Making parenting mistakes since 2008

Category — stellar moments

and again

So after a good stretch of stellar behaviour (read no major tantrums or issues)  from both of the boys the stellar behaviour train was derailed on Friday.

It was a spectacular crash and we are still cleaning up the mess. Train derailments are messy things and long after all the people have been accounted for and the debris cleaned up the tracks still need to be repaired. We are reapiring tracks this week. Much of the track repairing is work that I need to do because I was less than helpful in dealing with my kids.

We celebrated Fudge’s birthday on Saturday he had huge meltdowns on both Friday and Sunday. While Fudge was having his meltdown on Friday I asked Calvin to take out the compost. There was a large bin of crab apples that never got made into anything and the regular compost bucket as well. He took them out without complaint and I thought nothing else of it until yesterday when I was mowing the lawn and discovered the compost in various places in the yard rather than on the compost pile.

I was pissed.

I went inside and got him, told him to clean it up, NOW! He knew he was in trouble but he also knew that if he did just did that would be it the end of it. There was a part of him that wanted to just get it done but there was a bigger part of him that wanted some negative attention because it had been all Fudge all the time for the last 3 days and he was tired of it. So he refused to pick up the apples and move them to the place they needed to be. I was tired, I reacted poorly, luckily for both of us P heard me turning into a raving lunatic and came out to see what was going on and then took over. P also got frustrated with Calvin’s refusal but  finally with the aid of a shovel and a calm Dad the clean up was accomplished.

Calvin was told he had to help in the yard to make up for the time of ours that he used up with his antics. He was mad but worked and was helpful,  then I found more compost. If he thought I was mad before I was really mad now. It did not go well. He was told to clean it up, again he refused and there seem to be no amount of threatening consequences, cajoling or talking at him that was going to move him out of that place of refusal.

He yelled and screamed and cried, then he ran away and came back and ran again. Finally after threatening to take away an upcoming camping trip he stopped running and came over to work with us in the yard. But he still would not clean up the compost. I refused to discuss anything with him till he had done it. We were at standstill – he would do other jobs but not that one and I would not let him stop working till that job had been done.

This went on for 3 hours, I kept trying to get him to do and he kept refusing. He would walk over to the compost and stare at it, I would yell, he would cry and then he would go back to a different chore.

Finally I paused and asked him what the problem was because he knew that once he cleaned it up we could move on and he said “my brain knows that and wants to do the work but my body will not listen.” My interpretation of that was that he just could not physically get past the grossness of the task because compost sitting in the hot sun for 3 days is really disgusting. I needed to make this into managable task for him. I sent him back to the compost and said he had 5 minutes to work at it and then I would send him to a different chore. For the first 5 minutes he just stood there and looked at it, I let him and after 5 minutes I sent back to other things. About ten minutes later I sent him back to the compost and he picked up one or two pieces and then just stood there, after 5 minutes I sent him away again. This going back and forth went on for about an hour and then finally he looked at me and said I’m done.

He had finally done it. It was cleaned up. Four hours later a 2 minute job was done.

I learned that even though Calvin is attaching, even though he has come so far, he can still get really stuck inside his head and when that happens he still needs me to help him regulate and manage things for him. He is still not capable of doing that on his own. He could not actually figure out a way to pick up that compost until I broke the task down and removed the pressure to get it done on my terms.

I often saying parenting is a lesson is repetition, todays repitition is that this Mama needs to be reminded that trying to win a battle with him on his brothers birthday weekend, when he just had a visit with his sister and has a trauma anniversary coming up, is impossible. I mean really, there is no way that he is going to manage all of that effectively, what 11 year old would.

Remind me of that next October will ya, sometimes I am a slow learner.

October 11, 2011   2 Comments

well it could be worse

It has been a rough two of days around here. The crapiness culminated last night when I lost it at Fudge. I am human, I lose my temper, it happens. I apologised and we moved on but I know that my losing it undoes months of work with him. It was frustrating because the I had maintained my composure in the face of both of them working hard to get me to yell at them after they got busted for sneaking Cokes. I was not be baited and I just went about my afternoon with both of them within 5 feet of me. Then Fudge pushed a little to hard and I blew, it was a bit like Mt. Vesuvius and it was not pretty. After I blew I called P and luckily for all of us he was on his way home.

We rehashed what had gone on with Fudge ( then he was sent to bed) and then Calvin. Calvin is in a much different place that Fudge in terms of healing and what started out as discussion about behaviour turned into a conversation about abandonment and his birth parents. It needed to happen and although there was a lot of “poor me” going on there was also truth in what he was saying. He needs to talk about it and even though his timing was less than stellar it is good that he talking to us. We got him through the hard part and on to the good parts and the day ended on positive note.

The sun came up this morning as it always does and  I was still mad at them over yesterday. I managed to keep things in check but I did tell them that I was upset by their choices. We got through our morning without to much drama and then I walked outside and discovered this lovely mess.

 That would be grass seed in my flower bed, yes the one that I am constantly picking the grass out of.

 And if you look here you will notice that the lovely critter who did this opened and spread not 1 but 2 bags.

