Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Monday

I'm yawning, but now I have no choice but to ignore it. DH left for work before 6 (he's strange that way) and I managed to get up by 6:40 (only 30 minutes later than I set the alarm). I managed to shower, dress, swish and swipe the bathroom, and pull together a load of laundry before the kids got up. Not bad. I had stressed to them when they got ready for bed how great it would be for them to get dressed when they heard the music at 7 o o (clock radio let's them know it's okay to get out of bed), and they did! Fabulous!!!

The kids and I have now eaten, we're all dressed, I have a load of laundry to fold, and they are playing on their own. A babysitter is comig over in about half an hour for a good portion of the day so I can sort through lots of paperwork and at least finish all the bulletin boards in my classroom. Hopefully I'll also have time to start making the activity sheets I'll need for Hebrew School.

And I keep on yawning.

I have a big post brewing about the purpose of life and the idea of striving to be the best you can be, but that will have to wait for another day. I have laundry to fold!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My goals

Monday DH goes back to work. I'm bummed. I have so much that I wanted to do this summer that we never got to do, and now the opportunity has passed. The yard's a mess, the house is a disaster, the basement never got cleaned, the mural in the playroom never got painted, and don't get me started about the attic.

I want to start fresh around the house, but it's so messy it feels like it will take me forever to clean it up, so I end up procrastinating and nothing gets done.

This morning DH didn't feel well so I got up with the kids. I didn't go to bed between 9 and 10 like I had wanted, so I was tired. I set them up with a tv show and went back to bed. When that show was over, I got them breakfast, put on a new show, and went back to bed. When THAT show was over, I brought them all upstairs to get dressed while I showered and got dressed myself. I had wanted to get up early and clean the house before J and I left to go to a birthday party. BUT .... it's almost 10:30 and the party starts at 11 so you know that's not going to happen.

So I'm posting here my goals for this weekend: I want to clean the house and sort through/take care of the pile of papers that have accumulated. I also need to finish one of the newsletters I write by today and contact some people for my pary business. I am also going to try to find someone who might be available to babysit at least for one day this week so I can do some work in my classroom without my children taking everything apart.

And now I'm off to a 4 year old's birthday party. And we ran out of milk so I can't even make a chai tea latte.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


After posting yesterday I ended up "napping" on the couch while the kids had tv time/computer time. Bad Mommy, I know, but I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Around 11:30 or so we went to Ikea - the boys got to play in the ball pit and J walked around the store with me since she is still a couple inches too small. We parked in the underground garage, which apparently really confused B. When I explained where we would be parking, this conversation ensued:
B: Are we going to see all the old people who live there?
Mommy: What old people?!!
B: You know, the old people. When they die we bury them underground.

Man, the way his mind works!! I quickly reassured him that we would not be digging up the ground and that old people who are LIVING do not need to get buried!

J and I had a good time walking around the store, checking out the layout of the different decorated rooms. She did balk when I brought her to the first bathroom within a bedroom. "Mommy," she stated matter of factly, "I don't need to use the potty." Good to know she was not planning to use the sample bathroom!

I brought the kids home in the afternoon after treating them to a lunch of mac and cheese at the IKEA cafeteria (99 cents - can't beat that!) for some quiet time for all of us. A was looking forward to his "friend" (the teenage volunteer from the Friendship Circle) coming over to play with him, but soon threw himself to the floor in dispair when he listened to the answering machine message and heard her voice telling us that she couldn't make it today. He was so upset the only way I could think of to calm him down was to have him call her up on her cell phone so she could tell him that she could come over today. The novelty of calling someone up "by himself" and talking to her on the phone really calmed him down, and hearing that she'd come over today cheered him up considerably.

When DH got him, he took the kids to the store to buy ice cream and toppings for dessert (the pushover) and I napped on the couch. The sights and sounds of them all returning and running through the house did not rouse me completely. I was considering going to sleep for the night (it was 5) but stayed up long enough to eat dinner. And then I turned in before the kids even went to sleep. I watched a little tv while laying in bed and was out by 8. I did wake a few times during the night, but went back to sleep fairly quickly.

