Two O one eight.

Hey everyone! Wow it has been a minute right?  Geez.  That working life is NO joke.  I get up at 6:30, shower, feed the babies breakfast, pack lunches, grab a coffee, drop the baby off at daycare and go to work.  What a crazy 5 months it has been.

I am currently transitioning to a new job… that is a whole post in itself… but definitely for another time.

One thing I realized after going back to work is that… I enjoy socializing with adults!  Even though I am quite childish haha… I really enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and catching up on some adult conversation.  I missed my kiddos but realized that they are THRIVING in their school/daycares.  They get to run and play and socialize and it really just worked out quite wonderfully.

With that being said, 2018 has started out a bit dicey… so I’m going to take a moment to post a about my resolutions:

1- Meditate daily.  This is so important guys.  I really failed with the meditation deal in 2017 and it is 1000% necessary.  I put on a few sleep meditations when putting my son to sleep last night, and though it didn’t work for a 4 year old who was very stir crazy from being inside due to snow/below freezing temps for 1 week, it was very relaxing and I noticed it kept him much calmer while going to sleep!

2- Medication.  I am seeing my doctor tomorrow and hoping to get on a better medication.  I have been so thankful to Prozac for all of its OCD help but I believe there may be another drug out there that can help me out a little more.  I tried tapering off for a bit but it was unsuccessful.  This does not mean I am a failure.  This means that just like any other illness, I have to work at treating it.

3- Cooking.  I need to cook more!  This past weekend I made a delicious GRAIN FREE, banana/chocolate chip bread and Shepherd’s pie!  They were both pretty good! Oh yeah, and I made pork chops!  I have had so much anxiety recently and cooking has been a good way to channel that little bit of crazy.

4- Water.  I feel like there have been times in my life I was the ultimate spokesperson for water, however, recently I’ve not been as wonderful at hydrating!! I purchased a water bottle from amazon that helps me remember to drink water every hour and I hope to keep it up!  Water is so essential!

5- Spend less money.  I am a Target, Amazon, Starbucks addict.  Last year I wanted to do a post called a “SAT” out… where I boycott Target, Amazon and Starbucks for my own health and wellness lol… but I was too weak!  I hope that I can do this soon… however, I equate this to having a food addiction almost.  I mean, you can’t stop cold turkey because you still need things like… toilet paper, or medications.  It is hard!  I have set a limit for starbucks though…and hope I can keep at it.  I am dangerously close to it so far though …so …things aren’t looking swell.  Its okay!

Okay, so there is my small update.  I am still around and still very much interested in maintaining this blog!  However, things have been SO busy.  Maybe meditation will help me with my blog goals!

What goals have you set for yourself in 2018?  <3.

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Let him be three.

Parenting is hard.  I think I’ve written that sentence more in this blog than any other sentence… but its true.  Kids are wild, they get sick, they are demanding, they don’t sleep, they throw tantrums, etc etc.  They’re tiny little terrors and completely worth every bit of crazy they put you through.  I love my own kids so much I can’t even attempt to describe it here.  They are my life.  However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that parenting them is difficult.  At my best, I feel like I’m only doing an okay job.  That feeling is worse when you’re approached by an outsider about their behavior.

Recently my son started his second year of preschool.  He was so excited to go back.  He loves school.  He comes home and tells us about his day and sings the song they teach him. Being that he enjoys it so much, I was pretty shocked when his teacher approached me one afternoon and asked, “does he always flap his hands?”  I was caught off guard and said “well, yeah.  He always has.  He mostly does it when he’s excited or running.”  She then continued on to ask me “does he have any other obsessive behaviors?”  I was becoming pretty irritated at this point.  She was asking me a ton of questions, in the presence of my child, with no context. Long story short, after only having my son in her class for one week… she had determined that something was wrong with him.  She was concerned about his “parallel playing, hand flapping, obsessive behavior of closing the bathroom door when other children were in there, not listening, etc.”  She recommended having a specialist come in to observe his behavior.

Being the overly paranoid, OCD, stress-case of a mother that I am, I cried all weekend.  I’d only ever seen my son as the perfect little 3 year old that he is.  His hand flapping, which I had noticed over the years, seemed pretty normal to me.  He is growing and learning so much every single day and absorbing everything.  Its a coping mechanism.  I equated it to my obsessive need to lick my lips the ENTIRE time I am shopping at Target.  I don’t know why it happens, but I know that it makes me feel better about being in a crowded store.  I’d noticed that my son is cautious.  I know that he takes a while to warm up.  He will talk to a kid after he gets to know them, in an environment that he feels comfortable.  No, I didn’t know that he slams the door every time a child goes to the bathroom… but I do know that we close the door when we go to relieve ourselves and well… most people do.  And of course he doesn’t listen.  He’s 3 years old.  He has been on this Earth for 3 years.  There is a whole lot left to learn.  He is a CHILD.

