Wine, chocolate, ice cream, skin care stuff for Michael (who is now suffering radiation burn to his skin - it's like a bad sunburn), gummy bears for the kids, even a book for me, and one that just happens to have been on my want-to-read list :) Thank you, Lisa!!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
The girls discovered this fun trick a while back where they (one at a time) will stand in front of me and I hold their hands and then they sort of climb up my legs and then flip themselves over. It's great fun. So they were doing this a little while ago. When Lilah's turn came, her wrist got twisted in the process. She cried . . . and cried . . . and cried. We couldn't find any swelling or bruising but wrapped her hand and wrist in ice anyway. She was totally favoring that arm, refusing to let it touch anything. She wouldn't eat dinner. She just cried and held her arm and said "Mommy hurt my arm." After about 40 solid minutes of crying, it was clear that she needed to go to the ER. So Michael took her while I stayed here with the other kids, feeling like absolute shit.
I'm just sick over this.
Michael texted me a few minutes ago and said that she's got something called Nursemaid's Elbow . . . ???
Great, so basically I dislocated her elbow :( The ER doc assured Michael that it's very common, especially in children this young, and that it's usually the result of this sort of horseplay, swinging a child by the hands/wrists, and picking them up by the hand/wrist when they do the floppy noodle thing. Anyway, so the doc relocated her elbow with a quick maneuver and she seemed to feel better almost immediately. No sling or splint or anything. They're on their way home now.
I don't think it's possible to feel any worse than I feel about this :(
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Kevin's a good kid. He's patient, loving, devoted and fiercely loyal to his siblings. He's compassionate in general. He's extremely bright and can be pretty funny. He's responsible. At 12, he's not openly interested in girls yet (although I suspect that he secretly is). In many ways, he seems much more innocent than I remember being at 12 (which I'm extremely glad about). He's horrified about drugs, smoking cigarettes, and drinking (although I'm not so naive to think that this might not change over the next couple of years). He gets on my case about using swear words (which I admittedly do way too much).
He also drives me crazy. He talks A LOT. He's one of those people who seems to not have an off-switch with the talking (in fact, this is something I worry about, how it is such a turn-off in adults, and since his father and grandfather were both compulsive talkers even as adults, I suspect this is hereditary and not likely something he will outgrow). He tries too hard to be funny a lot of the time, so it merely comes across as annoying. He craves the spotlight - he's never outgrown that "Look at me! Watch me!" thing.
He's also got the whole attitude thing going on. Snotty, huffy, stomping off to his room sort of thing. I love to torment him by telling him that his attitude has puberty written all over it.
Michael has sometimes said that Kevin and I remind him of an old married couple, the way we have this connection and the way we argue and bicker.
After Kevin was born, for a very long time I felt this deep, profound sadness at not having him inside me anymore. I loved having him close to me, safe and protected for those nine months, and when he was born, he suddenly became this separate person, and I missed the magical connection that pregnancy brings. He hung onto his umbilical cord stump for NINE weeks, I kid not. My mother-in-law at the time said that he didn't want to let go of his physical connection to me any more than I wanted to let go of my connection to him.
Kevin was two when his biological father, my first husband, died from a drug overdose, two weeks after I had filed for divorce at the end of a long, unhappy, unhealthy marriage. After he died, I got a tattoo of a butterfly. It meant several things to me: it was a sort of statement of independence, because I had wanted a tattoo for years and my husband always told me he'd leave me if I got one; it was a tribute to my own dad who had died shortly before my husband, and who also had a butterfly tattoo; and it symbolized the "metamorphosis" I was going through at that time in my life. Shortly afterwards, I returned to get another tattoo: a second, smaller butterfly, flying behind the first one. The second one represents Kevin. After all, we were going through a metamorphosis together. And now, almost ten years later, I still think of that time in our lives when I see those tattoos on my hip. And I wonder how much that period of time shaped me and shaped Kevin and shaped our relationship.
