Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the tag “computer game”

It’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want too!!!!

With this year being as difficult as it has been, doing something I truly enjoy hasn’t been much of an option.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is planning something special and hosting parties for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally, we host big Christmas and Easter celebrations for our family of 17 every year with special extras like traditional Weinachts Teller and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunts, birthdays of course are also real big here, and I plan big too complete with banners, balloons, and birthday fairies. Then there are the smaller  holidays and events that I try to make fun and memorable, like New Years Eve where Leon gets to stay up late and bang pots and pans at midnight; Valentine’s Day where we decorate the windows and make heart cakes; St. Patty’s Day where Leon leaves out a decorated treasure box at night for the Leprechauns to fill with gold and greenery; the last day of school where we have a big get-together in our yard complete with wet and wild summer activities to welcome summer vacation; 4th of July BBQ, which Ron has been hosting for 20 + years; Halloween… etc… etc… etc..  .

But due to all my health issues this year, I just haven’t had it in me to make these special events happen, I even had to cancel Easter at the last minute this year because I was too, too sick to make it happen, and that is saying a lot. I was so incredibly disappointed in myself. And for as much as everyone reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal. It WAS a big deal to ME! I loooove hosting the holidays, it was a big letdown for me and I lost out on doing something that makes me happy doing it. Even the Leprechauns made a poor appearance this year because I just could not do it.

Leon always looks forward to the backyard party we have on the last day of school and I was not about to disappoint him or myself. I knew full well that I would pay for it in the end, and that it probably would end up being a bit too much for me, but there was no way I was not going to have our year end “Welcome Summer Party” for Leon and his friends (and for me and my friends too).

The invites went out, and the responses came in. As the date came closer I started to have some doubts. Every day has been a painful one for me at some point during the course of it. There was no reason to believe that this day was going to be any different. I wondered if I would make it through my own party without excusing myself to take a nap. I started begging Ron to take the day off so he could help me get through it (that was unfair of me I know).While he could not take the day off, he did go above and beyond in helping me turn this hoarders paradise back into a home.

Leon’s last day of school was a half day on June 25th. I spent the morning rushing around and breaking a sweat as I was working hard to get the yard ready for 20 + kids and 10 + moms; that I had absolutely no time to wallow in the pain.

It was a really great day, despite the threat of rain. The kids arrived with their moms and headed straight for the water slide, while us mom’s headed straight for the Coconut Pineapple Mohitos.

I didn’t get to sit in a chair for any good length of time with all the running around I had to choose to do. I had a bunch of fun summer activities planned.

While we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive, the kids jumped from pool to pool and discovered the big box of prefilled water squirters.

Once all the guests arrived we picked teams for the water balloon fight. The kids had a BLAST!

There where plenty of other activities for the kids as well.

Like jumping on the trampoline;

playing with Lego;

drawing with chalk;

 building a castle;

 huddling together in pop up tents;

and just all around having fun with good friends.

It was tons of work to put it all together and keep things rolling! By the time I finally able to really take a seat and relax; I was exhausted and in pain. The pricklies on my arms were feeling hot and hurtin, and my legs were heavy and aching pretty bad. As the party was winding down I was dreading the worst part of the party, and that is the clean up. All the work to get it together and only a few hours later it needs to all be broken down again. I was NOT up for it any more.

As luck would have it I have some really amazingly terrific friends!! Everyone just chipped in and helped put everything away in no time, despite my arguments to “just leave it”.  In a blink of an eye the pools were drained, the castle was boxed up, as was the Lego, the chairs were stacked by the garage and the dishes were done. I don’t know what I would have done without my good friends to help me.

And now here I am just days later and I am still paying for it. I may have spent the the last 2 days in bed, but it was definitely worth it to see this smiling face;

And hear him say “mom, thanks for inviting all my friends over and having a party; I had so much fun!”

Yup, it’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want to!

… Cause it’s worth it!

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Never Say Never…

On the weekends it can be hard to get Leon to spend time AWAY from his video games, but we try our best. He loves to draw, and will often spend time doing that while watching TV. It tends to add up to more screen time than Ron or I are comfortable with. But when the both of us are busy around the house trying to get things done; it is easier to just let him do his thing rather than have to stop what we are doing to make sure he is entertained and out of trouble 😉 .

This weekend we enjoyed the nice warm spring weather, and did manage to get him outdoors for a couple of hours on Saturday, but nothing engages his ADHD brain out there for more than a few minutes at a time. My guess is that there is just TOO MUCH going on around him that finding focus on just one thing is just not possible.

Sunday was beautiful too, but between my migraine and Ron’s aches and pains; none of us got out of the house. By late afternoon I was asleep in the bedroom with curtains drawn and a pillow on my head to drown out any sound or light. That left Ron to deal with Leon for the better part of the day. He actually managed to get Leon away from the screen machines, letting him know that he needed to find something else to do and it could not involve anything with a screen on it.

