Saturday, September 25, 2010


So the boys have been having fun playing with the new neighbor’s boys.  It’s been great!  I’ve been so excited and relieved to have found a pretty good match for them, especially since Cosmo has had difficulty maintaining friends in the neighborhood.  Seems the kids (and their parents) don’t want to get to know him now that he’s on meds.

At any rate, they were playing yesterday, and were fighting (like all kids do), and one of them told Cosmo “my dad doesn’t like you.”

Since school started, they haven’t been able to play as much, and I was suddenly worried that we were going to have the same result with these neighbors.  Seems that’s where my  mind defaults anymore.

A phone call cleared it all up, however.  Holy relief!  See what happens when you don’t worry, and you wait to talk about it?  Lesson learned.

School is busy

So I’m pretty much struggling to find oxygen this semester.  Between being PRESENT with the boys when we’re all home, household duties, and homework… I don’t have much time to have my own thoughts in my head.  Thankfully, I do have downtime after class to “de-brain.”  I’ll watch an hour or so of TV before hitting the hay.  I’m pretty much done after class gets out. 

This semester I have 5 classes; next semester I’ll have 3, and no LAW class.  Hopefully that will make life so much easier!  I do like law, don’t get me wrong… there’s a lot of reading and writing involved, though.

I did have an interesting conversation with a couple classmates, though.  When people ask what I “do,” I tell them “I”m a student.” Then, I feel frustrated when they assume I’m going to a community college.  (Silly pride, I know).  I feel guilty, somehow, telling people that I’m a grad student, as I don’t want to be self-aggrandizing… but then I have the lame-o pride thing (because people in school should just be proud of themselves regardless!). 

They told me I should tell people “I’m working on my master’s.”  I suppose this is true.  There’s no reason for me not to be proud of it, and then I won’t have the silly pride problem.

The real question is “Why would I rather have people think less of me than more of me?”  I always minimize my skills, knowledge, and talent, for fear of coming off as a braggart.  And because, somewhere in my head,  I figure I’m SO good that it should just be obvious.  I guess this is something for me to ponder while I’m re-engineering myself. 

Fall is here!

The Woodsman turned 40 on the first day of fall.  He spent his birthday holding down the fort while I was at school studying and in class.  He’s so good!  We’ll celebrate tomorrow, when we can all be together for dinner (and dessert)!

So we’re now in the time of year where there is less daylight than there is dark.  It’s silly to be bummed, I know… but that’s the ONE part of fall that I don’t love.  If I could set the timer on the sun, I’d turn it on at 6am, and turn it off at 7:30pm.  “Up” where we are on this globe, we will have sunsets at about 4:00 pm, dark at 4:30.  Swing’s birthday is the shortest day of the year; the winter solstice.  Two members of this family are equinox/solstice people!

Anyway, nothing terribly exciting here, except for what’s in my head!  I’ll leave you with this awesome photo of the boys… they made these super duper toilet paper pumpkins today!  I got the idea from my friend, Carla


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Impenetrable Pooch

Okay, I have no idea what this REALLY means.  It’s what Cosmo called the dog the other day.   He’s 8.  I asked him “What does impenetrable mean, honey?”  He says, “you know, like indestructible.” 

Oy.  Where does he get these words?

I asked him “where did you learn that one?” He points to his head with an exasperated look and says “Smart.”

Preschool Love

Swing seems to have a girlfriend at PreK.  There’s a little girl who cries and won’t let her mom leave if Swing isn’t there.  As soon as Swing walks in the room, she’s fine and tells her mother curtly “you can go now.”

Will the shoe drop?

Things seem to be going pretty smoothly this week!  I’m wondering if this is a calm before the storm??  Or do we get a peek at a “normal” life?  Right now I’m grateful that homework isn’t a war, MY homework is current (not as far ahead as I’d like, but hey, I’m not running late), Swing is doing great at school (he’s saving the tantrums for home—he BIT me tonight at bedtime!), and we are figuring out our routine.  It’s pretty peaceful (but not creepily so). 

