Foster kittens and fencing

This weekend we attending a party and my kids got to try fencing.  They were pretty excited.  They were under instruction from some trained folks, but Minnie didn’t care for it…See, Mickey kept moving closer and she didn’t like it.  “stop coming towards me!!!”. The adults laughed and Minnie was highly offended so she ran inside and cried.  She is my emotional one and clearly didn’t fully grasp the point of the exercise.  But, up until then they had fun.

We also got some temporary foster kittens.  The children are referring to them as the great CATastrophe…they are a hot mess of 7 week old fur,balls and providing hours of amusement.  We only have them for a week or less and I can’t pry either child out of the room they are staying in.

Today I have to go into the office.  Grandpa gets to watch the kids and I have to go found out whether I get to survive the massive job cuts my company is doing as they move more and more offshore.  So, fingers crossed but I don’t have a great feeling.  Also my brother was admitted to the hospital ICU last night. So, please send positive thoughts/prayers whatever you do, our way.  We could certainly use them. Thanks.

My little prude

Conversations with Minnie two hours past bedtime (see previous post on bedtime issues)…

Minnie: Momma, when I am a teenager I am never having that s word.

Me: huh?

Minnie: You know, sex.  I am never having it ever.  And I am never drinking.  It smells bad, so I am sure it tastes bad.  And I don’t like smoking, so that won’t happen either. In fact, I don’t intend to get in trouble at all – other than maybe one detention, because, you know, I will be a teenager.

Now, I am sure this would be a wonderful opportunity to discuss sex, but is it wrong that I kind of want her to feel that way? Obviously, not the never part, just the teenager part.  I will have many sex talks with her – it is actually the main area of parenting that I would like to vastly improve upon my parents’ parenting method.  They never, ever discussed sex.  The weekend before I graduated they did mention that I shouldn’t drink or do drugs, etc.  They lived in a fools world where their children didn’t make mistakes, but let me assure you, we did. I know mine may and likely will, but they will be armed with knowledge.  Both have a predisposition for drug and alcohol abuse on their birth parents’ side, so those conversations have already started.

Minnie will know everything she needs to, but for now, I love the innocence of her being 8.  I have no idea why she is coming downstairs 2+ hours past bedtime to make these proclamations or what triggered it, but I am going to sleep secure in the fool’s notion that my daughter will remain a non smoking, non drinking, non trouble making virgin forever. And for now, I will sleep like a baby in this knowledge….denial is a beautiful thing 🙂

Dance and anxiety

Yesterday, Mickey took his very first tap class at the studio.  As I have mentioned previously, Mickey has taken an acro class (he wasn’t good and he knew it, but it was his first class and he learned how to do a performance, participate in a class and enjoy dance), ballet and hip hop.  He hated hip hop and asked not to take it again.  The two types of dancing Mickey was the most interested in was were Irish dancing and tap.  So, we decided to sign up for a week of tap dancing camp.  It started yesterday and suffice it to say, Mickey has found his dance style.  He LOVES it. He is taking a jazz class too, but that one he is still on the fence about taking for fall classes.

Half way through the first class he came out and said “this is me.  Go ahead and get them to pull out the shoes, I want to get fitted right away”.  The grin on his face was a mile wide and we fit he new tap shoes at the end of class. Minnie also tried the class, but her opinion on tap hasn’t varied since she was 5 and asked to drop tap.  Today, she didn’t bother and Mickey had the instructor all to himself and they worked on a routine for the end of the week.  He was sore, tired and ridiculously happy when the class was over.

The anxiety referenced in the title is mine.  I don’t talk about it much, but I have a diagnosed social anxiety disorder.  I have meds and I also use essential oils to help me manage my symptoms, but I also use avoidance whenever I can get away with it – and that is anytime that I can avoid without impacting my job or my children.  I don’t do parties or chat at the grocery store, it took a very long time for me to warm up to the other mothers at the dance studio or the soccer fields, etc.  These are areas I struggle with.  I am also a member of a large online support group for special needs parents.  As a general rule, I never initiate conversations though I will respond if someone asks a question that we have experience with.  I don’t attend the social gatherings, though I have met with a couple of people that Mickey has had playdates with and one that helped me with some IEP issues we were having.

 

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself talking to the owner of the dance studio today and asking about a special needs class.  Then I found myself typing a long note and volunteering to organize a discussion with the school to host a special needs class for kids at the dance studio.  I am not sure how it happened, but I see a ton of requests for special needs activities and a definite need for the activities.  Mickey has been able to fit fairly well (with the right supports and instructors) in a neuro-typical class, but there are many kids who can’t, or whose parent’s don’t think they can.  I was that parent and Mickey was that kid for a while.  Luckily we have found a couple of supportive people at this dance studio that encouraged me and him and got him started.  And it has made a huge difference in him – in his anxiety, in his confidence, in his spacial awareness and coordination, and in his awareness of his abilities – for the good and the bad.  I want other parents to be able to help their kids find that.

And I guess that means I have to step outside my comfort zone….wish me luck.

