Living with an Energizer Bunny

Autism.

If you have a child with autism and/or ADHD, you may understand why I gave this post the title it has.

Whew!!

I’ve often joked about bottling Julian’s energy and selling it, but if I really did, I’d be a wealthy woman. It’s more than what you can find in a can of Monster. (He’s not allowed to have those or any other caffeine, because, honestly, he doesn’t need the boost.)

Like most kids with his diagnoses, Julian wakes up early, school or not, and is ready for the day. The rest of us are a bit slower to get up. He’s learned not to bother anyone, so he usually watches TV or grabs breakfast.

“Just because you’re up doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be.”- me to Julian one morning after he woke me up far too early and I was NOT happy. This has become a rule.

Thanks to his medication, he’s not running all over the place or getting into a ton of trouble. He’s almost 13, so that helps. Julian’s definitely full of energy and is up for a lot of things- you just have to ask him.

I do wonder, however, how he just.keeps.going.

I could NEVER.

I’m done for the day by 8, earlier if it’s been a busy day..RA fatigue for the win. Even with thyroid meds that are very well managed and RA meds that work wonderfully, I still don’t have half the energy this kid has.

I do admire his curiosity and ability to get into interesting situations. I just need him to slow down a bit.

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“>bloggy moms July 2019 blog hop

Summer Break Laughs

It’s the first week of #TheHostageSituation and I figured we could use a few laughs around all of our homes.

Not okay

I have three kids.

They’re preteens (and one full-blown teen). I AM NOT OKAY.

The amount of food they’ve eaten so far alone is more than a usual weekend.

Feeling cute

Laundry is the worst.

It never ends, even with help.

Dishes? What are those?

Zero kids

Thanks, Sesame Street.

You get parenting, every day of the year.

Coma

Anyone got tips?

Regret

Growing up is a trap.

Don’t do it.

Stay tuned.. More summer calamities are on the way. #ParentingIsAnExtremeSport

All memes found on Google

Confessions of a Former Perfectionist Mom

When I thought about becoming a mom, I imagined things being a bit messy but still fun. I imagined kids being noisy, toys everywhere and maybe a couple of pets adding to the mix.

This is what I got- but I didn’t count on anxiety, depression and other things happening. I became a perfectionist mom and I didn’t even realize it. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t even like myself at one point.

Bear hug quote

Becoming Someone Else

Things started getting out of control shortly after Lily began First Steps therapies for her developmental delays right after her first birthday in 2009. She had occupational, speech and physical delays- she needed speech therapy until she aged out of First Steps at three years old in 2011.

I was deeply anxious about getting things right with her after feeling like I had messed up. I felt like I hadn’t spent enough time with her. I blamed myself for having her at 37 weeks. (This was not a reason for her delays)

I wanted to get things right. I wanted to be a better mom. I paid close attention to what her therapists did and said. I made sure the boys were occupied during the sessions to avoid interruptions, the house was clean and that dinner was ready to be made as soon as they were over.

I had the sessions scheduled for the same time every week. In fact, after speech therapy ended, we felt weird on Wednesdays at 4 PM because Denise wasn’t coming over anymore. It was like something was missing.

This somehow spread to more than just trying to set up a routine and keep things smooth. I felt the tension between Matthew and I build in this time and he was in denial. To avoid more of his anger and lower my anxiety, I started cleaning more, to the point that I had a sheet on my refrigerator detailing what had to be cleaned each day. I wouldn’t go to bed for the night until it was done.

It was the only thing I could control. If something wasn’t done before Matthew got home, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t sit down and eat dinner. I’m glad the kids barely remember this time because all they would remember would be me running around the house cleaning up behind them as they made a mess.

As Lily’s delays were resolved, Julian’s behavioral issues became obvious. In fact, the two issues overlapped for a time. I barely functioned because I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. The fights got worse, no matter how clean the house was.

I kept the house spotless but it wasn’t enough. I worked full time, cooked, cleaned and took care of the kids. It was never enough. Running around after three kids wore me down. I just wanted out.

A Turning Point

I had a mini-stroke in 2013. This was brought on by a migraine that went terribly wrong- you can read about that in Invisible Changes According to my (then) new neurologist, I needed to make some serious changes in my life and fast. I was only 30 and way too stressed out. Being a perfectionist was not working for me.