Luckily for me most of the larger bag was still in the bag and it did not rain last night so I managed to get a lot of it cleaned up. But holy hannah I was MAD at something – probably a raccoon.

I am off to run errands in the city and then go for an afternoon margarita with a dear friend. I can assure you it will only be one but after the last couple of days I wish it was a pitcher!

June 1, 2011   3 Comments

Mind If I Rant

It’s been a long week. I need to rant a bit. If you are having a great day and don’t want to listen to ranting go visit Maggie, she just had a beautiful baby girl.

Still here, thanks for being willing to read my ramblings.

In July the boys will of been with us for 3 years. That a few months longer than the amount of time that they spent in foster care. It is a long time. In my life a year no longer seems like a long time but in the life of a child it is an eternity. So if they have been forever ( or what feels like forever) why the hell can they not figure out that we will love them no matter and that the pushing and arguing and testing and creating chaos on purpose can stop anytime now.

Yesterday Calvin brought home a failed math test. He left huge portions of it blank not because he did not know the answers but simply because he was not interested in doing it.
Last night he cut things up and generally made a mess in the bathroom because rather than come upstairs with him while he was getting ready I dared to spend time talking to P who had just gotten home.
Fudge just about knocked a boiling pot of water off the stove the other day in his crazy attempt to get me to pay attention to him rather than to the dinner I was trying to make.
Fudge also can no longer remember how to set the table, clear the table, stack dishes, get dressed, chew with his mouth closed, feed the cat or bring his homework home.
Neither of them can remember that the kitchen is not a self serve take out bar and they need to ask before they help themselves to whatever it is that they feel like eating in that moment.
Calvin has decided that I can not go anywhere without him, if I do all hell breaks loose and his Father who is home with gets the brunt of the behaviour.

We could be done with this anytime now, yesterday would of been a good day to start, tomorrow is equally good…. what do you think my chances are.

stop laughing

I know it’s not going to change anytime soon but a girl can dream can’t she.

I am going to white chocolate mocha now because that will solve all my problems.

April 21, 2011   7 Comments

there are just not enough hours

There are just not enough hours in my day, I think that is the mantra of mothers everywhere, where can I find a little more time to get a few more tings done. Part of the reason that there is so much to do is that I am leaving my family alone for 5 glorious days so that I can go and be with other mothers who get it. Mothers who walk a journey like mine each and every day and to tell you that I am excited is an understatement. I am not really nervous or anxious about meeting all my imaginary friends, instead I am far more stressed about making sure that there are enough clean socks and underwear to get through the week.

Some of today was eaten up by having to replace the licence plates that were stolen off P’s car last night and after way to long at the police station filing the report I had to drive to the next small town to get the plates because the office here was closed. The joys of small town life.

I made a quick stop at home to put the plates on the car and when I came in to find a screwdriver the phone rang,  it was the school. Calvin was in the office after a small altercation with another kid on the yard and was insistent that he come home ( a first for him). To make a long story short it turns out that Fudge decided that it would be a good plan to be a pain in the ass to get a little attention so he was telling everyone at school that Calvin was faking it and there as nothing wrong with him. Calvin was pissed and took it out on other kids. In the end I managed to get him to calm down by talking to him on the phone and convinced him to make it through the last hour of school because he was looking forward to having friends over after school ( another first for him)  and they could not come if he came home early. He pulled it together and had a fun afternoon with his friends.

I tore a strip off Fudge in a calm therapeutic parenting sort of way and then did  not let him play with the boys who were visiting as a consequence. He did apologise to Calvin but I am still pretty angry at him because his goal was to make his brother angry so that he would react and get in trouble. Fudge admits that was his goal and I think that is pretty nasty thing to do your brother. They are close and often get along well but Fudge is having a really hard time with the space that has been left by Calvin’s attaching to us and being less angry with the world and now by the attention that he is getting due to being sick. I mean spending time at the hospital being poked at and having tests done is hardly any kids idea of a good time but Fudge seems to think that it is some great thing that he is missing out on.

Now I must go to bed because tomorrow will be here soon enough and then I will only have 1 more sleep till ORLANDO

March 3, 2011   4 Comments

How to disregulate your child in 10 easy steps

  1. Pick them up suddenly without warning from school rather than having them take the bus.
  2. Tell them we are going to a friends house.
  3. Allow the other children at the friends house to explain to the children that the 3rd family that is there is fleeing an abusive relationship ( said in kid terms though not adult ones)
  4. When kids come in from playing in the yard let them play video games all afternoon which is something they never ever do.
  5. Turn off screens and make them eat dinner.
  6. Allow the host to let the children know that there will be fruit after soup bowls are emptied thereby creating no desire for another bowl of soup even though the child is still hungry. Insist that the child needs to eat more but then relent because you are not interested in a tantrum and let them have fruit saying that there will not be anymore dinner later.
  7. Wait a little bit to long to take the kids home so that it starts to interfere with bedtime routines and they start trying to wrangle more food out of the hosts.
  8. In the car have a long conversation about why our friends are getting a divorce and how that works. Make references to the kids feelings and such.
  9. When the child moans that they are starving remind them of the choice they made about their meal earlier.
  10. Leave the child in the downstairs bathroom alone for 30 seconds (literally) while you run upstairs to get his brothers puffer out and then catch him stealing a candy cane ( left out on purpose) and then yell at him when you catch him.