Despite knowing these things — I still found myself telling my son to put his hands by his side.  I told him not to flap his hands.  I tried to MAKE him talk to children… almost feeling depressed/irritated when he wouldn’t.  I wanted to scream.  In a few ignorant statements, this teacher caused me to go from seeing my son as a bright, beautiful, perfect little 3 year old to a child that was flawed, socially challenged, with a possible real problem.  I am not perfect.  I had a few moments of confusion and panic, but eventually I realized that I didn’t like the way I felt around my son anymore.  I was seeing his personality as a flaw rather than how I’d seen it just days before– which was unique and beautiful.  Nothing had changed with him.  His mannerisms and behaviors were still the same.  So why did I feel this way?  I was allowing someone’s  quick judgments to cloud my own judgment and perception.  I was allowing the joy I felt about and with my child to be taken.  I wasn’t going to allow it anymore.

Next week we will have a screening done for my son.   He will go to a “special school” to play and professionals will watch and judge him.  I will listen to what they have to say but I won’t take it to heart.  I know my child.  I know his personality.  I know he is cautious, a bit anxious, incredibly smart, hilarious, sweet and wild haha.  I know he has a one-track mind like his dad did at his age.  I know he has trouble approaching groups like I did.  I know that no matter what, I will help him, love him and cherish him every step of the way.

As for his teacher, and everyone else for that matter– I think its important to remember that kids should be kids. A 3 year old should be a 3 year old.  If they slam a door to get a reaction, this shouldn’t be immediately considered an obsessive behavior.  I encourage everyone to stop finding fault in others. I am not naïve to the fact that there are potential disorders that kids could have that need special attention.  However, there are also quirks and behaviors that are typical for a 3 year old.  We need to have common sense.  As for my child, no teacher should have determined that my son had special needs after only knowing him and having him in a classroom for 1 week.  If it turns out that he needs special attention, that’s fine.  But for now, he needs to be 3.  He needs to play, learn social norms, learn how to approach and talk to others.  He deserves the time and our patience to figure this world out.

(I wrote this 6 months ago.  My goal is to incorporate more posts from my previous blog into the blog I have now… –Now that I am coming to terms with many things involving my children and am willing to share them with those I know, and those I don’t.  I read this tonight and still stand by it 100 percent. 6 months later my son is still as wonderful and amazing as he was then.  He struggles with things… but don’t we all?  Also, I hear his teacher has retired- and future toddlers are better because of it. ha!)

It’s time for TingTing!

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Guys, congratulations! I am about to expose you to something pretty fantastic hahah.  Okay, so, I don’t know if you’re like me- but I’ve tried multiple times to expose my son and daughter to other cultures, languages, etc.  I want them to know more than I did (and do!)  I also believe they should start learning a foreign language sooner rather than later.

Personally, I started studying Japanese in the 7th grade.  For many years it came to me so easily.  I loved it!  As the years went on it became harder and harder to learn Japanese.  It was also hard because I didn’t know anyone else studying the language!  My parents weren’t very interested… and the only people I had to speak with were fellow students.  Sometimes I wish I’d been exposed to foreign language learning materials at an early age.  I believe it would have helped a lot with learning more complex language concepts.

This week, when I was speaking with my friend Ferren of Artcre.am, I was thrilled to find out that she was working on a new project.  Ferren excels at anything she puts her mind to.  Seriously, her talent is amazing to me.  Her new project is an early learning, Chinese language board book for kids!  I wasn’t sure what to expect when she told me about it… but when I watched her Kickstarter video I was so in love!

Really guys, TingTing is the cutest character.  Through her, you get to learn Mandarin Chinese.  It is designed for young children and can be read to them by anyone- regardless of your proficiency (or lack thereof) of the language! Win!

And I know, I know…Ferren is my friend… my best friend actually.. so you may think I’m just writing about this for that reason- but… no.  I really love this idea.  I think the book is beautiful and the idea is amazing.  I’ve known Ferren for 13 years now, and her love of Chinese is immense.  She studied Chinese in college and went on to study further in China.  She wants to see little ones get those foreign language experiences also– at an even earlier age!

So, below is her Kickstarter page.  Turns out, great ideas take a little bit of money.  I hope you will consider contributing.  I know this project will be a success!  (I also can’t wait for my copy!)

TingTing Goes To School: A Children’s Chinese Language Book

Parenting with an anxiety disorder

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[Another cross-post from my other blog.  In previous posts I’ve linked to this blog but feel I’d rather keep it more private.  I decided to post this as I am going through a lot of anxiety issues with my son at the moment and with myself.  I have suffered with anxiety for a long time and felt it more intensely when pregnant and in the postpartum months.  More specific content to Mommy Is Exhausted coming soon.  In the meantime– here is a post I wrote in 2015.  A snapshot of my pregnancy with my second child.  This post was also featured on The Mighty.