Our relationship does seem to be a bit different from my relationship with the other kids. But it's hard to pinpoint why. It could be because of everything he and I survived together in his early childhood. It could just be because he's my firstborn. It could be because he's quite a bit older than ther other kids, so naturally the dynamics of our relationship would be different. I'm sure it's a combination of all those factors.
And it's not that I favor him. I think - no, I know - that I'm harder on him than I am the other kids. Part of that is expecting more from him because he IS older. Part of it is that I have this very deep fear that I have to keep him in line so he doesn't turn out like his father. I see so many traits in him that mirror his father, and it scares the crap out of me.
It's interesting . . . I've realized for a long time how, as your children grow, it's a process of letting go of them, from the moment they're born. There was that first letting go by giving birth to him, then the losing of his umbilical cord stump . . . sending him to daycare when I returned to work . . . weaning . . . sending him to school . . . letting him go on sleepovers . . . and the list goes on. I've just begun to realize over the last year or so how much I've become an observer, a bit player, in Kevin's life. Not that I don't still play an important role, but all the time, he's growing more and more independent, and experiencing things that have nothing at all to do with me.
Which, I guess, is why this upcoming camping trip with the sixth grade feels so bittersweet to me. I know he's going to have a great time. I think he might come home a tiny bit more grown up, though, with memories and experiences behind him that are all his own. And I'm happy about that, I am . . . but just the tiniest bit sad too.
I'll miss him.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The house is quiet and I should be enjoying the solitude, but mostly I just feel lonely.
I am perfectly aware that attitude has so much to do with everything, and that I need to adjust mine. I've allowed myself to fall into the dreaded pit of self-pity this week, and I will now endeavor to dig myself out. Starting tomorrow.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I was walking home from school with the kids a while ago and ran into a mom whose daughter was in Joey's kindergarten class last year. I asked her how things are going, as I know that her husband is serving his second deployment in Iraq. She said that he was recently home on leave for two weeks but is back in Iraq now and should be coming home in about six months. I almost started crying on the spot - for her and for myself. I don't know how she is coping, honestly. I don't know how any parent copes when they are trying to raise children and their spouse is away at war, risking their very lives. And it hit me that that's how I feel, like my husband is away at war (okay, I know this is presumptuous since I've never actually experienced having a husband away at war, but this is at least something like I imagine it would feel like). I could sit here and try to list all the parallels, but I'll just say that this sucks, absolutely sucks, and I just want Michael back, I want our life back.
I live in an almost constant state of anxiety these days, which escalates into all-out fear from time to time. Sometimes I just want to escape. Not leave, exactly, but somehow just be free of everthing that is causing all of my anxiety and fear. This afternoon after I put Finn and Lilah down for their naps, I left Kevin in charge and ran out for a quick errand. While I was out, I passed by Barnes & Noble, and suddenly I had this almost overwhelming desire to park my truck and go inside and hide among the books . . . for hours. Just be alone and pretend that my husband doesn't have cancer, and I don't have a baby with Down syndrome, and I don't have to make a decision about how much he needs physical therapy, and he's not going to have surgery in a little more than a week, and we have a million dollars socked away, and I don't have kids at home who are whiny and bickery, and . . . and . . . and. But I didn't. Because that didn't feel like the responsible thing to do.
Ack. I need a strong drink and a good cry I think.
It's been a rather difficult week. From my end and from his end, but of course for different reasons. I've already ranted about the things I'm struggling with. As for Michael, in addition to the same stresses and worries that I have, he's also got the physical stuff to deal with. He seems to be doing okay with the chemo now, but the radiation is taking a toll on him. He's fatigued, and having quite a bit of internal pain - enough so that the doc prescribed pain meds for him. Basically, the radiation is frying his insides. Nice, huh?