I woke up this morning for real around 6:15. I felt wide awake for the first time in a while - woohoo. Showered, dressed, made the bed, put in a load of laundry, ate breakfast, checked my e-mail, started writing this post (it's now 7:45), and now I'm yawning again and considering taking a nap. This is not right! I'm glad I have a sleep study scheduled, but it's not until the end of next month. I'm not really sure what to do at this point, except continuing to go to bed early (I'll aim for 9).

I'm tired but have the whole day to myself (one of my last before DH goes back to school on Monday), so don't want to waste it. Here goes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I took my weight tracker off. It was obviously not serving as any type of incentive - the scale keeps going the wrong way! I'm really frustrated, but know that I just need to consistently eat right and get some exercise. I just have to stick to it, which clearly is not easy for me or I'd already be doing it!

It's pouring. I was going to have the whole day to myself but DH needed to switch since he had a minor emergency with a friend/teaching partner at school that he wanted to deal with today. No problem, but now I have to figure out something for the kids and I to do. I don't want to be stuck in the house all day. Guess we'll be getting wet today!

Yesterday I took the kids with me to my classroom and they did such a great job playing with the toys while I organized the cabinets and closets. We ended up staying later than I had expected because they were playing so nicely together; we were almost late getting home so we could go to the circus! My in-laws get tickets every year for all of us to go together. It's a fun circus, but it ended up being so cold yesterday none of us could believe it! I guess if I had been outside for any length of time yesterday I would have thought to have us all change into long pants and sweatshirts, but seeing as it's AUGUST I didn't imagine we would need to!!!

Oh boy, it's 8:15 in the morning, I'm showered and dressed, 2 out of 3 of the kids are dressed, we've all eaten, and I'm already SOOO tired. I'm sure the rain is not helping. I really have to just start consistently getting up early to get moving. AARGH!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My mini-"vacation"

I'm sitting at my sister's dining room table, my nephew playing quietly with playdough and my niece taking her morning nap upstairs. DH just took our kids out to drop stuff off at home and then go to his parents' for the day. We figured two days and two nights of togetherness was about all the kids could take before major meltdowns happened. I await my sister and brother-in-laws "speedy" return (a.k.a. sometime tonight). They had a wedding to attend in Boston (a decent distance from here) - DS has been there since Thursday, BIL left after giving me DN-J at camp on Friday after he dropped DN-A off there for the kids' last day.

The house is SOOOO quiet now that we're down to only two kids!

I did my best this last week to finish planning for preschool, but I'm not totally finished. I managed to get everything written out until about December and a list of materials I need to make. I'm going to attempt to get some more typed out this morning while DN-A plays and DN-J sleeps. I'm sure I will be adjusting the plans, revising as the year goes, but it will make me feel great to have a solid framework in place. PLUS it's all on the computer so I can easily make changes as I need.

I did a princess party yesterday out in Quakertown (took me almost an hour to get there, but they paid a $25 travel fee so I was fine with it). The kids (and the moms) all loved it, and the woman offered me a reference unsolicited if I ever needed it. I HAVE to take her up on that! My goals at this point for the business:
  • Write form "thank you" letter to send to all parties within a week, thanking them for hiring me, asking them to fill out a basic feedback form (which would include a place for them to write quotes that I could use on my website), and telling them about some kind of incentive plan/thank you gift they could receive if someone hires me based on their recommendation
  • Decide on an incentive plan/thank you gift
  • Revise my website (Hear that, Mommy Brain?) to include face painting, an additional half hour of interactive entertainment, memorable and unique invitations, and procurring a birthday cake (and remove the info about the Deluxe Package, or at least revise it to include the basic package and all of these additional things)
  • Buy professional quality face paints
  • Buy more princess dresses to offer more sizes and selection
  • Order merchandise with my name and info on it (i.e. a toy to send each kid at the party home with, a "to do" list with a magnet to leave for every mom)
  • Order two magnetic signs for both sides of my car
  • Now that I've done several princess and pirate parties (clearly the most popular choices) I have to write up (on the computer) the crafts, songs, stories, costumes, and activities that have worked well as well as the specifics on what needs to be ordered for each party and how much it costs per child.

