Friday, August 8, 2014

Quick Takes Pre-Back-to-School

It is Back To School time, y'all. Remember that commercial with that guy going through the Staples buying supplies with the song, "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" blaring? Cut to his kids who are not feeling it. Imagine that, but in reverse up in here. My kids love the beginning of school. They have long forgotten about homework, early wake up times, bed times, the desperation of looking for the other shoe, and my demands that they continue to make their beds and brush their teeth. All they can think of is that they will spend 8 hours a day with people they like who don't expect them to empty the dishwasher and feed the pets.

I, however, have enjoyed the luxury of no homework, not caring as much about hygiene (because the ocean is sterile, you guys. It's Science!), and lax bedtime/wake times. This year I was so smart and created a spreadsheet for school supply shopping, and then went to the inter webs and had it all delivered to my house. I don't do the school sponsored boxes. I never remember in time, or, when I do remember, I have spent all my money on froyo.
But then I decided to do a room switcheroo. You see, the oldest will be semi-homeschooling with virtual school. She made a really good point that she would like to sleep in a little, and yet shares a room with a sibling who will be getting up at 6:30. That, coupled with the fact that the baby was starting to get closer and closer to getting out of her crib, lead me to the decision to move the kids around. K has her own room, M &C are together now, and the baby and Paul are bunking in the "camp" room, that I will one day finish decorating as a camp bunk because the furniture is very rustic.

Let me tell you something about trying to organize and swap clothes with a two-year-old in the house; it's terrible. Especially if this particular child likes nothing better than to "reorganize" all the shoes you have lined up to weed out and repurpose. Especially if said child also loves to pull perfectly organized clothing onto the floor and then "refold" it and place it somewhere you shall never look until you move. She's a helper, that one.
Kate has her own bathroom. I recognize that this is a risk I am taking. She is already very entitled as witnessed when I told her she would need her own toilet brush.

K: What for?
Me: To clean your toilet. I'll get you shower cleaner too.
K: Why do I have to clean the toilet?!
Me: The same reason you have to make your bed and vacuum your rug. You use it, you clean it.
K: That seems excessive
Me: I regret to inform you that if you neglect your bathroom you will become responsible for all the bathrooms in the house. Also, please make a note that the size of your bedroom will be about the size of your first apartment, if you are lucky, so try very hard not to be too comfortable.
K: Oh yeah, living here is so luxurious.
Me: Glad you understand.

I am so looking forward to the teen years.
The baby sleeps in a bed. Like, actually gets put in a bed, falls asleep in that bed, and then stays in the bed until morning or nap time is over. I would like to know, what in the heck in going on, Internet? It should be noted that this is for her own safety. She began to get her leg up on the railing a couple months ago, and had since built little stools out of books and stuffed animals to make it easier to get out. She has not been successful (low muscle tone, FTW!), but it was coming. Because she is a bit weaker, even if she puts her arms out to catch her fall, she would likely bust her face. The bed is very low to the ground with a bunky board rather than a full boxed spring.

The bonus is that Paul has stayed in his loft bed since her move. He is there to protect her, after all, and he takes this very seriously. For now.
I am walking a lot lately thanks to my husband shaming me with his Hop-Out-Of-Bed-And -Go-Running routine. Wait, first he does push-ups and dips, then he goes running. Lying there listening to all this productivity has shamed me into at least taking the dog for a power walk. Running is too excessive in the summer. I've done it off and on every summer since moving to FL, and I simply hate it. I also have an easier time meditating and counting my blessings if I am not panting and hating life. I'm also nicer to my kids when I get home. It's really a lose-win-win-win. The loser is my bed, who loves me so dearly and surly misses our coffee-and-news mornings. Poor thing.
Can I just say, I finally get the mother/son relationship lovefest? Paul has always been turned to 11, regardless of that being good or bad. He overwhelms me with his full-throttle passion. However, I'm slowly learning about his particular needs and finally meeting them. Everyone has sensory needs, it's not a diagnosis, or problem, it's just like nutritional needs vary, so do sensory needs. Paul is a proprioceptive seeker. Think wrestlers and football players. So when he's hurt, he hits things and runs around, and when he's happy, he snuggles you to death and kisses you so hard your nose feels broken. Now that I understand, I've been able to give him lots of input and now he's so much calmer, and more charming, and hilarious.

One interesting thing I have found is how easy anger is for him. Since he was a baby, if he were scared, hurt or sick, he would get mad and hit people. Now that he is a little more mature, I can say that he can just be hurt without being angry, and it hits just the right note for him. He'll start to spin out, and then come in for a hug and tell me what is bothering him and what he wants to fix it.  The weirdest thing is to see how that has translated into his ability to admit when he is wrong and to apologize as well. Yes, some of this is maturity, but a lot of it is the sensory needs being filled too. I can see how much he neede this from ME. He needs a woman to understand him better just as the girls need their Daddy to work to understand their needs.

One thing I want to leave with is the fact that I'm tempted to feel guilty that it took me 5 years to get it together with Paul. Yes, I use the term tempted. Some guilt is constructive and helps us keep trucking toward being better human beings, and some is destructive and makes us naval gazing depressed narcissists. I let a little of the guilt hang out enough to remind me to be patient when he needs it, and I tell the rest to buzz off. I love my son, and I'm confident in that. I will never meet all of my children's needs no matter what. I'm comfortable with that most of the time. That's how I handle the guilt anyway.
There is a lot of bad news in the world, and I mean a. lot. of. bad. news. Sometimes it makes me think God made a mistake when He promised not to wipe us all out and start fresh a la Noah. And then there are stories like this.  I was lucky enough to meet this fine lady at my little Edel excursion and she is amazingly funny and interesting and silly. I then found out she had a blog and I was all up in that business. I promise you, if you were to meet her, you would not for a minute think she has a bunch o' kids, that two have SMA, and that she home schools. I mean, honestly you wouldn't because there is no blinding halo keeping you from getting too close. So, yes, humans are awful. However, they are awfully wonderful also. Congrats to Kelly and her family. It is a well deserved blessing.

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