Leon was surprisingly compliant about it and grabbed a few books out of his room and began to read. Awesome!

He loves to read and likes all kinds of books; chapter books like Goosebumps, Choose Your Own Adventure Books like Journey Under the Sea, Graphic novels like Max Axiom Science Series, but mostly he like reference books like The Big Book of Knowledge from which he can learn all kinds of new and interesting facts. They are all great books!

After reading for a bit Leon brings in “The Big Book of Knowledge” to Ron; opened to pages 26 and 27

The Big Book of Knowledge – pages 26 & 27

 

He points out the passage pictured below and says “Umm, Dad? Is this True???” 

Ron reads it, and tells him, that yes it is true. To which Leon replies; “Sounds Gross!, I am NEVER going to do that!”

**Tee Hee – this kid cracks me up! **

Never say never kiddo… but do wait until you are at least 18 

…and IN LOVE!

Oh and USE A CONDOM!

I will not play with fire…I will not play with fire…I will no…

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Hoo Boy!! My worst fear is Leon becoming extra ordinarily attracted to fire! It satisfies the need for instant gratification and shows lack of impulse control. Fire is highly attractive to many with ADHD, like a moth to a flame, and just as dangerous.

Last night our little moth got caught up in the flame.

It was my fault completely and I take the blame and the shame that comes with it. I feel like a terrible, terrible mom for letting my guard down, especially since I should have known better.

I had received a beautiful candle from a good friend on Halloween, and I wanted to enjoy it. Being that Leon was contentedly occupied on his computer, I felt it was safe to light it in the living room, after all he was two whole rooms away. My huge mistake was not listening to my first instinct to blowing it out as soon as he went into the livingroom to watch TV. I had planned on doing just that, but he stopped me and very sweetly asked that I leave it on, because he liked the way it made the room feel. He asked me to trust him.

Ah, TRUST. My very mature nearly eight year old child wants me to trust him, I want to trust him, but not only is he a child but he is a child with ADHD. That is a hard one. I believe strongly in letting him develop his independence, so when he asks me to trust him, I want to show him that I believe in him, I want him to feel trusted. But because of his inability to control his impulses without the right parameters in place. Trust is not and should not be doled out unconditionally. Additionally trust is something that is earned and must be maintained. I believe that Leon’s ADHD adds a bit of difficulty to doing that.

He asked me to trust him. Had he earned that trust? The answer is yes. Had he maintained that trust thus far? Still yes. Had I made a huge error in going against my natural instinct to be extremely and overly cautious about trusting him with something like fire in the first place? That is a BIG HELL YEAH!

I let my guard down, that is not to excuse it though, I still own that the mistake was mine.

You see Leon is a very bright boy, he retains information extremely well. Once something has been taught to him, you can be sure he knows it!! But despite that fact, or the fact that he has been to numerous fire safety exhibits, or that he has been taught how to build and maintain a campfire properly and safely in Cub Scouts, as well as by his Dad and Grandpa; I for one have never been comfortable with the idea of a child; let alone my child, my ADHD child at that,  near a flame; campfire, candle, or otherwise. I know that any parent, or non-parent for that matter would feel the same. But the fact that I had to go through life without my father due to a fire, makes me just that much more hyper sensitive to this issue.

Leon has been around quite a few fires in his lifetime, at the campground and with the Cub Scouts. I have seen him get awfully close, but not because he was being careless (quite the opposite really), but because he was given permission too. Not by me, well not at first anyway, but by his Dad (or Grandpa) who felt more strongly that he could be trusted because he had learned all the right things to do as well as what not to do. And because they were watching him carefully. Something that I have just learned is not enough.

Despite my heart beating a mile a minute and my holding my breath every time Leon even neared a campfire; I myself began to let my guard down and trust him as the others did. In fact I even felt a bit of pride at how well he handled himself around fire and at how much he knew about fire safety and prevention.

It was that pride and a small sense of security in knowing that my son knew how dangerous fire has the potential of being, that allowed me to drop my guard and trust him when he asked me to leave the candle on.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!! What the hell was I thinking??? Seriously, I freak out when I find matches or other fire starter within his reach, but I agree to leave an open flame lit with him in the same room? WTF??

I agreed because, before doing so we went over the rules of fire safety, I could watch him and the flame from where I was sitting, and he was clearly advised that he would have to sit on the couch and not go anywhere near it!! I agreed because I hadn’t taken into account that it was already 7pm and his medication had already worn off. I agreed because I let my guard down.

HE HAS ADHD, DAMN IT! NEVER, NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!!

The result was not disastrous by any means, but it was very scary for all of us. One minute I had looked over to where he was and where the candle was and all was peaceful and the next minute I looked up and the whole candle jar was on fire. I ran over and once I had realized what had happened, I snapped. I started to yell and scream, demanding to know what he did (knowing full well what he had done) while trying to put the fire out in a panic. Ron ran into the room and managed to get it out.

