Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year, Old Me

In the wake of falling off the sunnyside bandwagon, I decided to at least try the age old wisdom, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." But if you think I suck at positive, rest assured that I am far, far worse at silence. I don't think I've made it a full two weeks biting my tongue.

So in an effort to approximate niceness as closely as a woman of my character is able, let me say that I am thrilled -- no, deliously happy -- to bid farewell to 2008. Can I get an, "Amen, sister"?

In a year that even Elmo would have to describe as a big pile of poop, you, blogosphere, really saved me. Thanks for being there. Thanks for the eyes and ears, the shoulders and the helping hands. (Blogosphere, clearly you have a great body.) May 2009 bring you unexpected joy, unlimited success, and unconditional love; may I need you less, and may I learn much more.

To keep things on an up note, I leave you with my last Notable and Quotable of 2008:

Rooster: Daddy, do rice cakes come from rice?
Daddy: Yes, rooster, that is true. Good thinking.
Rooster: Do rices grow up and then get big and turn into rice cakes?
Me, climbing in the tub as a last resort to wash a reluctant Peaches' hair: What are you staring at?
Peaches: You!
Me: Why?
Peaches: You're beautiful.
(I still made her wash her hair, though.)
Rooster, after listening to audiobooks: Grammy, have you ever roared to no avail?
Rooster, after listening to more audiobooks: Let's go, daddy! Let's sally forth.
Me: Peaches, that was very naughty the way you were hitting and screaming and pushing.
Peaches: I forgive you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Positively Fell Off the Wagon

Yeah, you knew it was coming.

Positive doesn't like it at my house.

The latest:
The rooster had some BAD days at school.
It took us two trips to the tree lot to get our tree, due to meltdowns, and now that we have it, I seem to be the one melting down. "STOP BREAKING MY ORNAMENTS!!!" I realize I am unreasonable, thank you, yes.
Peaches had some BAD nights of "sleep" - if you can call it that - keeping us up forever.
The rooster is now sick. Congested, flushed, warm, coughing. Does anyone see a canceled Vegas trip in my immediate future?
It's raining. A lot.
My mother received two offers on my grandma's house. This is supposed to be good news. In a way. I guess. POSITIVE news. But it's hard, too, not to think of it as another goodbye, part of the loss. I miss her. First holidays and all, you know?

Hello, my name is ghkcole, and I'm a grumpaholic.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Gifts

You thought the title was a metaphor? Why, no. Not today. It's shopping day.

Kyra at This Mom listed some gifts she likes to give/get for holiday time. I thought I'd post one, too. Hers is more helpful, as it has links, but I'm clearly not as ambitious as so many of you... but I know you can find these with your super Google skills:

1. Listening is an Act of Love. This is the Story Corps book available from NPR. NPR has many great gifts; I bought several of the books this year.

2. Amber Chand candles. Amber Chand has other great gifts, too, but the candles are jointly made by Israeli women and Palistinean women, and they are beautiful. Love them.

3. Planet Jill jewelry. Other places make photo jewelry too, and some are cheaper, but none are better. I love Jill. I treasure my bracelet of baby photos.

4. Brian Andreas and Story People. Books, poems, art -- very stylized, and a little can go a long way, but I like it. Sometimes a piece from there reaaaallly hits home.

5. The Grameen Foundation. Hard for me to explain as well as their web site, but they are about microloans. For a RIDICULOUSLY priced tee-shirt that makes you feel good on many levels, I suggest the positivitee for $50 that helps make the world better.

*** Here is one for kids, too: I bought my kids a cd of music -- common kid songs, like Wheels on the Bus -- but they inserted the kids' names into the songs. My. Kids. Adore. These. Like crazy. Happy Googling.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good Things