It's hard to watch all this happening to him. He's keeping his good humor about the whole thing, for the most part, but I think I'm losing my humor and my morale seems to be going downhill. I try to imagine what he must be feeling like, and all I can come up with as a comparison is pregnancy: the fatigue of pregnancy, and the pain of labor. But I'm sure it's completely different. Plus, all the discomforts of pregnancy are for such a positive and hopeful purpose: you get a baby at the end of it all. He's not growing a beautiful baby, he's fighting cancer, he's fighting for his life.
So one more week of radiation, and then he'll be done forever with that. One more week of this phase of chemo, and then four weeks off, and then a second phase of chemo.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We'll be okay. There are people out there who have it much worse than we ever will. We enjoy a pretty nice lifestyle, and there is plenty of room for cutting out unnecessaries. I think the scariest and most stressful part for me right now is that it's all such an unknown: we have no idea how much or how little M will be able to work, or how much, when, and for how long that will impact us financially. And there's really no way to plan it, because it's all dependent on how he is feeling. But we'll make it, we'll be fine. So I'll just leave it at that.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
5:15 a.m. - Up
7:20 a.m. - Out the door; drop Kevin and the twins off at their school; hustle back to our neighborhood to drop Joey off at his school
8:45 a.m. - run home to have Lilah go potty, feed and change Finn and put myself somewhat together so that I don't look like I just rolled out of bed (because even though I was up at 5:15, there is no time whatsoever to do anything with myself in the morning, it's all about controlling the chaos and getting the kids out the door on time)
9:30 a.m. - drive across town to appt. at ENT doc for Finn
11:10 a.m. - We are finally actually seen by the doctor; our appt. was at freaking TEN O'CLOCK. Yes, we were kept waiting for an hour and ten minutes.
11:25 a.m. - The doc is done with us; I rush back across town to pick the twins up from preschool by noon
12:10 p.m. - Home; make lunch for the girls; feed and change Finn; try to put him down for a nap, but he's having none of that
12:45 p.m. - Leave to pick up Joey from school, as he has early release all this week
1:10 p.m. - Home with Joey; eat sandwich as quickly as possible; decide it's too late for Lilah to go down for a nap, and she won't sleep anyway since she slept for about 20 minutes in the truck; try again to put Finn down for a nap
1:50 p.m. - Leave for Joey's parent/teacher conference
2:40 p.m. - Home from Joey's parent/teacher conference
2:45 p.m. - Leave to pick up prescription for antibiotic for Finn who was diagnosed with a double ear infection and a sinus infection by the ENT
3:30 p.m. - home from the drug store; get Finn up from nap; fail at first attempt to give him first dose of antibiotic (even after trying the 100% guaranteed fool-proof method of administering oral meds to babies as per the ENT); succeed at second attempt (sort of); feed and change him; throw a load of diapers in the wash; break up fights; deal with random tantrums; wonder how soon I can crawl into bed and perhaps not get up for a few months.
And here I am.
A few things in more detail:
Finn has a double ear infection and a sinus infection (did I already mention that?). More on that here.
Michael also had an appt. this morning after his radiation appt. with the doc who will be performing his surgery, and honestly, I am freaking right out about all that. Michael is going to have to have not one, but TWO surgeries, separated by a few months. Both will require that he stay in the hospital for a number of days and there will be a recovery period after each, during which time he won't be able to work. His first surgery will take place the week of June 29.
He will definitely be in the hospital over Joey's birthday, and there's a chance he will still be in the hospital for Finn's first birthday. There is no way to finagle the surgery taking place at a different time - according to the treatment protocol, it must take place during that specific week. So I am really, really sad that the boys' birthdays are going to fall by the wayside - especially Finn's first. I had envisioned having a big celebration marking Finn's first year in our lives and inviting all the people who rallied around us after he was born. I suppose we could still do that a couple weeks early. I am also stressed out beyond words over how I am going to manage on my own while Michael is in the hospital and recuperating, and more than that, how we're going to manage financially with him off work. Freaking out.