Leon’s immediate response was to deny, deny, deny. To which i called him a liar. Ron put his hand on my shoulder to calm me and it worked. I then calmly told Leon that we were leaving the room for 5 minutes to let him think and when we returned he had better be prepared to tell the truth.

The Truth? He threw a kleenex on top of the flame to make it a little bit bigger.

His immediate consequence was to go to bed early, we told him that we would have to think of a pretty big consequence to match the seriousness of his actions and that we would discuss it in the morning. Before he left for bed he drew a picture of all his favorite things with a circle around them and a line diagonally across and handed it to me. He said “I really don’t want you to, but I think you should take away my favorite things for like a month or maybe 2 weeks”. We told him our decision would be made by morning.

This morning Ron and I informed him that his punishment included No Computer, No Wii, & No DS for 1 week, additionally he was required to complete a different written assignment on each day of his punishment, (today he wrote “I will not play with fire 10 times) and lastly his he has to go to bed 1/2 an hour earlier every night for 1 week.

We turned his drawing into a poster as a reminder. It is the one pictured below. We then got into the car and drove to the local Fire Station and he had a talk with one of the firemen there. I really hope this will make an impact on him. Leon suggested that tomorrow his written assignment should include making a map of our house and developing an emergency escape plan.

I am still very worried. I have been ever since the psychologist who evaluated him told me to be cautious and watch for signs of pyromania as he gets older, as it is common among kids with ADHD as severe as his is.

WHY DID I EVER LET MY GUARD DOWN?????

I now understand why my mom beat the living daylights out of me with a yard stick when I was caught playing with fire!

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11/10/10 EDITED TO ADD: Just to add some clarity to why I am/was so hard on myself and so stricken by this situation  (and to explain why my mom beat the crap out of me); – a few months before my 3rd birthday and just two weeks before my sister was born (2 months prematurely); my father died of smoke inhalation in a fire. The fire ignited after he had fallen asleep in his bed with a lit cigarette, and he was trapped in the apartment, and the smoke got to him before the firemen could.

  FIRE SAFETY IS A BIG DEAL TO US!

A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

Ooooh! Owwww! Ohhh!

I just spent almost an hour outside in the wet, cold, snow with a shovel in hand, breaking my already injured back and ignoring the stiffening of my joints and the labored breaths.

Yes!  Me…..outside…..in the snow! ……Can you believe it?

Now, I am soaked from head to toe!

I am chilled to the bone!

I am pooped! 

And I am HURTING!

Bad!!

Ah, the things we do for our children…

You see, I was not shoveling the walkway or clearing out our cars or anything constructive like that, I was trying to build a fort and make a snowman with Leon. Even though I already knew going in, that I would be paying for it, for days to come. 

We trudged our way through the snow, I shoveled up piles and piles for him to mold into whatever his little heart desired, I stooped down low rolling snow balls around hoping for a perfectly round boulder sized base for our snowman, and I got down on my hands and knees and helped him shape the walls of our fort.

Our fort was no where near as good as Daddy’s are. In fact it wasn’t as much of a fort, as it was a really thin three-sided lip of snow about as high as the curb. Okay so maybe it was a bit higher than that. Leon had to lie flat on his belly to be completely shielded. In other words it was a very poor excuse of a fort. And our snowman, weeeell he’s more of a snowblob with a too small red knit cap sitting on top. But it made Leon happy to be outside in the snow, even though his usual snow buddy could not be there. Alas Daddy was working. And I, …well I would have been very content to just sit around in my pajamas all day long.

Our morning did start out that way. Leon crawled into my bed after Daddy left for work wanting me to get up and make him breakfast. I readied myself to get up and get him off to school and then I remembered the 6:30am phone call that the school was closed due to the snow storm.

“No school today Leon, it’s a snow day, lemme sleep just a bit longer”

If you’ve read my previous post ADHD vs. Fibro you know what direction that could have headed, but didn’t.

I felt guilty. How do I tell my over-active and impulsive ADHD 7-year-old to just sit by and wait while I got some more shut-eye? So I did get out of bed, but I did not do much more than that.

Whaaat???, It was early and there was over a foot of snow outside! Do you know what that does to my Fibro?

Well, I did at least feed him. I gave him a bowl of dry cereal and even let him eat it in the livingroom while watching TV.

After patiently staring at the weather channel that I had put on, for about 20 minutes, he asked to play his DS game instead.

Being that I wanted to continue watching the weather report, I said sure without batting an eyelash, and settled in under my blanket on the sofa while he blipped and bleeped away at his game at my feet.

I ended up dozing off for a couple of hours… talk about bad mommy guilt.

So I had him put away his game for a bit and find something else to do. He started a couple of puzzles, played with his legos, and pulled out a book to read …40 minutes later he is bored again. And I am feeling guilty and just a bit lazy. C’mon it’s pajama day!

Leon was being so patient and so good for a kid cooped up in the house with his ole mom.

