Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The new old crusade

  God forbid anything be simple. I'm going to be sprinkling my posts with my latest mission. Once again, it's  all about the  honeybun.  I am, oddly enough, "lucky" enough to be unemployed so I have time to do this. Our beautiful, brilliant girl has been officially declared an ADHD kid. What does that mean? I don't know either, but I aims to find out, pardner. Hence, the new mission of research will begin.
   I will be hanging out with my new best pal, Google. I may also have to treat my local librarian to a few drinks before this is over, too. So far, I have identified my quarry. I plan to begin with what our specialist called "executive functioning". What this refers to is one's ability to initiate, plan, and follow through on a task. Think the execution of a game plan, not a white guy in a suit driving a bmw.
  I have discovered there are differing opinions on what exactly Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is in the first place. Some are claiming there is no such thing. Personally, I take issue with the word Disorder. It implies there is something "wrong" with my child's brain. I have explained to our daughter, it's a label grownups slap on people when they don't understand your brain. First and foremost I don't want my girl thinking there is something "wrong" with her. This is very important to me. Her brain is just different, that's all.
   The specialist explained it this way. She occasionally gets "gunk" on neurological pathways in her brain. Medication can help clear these up. Notice I said "can". A wonderful side effect of us all being unique like snowflakes, not all medications work. It turns out, for those who believe, there are 6 different types of ADHD and each one responds differently to medicine. Now I get to research which kind I'm dealing with.
  Mercifully, I was pointed to an author named "Amen" who has done a lot of research on this topic. I will keep you, dear reader, posted on what I find out. There is also some good to come out of this for someone's electronic addiction. When I asked our girl what she knew about ADHD, besides her favorite author having it, she said "My brain goes crazy".  I used this chance to explain why too much screen time was bad for her brain. I told her that when you want an overcaffeinated squirrel to calm down, you don't put him with another excited squirrel! She needs to be reminded a lot of how the video games affect her. Whether she really understood that remains to be seen but she has tried to abide by some therapeutic rules we've set up, so far, anyway.
   We gave her a list of what needs to get done first before screen time. Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The perfect squirrel

  I am going to go off my typical topics and basically whine, sob, complain and otherwise gripe. I got some bad news from my daughter's specialist.  Our brilliant, beautiful, and funny bunny has Adhd. In fact, she's lousy with it. This is hardly a surprise. I guess the label makes me sad. We are currently choosing to abstain from medication. I blame my husband's DNA. Nonetheless, this is the way God made her and I certainly don't love her any less. She will also not be doomed to a life of living in our basement, by any means.  The very fact that my spouse has managed just fine in his life so far is reason for hope.
   It was also a good thing that we went through the testing, expensive and exhausting though it was. I did get some tips on how to make our lives easier and learning about what areas our girl needs help with gives me some direction for research. Another good thing we learned was that our school is largely doing a good job helping her. This is also not a surprise since we moved here just for the school district before she was born.
   The only downside is the specialist recommended that we organize our girl's life as much as possible. This should be interesting. I don't even have my s**t together, how am I supposed to do it for someone else?! I never thought I would consider myself lucky to be unemployed.  It's going to take us a while to get our collective ducks in a row. Right now, it's more of a mosh pit. I am also somewhat grateful our house is small, although that has bugged me in the past.
   Of course the biggest thing to hang onto is that things could be worse. I was not told that she needed pantloads of medicine immediately, or worse yet, hospitalization.  There are also plenty of famous successful people with Adhd, thanks Google. Sooner or later, we will get things better organized, even if I haven't quite figured out how yet. My problem is that I'm a fine one for telling others to eat your elephant one bite at a time but when I have to do it I feel like I'm getting trampled by the herd!
  Thank you for sticking with me through this rant. The pity party is over, for now. It was sadly lacking tequila anyway. It's now time for me to put on my big girl bloomers and get on with it.

