And the Mother of the Year Award Goes To….Not Me!

*Sob* You just don’t *sob* know how much this *snort* means to me! *Sniff* I’d like to thank the *Snort* little people for this *Sob* Mom of the Year Award…

HA HA HA.  The above picture?  Not me.  I don’t look like Gwyneth Paltrow-I’ve actually eaten food that isn’t supernatural organic and casts a shadow.  And I certainly won’t be receiving any sort of mothering awards any time soon.

I do believe I have pointed out the scary reality of being an ADD parent of an ADD child.  Or just me being a parent in general is a pretty scary thing.  I really try.  I do.  But more often than not I miss things.  Things that I probably shouldn’t miss.  The fact that I am largely the brains of the operation here really freaks me out sometimes.

There are so many instances where I miss stuff.  Take the other night.  We had my son’s open house for school.  Remarkably, we got out of the house, all four of us, and arrived not at the last minute but with time to spare.  As we exited the car, I noticed my son’s shoes were untied, and on the wrong feet.  As he sat down to swap shoes and then tie them, I noticed he was also missing socks.  And his pants were presentable but definitely had paint from Art, his special for that day.  His glasses were probably all smeared up too, but I didn’t think to check, seeing as that I was so horrified by what else I had already missed regarding his appearance.  And here we were going up to the school behind impeccably dressed children and their even more well dressed parents.

Once again, I lose the Mom of the Year award.  Not even close to runner up.  Might I also mention that my daughter had a light layer of glitter glue all over her shirt.  I was thankful that I at least remembered to brush her hair and get her a headband to put in it.  She was wearing it like Rambo, but at least she had something in her hair.

Having one that doesn’t notice the things and one that fights everything is a losing battle.  Sometimes I don’t know why I even try.

I’m trying to teach them the basics of picking out their clothes.  The Professor often will try to leave the house dressed in Christmas colors-usually a green shirt and red pants.  Why any child has that many pairs of red pants is beyond me.  He gets very aggravated with me when I ask him to please pick out a different (insert clothing item here).  He also is famous for somehow finding pants in his room that are way too big.  He will walk around the house, grabbing his pants and hiking them up to his chin every three steps until I ask him to go find something that fits.  In addition he somehow gets his sister’s pants mixed in with his and tries to wear them-he doesn’t notice that they are five inches too short.  These things, thankfully, I tend to notice.  He does, however, go to school at least twice a week wearing his pants backwards.  He has a love affair with athletic pants, so this isn’t very noticeable.

Sometimes he gets away with stuff that, well, I should notice. One time we went down to the state capital to do some shopping.  We had just come out of a store when I noticed him hiking up his jeans.  That was because they weren’t buttoned.  It was also because they were on backwards.  We asked him if he noticed something very wrong about his clothing.  He just looked at us and shrugged.

The Princess loves wild prints, especially two different ones together.  A flowered shirt and rainbow striped pants, for example.  And the color matching thing is lost on her to a point as well.  She manages to find the green flowered pants and the red shirt.  And then there’s the pink.  If she wears pink, it has to be ALL PINK.  Often three different shades of pink that really clash.  And the shoes must not match the outfit in any way whatsoever.  Someone gave us a pair of dark pink slip on shoes that look like ballet flats.  I made the mistake of putting these in with the rest of the shoes.  She only wants to wear those.  Nothing else.  Sometimes I can persuade her to put on her pepto-bismol pink sandals, which she thinks go with EVERYTHING.

The other fight we have is her hair.  She has long hair.  This is partly because it is like mine.  The shorter it is, the harder it is to manage. I’m not kidding.  When I cut my hair short, I look like some sort of mutated Little Orphan Annie, only it’s not curly, it’s just wavy and very thick.  Occasionally I make the mistake of thinking I will like it short.  Then I regret it.  I’m currently growing it out until I’m like Rapunzel.  Princess too has the hair, and she WANTS to be Rapunzel.  But unlike Rapunzel, she will not brush her hair.  She often looks like a little orphan girl, partly because she doesn’t like her hair brushed, partly because I forget until we’re out.   We do ponytails, when I can catch her.  But nothing stays in her hair either.  Nothing.  Barrettes just slide right out.  The only thing I have found that really works are the little clips they sell at Hobby Lobby.  I have made her some pretty hair things. She thinks they are so beautiful that she takes them in her room and hides them.

