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All posts for the month December, 2014

Happy Freakin’ New Year!

Published December 31, 2014 by sarcasmica

Goodbye 2014, hello New Year.

That’s about as festive as I feel. That’s it. I blew my wad on sentence #1.

We have my husband’s oldest kids staying with us for a week and we took all the kids to the snow today. 2 hours of driving to play in 10 inches of snow. … still debating whether or not it was worth it. There was one single tubing hill. It was at least not at all crowded. We had the hill 100% to ourselves until the last run. As we drove out, however, there was a mob of people at the top of the hill.

Ha ha, neener neener, we won.

Here’s what I learned today:

My 4 year old is no longer a little baby girl.
-I am still working on fully understanding this and letting it happen without being sad. Of course it’s going to happen either way, but i’m working on seeing the joy in it and not the loss

My 4 year old is a badass!
– after tackling the sledding hill solo about five times and being the fastest monster out there, I was feeling pretty proud

Falling on the icy snow at 38 and 75 – 100lbs overweight is not a party

I don’t like wet 25 degree cold on my skin

I love love LOVE living in this state
-we saw a range of beauty today from the ice to the frost to the snow. The rock face covered in waterfalls and icicles was astounding. The river running through the snowy scenery and icy rocks was beautiful. The lake surrounded by snowy mountains and the bald eagle that flew over was utter contentment for my mind and heart

My son has a great capacity for love when you give him time
– after li’l badass sledded down a small hill and got whiplash from a bump before becoming airborne toward the parking lot, her big brother finally went to check on her – of his own accord –
after a respectable 5 minutes had passed. .. just so we didn’t think he was overly concerned ๐Ÿ™‚ He checked on her and hugged her again about 20 minutes later ๐Ÿ™‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

My family, dysfunctional as it may be, is mine and it’s wonderful …. you know … when everyone isn’t getting on my nerves and trying to kill each other

Happy New Year my friends! I hope it is filled with joy and lots and lots of laughter and reading and comments on my posts.

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2014 in review

Published December 29, 2014 by sarcasmica

Thank you so much to anyone and everyone who visited, stayed to read, and the bravest who continued onto another post, and the craziest of all- my followers!

Here’s to another year of literary genius by yours truly (and humbly)

๐Ÿ™‚

-Sarcasmica

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Labels That Stick

Published December 29, 2014 by sarcasmica

I have been sticking labels on my kids forever:

colicky
not a good sleeper
breastfed
bottle fed
napper
challenging
biter
difficult
defiant
polite
easy
potty trained

After 6 years we discovered a new one; Sensory Issues. Now eight and a half years in we get a big one. Dyspraxia.

We’ve had countless run ins with the ADD, ADHD labels. Nothing really stuck, though. I’ve found more labels come off than stick to my eight year old. Today we found one the psychologist tested for and it seems to be permanent. It’s a life long issue, but nothing debilitating. It’s sort of an official diagnosis to never have an easy time at school, however.

Dyspraxia.

This is a new term to me, and one that i’ll be likely incorporating into my vocabulary. It’s something that fits. It works. It makes sense. It just is. It is my son and I can certainly live with it. I’m hoping we all learn to teach him how to cope and manage it. I will include an official $3 word definition for anyone who is curious because I certainly cannot do the explanation justice after an hour of marinating on it.

(from Dyspraxia info )

What is dyspraxia?

Dyspraxia isnโ€™t a sign of muscle weakness or of low intelligence. Itโ€™s a brain-based condition that makes it hard to plan and coordinate physical movement. Children with dyspraxia tend to struggle with balance and posture. They may appear clumsy or โ€œout of syncโ€ with their environment.[1]

Dyspraxia goes by many names: developmental coordination disorder, motor learning difficulty, motor planning difficulty and apraxia of speech. It can affect the development of gross motor skills like walking or jumping. It can also affect fine motor skills. These include things like the hand movements needed to write clearly and the mouth and tongue movements needed to pronounce words correctly.

Dyspraxia can affect social skills too. Children with dyspraxia may behave immaturely even though they typically have average or above-average intelligence.

Kids donโ€™t outgrow dyspraxia. But occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and other tools and strategies can help. Kids can learn to work around areas of weakness and build on their strengths.