I pulled out some paper, scissors, and markers for him and put on a Disney movie. And he happily set out to color and snip away the day, while watching “Akeela and the Bee”.  

So far, so good. My evil pajama day plan was working! Mwaa-haa-haa!

I half read, and half watched the movie from the comfort of the couch. I figured the movie would kill a good two hours….

 Yeah sure, once he was done making his projects, he left the mess and sat in front of the window and just stared out at the snow falling.

When I asked what he was thinking, he said, “Well, I was thinking I want to go outside and play but I know you don’t feel good so I’ll just watch the snow fall”

Ugh! More Guilt. I have the greatest kid. Sure he can be bull-headed and oppositional at times, but he is also very sweet and sensitive.

I told him to go get his snow gear, we were going out! Normally it takes about 15 minutes every morning just to get him dressed for school, but not today he was ready in two minutes flat and ready to go. I on the other hand, was much slower. Poor Leon was just starting to lose his patience.

Being outside wasn’t that bad, …at first. But after a little while I had to sit down and take a few short breaks here and there. The more we worked the stiffer I got. And the kneeling in the snow did not help at all. I was wet and I was cold.

The worst thing about being in the snow with Fibro is that I get chilled to the bone. It literally feels like my bones turn to ice and start splintering from the inside out. The cold becomes the source of my pain.  This doesn’t happen every time, but because this has been such a harsh winter, my body hasn’t had a chance to catch up and restore itself fully between flare-ups.

I needed to get inside, but I could not just leave Leon outside by himself. We only have a front yard and it isn’t completely fenced in. Although truth be told, since he has been doing so well on the Concerta, I am not as concerned as I used to be about his impulses and distractions getting the better of him. My concern with leaving him alone had to do more with leaving him lonely (which often equates to “sad and bored” for him).

We made some calls and knocked on the neighbors door, hoping to find someone to come play in the yard with him. Unfortunately no one was interested or available. So I stayed outside a bit longer until my body just could not handle playing around in the snow anymore. My heart and mind was in it, but my body just said NO.

I gave him the option to stay out and play by himself or come in and play the Wii with me and I would even let him pick the game (ugh). He chose staying outside if I would stay by the window and watch.

I could not help feeling guilty as I watched him wonder around the yard by himself, looking for something ‘fun’ to do. The smile he had, had on his face while we were working on the fort together was gone. I felt guilt and SADNESS, for my lonely little boy.

This time I wasn’t just feeling guilty for being sick and unable to keep up with my child, but also for not having another child, a sibling for Leon to be his companion growing up. And although the decision not to have another child was not mine, I have come to realize it was probably the right decision. But at times like these it’s hard to swallow.

I just had to do something, my heart was breaking for him, but I had already pushed my body to the limit and I no longer could stand up straight. I decided to call my neighbor and asked if I could hire one of her middle school kids to come and help Leon finish building his snow fort. Unfortunately they had, had enough of the cold too and wanted to stay indoors. Oh well, I tried.

Soon after Leon decided he was coming in. Then something caught his eye, and he shouted, “Mom, look I think Lauren and Alex are coming to play with me!”. Sure enough the neighbor kids had a change of heart and were on their way to help build the fort after all. I told them I would pay them for being a mother’s helper.

The fort was beautifully made and Alex took some twigs and spelled out Leon’s name on it

Leon is all smiles again! And so am I.

And the really, really sweet part about it was Lauren and Alex said that they didn’t feel right taking money because Leon was their buddy and they had fun.

Now all I have to feel guilty about is not being able to go to tonight’s Boy Scout Blue & Gold Award Ceremony with Ron and Leon because I can’t even stand up without wincing in pain. 

A Mother’s Guilt is Never Done

On turning 40…..

This has been A GOOD month, a fun month. So much has gone on, I have so much to tell,

Firstly…

              NOW…

this-many

Funny huh? I can't take full credit though, I got the idea from a T-shirt, although that IS my real hand - LOL

 

 

 Besides turning 40, my niece turned 1. We had a wonderful Ladybug party for the little Love Bug here at my house.

I got my new computer! WoooHooo! Now I can make this site into more of a photoblog.

I got even more addicted to Facebook and passing “Notes”

I traded in the opportunity to get a new camera for my Big 4-0  for a weekend trip to Disney World on my birthday with my husband and son (sooo worth it – but still working on the camera).

Leon came back from our trip with the flu (we think) and had to miss 3 days of school (Ugh!!! I’ll be in the principle’s office soon enough.)

The monthended with me throwing myself a Narcissist’s 40th Birthday Party which was great fun! (Hey, I deserve to be Queen for a Day – or in this case a week or two or three) And the celebrations just keeps continuing.

 

I promise, I will go into our fantabulous trip to Disney in detail (and include our tale of woe which covers Leon getting sick) very soon!!! But right now I want to talk about my birthday. It is all about me after all!!!!