The Top Five Good Things From My Day:
  • The Rooster did well at speech therapy today. He followed directions written in drawings to cut out ornaments, and cooperatively hung on them on a tree. It was his last therapy at this place, so I didn't want to bust their bubble and tell them we're Jewish! And, remember, for a Jewish girl, no one loves Christmas more than I do. We get our own tree tomorrow. It'll go right next to our fireplace, where the menorah is on the mantle.
  • J completed his required parenting class hours today, meaning that California's Regional Center system will soon provide us with some ABA support for our boy. J felt the classes were worthwhile. I only wish they hadn't kept him from spending time with my mom and stepdad when they were in town, but I am excited by the prospect of having a behaviorist come help us in the evenings with the Rooster's more problematic behaviors.
  • Miss M came to babysit. We ADORE her. If we win the lottery, we will beg her to quit her job and come live with us and raise our kids for us! Miss M was Peaches' daycare provider when she was a baby, and once in a while she comes to babysit for a few hours. When I got home, the Rooster refused to let her go until she finished one last story, and then he told her, very sweetly, "Goodbye Miss M. See you next time. Have a good vacation. At the Egyptian Pyramids." He made that last part up, but we all agreed it was a nice touch. Peaches said, "I love that Miss M!"
  • I found some holiday presents to give teachers that I think work. I don't know that the recipients will love them as much as I do, but I found gifts that are handmade and the money goes to a charitable foundation that supports women who are rebuilding their lives after overcoming personal tragedies. What could make for a better gift? If I'd gotten these gifts when I was in the classroom, I would have thought, "How cool!" So I bought them.
  • I ate dinner with J. We ate warm food in a quiet place and maintained a thoughtful conversation. I really love that guy. He's pretty wonderful. (And did I mention that he's gorgeous?)

It was a pretty good day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scientific? I'm (not) Positive?

Okay, so maybe you can't call what I did science, really.

Keep in mind that my tenth grade science (chem) teacher called me "a lost ball in high weeds" and encouraged me to cheat. (His exact words, etched into my mind, were, "When in doubt, look about. It's better to cheat than to repeat. But if you get caught, it's your own fault. Now bend yo' head, and smell some lead.")

Yesterday I decided to give Positive a trial run. I've heard so much about the concept, kind of how I kept hearing this annoying tale of kids on gluten free diets struggling less with language and behavior -- I didn't like the premise because it didn't make my life initially sound any easier, but for a payoff, I could experiment with it for a day.

Well, I don't know about anyone else in the world and gfcf, and I surely don't know the how and the why -- the science, if you will -- but about 30 some hours after removing g and c from the rooster's diet, we whipped out the video camera because suddenly for the first time ever he and his sister had a conversation.

He's not perfect. He has many language and behavior miles to go before we sleep. But that first day made a huge impact on us, kind of like yesterday did on me with the whole, yes, I do dare say it, Positive experiment.

Yesterday, I decided to test the much publicized hypothesis that when grumpy people go on a negative free diet, they actually improve their language and behavior too, and that many unexpected rewards can follow. Huh. So yesterday I flew in the face of the deities to see if I'd be killed. Unscientifically, I posit this: I think maybe I'm still standing today. More positively: I had a good day yesterday. Even though I said I thought I would. I put out good energy, smiled extra, and avoided kvetching overly. And? Work was okay, the kids handled an unexpected/unusual trip to the Farmer's Market, J helped me arrange it so I could attend the work holiday party for an hour or so, and a friend volunteered to babysit for me soon. Not too shabby!

So we stuck with the gfcf thing, knowing every day would not be perfect, and sometimes we question if the diet is really helping, but infractions and their consequences make us believers, make us think the hard work is worthwhile; and I plan to give this Positive thing more time, too, despite how it goes against my nature and my cravings. And my writing style. So please bear with me.

Thank you to all my role models in the land of Positive, and to P for perfect timing of support, and to C and E for sharing the journal and the shirt with me. It helps ease my fear of the deities. Thank you all for holding my mental hand. I think... I think... I think I'm going to be okay at this positive stuff. I think so.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is a Scientific Experiment

I think I might have a good day.


Check back tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Going Crazy?

My husband bought us tickets to get away for a couple of days just before Christmas.

Is going crazy? Or is not going crazy?

I reread the first sentence and I can't believe I am actually talking about my own life. Really? Me, go somewhere? Without kids?

I want to go, of course, and I surely need to go, but I am scared.
I remember when Mama Mara went, and I cheered reading her blog about going, and when she got nervous as her trip approached, I willed her to go, go, go. And she did. And she had a wonderful, amazing time, and she needed it. And while she was gone? Her wusband did an awful job trying to fill her big shoes.