So that’s the clinical side of it. Now we get to figure out what this means for our family and our kid. The Doc said some very interesting things to us and most of it made it to my brain. This is by far a very livable thing. It’s nothing that will throw our world upside down. He is the same kid now with a label than he was yesterday with a generic label of “frustration”. We’ve been living with a kid with dyspraxia for eight and a half years, now it just has a name. The fact he does not do his morning routine without me pulling all my hair out just like our neighbors isn’t going to change. It just means we have a tangible reason for him being hard-headed. This is actually a neurological disorder. His synapses aren’t all firing together. I could have told you that when he walked out the door without his backpack.

This is going to be a two-sided development for us. A lot of the signs are in fact just typical 8 year old boy ‘things’. They don’t sit well in a class room. They do not do well when you give multi step directions. They don’t always ‘get’ the emotion in a conversation. The difference with my kid is that he’ll have to learn it all. It’s not intuitive. It’s not a passive skill. He wont eventually learn any of this through osmosis. He has to actually physically work out steps in understanding and doing all of this.

Compounded with the difficulty of all of the processing his brain does with every day tasks, we found out he is bordering on gifted for cognitive functions. He’s great at literal ideas. He’s really good at puzzles and maps and legos and building. He can figure things out with minimal effort. The other hints of issues that lie on the outskirts of his dyspraxia is depression and some limited ADHD. Unfortunately the converse of the gifted stuff is for him particularly if something doesn’t register as “valuable information”, he absolutely tunes it out. (math, writing, morning monotony, calendar time, directions, announcements, etc etc etc) He doesn’t have another option at this time. His brain has to learn the steps to actively pay attention and function. Because of the big split between his cognitive and nonverbal functioning, he ends up being frustrated a lot of the time. Imagine being able to be so good in one area that you are gifted, but having other things make no sense whatsoever, and these things are expected of you every.single.day. And you are graded on them. But you have no way to bridge the gap between understanding and total disinterest. You have no tools to link the two.

… as i’m writing this, i completely hear the ‘snake-oil-salesman’ explanation it can sound like.

The other thing this label does for us is allow me to no longer feel the need to justify who my kid is. Do other kids have these issues? Yes. I will just say the degree of effort and difficulty in doing this day in and day out is greatly compounded for my kid, neurologically.

And that’s that. So he’s officially a difficult kid. I’m officially a super parent, I guess. I have officially earned these grey hairs. I can say with nothing but confidence I will take all of these issues over some of the other debilitating, life-altering, soul-crushing, heartbreaking irreversible conditions we could have been handed. Those parents deserve so much more than a cape. They deserve monuments. They deserve an hour out of each day for effortless happiness and joy with their kid.

As for me, I’ll take that diagnosis and place it beside intelligent, charming, bright, thoughtful, imaginative, creative, and loving and move right along.

If Harry Potter can live with this diagnosis, so can my kiddo.

Harry Potter is Dyspraxic

Eve of Santa

Published December 25, 2014 by sarcasmica

It hasn’t felt much like Christmas this year. Not any one specific reason, just a lot of bickering from the kids, trouble from the big one, family stresses, life, blah blah blah. But here i lay at 12 am Christmas morning (officially) and i’m looking forward to all the morning excitement.

I found myself resenting the competition with Santa as I was tagging the gifts tonight. Why does he get all the good stuff? He gets to take credit for the assembly of the worst instructions for the biggest toys! He gets credit for knowing exactly what the kids wanted/needed while mom and dad get to play second fiddle and take credit for socks and underwear! At least we get the goodies. Santa always arrives too late at our house to partake before the hubbster and i help ourselves to the cookies. ๐Ÿ˜‹

I find myself anxious on Christmas Eve quite often. I look forward to the year i’m happy with the house decorations, happy with what i pick for my husband, and the kids. Secure i’ve gotten the right amount of gifts for my spoiled kids.

Let me tell you. I totally understand my kids are spoiled. Here’s a tidbit back to you if you find that repulsive: they would be pains whether they opened an extra Lego toy on Christmas or not! I had plenty of dust bunny Christmases and i still turned out selfish and bratty, so i just enjoy being able to give them what i can now. Who knows what next Christmas will bring?

So here I am wondering if I got the Santa/parent tag ratio just right, and the brother/sister ratio even. You and I both know that abacus will be tallying the spreadsheet in my 8 yr old’s head of who got how many whatses.

My answer will be, “Remember when you wanted to talk back so much more than zipping your lip? There ya go. One present into the ‘Santa ether’. Poof!”