I know that ultimately, the focus is on Michael getting well, and whatever that takes, so be it. I guess the doctors have given us such a positive outlook, though, for his pulling through this, that at the moment, I'm just feeling stressed out, and even pissed at all the ways this whole thing is creating upheaval for all of us. Wonderful wife, me, eh?
So, on to the positive: Joey's parent/teacher conference was terrific. I LOVE his teacher. She is one of those teachers that you wish could be your kid's teacher every single year they're in school.
Anyway, he's doing really well. He got a perfect report card, and his teacher said that he is working far above grade level. In fact, she said that he could easily be placed in a GATE third grade class right now (he's in first grade; GATE is the program for gifted kids), academically. However, emotionally and socially, he's a first grader. She's concerned about him being placed in in a second grade class next year with a teacher who will challenge him, and she has a teacher in mind whom she is going to request that he be placed with; however that teacher may be let go with the budget cuts going on. If that happens, she wants us to keep in touch with her and she said she would personally make up extra work packets for him to keep him challenged, even though she won't even be his teacher anymore. She's just really concerned about him falling between the cracks. It means so much to have a teacher that concerned and involved with your child.
Not only is he doing stellar work academically, she said that he's just a really good kid. He's everyone's friend, he gets along with everyone, he has a great attitude, and he loves to help other kids in his class.
It's funny, because she ended our meeting by saying to me and Michael, "Good parenting!" And it just makes me laugh, because I really don't think we deserve the credit for the way he is - I think he was just born that way.
Anyway, I'm very very proud of him.
Friday, March 20, 2009
~ Today was also a big day for Daisy. Her preschool teacher, knowing about Daisy's terror of any living creature that's not human, told me a couple weeks ago that they were going to be "raising" butterflies from caterpillars. And the fact is, Daisy has been known to freak out over butterflies. So. This morning when we arrived at school, the teacher told me that the caterpillars had arrived and were in the classroom. I sighed and told her I'd stay close to home in case she needed to call me to come get Daisy. Well, I didn't get a call. When I went to pick the girls up from preschool, the teacher motioned me over and had me peek inside the classroom. She told me that Daisy did, in fact, freak out over the caterpillars, that she was quite hysterical for some time. However, somehow they talked her off that ledge and she became fascinated with the caterpillars and spent most of the rest of the day sitting right next to the butterfly thingamajig that the caterpillars are living in, watching them. So when I peeked into the classroom, that's what I saw: Daisy right up close to the caterpillars, watching them. And she couldn't stop talking about them for a long time after school. So while this may seem like small potatoes, it was a huge step for her.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Shame on him. Really. I'm so disappointed.
Where have I gone wrong? Because I'm sure that the responsibility for this particular issue lies squarely on my shoulders. I'm not doing this parenting thing right. Not that my kids would be perfect angels if I were doing it right, but holy cow, I'd like to think they'd show a little more respect.
Michael is back on chemo as of this morning. I know it's a good thing - all towards him getting well, but I swear when he came home with the fanny pack back on, I felt like crying. It was like, "Oh yeah . . . that." Because the last week while he's been off chemo, it's felt almost normal again, like cancer wasn't a part of our life. Now it's back to reality.
And I haven't slept - really slept - in . . . oh so long. I am up and down, up and down, all night, every night with Finn. He's already been up once screaming since I put him to bed tonight. And I don't feel that I can do any kind of sleep training with him because I suspect that there's actually a physical/medical issue at play here - namely, the fluid in his middle ears that I was told he has a couple weeks ago. Maybe I'm wrong, but until I find out for sure, I have to believe that coddling him at night is the best thing I can do for him right now. But it sure is hard. I'm sooooo tired. All the time.
Tomorow's another day.
My current itch was brought on by the fact that the contractors finished downstairs yesterday (woot!), so now we have new carpet, new paint, and a new bathroom vanity and sink . . . and lots of crap. It's a huge mess down there, because everything had to be shoved around and stacked here and there when the flood happened, and now it's clear that we have a big job ahead of us to clean everything up and put it all back together into a living space. And there's also the fact that I see the kids' pants growing shorter on them, their clothes becoming more stained and ratty as the days go by, which tells me it's time to clean out their closets and drawers - out with the old, in with the new.
