A few quick things

>I’ve started doing a wee bit o’ writing for Circle of Moms. Check my first post here.

>The fleas in California this year are at apocalyptic levels. Outdoor Kitty had them so bad, she gave herself a skin infection from all the itching, requiring a double round of antibiotics and steroids for the irritation. And even though I have given both kitties their monthly dose of Advantage, I am still finding fleas on them. Which makes me itch and scratch like crazy whenever I feel the tiniest little itch. Pair this with my strong distaste for the silverfish problem our house has and…I’ve got the creepy crawlies 24/7.

>When I was pregnant with Bowie, I ate a ton of junk food, fast food, sugary stuff. This time I really haven’t craved it all that much. Once in a while (like, once a day) I want chocolate, but I don’t overdo it. And I almost never want fast food at all. (Which is just weird for me, pregnant or not.) (But I’m not complaining.) SUCH a different pregnancy, in so many ways.

>Also about this pregnancy: it’s all of a sudden going super s-l-o-w. When I hit the 20 week mark, I thought wow, this is going SO FAST. And now the days are dragging, I can’t imagine myself making it all summer long being pregnant, and I spend all my time either yawning or peeing or being hungry. Or yawning while peeing and being hungry. And for all that yawning, you’d think I’d be able to sleep at night. But, no. My body gearing me up for sleepless nights with the babe, I guess.

>Bowie’s behavior at school improved drastically for a few weeks, but this week went back to its normal ugly self. And I am truly scratching my head. Sometimes in life, I have these thoughts, “If I’m really going to be honest with myself, I know what the problem is here.” But this time? That is NOT the case. I’ve been trying my damnest to be the patient yet firm, fun-loving parent I know I need to be, I really have been trying. And it seems to work some days, but not other days, normal I guess. But, I can’t deal with my normal as ending my day with reports of other kids getting injured by my son, and having my own scratches and bruises from him to contend with. The occupational therapist we have met with is taking her dandy old time getting back to us on what she thinks about his issues or lack thereof with sensory processing. I have a very strong feeling that is the issue (like after a violent outburst in a crowd of kids he tells his teacher “I thought everyone would push me and step on me”), and I’m dying to meet with her and hear her strategies for dealing with it. With the new baby on the way, I’m operating on borrowed time here.

>On a much lighter note, my garden is going off. I guess the past few years of experimentation and poring over gardening books is finally starting to pay off. I’m definitely still experimenting here, but so far so good! I just hope it all doesn’t go to pot when A) we finally get our normal San Francisco cool, foggy summer weather and B) I have a newborn.

Ok, I think that’s it for now. I have to go, I’m hungry. And I have to pee. Have a good week, all!

 

The Week in Snippets

A few random things. Because apparently that’s how I roll now?

Mid-pregnancy ultrasound is scheduled for April 27. I can hardly wait to lay eyes on the little one, and see how things are going. I’m such a ball of excitement/nerves/wonder, I can hardly think straight. But I had a nice talk with the midwife at my appointment last Friday about my concerns, and she said the heartbeat sounds really great, and the baby is moving around a lot, so things seem to be progressing very well. And if I need to pop in for a “heartbeat check”, to just give her a call. That conversation made my LIFE. In a sea of doctors and midwives who are trying desperately to understand how I feel and put me at ease, finally someone who could.

I’m not sure how often I’ve discussed this on here, but lately Bowie has been very…physical. Too physical. And he’s started hurting kids at preschool. But, the preschool director, his teacher and Brien and I are bound and determined to get him back on the right track. We’ve enlisted the help of an occupational therapist, who we got a smokin’ deal on through the preschool, and she is in the process of evaluating him for sensory motor sensitivities, which could explain a whole heck of a lot of the things he’s having issues with lately. I will keep you all updated, and go into more detail in a future post. For now, I will just say that it’s been a major stressor for me and my husband lately, and we’ve been working so hard lately, doing our absolute best, with few results. Some results, but it’s slow-going. It’s all fairly normal, and he will outgrow it, but I’d love to have this phase behind us, especially with a new little one set to arrive this fall.

I have had pregnancy brain something fierce. I’m not talking about walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there. I’m talking about having to make myself no less than 4 to do lists, all of which say the same thing, and leaving them around the house for myself, and STILL forgetting things. An example: I had a meeting at preschool the other night, a meeting we have once a month, without fail. I had it on all of my lists. I had it on the calendar. I talked with another mom about it that day. During dinner that night, I was talking about it with my husband. Then, I rinsed my dinner plate, put it in the dishwasher, sat down on the couch, and that was it. I forgot all about the meeting until it was long over. And I never forget stuff like that. Never! I was…I don’t know…embarrassed? It felt like that time in sixth grade when I totally forgot I had to give a how-to speech in English class, and had to make one up on the fly. Which was terrible. (But, thank you Mrs. Beguhn for making me do it anyway, LESSON LEARNED. Well, unless I’m pregnant, apparently.) Thankfully, the person at school in charge of making sure everyone gets to the meetings is a close friend. And she didn’t judge me. Too much.

