Monday, June 13, 2011

Beginning to Commence

There is a good reason they call these ceremonies "commencement exercises." Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning. ~Orrin Hatch

This past weekend was a mixed bag of emotions for me as I watched my first-born graduate from high school. I was excited and happy to visit my family and see Kyle embark on the next phase of his life. I was sad to realize how quickly these years have flown by, and had regrets about the choices I've made with regards to Kyle's upbringing. Mostly, I breathed a huge sigh at the end of this eventful weekend - a sigh that ended with a sense of worry and nervousness.

The weekend started with watching my family interact with my husband and two younger children. Also, I had a sense of satisfaction watching Kyle bond with his younger brother and sister. It melts my heart when Kyle holds Jane in his arms and she is a giggly wiggly ball of energy to have her big brother's undivided attention. Or to watch my dad and my aunt talk to Alex and read with him and laugh at the funny things he says and does. I even got to spend time with my niece Gabbie, who is only four days older than Jane. I love to see the new things she's learned to do since I saw her last in March.

Getting prepared for Kyle's graduation, I was a bundle of nerves. My mind kept replaying various events over the years - different milestones that Kyle has reached along the path of his life. As this is happening, I realize how old I feel, but am grateful that I have the ability to have this journey with my two younger children. At Kyle's graduation ceremony, I felt such an incredible sense of relief not unlike how I felt when I gave birth to him. My immediate thought was "thank God that's over with", followed by the realization that what just happened was the easy part when compared to what lies ahead. As I sat and listened to students speak about "putting forth your best" and "seizing every opportunity", I could not help but feel regret and sadness that Kyle has not done those things over the past four years. It made me wonder what is in store for him. I have these visions of what I would like his life to be like, but none of that really matters. What matters most is the road he chooses for himself.

In his graduation card, I wrote to Kyle that "the future is what you make of it", which I wholeheartedly believe. At his graduation party, everyone said their wish for Kyle - mostly that he lives a happy and healthy life. My wish for him was that he keeps learning new things and to challenge himself along the way. But I realize this is what I want him to do, not necessarily what he wants for himself. I have tried to come to grips with the fact that my wants for his future and what Kyle wants are not the same things. Acceptance of this is yet to come.

As we returned home from our visit, I was dead tired, and I felt like my mind could not handle even simple conversation or thoughts. It was too full with events from this past weekend mixed with sleep deprivation. But this morning is a new day - a new beginning for Kyle and for me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life Lessons

How young is too young to teach your child about life lessons? I take Jellybean to the play area at our local mall at least once a week during the summer. It's a great place for him to play and get out some energy while I have my coffee. I've had the opportunity to observe JB and see parts of his personality play out. He's very persistent about getting what he wants, but he's not a bully. Also, he loves to play with other kids and follow what they do. He is starting to hit and kick on an inconsistent basis, so he's had to have a few time outs. Luckily, he uses "nice hands and feet" after his timeout.

This past week, while we were at the play area, there was another boy there who was about 4 years old. He had golden blond curls and the face of an angel. That's where the comparison to anything angelic ends. The boy was very rambunctious and aggressive to every child he came in contact with, including JB. JB was on the play bridge and was waiting his turn to go down the slide area, which *devil boy was splayed out on. The boy turned over on his back and used his body to push JB off of the play structure. I saw the whole thing happening and I just sat and watched. A few reasons I waited to see what would happen is because 1) the play structure is very well padded and 2) I can't bail JB out every time he encounters an aggressive kid. I never got a chance to see what would happen because another parent verbally admonished devil boy and then picked up JB and removed him from the play structure without my permission. Devil boy acted like he did not hear anything, and he chummed up with an older boy, at which point his behaviors became progressively worse. At this point, we just left.

Yes, JB is only 20 months old, but really, what would have been the harm in letting the other boy push him? If I rescue him every time, how will he ever learn how to deal with other personality types? How young is too young for these lessons? I'm not really sure what the answer is.

