to lie about it), but anyone can make an honest mistake.  What makes my blood boil is that she lied to me about it even after being confronted about it.  Then she had the audacity to tell me that I've been mistreating her for years.  This, coming from the woman who was only even in my house that day because she called me and asked me if she could please come that day so that she could do my Pesach kitchen cleaning "at no charge" to me because I've been so good to her for the last 4 1/2 years  and she knows how much I'm struggling right now.  Mistreating, indeed.

I didn't handle myself well that day, that's for sure.  I yelled at her more than I should have and told her to get out of my house.  I don't want people in my house who lie to my face.  I don't trust people around my children who lie to me.  Ever.  I'm sorry that I yelled.  I'm sorry that I lost my temper.  I ended up a sobbing ridiculous mess in my kitchen as she was leaving (calling me a drama queen, mind you, she can bite me). 

My nanny took me to my bedroom and laid me down on my bed and gave me a glass of water, told me I'm the best boss in the world and that D will never find a better boss and that it's she who should be apologizing for stealing my money without doing the job right.  I love my nanny.  Seth came home from work early because I was clearly in no state of mind to … um… function. 

We ordered a new piece of glass for the stove.  My handyman promised to come as soon as the glass arrived to install it for me.  The glass was scheduled to arrive Monday.  Tuesday at the latest.  We paid $50 in expedited shipping to ensure this.  Pesach is coming, after all. 

Monday came and went.  No glass.  At 3:30 today, the glass arrived.  I paged my handyman and he said he'd be over as soon as he finished the job he was working on.  He and I arrived at my house around the same time (5:30ish).  We opened the package with the glass and… 

It was the wrong piece of glass.  They sent the outermost piece of glass, not the innermost.

Fan.  Freakin'.  Tastic. 

(they've refunded the expedited shipping cost, they're picking up the wrong part, and reordered the correct part, waived the cost of shipping the new part…expedited of course… and it'll be here on Thursday.  My handyman will come Saturday night or Sunday morning to install it)

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frustrated

Feeling frustrated, whiny, overwhelmed, and unsure of myself lately. Tired of being called supermom because I’m not sure I’m living up to the expectation anymore. I’m not even sure how to write about what’s going on. I feel like I really need to buy this magnet, though:

Story of my life, the damn thing is sold out.

This week is going to be hell. H – E – Double – Hockey – Sticks – HELL.

Yesterday wasn’t so bad, just the usual, get up, feed babies, feed more babies, get dressed, change diapers, fight with J to get him dressed and ready to go, go to work (Seth took J to school), work all day, pick up J from school, go home, feed babies, while trying to make J dinner, fight with J to eat dinner, juggle three screaming babies, feed three babies again (they eat a small amount of solid food for dinner, but if I want them to actually SLEEP at night for any length of time, they also have to be nursed/have a bottle afterward… they aren’t to the point where solid food is REPLACING milk as food, they just won’t take enough in yet), put three babies to bed, try to calm J down, coordinate with Seth (who has now arrived home) to get J fed (because he wouldn’t eat when it was just me juggling all four kids), coordinate with babysitter to get her to my house (she’s now called four times for directions), skip board meeting I’m supposed to be at because J is going ape-shit and I can’t leave him with babysitter for that long, run two errands closer to home than board meeting, come home, fight with J to get him into bed, check email, do some work, pump milk, make bottles for nanny tomorrow, find preemie clothes for friend who just delivered triplets, make sure all preemie clothes are labeled with my name, re-pack preemie clothes into box, put box in Seth’s car (she delivered at the hospital where he works), feed a baby who woke up, wash bottle, collapse in bed kind of day. You know, that kind of day, not too bad.

Tonight my friend Connie was going to come over after the triplets’ bedtime to watch J so Seth and I could relax and go to a movie for the first time in over a year. Not like Connie doesn’t have enough to do on her own, seeing as how she’s got TRIPLETS OF HER OWN. But she’s awesome, and she offered, and she repeated the offer, and then she repeated it again, so I figured she was serious, and we took her up on it. But then as I was thinking of the week ahead, I realized how stressed out I was getting over the logistics of going out tonight that I told her tonight wasn’t a good night for it. Because, really? If I’m getting more stressed out over a relaxing night out than staying in… it kind of defeats the purpose right?

I’m almost out of baby food in my freezer, which would be fine, because it’s easy enough to whip up a few batches of baby food, except that it’s impossible to do that if you have no ingredients with which to do so in your house. Whoops. So I need to buy chicken and fruit and vegetables. But WHEN? HOW? I was supposed to do that yesterday, but couldn’t because there was no time after I picked up J without being late for relieving the nanny. Then, in theory, I was supposed to go to a board meeting, though I ended up bailing on that anyway, but grocery shopping didn’t happen either because there was too much else going on and J couldn’t be left with the babysitter for too long because he’s just been completely crazy lately. You’d think something as simple as grocery shopping would be easy, wouldn’t you? Hah!

