Monday, February 16, 2009

Long Overdue

14 months - February 2009

A lot has been happening lately on all fronts, and an update is long overdue. So much time has passed since my last post that I don't know where to begin, but I'll give it my best college effort.

We just returned today from L.A., where we visited H's sisters and had one night to ourselves. It was kind of a trial run of leaving Jellybean overnight with someone else, and he did pretty well. We have a few couples who we share babysitting with for a few hours at a time for small dates, but it's nice to know that the world won't come crashing down if we want to go away for a few days.

Jellybean is changing so much. He is finally walking, and his favorite thing is to push his stroller around. My mom also got him a shopping cart for his birthday, and he loves to throw the plastic items out of the cart and then push it all over our living room. I'm getting a good glimpse of his personality. He can be very sweet and charming, and absolutely LOVES other kids. The last time I took him to the doctor, there was this toy in the waiting room that he wanted to play with - it was a large sized cube with different activities and beads on each side. This one little girl was being a brat and would block JB from playing with any part of the cube. Finally, he went up behind her and grabbed her shirt. I thought for certain that he would pull her down in order to get to the cube. Instead, he laid his head against her back to give her a hug. She looked at him like he was crazy and ran off to her mother, at which point Jellybean finally was able to play with the cube. As sweet as he is, he has quite a temper. When he's angry, it's usually because he wants something I won't let him have, or I take something away from him that he wasn't supposed to grab in the first place. When this happens, he throws himself on the floor, stiffens his body and his fists, and screams. Then he gets even more mad that he's hurt himself, and looks at me with huge eyes and yells "OWWW!", like it was my fault he got hurt. I have to hide my laughter because I'm still trying to figure out the best way to nip this in the bud. I've tried ignoring his behavior, and that does not decrease his fits. I try to say "no temper" while looking straight into his eyes and shaking my head "no", and that doesn't work. The only thing that sort-of works is when I look at him and say "no, that's not okay" in a very serious voice, and then distract him with something else. He is very curious about things, and points at a lot of different items and looks at me expectantly. He says a handful of words, but understands a lot more than he can express. I look forward to each day to see what new thing he will learn.

On the work front, I feel fortunate to still have a job, especially with the horrendous budget deficits in California. I've been a speech therapist for 10 years and this is the first time that I am worried about my job for next year. I got a letter from HR that basically says my position is not guaranteed for next year. I have mixed feelings - I've never been laid off before, but it wouldn't be horrible. I love the school I'm at, even though my caseload his high. I see about 47 kids in 3 days, which is too high. However, the cases are not as difficult as what I've been used to in the past. Even my two "high profile" families are kittens compared to the parents I've worked with previously. A bonus is that the staff members are not as cliquish as other schools I've been at, and people seem to be genuinely grateful for the services I provide. It sounds basic, but it just doesn't always happen, especially at high SES schools.

On the personal front, I have goals of becoming more organized (I currently cannot see my kitchen table because of all the stuff piled on it), and I'd like to lose weight. I was watching Oprah and Bob Green was on there talking about the underlying reasons why people are overweight. I thought about it for a while, and I thought it was hogwash. The reason why I'm overweight is because I'm lazy and unmotivated at this particular point in my life. It doesn't need to be more complicated than that. Also, different people have either mentioned my weight directly to me, or have hinted about it, both of which piss me off. My major personality flaw is that when someone pushes me, I push back. It's almost an instinct for me. So some people go through life pushing others to do things, and it works for some. But not for me. I have to want it, and it won't happen any other way. On a positive note, I'm starting to pick up knitting and quilting again, which keeps me busy when Jellybean goes to bed. Also, I go walking with a friend on one or two weeknights, and she's actually able to keep a decent pace. Baby steps.


Blogger Carrie said...

Aw, Jellybean is GORGEOUS. Would love to see him again.
I doubt there's anything you can do to stop tantrums. Let me know if you find something, though. Some people say The Happiest Toddler on the Block works, but it didn't much work for me. Maybe I didn't try enough.
Pebbles would be the kid blocking the toy from the other kids. She's terrible that way -- very bossy, which is hilarious coming from a little sister who weighs maybe 20 pounds. But she does also walk up to kids and hand out the hugs and kisses. What can I say, she's an unpredictable dame.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Carrie - Thanks - we're partial to JB. :-P We're trying to figure out whether to come over in spring or in fall. I think we're leaning towards fall so we can see your new little one. As far as JB's tantrums, I'll keep you posted if I find a cure, but I'm not holding my breath. I am looking forward to seeing Nutmeg and Pebbles again - it's been way too long. I love the latest pics from Pebbles' birthday.