Monday, April 2, 2018

My behavior chart

   Those that know me know I'm typically late for everything. New Year's resolutions are no exception. We are already a few months into the new year and so far I've managed to establish one or two new "good habits" but it appears I could use some more help. It feels like I'm supporting an army of therapists between myself, my daughter, and the two of us as a couple. You'd think we'd be the most well adjusted people on the planet. The problem seems to be remembering to follow the advice we're given.
   I'm  guessing the primary problem is laziness. Routines are comfortable, after all, and changing them takes effort. It also takes presence of mind. Frequently, we either forget what we've been told or remember ten minutes before bed. So how do I remedy the problem? My daughter has a behavior chart, do we need one, too? Do I make it neon, blinking, and about the size of a manhole cover? Should I completely cover the television? Do we build in rewards?
   I need to prioritize before this gets too overwhelming. It would also help to get an idea of what exactly the grown ups are trying to pull off here. I may even have to do something crazy like involve my spouse.  I'm a big fan of lists, as long as I remember where I put them.  Maybe I could start small to medium say, with something bright and eye level on the refrigerator. If I went any bigger I would have to move our daughter's art gallery and God only knows where I'd find space for that.
   What are these lofty goals that are so vexing? Oddly enough, it's nothing we're not capable of so much as making time to do them. I would say our problem as a family is our ability to unplug from technology. I'm finding out that the grownups have issues as much as our daughter. Ironic, since yours truly is the harasser in chief for our daughter to take breaks from her majesty's screens! I may try to keep a little diary of my own time just out of curiosity to see how much I'm spending on Facebook, and my gem game. Should I consider a diet? Do I go completely insane and try to survive a whole day cold Turkey? What's next, a polar bear plunge? Strange to think I'm a member of the last generation to have grown up without technology being so ubiquitous as it is today.
   It doesn't take long to get used to these new toys though. Despite the fact that we survived up to this point without them, it's remembering how that gets fuzzy. It's a  lot like life before our daughter was born, I know we had one, but how was it, exactly? Seeing as how our lives do seem to revolve around our offspring, it does make me want to look at the fish pond she swims in as well. She is the child of a couple of dinosaurs. We remember 8 tracks, for you fellow relics.
   Most fellow parents are younger than we are, and it seems the technology addiction is everywhere. It has also invaded her school. We are being forced to sign up for apps to join activities now. Whatever happened to sending a note home? (Use recycled paper for all you tree lovers out there.)  I use my phone too much already.  I also don't need WiFi to read a piece of paper. Computer science is also a subject taught in fourth grade, and I believe she's had it for years now.
   This will be a struggle, but somehow I will find a way to get us all less plugged in and more connected - to each other. I'm open to suggestions, feel free to email me!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

And so it begins...

  Recently, my doctor discovered that I allegedly have the spine of a 112 year old person and is amazed I was not writhing on his floor in constant pain. My husband diagnosed me as being extremely Polish years ago, but I digress. All I was grousing about was what I thought was a minor annoyance that wasn't going away. It felt like I was having a hot flash down one side of my leg when I moved a certain way. He sat me down and explained the results of my MRI in English and then developed an expensive treatment plan. It was the most polite robbery I'd  ever been to.
  The "treatment plan" involved me handing over three copays a week for 8 weeks or until the new golf clubs are paid for. Seriously, I found this practitioner from the recommendations of knowledgeable friends so I can't call the guy a "sheister" by any means. I'm just more annoyed/depressed by the expense among other things. I was also informed that exercise was verboten for two weeks. I was not even allowed to take a walk.
   For most normal humans, this is not that big a deal. Yours truly lasted three days before the antsy pants set in.  Who, in their right mind, loves to exercise? How are running, tire flipping, or burpees anyone's definition of a good time?  Herein lies the rub, it's  not the activity itself so much as what I get out of it. I had no idea how much I've  come to rely on the stress relief it provides until I wasn't  able to do it.
  A few weeks back, our area got a ridiculous amount of rain. We had water in our basement and the room I take my workout class in was also flooded. It also happened to be the week the hormone fairy hit. O joy. Earth was getting on my goddamn nerves. When even I notice I'm extra cranky, it's bad. I even asked my ob about it, suspecting I may be on the verge of menopause. She assured me that if I were, the grumpiness was supposed to decrease, not increase. Is there anything I can do to help this?, I asked. Her response was, you guessed it, exercise! Oi fucking vey.
   I have now almost survived two weeks of doing not much. My sanity was questionable to begin with but now I think it's close to packing its bags and leaving altogether. Besides the stress relief, the exercise allowed me to keep some very old beasts in their cages. When I began the high intensity interval training, I was somewhat in shape. Several months in, however, I began to lose weight. This was not intentional so much as it was taken off my hide. This past summer, for the first time in I couldn't tell how many presidents, I wanted my picture taken in a bathing suit. I don't think this ever happened to me even in my twenties, when you would have wanted to see the picture, much less twenty five years later! Mind you, last summer's suit was "age appropriate" but stylish.
  I have to continuously remind myself that my idea of no exercise has so far meant sneaking off to a gym on a friend's membership and doing some pedaling and eliptical stuff. I maintain my what's left of my sanity for your protection. My "beasties" are also old, crazy, and have lousy eyesight. These creatures  have been in my brain since my late teens. They criticize, catastrophize and are completely unrealistic. "It's been two weeks, you must need your own zip code by now!" Do I look any different than I did two weeks ago?, of course not. Rational thought has nothing to do with them. They do nothing but generate annoying swamp gas bubbles in my brain.
   I would love to evict these tenants, any ideas?

