Disrupted sleep leads to a hard topic

I’m drifting off to sleep when I feel something jostling my arm. A soft voice whispering but I can’t make it out. I want to sleep. The jerky nudging continues until I can’t ignore it anymore and my eyes adjust to see the hazy outline of Liam bending over me, loud whispering something I still can’t hear. The words are lost but I can hear the urgency in his voice, a mother’s fine-tuned sense of when something is wrong with your kid.

This is the third time over the past week we’ve been through this. I urge him to tell me louder what’s the matter since I’ve taken my hearing aids off for the night and sound is like an underwater cacophony to me without them. He tells me in a louder voice, right next to my ear, he can’t fall asleep. He’s ten and five feet tall, nearly my height, practically adult sized but he wants to get in bed with us. I try to dissuade him telling him he’ll sleep better in his own bed, knowing I’ll sleep better if he’s in his own bed.

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Halloween regret

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I wore my pajamas to work yesterday. Easiest costume ever. The coziness of flannel, the soft fur lining of slippers pressed against my sockless feet, the pure comfort of it. Who doesn’t dream of wearing pajamas to work? I sprayed my hair into a rat’s nest (it really didn’t need much help), threw a roller in the back of my hair and was at work in record time. And then I realized I had a meeting with several managers and a couple VP’s and I instantly regretted my decision.

I was one of the first to arrive at the meeting first thing that morning and one of the VP’s looked at me through squinted, questioning eyes and I said, yes, I’m wearing my pajamas. In a teasing, scolding tone, she said she’d be sending her managers home if they came to work dressed like that. My boss came in shortly after and sat nearby, glanced my way and then inched closer to whisper I’d left a roller in my hair. I said, I know, I’m wearing my pajamas and got another quizzical look. It’s Halloween, I explained. Ah, enlightenment dawned and there were smiles and jokes about how I’d pulled one over on them.

I should probably explain pajamas are the opposite of my working MO. I tend to take great care with my appearance when I’m leaving the house, even to run to the grocery store. On days when I work from home, I shower, dress, put on make-up and jewelry as though I’m going into the office. It just makes me feel better and I think I do better work when I’m “suited up”. So this Halloween “costume”, while at first so enticing, had me wanting to run home by noon to shower, fix my hair and put on real clothes.

The end of the day couldn’t come fast enough. I would have enough time to shower and change before picking my son up from school so we could go to his friend’s neighborhood for trick or treating.  When I got to school, he was dressed in his costume with his friends and they talked me into letting him go with them so I told the mom I’d meet them at the appointed house at 6:00 where there was a pre-trick or treating party. A pre-trick or treating party?!

I arrived well before everyone else and sat in my car because a) I didn’t have a kid and b) I didn’t know the hosts of the party. Minutes passed and I worried I had the wrong house and texted to make sure I was in the right spot. They assured me they were on their way and soon pulled in and the kids jumped out of the car ready to go. I had tried to talk Liam out of the costume he chose. I knew he’d be picked on but he wouldn’t be deterred.

I think it turned out to be a disappointing night for him. As I suspected, he was picked on for the costume and said someone had actually hit him. He quickly discarded the mask and the boys ran through the neighborhood like their life depended on it, picking up treats along the way. As the night wound down and he had one more confrontation with a girl who wanted to spray his $100 jacket with shaving cream before I intervened, he said he’d learned his lesson about his costume choice which will remain a mystery here.

We had a quiet ride home as we both mulled over our poor choice of costumes this Halloween.

 

Offline living

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Oh my, it’s been ages! We are officially at summer’s halfway point (at least in my mind) and I should update you on what’s going on here. I don’t know if you remember, but back in May, I decided the family needed a technology break (including me).  I have posted just a handful of blogs since that time because you know, I’m on a break which means everything is happening offline, including writing.

The break from technology has been, overall, a mostly fabulous experience. You know how sometimes you don’t know how stressed out you are until you are sitting on a beach with sand filtering through your toes and then you dig in a little deeper to get to the cool, wet sand and you let out a huge sigh? That’s kind of what it’s been like. To know that you are not going to be fighting with your kid about when to turn off their iPad and go do something outside like you did when you were a kid is just, well, pretty amazing.

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Status update

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A few years ago I ran into an acquaintance at an event. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years but we carried on a conversation as though we’d talked just last week. It went something like this. How was your vacation? The pictures looked fabulous! You kids are getting so big. Congratulations on your new job!

As we walked away my husband remarked that he didn’t know we’d kept in touch. Facebook, I explained. The highlight reel of our lives. Carefully curated for the highest yield of likes. I had to admit, it was weird, the exchange this woman and I had. How did life get to the point that I was hyper aware of what near-stranger/acquaintances were up to? How much unnecessary information was taking up valuable real estate in my brain?

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The technology reset continues

“What can I do when we get home?” was the greeting I received when I picked my son up from school yesterday. I gently reminded him we had an appointment with the therapist, followed by an audible groan of displeasure. Why and ugh were uttered and I was right there with him. I didn’t want to go any more than he did. With the rain beating down, I wanted to snuggle on the couch with tea and a book and a movie for him. Not an option.

Since last September we’ve seen R, the therapist, about a half dozen times and the maxresdefaultappointments are usually scheduled on the heels of a major meltdown as this one was. That was about three weeks ago as he experienced a a breakdown over a fidget spinner and a birthday party I didn’t end up letting him attend.  It’s when I finally took his iPad and Roblox away. Roblox could be a post all it’s own and has been a major source of conflict for L with his peers over the past few months. I didn’t totally get what it was when he first started playing but knew there is a social aspect and a multi-player game facet that included things like hide and seek and role playing games which he gravitates toward. I don’t feel it’s a healthy environment for him.

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Technology Detox

In my previous post, I hinted at the difficulties I’ve had with parenting a child who is so much different than I was growing up. He is headstrong. I am easy going. He is argumentative and I go with the flow. He is kind and passionate but sometimes a little (lot!) more than I can handle. And I don’t do this alone because my husband (J) is right in the trenches with me but we don’t approach it from the same perspective. So anything I write about the experience is wholly from my perspective which is why I use the word I a lot.

I also feel I am more engaged in finding solutions to the difficulties we experience with our son (L). Is this unusual in family dynamics? I don’t think so. It does make getting to the root of a problem that much harder if you’re not both on the same page. We have traveled a long somewhat difficult path over the last few months with a major melt-down at the end of last summer really being the spark that started the fire. We looked to a family counselor to help us along and we’ve made slow progress in areas only to be back at square one time after time.

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Parenting a sensitive, intense child

Like the chronic dieter eager to try every conceivable plan to help reign in their eating habits, so too have I sampled many different parenting approaches with my now ten year old son. From the time he was a highly active infant, I found myself paging through book after book to try to find the answers to parenting, starting with Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block. I didn’t really understand if this was they way all kids were or if my kid was just a little different.

Looking back, I can see he was a pretty intense kid. He walked early and from there he was off like a bolt of lightening. He climbed anything that went up and there isn’t to this day a banister that hasn’t seen his backside. My default is to tell him no. Don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself. Don’t do that, your not modeling good behavior for the younger kids. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that.

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