I have to say that this has been my bestest birthday ever!!! It even beat out my 25th Birthday which was up until now my bestest birthday ever. Ironically I celebrated that one for about two or three weeks too. My actual DOB falls on 2/21  but I would say I started celebrating it this year on 2/18 when my dear dear husband told me that I could go ahead and book Disney for the weekend if I wanted to use my birthday money towards that rather than towards a new camera. It was a hard decision given that I really, really NEED a new camera and I really, really wanted to go to Disney for my birthday, in the end I realized that I could have my cake and take a picture of it too, but I would just have to wait a bit longer for it to develop 😀 . Plus I am an immediate gratification type of girl (there’s that dang ADHD again). So we went to Disney from 2/20 to 2/22

Without going into too much detail about our trip now, I’ll just say it was nice to plan a trip to Disney that revolved completely around me, me, me! Of course I did consider Ron and Leon in my plans… but still even in doing that it was still about me, after all whatever makes my little one’s heart fill withjoy also fills my heart with joy. The planning fell into place and despite a few bumps while we were in Disney, I could not help but smile and think this is the bestest birthday ever the whole time we were there! And both Leon and Ron did everything in their power to make all three days ALL ABOUT ME (even when my poor little guy got so sick). I believed the hype so much that I even bought myself a little tiara in Disney to wear to my Pajama Party that I had invited the girlfriends who mean the most to me to. I even got caught up in the hype about the pajama party – I think it was at that point, when I bought the tiara that it became a Narcissist’s Birthday Party. Granted I was the one who hyped it in the first place but my friends certainly did help build the hype. As I stated in my previous post, my birthday wish not only included going to Disney World on my birthday but also to spend it with a small gathering of close friends, eating, drinking, and laughing the night away without spending a ton of cash.

My initial intentions of having a just a small get t0gether of 4 or 5 friends grew to about 11 or 12  friends. I realized that I wanted a fun ladies night in with the people who I feel a close or growing friendship with. Woman who have touched my life in a positive way at one point or another. I don’t neccesarily consider myself to have a lot of friends.  It can take a while for me to consider someone truly my friend. What can I say I don’t fall into friendship lightly – plus I kinda think that sometimes I just don’t generally like people 😉 – so for me to consider someone a friend they must be truly a genuine person. So while I may not have many friends, the friends I do have, fill my life with love and laughter and a genuine feeling of friendship and family. I could not think of any better way to celebrate ME and my 40th than with people who help make me who I am.

My close girlfriends are made up from different parts of my life and have all influenced me and become a part of me. I have known my closest and best friend for well over 25 years, we are so close that not only is she my best friend but we have become sisters by choice, she is my family. The only friend that I have known longer and felt just as close to as we’ve grown up together, is my actual sister by birth, whom I feel so close to, that she is not only my sister but also my best friend.  Another long time friendship is with someone I met when I started working for the airlines 20 years ago. We’ve worked together, traveled together, SCUBA dived together, and shared lots of laughs. We get together once a week to play games or watch movies. Then there are “my mommy friends”, a great group of  5 gal pals that came together from different but nearby towns and grew in friendship,  first by way of a mom’s yahoo group and then through the local Mother’s Center, because we all had the same thing in common, we were all first time moms looking to share our experienceswith other women who were going through the same things we ourselves were. We’ve all grown togetheras moms and as women over the last 3 to 4 years. And more recently I’ve been bonding with two women who started out as my neighbors and I am pleased to say have become good friends. I look forward to our friendship continuing to grow as we bond at the school bus stop over stories about one of our nutty neighbors, the PTA, how much the principle rubs us the wrong way, and on occasion a margarita or sangria (not at the bus stop of course). We are The Real Housewives of Blankity-blank Avenue & Blank-blank Dr :P.   …seriously you didn’t think I would give out my real street names. We watch out for each other’s kids and have get togethers for them and for us. And last but not least is someone whose company I have always enjoyed when our husband’s got togetherand we tagged along. I’ve always felt from the start that she is a genuine person and would make for a wonderful friend. Most recently she has come to my rescue more than once when the gremlins would attack. And for that, along with her friendship I am truly grateful. These are the woman who I invited to my Pajama Party on 2/28

My request of each of them was,  NO GIFTS!!!! Just indulge me in the whole Potluck – Pajama – Game Night– Party thing, by bringing a yummy appetizer, wearing pajamas, and be willing to play games. I was sad to see that not everyone could come in the end. The fact that my PMS hit that same day didn’t help when I started counting up all the cancellations. Let’s just say I was a little irrational and there were some hormonal tears and some mutterings about “nobody loves me, no one wants to come to my party” 😥 . But then people started showing up and I got over it. Besides those who could not make it all had very good reasons. I missed them and they missed a good party but I am sure we will make up for it.

