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THE HAIR.

Sorry for the excessive posting today. I scheduled several entries to go live to test my new hosting package. Things will return to normal tomorrow.
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Look at this child’s hair! It’s insane. It’s not quite curly like mine, but it’s definitely not straight like his sisters. It has wave like E’s but is no where near as thick (yet?) but this child DOES NOT CARE AT ALL about how it looks. Sometimes he’ll be inspired to brush it but most days he leaves the house with this glorious style and I love it!

Every summer he opts to shave his head like Donnie does, but for the winter they both go shaggy if they can!

This is the last scheduled post for today. If you haven’t commented on any posts today, do you mind throwing me a bone here just to make sure everything is working for everyone on every computer and every browser in all the land? Thanks.

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Hope For My Adorable Little Demon Child…

As Wes gets older, I start to very easily see that a lot of his behavioral issues relate back to one thing: He’s perpetually bored.

At his parent/teacher conference a few weeks ago – she pointed out that his standardized test scores from earlier in the year were ABYSMAL. Like, in reading? He tested in the “needs immediate intervention” level. In Math it was close, but more like, “consider intervention”. I thought this was INSANE because – with his school work – it’s obvious he’s a good reader and good at math. But then his teacher pointed out a KEY element on the report.

The test time.

Do you know how long he spent taking a test that should have taken 20-30 minutes? TWO MINUTES. He basically filled out random answers and then finished because…BORING!

And when he gets in trouble at home? 9 times out of 10 it’s because he’s bored and I won’t give him attention or his sister won’t. He tortures BOTH of us when he’s bored.

It does help to see this as a “reason” because I can then convince myself he’s a struggling genius (he’s not) instead of a sociopath…but it still always concerns me because the only way he ever seems to have fun is when he’s torturing us in some way for attention. He can’t just enjoy himself in a normal way that doesn’t make someone around him crazy.

But last night? At Disney on Ice? HE WAS SO GOOD.

He made funny jokes, we danced, we sang songs…it was just a fun night all around. Sometimes I don’t like to take Wes places because he can be SO BAD, but last night? It was just a fun night and no one was torturing anyone. We even stopped on the way home for French Fries and STILL had fun even eating french fries! It was just nice and a reminder that he has the potential to enjoy himself without torturing everyone around him or showing off in inappropriate ways just to get eyes on him. He was NICE and he was FUN and it was EXACTLY what I needed to stop the nightmares I’ve been having lately of him being sent to juvenile detention at age 7.

Will he go back to his fun-by-evil tendencies? Yes. Will I continue to struggle keeping him from being bored but also teaching him that he needs to be able to entertain himself sometimes? Definitely. Will he make us all crazy? Without. A. Doubt.

But it will be easier with last night to remember that some days are better than others. They’re not all going to be a struggle.

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Balancing a Boring Blog Message With An Adorable Picture of My Child

So! I’ve been having resource issues on my blog.

(I KNOW…BORING! Bear with me.)

(Funny story: I googled “Is it ‘bear’ or ‘bare’ with me?” once and y’all? That is a REALLY popular question.)

So. Resource issues.

And it relates to REAL traffic. I’ve cleaned up my blog a lot so I’m not dealing with burdensome plugins or designs anymore. I’m keeping it SUPER simple so everything stays SUPER streamlined but it seems some of my RAM usage is simply traffic to the blog. It’s not “Make millions as a blogger!” level but we are creeping past the “minor monthly cost” territory and into the “needs to be a real budget line item” category.

And we have a tight budget, guys.

Donnie REALLY wants me to look into some sort of revenue options here. I do NOT want ads. Partly because I think they’ll stifle my creative juices and partly because I don’t think I’ll make any actual money off of them because ads pay per CLICK now, not per impression. I don’t want to do any paid content on this site either. Again – because I don’t want it to stifle my creative juices which are kinda lame as it is.

So…maybe a “tip jar” type donation button? Be honest. If something like that was in the sidebar would it completely turn you off?

Okay. For bearing with me (not BARE-ing with me)…here’s a great Wesley picture and story.

This morning he asked me to brush his hair. When I was done I told him to go look in the mirror and see if he approved. He looked in the mirror, smiled, did finger guns and said, “Oh, yeah. Wesley Man is BACK!”

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Packing a full day of anxiety into two hours! It’s my skill!

