Tag Archives: children

Boundaries

I have poor boundaries.

I pick up other people’s children when they fall down. I push them on the swings if they ask me. I answer their questions and help them get their toys out of trees and fix their bicycles.

Children in my house are welcome to eat whenever they are hungry. I have house rules, of course, and guidelines about what food at what times, but I will feed them. I do remember to ask their mother, but it is an afterthought. Children who have mothers familiar with me no longer have to ask. Their mothers know I am not going to load their kids up with candy.

In the evenings I take watermelon slices outside and any child with permission from their mother can have some. I do the same with homemade juice pops, store bought freezies, and homemade cookies.

I let children come into my house to play, even if not with my own children. I have a lot of open space for play, a lot of furniture appropriate for child play, as I need to encourage my son with his OT at home.

If a child is in my house, his or her mother can walk right in. It seems ridiculous to require a mother to knock when retrieving her child. I have nothing to keep her waiting for, nothing to hide.

I turn children away at the door only when a member of my household is sick. Today is one of those days. It is very quiet in here. I can hardly think, with only three children present.

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Play Dates

I am not good at negotiating play dates. I prefer to have people come over. Call the day before, etc. I have a pretty open home, and a relaxed attitude. I don’t serve cocktails or maintain pretenses. I sweep the floor while you describe whatever it was that you fell in love with on Pinterest and the children play video games in the background. Or the kids climb over the snow pile visible from the kitchen window while I scrawl some recipe down for you.
I am not refined. If you are here, you are family. Have a cookie and a seat and tell me if you want juice or milk.

I had a good play date, my first invite to a home in the two years that I have been here, two weeks ago. She texted me on Wednesday, that she couldn’t believe it had been over a week, it was so fun, etc. I invited her over during that conversation, well, not her, the whole clan. You know what I mean. She ignored that part of the text string. Like I had never asked.

I was sad about it. But I was glad I asked. I must be getting over my anxiety about our past and maybe I am leaving some of the shame behind. I am tired of feeling tainted. It is not healthy.
The neighborhood children are fantastic in our new place. I know many of them from our daycare, and my favorite of those lives across from us. He is in our house pretty much every day. Today his mom came by and asked me to give him back sometime. She had been missing him. I like her, too.

Since the weather warmed up my daughter has been playing outside. Today she played outside without her brothers, in mud puddles and wet leaves and dirty snow. I had to fetch her when she defied the rules and went out of sight, but I was not very worried. I think my kids might have a chance to grow up more normal than myself, as I was always playing outside, but alone and completely unsupervised. I think they will always have a friend on hand, here, with a friendly eye observing from the kitchen window.

We have a play date for Sunday, even if I had no response for my Saturday attempt. A very old friend is bringing her boyfriend’s son all the way from the city to see us. We haven’t seen him since last year. I am so happy for them.

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Moving With Children

The house is being packed up, day by day I clean out another closet and tape up more boxes. They are stacked wherever we do not need to walk. One son had some issues at school last week, and a call to the teacher reassured me it will be handled to his benefit rather than his detriment next time.
Another son told me ¨Mommy, we used to live in such a nice house and now it is so dirty.¨ I told him to try to look at the room without the boxes in it and it is still nice. But he did not seem to believe me..
My daughter has been reading books and drawing pictures nonstop, talking about her utopia-The Red House, where she eats cough drops all day long and her ¨Pink Mommy¨ gives her great advice about handling emotions. She won’t admit that I was the one who told her what to do when angry, sad, or tired. She does not seem upset, though, about the move.
There is a neighbor boy whom they will miss. He is a few years older and very wise for his age, they idolize him.
I have not seen the place yet. I will next week, when I sign for it. I haven’t got a lot of choices, so I am not worried about it. I have to take it. Nothing else will be affordable for me at this size. I have lived in horrid places, and this house has oversight, so I know it will be workable for me. I have no idea when I have ever lived in a house with new carpet or flooring, as this one has. I won’t have to deal with that filth that cakes into floors at the edges over decades of improper cleaning.
I have been trying to use up our food stores. I am very good at this, I am more accustomed to cooking with what I have been given rather than planning out meals. I found myself with too much white flour. I ran out of wheat. I need bread, so I have been making bread. But for some inexplicable reason, I have become overly interested, and indeed, had I the time, I would indulge and allow it to become obsession. I have made a lot of different kinds of bread this past week. I am going to go out and buy sandwich bread today so that I stop. It will be hard. Right now I have a fantastically easy recipe for sandwich bread that I have not tried. I have to get some control.
I used to make flatbread when we lived in the desert. I kept the dough in the fridge for five days, took out what I needed and rolled it out and baked it. It was hard work, and it was too hot. It would have been harder had I kneaded it, though. Sometimes that was all we had.
I want to make a carrot cake for the children that I have not made in years. It was their father’s favorite, and so I had been avoiding it. I will make it when we move in, and as many times as necessary after that, until the memories of it have a history beyond then. Beyond a time of abuse.
I hope the kitchen is great. I spend more time in there than anywhere else in the house. Last night I forced myself to watch an entire movie with the children. I usually do not sit down long enough to get through a whole movie. I picked two, and the first was not so funny, but the second was hilarious. We are going to do it again tonight. They need the distraction and the time with me.
Today I need to pack the pictures, clear the walls.

