Just when I think things are settling down around here…

Reed has been doing so great at bedtime lately. We haven’t had any more incidents in a long time. We started a new sticker chart recently, with prizes scattered randomly throughout the chart. The ultimate payout is an expansion track pack for his train set. He was one sticker short of his first prize. I was sure we were home free for the week. So would anyone like to guess what he did? Huh? No takers, huh? Okay, I’ll just get on with it then.

He dumped out 13 pounds of sugar in Owen’s bedroom and then poured water over it. I had a brand new 10 pound bag of sugar in the cupboard and a nearly full 5 pound bag of powdered sugar. He poured them out all over Owen’s room, and then threw the packages out the window, as if that would somehow hide the evidence of his crime (he’s not exactly sneaky, now is he?). It took 6 moppings to get the stickiness of the floor. I had to disassemble Owen’s bed and drag the mattress outside to clean it. I’m still scrubbing sugar out of toys.

I was livid. I thought poor Heath was going to have a stroke. We came upstairs Saturday morning to find what looked like a blizzard in Owen’s bedroom (notice he never does this stuff in his own room where his own stuff will get messed up).

I didn’t even know what to do with him. We cancelled our “Daddy Adventure” for Sunday, and instead he sat around at Nana’s house doing nothing (still not much of a punishment but I really needed a break from him after that), while Owen and I went to the metropark and had a picnic without him.

 I was really starting to think we were getting a handle on this. I guess I was wrong.

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Downward Spiral

It’s always something around here. As I reported in my last post (a lifetime ago, I know, I know), Owen has a Chiari Malformation. We met with the neurosurgeon just after Thanksgiving, and he didn’t seem to concerned. Just to be safe, we pushed for a new MRI, and he agreed.  We got a call from the neurosurgeon a few days before Christmas and it was NOT the call I was hoping for. Owen needs surgery. The sooner, the better. He said that on average, Chiaris tend to be about 3mm. At that size, most patients don’t require surgery. Owen’s measured 15mm and is restricting the fluid around his brain. On top of that, they think he may have sleep apnea, so we have to do a sleep study before surgery.

How do you get used to the idea of your baby having brain surgery?

We interrupt your regularly scheduled autism

I was all ready to post yesterday about our lovely (albeit brief) vacation with the kids. About how they both loved camping, and we had a great time. And then we went to OT.

First, let me start by explaining that my dad gave us our car because he got hit by someone during a snowstorm last winter, and decided that he didn’t want to fix the damage. We have spent all year working on that car, a few things here, a few things there. We just got it finished about 3 weeks ago. It was completely fixed (except for needing a new paint job). For the first time since Reed was a baby, we had a really nice car (it’s a 99 Escort and now that it’s fixed up, it’s a really great little car).

So, this morning when I took Reed to his OT at Children’s, the valet guy I was following behind in the parking garage decided to back into a parking spot. Unfortunately, I was in front of the spot he wanted. He put the SUV he was parking into reverse, and floored it backward into my car without even looking. My car is a mess. It buckled the hood and broke the hood latch (so now it is bent in the middle and doesn’t stay closed). Because the SUV was so much taller than my car, it pretty much ruined the whole front of my car. I’m not sure yet if it did any damage mechanically, because Heath had to leave for work without getting to look at it real closely.

Then to make matters worse, the valet is trying to cover his own behind by saying that I pulled in behind him after he was already backing into the space, which is a total lie. I was already stopped behind him before he even put it into reverse. Why on earth would I pull in behind someone who is backing into a space? It doesn’t even make any sense. So now I have to wait until they can pull up the surveillance camera footage from the garage, and hope it caught what happened, otherwise they are probably going to try to get out of paying for the damage. And since we can’t afford full coverage, our insurance won’t fix our car. It will all come out of our (empty) pocket. Please pray that the camera caught what happened and shows that he was totally at fault. Otherwise, we’ll have to fight it out with the insurance of the people whose truck he was driving.

On top of all that, after Heath came to pick us up with the other car (affectionately known as “the car of death” because it’s not road worthy, and the wheel could fall off at any time), he went into the garage to look at the damage. While we were parked in front of the Escort, another valet person almost hit the Neon while backing into another spot WAY too fast! We (and they) are sooo lucky it was our car, and not us walking behind him when he did that. It’s a CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL for crying out loud! There are people walking to and from their cars with their kids all the time! I am beyond ticked off right now. It makes me want to sit in my car with a video camera for a few hours just to show everyone how they drive in that garage.

