Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sometimes I need a kick in the head

You know how some things are obvious, but only after you've suffered? Like when you're driving along, trying to scope out the interior decor of the homes you pass, and all of a sudden your car makes a scary bang- and- shatter type of sound. I don't know about other people, but personally I keep driving and hope it won't make a difference. I should probably check it out, pull over and call for help, but I don't. I keep going and hope it doesn't catch fire. Then some important and expensive engine part falls out.

For years, as long as we've known her, Genea has been a terror at restaurants. When she was little, we could smile and snort and pass it off as normal kid-whack-a- doodle- ness. If we went to a loud chain restaurant her funk blended in with the background. But now she's ten, and she is a big ten. Failure-to- Thrive be damned, the kid caught up and there is no chance of mistaking her for a younger child anymore.

It's much like dining with a petulant 3 year old. She shoves her way through to the table. She sits, slamming the seat back, jolting the table. Grabs my napkin roll- her own immediately in front of her- and unrolls it from the air. Two forks and a knife clang down on the table. Snatches the little cup of crayons and hordes it to herself. Finally shares with her sister, "accidentally" dumping them so they roll off different directions. Scribbles on the paper, and the table. It's amazing how noisy this can be. Kicking me. Discovers her chair squeaks and rocks it back and forth. Bumps the table every time. Reaches for her water and knocks over the salt. Kicks some more. Elbows clunk down. Pretending to choke on her water. Now taking the ice out of her water. Drops ice on her lap. Jumps up, screeches, chair hurled back in to the wall with a bang,  the table jolts 2 full inches. Talking non-stop. Nonsense, interrupting, instigating with comments. We've not yet ordered.

I hope it goes without saying that we tried all the usual methods time out blah blah blah, walk to the car blah blah blah. Redirect, direct, yell, etc. Mostly the solution seemed to be to stay home and eat.

Years of this. Years.

So a week ago The Husband decides he wants to go out to eat. I'm not one to ever turn such a thing down, so I agree. Then I begin the dread- session. Sigh. Ugh. I hope she can behave. Blegh. She was such a turd last time. Ugh. I don't want to do this. I don't want to make dinner either. Argh, this is a bad idea.

It occurs to me finally (finally!), to just ask her about it. I have her come sit in the bathroom with me while I get ready to go. I bring up all the above listed behaviors and ask her what would help her feel more secure at a restaurant so she could relax. She immediately had an idea. Sit on the inside, she tells me. Sit on the inside in a booth.

Huh. I hadn't even thought of that. It sure seemed like such a big, pervasive issue should require months of therapy. Hand signals at the table, maybe a carrier pigeon to relay messages between us. Some hypnosis or maybe biofeedback. Something complicated that would take a long time.

So we sat her on the inside of a booth and she was fine. 

Evidently, sitting on the outside makes her feel nervous and insecure. All those people going by and she can't control any of them and what they might do. I'm guessing there is an abandonment thread in there someplace, possibly being snatched by a stranger? All I know is sitting in a booth and giving her the inside against the wall was the big secret and our dinner was great.

All this time and I could have just asked her about it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Our global warming here in Green Bay is all screwed up. We're not getting our share of the warming part. Maybe it's broken. Probably Al Gore broke it, since according to my dad he also invented it.

So. Cold.

This year we had a lengthy winter break. The kids were out for almost 2 weeks, compared to last year where it was just over a week. Actually last year the district calendar-maker made a mistake and shorted the teachers out of 2 holidays. You can believe THAT wasn't going to happen again. So anyway, break ended New Years Day and the kids went back for Thursday and Friday. While it was wonky to do it that way, we all knew it was coming and did just fine.

However! Following the Packers loss on Sunday, it appears that indeed Hell actually froze over and it was bad. So many flavors of bad. The forecasted windchill for Monday was like, negative 40 or something. I stop paying attention when it goes below zero because in my opinion, any temperature less than nothing should be shot. And so, school was cancelled. Boooo hisssss.

We survived though. The Husbands car died, but mine was okay. I let the kids watch large chunks of TV and I mostly prayed for Tuesday to arrive.

However! Tuesday was forecast to be less than zero as well. Like, -20 with the wind chill etc.  Personally I thought since it had clearly warmed up, school should be ready. We're not raising little frozen wienies here in Wisconsin. We know where we live and we send our kids out with no less than 17 pounds of gear. Regardless, school was cancelled again. Now my car won't start either.

Though it was a mighty struggle, we all kept sane, but barely. One of us is violently opposed to change and especially big changes that no one can predict or control. Ooooh doggy, when big change is foisted upon us we respond by micro -managing our own environment with things we know will be predictable. Not good predictable either. But I hung in there, repeating to myself "it's almost over it's almost over sweet mother of xanax it's almost over".

However! For reasons unknown to anyone with two brain cells to rub together, school was cancelled again on Wednesday. And so despite the sweaty temperature of SIX, we all remained home. No cars were miraculously fixed and we were out of cereal. Now shit's getting real. At this point, my little anti- change enthusiast has lost it. She was so stuck in her rut of hysteria it seemed she was trying to stay in it. To test my theory I asked if she wanted ice cream and her response was to take another trip to Funky Town.  I pointed out to her what happened there and she did not even understand. Once in a while though,  a nap re-sets her and this was one of those times. Phew.

Because! I swore, with every molecule I own, that these kids were going to school Thursday. Irrelevent whether the building was closed or not. Made no difference to me if there would be any supervision or, you know, teaching happening. As far as I was concerned, and I was pretty sure  Genea would back me on this, they could sit in the parking lot for 7 hours and I would pick them up at 3:15.

However! Ultimately the school district made one good decision and school was not cancelled. Although, I saw some district dude on the news last night trying to explain himself so it seems I was not the only one who thought Wednesday was a bad call.

SO! Have you ever used the phrase "when hell freezes over"? Thanks, thanks a lot!


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