Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday is Mommy Day

Today is Wednesday. Wednesday might be just another day in your house, but in The ODD house Wednesday = Mommy Day. What, you ask, is Mommy Day? Well, let me tell you, because I'm very excited about it. Mommy Day is the day where Mommy runs out the door just as fast as she can after supper, without so much as a backwards glance. OK, maybe she glances back, but only to make sure no one is following her.

But seriously, now. TheODDDad is in a play, and rehearsals have him out of the house two evenings a week and every Sunday afternoon. TheODDDad normally gets home from work around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m., so on rehearsal nights he runs in, eats, kisses the boys goodnight and me goodbye, and then runs back out to his 7:00 p.m. rehearsal. Now, I don't begrudge TheODDDad his theatre -- it's his escape, and we all need an escape. To be honest, I wish I had something I could throw myself into like he does. What I do begrudge a tad (but only a tad) is that it is a time-consuming interest that leaves me to deal with the kids a little too much for my liking. But, such is life.

I don't know about other mothers, but I tend to feel guilty when I go out, as if I'm doing something really mean by leaving TheODDDad to put the kids to bed. I'm not sure why since he's the dad, which means he's just as qualified as I am to deal with anything the kids might throw at him -- literally. Yet somehow I often feel as if I'm being selfish by taking time for myself.

But no longer!

I have now declared Wednesday to be Mommy Day, when Mommy goes out and does something just for herself. It might be going to the library, it might be a walk down by the water with the dog, it might be a little drinkie-poo with a friend or it might be something -- anything -- else that Mommy feels like doing. I've only been observing Mommy Day for a few weeks, but I have to say that just knowing I have an escape route has helped me on the rough days.

If you don't already do something for yourself, I strongly suggest that you start. I'm convinced that it's safer for all concerned.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Demons OUT!!!

Ever have one of those days that just blows you away, where something so momentous happens that you can't quite believe it? The kind that almost seems like a dream when things go back to normal?

Yesterday -- Sunday, March 18, 2012 -- was one of those days for me.

Once my morning coffee kicked in, I decided that I was going to pack up Stitch and go to church, which is something I intend to do every Sunday but rarely actually do. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I'm on the highway. (I're singing Highway to Hell in your mind now, aren't you?)

You may be wondering why it was just going to be me and Stitch heading out for a little soul saving, but my reasons were sound. You see, Bear normally doesn't make it past the front door of the church without a whole lot of coaxing. Perhaps it's his little inner demon screaming in terror. (kidding...give a mom a break for a little dark humour, would ya?) Last time I went to church with the kids looked something like this:

Step 1: Try to coax Bear into church while hanging on to busy toddler.
Step 2: Abandon Bear on front steps of church and run into church to hand Stitch to Grandpa.
Step 3: Run back outside, praying that Bear is still where I left him.
Step 4: Spend another five minutes convincing Bear to at least enter the church even if he sits just inside the door so that I can keep an eye on him while still hearing the service.
Step 5: Go sit with Grandpa and Stitch, all the while keeping an eye on Bear and watching for our pre-arranged signal that he needs me.
Step 6: Go see Bear because he's signalling me.
Step 7: Go find a paper and pencil for him to draw with because he doesn't like the toys/books I brought him.
Step 8: Go back to sit with Grandpa and Stitch.
Step 9: Hang on to Stitch while Grandpa goes to sit on the floor with Bear to see if he can convince him to come sit with us.
Step 10: Hand Stitch to Grandpa when he comes back and go back to see Bear, as dictated by the frantic pre-arranged signal.
Step 11: I'm stopping now because this is how the whole service went. You get the idea.

So, back to Sunday. With 40 minutes to go before the service started, I decided to go to church. I quickly threw on some clothes, got Stitch ready and then yelled goodbye to Bear. The fact that I was going out was news to him, because I hadn't even bothered asking him if he wanted to come -- I just assumed the answer would be "no." Lo and behold, he says "I want to come, too!" So with 20 minutes left until church started, Bear threw on some clothes and off we went.

I fully expected a repeat of the last time we went to church, so I was kind of bummed that my churchin' morning was going to be ruined. O me of little faith! Much to my surprise, Bear trotted into church in front of me without so much as hesitating at the door and sat down in a pew. Then he decided that he didn't want to sit with me (cramping his style, I guess) and he moved to the pew in front of me. Next thing I know, there's a pretty little girl sitting next to him and they're both engrossed in his video game, curly heads bowed side-by-side over the game console.