Ugh. Anybody want to trade lives for a few days? I need a vacation from mine.

Acceptance

Finally a post that’s not all about me feeling sorry for myself. In fact, I plan to gloat a bit, LOL.

My family has always tried to be supportive of our struggles with Reed. They are sympathetic, but I don’t think they really “got it” if you know what I mean (and I’m betting you do). Because grandparents often see a different side of our kids, they often have a false impression of what parenting these kids entails. Reed has always been good as gold at Papa and Nana’s. They never have any problems with him when he comes to visit. Because of this, Nana is always ready to offer me lots of parenting advice. Things like “You just have to be consistent.” and “Make him responsible for cleaning up after himself and he won’t want to make such a mess anymore.” Um, yeah. ‘Cause I obviously never thought of trying that.

After today, however, I think she finally gets it.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, Reed loves my grandparents and was disappointed when his spring break visit was canceled. So, now that Papa is feeling better, Reed was invited to spend the weekend. After a difficult evening with him on Thursday, in which I threatened to not let him go at all if he couldn’t get himself under control, he finally settled down and went to sleep. He had a great day at school on Friday, and I was optimistic that the worst of this week was behind us. I dropped him off after OT, with dire warnings of what would happen if I got any unsatisfactory reports. We ran through our daily script of “How are you going to behave?” “Good.” “How good?” “The best kid ever.” We run through this script every morning before school, and it seemed appropriate under the circumstances. Owen and I headed home for a peaceful night. And there was much rejoicing. I got a call a few hours later that I had somehow forgotten to pack his pajamas. Reed had begged her to take him home to get them, but she convinced him to wear some sweats. She further appeased him by calling me and asking that I drop some pj’s off the next day. I assured him I would bring them over the following day, and he was happy. Crisis averted. Problem solved. He went to bed without a problem. In fact, he was pretty good most of the day, only having a brief problem when asked to clean up his toys just before I dropped by with the pajamas. I had a talk with him, and reminded him that if he couldn’t listen to Papa and Nana, he would be coming home. He promised me he would be on his best behavior, and I left, not wanting to infringe on his special weekend any more than necessary. Then at dinnertime, I got another call from Nana. She sounded like she might burst into tears at any moment. She informed me that she would be bringing him home as soon as she gathered up his things. I apologized profusely for his behavior, but tried to point out that this is just how he gets some days, and there’s not much you can do about it. 45 minutes later, he came bounding into the house. Turns out that she had asked him to help clean up some toys so he could get a bath in before bedtime. He refused, and when she insisted, he started throwing things and screaming. He threw a shoe, which knocked a painting off the wall. While she was retrieving the painting, he ran into the kitchen, and swiped everything off the table. By some miracle, her favorite crystal vase didn’t break, but it could have been bad. That was the final straw. She told him that he would have to go home, and he laughed in her face and refused to put on his shoes. That’s when she called me.

I know it’s really petty of me, but part of me is laughing inside. For all her advise, for all her opinions that there was something I wasn’t doing right, she got to see one of his nuclear-grade meltdowns first-hand. I feel some subliminal “I told you so”s are in order.

Setbacks

It was all going so well. Apparently TOO well. Reed has been on his very best behavior, ever since Daddy announced the reservations to his favorite “Ohio hotel” as he calls it. He helped me pack everyone’s stuff. He rode peacefully the entire 2-hour drive there. He didn’t throw a fit when we announced that we would eat dinner before venturing into the waterpark. It was all going so well.

In fact, it went well for quite a while after that. He played nicely, waited patiently for his turn. I couldn’t have been prouder. And then we headed back to the room on Tuesday evening. We had just gotten back from dinner, and decided that it was too late to make another trip downstairs for the day, so we settled into the room to watch a little TV and hang out. The kids were playing quietly with cars on the other side of the room. Since Owen can operate the lever-style door handles on the hotel doors, we had to be sure to flip the sliding lock every time we came in. I knew I had done that when we came in, and therefore proceeded to ignore the repeated sounds of the door opening and closing, since I knew it was just Owen playing with the door, and it wouldn’t open more than 1/2″ anyway (now might be a good time to point out that there is a wall separating the 2 sections of the room, and therefor we couldn’t actually see the door from where we were sitting). So imagine my panic when Reed comes over to tell me that he has let his brother out of the room! Before I could even get to the door to search for him, there is a knock, and a man is standing out in the hallway with Owen. He had seen him wander into the hall, and wanted to return him. I thanked him profusely, mumbled some sort of explanation about him being able to reach the door, and rushed him inside. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night, what with the nightmares about losing Owen, or him accidentally wandering into the waterpark and drowning, or out the front doors into traffic.