I’m lucky if I remember to brush my own hair, let alone hers.  Heck, if I remember to put a bra on, it’s a good day.

This hasn’t happened, yet…

The guys in the family at least are a bit lower maintenance.  Short hair, wearing baseball hats.  It’s all good.  One less thing to remember.  In our house, that’s a very good thing.

So if you see two somewhat unkempt but very cute children wandering around with two unkempt and not as cute parents, it might be our family.  Just remember that I try.  Sometimes that’s all I can do.

The ADD Leading the ADD: Is There Hope for the Future?

You know, this house is full of ADD people.  Many days I really think it’s the proverbial blind leading the blind.  I’m surprised we all get out of bed in the morning and get out of our house with clothes on, let alone function like normal people.

Case in point-lunchboxes.  It’s bad enough that the Professor is severely ADD.  What’s worse is that his Mom is right there with him.  On Friday he came home without his lunchbox.  I did not notice this.  I went all weekend and didn’t notice this.  On Monday we looked at the menu and decided that he would do his one day of hot lunch that day since it was chicken strips.  It was then that he informed me that he never brought his lunchbox home.  We talked about it, and he agreed that he would make sure to bring it home.

That afternoon he comes home and tells me that he still forgot to bring his lunchbox home, as well as his take home folder.  Ok.  Late last night I emailed his teacher and asked her to please remind him to put his lunchbox back in his backpack.  This morning I threw together his lunch in a Target sack-a peanut butter sandwich, raisins, and almonds.  Lunch of champions, I tell ya.  I open up his backpack to stick it in and find HIS LUNCHBOX.  Why did he tell me he forgot it?  And why did I believe him?

After he left I saw I had a new email. It was from his teacher, it said “I put it in his backpack yesterday, did it not come home?”  Ah.  That explained it.  He had no idea it was in there.  I’m sure she told him.  I’m sure he forgot since he didn’t put it in there himself.  I sheepishly fired an email back telling her that I did not physically check it.

This IS the child whose backpack I didn’t check for awhile because we have always had him put anything important in a folder.  After several reminders, he knows to bring us the folder.  And to put his lunchbox on the counter.  One day last year I noticed his backpack was getting pretty bulky.  I opened it and pulled out five sweatshirts.

There are a lot of things that happen that are purely my fault around here, simply for me not thinking to double check on stuff that he does.  One of the jobs we have him do around the house is take the frozen groceries down into the basement and put them in the big freezer.  That’s not complicated.  I assumed that he could do it by himself.  However, one time he left the freezer door standing wide open.  Overnight.  Thank goodness it was pretty much just bread in there.  I don’t know why I’m worried, I think that freezer has a force field around it.  This is the freezer that you bet I’ll climb in if we are ever attacked.  It survived the basement flood.  It floated in several feet of water, and somehow continued to work.

The kid gets it from both sides.  I was diagnosed with ADD in 2003.  My husband has never officially been diagnosed, but he’s a classic case.  Another absent minded professor.  You may recall a previous post where he had every lunch container we owned at work.  He brought home a bag full of them, finally!

I am really dreading The Professor’s eye appointment coming up in a couple of weeks.  He has lazy eye.  He has been wearing glasses for a couple of years to try to correct it, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.  That might have something to do with the fact that he was without glasses on and off over this time.  There for a while we were going in to get his glasses fixed almost weekly.  Medicaid doesn’t exactly give you high quality frames.  My mother finally helped us buy a pair that was considered indestructible.  He broke those too.  At one point he had one pair broken and one pair missing a lens.  After a lot of stress, we were finally able to get the one glasses lens replaced and the other pair of glasses replaced entirely thanks to a very understanding lady at the eye place.  She took one look at the good broken glasses and said, “I’m going to replace those for you.  That shouldn’t happen!”  Now he has two pairs of glasses, and the replacement pair has remained intact.  However he looks right over the top of them.  He was also given an eye patch that he was supposed to wear for an hour a day at his last appointment.  That lasted a little while.  Of course now it’s lost somewhere in the house.  It has been for awhile.  I have looked EVERYWHERE.   I kept thinking that I needed to call the eye doctor and get a new one.  And I kept forgetting.  Now it’s been a couple of months and his appointment is coming up.  I am embarrassed to take him and tell the doctor the truth:  That I do not have a brain.