Friday, March 2, 2018

The great pudding fight

    I frequently find myself overwhelmed by my own little personal vortex. We say a lot of things at our house like "one disaster at a time" and "eat your elephant one bite at a time" but I need stronger reminders. (I'm  talking the business end of a baseball bat`stronger reminders.') There is always going to be too much to do and not enough time to do it in, right? Will I be a stressed out retired person someday? I wouldn't put it past me.
   Accepting that some things are just not going to happen in any given day is not easy for me but some days, when the stars are aligned, it happens. Life goes on and we're all still alive. Therein lies the rub. Life goes on -way too goddamn fast for my taste and I have the unmitigated gaul to want to enjoy parts of it every day. Why not go for something  more realistic like invisibility  or sprouting wings?
  There was one day recently, for example when we, as a family we'e overscheduled. We had three doctor appointments and a school function in one day. I am not used to that much activity. That was also an anomaly for us and now I remember why. It felt like I was in full on survival mode. Having a day in which you can't  wait for bedtime is not much of a fun day.
   Once again, I'm  losing sight of the fact that I live with a fabulous example of my life goal. My daughter is blissfully unaware of anything remotely practical or responsible. One could argue that life is full of responsibility and you need to prepare your child to handle it. That is more or less true but how do you manage a balance of sorts when what I'd  really like to do is trade places?!
   I believe my observation is skewed. There is value in to do lists and I have no plans to abandon the minimum daily requirements of grown up bologna that must be dealt with but it may help to change how I go about my work. The first question I could ask myself is how would my daughter do this? Would she do it on one foot? Would she do it with heroic sound effects? Would she do it while singing the theme song to Captain Underpants? My money is on Underpants. Shoprite, the gas station, and even vacuuming would certainly be more interesting. It's also a question of maintenance. Allegedly it can take six weeks or longer to establish a new habit, but what about a new attitude?
   A theme song may be a bit much, especially for someone with a voice for accounting. I need something that fits me a little better but still includes some "stretching". I could improvise a cape, for example. (That wouldn't work for job interviews but maybe a casual Friday if I got hired.) Doing housework on one foot is probably an er visit waiting to happen so that's out.  I'm open to suggestions on this.
  It could also be that my to do list is too short. Wait, What??!!!
  Ok, bear with me, here. The issue is "the list" includes only work/necessary items. When I watch my girl try to do homework, she never stays on task for long. We`ve been trying to correct this but maybe she's  had it right all along, in a manner of speaking. What I'm  getting at is the idea of including fun things and treating them as necessary items. All work and no play, has made Jill not just dull, but a little pissy.
When I grow up, I want to be nine.
   So, dear reader, What does your list look like?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My bestie?