I think that's it for now.

Okay, while DN-A is still content to play independently (and considering how much independent play he does, it's no wonder he ends up getting so frustrated while playing with my children), I better try to get some work done.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Song of Healing

Shabbat Sholom! Just returned from services. I haven't been to services for a while now, mainly because I lead the preschool services most Fridays, but also because I don't really like listening to the current rabbi (which is a story unto itself). But over the summer we have various congregants take turns leading the services. Tonight I saw that a good friend of mine was going to be the para-cantor and another friend was going to be the para-rabbi and it just seemed like the perfect service to attend. And it was.

One of the prayers that we sing is a song for healing called Mi Shabeirach. Whenever we sing it, I'm taken back to a scary time in our lives, when J was hospitalized with RSV pneumonia. I had brought her to the ER because she had been having trouble breathing. Since B had suffered with RSV and later with Reactive Airway Disease, DH and I had become "experts" on dealing with children with respiratory issues. After giving J all of the treatments we could at home and trying all of the tricks we could think of, the sight of her ribs with every breath and the sound of her wheezing told us how much she was struggling, and away we went.

At the hospital they poked and prodded, gave her an oral steroid and another neb treatment, and since her O2 stats were good, they were getting ready to discharge her. DH had left to get the car and J had finally fallen asleep on my chest. As her sleep deepened, her O2 began decreasing: 95...92...89...87. From our vast experience, I knew that they like the O2 be 95 or above, and when it starts dipping below 95 is when they generally decide to keep us for an longer visit. I waited for the alarms to go off and then realized that they had turned the alarms off already since we were getting ready to go. I was on my own with the exhausted sleeping child on my chest, no ER staff in sight, and the call button out of reach. Looking back I can't even remember how I got them to come in and begin giving her Oxygen to bring her stats up again, but I still remember my panic of the moment.

Clearly J's condition was not stable and we were sent upstairs to a room. And so began a very frustrating hospital stay. When awake, J was fine, dancing in her metal crib and playing peek-a-boo to the staff that walked by her door. But every time she fell asleep, her O2 stats dropped to an unsafe level and Oxygen would need to be administered.

The second night, exhausted and overwhelmed, I began singing Mi Shabeirach to my fussy little girl who didn't want to go to bed in this strange metal contraption once again, thank you very much. The song had the desired effect: she settled down and my racing, worried mind began to rest. I sang with all the feeling I could put into the words, praying that "...the Source of strength, who blessed the ones before us ...." would "...bless those in need of healing..." Once I started, I couldn't stop. I knew that this was truly not in my hands and that once I accepted that I would be able to be even stronger for my little girl. A feeling of peace came over me. That night, whenever the nurses came in to check her vitals or adjust the amound of O2 she was receiving, I sang the song again, finding strength in those words. And all the next day as well, until finally her lung function stabilized and she was able to return home.

Tonight I prayed for the strength to look beyond J's temper and bad behaviors and see that beautiful girl that is there. I prayed to help me remember to look past the moment and see the bigger picture of every tantrum, every refusal to obey, to look for ways to teach her to control herself. And a feeling of peace once again came over me. I have faith that we will get though this challenging phase in one piece, better for it, ready to jump right into the next one. I know we can do it. And when I forget, I will just have to remind myself all over again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen


  1. I stayed under 1300 calories today!
  2. I figured out how to put that cool header up there.
  3. I finished planning for Hebrew School for the year.
  4. I took the kids with me to Produce Junction and got them to help with buying fruits and vegetables.
  5. A saw a bouquet of flowers there and "gave" them to me as a gift.
  6. I actually did something to take care of myself yesterday by going to a sleep specialist.
  7. I've been so focused this summer getting my school plans completed.
  8. I did two parties last week that both went really well.
  9. I finished planning for my Friday Parent and Me group.
  10. I finished almost all my plans for Religious School.
  11. I will (cross my fingers) finish said plans tomorrow while hanging out at Starbucks.
  12. I pushed myself to set up various Mommy/Kid playdates for the nights DH was working.
  13. I started bribing the kids with M&Ms to get them to do clean up jobs and it's been working great!