Glasses and our family are not friends.  I have needed glasses since the 4th grade.  I have a slight astigmatism/nearsightedness and basically need them to read stuff far away.  According to the DMV, I don’t even need them.  This is probably a good thing, since I can’t seem to hold on to a pair.  I calculate that I have lost at least five pairs of prescription sunglasses.  I also lost my favorite glasses.  These were a pair of nifty looking plastic frames that I got as a freebie with my expensive transition lens wire frames I got a couple of years ago.  Transitions are great, but not for driving, because they don’t really darken in your car. I have very light eyes, and get headaches when I don’t wear dark sunglasses.  So I also had a pair of prescription sunglasses for driving, which of course I lost.

I currently use a pair of purple plastic sunglasses that cost $5 at Walmart to drive.  And then I just forget to put my glasses on.  And I wonder why I miss stuff.

My wedding ring is also missing.  Again.  It’s in our house somewhere.  Since it is “pokey” (as my daughter would say) I have to take it off when I sleep so I don’t slice my face open when I sleep.  So I’m sure it’s either in my bedroom because it got knocked off the nightstand, or in the living room taken off when I attempted to take a nap.  I sure hope the dog hasn’t eaten it.  He eats dental floss and dryer lint, why not wedding rings too?  I am glad my husband isn’t easily offended.  Of course he can’t talk-he used to work in a factory where if he wore a wedding ring there would be danger of his finger being torn off.  So every day he would put it in his pocket.  And forget about it.  I would wash his pants and it would come flying out of the dryer.  It became the running joke between us for the duration of his time at that job.  If we had money, I’d ask him to buy me a wedding band for our anniversary, that way I wouldn’t take it off.  I want a Lord of the Rings looking wedding band, but I’m afraid of the side effects.

I’m thinking another great invention for ADD people would be things that you just can’t off.  Glasses, wedding rings, etc.  We sure would lose them a lot less.

The Princess may be our very own Obi-Wan Kenobi.  She may very well be our only hope. She seems to have escaped the curse thus far.  She’s pretty on top of things.  I’m not saying she’s not going to have other issues, but at least she may be able to not be distracted by everything she sees.  I hope she doesn’t “develop” it later on.

Sigh… oh to just be able to pass as normal.  It’s never going to happen.  So bear with me.  I really try.  I really will keep trying when I remember to.  Just don’t hate my kid.  It’s not his fault, it’s all mine.  Don’t worry because I worry about it plenty (anxety, remember?)

My Son the Professor: A Boy In Love With Video Games

For the first few years of our marriage we were childless.  That was for good reason-I worked with infants all day long.  I had twelve babies at work, why would I want more?  I had to switch jobs so that I might want children of my own.  I went to a different center with older children.  That must have worked, because when we set out to try to have kids, we got it on the first try.  Man are we good.

The first spawn of our marriage was a little boy.  He was the bestest baby on the planet.  Cute, not like those shriveled up little newborns you usually get.  He slept.  He slept a lot.  As a matter of fact, there was very little time that he was conscious in those early months.  We would try to wake him up when company came-often with little success.  He fell asleep breastfeeding so he would never eat very much.  Turns out he was conserving all that brainpower for when he got older.

When he was two, we were concerned that he really didn’t talk.  That changed when he went to actual preschool.  And I brought home a NASCAR season preview special.  He stole it.  He took that big fat magazine and took it into his room.  He was obsessed.  That little two year old boy learned all of the numbers of all of the cars, the driver names, the sponsors, the crew chiefs, even the owners.  He knew every track and where they were located.  At two, he declared his love for all things Jeff Gordon, the driver of the Dupont #24.  That was difficult in a house of non Jeff Gordon fans.  We tolerated it, since he had his mind made up.  This changed when he decided to start rooting just for whoever was winning, because losing makes him sad.  He still likes NASCAR quite a bit, though.