The weather was nice this weekend, and is supposed to be even nicer as the week progresses. I did a whole bunch of gardening over the weekend, and I’m super excited to see how we do this year. I’m taking the old trial-and-error approach to figuring out gardening in the Outer Sunset (we have a very unique climate out here), so starting off the new season, I’m always so excited to see what grows, what doesn’t, and the whole spectrum in between. This year we’re trying (thus far) strawberries, lettuce, pattypan squash, two kinds of bush beans, fava beans, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, celery, peppers and chard. I’m also trying some new techniques with rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro and basil (for some reason, raising healthy herbs completely eludes me, no matter what, but, I press on). If you have any tips on any of these, or tips on raising a garden in a mild, wet, foggy climate, let me know.

And, the obligatory belly bump photo. I wasn’t going to do these this time, for some reason it just seemed unnecessary. But, all of a sudden I have this BELLY and I just have to share (and yes, I cleaned the mirror for you people. You should feel very special.):

Have a great week everyone!

This Hate Thing

We’re still caught up in an epic battle with the hate word. We’ve tried a variety of different methods for dealing with it, including all the ways you guys suggested. And thank you, I was dying for advice and it was great to see so much support come in.

What seemed to work, for a short, short time, was taking it VERY seriously. Acting very hurt and angry. Making him sit in his room and think about it for a while. But, then he started acting out at school. Bigtime. So, lesson learned. Anger won’t get us anywhere. But neither does acting like our feelings are hurt. That only seems to fuel it, really.

When he started freaking out at school, we got called in to talk about it (THE HORROR) and their basic stance on it is, let the kid say it. It’s just a word, after all. One that’s hard to hear from our flesh and blood, but just a word nonetheless.

If they are able to freely say it at home, an environment where they feel safe in pushing their boundaries, then they’re less likely to start saying it outside of home, to friends, etc.

If they do what the preschool teacher called a “drive-by”, where they just walk by and insult you: “I hate you.” “You’re stupid.” “You’re ugly.” with no real provocation, then that you can be upset about. Tell them you’re hurt, and it’s not a good word to use. But, if it’s in the heat of a denied-a-second-dessert fueled tantrum, then let it go.

And this might all sound like we’re being a little soft, but really it has been working. Sort of. He still says it. And it slips out at school once in a while. But, it has ebbed a little bit. And sometimes when I act all hurt and sad, he will quickly add, “I love you.”

I talked to a lot of other parents at preschool, and it seems like all of the kids are going through or have gone through the exact same thing. Which oddly makes me feel a lot better. There is a light at the end of this hate tunnel.

Ok, I need a little advice.

Bowie picked up a new phrase at some point, and started using it quite a bit while we were on our trip.

“I hate you!”

As in, I hate you Mommy, for making my PB&J with different jelly than what we have at home. I hate you Daddy, for making me put on sunscreen before sitting out in the hot, Hawaiian sun. I hate you Grandma for making me listen to my mommy. I hate you Grandpa for telling me to listen to Grandma and Mommy and Daddy. I hate you random kid I don’t know for splashing me in the pool.

Hate hate hate. One of my least favorite words, over and over. And I have no idea what to do about it.

If I ignore it, he keeps repeating it, louder and louder, until the entire universe has decided that I’m a bad parent.

If I respond, in any way, he wins. He gets attention. Negative attention, but attention nonetheless. And I seriously don’t think he’s not getting enough attention otherwise, though who knows. Maybe some kids need more than others?

So, help me bloggy universe. I think that this is a relatively normal phase. But, I would still like to nip it in the bud. Believe it or not, I don’t enjoy hearing “I HATE YOU!” 300 million times a day.

What do the “experts” say? What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t? HELP ME.

Regression

Bowie has been acting less and less mature lately, and it’s starting to irk me. A few examples:

1. He won’t sit with me during his preschool’s opening circle time. Ten minutes of welcome songs, finding out what’s for snack, and finding out what the day’s projects will be. When he was 2, he wouldn’t sit, but that’s to be expected. He’s been sitting for it this entire school year, but for the past week, he refuses. It’s okay if it’s a day or two, sometimes they need to just let loose. But it’s been more like 8 days. At this point, he’s just being obstinate. I hope when we return from winter break, this ends.

2. I figured we were fully and totally a potty trained household when, about a month ago, he started going into the bathroom on his own, pulling down his own pants, going potty and most of the time also pulling up his own pants. All of a sudden this week, he demands that I help him with the entire process. And if I, you know just hypothetically, tell him, “I’m really busy with dinner right now, could you please be the big boy I know you can be and do it yourself.” Then, I am rewarded with an accident mess to clean up.