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I might have a REASON for being so tired

I just got a fabulous compliment from a new reader about how much she loves my blog. It was from someone who I have not yet met, someone with the Friendship Circle, a fabulous organization who is coordinating a teenage volunteer to come play with A a couple hours a week. It's always kind of disconcerting to know that someone who I may meet someday will know so much about me before we even say, "Nice to meet you!" On the other hand, it's a great conversation starter, and kind of puts me more at ease, especially if they've read about how tough it used to be for me to meet new people and make small talk. All in all, it's always nice to hear from a fan! :)

I'm so proud of myself. I finished all my plans for Hebrew School today plus my list of Hebrew School materials needed by week. I am 95% finished my Religious School plans, am totally finished detailed plans for my Shabbat Parent and Me group, and am about 60% finished my preschool plan. I'm doing great with my goal of getting all my school plans completed by September.

I'm also proud of myself for finally doing something about the constant fatigue that I have felt for so long. I met with a sleep specialist doctor today. After talking at length about my symptoms, she wants to not just do a sleep study but a TWO DAY sleep study! Yes, I will need to spend the night, hooked up to all kinds of machines while I try to sleep. If the test shows significant evidence of apnea episodes, then we'll assume that is what is causing the fatigue and treat that for a while to see if that makes a difference. If the apnea episodes are not that significant, they'll need me to stay an additional ten hours, hooked up to most of the same machines. They'll have me attempt to take a nap every so many hours, allowing me no more than 20 minutes to fall asleep. If I fall asleep, they will only let me sleep for fifteen minutes. If I don't fall asleep then I will not be able to nap again until the next time. She said the fact that I have felt fatigue for so long (I do a good job faking it, but really feel like I could fall asleep almost at any time if given about ten minutes of quiet) she had a couple other possiblities, one of them being a form of narcolepsy, which apparently is yet another spectrum disorder (and boy, do we know all about them). Some of what I read about narcolepsy doesn't seem to fit me, but the sleep paralysis happens to me most nights - I thought it was normal. I truly thought everyone sort of shifted into a half asleep/half awake mode before they actually fell asleep, alert enough to manipulate their dreams a little but not enough to move their body. I will schedule the test tomorrow. I cannot wait to find out what they discover.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My Amazing Son

My son is amazing. And he has Asperger's.

Don't gasp and gape when I have to restrain him in the library to get him to move away from the computers and he melts down, flapping his hands and sobbing as if his world has come to an end. I have lots of techniques to bring him back; I'm sorry for the noise, but it will be over soon.

Don't tell me he needs a spanking; that's really not going to make a difference.

Don't dimiss his problems, telling me that your kid does the same thing. Your child may do one or two of the same things, but if he truly did all of the same things then you should bring him to a developmental pediatrician or two, just like we did.

Don't avert your eyes when I am struggling to change a messy diaper and he is using all of five-year-old strength to push me away; ask if you can help! Getting kicked and punched by a child trying keep me from touching his diaper rash really hurts.

Don't laugh when he comes up to you the first time he meets you, giving you a hug and telling you he loves you. Don't allow him to touch you inappropriately. He does crave physical contact and it is cute, for now, but we're trying to teach him how to greet people he is just meeting properly. What's cute now may be a little scary when he is ten.

Don't tell me just to relax when we visit your house and I begin to shadow my son. I've personally seen him reprogram phones and remotes, order things off the internet, break pieces of electronics in his enthusiasm to push all the buttons at once. He needs me, for now, to help him remember what is off-limits.

My son has Asperger's. Don't offer me sympathy when I tell you this. It is only one aspect of his personality. Acknowledge his incredible reading ability, marvel at his musical performances, smile at his friendliness.

My son has Asperger's. And he is amazing.