He started reading at 3, and it has been an explosion of knowledge ever since, which is good and bad.  Good that he is passionate about learning.  Bad when you are in school and they are already doing stuff you learned years ago.  The funny thing is when he is sitting with a book, often he will be doing one of two things-1)  looking at only the pictures or 2)  Turning the pages without even looking at the book.  Maybe the words are jumping off the pages and into his brain. He loves all books, he prefers comic books and graphic novels.  Yup, much like us he’s going to be a geek.

The baby has grown up into a very inquisitive second grader.  I call him the Professor, because he is like a little professor of sorts.  Very smart, and he WILL tell you what he knows (unfortunately he can also be quite a know it all).  He has the glasses that always seem to be a little bit crooked.  He loves to analyze stuff.  He talks like a miniature adult.  He actually prefers the company of adults to children.  Recently we had my sister in law and her family up to visit.  We wanted him to hang out with his cousins, not just play video games.  You know, socialize.  Once he realized that the video games weren’t going to happen, he decided that maybe he should hang out with the grown-ups.  He comes out of his room, plops down betweeen my SIL and her husband and announces, “I have decided I should come and socialize.”  Of couse there was a TV in the room-he most likely was coming out to check out what was on it.

The Professor is much like his father in many ways.  He loves anything with a screen-TV shows, movies, computers, video games.  Especially video games.  When Evil Genius hooked up the Nintendo 64 in his room, a love affair began.  He thinks about video games all the time, he talks about video games all the time.  Even ones he doesn’t have.  Mario is his hero.  He’s always reading articles about Wii games in gaming magazines.  He tells me all about the great new games he’s reading about-I am constantly reminding him “We don’t have a Wii.”  “Oh”.  I think he’s secretly hoping that if he thinks about it hard enough, one will simply appear.  Sorry kiddo, not gonna happen.  He does have a DS which he loves to pieces.  I personally really don’t get the whole video game thing.  We had an Atari when I was his age, which was fun.  I still like to play Tetris and Scrabble, but not all the time.

We’re mean parents.  We don’t let him watch TV or play video games all the time.  He’s limited on his time.  He thinks we’re killing him.  Often he’ll make sure I know that the only thing that is fun to him is video games, and he’s not having fun if he’s not playing!

Oh he likes other things.  He loves science.  I brought him home two Popular Science magazines from the free bin at the library.  He sat and didn’t make a peep because he spent all afternoon and evening reading them.  He even took them to read on the bus.  He loves to know how things work.  My husband has taken him to work on several occasions and he thinks it’s the coolest thing ever.  He has been obsessed with the weather since age 3-we took him to the Science Center near here recently and he was quite disappointed that the real meteorologist didn’t show up for the weather presentation.  It was just some guy trying to keep the kids entertained.  Besides, he had gotten the paper on how to make his own tornado and hygrometer.  He was done.

He talks constantly, mostly about video games, superheroes, and sports.  He talks to whoever will listen, whether they seem interested or not.  He will also talk to himself, and he doesn’t care who is listening.  And sometimes he gets stuck.  He repeats the same thing over and over and over, usually until one of us tells him to stop.  It’s like there’s a record in his head that gets stuck.  We’ve tried to help with this, and it has gotten somewhat better, but now he whispers the repeated last word to himself just like Brick on “The Middle”.  When he isn’t talking about stuff, he’s asking questions.  LOTS of questions.  Many of which I have to respond with “Ask the engineer.”

The Professor’s design for his Halloween costume.

I must admit I think he’s pretty neat.  We’re both ADD, so I can somewhat understand his thought process, but there are other things going on in there that I just don’t quite get.  I worry about him a lot.  School has been a real struggle-he’s so smart but it’s hard for him to get that it’s time to work and he doesn’t get to choose what they are working on.  He has some real anxieties too.  The Aspergers possibility still hangs around there, but it’s pretty clear that we’re not going to be able to get him tested, and really what good would it do him other than what we’re already doing?  He is on an IEP for his ADD and his behavior issues-we deal with the behavior stuff on a daily basis.  I admit it’s very frustrating.  At the same time I’ve got to have a sense of humor about it.  And believe me, I do!

My Mom says that we have children for our own amusement.  I try to imagine myself and what I was like before kids.  Yes I complain like everyone else.  But hey, they are pretty funny!