I hope all of you dads out there had an amazing Father’s Day.  We spent the day with my dad – the man who fixes things – house stuff, bikes, toys, hearts and everything in between.  He is a cheerleader, mine and my brother’s biggest supporters and now he takes that on at every soccer game, ballet recital, cheerleading competition and art show that his grandchildren participate in.  The man that slept beside my crib for a week when I sneezed because I might need him.  I am a Daddy’s girl and I am ok with that because I have an amazing Dad.

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Bedtime

Seriously, bedtime is becoming the biggest challenge of the summer.  My children have always gone to be early.  we have tried a few times to move the bedtime to later and both have requested that we move it back.  Part of the reason is that Mickey can’t/won’t sleep in.  If he goes to bed at 7:30 pm or 12:00 am, he still is up at 6:00 am and extremely cranky.  Because of Autism, we find it easier across the board to maintain the schedules whenever possible through the summer.  So, we normally keep bedtime even in the summer (while being somewhat lax for special events – lots of drive in movies, movies under the stars and later than normal events).  Both kids asked for bedtime to be moved from 7:30 to 8:00.  That is fine, and truthfully should probably be 8:30 to be more age appropriate, but we will start with 8:00 and see.  We have NEVER had an issue getting the kids to bed.  They were both very well sleep trained when I got them and both are usually ready for bed and in bed within minutes of on time with almost no avoidance techniques.

So, why are we suddenly struggling with bedtimes?  Why have neither kids been asleep before 9:30 a single night this summer.  Blissfully, Mickey has slept in some, so I suspect we are in the midst of a hormonal shift, but still.  Back to school is going to be a nightmare if he is used to sleeping until 8:00 and not go to bed until 9:30 or 10:00.  His bus comes at 6:30.  Changes in routine can take him a while to adjust and we have vacation right before school starts back.  So, I am concerned that we are digging ourselves into a pattern that will be nightmarish to get out of.

They are fighting me on bed time.  Minnie is falling asleep post dance camp because she is exhausted. She is crying for an hour before she finally passes out of exhaustion because she is so cranky, yet she refuses to go to sleep. Mickey is refusing to sleep in his room and using that as an excuse to delay bedtime.  Neither have tvs or technology in their room and nothing else has changed, other than summer break.  So, why will they not go to bed? My head is about to pop off – both children are cranky and ill tempered.

Any suggestions here are appreciated.  Even when I force them to bed, they are sitting up and playing, talking, sneaking to each other’s rooms, etc…..

Summer

Summer has always been a challenge, specifically for Mickey.  Daycare is obviously not a good fit – though that is what we have done every year and we have gritted our teeth through the whole summer.  This year, I am home full time for the first time ever.  This is proving more challenging than I had expected.  Last summer I was home for 2-3 days a week and we broke the days up with daycare summer camp.  This gave Mickey and Minnie a much needed break from each other and if I am being honest, gave me a much needed break from them.  The fighting this summer is nonstop and that is driving me insane.

So, last week, I put a call out on facebook for summer camp suggestions for Mickey.  Minnie has several dance camps, but he had nothing planned.  So, I put it out there and got a suggestion back.  I wanted something half day at most and something he would enjoy.  Somebody suggested a mini camp at a local gym, which has a trampoline and Mickey loves trampolines.  Turns out, it was a perfect fit.  He insisted that Minnie go with him, because he was scared to go himself, but that went fine.  He went 3 days and wants to go back at the end of June for the whole week (1/2 days only).

Minnie heads to dance camp this week and Mickey has a play date with Grandpa – they are working on bikes and scooter repair/refurbishing.  So, this week should be calmer.

Also, a quick story of independence and the utter fear it put me into.  Mickey’s separation anxiety used to be crippling.  He couldn’t pee without a grown up in the room.  So, we walked around our lake on Thursday night.  It is about 3.5 miles.  We took the dog and the kids took their bikes.  They would ride ahead a bit and then come back for me and the slow dog (he has tiny little doxie legs and a body that is too big for those legs).  This worked well for the first 2.5 miles.  Then the kids got ambitious (or insane) and decided to go ahead and head home – without telling me.  They were supposed to stop at any streets.  Instead they crossed 3 and rode the mile home.  I panicked when I got to the next intersection.  I wasn’t sure where they headed.  To the left is a park they both love, straight ahead was their favorite nature path and to the right was the path to our house.

I was ready to call the police when they called using the neighbor’s phone.  I was afraid to go in any of the directions for fear they had gone the other way.  I basically stood at the intersection screaming their names for 25 minutes.  I was crying and shaking.  What possessed them to ride home without telling me? I have no idea, and I am not sure they really thought it through either – but they will while being grounded from friends and bikes for the week.  The positive is – Mickey knew his way home, he found a neighbor with a phone, he navigated multiple street crossings and got himself and his sister home without incident….I have to find the positives because the negatives and the what ifs are too scary to think about…..

In the meantime we have done some outdoor movies and a balloon festival…