Confession #1: I probably should have gone to therapy at this point but… I got there in 2015. I wasn’t into self-care nearly as much as I should have been. I was just trying to keep going. I did, however, toss that damn cleaning sheet and have never made another one. I’m lucky if the kitchen floor gets wet mopped once a week. I’m still pretty intense about cleaning my countertops and hate vacuuming but the house doesn’t look bad.

Dr. Plato also recommended doing what makes me happy. I realized that keeping my house spotless was not making me or the kids happy because I was constantly yelling at them (yes, yelling, something I am still working on) to keep things clean all. the. time.

This is also not a thing anymore, and their rooms are slightly less than clean. I have a teenager and two preteens so I will let you imagine what these bedrooms look like. Confession #2: I make the kids clean their rooms once a week. Lily’s room looks like a kid’s version of the show “Hoarders” whether it’s clean or not, so this just helps keep it down a bit.

I clean daily, and I run a daily tab in my head of what I did get done in my head. This gives me a small sense of satisfaction so that I don’t feel useless. I also developed a routine of not cleaning anything after 8 PM. If something isn’t done by then, it’s just not getting done.

The first tip was something that my former therapist helped me with, because I hate the idea of feeling useless, and this helps a lot now that I am staying at home. The second one was a rule that I started to help me sleep better (and more) at night because one of my biggest migraine triggers is not sleeping well. Confession #3: These things help me from slipping back into being a perfectionist and counts as self-care, so yay for me.

Avoiding the Hole of Perfection

  • Set limits for yourself. If that means you have to set a time to stop a task, do so. It is worth it.
  • Remember that you are worth more than what you get done each day. I forgot this- big time. I thought my worth was only found in what I was able to get done each day and how well I could do it.
  • You are not a failure if you don’t do anything perfectly. I would get so upset over not getting the living room spotless or one of the kids’ rooms was dirty hours after I got it cleaned. Life happens. Everything isn’t your fault.
  • Self-care is important. It is okay to take 15 minutes a day to focus on yourself. The dishes can wait while you read, do a face mask, or nothing at all. You’re worth it.
  • Some things can wait. It is also okay to not do those dishes at all in the afternoon- let them wait until after dinner. Let the kids help or even your partner. You don’t have to do everything yourself.

It may be a bit difficult to try being easier on yourself, but the weight off your shoulders is well worth it. Perfectionism, as a mom or not, can put a damper on your daily life.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? How do you deal with it?

Whining: Nails on a Chalkboard

I have parenting peeves. All of us do. If you somehow missed Parenting Pet Peeves, you can read that hilariousness and discover my sheer hatred for whining.

Enter Lily. She learned how to talk late, thanks to speech delays. Once she got started, she pretty much never stopped. This is a great thing, so I’m not complaining about her talking. The whining, however, I could do without.

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I do not speak Whinese, nor do I want a translator. I want my 11-year-old to get through a day without whining. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING. Anyone else have a whiner? Raise your hands, don’t be shy. I know I can’t be the only mom here.

My niece, who is 11 months younger than Lily, does the same. Maybe that’s why they’ve been besties since Cheyenne was born. They also enjoy messy bedrooms. At this point, my sister in law and I are convinced they wake up and telepathically communicate ways to make our lives more interesting daily.

I’m not sure when this whining started. In the womb? Preschool, in Lily’s case? WHO FREAKING KNOWS. I just know I don’t enjoy it, but who does?

The Food Battle, Part Two

One of Lily’s biggest issues is food. I am not sure why she is so picky, I just know that she is.

I used to make separate dinners. This got to be way too much and I stopped. Each kid ended up wanting something different and four dinners took way too long to make and clean up after. Now it’s either eat what I make or make your own.

This encourages good decision-making skills AND cooking skills- all three kids can use the microwave quite well and both boys are pretty good on the stove (Julian still requires supervision) and can make a pizza in the oven. Nobody will go to college and starve on my watch.

Julian gets a bit of a pass in this department due to sensory issues. He has gotten slightly better, but forget getting him to eat french fries. It’s a thing, and we don’t even blink at it anymore.

Lily? She barely looks at something I make before deciding that she won’t eat it. I have a rule that if I make something for the first time, everyone has to try it. If I make it again and they didn’t like it, then they don’t.