This could happen at our house.

Reality: Coming to Terms With That Sucky Dark Side of Life

The reality of it hit me today.  My son was going on and on and on about the different things he wanted to do when he grew up.  I nodded and gave a little feedback.  He was so excited about everything he was talking about.  And I was there still listening but the inner voice was pretty loud.  How can I encourage my children to be everything they want to be when I don’t believe in myself?

My son is a little odd.  Ok, he’s a lot odd.  He has a lot going on.  The Toddler years were rough.  Preschool started out rough but ended beautifully-he was in a situation where everything just clicked.  Then there was kindergarten.  It was hell, both for him and for me.  It was just like other children were not real to him.  Yes he would sometimes try to relate to them, but a lot of the time he was in trouble for hitting a friend or pushing a friend.  Sometimes it was an accident.  My son is ADD, and he flails his body around a lot.  But other times he said that the other child was “bothering” him.  Supposedly the child was just trying to talk to him.  He simply wanted nothing to do with the rules, would yell at the teacher, roll on the floor, be very disruptive.  It was awful.  He spend a good amount of time in the office that year in trouble.  I’m sure it didn’t help that I was working right across the hall in the other kindergarten room.  I witnessed a lot.  And I am not one of those parents who thinks their child can do no wrong.  There are many instances when he is at fault.

First grade has gone well.  At the end of his kindergarten year they put together an IEP for him.  He had different times of the day where he would meet with his special ed teacher to go over his schedule, etc.  His teacher was very no nonsense and just seemed to get him.  We’ve gotten all the way through first grade and we are now into summer.  I’m worried about 2nd grade because unlike first grade I don’t really know any of the teachers.  Summer has been rough.  I tried to put together a schedule for him every day.  So far it’s not gone very well.  We end up deviating from the original schedule on the refrigerator at lot and he can’t handle it.  He is so quick to anger when things don’t go his way!

The word Asperger’s came up frequently when we were trying to pin down what was going on with my son.  Very intelligent, curious, he speaks very formally, like a miniature adult.  He has great difficulty relating to other children who are around his age.  When other children are at the park playing, he’d rather find an adult and talk to them about some sports thing he had been reading.  Playing outside never happens for very long because he tires of it quickly.  At least we have convinced him to bring his books out.  At least he’ll be out instead of in.

He just doesn’t play.  Some of his little quirks remind me of me, but there is so much that is so different.  I played as a youngster.  MY mother says that I never really was bored because I would use my imagination and basically make things up.  Oh to be young again.  I just don’t see that in my son.  Even when he is given a character to pretend with, he has to find out what the story is and that exact story is what needs to be acted out.  He doesn’t like pretend all that much-he much prefers scientific and nonfiction stuff.

Today I approached him with the idea of having a notebook to turn into a “field guide”-he could write down all of his scientific hypotheses and theories as well as draw some of the critters outside.  He seemed to like that idea.  My husband I have talked about how the only way we are going to get this boy outdoors without the sprinkler being on is somehow making it science.

I am a mean mom.  I make my children go out.  We have a nice big fenced in back yard with a swing set and a tire swing.  We have bikes, riding tools, balls, tennis rackets, a batting tee.  You name it we have it.  BUt they don’t want to play.  I don’t turn the TV on and I have my reasons.  Get outside and experience nature!  Use your imagination!

I remember being around my son’s age and running around the yard in my swimsuit and my towel tied around me like a toga.  We were playing Gods and Goddesses.  Clash of the TItans was REALLY big that year!  And these were things we just thought up and did.  There were no rules.  We made it up as we went along.  We didn’t always GET along, but it was fun!

I don’t see my kids doing much of that.  My 4 year old does ok with some things.  She has parties for her ponies and takes care of the different characters in her room.  But she’s 4.  MY 7 year old really just needs to get out with a couple of boys his age and pretend and run around.  Somehow I don’t see that happening!

So here when he should be playing, my son comes and sits with me on the park bench while his sister is still running around on the climber.  He’s asking me all kinds of questions and then starts in about how he wants to be a firefighter, a professional football player, and a racecar driver when he grows up.,  I want to be supportive.  I also want to throw in the whole “You’ll still need to go to college” Schtick.  But I hesitated.  My kids have had the university here shoved down their throat since their dad went there.  And graduated.  And got a good job.  Now he has to pay the loans back.  Ouch.