Perhaps I should put the list on cards so that you to can create this chaos at your house.

I am not all surprised he lost it and once he started to calm down he had a good cry, like a good sobbing cry and went to bed calmly but oh my it was a really long hour once we got home. I don’t regret going out and supporting my friend but perhaps I could of made some better choices to keep Calvin a little more regulated.

January 19, 2011   6 Comments

It gets better

Remember how I said awhile back it gets better, be hopeful. Can I take that statement back now please. It was better for a long time with Calvin and then it all got too good and he has spent the last 10 days in downward spiral. There are no shortage of triggers or reasons but knowing that is not making if any easier to deal with.

Tonight I am taking deep breaths after long evening of trying to calm a raging bull trapped in tiny pen. He calmed eventually and the came into my room and took the last of the candy i left out to test him. I am not sure shat I am going to do at point, I have been told handcuffs would not be a good choice.

In brighter news because Calvin is doing so crappy Fudge is being angelic. Gotta find the good after a night like this! I will fill you in more completlely when I am less exhausted

December 10, 2010   1 Comment

opps, is that my fault?

Calvin says he has no clean pants, I hand him a pair of Fudge’s and told him to wear them. I was feeling proud of myself and my problem solving skills untill Fudge came in and told me he has no pants in his drawer either.


I guess the laundry fairy was off this week, either that or she has the same damn cold I do and is sleeping.

November 18, 2010   3 Comments

But that is not what I said!

Breakfast at our house this morning included this conversation

Fudge, where is the straw for your water bottle

Gee Mom, I don’t know.

Well that’s interesting Fudge because I am sure that it was in the bottle when you left for school yesterday.

I ummm, uhhh, lost it.

How did you lose it?

I took it out and put it on  my desk and it rolled off and at the end of the day I looked and looked for it but I could not find it anywhere.

Fudge, would you please explain to me why the straw for your water bottle was on you desk.

because I was chewing on it! ( said with exasperation because he clearly has the world’s dumbest parents)

I did not know that your straw was made of chewing gum.

It isn’t

Well it must be because you are chewing it, did it taste like mint or bubble gum?

Fudge starts to shout, “THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAID!”  at which point we all begin to laugh at our drama queen and he stomps off threatening his giggling brother on the way

I will skip all the gnashing of teeth and wailing that followed on Fudge’s part because he did not like where the conversation went after that as he is on his 2nd water bottle already that he has had to pay for himself and he is going to have to buy another.

Then much to Fudge’s discontent I wrote the following note in his agenda:

Please know that Fudge does not have a drink today due to some poor choices that he has made, please feel free to limit his trips to the water fountain.

The hour before school was really long, I can only imagine what the 4 hours after school are going to be like.

November 9, 2010   4 Comments

tears and giggles

It was a long day, P arrived home to Fudge crying on the front porch, me crying in the kitchen and Calvin fuming in his room.

I will not bother going into all the details lets just say it was a really long day and as Fudge was arguing with me I told him that I was not his birth mom and that I was sorry that he could not be with her but frankly he needed to treat me with a little respect. He cried, then I cried, then P came home.

We picked up all the pieces with both of the boys and moved on.

At dinner ( which was really late) P says to Fudge in response to some comment he made
” Keep that up and you can be a therapist when you grow -up”
Fudge replies with a straight face, “I don’t want to be fat and bald”
P responded as the stellar parent that he is and gave Fudge the finger and then we all burst out laughing, it was a good moment and one that was so needed.

They are in bed and I am offf to get my parents in an hour. It is going to be a long night.

October 6, 2010   4 Comments

Can I add these skills to my resume?

Oh the skills I have learned being a Mom.
I can now…
– pick a sliver out of the hand of a child who is screaming as though I am trying to cut off his ears.
– smell withheld poop from across the room
– carry 3 plates plus utensils while adding food to the plates from a buffet table
– fold laundry, talk on the phone and glare at the children to stop whatever it is that they are doing wrong.
– find lost shoes in a field of hay
– take close up pictures of a grasshopper laying eggs
– get up, showered, dressed and make a cup of coffee in less then 10 minutes
– tell when my child is lying to me
– have the courage to admit that I make mistakes as a parent.
– drive the car, yell at the kids and carry on a conversation with my husband.
– entertain bored kids with a few napkins, a pen and straw wrapper.
– make a good meal out of  2 cans of chickpeas, an onion, rice, lemon juice, cumin and curry powder
– patch drywall
– teach other people new skills ( read teach kids to do all the household chores I hate)
and last but not least
– I can smell a wet bed from 3 rooms away.

No one ever told me about all the things I would learn, to bad none of them are really skills I could use to get a job doing anything other than being a parent. ( not that I want a job or anything).

August 29, 2010   4 Comments