Sounds decent, right? Not for Lily. She is known for refusing anything that doesn’t “look” right to her, and no, she doesn’t have a single sensory issue. I’ve had her tested.

Don’t take this as me bashing my daughter, because I’d give her a kidney if she needed it. The whining needs a bit of work, though.

This leads me to discuss reasons that kids whine. Why do they whine, you ask? Resources are at the end of the post.

  • They want to get out of something. This is Lily’s main reason for whining. She absolutely hates cleaning her room. She has figured that if she whines and cries long enough then she can get out of it, and this has occurred a few times. (Thanks, Dad.) After those few times, it sets in that the whining works and BOOM the whining can become a thing.
  • They’re tired. At 36, I’m a bit cranky when I’m tired so I really can’t say much here.
  • They want attention. I know Lily is not trying to say something on this one, but I can see where a kid would whine to get attention if they don’t feel they are getting enough.
  • They are hungry. This can be an obvious one.

What can we do about whining?

For the most part, I simply tell Lily that I am not listening to her when she is talking to me like that and when she wants to talk, she can come to find me. This sends the message that whining is unacceptable and that we can talk when she is ready to talk her feelings out. Other options include:

  • Remind your child what “asking nicely” means. Don’t just assume that your child knows how to act in all situations, because they don’t.
  • Praise them when they don’t whine. This is a huge one. If Lily asks for something or doesn’t whine when she normally would, I tell her that I appreciate her not whining so she knows that she is showing better behavior. It may take a while to sink in but it is worth the work.
  • Try not to respond at all. This is rough because whining is super annoying. It can also backfire because some kids get upset at not getting a reaction and whine more. Know your kid and don’t do this if you know that will happen.

These are just a few ways to get you started towards a whine-free house!

Pic courtesy of my Pinterest board

Resources:

Parents Magazine

The Impact of a Name

I’ve always struggled with my name- Wrae Meredith. My dad thought it would be cute to throw in a W of front of Rae.. and here we are, 36 years later. It’s been spelled wrong and I’ve even been called “Mr. Sanders” which is a bit infuriating.

Meredith is a bit better, but to me, still old-fashioned. I didn’t use it for anything before this blog. Shout out to my mom and dad for being true 1980s era parents and giving me a weird name when my older sisters got decent ones. Ugh.

My Turn to Name the Kids

When the kids showed up, I wasn’t going to let this issue happen. I wanted something not too common, but still cool.

All three kids have easy-to-spell and pronounce names. It turns out Lillian is a much more popular name than I thought! Their middle names- Matthew, Kenneth, and Evette, are family names.

Matthew let me pretty much take over in this area. He didn’t like my initial pick for Julian’s middle name- Blake, so Kenneth was chosen thanks to his grandmother.

Julian thinks his name is a bit weird because he hasn’t met anyone else with it, but I’m sure he will at some point. We have met other Camerons and many Lilys, and a couple of Lillian, both with different spellings.

The Impact of an Uncommon Name

It can be annoying to be the kid in class who gets “the look” when a substitute teacher can’t pronounce your name. It gets embarrassing when your name is misspelled repeatedly throughout your life. Your name might have a cool story behind it but that coolness fades when you have to constantly spell and/or pronounce it for others.

Your name can also impact how people see you before they even lay eyes on you. This entirely sucks, but it happens. People see a name and automatically assume things about you that aren’t true.

Identities don’t entirely revolve around your name, but it definitely plays a part. Today’s PSA: Please think out your child’s name before it hits the birth certificate.

But What About The Names Everyone Has?

Lily has two friends with the name Isabella- one goes by Bella and the other by Isabella. Apparently, that name has been wildly popular. Matthew has one of the most popular names of all time, so he does not get the frustration that I have felt about my name.

Sometimes it can feel like you blend in with everyone else and you have to stick out in other ways. Ashley, my best friend, has felt this way. I have a lot of friends named Ashley.

I also have a lot of friends named Sara or Sarah- in fact, when Sara and I became friends, I put her in my phone as “Sara S (Jake’s Cousin)” because it helped me keep her separate from others. She is still listed that way on my phone, almost four years later.

I’m sure this can get annoying- being one of three kids with the same name in your class or just not feeling unique. I guess it’s all about how you see it.

Do you have an uncommon name? How do you feel about it? Did you choose an uncommon name for your child?