My in-laws plan to come and cover for us while we head off to a non-casino getaway in Vegas, where it is far enough away to count as a trip, close enough to fly for less than an hour, and cheap compared to everywhere else. We don't gamble, but we like the sound of the luxury resort and spa he found, and it came highly recommended by colleagues of his.

My in-laws do a wonderful job with my kids. I venture to say that they do better than I do with them in many ways. They love my kids, and my kids adore them. As do I. But. We are talking three nights, here, people. We are talking about counting on someone else to be gfcf vigilant, to drive my wild ones through mighty urban sprawl, to keep the combatants from hurting one another, to change diapers, to administer medications. Mara's wusband couldn't manage the medicines. What if my in-laws can't?

I am terrified of going. Terrified of how the kids will do while we're gone. Terrified of the fallout when I return. But the idea of turning down the trip? Also not good.

My days are long and complicated and exhausting. So I need a break. But my days are long and complicated and exhausting. So how can I leave them to anyone else? How would I ever begin to explain to them the intricacies of survival around here?


Friday, December 5, 2008

This is Good News - (but you know I'll still complain)

I am not a doctor, and I do not play one on tv. A Dean's List student, I had to flirt with classmates so that they would tutor me enough to help me maintain my C average in the two science classes they made me take en route to my BA. Call me Mrs. Right Brain, and forgive my poor explanations below as I tell you our good news (and, being me, still find a way to complain a little from the completely overwhelmed place I seemed to have moved to this last year).

At great long last, the doctor called to say that the second lead test was okay. OKAY! She said it wasn't perfect, but it was not enough to freak anyone out and take drastic action. Hurrah!

So did that mean the first test that showed high levels was wrong? A fluke? She said she doesn't know, but she wants to try to get some lead out of our boy's system through biomedical intervention. My weak interpretation of what she explained to me six ways from Sunday is this: based on two different methods of testing, she feels that he might have more lead than is healthy, and she'd like to raise levels of good elements in his body -- B6 and calcium, for example -- that either help him shed some of his lead or prevent him from absorbing it into his vital organs -- like his brain. She does not have reason to believe that too much has yet found its way into organs, and she does not think lead caused his challenges. Therefore, she is not at this time suggesting true chelation, or drawing out the metals through more medical means, as she says she does not feel this is warranted, though we may get a second opinion.

Of course, we are thrilled that the latest test came back with better news, and we remain concerned about our son having lead in his system, and we will do anything we can to help him. I asked the doctor, as I always do, "What side effects or down sides should we expect from your treatment plan?" She said, "It isn't cheap." What is? "And me might not like it." Ah. He never does. We can work with these side effects; we know them well, and they are certainly the lesser of many evils.

The Rooster will be getting B6 cream. If you feel even tempted for an instant to say that doesn't sound bad, I say poo poo poo to you. Kia might say, "COME ON, the kid has SPD, dooodz." But okay, I will figure out a way to rub lotion all over him every day without either of us getting hurt. And he needs calcium. Um, yes, this we always knew, and for almost a year we've tried a bagload of (costly) for that. Yes, we've already tried the chocolate liquid from Kirkman and mixed it into pretty much anything you can name. But we'll make it work. At least I just read about a new GFCF coconut yogurt that Whole Foods carries -- thanks, blogger, for posting that. (I'd link to it if I had enough memory, energy, and laptop battery; maybe later.) And, he's going to need some new pills, too. Well, sure. While he's getting more pills, I hope that someone gives a few to me. It already take two adults 20-30 minutes each morning and each night to administer the medicine he already takes...

If it sounds like I'm not elated that, after worrying for the past two weeks, my son's test did not show lead poisoning, just know it's because of my sketchy relationship with the universe, not a lack of gratitude. Call me superstitious, but know that inside I, for one, am definitely feeling a little less toxic.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Weekend...

My mom and stepdad are in town.
My kids could not be more excited.
I get it.
I drink in the family togetherness, the support, the ease, this day one of company.
My grandpa like that cliche about company and fish both stinking and needing to be thrown on after three days. But I would love it if my family lived so nearby and I saw the so much that we never thought of them as "company" -- just as FAMILY. A distance of 3000 feels impossibly huge.