Saturday, February 6, 2016

Just Once

Husband and I were talking the other night, after watching an episode of Master of None, about how we never ever want to be in the dating world again. It's like that scene in When Harry Met Sally when the best friends are in bed together and Carry Fisher's character says, "Promise me I'll never have to be 'out there' again". We never want to do that again. The dating world now is nothing like when we got together, and I think we'd both be really lost for a long time.

And as we talked we decided we were going to do all the crazy things once. Like, we bought one house, we got married one time, we're having one kid, that's it. Never again on any of those.

Part of it is truly that we're so happy with the way things are, with how our beautiful lives turned out, that we don't want to do anything to damage the status quo. It's a great status, really, to have a home you love, a partner you trust, a kid who makes you laugh. That's enough, we don't need any more.

Our hearts are full, as it is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Things Are Better

It's a wonderful, if disorienting feeling, to come out the other side of a long, dark tunnel. I feel like that's what's happening around here, even though I know it's not exactly the end of tunnels for us.

But we've at least temporarily solved a few of our stickiest problems. We've circumvented most of her bedtime frustration - and had good bedtimes six out of seven nights last week. Somehow she's done really well leaving playdates, without any major changes or ideas from me. I've even just this week implemented some extra tools to help her do better at school, and so far they seem to be working.

I've been reading some books which are helping enormously; one of them has my new mantra in it. Here goes: If our children could do better, they would. Which is not to say we should give up, just that when we give our children the tools to improve their behavior, they often do.

This one is helping, too.

Anyway, I just wanted to report that things are improving around here. Thanks to all of your for your kind words, support, and the time you took to tell me it was going to be okay, that you knew we could do it, that Maeve is a great kid, etc. It all helped enormously.

And this kid is just as wonderful as ever.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hard to Write

You may have noticed I haven't written much lately. It's been hard to write.

The days are long and full of struggle, interrupted by beauty and joy, of course, but long nonetheless, and sometimes it feels like a starless night: cold, lonely, and dark.

Maeve is the center of my universe, the star around which my day orbits, and she has been so troubled that it's hard to see daylight.

Going anywhere with her makes me anxious in the pit of my stomach, because more than half the time we have a giant fight when it's time to go. She hits, screams, hurts both of us with her anger, every single day. I've given up taking her to stores, and every play date is stressful even to schedule, knowing how she may react when we leave.

I am anxious when she's at school, hoping she is doing well today, hoping she will do her best and get her work done at school so we don't have to struggle with extra work at home. My heart breaks when she begs me not to take her to school. It doesn't happen every day, but it hits me like an avalanche when she does.

Bedtime is a breeze some nights, other nights it's World War III. Sometimes after we finally get her to bed, Daddy and I just collapse in a heap of misery and try to comfort each other. It'll get better. It has to.

But right now it is dark, and hard to bear. And it's hard to write about.

But this girl. I adore her. Always.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

At a Loss

I feel at a loss to decide what to do.

Our local school is working hard to help Maeve succeed, but the curriculum is very worksheet-driven and well below her intellectual level. This is not a huge issue for me, as her motor skills still need a lot of work and the writing part is good for her, but she is too sharp by half for the curriculum. And she hates worksheets. Also, she struggles a lot with focus, which we're looking into from a medical perspective.

The local charter schools, as an option, either have values that do not match ours, or are only welcoming to "advanced" children and don't do well helping students who have trouble with focus. And my gut tells me I don't want Maeve at a charter school.

The only Montessori schools are preschools, and one private school looked like exactly what would serve Maeve best, but their tuition cost is $12,000 a year. Which is, needless to say, not in our price range.

I cannot afford to stay home to homeschool her, as I need to get back into the working world after my 5 year hiatus. If I had a homeschool co-op with some other likeminded parents, this option would be my preference. But just like the private school, we just can't afford it.

So I guess I will leave her where she is, and give her the best of what I've got as far as advocating for her, educating her outside the classroom as much as I can, and trying to help her put it in perspective. But when I think about her laboring away on worksheets all morning, it makes my heart hurt.

What would you do?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Challenges and Sympathy

Yesterday was a very challenging day for Maeve and me. I'm not sure who had it worse, but it was a hard one.

I forgot to bring her tablet to church with us in the morning, which meant she had to sit through my ensemble rehearsal (or rather, cling to my legs throughout the rehearsal) without any entertainment. She was feeling clingy and I was trying to concentrate, and it was rough on both of us.

Then, as I navigated my way though singing a very emotional song twice, without crying, and trying to run children's choir in between services, and bringing Maeve food between services, and doing all the other things I needed to get done, I looked out the window at the beginning of the second service and saw my daughter and 2 other kids outside, no adults around. So I stormed out like a Mom-whirlwind and deposited the children back where they belonged, heart pounding. Needless to say, Maeve was not thrilled at being yanked from the outdoors and deposited back inside, either.

So on the way home, I recognized that she'd had a rough day, so I tried to cheer her up by telling her we were going to see Frozen on Ice that afternoon, a fact she'd previously not known. She was happy for exactly one second before dissolving into tears because the show was both "too long from now" (1 1/2 hours) and "not at nighttime" (last year we went at night). She was a wreck for the whole 20 minute drive home.

Here's where I'm proud of myself: I recognized that the child was basically exhausted from her difficult and very long (6 hours) morning at church. So all I did, instead of talk her out of her concerns or punish her for losing her temper, was sympathize with the child and reassure her that if she so chose, we didn't have to go to this terrible transgressive show she was so upset about. I kept saying, I can tell you're disappointed, I'm sorry you're so sad, I wish I could help cheer you up. I just stayed with her in her unhappiness, and then when we got home, we had a big snuggle and a cry, again.

I suggested maybe we could think of the things that would be fun about going to the show, and she came up with a few. Then somehow, I mentioned ice cream, and Maeve's sorrow disappeared like the dew. She was in. Ice cream solves many problems.

So we went, we had a blast, despite me almost losing my mind after the traffic disaster of traveling two blocks in forty mintues just outside the arena. Maeve got a snow cone in a special Frozen cup, we had box seats which were just spectacular, (a gift from a friend), and we all loved it.

When at the dinner table, Maever reported that yesterday was the best day ever, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I did well with several very difficult situations yesterday, and my daughter had a great day, despite it all. That's really all you can ask for, some days.