And this will lead me to clean out my own closet and drawers; I have a firm philosophy that if I haven't worn it for a year, I'll never wear it again, so out it goes. Of course, I had a pregnancy in the last year, so maybe I should give myself a little more time to get back into the things I haven't worn for more than a year . . .
Anyway, of course a lot of the kids' purging I have to do on the sly - either when they're at school or deeply involved in a game outside, because if it were up to them, we'd never get rid of anything, no matter how ratty, broken, or outgrown. Actually, Michael's the same way.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The pics really don't do the colors or the details justice. This one (Lilah's) is white with lavendar and blue tulle and white rosettes around the waist and a big tulle bow:
Daisy's - white with lavendar tulle, rhinestones around the waist and a bow:
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So it's been a long day. The kids were unruly, Finn doesn't seem to be feeling 100%, so PT didn't go all that well, and frankly, I'm tired and a little on the bitchy side because I can't for the life of me remember when the last time I got a decent night's sleep (yawn). And getting everyone fed, bathed and to bed all on my own is always a walk on the wild side. Now I have a headache and I should go to bed, but I want to wait up for Michael.
Enough complaining. Positives today:
~ I made my third tutu today and took some really cute pics of the girls.
~ My friend Karyn brought over a huge tureen of homemade chicken soup for Michael as well as cookies for the kids and a bottle of wine.
~ My friend Joanne brought over cupcakes for the kids and a card for Michael.
~ The outpouring of love and support from the people around us makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :)
~ Tomorrow the new carpet is being installed downstairs and that should do it for all the repairs - we can have our basement back!
Monday, March 16, 2009
I'm glad he's getting a break. Last week was really rough. It feels like my old Michael is back for now. It's nice to see him eating again, and not hobbling around in pain. Hopefully by the time he goes back on chemo Thursday, the levels in his system will have lowered enough that any side effects from starting up again will be minimal.
Oh yeah, and the PICC line entry site in his arm is still infected apparently, so he's on another round of antibiotics for that. The thing about chemo is it's poison. It's this very toxic shit that wipes out a person's immune system and makes it much more difficult for their body to heal, so any infection, wound, or illness he gets while he's on chemo (and I would imagine for some time after he's completely finished with it late this year) will be much slower to heal than it normally would be.
Believe it or not, cancer and Michael's treatment aren't the only things that have been going on, although they're certainly never far from my mind, and I'm sure not from Michael's either. But life has a funny way of marching on. Even with this happening, the kids still take center stage.
The twins are loving their dance class, and Mommy got her creative juices flowing today and made some lovely tutus for them (pics coming soon!). I think I'm going to have to make some more just for play since all three girls love dress-up so much. Also, we've pretty much decided to go ahead and enroll the twins in kindergarten for this fall. We've been torn about it for some time, mostly because of Daisy's phobias, but their preschool teacher as well as Daisy's speech teacher and the school psychologist have all said that the girls are ready for kindergarten and Daisy's phobias aren't a reason to hold them back. She may very well have these phobias a year from now, and we can't hold her back forever. So I guess we're taking the leap. But really, that's still a way off.
Lilah's big girl bed is due to be delivered later this week, so she will soon be moving in with the twins, the twins' beds will be put up as bunk beds, and Finn will be moving out of our room (sniff sniff) and into a crib in his own room. Not sure if it will take place this weekend, but soon. So we're in for a little (more) upheaval.
I guess that's about it for now.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
So, he does seem to be feeling quite a bit better since being taken off chemo a few days ago. And it's been nice to just do normal things this weekend. He will start back on chemo probably tomorrow though. It will be a slighty lower dosage, so hopefully the side effects will be minimized. We shall see.