Am I really this fortunate?  I’m pretty sure I haven’t done anything spectacular to learn it…

Monday, September 13, 2010

Late Start Mondays

So our school district implemented a new policy.  Late start Mondays.  The purpose for starting an hour late every Monday is to allow teachers a chance to get together and collaborate.  This is a FANTASTIC idea!  It’s quality improvement at its finest, and I’m honestly geeking out about the process.


I am NOT so fond of the way in which it’s been implemented.  Why why why does the routine of every single family in the county have to be disrupted by an hour per week?  Granted, they do offer childcare … for a fee, and minus the transportation.  Additionally, Kindergarten is in its own building, not with the elementary schools, so families with a child in kindergarten and a child in another grade will either have to make arrangements at work to go in later (and keep the bus), or drive kids to multiple destinations before work (for a fee) to keep some semblance of routine and normalcy.

There was no parent or community voice in this decision.

Why can’t this be done before or after school hours?  Why must every family with a child enrolled (in the state mandated school system) have to cater to a wonky schedule?  There is no other occupation in the world that can do this to thousands of people.  Submit to these hours or suffer the consequences!!!

I understand there are all sorts of demands on teachers.  I really really do.  But this solution to implement a super idea is flat!  My (highly scientific and statistically significant) research (via Facebook) indicates this is happening across the country. Though many teachers are underpaid, the fact remains that … it’s a salaried position.  I worked more than 40 hours, too, when I was employed, and I didn’t get summers off.  Granted, licensure requirements for continuing education, etc, likely get in the way, and add demand to teachers’ time.  Can’t we find a way to allow this collaboration effort to fill a CE requirement?  What better way to learn than from other teachers!  There must be some way to allow this time to the teachers without such an impact on the community. 

Chances are fair that there’s a teacher or two out there unhappy about my post.  (I’d claim there were more, but I’m fairly certain this corner of the web doesn’t get too much traffic).  I don’t mean to be abrasive, but honest and forthright in a real issue with real impact.  Granted, my weekly hour with its logistical complexities isn’t on the level of homeland security or global hunger… but it is one more frustration and one more thing to juggle on top of:

  • My homework
  • Cosmo’s homework
  • Getting Swing to PreK
  • Getting Cosmo to 3rd grade
  • Getting the boys to the sitter before school
  • Remembering Cosmo’s meds in the morning
  • Remembering Cosmo’s meds in the afternoon
  • Making dinner
  • Feeding the pooch
  • Keeping track of the Woodsman’s retail schedule
  • More of my homework
  • Realizing I neglected to read two articles before class (and there’s a QUIZ)
  • Pulling something out for dinner
  • Making sure the boys’ teeth are brushed

All these things I run off in a checklist in an order every morning.  When the routine is interrupted, the entire checklist is interrupted.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person alive who operates this way.  I should be able to “run on autopilot”.  Late start Mondays strip me of that.

*steps off of soapbox*

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monkey-ing with Meds

One of the purposes of this blog is to share my experiences with ADHD.  We’ve gone through a few revisions of medication in the last couple months. 

In May, we started on Strattera, which is a non-stimulant med.  It started off working pretty well.  I was excited that we might be able to manage this thing without the dreaded class II narcotics.  At the end of the summer, it became clear that it wouldn’t be enough.  Cosmo was still unable to focus on simple tasks, and I’d have to ask him repeatedly to pick one thing up, it would take HOURS. 

So at the last med evaluation, the pediatrician started him on Adderall, a “stronger” stimulant, and we discussed the possibility of using smaller doses of both stimulant and non-stimulant meds.  Well, the Adderall worked well for focus and general behavior, but Cosmo could not fall asleep, even though I’d given him melatonin and Benadryl. 