I tucked my 2.5 year old into bed last night, I softly sung the words of rock and bye baby to him while cuddled up to him so tight.  I rubbed his hair… I kissed his rosy cheeks.  After some pillow talk he fell asleep.  I held him closer.  I looked at him.  So innocent, so sweet.  Listening to him breathe in an out, I whispered into his ear… “I’m so sorry for being me.”

Earlier in the day he had jumped into the front seat of my car while I was trying to get him inside from preschool.  He was pretending to drive the car.  I was so stressed.  It was cold, I am so pregnant, I just wanted to get him inside so I could sit down.  I didn’t want to stand in the cold.  He laid on the horn.  I looked around to make sure no one was disturbed by this and I yelled at him.

“Mommy said no!”

“Stop!”

I felt my anger building.  I threw down all of the stuff I had in my hands and I pulled him out of the car.  He threw a fit in the middle of the road.  I hated this moment.  I hated that he wouldn’t listen.  I hated that I couldn’t stand to be out there any longer and I hated mostly that I couldn’t “enjoy the moment.” A moment that he was enjoying so much.

Anxiety robs you of so many precious moments.

So what is there to be anxious about in this moment?  Well, its not necessarily one trigger in one moment… it is the anxiety that builds all day, every single day.

You grow tired.  You physically hurt.  You cry.  You obsess.  You struggle with simple decisions that others wouldn’t think twice about.  You wake up every morning wishing it were bed time.  You count the days until it is the weekend when you can have some help.   You cry because you hate feeling that way.  You feel guilt.  You have a wonderful husband, a beautiful child and one on the way.  You have a steady job, a home.  You live comfortably.  You are blessed.

You are ungrateful? That’s what you will tell yourself.  Reality? You are plagued by your own mind.

Anxiety robs you of peace of mind.

There is never a moment in one day that you feel at ease.  You will check everything 100 times.  You will look for potential dangers and you will fix them.  You will worry about 10 minutes from now and 10 hours from now and 10 years from now in 1 minute.  Your mind will race and you will be completely exhausted.  You are a problem solver in your mind.  If you don’t fix it all RIGHT now, it wont get done and something terrible will happen and it will be your fault.  When someone, anyone, breaks your train of thought… you will lash out at them.  Don’t they see how important it is that you figure EVERYTHING out RIGHT NOW?

Unfortunately it might be that sweet, innocent, rosy cheeked 2 year old asking for more milk, or trying to jump on you for attention.  You love him so much and you’re trying to solve any potential problem… for him.  All he wants is a glass of milk and a hug.

Why is this so hard?

Repost: 8 things to consider about preschool

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Recently I went through the difficult process of withdrawing my son from preschool.  There had been red flags all along but I told myself that I was being neurotic, over-protective and crazy.  I went against my gut.  I think that because I was a first time mom I didn’t trust myself.  Now, a year and a half after he started he is out of that awful preschool and I have gained a good bit of knowledge about the whole process.  I would like to share these *red flags* that you may notice with your own children.

Potty Training
Perhaps one of the first situations I found to be very strange was this preschool’s potty training policy.  When signing my son up for school I was told that the preschool would work with my son on potty training and that most kids were potty trained within a few months!  I was excited about this.  As the months went by he was no closer to our potty training goal, in fact, he was more removed from it.  It was concerning.  I decided to try to send him to school in underwear since Pull-ups were confusing (they are just diapers) and he was actually allergic.  I was told that he couldn’t come to school in underwear because it was a health hazard.  A health hazard?  I’m not sending him to school with violent diarrhea.  He wasn’t going to go poop on people.  Sigh.  I strongly believe that his hiccups with potty training (at almost 4 years old) are in large part due to the way potty training was handled at preschool.  Make sure the potty training policy is clear at the school that you choose.  Make sure the teachers and staff are willing to work with you and your son or daughter.   Make sure they are encouraging as potty training can be a very difficult time!

Closed for every (no good) reason.
I believe my son was not in school more than he was in it.  Every time I turned around the school was closed for some reason.  Mostly this was due to weather.  This is understandable… however, they would drag it out as much as possible.  They wanted to go by the local school system, which is generally a pretty good rule, except public school students HAVE to go to school and they live all over the county.  We pay for preschool.  Even this I can get behind I guess… but the early dismissals.  If the school system dismissed early (even for just an hour!) …preschool would close at lunch.  Same with delayed openings.  They didn’t even start until 9:45!  If the local school system delayed (they start at 7:30/8), preschool would delay the same amount of time.  I’m sorry but your start time IS a delay!! Who starts at 9:45?!  ::eye roll::  Make sure, when looking for a school, that the school wants to be open!  The staff should love what they do, and shouldn’t look for excuses to shut down for the day.

