Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm just his mother.....

I haven't blogged here in a while........mostly because I am unable to narrow my thoughts to one guide the randomness that floats through my head into one post with clarity.

And, I'm tired.

But, I'm home alone on a Friday night, have just tucked in two children and am crossing my fingers that bedtime will stick .......and am thinking that if I type some of all this randomness out onto the screen that my head will be empty to absorb the two hours of taped Gray's Anatomy I have to watch (WANT to watch I should say) we go.

As a quick catch up, we have been taking Bubbe to see a therapist to work on his anxious behaviors.

Bubbe never had any trouble with attachment - he and I were, are, and it's looking like always will be attached. For the last three years, I have wondered about his anxiety. I asked all those significant professionals in our life and got the same answer all the way around - "at his age, these behaviors are still considered within the norm - far to one side, but within the norm." ie....kiddo loves his mommy, and at his okay.

Fast forward to about a month ago, when I determined that "norm" or not - we needed some guidance from someone who had time to do more research than me. Or, a large case of wine. So, off to meet chickie (our therapist) we went.

We have determined that Bubbe is an "anxious" child and exhibits "anxious" behaviors.

Of course, as it reads in the mother hand book - the first thing you do is re-examine every moment of the last five years. Why does my child not feel secure? My child who has never been apart from me longer than 3 hours on any kind of regular basis not feel secure? My child who nursed for two years and who I let self wean not feel secure? My child who gets all the snuggles, attention, book time, special outings, etc. not feel secure?

Even odder - how is it that my child is fearless about all things that should be feared is anxious? Favorite ride at Disney - Tower of Terror. No qualms about standing on two chairs tipped over in order to swing from my dining room chandelier. Laughed at the new Monster Plantation at Six Flags that his own mother kept her eyes closed during. No fears there.

But yet, he is afraid to go to Sunday School. The same church we have been going to for over a year, in the same building where he goes to school. He is afraid to go to kindergarten. The same preschool he has been in for the last three years. He is afraid to go ...........anywhere without me.

Worse than those, are that he is anxious in our own home. He has to know where I am at EVERY moment. He follows me around the house - nope, I don't think I've peed alone in 5 years. He has major anxiety attacks if you change floors of the house and don't take him with you. Forget about getting the mail without finding him in the front yard, crying and shaking that he didn't/couldn't see you (even though you said four times "Bubbe - I'm going to mail box - I'll be right back).

I can assure that the sentence I say every day more than any other is "Bubbe....mommy is right here." I say it in the morning, I say it all day, I sat it at night ....through multiple bedtime attempts, and yes.....I say it several times during the night.

He is the child of the million questions. How long will I be at kindergarten? Is that a long time? Will you come back for me? ..........Where are you going to be? Is that far away? How long will you be there? Is that a long time?........Are we staying here a long time? .......What are we going to do tomorrow? Will it be a long time? Will you come back for me?

I could understand if we had experienced a major trauma. Like, if I had been in an accident and wasn't able to pick him up. I have picked him up from everywhere I have ever left him - and been timely. Mostly early. If your not early.......let's just don't go there........

Anyhoo.....this is the kid I live with.

This is the same awesome kid who sings Livin on a Prayer until you wish Bon Jovi had never recorded it........who tells the funniest jokes........who gives the sweetest hugs, snuggles and kisses.....who makes the best cards with his own desk supplies........who you can barely discipline because he really is just that darn cute.......

Then, this week as I am sitting in my weekly therapy appointment.....I am now told that while Bubbe exhibits anxious behaviors, he also exhibits attention seeking behaviors.

What the hell does that mean?

Is there anything about a 5 year old that is NOT attention seeking?

I left there more confused than normal...........and have been invited back next week for a parent session (which at the moment feels like a call to the principal's office to discuss my parenting skills) in addition to his normal session so WOO HOO two trips to Athens next week.

In my calm moments, I'm guessing that chickie is trying to tell me that while she thinks he begins truly anxious, that he continues the behaviors to get attention.

I'm still thinking that the first priority is to get rid of the anxiety - and thus the behavior won't start, and then I won't have to try to figure out where one ends and another begins?

But then again, I'm not the trained professional.