So! Yesterday was normal, regular day of work and kids and life and blah blah blah. I had a headache that complicated things a bit (it messed with my vision, that’s bad, right?) but nothing that REALLY stopped the flow of my day too much.

Then, 2:30 rolled around. I picked up the kids from school and did our normal routine. We came home and it was homework time! Wes always sits at my desk and we work together. I do stuff for my job WHILE helping him with his homework. We do a little of both. And then he wanted to watch TV and got a little irritated that I was not letting him do that. That’s where the tension started with him, and looking back I think, “I need to spot those moments AT THE TIME…” but of course I didn’t. Not at the time. It was just a general tense moment between us that sometimes stops right there and other times – like last night – it’s the beginning of an avalanche.

So, then since I wouldn’t let him watch TV, he started messing with me while I worked. Wanting to mess with the keyboard etc. (And yes, I know NOW that it was a plea for attention, but in the moment I was trying to get work done and my kids MUST understand the limits of my maternal habits when I’m working.) So I told him to go to his room because he kept typing on my keyboard while I was typing. (He does NOT know PHP, for the record.)

He refused to go to his room. Of course. He started yelling at me and pushed my chair and it just went downhill from there in a MAJOR way. There were SEVERAL “I hate you!”s and slammed doors and kicked walls. I ended up yelling (which I usually put off as a LAST resort) which made him even ANGRIER and then he told me I was the MEANEST EVER. The next 30 minutes was basically him yelling at me and telling me he hates me and me just quietly taking away toys every time.

It was a mess. And several moments I looked at later I know I could have/should have done differently. But it’s SO HARD in the moment.

So I left him in his room until Donnie got home. And then I left. I got my hair trimmed. I bought fake Birkenstocks. I ate French Fries and donuts. The usual.

But basically from 3pm to 5pm we had COMPLETE and TOTAL meltdown as Mother and Son. We went from normal to DEFCON 1 in 2 hours.

I got home in time to put him to bed. We snuggled for awhile in bed and talked/apologized. I had said things I regret. He had said things he regretted. There were a lot of, “I’m sorry!”s. (For the record – mainly he regretted getting his toys away. You know. Because he’s still 6.) But we snuggled. We made deals. We hugged. We took cute selfies. We read books.

I have made contact with a child therapist group. I’m working out the details of cost/insurance/in-network doctors and all of that, but I do recognize a lot of the new behavior is out of my realm of knowledge and skill. Partly because I’m not the BEST Mom for this type of personality (I’m good with other personalities! But angry meanness I’m not good with.) and partly because this is an extreme type of that personality that I don’t think ANYONE is an expert in.

The funny/not-funny thing is I honestly thought Nikki would be the one I’d take to a therapist first because she has SUCH anxiety issues.

Actually…now that I think about it…back in middle school with E I did try to push a therapist on him. Mainly because Middle School was hard on me, when I first started thinking about suicide, so I was UBER paranoid when E was that age and wanted to push therapy on him even if he didn’t need/want it. So, I guess I kinda thought he needed it first, not because of behavior but because of age. But with my younger two, I thought Nikki would get it first. But Wes’s new behavior traits have escalated SO QUICKLY that suddenly he is the top candidate. HE WON THE PRIZE for FIRST NECESSARY THERAPIST! WOOT!

But I thought I’d document this process because I had NO idea what to do. I’m still not understanding the exact coverage options, but it seems my insurance has child therapists in our “network” and the group I contacted said that the ones I listed were not the right specialists but there was a different one that the THOUGHT was in the network of my insurance. So that’s where we are now. Trying to find the right doctor covered by the right insurance.

I’ll keep you guys posted because this whole thing is so new and so foreign that I kinda wish I had read someone else’s experience with it just to give me some clue as to what/how this all happens. So I’m telling myself this journey might help someone else.

He used to spit/hit when he was 4…but I felt like that was still in that “age” where other kids do that too. But we’re doing it again and we’re 6 now and I feel like we’re more in the territory where it’s not as “normal” as it was before. So, I thought it might be time to bring in the professionals. I also read this GREAT article that compared it to a child’s bad eating habits. They said something like – It’s hard to call your child out or bring up their bad behaviors but if you don’t do it as a child, they’ll carry that with them into adulthood when it will be MUCH harder to correct. So, I’m looking at his horrible anger issues as an addiction to Twinkies and I’m calling in medical professionals now to help him deal with that so that he’s prepared into adulthood.