Fast forward to last night. We have arrived home from our trip, and decide to make a run to Home Depot and Lowe’s to purchase items for our upcoming bathroom remodel. My grandmother kindly offers to watch the kids, while we borrow their truck to haul home our loot (including the new [woo hoo] whirlpool tub!). We return a few hours later to hear the praises of how well behaved both kids have been. I was so excited. Seriously, you have no idea. And then, as we’re standing by the door saying our goodbyes, I look over to see that he’s put a rubber ball in the toaster oven, and TURNED IT ON! There is smoke rising from her brand-new toaster oven. And he refuses to turn it off. He stands there cackling in that laugh that drives me completely insane. And.Doesn’t.Budge. My hands are full, and I can’t reach it. Heath’s hands are full, but he reaches over and pulls the plug anyway, before the house can catch fire. Ugh.

Fast forward again to this morning. I am on the phone with Heath. I turn to see what all the crinkling noises I’m hearing are, only to discover Reed winding his Daddy’s precious collection of 9mm movies around the family room. Double ugh.

I bought him a bribe today. I admit it. I just can’t take any more of this, and he doesn’t go back to school until Monday. I bought him a new package of Scooby Doo underwear, and he must earn them, between now and Monday morning. If he can behave himself until then, then he will have one cool little tush at school on Monday. Otherwise, they’re going back to the store. So there.

Crisis

My mother-in-law is in the hospital. After spending most of last night sitting around the Emergency Room, we really aren’t any more sure of what’s going on than we were before. After the doctors seem to have ruled out their initial best guess of a stroke, they have yet to offer a conclusive therory of what exactly is her problem. All we know for sure is that her oxygen level dropped dangerously low. She is in intensive care for now. I’ll keep you posted.

Sometimes denial pays off

Immediately after blogging about my beloved cat, I found him. Go figure. In a last-ditch effort to locate him, I went back to the area he spends the most time in and did one last check. I was sort of talking to myself when I asked “Whit, where the heck have you gone?” I was answered by a pathetic Mew. My first thought was that I was either hallucinating, or that I was hearing our other cat, Tess. So I called out again, “Whit? Where are you buddy?” Another Mew, decidedly less hallucinated, and definitely not the bitchy meow of Tess. I scrambled to locate the sound before he got tired of answering me, and finally tracked him down, sleeping inside a wall in the basement. So all is well, once again.

Sad

My cat has disappeared, and I’m afraid he won’t be coming back. He was the sweetest living creature I have ever known, and I am convinced he has gone away to die, because he couldn’t bear to hurt us by doing it here at home. He has been sick for a few weeks, and I was desperately trying to save up enough money to take him to the vet, but now he’s been missing for 3 days, so I’m feeling that I missed my chance.

For the past 2 weeks, he has remained in his new favorite spot in the basement, where it is nice and cool. Every night before bed, I would check in on him, and he would look up at me with his innocent little eyes and assure me that he was still here and doing alright. I forgot to check on him 2 nights ago, and fell asleep without a second thought. Last night, I went for my usual check-in, and he wasn’t there. I was immediately concerned, since I hadn’t seen him around, and assumed he was in his spot. Heath and I tore the house apart looking for him, and have found no evidence of him. I have no idea how or when he got out, but I am convinced he is no longer in the house. I am certain that we have checked every space in the house where a cat of his size could possibly hide (he was the Shaquille O’Neil of cats). And yet, I am completely in denial. I continue to check the same places over and over, hoping that by some miracle, he will be in one of them eventually.

This morning, I asked Reed if he had seen him, since he sometimes has a knack for finding Whit’s unusual hiding spots. Reed went on a similar quest to find his beloved pet, with whom he has been best buddies since birth (Reed’s, not Whit’s. The cat is older than Reed is.). After his search proved as fruitless as mine had the night before, I sat him down and explained that Whit had likely run away, and probably wouldn’t be coming back. He is also in denial, constantly suggesting new places he hadn’t looked yet, but none of them were spots I hadn’t already checked myself.