Won’t let you observe
Listen to me.  If you get nothing else from this, please understand that if a preschool denies your request to observe… or just ignores it- as if you didn’t even ask… GET OUT.  There is a reason they don’t want you in the school.  You should ALWAYS be able to observe your own child, especially if there are problems.

Change in behavior
If there is a change in behavior in your child the preschool could be to blame.  Sure, kids grow and change and they go through different spells and tantrums, but if things get worse and the teachers seem discouraged or even mean… there could be more going on than is easily noticed.  For my son, he was a great kid the first year.  I always got a great report.  When he went to the next class with a different teacher, he was criticized from the very beginning.  Each day resulted in more troubling behavior from both my son and the teacher.  Our little ones don’t always know how to tell us something is going on… sometimes we just have to read between the lines.

What your kids DO tell you
Every once in a while your kid will pop up with a statement that makes total sense.  I hear my son tell me all sorts of stuff in a day.  “Preschool was fine and good.”  “Gigi’s house is far away.”  “I’m going to poop out of my head.”  “My paci’s name is Harold.”  Some things make sense, others don’t make a whole lot of sense and its easy to just say “oh okay… great… sure… that’s awesome,” at the ramblings and go about your day.  However, every once in a while if you really talk to your kid and listen, they’ll say something that you can’t just ignore.  I asked my son, for example, if he liked his teacher and he told me that he did.  I asked if his teacher ever got mad at him and he said that she did… when I asked him why… he replied, “Because she is pissed.”  I don’t know if she said those words to him or not… but I know that he felt that anger and disappointment and that was enough for me.  If you ask your child a question and they reply with “things are fine,” “it is good,” “I like it,” — dig a little deeper.  See if you can ask your questions in a different way.  Sometimes the answers are worth the extra work.

Discipline
The way a school handles misbehavior is very telling.  The first time my son was scolded at school he was removed from the playground and had to spend the remainder of play time in the director’s office.  He was 2 years old.  He ran out of the gate during recess and wouldn’t come back after being asked to.  I found out later that he was taken into the director’s office where they shut the door and had a conversation with him.  I spoke up at the time and have no regrets about the fact that I informed them that they would NO longer be having any closed-door conversations with my 2 year old.  It is always inappropriate.  As time went on my son was removed from more activities.  He was taken out of chapel, music class.  Eventually he quit making art.  I was paying for him to be removed from situations constantly, rather than redirected.  When searching for a preschool, please pay attention to how the school handles discipline.

Too Chatty
When taking my son to school I would chat with the teachers in the mornings.  Usually this was harmless chit chat.  Other times, I was shocked at how much his teachers were willing to share.  I was told in casual conversation about a child’s custody situation.  I was told that his mother had problems, he had behavior problems and he lived with his grandparents.  I was told about several children’s specific situations.  I always thought this was a bit odd as it was not my business…but then I realized that my son was not immune to this gossip.  As I dropped my son off in the mornings I wondered what the parents knew about us.  I wondered if they knew that my son had been struggling in school… or that I struggled with mental illness issues.  I was horrified.  Things I’d told to them in confidence were possibly on display for the whole school to know.  A child or family’s personal business should be just that.. their personal business.  I am sad that these teachers treated these matters as gossip.

Sick kid policy
When taking my son to preschool I was terrified of all of the illnesses he would be exposed to.  I knew this was inevitable and trusted that the school would take proper precautions to make sure illnesses were contained to the best of their ability.  Of course, without fail, my son picked up many illnesses his first year.  He got throat infections, URI’s, stomach bugs, and even mono.  It seemed he was ALWAYS out with something.  It started to become unbelievable.  I got to where I panicked when I saw a kid with a runny nose.  I was very cautious with my son.  I kept him home extra days just to make sure that he was recovering well and not a threat to other children.  I felt guilty thinking that I could send him to school with an illness that could spread to other children and their little siblings! I realized that I was seeing more and more children at school with very runny noses that were lethargic with hacking coughs.  I wondered if the school was abiding by its own stated rules in the handbook.  One child seemed very ill and he was allowed to stay.  Sickness in preschool is inevitable, but there are proper precautions that a school can take. If the school isn’t following their own policies, call them out on it.

Of course there are more things to consider when thinking of taking your child out of a school or choosing the right school for them.  I think the most important thing that I wish I had done was trust my gut.  I knew early on that my son’s preschool was perhaps not the best fit… but I ignored it.  I told myself that I was paranoid and that no school would be the perfect fit.   I should have listened to myself.  Turns out, a “mother’s gut feeling,” is a real thing.  I think it is a God given gift to make sure your babies are safe, happy and healthy.  I pray that I can listen to it more and doubt myself less.

Previously posted on The Glimmer.