Monday, May 31, 2010

things i have learned this week

Punkin integrates to a larger preschool class for about two hours every day. The teachers in this room really like pets. Sometimes it's tadpoles growing into frogs, sometimes it's caterpillars changing into butterflies, and sometimes, to Punkin's delight, it is eggs hatching to reveal baby chickens. This is how he was standing Thursday morning -- just like he stands every morning -- as I decided to be nice and change the super poopy paper in the bottom of their box. As I grabbed the last little fluff ball out of the box, I felt warm goo on my finger. You guessed it, the first thing I learned this week is that scared baby chicks poop on people even when they're just trying to be nice and improve their living conditions.
On Friday afternoon, I decided to drive up to my sister's place. Turns out Punkin was sick with a fever and a sore throat (second weekend in a row). But the second thing I learned was that it was really nice to have company while he turned into what my sister lovingly refers to as "the velcro monkey."

"Hold you? Hold you? Hold you?" At least while I was chained to the couch, I had an adult nearby to talk to.

When he started perking up a little on Saturday, we attempted to go see Disney's Oceans. Now, apart from it being visually stunning, I kinda feel like it sucked. Okay, okay, I'll be more specific. It lacked organization and that science class guy was narrating it.

Anyway, the third thing I learned? When you try to pop popcorn to sneak into a movie theater, you should wait until it cools before you pour it into a plastic bag.
On Sunday, the day after Punkin decided to stay up until 3am, we decided to head to the lake with Auntie. Number four? I hate lakes. I was not the biggest fan of the random floating objects in the water, but Punkin was ALL ABOUT that place. He could have played chase the ball all day. "GETITGETITGETIT!!"
The lake is right next to the zoo, which is where I learned my fifth and perhaps most important lesson. Zebu are NOT just characters in a song from a Veggie Tales movie.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

i think this will work out just fine

My evil plan this afternoon was taken straight out of an episode of Roseanne; buy one expensive box of sugary cereal and then refill it will the cheap generic stuff every week thereafter. This works for every cereal except Lucky Charms. I have yet to find an acceptable substitute for the leprechaun's pot o' marshmallows. I had to crack down somehow; the kid is an addict. My living room floor is testament enough. At the grocery store he walks down the cereal aisle breathily repeating, "Breakfast. Breakfast." When his preschool teacher and I met with his kindergarten teacher and she asked what his likes are, I should have said cereal!

Instead we said anything with wheels, having things the same way every single time, Spongebob, athletic socks (I totally got teased for still owning old man white athletic socks), and being upside down. We also made sure to mention Woody and his magical ability to answer questions Punkin can't.

We explained that Punkin easily feels overwhelmed when he's forced to make eye contact or answer questions, especially on standardized tests or in situations that are new or challenging. But we've found (thanks to his teacher) that he will let us know what Woody thinks the answer is when we ask him. For example, when we were at the grocery store the other day and had already dealt with the cereal aisle, I asked Punkin repeatedly what he wanted to eat for dinner. He ignored me. I then asked him what Woody wanted to eat for dinner. "Strawbaberries! Noonuls!"

I assured his new teacher I would send Woody whenever she asked, but she was already writing down BUY WOODY DOLL on her notepad. "Oh no, oh no. I'm getting my own."

Monday, May 24, 2010

some people's kids

I love going out to eat you guys. I don't care where it is and I certainly don't need fancy. Cheap is best given our budget, of course. And often Oma and Opa will treat us, which is awesome. Usually Punkin is excited to be in a restaurant; he greets everyone ("Hi guys!") and inspects every sugar packet on the table. He could sometimes exercise a little more restraint during those inspections, but he means well. He's chipper and he listens to me.

If it's a place with a paper kid's menu, it is destroyed before I can confirm the prescence of "dot dogs" or "burders" and fries. Crayons are tossed aside like a hot potato. Who uses those things, anyway? But again, he's sitting and he's happy. I usually carry playdoh with me as well, which might entertain him for a few minutes. And if things get really bad, I have TV on my cell phone.

But, and you knew this was coming, my little peach of a Punkin has been taken over by crabby fairies. At first it started almost as soon as we stepped through the door of the apartment after school. That lasted several weeks, and made occupational therapy rather interesting, but it has since calmed down considerably until any time after 5pm. That is the magical time of day when It. Hits. The. Fan.

He's worked so hard all day on keeping himself together and then BAM! He just can't do it anymore. Intense hyperactivity turns quickly to aggression. Pretty soon we're sitting at a booth, I tell him to use his fork or stop kicking his feet and the next thing you know I'm being smacked across the face and my plate is flying onto the floor. Fwap! No more club sandwich. (He REALLY hated picking up that broccoli, but he did it.) The worst part? All he wants is to leave. And what's my only option after my turkey, ham, and bacon are splayed on the floor of Applebees and my son has to be restrained? To leave.