We had a BLAST!!! The food was great. We had bacon wrapped scallops, stuffed mushrooms, brie & raspberry wrapped in filo, hummus, bruchetta, potato skins, shrimp and asparagus salad, taco dip, spinach dip and chips, brownies, and let’s not forget the CHOCOLATE FONDUE. Do you know how good Peeps are in fondue????? And then of course there was the Verdi (which I will have to admit I started early) and the Sangria!!!!(which became my drink of choice), regretfully I never did get to have a White Russian. Everyone came in their jamies and I of course wore my tiara with my favorite candy stripe PJ’s.

Me in my candy striped PJ's with Leon

Me in my candy striped PJ's with Leon

We played a game that I had put together called “You’re how old?”. Basically I printed out about 30 pictures of famous celebrities and everyone had to try to figure out if the person was older or younger than me. We also played “The Game of Things”, my new favorite game (although, apparently not everyone elses 🙄 ). I had another game that we were going to play called “How well do you know the Birthday Girl” It was a question and answer game about ME,of course, you know, to fit the Narcissist theme. But I guess I got a bit self-conscious when The Game of Things kinda went south. Don’t get me wrong it was alot of fun and the game did draw a lot of laughs (and snorts – there was lots of snorting!!) but I got the sense that not everyone was into it. I definitely had an awesome time and it definitely added to the fact that this has been my bestest birthday ever.  You know you had a good time when you go to bed giggling out loud to yourself. I am pretty sure everyone else had a pretty good time too. Apparently one of my friends spent the next morning giggling out loud to herself while blow drying her hair. Now that’s a sign of a good time 😆 

I did get gifts after all, although I really, really, did not want anyone to get me anything. The whole point was to have an inexpensive night out. Plus the best gift of all, that any of them could give me is totally free and I already have it from them. That gift is thier friendship! Although I am very thankful for the scanner that a few of the ladies chipped in for, the very nice tart warmer, the wine called “Mommy’s Time Out” (how cute is that!), the gorgeous orchid plant, and the invite for a night out. But I am most thankful for thier friendship.

I celebrated my birthday on the next night too, with my mother and sister. We went to a wonderful Hibachi restaurant called Wasabi. It was fantastic! Luckily the fact that I was starting to get sick did not get in the way of me enjoying the food or the company. Ron and Leon came too, of course and it was fun to watch Leon watching the chef do his thing. We had a really good time. Our family has had it’s ups and downs over the years but in my “old age” I have come to really appreciate them. My mom has been through so much in her life time and has sacrificed so much for my sister and I, I am very lucky to have her – despite our differences. And my sister, well I think we are coming full circle. We’ve always been there for one another and always will be. 

Next Sunday will be the last of my 40th birthday celebrations. We will be going to Ron’s parents house for a fun day of games and a birthday dinner. I look forward to going, we always have fun when his family gets together. I am very blessed to be a part of their family.

In the weeks leading up to my birthday I’ve done a lot of thinking about turning 40. I think everyone does when there is a milestone to celebrate (or for some people, mourn) . There seems to be this fear of turning forty that a lot of people have. I didn’t have that. I thought a lot about my life and where I am, and I am happy just being me. Granted I am not exactly where I thought I wanted to be but I am in a good place. I don’t own my house but I do have a great home, I don’t have 2 or 3 kids but I do have one very amazing son, I don’t have a high paying job that affords us a life of luxury but I do work from home making just enough to help keep up with the bills and still afford a few small extras. I like myself and I like where I am. I couldn’t always say that. I can honestly say that I am much happier now than I was 20 years ago. I have a home and a wonderful family and terrific friends! It’s good to be FORTY! It’s good to be me!

For me, turning forty has been a celebration of me!

1st comes January, then comes February

January’s Memorable Moments   

Leon really enjoyed making a car with his grandpa for his 1st ever Boy Scout Pinewood Derby, he came in second place in all but one race in which he came in first.  He already has ideas for next years derby car.   

  

              

 Leon got his Yellow Belt in Karate this month. He has been doing very well in karate. And despite fighting me on going 3 times a week he enjoys it once he is there.  
  
         

I am pretty proud of the fact that I have not faltered on my New Year’s Resolution to go to church again. We did miss one Sunday but that was because Leon had 103 fever. I am also pretty happy that Leon likes his new Sunday School class. I just gotta stop referring to it as Sunday ‘SCHOOL’. He is having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that he has to go to school on the weekend. HA!   

Also memorable, but not necessarily a good thing, in fact it’s a bad thing, is we are starting to feel the sting of our new medical insurance. We have an unbelivable high deductible of $2300. Between my fibromyalgia and  Leon’s ADHD we have already had to come up with an extra $440 for medication and a doctor’s visit this month alone. At minimum we will have to have at least $250 a month for medication alone on hand. YIKES!!!!!    

In store for February is:   

  • My gorgeous niece turns 1 on the 5th
  • I have the fun privilege of hosting her First Birthday in my home on the 15th
  • I turn 40 on the 21st
  • I hope to have my new computer up and running by the end of the month
  • and I am wishing for a new camera …. maybe for my birthday? we’ll see

Can’t wait…   

    

 

All Hail the DS!!!!