I'm *just* his mother.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things Every Mother Should Know

Recently I was sitting in the waiting room of the kid's dentist - surrounding by more toys than Santa probably brings all the children of a small nation...........and grabbed one of those lovely parenting magazines they had lying around.

I know, I know.....sevenish years into this parenting gig - I should have learned by now that those magazines are either annoying or guilt bearing.

Just put down the magazine and slowly walk away and everything will be okay..........

but, no, I opened it.

The first article I found was titled "Things Every Mother Should Know."

I read on.

I found NOTHING that a mother SHOULD know, needs to know, or would be any help at all.

So, because the kid dentist gig takes some time, I began to wonder.....what do I think every mother should know?

Here it is - my short and sweet Top Five (copied from my grocery list I wrote on while waiting):

1 - Motherhood is the most amazing, time consuming, frustrating, rewarding, overwhelming, demanding, scary, awesome thing ever.

Feel free to pretend every day is fabulous and that you are all happy, yippee skippy all the time - that's all right by me. But I know how it really goes. I've been around A LOT of kids and A LOT of play dates and A LOT of preschools.....and EVERYBODY has those moments when they think they will not make it to the end of the day. EVERYBODY.

It's a not a job that you are meant to be perfect at. Sort of like that whole being human gig.

2- Reading parenting stuff just makes you read more.

I'm an avid reader - I love to read. I was only engaged about a half hour when we drove to the bookstore to get bridal and wedding planning books. Guess who had a copy of What to Expect When You are Expecting? within days of that pretty pink line pregnancy test?

You can find supporting evidence for whatever kind of parenting strategy or style you think you are or want to be. Want to attachment parent (read it)? Want a new kid by Friday (read it)? Want your kid to sleep all night by themselves (I could loan you a copy of practically every book on the market on that topic.....even had the honor of being a contributing mom to one)? Want to laugh at other mothers (got a few girlfriend guides)?

Find validation in knowing your kid - knowing what your kid needs. Then read what you want - you'll know the minute you start reading what will and won't work for you, your kid, and your relationship.

3 - Say you're sorry when you are.

I can't tell you the number of times I go to bed feeling terrible about how something in the day went. Why didn't I just tell pumpkin I was sorry that I snapped at her or why did I let myself loose my cool with Bubbe and the whole anxious mess? I've been known to wake people up to love on them......

My motto is "I'm doing the best I can" - that's all I can do. I love my kids - and I know how to say I am sorry (most of the time I do...) when I screw up. Teach forgiveness by modeling and asking for forgiveness for that screaming in aisle 4 of Walmart (was that really me?) or that moment where I should have stopped folding laundry and built the Lego guy because it was important to you........

4 - Be flexible on the molehills, but stand firm on the mountains.

I wish I practiced this one as well as I can preach about it.

I'm working on differentiating between the small stuff and the big character issues with the kids.

Does it matter that Pumpkin attended preschool in mix matched clothes, complete with tiara for three months? Since that was so 4 years ago, no didn't then, and it still doesn't now.

Will it matter in 4 years if I allow Bubbe to yell at me and be disrespectful? I'm thinking yeah - that probably isn't going to fade away on its own.

Molehills and mountains.

5 - Embrace the chaos for it really is only a short season.

If you know us, you know my kids live in their own fantasy world. One where you wake up everyday as Luke Skywalker fighting off the evil with a light saber (or two or ten), or you wake as a doctor who must bandage all the wounded before we move camps (if only you knew how many band aids we go through), or you wake as super heroes who must build a large fortress out of EVERY pillow and blanket we own, or you wake as a famous rock star to whom all must wave their "rock on" sign in the air and sing .......and the list goes on.

As a result, right this moment, as I type, I can see......2ish feet of my living room floor. My living room is HUGE as far as living rooms go. There are two very large blankets laid out - where the bat cave is. The fire house now serves as a jail for all the evil villains. I see a pocket book - every good female super hero needs her make up? I see a race track for the get away cars. I see a TON of Lego's and will no doubt go to bed with small circles indented into my feet as I try to pass through never land.

In 8ish hours....if I'm lucky - the chaos will begin again. And, I'm hoping instead of wondering why my children don't sleep late on Saturday mornings like certain other children who will remain nameless and belong to such lucky parents.......that I will find my bat cape and jump into the chaos too for I can see this season is passing.......too quickly for me.