Me?  I went to college and I think I’ve made it pretty clear how that’s worked out for me.  I went to school so that I didn’t have to have a job with a nametag.  Yet I just left a job that I had to wear a nametag for.  Sigh…

WHile I am sure that there is something out there that we are all meant to do, right now I think my thing is not there.  When they arranged the whole finding your way thing they didn’t put the answer for me.  Or something.  There are days when I feel like I need a shirt that says “I went to ____ college, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.  And debt,”

Today I was told (in an email of course) that no, there will be no more data entry after this week.  That I will officially be starting over in the unemployment department,  Saddening, and maddening.  Really-I think it’s the whole thing where a guy tells a girl he’ll call and doesn’t.  I’m sorry they were sad I would be leaving, but don’t tell me there’s a job possibility there!  The job where I could continue to do data entry from my home possibly 30 to 40 hours per week it sounded very promising.  It doesn’t exist.  It’s not there and not much I can do about it.

So I’m back in the job hunt.  I have very two cute things to take into consideration too.  My husband has been trying to put together some sort of budget for us now that we have a lot we have to pay out in loans.  Now he says that I HAVE to find something-we had discussed the possibility of me just staying home.  I thought we had agreed that full time wasn’t going to be something I was going to explore.  But the reality of it is that the areas I have looked in the past I would be working to basically pay the childcare that I have to arrange for my kids.  Doesn’t seem quite right.

And I’m not going to work at McDonalds.  There was a summer where I was trying to work just something for the summer so I could have flexibility with it when I had to go back to work at the school in the preschool.  That summer I applied for lots of jobs-Kum and Go, Caseys. Holubs, Lowes, etc. Noone called me or even tried to interview me.  Overqualified.

The thinking here is that I went to college so I wouldn’t have to have a job that I wear a nametag.  Yet I just left a job that I had to wear a nametag (because, I”m assuming, someone might try to be a Red Cross Imposter.  HA HA)

I’m skimming the jobs online after finishing my data entry-some interesting jobs out there.  Some are ones that I could do with no problem but pay nothing.  Some that are interesting but I don’t have the right qualifications for.  I just don’t even know where to start.  I owe it to myself to not go to work at McDonalds. After all I DID go to school. I DO have a bachelor’s degree.

None of this really registers with my husband.  He has been through several job losses with me, on each side, and he doesn’t really know what to do when I get so down on myself.  He feels a job is a job, and I get the impression that he feels that if I don’t find one quick there’s something wrong with me.  We are running headfirst into a money problem with his and my student loans eating up so much of our budget.  What do we do?  He’s set.  He has a fabulous job that he drives far away to every day.  He gets to go to a local gym for free-I just about cried when he told me that.  I just had to give up my membership and my body is paying the price.  I’m not jealous.  I just wish I could get some stuff to get going in the right direction for me.

But if you don’t know what you want to do it makes it difficult.  And SOMEONE has to be here for my kids.  I’m ok with working, but I can’t be in a town an hour away 8-5 every day. I passed on a job with the disorganization doing their scheduling.  Pretty sure you don’t even have to have a degree to do that job.  But too far away.  Am I selling myself short?

I feel like I have no skills to offer.  That makes it hard to present yourself to a potential employer.

Aren’t there still jobs out there that want you to have a 4 year degree but don’t really care what it’s in?  I wish the schools would do that with preschool.  I know that I WANT to teach preschool. I did it for many years at several different centers.  I was very good at it.  But having to go through the trainings to present that paper that says I am fit to teach those kids is pricey and ridiculous since childcare centers pay so low.  Going back to school for an early childhood degree probably isn’t the best idea.  More loans.  More student teaching.

I’ve finally managed to break away from the child care aspect and here I am not even sure what I want to do.  So I look at jobs and analyze them and then try to decide if I’m worthy of even applying for them.  And how am I going to work it if I get an interview?  Is someone going to watch my kids?