I used to be one of those people that said…

I’ll never do that with my kid!

Then I became a mom…

The lesson is, you really can’t predict what you will or won’t do until you are actually in that position or situation.

Here is one example:

I was never going to give my child a pacifier… my reason’s were my own. I believed it would interfere with breastfeeding or ruin his teeth,  I worried that he would get too attached and it would be too hard to get him to give it up, and I was afraid that I would abuse the power of the pacifier.

See how well that worked out:

Leon chillin' at the beach - 6 months old

Leon chillin' at the beach - 6 mon. old

Leon had breast milk till 7 months, his teeth are fine, he did get attached to it for a bit longer than I had originally planned – but so what, and yes – I did abuse the power of the pacifier.
Cranky day? = Put a plug in it.
Too loud at church, screaming in the grocery ailse? = Activate the mute button.
Not feeling good? = Here, the Schnully makes it all better!
The pacifier, pacified him, kept him quiet, and comforted him.
What more could a mom ask for?
Another example:
I was never… going to join the masses and get my child a handheld computer game, just so he could retreat into a corner and be consumed in his game and be all anti-social and stuff. It is hard enough to limit screen time between the TV and the computer. Why would I want to battle with one that can go anywhere, anytime?  The me I want to be, wants to limit screen time to under 2 hours a day. The me that I am… well, let’s just say it doesn’t always work out that way. We do limit his time, and we let him earn extra time occasionally, but there are plenty of times that the TV or computer was is used to keep him quiet, pacify him, and babysit him while I got  get stuff done around the house. I justified it with, we only let him watch carefully picked DVDs and shows with some educational value (ie.  Baby Bumble Bee Vocabulary Builder or shows like Dora the Explorer vs. the likes of Spongebob), heck he didn’t even see any commercials because we choose commercial free stations, and on the computer, he only played games that he could learn from. 
….Then I bought him his first handheld. It was a Leapster L-Max, an educational handheld computer learning system with game cartridges that can plug into the TV or be portable. For me the justification was, he is learning and we never let him take it anywhere except for on a plane ride.  I looved that thing, he really did learn from it. Annnnd maybe I did let him take it out every once in a while, say ….. to the doctors office, or while grocery shopping. 
 
Okay so it’s present day now…  give or take about a month- okay so I am actually talking about Nov ’08…..
Being almost 6 years old and in first grade, Leon has been exposed to alot more media now. We’ve started letting him watch more “bigger kid” shows on regular channels, exposing him to the wonderful world of commercials which he can recite word for word to me ( It’s quite embarrassing when we are shopping and he picks up a box of Always Pads and asks me if I know how absorbent they are?) In school, his friends discuss superheros and bad guys, Power Rangers, Spongebob, Ninja Turtles, weapons, etc… They mimic the characters they see on TV. They pretend to shoot and kill each other ( i just lovethat!=sarcasm). They watch movies during recess on rainy days that gave him nightmares. ( I LOOOVE Disney, but some of their movies are down right SCARY! – ever see “Snow White” or “Meet the Robinsons“?). They talk about their Nintendo DS and the games they play. Leon returns from every play datebegging for one. When we took him to Karate he plants himself next to the nearest zombie playing Mario Brothers or Spore Creatures until it was time for class to start.
And then there was the upcoming Disney World trip with a hyper-active, impulsive, ADHD child who could completely loose it if made to wait in really long lines. I decided to give in and get him a handheld that we could use to keep him occupied while on the long lines.  I wanted to get him the Leapfrog Didj. It’s a Leapfrog, it is compact, it is educational, and it has this awesome feature that allows the parent to plug the handheld into a computer and create custom questions in spelling and math to help the child study for next week’s test. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, I wouldn’t know, I tried to convince Leon to put the Didj on his wishlist. He was not having it. But “Mooooom, everyone else has a DS, and besides, I don’t even know how to play a Didj”. In the end Ron and I decided that maybe it was best to follow the herd and get him the DS after all. It was a decision in the favor of developing him socially as opposed to educationally.

Present Day…

Leon is very, very, happy with his DS. We use it as a reward for good behavior, and doing chores, we use it as leverage when we need him to comply with us, we use it to keep him occupied when we need to get stuff done, we use it soothe him after a rough day at school. Basically it is our new pacifier!  It keeps him pacified, keeps him quiet, and comforts him.

 What more can a mom ask for? Except to borrow it when he’s not using it.
All Hail The DS!
……. and now he wants an XBox and a Wii

It’s Grumpy Wednesday!!

I used to complain on Mondays, but now I complain on Wednesdays. 

What has changed? GAME NIGHT! 