*I do not use the term "devil boy" lightly. I've worked with kids with very severe behaviors - blowing snot on me, kicking, hitting me in the head with a cast, biting, scratching my arms (which is how I got most of my arm scars), so my yardstick for "bad" is not the norm.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ups and Downs

Summer with Jellybean has had its ups and downs so far. On Sunday, he turns 19 months, which doesn't seem possible. One of the "ups" has been to take JB on day trips and see his reactions. We went to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago with some friends and the high point of my day was watching the little guy ride on rides like big kids do. I think I had more fun watching him than he did on the rides. He only had me to help him stay on the carousel. The rest of the attractions he rode by himself - he was so brave! I expected a few different things - that he would scream once I was outside the gate, that he would try to stand up on the ride, or that he would somehow figure out how to undo his safety belt and fall. Thankfully none of these happened. One of the downs was attempting to spend time on the beach. JB did not want to put his bare feet in the sand, so it was difficult to get all of our gear to that perfect spot where we were close to the water, but far enough away from the boardwalk. I discovered that strollers don't maneuver very well in sand, so it was just one more thing to carry. That JB would not walk in the sand should not have surprised me since he had a similar reaction to walking barefoot on grass. When I attempted to get him to do this by holding him under his armpits and dangling him over the grass, he held his body very tightly in an "L" shape so that there was no danger of the green stuff touching his feet.

Another "up" was our trip to Seattle. He did surprisingly well on the airplane ride, and was really pretty good at the places we stayed. We mostly stayed with my dad, and I thought he would get into more things, but JB did minimal damage. It was also fun to see JB interact with my dad and my friends. He's very social now and can say things like "hi", "bye", and "wuba" (which loosely translated is "love ya"). I think the most fun I had was watching him interact with my dad's friends' 6 month-old girl. I was worried at first that he would be rough with her, but he only poked her in the eye once. I instructed him to "use nice hands" and to "give her a kiss", which he did. She was so enamored that she stared at him and leaned in for kisses periodically.

The major "down" of this summer has been the lack of sleep. Jellybean has been waking up at various times of the morning several times a week for the last 3 weeks. He has this horrible cry, and when I tried to let him "cry it out", it only escalated. The bad thing is that, depending on the time he wakes up (this morning it was 4:30), he may or may not go back to sleep. If he does return to sleep, it sometimes takes quite a while to get him to that point. I've had to be a detectivce since I have no idea why he's waking up, and he cannot verbalize enough to tell me. I've tried giving him yogurt before bed because his appetite has not been that great, I've tried changing his pajamas to make sure he's comfy, we've changed the temperatures in the house to make sure he's not too hot or cold. I have to concur with what H said - that really why he's waking up may be out of our control. I am just hoping to have some semblance of normal sleep return by the time I go back to work in late August.

Ending on a positive note, it seems like Jellybean learns new things every day. He has at least 20 words that he says, and is now just starting to combine two words. He is very active and curious about everything. His whining is starting to decrease as he is able to tell me more of what he wants. He is still so loving and sweet - at random moments JB comes over to lean his head on my shoulder and give me a slobbery kiss. When I'm playing with him, he will sometimes look at me and say "wuba". So even with the trials of sleep deprivation and pre-terrible-two behaviors, there are plenty of moments that I will cherish.

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

This is Jellybean's first picture with Santa. This is the moment right between "gee, your beard is awfully white - can I pull on it?" and "Mommy, this is a scary man - get me offa his lap!!". This is the only shot the elf got before he started crying. Hope this gets everyone in the holiday spirit!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from Pooh-Bee!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top 100 Songs from my year of Graduation

I got this idea from TSHS. I thought that my blog could use one post not related to baby stuff.

The songs I like are in bold. I think it's sad that I only like 6 songs from 1990. But jeez, can ya blame me? What a load of crap! I guess I forgot how many truly awful songs came from that era.

