Monday, August 20, 2012

What's Been Going On

Some ramblings besides the usual blogging I do...

1. Let's start with the biggie. I'm having surgery in a handful of hours to get my gall bladder out. I am ready. I started having pains in March, but they would go away. I was fatigued, but I thought I was just tired with school and having two little energetic boys. But when May turned into June and I was feeling worse more frequently, I went to my doctor. Finally. As one collegue told me, "You're a scientist, you know better than that." True. But like most moms, I think I forget to take care of myself thinking I'll catch up later. Well, lesson learned. After four doctors, blood and urine tests, two ultrasounds, an MRI, a cystoscopy, and a HIDA scan, they finally figured out it was my gall bladder. In their defense, my symptoms have been very unusual for gall bladder problems. As time went along, my symptoms started expanding and matching gall bladder issues. It hit me again yesterday, and I'll be glad when it's out and I start to feel better.  It's a simple procedure. Prayers for an easy procedure and quick recovery that is successful would be appreciated!

2. I've mentioned it a couple of times about bedtime issues lately. For the most part, our kids have gone down for bed pretty easy.  Even if we were at someone else's house, we could get them down and still have grown-up time. Ah, I guess we needed to experience the other side. A few weeks before school started, C began fighting going to bed. Each night got worse lasting longer, and L Child decided to follow big brother's example. I was missing my time with Josh and my time to de-compress. The boys were exhausted during the day so there were more fights and tears, more fighting sleep, and the cycle would repeat itself. After one particularly rough night, Josh and I brainstormed.  I talked to Mom the next day, and she had some ideas, too.  So here's what's been working for us (and what we told the kids):

  •   If C and/or L have had a good day (that means minimal whining, no fighting, obeying, etc.), that must mean they aren't that tired.  So they get to play a game.  Sometimes, we all play together. Sometimes, they get one-on-one game time with Josh or I.
  • If C and/or L have had a bad day, then that must mean they are tired and need extra sleep.  They go to bed early or at least on time. Definitely no games or special things (like the park) right before bed.
  • Sometimes, if C is having a good day and acting non-tired at all, he gets to stay up later than L.  He gets to play a game with just Josh or me.  This works best when L is so tired, he doesn't care that C is still up, and L falls asleep quickly when one of us puts him down.  
  • If C and/or L had a good night, then they earn a shape. It was going to be a star, but since C (aka Mr. Independent) likes different shapes, we went with his request. One time I had to draw an octagon.  Needless to say, it took two attempts and didn't really look like one. After 5 shapes earned, C got a reading lamp for his bed and L got a new game.
  • If C is having a good night, he gets to turn the lamp on after bedtime and read for awhile. He LOVES his lamp.  So much so that losing his lamp has been an effective consequence for bad behavior. The lamp is bright so usually L reads too when C does, but not as long.  He usually falls asleep before C. 
  • Most nights, we usually try to read books all together.  This used to always work, but didn't for awhile when the boys were challenging bedtime.  It's working again to calm them down which is good.
  • We are watching sugar intake, especially afternoon and evening.  We think it's helping with C.
  • We thought that once C started school, he would be so tired at the end of the day, that bedtime would be a welcome like it used to be. Not so much. That kid has so much energy. If he is having a good day and it's obvious that he is really not sleepy (not just fighting sleep), we are letting him decide when to go to sleep. He has to be in bed and can read or quietly play laying down.  But he can decide when to turn his lamp off. He can decide when to go to sleep. He has used this freedom wisely.  Most nights when he is allowed to do this, he ends up going to sleep within half an hour of us tucking him into bed. My mom had suggested this idea. That's what they let my brother and I do growing up, especially my brother. The rule was as long as you got up in the morning for school with no fighting, then you could decide when to fall asleep. I also think C is a lot like my brother and I are: need some time alone to de-compress. Reading is a great method of doing it.
So overall, bedtime is much, much smoother.  And Josh and I are very, very thankful. Watching my kids run around the house creating havoc at 10:30 at night wasn't my ideal evening.

3. Since C started school, L has become quite the "class clown". Up to this point, he tended to be Mr. Funny Man, doing whatever it took to get a laugh. Or at least I thought "whatever it took." He has increased his efforts. I'm pretty sure it's like watching Josh grow up. Josh has told me some stuff he did or said to get a laugh, and it sounds similar to Liam's antics lately. Here are just some of his sassy examples:

  • We told Liam that if he didn't stay in his bed, we would turn it back into a baby bed (a crib). As to which he says after running back into the livingroom, "I want a baby bed!" He called us out - seeing if we were bluffing. Two nights in a row he slept in a crib.
  • The baby bed threat is L's most effective consequence. Yesterday in the car, he was spitting and would not stop.  We told him that he would sleep in a baby bed if he wouldn't stop spitting. Without pausing, he replies, "If you turn my bed into a baby bed, Mama and Daddy will sit in time out." (one of the consequences he hates)
  • After explaining to him that he doesn't sit people in time-out nor should he tell us that because it's disrespectful, he says, "I'm going to count to three. You have to turn my bed back into my bed. 1..." (counting is another common tool we use) I didn't know whether to cry or laugh. Josh handled that one. 
I have a feeling that L Child is going to have to figure out what's okay to say in all places, not just at home.  On the up-side, L is quite hilarious at times. And sometimes, an exasperating little boy. I say exasperating because if you know me, you probably know that I'm pretty uncomfortable with bathroom humor. So of course, I have to little boys who find all bathroom humor HILARIOUS. Yesterday in church, Liam was talking about something having two. I whispered back, "Yes, there's two, too." Liam starts cracking up exclaiming, "Mama said toot-toot." (what they call farting) (And I can't believe I just wrote about farting on my blog. I really am a mother of boys.)

4. Despite the latest challenges for being four and half, Casen's prayers are so heartfelt. He tells God what's on his mind. It makes me ashamed of my own lack of innocence and doubly-protective of his.
Things I've heard in the last couple of weeks:

  • "Dear God...please send rain. But not too much where it will flood everything. That wouldn't be nice."
  • "Dear God...thank you for the rain. Don't let it rain too much so we don't die." (Can you tell he figured out what happened during Noah's flood? Pretty sure he gave his teachers a run for their money with all his questions in bible class.)
  • "Dear God...thank you for my dogs. They are good dogs. Well, Newman is a wild dog. But thanks for him anyway. I love my dog Padme."
  • "Dear us to die one day...we will get to live with you in Heaven."
When life is hard or uncertain, I need to remember what it means to be like a child. A child that puts his faith in God.

5. Finally, on a not-so-heavy topic, I've gotten to read a lot this summer. I usually read in the summer since I don't during the school year. I finished the Gregor the Overlander series. I read the Shadow Children series. Both are great children series with good life lessons. I'm currently reading Bringing Up Bebe. I'm so enthralled by it; I can't wait to finish it. I just finished two WWII books so I decided to continue in the theme. I highly recommend I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree. I read another biography, but I didn't like it as much nor can I remember the title. I'm reading The Tiger in the Attic right now and liking the style of it. I have several other novels; I'm hoping I get to read during my recovery and into the school year.  I love reading.

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