Tomorrow, Seth is leaving for Texas at 5pm, which means he won’t be home after work. Fortunately, my mother is picking J up from school, which buys me a little bit of time, but this means I have to get home, feed babies, clean them up, get J dinner (oh wait, my mother will probably feed J, phew!), feed babies again (see aforementioned note re: solids vs. milk at dinner time), get babies to bed, get J calmed down for bed, get J INTO bed, get J’s lunch made for school the next day (do we even HAVE food in the house for his lunch??), pump, make bottles for the nanny, sleep?, get up with whatever babies wake up in the middle of the night (usually Sam and Abby, hopefully just Abby), and then get up in the morning, feed three babies, get showered (hah!), dressed, get J dressed (this is ALWAYS a fight), get J off to school (once the nanny arrives), get to work and breathe for a minute.

Then Thursday afternoon, I have to leave work early, pick up Sam, take him to the ophthalmologist (and I have to remember to pack some snacks for me and for him, because this appointment could take up to two hours, hooray!). My MIL is picking J up from school, thankfully, so that takes one thing off my plate. I have to rush home from the ophthalmologist to relieve the nanny (I’ll probably be late, but the nanny already knows that. Feed babies. Clean them up. Feed them milk. Change them, get them in PJs, put them to bed. Feed J, bathe him (hey, I forgot that part the last two nights, didn’t I?), get him in PJs, fight with him about bed, pray that he goes to bed, explain to him that YES Abba WILL be home by the time he wakes up! and hopefully he’ll go to sleep at some point.

Then I get to start making dinner for Friday night (and WHEN exactly did I go grocery shopping for Friday’s dinner?), I’ll have to pump, do some straightening so that my cleaning lady (yes, I’m a spoiled brat and I have a cleaning lady) can actually CLEAN
when she arrives on Friday, make bottles for the nanny the next day, probably have to feed Abby at some point (she usually wakes up around 10 or 11pm), and go to bed. Seth’s plane arrives after midnight, so I don’t expect him home until 1am-ish and I have no intention of waiting up for him.

Friday J has an appointment with a developmental pediatrician, so at least we don’t have to be prepared to take him to school first thing in the morning. And at least Seth’s taking him to that appointment. I’ll just have to get up, feed a baby, feed another baby, get showered, get dressed, get to work, work all day, come home feed three babies, feed them again (see aforementioned note on solids vs. milk dinner feeding…)…

Oh yes, it’s going to be a FUN week.

And yet, people STILL tell me I should sleep when my babies sleep. Please, someone, explain to me exactly how I’m supposed to make that happen! Because for the life of me, I’m STILL trying to figure out exactly when I’m making it to the grocery store this week, which I desperately need to do (nevermind how I’m going to PAY for the groceries…right now it’s only about the logistics of GETTING to the grocery store!).

Normally, I’m very, very good at keeping everything together. I don’t get stressed out. I don’t get overwhelmed. I handle things with grace and ease, MOST of the time. But right now? THIS week? I think I’ve hit my limit.

Still to write:

  • What’s been going on with J
  • Early Intervention Evaluation for the Triplets
  • Lots o’ pictures to post (who has TIME?)
  • Fun with Jessica (TWO weeks in a ROW! What a treat!)
  • Milestones (Babies are ALMOST mobile…Gah!!)

But seriously? When is all this writing supposed to happen?

See? I warned you that I was feeling whiny. But did you listen? NO! That being said, if you made it all the way to the end of this post, you get a cookie. Not that I have the time to make you cookies, or anything, so you’ll have to make your own. Or buy your own. Or just use your imagination and dream of your own cookie. So here’s your virtual cookie. Because hello? I’m a mother of FOUR children. Did you REALLY think I have time to bake you cookies??

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frustrated

Feeling frustrated, whiny, overwhelmed, and unsure of myself lately. Tired of being called supermom because I'm not sure I'm living up to the expectation anymore. I'm not even sure how to write about what's going on. I feel like I really need to buy this magnet, though:

Story of my life, the damn thing is sold out.

This week is going to be hell. H – E – Double – Hockey – Sticks – HELL.

Yesterday wasn't so bad, just the usual, get up, feed babies, feed more babies, get dressed, change diapers, fight with J to get him dressed and ready to go, go to work (Seth took J to school), work all day, pick up J from school, go home, feed babies, while trying to make J dinner, fight with J to eat dinner, juggle three screaming babies, feed three babies again (they eat a small amount of solid food for dinner, but if I want them to actually SLEEP at night for any length of time, they also have to be nursed/have a bottle afterward… they aren't to the point where solid food is REPLACING milk as food, they just won't take enough in yet), put three babies to bed, try to calm J down, coordinate with Seth (who has now arrived home) to get J fed (because he wouldn't eat when it was just me juggling all four kids), coordinate with babysitter to get her to my house (she's now called four times for directions), skip board meeting I'm supposed to be at because J is going ape-shit and I can't leave him with babysitter for that long, run two errands closer to home than board meeting, come home, fight with J to get him into bed, check email, do some work, pump milk, make bottles for nanny tomorrow, find preemie clothes for friend who just delivered triplets, make sure all preemie clothes are labeled with my name, re-pack preemie clothes into box, put box in Seth's car (she delivered at the hospital where he works), feed a baby who woke up, wash bottle, collapse in bed kind of day. You know, that kind of day, not too bad.