1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips
2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe
5. Vogue, Madonna
6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey
7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins
8. Hold On, En Vogue
9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol
10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
11. Do Me!, Bell Biv Devoe (very subtle)
12. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Michael Bolton (blech!)
13. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic
14. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul (I cannot STAND her voice)
15. Escapade, Janet Jackson
16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart
17. Close To You, Maxi Priest
18. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
19. Release Me, Wilson Phillips
20. Don't Know Much, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
21. All Around The World, Lisa Stansfield
22. l Wanna Be Rich, Calloway (what a song to signify the times)
23. I Remember You, Skid Row
24. Rub You The Right Way, Johnny Gill
25. She Ain't Worth It, Glenn Medeiros Featuring Bobby Brown (who the hell is Glenn Medeiros?)
26. If Wishes Came True, Sweet Sensation
27. The Power, Snap
28. (Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection, Nelson
29. Love Will Lead You Back, Taylor Dayne
30. Don't Wanna Fall In Love, Jane Child
31. Two To Make It Right, Seduction
32. Sending All My Love, Linear
33. Unskinny Bop, Poison
34. Step By Step, New Kids On The Block
35. Dangerous, Roxette
36. We Didn't Start The Fire, Billy Joel
37. I Don't Have The Heart, James Ingram
38. Downtown Train, Rod Stewart
39. Rhythm Nation, Janet Jackson (actually, this song wasn't bad)
40. I'll Be Your Everything, Tommy Page
41. Roam, B-52's
42. Everything, Jody Watley
43. Back To Life, Soul II Soul
44. Here and Now, Luther Vandross
45. Alright, Janet Jackson
46. Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
47. Blame It On The Rain, Milli Vanilli (I forgot about these lip syncing flame outs)
48. Have You Seen Her, M.C. Hammer
49. With Every Beat Of My Heart, Taylor Dayne
50. Come Back To Me, Janet Jackson
51. No More Lies, Michel'le
52. Praying For Time, George Michael
53. How Can We Be Lovers, Michael Bolton
54. Do You Remember, Phil Collins
55. Ready Or Not, After 7
56. U Can't Touch This, M.C. Hammer (gotta love those parachute pants)
57. I Wish It Would Rain Down, Phil Collins
58. Just Between You and Me, Lou Gramm
59. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven, Phil Collins
60. Black Cat, Janet Jackson
61. Can't Stop, After 7
62. Janie's Got A Gun, Aerosmith
63. The Humpty Dance, Digital Underground
64. I'll Be Your Shelter, Taylor Dayne
65. Free Fallin', Tom Petty
66. Giving You The Benefit, Pebbles
67. Enjoy The Silence, Depeche Mode
68. Love Song, Tesla
69. Price Of Love, Bad English
70. Girls Nite Out, Tyler Collins
71. King Of Wishful Thinking, Go West
72. What Kind Of Man Would I Be?, Chicago
73. Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over), Technotroic
74. Here We Are, Gloria Estefan
75. Epic, Faith No More
76. Love Takes Time, Mariah Carey
77. Just Like Jesse James, Cher
78. Love Shack, B-52's (LOVE this song - it's still on my iPOD)
79. All Or Nothing, Milli Vanilli
80. Romeo, Dino
81. Everybody Everybody, Black Box
82. I Go To Extremes, Billy Joel
83. Whip Appeal, Babyface
84. Oh Girl, Paul Young
85. C'mon and Get My Love, D-Mob With Cathy Dennis
85. (It's Just) The Way That You Love Me, Paula Abdul
87. We Can't Go Wrong, Cover Girls
88. When I'm Back On My Feet Again, Michael Bolton
89. Make You Sweat, Keith Sweat
90. This One's For The Children, New Kids On The Block (ack! These guys were just on tour here)
91. What It Takes, Aerosmith
92. Forever, Kiss (Maybe this is a different KISS than the one I remember...)
93. Jerk Out, Time
94. Just A Friend, Biz Markie
95. Whole Wide World, A'me Lorain
96. Without You, Motley Crue
97. Swing The Mood, Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers
98. Thieves In The Temple, Prince
99. Mentirosa, Mellow Man Ace
100. Tic-Tac-Toe, Kyper

Really, other than listening to oldies and country, I am a true 80's girl. My first tape cassette was Madonna's "Like a Virgin". My first concert was Huey Lewis. My favorite concert was Steve Perry. In my graduation pictures, my hair was frickin' huge! I had leather boots with the fringy things on them. Long live black eyeliner and Aqua Net!!!