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Fever Is The Enemy

I have been fighting off my own fevers for six weeks, on and off. Middle child has it this time, a high one that won’t back off. I have to double dose (two kinds of medicine) him every four hours, and he has had 10 ounces of juice, a mug of herbal tea, a few ounces of cocoa, and a bit of peach kuga and cheesebread. A handful of food. Enough liquid to fill a medium drink cup. That is all.

In the middle of the afternoon, when he had hit 102.5 degrees again, I called my father and informed him of the situation, that we would not be coming to Thanksgiving at a relation of his wife, who lives an hour from us.

He joked that we should hold all holidays in hospital, since I miss all of them from illness.

I don’t mind. I don’t feel so good. I am tired from getting up in the middle of the night to comfort a confused and shrieking child. Tired from being woken up early by the same child burning with fever. I got nothing done today, besides working. I am lucky my work allows me to bring a sick child and set him up in an empty conference room. The house is not organized. I am simply too tired.

I have to decide, do I push myself when I am exhausted, or do I try to rest? I don’t know. I just have to work double time later to make up for what I left undone, if I rest. I am unsure if all this recent illness has to do with exhaustion or not. I don’t think it is about stress.

My mother has some chronic illnesses. Her clinical depression amplifies them, I am sure. She spent much of my formative years in bed after work each day. She told me that a few years after she kicked me out that she no longer went to her bed, even, but would lay next to the sliding glass doors and just look outside.

I don’t want to end up like that. I want to be with my kids, available.

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Praise

¨Mommy, you are a little bit cool. But I am ten pounds cooler than you.¨ says my middle child- on the way to parkour tag. I bet I never would have got that praise if I did not play it with him. Especially since I outweigh him by a hundred pounds.

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Wings

I bought my daughter some fairy wings for next to nothing at a thrift store, black and glittery. She was really excited to try them on. She put them on, walked in some tight circles and glanced back at them.
¨They don’t work.¨ She said, with a frown.
I crouched down to her height, concerned.
¨What’s wrong, baby, what do you mean that they don’t work?¨
¨Mommy, why am I not flying?¨
I was so very sorry for her in that moment.
She took them off, but she did not cry.

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Saturday Morning Tantrums

Middle son was a good boy all day yesterday, and then lost it at dinner. This is his second week without naps, which might have something to do with it, and today he had his first session of EMDR.
I do not know if aggravated symptoms are normal after EMDR. I have read very little on the typical experiences of children other than reports of immediate or gradual relief.

He usually has his tantrums on Saturday morning. For throwing shoes at me, being rude in front of his grandmother, and then pushing his poor sister into a door knob he lost his computer privileges for Saturday. Which makes Saturday more difficult for me, because the computer would keep him occupied and out of his siblings hair. So I knew, when I went to bed, that I could have a rough time.

I did.

But not as bad as it has been, no one got hurt. He did be generally unpleasant for about two hours, and it was evident that he was exhausted, as he was unpleasant from a reclining position on the floor. I kept my focus on the housework and the laundry and gave him a timeout for kicking out at his brother, or pushing. The rest of the time I tried to ignore what he was saying. It was borderline, not directly punishable. Annoying borderline bullying, definitely not nice, but not a zero tolerance issue, either. So after a few hours of continuous laundry and cleaning I succumbed to the backache and I sat down on the couch in front of my middle child.

The baby crawled up with me and told me her brother was not being nice and that she needed a huggie (her word for hug). I didn’t mean to, I just started sobbing. My eldest son got on the couch and hugged me while I cried and tried to tell me his brother was bad, so I wouldn’t feel so sad. But I told him I was sad about his brother’s choices, that his brother was good, and I knew he could do it differently.

When I dried my tears I saw the culprit creeping down the hallway to put away his blanket, something I had asked him to do hours before and he had refused and complained bitterly about on and off since. When he came back out of the bedroom after a few minutes he was back to his normal self.

This means he has empathy. This is huge. I have so much more hope now than I did last year.

Despite the triggering today I did not lose my cool. I never hit fight or flight. I cried, and who wouldn’t? I don’t want any abuse in my home and it was there, being felt by the smallest of us, years later. I was tired and in pain. But I never lost it. I am getting better, too.

I can see, in how he and I handle the stresses, how our PTSD is doing. Today it is doing well. Yesterday the psychologist said the meds are helping him so much, that she started his EMDR. He wouldn’t let her do it before, not for the past year.

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