Tonight my friend Connie was going to come over after the triplets' bedtime to watch J so Seth and I could relax and go to a movie for the first time in over a year. Not like Connie doesn't have enough to do on her own, seeing as how she's got TRIPLETS OF HER OWN. But she's awesome, and she offered, and she repeated the offer, and then she repeated it again, so I figured she was serious, and we took her up on it. But then as I was thinking of the week ahead, I realized how stressed out I was getting over the logistics of going out tonight that I told her tonight wasn't a good night for it. Because, really? If I'm getting more stressed out over a relaxing night out than staying in… it kind of defeats the purpose right?

I'm almost out of baby food in my freezer, which would be fine, because it's easy enough to whip up a few batches of baby food, except that it's impossible to do that if you have no ingredients with which to do so in your house. Whoops. So I need to buy chicken and fruit and vegetables. But WHEN? HOW? I was supposed to do that yesterday, but couldn't because there was no time after I picked up J without being late for relieving the nanny. Then, in theory, I was supposed to go to a board meeting, though I ended up bailing on that anyway, but grocery shopping didn't happen either because there was too much else going on and J couldn't be left with the babysitter for too long because he's just been completely crazy lately. You'd think something as simple as grocery shopping would be easy, wouldn't you? Hah!

Tomorrow, Seth is leaving for Texas at 5pm, which means he won't be home after work. Fortunately, my mother is picking J up from school, which buys me a little bit of time, but this means I have to get home, feed babies, clean them up, get J dinner (oh wait, my mother will probably feed J, phew!), feed babies again (see aforementioned note re: solids vs. milk at dinner time), get babies to bed, get J calmed down for bed, get J INTO bed, get J's lunch made for school the next day (do we even HAVE food in the house for his lunch??), pump, make bottles for the nanny, sleep?, get up with whatever babies wake up in the middle of the night (usually Sam and Abby, hopefully just Abby), and then get up in the morning, feed three babies, get showered (hah!), dressed, get J dressed (this is ALWAYS a fight), get J off to school (once the nanny arrives), get to work and breathe for a minute.

Then Thursday afternoon, I have to leave work early, pick up Sam, take him to the ophthalmologist (and I have to remember to pack some snacks for me and for him, because this appointment could take up to two hours, hooray!). My MIL is picking J up from school, thankfully, so that takes one thing off my plate. I have to rush home from the ophthalmologist to relieve the nanny (I'll probably be late, but the nanny already knows that. Feed babies. Clean them up. Feed them milk. Change them, get them in PJs, put them to bed. Feed J, bathe him (hey, I forgot that part the last two nights, didn't I?), get him in PJs, fight with him about bed, pray that he goes to bed, explain to him that YES Abba WILL be home by the time he wakes up! and hopefully he'll go to sleep at some point.

Then I get to start making dinner for Friday night (and WHEN exactly did I go grocery shopping for Friday's dinner?), I'll have to pump, do some straightening so that my cleaning lady (yes, I'm a spoiled brat and I have a cleaning lady) can actually CLEAN
when she arrives on Friday, make bottles for the nanny the next day, probably have to feed Abby at some point (she usually wakes up around 10 or 11pm), and go to bed. Seth's plane arrives after midnight, so I don't expect him home until 1am-ish and I have no intention of waiting up for him.

Friday J has an appointment with a developmental pediatrician, so at least we don't have to be prepared to take him to school first thing in the morning. And at least Seth's taking him to that appointment. I'll just have to get up, feed a baby, feed another baby, get showered, get dressed, get to work, work all day, come home feed three babies, feed them again (see aforementioned note on solids vs. milk dinner feeding…)…

Oh yes, it's going to be a FUN week.

And yet, people STILL tell me I should sleep when my babies sleep. Please, someone, explain to me exactly how I'm supposed to make that happen! Because for the life of me, I'm STILL trying to figure out exactly when I'm making it to the grocery store this week, which I desperately need to do (nevermind how I'm going to PAY for the groceries…right now it's only about the logistics of GETTING to the grocery store!).

Normally, I'm very, very good at keeping everything together. I don't get stressed out. I don't get overwhelmed. I handle things with grace and ease, MOST of the time. But right now? THIS week? I think I've hit my limit.

Still to write:

  • What's been going on with J
  • Early Intervention Evaluation for the Triplets
  • Lots o' pictures to post (who has TIME?)
  • Fun with Jessica (TWO weeks in a ROW! What a treat!)
  • Milestones (Babies are ALMOST mobile…Gah!!)

But seriously? When is all this writing supposed to happen?

See? I warned you that I was feeling whiny. But did you listen? NO! That being said, if you made it all the way to the end of this post, you get a cookie. Not that
I have the time to make you cookies, or anything, so you'll have to make your own. Or buy your own. Or just use your imagination and dream of your own cookie. So here's your virtual cookie. Because hello? I'm a mother of FOUR children. Did you REALLY think I have time to bake you cookies??

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