Well, poop.

So we climb in the car, where he seems quite pleased with himself overall, and I yell a little. Because he doesn't "get it." And then he GETS IT. Momma's mad. He cries, he sits in time out at home, he does it again next time. Lather, rinse, repeat. Every time he seems to understand just a little bit more and a little bit sooner that he screwed up. Baby steps. Half baby steps.

I am determined to leave the house, though. I will take him out to eat with me. How else will he learn? And if we stay home, we'll only isolate ourselves. So it's one sugar packet, one ham slice, one kid's menu at a time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

that would be called a black thumb, i guess?

Punkin painted this beautiful pot for me for Mother's Day, so I went and bought a four-pack of flowers. I potted one and promptly forgot about the rest on the counter. Yep. The ONE I touched is dying.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

umm, you'll just count that as a business expense, right?

It's been a busy week. It started off on a really good foot, though, with Oma treating us to Steak and Shake (buy one get on free coupon plus kids ate free all weekend) and then we hit up the Children's Museum. Punkin loves the outdoor area the best. It has three water tables with pumps and buckets to watch how the water flows from place to place.

It gave me the boost I needed to take him to the dentist today, where his mouth was deemed relatively healthy. I have a feeling we will be remembered more for how he broke the dentist's mirror, though, than for his beautiful smile. While his mouth was being inspected -- and let me clarify that the dental hygenist and I were both restraining him during this time -- he clamped down on the mirror and "crunch!" It was a proud moment. I'm just glad it wasn't a finger!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"dance!"

I want to try to explain something. It has to do with this picture that I posted a few weeks ago. See, Punkin has always gotten a kick out of being the leader in a group. My guess is that at some point around age two he realized that he was being bossed around for 90% of his day and he took a chance and tried taking the reigns for a change. Like, "Hmmm. Now, I don't have a teaching degree. And I'm not a mommy, but maybe if I speak emphatically and bat my eyelashes, people will do what I say."

Well, low and behold, we were so tickled that he was speaking that we did just that! It started off innocently enough with clapping our hands and naming body parts. And then it morphed into dancing. Now, I don't remember exactly how this happened, but let's just say that Punkin has convinced teachers, doctors, Stanford researchers, nurses, aunts, uncles, teenage cousins, and even a few random strangers, to stand in place and shake their booties.


That's exactly what he's doing in the photo -- he's leading the dozens of reflections of himself in the mirror in a giant circle time/aerobics class. And they aren't even PROTESTING. AT ALL.

So be warned. It starts innocently, on a small scale. But soon you may find yourself like I did last Sunday night with Oma and Opa-- as one of his minions -- sprinting up and down their rather steep driveway as we ran, danced, clapped, sat down, stood up, and all together gave the neighbors a good laugh just because a five year old told us to.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

lucky momma

Oma, Punkin and I drove up to meet Auntie at the aquarium. It was a success --so much so that I couldn't get Punkin to stand up for a photo. It was a wonderful reprieve from the challenging behaviors of late, and it was refreshing to see my sister.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

i want to write about it, but i am so tired you guys

I really, really want to write about how my son is losing his mind. How he keeps it together, for the most part, all day at school and then comes home and just melts down into a blubbering, angry mess of a five year old. I want to tell you all about how it feels like he's hit, kicked, punched, and bit me more in the last two nights than he has in his entire life. I want to be able to explain the ridiculousness of trying to buckle him into his carseat while he's slapping at me like the blades of a fan, all the time grinning at me like it's a big game. It was so ridiculous, in fact, that I almost started laughing at one point. That is until he pinched my arm for the fifty thousandth time and I grabbed his face and I scolded that kid like I have never scolded him before.

And then AND THEN he asked for candy. CANDY.

"NOYOUDONOTGETCANDY!" And then I took a deep breath and sternly explained it again. Hitting = bad choices. Bad choices = no candy, no movies.

We sat in silence until, "Mommy?"

"Yes, Punkin?"

"No hit."

"You're right. No hit. Are you ready to use gentle touches?"

"Yes, gentle."

"Hands are for high-fives. Hands are for shaking. Hands are for waving 'hi.' Hands are not for hitting. No hitting."

"Mommy?"

"Yes?"

"Watch TV?"

"No, Punkin. You hit Mommy. No TV. We're going to take a bath. We have to get the strawberries out of your hair."

"Strawbaberries?"

"Yep. Punkin, when the strawberries are all gone at school, you just say, 'okay.' No put plate on head. No rub hands on shirt. That makes a mess. When food is all gone, you say, 'okay.'"

"Hair messy."

"Ya, strawberry juice is messy."