So I tried combining spare Strattera with the Adderall like the pediatrician had mentioned.  Worked well.  I called, got a refill on the Strattera, and we’re good to go!  He gets the stimulant in the morning, and the non-stimulant after school / at dinner time.  He’s sleeping, focused, and well behaved (well, you know, NORMAL for an 8 year old).


The BEST part?  Cosmo got into the science magnet school in our area!  So he has a class full of people who didn’t know him “before.”  And the meds are working well… and he’s making friends!  He said to me (like it’s a whole new world) “Mom, I feel like I’m PART of the CLASS!”
It’s heartbreaking, really.  To know that the previous three years of your child’s life were spent wanting to fit in, wanting to be wanted.


Which brings me to something I’ve been avoiding.  Cosmo went to church camp this summer.  I was so happy for him, even if I was a bit nervous.  But I knew he’d be able to make friends, since he was on meds, etc, right?

He was bullied the entire time.  Ruthlessly.  By his cabin mates.  He did have fun when he was not in his cabin, which is good.  But … the other kids threw him in the garbage several times, put him in some big tire, and surrounded it and wouldn’t let him get out, took almost all of the candy his grandmother had sent with him, tore took some of his money, tore up a dollar bill, threw his toiletries into a field where they couldn’t be found, put sand in his sleeping bag, and more torture I can’t remember off the top of my head. 

When I talked to the cabin counselor about it, the response was “He brought it on himself” and “it’s really not a big deal.”  Cosmo called the other boys names, streaked through the cabin, and made it messy when they were supposed to clean it. 

I know his behaviors weren’t okay.  But that doesn’t somehow absolve the other boys from their bad (worse) behavior.  Cosmo’s behavior gets progressively worse in a negative atmosphere.  He didn’t bring it upon himself, they brought it upon themselves!  … Okay, not really, but you see how circular the whole blame game gets? 

At any rate, we’ve written two messages to the elders at church, which have been unanswered.  We’ll go in in person sometime this week to talk to someone.  Meanwhile, we aren’t attending.  I can’t leave my kids in a place where the leaders think it’s an acceptable policy to allow kids to “earn” torture.

UPDATE!!! Since posting this a couple hours ago, I got a phone message from the church!  I'll make arrangements to speak with the leader of the children's ministries as soon as I talk to the Woodsman and share the message with him.  The person who called was apologetic and sincere, so I'm hopeful!

UPDATE!!! Since posting this a couple hours ago, I got a phone message from the church!  I'll make arrangements to speak with the leader of the children's ministries as soon as I talk to the Woodsman and share the message with him.  The person who called was apologetic and sincere, so I'm hopeful!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Ninth Anniversary

I was at work.  The Woodsman and I worked 12 hour days then, for a Fortune 100 company, making printed circuit assemblies for test and measurement equipment.  We started at 6am.  One gal came in talking about a plane that had crashed into one of the twin towers in New York.  I thought it had to have been some random accident with a small plane. 

I was compiling a quality report.  I had my radio on quietly.  I had to get the report ready for an early morning review of issues in the last 24 hours.  Status report—quality engineering.  I hear the news on the radio that a second plane had flown into the other tower.

I knew at that moment we were under attack.

All the TVs at work were tuned to the news.  I watched the towers fall, heard the thunk-thunk-thunk of jumpers (before the news media had the good sense to stop airing it).   I know I’ll never forget.  It was traumatizing enough through the TV, I cannot imagine being there.

I was about 7 months pregnant with Cosmo at the time.  I spent weeks wondering what kind of world I was bringing a child into.   The stock market was shut down… the entire economy came to a screeching halt.  Our world changed on that day.  The threat is still there, hanging out, waiting for us to get comfortable.  Laughing at our Airport Security Initiatives, planning, plotting.

No use living in fear, however.  Besides, I know where I’m going when my time comes.  There’s nothing to be afraid of.  “They” can’t take that away from me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Audio Textbooks?

Anyone know where I could get them?  Holy moly, there’s so much reading this semester… and I have 40 minutes to and from school.  I’m thinking life would be so much better if I could use my time in the car to listen to what I should have read earlier.  Plus, I’m lazy. 