 Ron, my hubby “GAMES” on Wednesdays now instead of Mondays.  Once a week he and “the guys” get together and game.  I feel bad for complaining and being grumpy about it, it’s a good outlet for him. He pretty much has been gaming for over 20 years now and he pretty much still games with the much of same friends for most of his life. How can I dismiss such strong friendships and camaraderie? (wait, is that spelled right?). I guess because I feel that he gets to play a lot more than I do. Not only does he get to have a game night once a week with the guys, but he spends a LOT of time playinggames on his computer. It’s one of the first things he does when he wakes up and one of the last things he does before bed (even on his game nights), and then there is a whole lot of “checking something” on the game in between. Meanwhile I get up and begin working immediately (my sister drops my infant niece with me for childcare at 7:30am). Between caring for Kiera and occasionally another child, I try to get things done around the house. I don’t usually get as much done as I’d like, because I have to take frequent breaks due to my Fibro. But even during my frequent and often short breaks I usually manage to try to get something done.  I feel like I am always working (or in pain, or recovering from pain) and there is always more work to do. When do I get to play? When do I ever get to leave the house for my own personal agenda without a kid attached to my hip, for that matter? When do I get to enjoy time with my husband. When do I get to play, and why does he always seem to find time to play even when much more important things need to get done?

WAIT! I want to stress something here. Ron is not the bad guy. He does do a HUGE amount of stuff around the house. He is a huge help! I often feel guilty about how much he has to do to make up for the slack that I just can’t do. BUT, sometimes I feel like he just a big kid who does not know when to prioritize his responsibilities. He will put off certain crucial things to play. His playing on the computer gets me grumpy, but I try and mostly succeed at holding my tongue, unless it is something crucial (which has been happening alot lately, I’ll admit). But it is his game night that really gets me grumpy. Mostly because it occurs in the evening right after work. which is just about the time that I just completely fizzle out. At 5pm, I am completely done. Pain racks my body, exhaustion sets in, I can’t think or concentrate anymore, my patience has worn thin, and I am holding on by a thread waiting out that last hour for the girls to get picked up by their moms, with a demanding, hyperactive, impulsive, 6 year old who is just coming off of his ADHD medication for the day till Ron comes home to rescue me.

In all honesty it isn’t always like this I do occasionally have my good days. However certain times of the year (like wintertime) the good days get fewer and fewer. So game nights really suck right now because on game nights, Ron leaves for work in the morning and doesn’t come home till after midnight.

 Just as a clarification, game night with the boys is not a night out playing poker, it’s roll-playing games (RPG), you know, like Dungeons & Dragons. That’s how I clarify it to my non-geek friends anyway. Not that there is anything wrong with being a geek. Ron is a big ol’ geek, and I love him for that. I happen to like geeks,  a lot.  

I like this definition from Wikipedia: A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance. 

Now, games like D & D make many people (non-geeks) think of a bunch of 13 year adolescent boys sitting around throwing dice and casting spells and battling imaginary wizards and gnomes or something like that, at least that used to be my take on it, before Ron. Although there is still a part of me that still sometimes thinks it is a game for adolescent boys (and girls), I have learned to respect it more. While I haven’t actually participated in a game myself, nor do I ever think I want to, I have sat in on a few games or at least sat near a few games. It is very interesting to listen to all the imaginative storytelling that comes out of it, it is very strategic, and quite intelligent. That is partly why I could never play – I would never be able to wrap my mind around all of it. It takes a certain kind of intelligence to play these games. I think they bring out great imagination and passion in the people that play them. I actually kinda admire that.  Now, with all that said, I still get grumpy about his “game night”.

Game night on Mondays made me grumpy because Mondays for me, in general are just bad. It’s the start of my week and either I just over did it on the weekend because that is the only time I can really get things done and I am having a bad Fibro flare-up as a result or I was able to take it easy over the weekend but now I have to get not just me but everyone else back to a normal weekday schedule.  Mondays also made me grumpy because at least once a month I would ask Ron to skip the game so we could attend the CHADD parent support group and lecture which takes place every 3rd Monday of the month. He would get annoyed at me anytime I asked him to skip his one night out with the guys. Which in turn not just made me grumpy because I knew what his response was going to be but it also pissed me off. This is our child we are talking about, we go to this meeting for him and for us as a family, besides it’s just once a month. I usually get some grumbling about how he is expected and people rely on him to be there blah, blah, blah… So!? I am relying on you too. To do the right thing for our family. We NEED this, for us, for our ADHD son, for our family. Priorities, remember?!?!?   Then there are the holidays and other random events that may make him miss a game or two. Oh, I don’t know like going to Disney and family birthdays and get together over the holidays, etc.

So for 2009 after missing over a month of game nights in a row due to all the fore mentioned, he asked the guys to change game night to Wednesdays. This way, no arguments about choosing to play a game over doing something important for our family. And in general Wednesdays are a better day/night for me than the dreaded Monday.

Great compromise right? Well it should be. And hopefully it will be, but not today. Today is GRUMPY WEDNESDAY!   

…awww  c’mon it is below freezing here in New York, do you know how much I am hurting right now? My bones feel like they are about to shatter, and I am soo exhausted right now. It is going to be a very loooong night tonight. And I am grumpy about it.

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