*sigh*

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A New Phase Of Fun Parenting Times

Wes is going to be the child that drives me to finally give in and get medicated for my anxiety. I’ve self-treated for my entire life, always seeing my friends and family who NEED medicine has having it SO MUCH WORSE so I never take that step because I feel like – in comparison – my anxiety is so much less. But lately? As I toss and turn at night worrying about my sweet youngest child? I think…Yep. We may be getting to the SO MUCH WORSE level any day now…

For age 2-5 the trouble was related to his anger and frustration and his inability to process those emotions in any way that didn’t require:
-Tantrums
-Hitting me
-Kicking me
-Spitting on me
-Throwing stuff at me
-Yelling
-Screaming

When you have a lively child who doesn’t deal with their emotions well, you have two kind of reactions. I call mine SANE and INSANE because that is how they feel. The SANE reactions are the ones where I think to apply this new method I read about or maybe try that thing my friend said helped with their child. My SANE reactions are thought out or planned in advance and I have a hope that they’ll teach me something or help me in some way with my lively child.

Many (not most) of my reactions were of the INSANE variety and not well planned or thought out. They were off-the-cuff and strictly a product of the behavior of my child. They often involved yelling and periodically throwing. I threw a stuffed animal at a wall one time and the plastic eyeball left a hole. That felt GREAT.

It’s okay (I think?) to have those INSANE reactions. Most of mine involved yelling and I always felt shitty afterwards and vowed to not let his behavior catch me SO off guard that I couldn’t react sanely to the situations. But sometimes? It still got me off guard and the unread Mom came forward and just reacted in the moment, usually with yelling and sending to his room which had about ZERO effectiveness in the grand scheme of things.

SO! The SANE moments always revolved around helping him process his anger/sadness/frustration in healthier ways. I taught him the value of screaming into a pillow or punching his mattress. I taught him to ask me for hugs if he was just having a bad day and needed some love. (We use that one A LOT.) I taught him to TALK about what’s bothering him instead of throwing a fit. We learned to take deep breaths.

Age 5 through today (we are 6+) have been so much better in terms of how he processes those emotions. He asks for help a lot more and talks things out a lot more. He has his GGRRRRRRR! moments of frustration where he tries to stifle screams instead of throwing fits. He takes deep breaths.

But lately – the problem is new. Now we’re in a phase where he screams various declarations of self-hatred.

Last night, while I held him in my arms trying to just hug him to the point of relaxation he kept screaming:

I hate myself!
I’m so stupid!
I’m a bad boy!
I HATE MYSELF! I HATE MYSELF!

It was heartbreaking.

This has been trending for awhile but last night was the first time I really thought about what was going on. I wasn’t necessarily reacting with my INSANE self before, but I just would squash it by saying something like, I don’t like it when you say that! or That makes me sad because I love you!. You know, just mushy sentiments to try to placate.

But last night I tried to really think about it and I had no idea what to do so I just held him while he freaked out saying those things. I just sat there and hugged him while he kept saying, I hate myself! I’m so stupid! and my heart just shattered over and over and over again. This is a new phase for us, and I think it still very much relates to the old phase. The inability to express/process frustration/anger. I think it still comes back to me needing to work with him on talking things out. But sometimes I also wonder if he knows that saying that will get compliments thrown his way from me. Sometimes I’ll say, “Yes. You are being a big fat jerk. But you aren’t always a big fat jerk.” Because, well, sometimes he IS a big fat jerk. He colors on his sisters artwork or throws her favorite toy down the stairs. And he goes into the self-hatred fit when he gets in trouble. So I don’t want to necessarily respond entirely with compliments because he needs to know that his behavior is unacceptable.

But last night was different. Last night was just a full breakdown. He’d had a rough day (It’s Fall Break! Yay!) and he was frazzled and he had gotten in trouble a few times and it just culminated in one giant meltdown where he was just screaming about hating himself and all I could do was hold him. I didn’t even talk to him, honestly. I just held him and kissed him until he calmed down.

I guess I don’t have a point. Just maybe the first entry written on this new parenting road? So many firsts with this child. And so many chances – I feel – to screw him up forever.

Have you been there? Done that?