I feel like the lowest form of human today. I was entrusted with the care of a kind, caring, defenseless creature, and I let him suffer. It was not by choice, but that doesn’t make me feel any better right now. I let him down, and even in the face of this, he still wanted nothing more than to save me the heartache of watching him die. I want nothing more right now than to hold him and cuddle him and sob into his big furry head, but instead I sit here sobbing to myself, wondering what has become of my little friend. I’m too sad to care that I lost out on 2 jobs yesterday that I really wanted. Jobs that I was quite upset about until I discovered that Whit is missing. Now I’m glad that I don’t have to go off to work and put on a brave face today.

If you see a lovable black-and-white, cow-spotted cat that honestly believes himself to be a dog, please let me know. I’d like him back now, thank you very much.

A Day of Disappointments

I’m bummed today. I had 2 major disappointments today. First, we scheduled Heath’s Vasectomy. I am very sad about this. I am not ready to declare that we will never have any more kids. I realize that we can’t afford another baby right now, but I’m not ready to rule it out forever. But, Heath feels that 2 kids are enough, and I’m supporting that decision.

Second, I went to a local gym today to find out about membership, and discovered that I can’t afford it. I was really hoping that this gym would be something we could manage, because I really want to lose some of this baby weight. I can no longer convince myself that I’ll just get pregnant again and gain it all back anyway, since I won’t. I’m ready to return to myself, but can’t.

I’m too depressed to rant. I’ll vent twice as hard tomorrow, I promise.

Okay, I’ve done the Mommy thing. Can I quit now?

This day just gets more fun every minute. Reed has now broken out his bedroom window. It began several weeks ago, when he poked a large hole in the window screen with a screwdriver. Then he started tossing household items out into the yard through said hole. After about a week of this, the top of the screen mysteriously came loose from the frame (I didn’t see him actually push it out, so I’m not sure if it was intentional, or if it came apart on it’s own from him leaning against it, to see the carnage in the yard). Today was no exception. When his other efforts to wreak havoc on the household at bedtime were being ignored or flat-out thwarted, he resorted to evicting our stuff again. When my hairbrush went flying, I had had enough. I went into his room and locked the window. I thought that would help. Boy, was I wrong!

About an hour later, there is a loud banging noise from upstairs, followed by the unmistakable sound of a large quantity of breaking glass. Heath went up to investigate, and returned grim-faced. He’s broken his window by beating on it with a bottle from the recycling bin. Yay.

Can I be done now? I’ve done enough disciplining in my life to raise septuplets. Come to think of it, perhaps I should have Reed X-Rayed to be sure he doesn’t have a few siblings stashed in there somewhere. I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy. That’s a lovely condition which basically means that I got the morning sickness of every woman who’s ever been blessed enough not to suffer from it in all of history. After 9 months of daily medication, IV’s and just generally feeling shitty, Reed was born a week overdue, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds. Then my milk came in. The lactation consultant I spoke with on the phone asked me how many babies I’d had, when I told her that I’d just finished pumping 25 ounces of milk, and my breasts weren’t even beginning to soften. When I told her I’d given birth to a full term singleton, you could hear her eyes roll from a county away. She advised me not to pump unless I absolutely couldn’t stand it anymore (I couldn’t. My breasts were so full, it hurt to breathe), because I didn’t want to encourage the milk production to stay high. So I suffered. I suffered from mastitis, blocked ducts, and every other breast-related problem you can think of for the first 3 weeks until my boobs finally figured out that there was only one baby at this all-you-can-eat buffet.

3 days ago, he nearly set our house on fire. Apparently, he has figured out the stove controls. I heard him in the kitchen, and went up to investigate. By the time I was 1/2 way upstairs, I could hear the click,click,click,click of the stove trying to light. The whole kitchen smelled like gas (luckily I heard him up there and it was only running for a minute). He had lit one burner, and the other one is tricky to light, so it was just running the gas and the igniter, but hadn’t lit. There was a bunch of stuff sitting on top of the stove (I had been re-organizing the cupboard above the stove and had stopped to take a break). I’m just so glad none of it caught fire before I got up there. I shut the stove off, and grabbed the stuff off the top (burning my hand in the process).

Now this. I’m beginning to think I’ve had enough mothering for a while. Where do I file the paperwork for a substitute for a few weeks?

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