It's unnerving to realize how well he did throught the first couple weeks of treatment, and then how quick the downward slide was once the side effects came into play. Sitting by and watching what he has gone through over the last week has given me a new appreciation for anyone who has gone through cancer and treatment. It's all been completely abstract to me up until now. You hear things, you read things, you know it's not going to be pretty, but until you live it, it's just abstract. And now I'm sitting here thinking about elderly people who have to fight cancer . . . and little children . . . and it absolutely breaks my heart. I can hardly imagine a child enduring what Michael is enduring - and worse, much worse.
Many thanks for everyone's continued thoughts and well-wishes.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Honest-to-god convo with Daisy, one of my 4 year-old twins, later in the day:
D: Mommy, did the doctor look at Lilah's bottom?
D: Did she have to take her pants off?
D: Did she lay down on her stomach?
D: Gee, I wish I could do that.
So I'm wondering about this phenomenon. Why is it that my kids pretty much ignore me until I'm either on the phone or sit down (like, to eat)? What is up with that? They barely register that I exist until the second I'm on the phone, and then suddenly, they desperately need something from me RIGHT NOW!!!
I'm glad it's Friday. I'm glad that for the next two days I don't have to get up at 5:30 a.m. (the kids will still have me up by 6 or 6:30, but I swear that feels like such a luxury these days). I'm glad that tomorrow morning I will dress the twins in their leotards and tutus and take them to dance class. I'm glad that one more week of radiation and chemo are behind Michael. He's about halfway through the first phase of his treatment now. Since the doc stopped the chemo yesterday, his feet are hurting a bit less, but his mouth is still very sore. He's pretty much living on soup and shakes these days.
It's funny how I've started looking at his treatment in terms of a pregnancy as far as timeline, because from start to finish, it will have been about the length of a pregnancy. And I remember all the times I was pregnant, how in the beginning, it seems like the end is soooooooo far away, but the weeks march by and before you know it, it's over.
I just want this all behind us.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
He will apparently be meeting with the nutritionist weekly now. Michael has lost about 13 pounds since January. The first few pounds were the result of good old-fashioned improving the quality of his diet; the last several pounds, however, are more the result of the toll the chemo is taking on him. She told him that it's especially important that he get plenty of protein right now, as his body will start breaking down muscle mass otherwise. He's already drinking protein shakes every day, and she has him adding Boost or Ensure to his diet and encourages plenty of cheese, dairy, and ice cream. All the things that are normally no-no's are are now a big YES, so if there's a bright spot in here anywhere, I would personally vote for the go-ahead on ice cream. I think I will go stock up this afternoon (not for me, you understand).
His oncologist has decided to stop chemo for the next several days. My first question was, will this prolong his treatment? No, apparently. Dr. A said that the symptoms he's experiencing - the mouth sores, pain in his feet and hands - are signs that his body is saturated with chemo meds and that the dosage needs to be adjusted. So a little break for a few days to hopefully give him a chance to rebound a bit, and then early next week he'll go back and his dosage will be lowered.
His spirits seem to be flagging. Whose wouldn't?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
So he called his oncologist's office this morning and reported his symptoms. The good doctor instructed him to turn off his chemo pump for now, and he called in a prescription to the local pharmacy for a bottle of Lidocaine. He also told Michael to pick up some liquid (children's) Benedryl and some liquid Malox or Mylanta, and instructed him to mix equal portions of each of the three ingredients and use as a mouthwash. He tried it out for the first time just a little while ago, and the relief appeared to be almost immediate. It left his mouth numb, but that's got to be a hell of a lot better than pain.
He has his usual weekly appointment with Dr. A, the oncologist, tomorrow morning after radiation, and he'll decide whether Michael needs a break from chemo for a few days, or just a lower dosage.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
So, the last few days have revealed a downturn of sorts. The first couple weeks of Michael's treatment, he seemed to be fairly sailing through it. I never asssumed that would last, it was just a matter of waiting for whatever side effects were going to manifest to manifest. And now they are. Minor things, really, relatively speaking. The bottoms of his feet hurt. The skin on his hands is dry and cracking. His fingertips are growing more sensitive (and don't forget he plays guitar!). He's got sores in his mouth that don't seem to want to heal and are making it difficult for him to talk and eat. The accumulation of these things are leaving him somewhat miserable. And I feel completely and utterly helpless. Honestly, it's like torture sitting by and just watching this happen to him and not being able to do a goddamn thing to make it better or easier for him.