What a well of Holiday Spirit here in Sarcasmicaville, eh?! That lucky family of mine!

I hope all my readers have a wonderful Christmas with their loved ones, and the children give you at least an hour of blissful contended quiet play time with their loot so you can suck down a hot cup of Christmas morning coffee before jumping up and happily slaving away all day so everyone around you can enjoy a feet-up-and-feed-me holiday!

Merry Christmas everyone!

*cheers & clink*

..*clink clink rattle*

๐Ÿ˜‰

How I Know

Published December 19, 2014 by sarcasmica

It’s not him “just being a boy”.

My son is …. challenging. To say the least. To say the most, he is amazing and charming and logical and creative. But to say the least would definitely be “challenging”. It’s a total mind “screw” to parent a challenging child. From the get go he has been a test for my husband and I. Both as his parents, and as a partner of a spouse of a challenging kid.

From the time my son could speak – which was very early – he was getting in trouble for what he would say. Spitting, biting, naughty words. No consequence would deter him, either.

We just called him a stinker and moved on …. to the next teacher meeting. Preschool was intensely challenging for him. This was a shock to me because I always thought of preschool as structured fun. Who thinks of preschool as behaviorally overwhelming?! As a typical no-experience-with-kids adult, I for one did not expect this.

I thought it was frustrating, and sometimes amusing, when the teachers would pull me aside and let me know he had been naughty that day, or had to be removed from the group, or had to sit out some of his play time because he didn’t know how to sit still or go along with the class.

I saw that as their problem and not mine. What can I do for his school behavior from home?! School issues were a world apart from the home issues.

Now, at 8 years old, they are culminating into one perfect storm.

When I try and explain my son, words often fall short. He’s a kid you have to experience to really ‘get’. And even then, depending on the environment, you will most likely only see 1/2 of the picture.

When i’m explaining a situation to someone, i’m often met with, “Well isn’t that just him being a boy?”

The short answer is “No. It’s not.”

I find myself getting more and more defensive and just sick and tired of justifying an already difficult situation to someone who simply has no idea. It’s especially frustrating when it’s people close to our family. For everyone wanting to ask and assumes i’m overreacting to a simply “boy” situation:

I understand your misunderstanding.

I understand your incredulousness.

I understand your doubt.

But you know what? This is my reality, and you can keep your doubt and disbelief to yourself. And for heaven’s sake, please keep your articles and your book titles to yourself.

This child is challenging and energy-sucking as it is, and honestly I do not have the brain capacity or tolerance for a 300 page book on the developing brain of young boys and why they are over medicated.

My kid isn’t even on meds… yet. And if we decide to put him on medication, that is OUR decision along with a slew of professionals who have made that choice. It is not your place and the countless Dr Oz show’s you’ve seen to choose for me. I wonder if those same people judge a kid with diabetes for being on medication. Do parents get a hard time when their asthmatic child takes medication? If medication is required to aid a deficit or repair a function, trust the parents to know what is best for their kid.

Judge all you want, and I understand that happens because I do it as well, but keep your lips sealed until I’m out of ear shot.

How do I know this is something bigger than him “just being an 8 year old boy”? When the circumstances land you and your husband in an office -where your child is already getting services from two different specialists-speaking with a child psychologist who professionally tells you, “Wow. You have had to deal with a lot and this is most certainly a challenging child.” you feel validated.

I’m past defensive. I’m past denial. I’m past blame. I just want answers, and even more than that, I want my kid to have a fair shot at a normal life.

I am beyond justifying my decisions and theories on my own kid. I just want to love him, watch him grow and learn, and see him have a fair shot at life at the same time as his peers. It’s heart-breaking to be looking down the barrel of labels and diagnoses. It’s hard enough to see page long lists of difficulties and accommodations and therapies and theories from professionals at his school. Each time a new one pops up, it’s another blow to the gut.

I think about my child sitting in a classroom full of peers he is now fully aware of differences he has. I love him for accepting the obvious ones. He doesn’t catch a ball or throw a ball nearly as lithely as his friends. He doesn’t have the tracking ability to dodge a rubber ball or a tether ball. God bless him for trying all of these things to attempt to fit in. I’m more proud he is fine with walking away, and on days all the boys want to do sports, he finds ways to entertain himself on his own during recess. It is sad to think of your 3rd grader wandering alone on a playground. It takes a lot for me not to go park by the school and watch him during these times just to be sure he’s ok and to let him know I’m there. I believe in him. I love him no matter what.