Now that I know that I am officially done I guess there are things for me to do.  1) Get unemployment called. Doubt I qualify, but might be able to get something.  2)  Call the student loan people.  Sorry, if I am not employed I don;t have $$ coming in!  3)  And this is the hard one-Call Iowa State, then go in and talk to somebody.  I can conceivably still go this fall if I can just figure it out.

Everyone deserves a chance to feel successful at something.  I don’t ask for much, I just want to be able to do something that makes me happy and brings in enough money to survive.  My lifestyle is not extravagant, and I shouldn’t be made to feel bad if I want to keep shopping for clothes at Goodwill .  I love my children, and I don’t want to be some career woman that never sees them, but I DO need to figure out what my next move is here.  A job, no job, school, a home business.  I don’t know.  Any suggestions are always welcome.

NOT Running With Scissors: The Day Mommy Cried

It was bound to happen sooner or later…

“Mommy, I’m really good at using scissors!” my recently turned four year old announced this afternoon. “Oh that’s nice.”  I respond.  I’m only half listening, trying my best to get done what I am actually here to accomplish so we can get home before dinner.

“I know I’m good at using scissors.  You know how I know?  I took my purple scissors upstairs and cut my doll’s hair!” she boasts, looking rather proud of herself.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… and once again I am reminded that when she is being quiet, it usually means that she is up to something not so good… A preschooler has used scissors inappropriately. I think we all have a story somewhere in our childhood of this happening.  My particular version of this happened when I was little and my younger sister lopped off one of her ponytails with Mom’s sewing scissors.  I thought we had already had our story this past year:   little sister gets a hold of scissors and cuts up big brother’s class picture.  Mom is angry-brother might have noticed something outside of the realm of video games and books.  Scissors privileges revoked and life goes on.

The thing is I knew exactly why she did it.  She didn’t even have to explain it to me.  I taught preschool for many years, and much of the time I know the ins and outs of what goes on in her little head.  She goes to a sitter occasionally that she thinks is just it-the best thing since sliced bread.  This sitter has a daughter who could very well be her own little mini me.  Both of them have dark hair and dark eyes, just like this little dolly.  Both have very cute little haircuts-not so much like the one that dolly HAD-more like the one my daughter gave to her dolly.  Unfortunately for me, this dolly used to be mine.  Surprisingly though, she didn’t do a half bad job.

I shed some tears.  She felt very very bad.  I have had a million hugs, kisses and lots of help this evening.  I dare say it may even work out in my favor, until the next time.

I had to post that, because honestly I was having a very bad day and it was one of those that someday I probably will look back on and laugh.  It was just the icing on the cake.  You see, I have figured out just how they get good jedi knights to cross over to the dark side:  they took their kids to work with them.

It’s summer vacation and I work a part-time job for a non profit organization that shall remain nameless.  I lost my job a year ago and this one just sort of popped up.  It was a way to make some grocery money while I collected unemployment and looked for a new job.  My husband was finishing up school and we were looking for any way to keep ourselves out of the cardboard box just a little bit longer.  It helped-and although the original job I was supposedly hired for really in no way shape or form really resembles the job I am currently doing-it brings in a little money so I can be available for my children without being tied down to something full-time.  My son is very, very bright-all references to Sheldon Cooper minus the germ phobia would be correct.  He also has some serious issues in school.  He has ADD and has been suspected of but never diagnosed with Asperger’s.  His kindergarten year he spent more time in the principal’s office due to kids “bothering” him (talking to him is considered bothering, apparently) during his kindergarten career than most kids do in their entire K-12 career.  Needless to say that has resulted in some serious limitations for me as far as any sort of full time work.  The very end of the kindergarten year we finally got him into an IEP, and this year has been much better, albeit far from perfect.  He is a neat kid who so wants someone to understand him-he relates fabulously to adults, but just doesn’t get kids anywhere around his age.

About the time the unemployment went the way of the dinosaur my husband graduated and got an internship an hour away.  Since it was so far away and nothing was guaranteed, I just kind of kept hanging around the job because interesting things kept happening.  Somehow each time I thought the hours were going to disappear, they found something else that I could do to keep me going.