And he's being such a good sport about it all, he really is. It's funny . . . all the times I've been pregnant and suffering through morning sickness and this ache and that pain and the fatigue, etc., and I would grow somewhat resentful that no matter how shitty I felt, I just had to keep on keeping on. There was always a household and other kids to care for. There have been so many times when I've told Michael that there's no way that he - or any man! - could handle having one single period, along with all the PMS, cramping, mood swings, etc. - let alone handle being pregnant. You know what? I'll never say or even think that again. Because what Michael is dealing with - and keeping his good humor through it - puts me to shame. I have no doubt whatsoever that if I were the one dealing with what he's dealing with, I'd be a big, giant, bitchy crybaby.
So yeah. It's really hard to sit by and feel like my hands are tied. There were a couple weeks in January, before we told anyone what was going on, when Michael was undergoing all these tests, and first it was waiting to find out if what he had was in fact CANCER. And then we found out it was. And then all the waiting for this test and that test to determine what stage it was at and how treatable. And I am here to say that that was the worst kind of hell. It was utter torture, being in the dark and having no choice but to imagine the very worst. There was so much fear in both of us during that time, so many tears, so many thoughts of death.
This is not as bad as that was - not nearly. But it's still a sort of torture. Because he has to go through this. He has to suffer the side effects. He has to do this - however shitty it makes him feel - in order to get better. And I want to help him, and I can't. I want to share the burden, and I can't.
He's not incapacitated. He's still going to work and dealing. But I know he doesn't feel great. And both of us are wondering: is it going to get worse? And he's got all this pressure to keep working. I'm sure it must suck to be going through this and have the pressure of being the breadwinner. And it's not even a question of my finding some kind of work to ease that burden for him - what am I going to do, get a job at Starbucks? And who would take care of the kids?
So anyway. I don't know. Maybe I'm making this bigger than it is in my own head. I mean, right now, as I sit here pouring out my thoughts, he's out jamming with his buddies. That's a good thing, right?
Saturday, March 7, 2009
~ Ask them (okay, tell them) what they need to do (e.g., clean up their toys, etc.)
~ Whining usually ensues
~ I get aggravated, which results in raising my voice and repeating my request/order
~ More whining
~ Threats are then made
~ Children throw themselves on the floor in utter misery as if they live in a chamber of torture
~ Yelling from me
~ Crying from them
~ More threats
~ Full blown tantrum
(And people have this silly idea that my kids are perfect. Haaa!)
Anyway, you see the pattern. It takes a lot of energy and time, and frankly, it just doesn't work.
Let me say, too, that on principal, I am not a fan of this whole reward system. I believe that kids should do what they're told - should do what they're supposed to do, just because. I really don't think that being cooperative or cleaning up one's mess without a fight should earn anyone a prize - it's just the way it's supposed to be. That said, I see that that only works in a perfect world, in which I and my family do not live. So I'm resorting to this:
I made this up on the trusty computer today, printed off about 20 of them and went to the 99 cent store and bought a bunch of
crap small toys to use as rewards. I placed all the junk rewards in a "treasure box" and told the kids (actually just Joey and the twins since they're the ones who need this motivation and Lilah's too young to get it and Kevin is too old, obviously) that they can earn ONE Good Kid Buck for each good deed, act of cooperation, etc., and when they have 5 bucks, they can buy something from the Treasure Box. It may just be a novelty right now, but today it worked like a charm.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I caught him red-handed. And it's clear, as you can plainly see, that this is no fling. There are real feelings involved here.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009