But how much longer will he let me do that?

How much longer will his mother’s adoration be enough?

How do I know it’s more than just being a boy?

Because I see him. I see him watching the world and trying to find where he fits into it. I also see the frustration and pain when he is unsure of how this big world reveals his own place in it. I see my son in pain and unable to manage what his body commands him to do and I see my son desperately trying to become his own person despite the limitations his brain is holding him to.

I am so proud of him. I am so pained by what he has to deal with. I am so fortunate to have a kid who is really all there. I am blessed to have a place to go to for answers and help. I am so very thankful it isn’t worse.

And while he is most definitely being a very eight year old boy, he has the weight of not being a typical 8 year old boy on those eight year old shoulders. So yes, it actually is more than just your own personal experience with your eight year old. It is ours.

Anniversaries

Published December 17, 2014 by sarcasmica

Tomorrow is our 9th Wedding Anniversary.

How am I old enough to have been married for 9 years ?! And he’s old enough to have had a practice marriage before us. How is this possible?!

Four states, 2 lost houses, 1 sold house, five rentals, 2 kids, many pets, and a thousand grey hairs later we are still going strong.

I bitch a lot on this blog, but i’m truly thankful for having a fairly healthy marriage. I’m a Scary Mommy Confessional stalker (if you don’t know this site, you should go search for it, really) and it helps me keep our normalcy in perspective. Between all the running around and dealing with the needs of our children – the boy especially – and the craziness of owning a house and his traveling for work and my attempt at Weight Watchers, things can easily get skewed. I have a tendency to see the glass half empty and cracked and dirty.

Perspective is a good thing when you can make it work for you.

We’ve been together for nearly twelve years and I can honestly say no one knows me better and accepts me for who I really am. Warts and all. We are far from perfect, but we just happened to be lucky enough to find each other, break up, get back together, move in together, fight and yell, get married, have kids, truly fight and still love each other through newborn haze, blended family mess, losing parents lows, job angst, and still mostly appreciate each other, and forgive all the rolled eyes and behind closed door middle fingers and shouted hurtful words and still laugh together until our bellies hurt.

I love you, husband, and never forget that.

wedding love

Bah Humbug!

Published December 16, 2014 by sarcasmica

I must admit that I am not necessarily in the Christmas spirit at the moment. I feel like a douchebag for saying this, but it’s true. We have now been in our house for a year.

Why aren’t I more happy?

We have a beautiful Martha Stuart FAKE Christmas tree in our living room. The lights are perfect. The nostalgic array of various ornaments are all hung – by my kids no less – and it looks great.

Why aren’t I more Christmasy?

It might be because of the fake tree. However, I did a real one two years ago during our first Christmas in WA and it was awful! My husband was away (shock) so I had to haul and lug the giant sappy needle-ridden heap onto the van myself, off of the van, up the stairs and into the tree stand solo. It sucked! I’ve since gone to the dark side that is the fake tree. My house doesn’t smell like cedars and pine, but if I walk outside I am intoxicated by it naturally.

So what gives?

I’m nearly all done with my shopping. I’ve actually managed to wrap 50% of the stash for once. This is unprecedented for us. I’m usually slaving away under mounds of wrapping paper and tape on Christmas Eve, sporadically throwing a boxed toy at my husband to wrap himself while I try wrapping the floppy shapeless toy that has eighteen appendages. My husband is usually toiling away with a screwdriver, nearly English instructions with stick figure pictures and three stripped screws attempting to put together a toy one of the kids will play with for exactly 13 minutes Christmas morning. We average a 1am bedtime on Christmas Eve mostly because I was unable to begin wrapping the presents early.

So … where is my cheer? Where is my goddamned Christmas appreciation and cheer?!

Perhaps I should check the bottom of a margarita glass?

No Christmas parties this year…. which I’m actually thankful for. I hate the idle chit chat. I hate the hob knobbing and elbow rubbing and dead conversation after the initial, “Sooooooo …. what do you do?”ย  “I’m a stay at home mom.”ย  “Ooooh, if you’ll excuse me I seem to have left my gainfully employed partner on the other side of the room. Excuse me.”

Countless times, y’all. Countless.

I’m sensing a serious need for some rum and ‘Nog. If you’ll excuse me, I have some intoxication to catch up on.

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