   Recently my daughter has been watching the movie "Captain Underpants." It's a great film, too. We really enjoy the music from it. It's a story about two best friends who pull pranks at school. Unfortunately, this got me thinking. Do I have a best friend? I used to when I was growing up. I also had another good friend in my singles group days. My daughter has one good friend in the neighborhood here. Currently though, I can't say that I have a friend I hang out with on a regular basis.
   There is one friend in "our circle" who comes close. We have a lot of fun together and she is incredibly easy to talk to, and drink with. She used to babysit our daughter and she does our yard sale with me every Spring.  I think the problem for me seems to be making time to make friends and trying to keep up the friendships I have. (All one or two of them!)
   I have a lot of small commitments during the week that take up time during the day. The problem is that before I know it, the day is gone. It's making the time for a text, or God forbid, a phone call, that seems to be my biggest issue. What's funny is, that my daughter took a game off of her tablet that I had been playing. I was disappointed at first, but now I realize that she did me a favor.  Those little games are great, but they can really eat some time. It's true what they say about writing things down. If you ever want to know where your time is going, try keeping a diary for a day or two.
The same is true for calories, but that's a whole separate discussion!
   It is true that when you have a family, your friends change. You seem to start hanging out with the parents of your kid's friends or other parents. It's clearly easier to relate and certainly easier to coordinate schedules. Best friends, or close friends, however, can be a bit different, I think. Individual outings can also be a lot tougher to manage, too.
   This brings me to the issue of parental guilt. You have a lot of nerve scheduling something that does not involve your child, don't you? My issue seems to be remembering that if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else, right? Nonsense, Superwoman can do anything! I should be able to do it all, shouldn't I? I really need to stop "shoulding" on myself. Why does it feel like being a full time mom doesn't entitle one to breaks that last longer than a cheesecake commercial?
   Not getting paid doesn't mean that I don't have a job. Funny thing is, it's an accepted fact that being a full time parent is the most important job you can have. The problem is that I need to be the one to accept it. This is no small task. It means valuing myself and my time. Where's my cape and phone booth? I would settle for a microscope to find the value I'm placing on myself.
   I have an opening for a friend and possible drinking buddy, any takers?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fnar b qs and other gatherings

   As of this writing it is about a week or so after the Superbowl and amazingly the Philadelphia Eagles were in it and won! We, as a family were lucky enough to have friends over to watch the game. I am far from a rabid football fan. I'm a fan of people bringing food to my house and cleaning up. Mostly I enjoy the commercials like everyone else and the cheap excuse to get our friends together and get the house in order.
   We also have a blast at these little events. You know you've had a great evening when you've been laughing so hard your stomach hurts at least once. It also gives us a chance to use the games that would otherwise collect dust in our basement. I am hopeful that eventually we can get the kids to put the devices down long enough to actually join us. I know, I've always been a dreamer.
   Another upside for me is the leftovers. Since we have a habit of making enough food to feed Zimbabwe when we having more than two people coming, I am guaranteed to not have to worry about dinner for the next few days. The downside is the plethora of junk food that comes to the house. Thankfully, once a month is just about enough for me to keep up my mood and not ruin my waistline completely.
   These gatherings for me are also a huge help in fighting the winter blahs. February,  March, and April were never my favorite months. Granted that is mostly because of tax season but also because I seem to be someone who needs something fun on my horizon, even if I have to put it there myself.  It's also a lucky thing for me that we have great friends willing to travel to our house.
   This is assuming, generally, that people aren't sick and the roads are passable. This year, oddly enough, the weather hasn't been too bad in terms of snow. While our neighborhood looks great snow covered, the white stuff was much more fun when I couldn't drive. It also never seems to be enough. My feeling is either bury me in the house for a few days or leave me the hell alone. Despite this year's flumageddon, we have escaped so far, largely unscathed.
  Basically, we sit around, eat, drink, and make fun of each other. Sometimes we even fit a game in. It's usually cards of some form. So, dear reader, how do you fight the winter blahs?