So here I am this month, the last month of their fiscal year, sitting in an empty office doing much of what I have been doing for the last time because as of this weekend they are outsourcing my duties to other employees within the organization.  As I am trying to get information together so that everyone knows what they are to be doing, I have no idea what my job will consist of as of next Monday.  It’s a little distracting and it’s a lot bit anxiety provoking.  I know they say they still need me, but noone has yet to say how exactly or in what capacity.  Will I be working 4 hours, 15 hours, or no hours?  Do I go look for other employment?  Do I just resign myself to stick around and see what happens, and if I wind up with no work just try to make it work on my husband’s income?  And of course I can’t just spend a few minutes a day worrying about it.  I worry about it all the time.

Because my schedule is a bit, um, sparse, I started by cutting my daughter’s daycare down to one regular day a week, unless I taught a class.  I had been told it was ok to bring my kids with me, for what I did it didn’t matter.  So when summer started I realized that there was no way to justify paying that much daycare for the few hours a week I actually work.  So now I am down to no days of daycare, and one to two days per week of taking BOTH KIDS WITH ME.  The rest of the week I work from home doing data entry, partly during the day, often into the wee hours of the morning so that my kids can do their summer activities, or be home bored with me depending on the day.  The date entry ends in three weeks-which is the other unknown of my current job-what is coming next.

It is the third week of summer, and I am nuts.

I have two completely different children.  Both eerily smart, but polar opposites.  My son is much like me-anxious and routine driven, but has no idea how to occupy himself if there is not some sort of flickering screen or printed word to look at.  Going outside=sheer torture.  My daughter is the opposite-stubborn but imaginative and wants to play play play and go go go. She would go right outside all morning and stay outside until the cows came home-as long as Mommy is right there within arms reach (because she’ll miss me if she can’t see me.)  When I do manage to get them both outside there is arguing, screaming, crying, usually with the end result of someone getting hurt, usually because the older one didn’t like the younger one not following his “rules”.

I tried implementing a sort of schedule so my son wouldn’t spend the entire summer standing on his head, making what we call “Tauntaun noises” because he’s bored.  For some reason if I write it down, much like the newspaper, if it’s published it must be true.  Unfortunately, he takes the schedule so seriously that he can’t handle it if we deviate even in the slightest.  Snack must be at 10 am, we must engage in learning activities after lunch, etc,etc.  If we leave the house to go get groceries, it is miserable because he feels he has to find some way to manipulate the situation.  And we are together ALL THE TIME.  Sending them to their rooms is like I told them to go stab themselves repeatedly with a sharp object!  You’d think they had no toys.  Then you’d look at their rooms and think that no they have toys, they just don’t have a floor.

Working at home with them there is challenging. Bringing them to work is more challenging.  Thank goodness it’s just for a couple of hours.  Each bring a short video that they must fight over who watches which one first.  Each bring a bag full of activities that they tend to go through pretty quickly.  I spend a lot of time diffusing arguments and who started what and who had what first.

My husband doesn’t get what the fuss is.  I keep telling him to imagine doing HIS job with both kids there.  He got a taste of it-one day he was off and I had to do computer work.  Five minutes of data entry, two minutes to settle an argument, two minutes of data entry, eight minutes to deal with poopy pants, seven minutes of data entry, fifteen minutes of trying to talk to a client on the phone while dealing with two children who instantly become loud and have to be on top of anyone who is talking on a phone.  I get the work done, and I am very very honest when logging my hours.

And I am tired.  I love love love my children, but I wish there was a better way to make this work.  Not on our budget, unfortunately!  Add in laundry, dishes (our dishwasher quit working many moons ago), other housework, summer activities, etc, etc.  I feel like I work ALL the time.  My husband works all the time too-he leaves for work at 5:45 and often doesn’t come back until six.  He’s a nice piece of furniture in those couple of hours when he comes home and melts to the chair until he slinks upstairs to go to bed right after the kids to go to bed and start all over again in the morning.

Which reminds me, my husband has pants in the washer.  Somehow I think they’d frown upon him coming to work without pants.  And it’s 11:15 at night.  I get up at 4:30 and walk…

What was my point again.  Oh yes, that I am nuts…  Here’s my proof.  And yes, there is a grammatical error there but I’m going with it anyway.  I don’t mean my kids are dumbasses… oh never mind…