3. He’s obsessed with age right now. The bigger kids at school are all turning 5, and he really likes to pretend to be 5, and be “a really big, strong boy”. Then yesterday, he announces he’s pretending to be 1. And he’s acting like a baby, not a big boy. But, not just for fun, he is working it. Anytime he doesn’t feel like doing something, he plays the baby card, “I’m 1, I’m a baby!”

So, Internet, what gives? Is this kind of regression normal sometimes? I kind of think he’s going through some kind of hormone-surge-growth-spurt kind of thing. Maybe that’s part of it?

Lefty?

It’s looking more and more these days like Bowie might be left handed. Which is…well, it just is. I don’t care which hand he uses for anything. It’s just an observation I made recently.

But, it is an observation that I’m glad I made before he started kindergarten. And without left handed family members, I might not have had the wherewithal to keep an eye out for it. At least now I can give people a heads up right away, instead of allowing him to endure years of tortuous teachers forcing him to use his right hand (though, I’m naively thinking they don’t do this anymore?).

As a baby, he used both hands for everything. And for a while, he was using his right hand with crayons. But lately, he’s using his left hand a lot for coloring and for eating. And then the other day at school, he was signing in with his teacher at the big sign-in board at preschool, and she put the marker in his right hand, and he switched to the left hand.

In that moment, I figured I’d better explore this a little bit. Mainly, I wanted to know if he was genetically predisposed, because both my husband and his mom are left handed. So, if it is genetic, then it would stand to reason he’d be more likely to have this trait. If not, I’d say the jury’s still out and I could sit back and not fret about it until he starts learning how to write. (Which, MY GOD, is only a year or so away, where does the time freaking go?)

It is genetic, in a way, which is all I can really say with any authority after my intensive one-hour Google search session. This article does a pretty good job of explaining it (but if you’re like me you will have to read it a few times). So, it’s possible it’s just in his genes, but a lot of other contributing factors would be at play.

Also, kids can be as old as 5 or 6 before they show a full preference for one hand over the other. And, me witnessing just a handful of the many things he does with his hands doesn’t necessarily mean he’s showing a preference, just that sometimes he prefers the hand that only about a tenth of all humans prefer. (But, I followed him around for a whole day trying to get a picture of him using his left hand to use with this post, and he kept using his right hand soooo…)

So, right now, still watching and waiting. But, I think there’s a good chance I’ve got a lefty.

Do any of you have left handed children? When did you first notice it? Have they had any trouble because of it in school?

Individuality

All of a sudden, Bowie is full of all of these feelings and ideas and opinions, and he will come up to me and say something and I have one of those mom moments where you realize, “I did actually create another human being.”

“I want to wear my glasses.” (Points to my sunglasses.) “Like mommy’s glasses, but Bowie’s glasses. It’s too sunny.”

“No mommy, I don’t want to try it. I don’t think I like.”

“Mommy, is time for school? I like school. I like to see [names of 10 kids from school].”

And he remembers stuff! It’s amazing. For example, at his swim class, we always sing this fun song at the end, and then the teacher gives everyone a high five. It’s pretty routine, so when we come home and tell Daddy how swim class went, I never even talk about it. While telling bedtime stories last night, I asked him about swim class.

Me: You climbed out of the pool all by yourself, right?

Bowie: Yes.

Me: And you went under the water two times, right?

Bowie: Yes. But hurts my eyes.

Me: Yeah, it hurts your eyes. We will wear the goggles next time, okay?

Bowie: Ok.

Me: What else did we do?

Bowie: Sing songs and high fives!

Just like that, he remembered that his eyes hurt under water and that we sing and do high fives. If you don’t have kids and you are reading this right now, you probably think I’m a total nut job but trust me, watching your kid come into his own in simple ways like this is mind-blowing.

When we started preschool last December, I took solace in the fact that he was one of the youngest kids there. My little 2 1/2 year old. How old is he? “2 1/2…” I’d say over and over again. Then just the other day it dawned on me that he’s ALMOST THREE. Almost 3. Good lord. What’s next, his driver’s license?

Activities

Lately, due to the heavy SAHM and mom blogger influence on my Twitter account, I have been feeling somewhat guilty for not doing more activities with Bowie. That’s a big, blanket word, activities. But what I mean is, stuff at home like craft projects and baking and planting seeds, that kind of stuff.

But, the thing is, whenever I go to do stuff like that with him, I realize he’s too young. Or is he? I mean, I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just not trying hard enough. We color pictures together and we search for flowers on walks together. But, baking? Using glue on something? I just think he’s too young! And last time I pulled out the Play-Doh–he feasted upon it. Really. He had pink poop.

Two questions: 1) When did you start doing fun little crafty/exploring activities with your kids? How old were they?  2) What were those projects? Are there good ones for a 2 1/2 year old that I’m forgetting?

Of course I want to have fun and make memories and be interactive with my kiddo while he’s still little. But, I’m out of ideas. And maybe I am just feeling pressure from the uber-involved online community members?

The comment on Twitter that prompted this post ended with the hashtag “family centered”. Which made me wonder, am I less family centered than this mother?