Okay, I’m not REALLY lazy, I just have a lot of other things to do that distract me.  You know, like grocery shopping and laundry.  And paying attention to the adorable little faces in my home.

Speaking of adorable little faces, school is going well so far!  Cosmo is 2 days in, and is glad he changed schools.  He told me yesterday that “he feels like part of the class.”  He says this like it’s a whole new world, and part of me is sad for him...three years on the outside, looking in.  I’m glad he’s where he is now, though!  I’ll do whatever I have to to keep it going so well!

Swing continues to do well in preschool.  He really enjoys it.  He’s not quite getting the letters yet, though.  I hope the concept starts to come to him soon! 

The boys are so different!  Cosmo was able to read well before Kindergarten… though he didn’t like to, so it was hard to get him to do it.  Swing… just needs lots more repetition to get the letter thing.  He’s more interested in how things work.  And in instigating trouble with his brother. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Polishing Silver

I cleaned my china cabinet last night.  It’s a lot of work – so much glass to clean!  Plus, I’m a horrible klutz, so I’m always afraid I’ll break something.

There’s something nice about touching all of the pieces I have, though.  The china is my mom’s; she bought it in nursing school before she met my dad.  We used that china every holiday growing up.

I rearranged my Lenox pieces: my cake topper from my wedding, a Noah's ark from my parents, and a couple pieces from Aunt Lorraine.  I washed all of my little serving bowls, all of them from family.  My teacups, also from family.  I love the teacups.  One day I’ll identify them all.

I also polished my Gram’s silver service.  It was a 25th anniversary gift from her siblings.  I’m not sure if it’s from just before I was born or just after… but either way, the service set is more than 30 years old.  I can still see it in her china cabinet.  The pinochle cards were kept nearby.  :)  She taught me to play pinochle.  We spent HOURS, and I never did get a hand with any meld that evening.  I remembered spending time at Gram’s in the summer with my family at the lake (she had a lovely place on a lake).  A few years, I’d get to stay behind with Gram while my family went home.  Polishing that silver was like spending an evening with Gram again.  I miss her.

Anyway, cleaning that cabinet out was a chore, sure.  But it was also a way to reconnect with lost family.  It was a good evening.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back to school!

It’s Thursday!  Last day of my school week.  First week back.  The workload is intimidating and exciting!  Next week, Swing starts pre-K; the following week, Cosmo starts the 3rd grade! 

I think the return to school will be good for all of us.  The boys have started to drive each other (and ME) crazy.  They are bored of the park.  Can you believe that?  It was a fantastic place to go for quite a while, though.  Swing will love pre-k, and I’ll have some time to study.  (or that is the plan).  I’m looking forward to the predictability of routine again. 


Guess who forgot to post?  ROFL!  Well, school’s been keeping me busy, that’s for sure!  Five classes. 13 credits… I can do it!  It will be nice when the Woodsman is back from hunting tomorrow.  He wasn’t gone long, but he’s such an enormous help and support with school… I really miss him when he’s gone.

Swing loves preschool!  He’s been doing great!  He’s making friends, and is doing a good job following directions.  It’s a relief, really.  Sometimes the ADHD thing makes me wonder if I’m crazy and I’m just really not doing things right.  Knowing that the same techniques that haven’t worked on Cosmo DO work on other kids… it’s a strange relief.

Cosmo starts back Tuesday!  We are so excited; he got in to a Science Magnet school nearby!  He loves science!  LOVES it!  I’m hopeful that a “new start” will be good for him socially, and that the focus on science will benefit him academically.

We’ve changed meds again.  Back to the stimulants.  Bigger guns this time.  The hope is that the “stronger” medicine will help him on a lower dose so he can sleep at night.  So far it’s looking like we’ll have to go with part stimulant and part non-stimulant so he can focus and sleep.

I’ll close with this… kinda defines life right now… Seth's mess 002