7:25 PM  
Blogger SME said...

Glad to see ya back! JB sounds like a really smooth character already - I'll bet he'll start using his charms instead of tantrums before long. ;D

If you're seeing 47 kids in a 3-day period and raising a little one, I would NOT use the words "lazy" or "unmotivated" to describe you. It takes all my willpower to drag myself to the gym a few times a week, and I don't have any such excuses!

I saw a very strange infomercial the other day: "Your Baby Can Read". Supposedly flashcards and a special system had kids as young as 16 months reading two- and three-syllable words. Is this baloney? 'Cause it certainly looked like it.

10:13 PM  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Wow he's walking already.. Where has time went.. He is gorgeous though. I hated when kids did that to my girls. they would just come sit back with me until the other kid moved.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

SME - I'm skeptical of any program that teaches a child to read that young. Maybe some kids are gifted and do learn that young, but that's definitely not the norm. Developmentally, they have other fish to fry at 16 months of age.

Tweety - We'll see what happens as JB gets older. I hope he stays as sweet as he is, though. Hope your girls are doing well!

5:09 AM  
Blogger SME said...

That's kinda what I figured - Not unheard of, but not the norm because there are other things going on that would prevent word-recognition from being a priority.

8:50 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

My cure for tantrums won't work until around age 2. I accidentally hit upon this cure with SME, so I deliberately tried it on Z. It only took ONE time for both of them.
When they were in the midst of a tantrum, I stood in front of them, started stomping my feet, flailing my arms, and shrieking the same words they were using. They stopped, stared at me in disbelief, then started giggling-"You look funny Mommy" I told them that's how they look when they have a tantrum.

That was the end of it, until...SME became a tempermental teen girl and prolific door slammer.

I think JB will have more success in getting his way by using his charm and flashing those beautiful eyes. ;)

12:42 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

SME - I guess I would wish for a kiddo to be well rounded. What use is reading, for instance, if they can't get along with others? I think that being a speech therapist makes me pay attention more to JB's social skills. I see so many kids in school who are academically average or above, but they have no friends. Guess what their parents are worried about? I just don't understand the academic push at younger and younger ages.

TSHS - Ha, ha - even the best of kids can slam doors like no one's business. I remember as a teenager slamming the door against the wall and putting a hole in the drywall. I had to work hard to pay for the repairs, so that was the last time I did that. As JB ages, I wonder how his temper will play out. I see how K is (who is Z's age) right now and I'm a bit worried for when he's an adult. He doesn't have long to pull it together, so we'll see what happens.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

It will all work out--yeah, easy for me to say--but it will. You rock! :)

7:50 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Michael - Thanks for the encouragement. I know things will be fine - they usually are. :-)

7:20 PM  
Blogger Bert said...

Hooray for the update! Missed you. Jellybean looks SO cute in that photo. And he seems like a real gem of a person, too. :)

5:06 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Bert - Thanks! Now if I can just keep out of the writer's block rut. I don't know if it's that or just that updating my blog is the last thing I do when I get a free moment. :-P

9:49 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

OMG. If anyone, I hope you don't get laid off. A speech therapist changed my entire life (for the better). I think I told you that story at least once.

As for JB, good luck. Every kid is so much different and what works with one won't necessarily work with another.

9:39 PM  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Happy Easter guys and hope JB enjoyed his first Easter hunt with help of course...LOL..

3:57 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

ZS - Luckily it seems that my job is secure next year. I remember you mentioning speech therapy when you were younger. I'm glad that it helped you - it doesn't always. I'm struggling right now with the expectations from parents that I will "fix" their kids, especially the ones with autism. /sigh

Tweety - Happy belated Easter! We took JB on an egg hunt, and it was not happening. First off, he didn't understand what to do. Secondly, there were a ton of pushy parents there, and I don't do well being pushed around. Third off, he's too young to care, thank goodness. So we left the egg hunt before it started, and bought him a balloon that they were selling, and he was happy with that. Ohhh... to be happy with simple things. :-)

9:47 AM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Yes, major cuts next door in California! Good to see you still working and nice to stop by!

1:12 PM  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Ok its time for a new post and new photo of the little tyke.. LOL.. I know you are busy but at least a photo of him for us to go goo goo at for now..

1:57 AM  

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