Next up was the children's story, and up to the very front of the church trotted Bear and his new friend. "You stay here, Mommy...I'll go myself," he instructed me as I stood up to follow. Did Mommy stay? Not on your life! Fortunately I was able to use Stitch as my excuse to follow. After all, even toddlers like stories! So there we sat, on the floor at the front of the church, listening to the children's story. I still fully expected Bear to decide this was too much for him and get up and walk away, but instead he was that kid. You know the one...the one who continually interrupts the story because he has something to say/add. The one that all the adults laugh at/with because he's just so darn funny/cute. Ya, that one. That was my boy. My boy! MY boy! MY BOY!!!

Within minutes it was over and the kids all stood up to head off to Sunday school. This was it, I figured...the end of the run. Until Bear said "See you later, Mommy" and headed off with the others.

So back off, demons! You can't have my boy goes to church!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Even the Dog Needs Drugs

The ODD family is a pharmaceutical company's dream come true. Three of the four of us have ADHD and two of us suffer from anxiety. Make that three of us...even our dog has anxiety. Yes, our dog.

TheODDDog is a pound puppy, which means we have no idea what her background is. We got her from the SPCA nine years ago, and all we know is that she was found wandering. Whether she was wandering because she's a little nuts and her owners couldn't handle her or whether she's a little nuts because she ended up wandering, we'll never know. What we do know is that she has severe separation anxiety and needs to be on anti-depressants. Sounds crazy, I know, but our only other option is to let her work herself into such a lather when we go out that she injures herself. The slightest deviation from our regular schedule at home sends her squirrely. If either TheODDDad or I go out, she's frantic for probably half-an-hour despite the fact that the rest of the family is still home. In short, she's as crazy as the rest of us.

So far only Stitch remains unmedicated, but he's only two years old. Ask me again in a few years.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Me? Homeschool? Oh God...Please No.

Poor little Bear has been having a really rough time at school lately. Because of his anxiety, he doesn't like doing anything he isn't familiar with and good at, and that causes problems at school where he's always having to do new things. When he digs his heels in and refuses to work, he gets removed from the class. I'm sure they'd let him stay if he were quiet about it, but an anxious and oppositional Bear is a disruptive Bear, so out he goes. And so starts the cycle: Bear doesn't want to work so he gets pulled out of class; Bear doesn't understand the work because he's been out of class, so Bear refuses to go to class; Bear finally goes back to class but is now even more confused, so Bear refuses to work and gets pulled out of class. You see the problem, here? Me, too. The only problem is that Bear doesn't see it. Granted, he's only six, but he's his own worst enemy.

Towards the end of week two weeks ago the school wasn't able to get Bear to so much as step foot into his classroom. In addition to that being a problem for Bear, it is also a major problem for the school. As you can imagine, they don't have the manpower to have someone work with him one-on-one for days on end, but that's what they had to do. Unfortunately it means that someone else's child probably didn't get the attention they needed last week, and that's a problem for everyone. The school, bless them, is doing their best to convince the school board that Bear needs someone full-time, but that's a long-shot.

After a rough day on Monday of last week, Tuesday didn't start so well either. I finally got Bear dressed for school, but every time I mentioned leaving, he literally began to climb the furniture. Literally. I eventually got him to talk to me, and he finally confessed that he didn't want to go to school because he was "stupid" (his words, not mine) compared to the other kids in his class. As much as I tried to explain the cycle that he was on and how he just needed to catch up, he didn't get it. But again, he's only six.

Long story short(er), Bear stayed home last week to work with Mommy on the stuff he's behind on. I know from previous experience that the week before March Break is a difficult one for kids -- they're excited, they're silly, they're easily distracted -- so I knew it wasn't going to be a productive environment for Bear anyway. And given the fact that he hadn't actually gone to class in days but had just hung out with the learning resources teacher, I figured he couldn't possibly do any less work with me.

So last week Mommy home schooled, and I have to admit that it went pretty well. Bear was reasonably cooperative and did quite a bit of work. We dropped by the school towards the end of the week to pick up some work his teacher had left us, and their jaws dropped when I told them how much reading we had managed to do.

I have to say that the experience has left me wondering if homeschooling would be beneficial for him: no pressure, no peers to compare himself to, and the ability to learn at his own pace. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Except for one teensy, weensy problem: Yours truly would have to do it, and that ain't happening. Ever. So much for that idea.