Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tonight's drama brought to you by the letters C, L, E, A, and N.

Bean's kind of an expert room destroyer.  His room was completely picked up and even vacuumed about 2 days before this...

As in "clean you room."

After quiet time today, I went into Bean's room to get his laundry hamper.  It took me a solid 30 seconds to locate it, as it was on its side on Bean's lower bunk. 

I can assure you that is not its proper place. 

So I said, "Hey Bean.  How about you clean your room?"

Bean:  "Noooooooooo!  I'll do it later."

Well, crying and negotiating and cajoling all led to us striking a deal that he would clean his room after dinner while The Beast and I were washing dishes and picking up the rest of the house.  This was to be done with no physical help - just our telling him what to work on next. If it wasn't cleaned up by the time we usually read a book, there would be no book.  If it wasn't cleaned up by the time A-Train usually goes in the Ergo and Bean usually gets in bed on our floor, he couldn't sleep in our room.

We shook on it.  This is the New Deal of Bedtime.  It stands from here on out.

After dinner, some other consequences led to his door having to remain open, giving his brother free reign in there (except for the top bunk).  So then, of course, Bean's freaked out about all the crap on his floor that his brother can now get to. A-Train immediately grabbed Bean's sacred cardboard hoplon, which sent Bean into absolutely hysterics, and then Bean negotiated to have his door closed while he cleaned up his room (a reasonable request since A-Train is likely to get in the way of or reverse any progress made...).

So then, of course, Bean just played in there with the door closed.  He cleaned up minimally and then he got distracted.  And then, when bedtime came, he wailed and wailed that no one would give him advice on how to clean up his room.


Bean is finally calm after sitting with me on the couch for a couple minutes and me promising him I will give him advice on cleaning up his room in the morning, but we are done for the night.  And now The Beast has A-Train in the Ergo sounding like he is being tortured.  Because the Ergo, man, it's brutal...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

My heart might burst at any moment

The Beast making what I learned today is a hoplon.  It's a kind of shield!  Thankful for both these guys.

Before my surgery, Bean and I had a nightly routine of laying down in his little nest-bed on the floor and talking before he went to sleep.  We'd talk about random stuff - literally anything might come up. 

One of my favorites, from back in September:
Bean, after reading a bedtime story:  "Can we talk?"
Me:  "Sure.  What do you want to talk about?"
B:  "Tell me about salamanders."
Me:  " about salamanders?"
Bennett: "just...anything you know.
Me:  "...uh...salamanders...they're lizards...?"  (They're not...)
Bennett:  "ok."
Me:  "That's all I know.  What else do you want to talk about?"
B:  "Dinosaurs.  Everything about dinosaurs."
....we talked about dinosaurs for a little while, including that I would still be scared of a huge, plated, strong, spiky plant eater...

Me:  "What else do you want to talk about?"
B:  "I don't know.  What do you want to talk about?  What do you want to know about?"
Me:  "Hmmm...tell me about being a little boy.  I've never been a little boy."
B:  "Well, it's much harder than being a girl."
Me:  "Oh?  How's that?"
B:  "Because boys harass each other a lot more than girls do."
Me:  "Oh?  Yeah, I guess that could be true.  Though there are some pictures of Aunt T harassing me."
B: "Why?"
Me:  "...because she was bigger than me, I guess?"
B:  "Oh."
Me:  "What else do you want to tell me about being a boy?"
B: "Nuffing. I can't think of anything else.  What else do you want to know?"
Me:  "Do you want to tell me about being Bean?  I've never been Bean, either."
B:  "Well, it's not very hard."
Me: "Oh.  So being Bean is pretty easy?"
B: "Yeah."
Me:  "Is it fun, then?"
B:  "No.  It's not fun."
Me:  "Oh really?  So it's easy but it's not fun.  What would make it fun?"
B:  "If my name was [Friend]."
Me:  "If your name was [Friend], your life would be fun?  Well, then I will start calling you [Friend]!"
B:  "And you'll be [Friend's Mom], and Dad will be [Friend's Dad], and A-Train will be [Friend's Little Brother]."
Me:  "Ooooooh.  So you think [Friend, his mom, dad, and brother have a pretty fun life?  Got it."
After surgery, not only could I not get down on the floor to do this, but we had to kick Bean out of our bedroom so that I wouldn't crush him or trip over him with my crutches.  It ended up being a really abrupt change in routine, because we hadn't thought of it beforehand.  So, the night of my surgery he slept at a friend's house.  The next night he wasn't allowed to sleep in our room like he had been for months.  He took it in stride, though.  I was proud of him.

He has now been back in our room for a couple of weeks, but only last night did he again ask me "Mom?  Can we talk while we lie down to-ged-oh?"  (There are but a few remnants of toddler talk left in his annunciation, but there is one of them!  *sigh*)  I'm so pleased that I can comfortably get down on the floor, lay down and talk to him, and get back up!  I can only really lie on my good side, but I'm feeling pretty grateful for these several minutes of quiet talk at the end of his days as a warrior.

Tonight he asked what I wanted to talk about.  I said, "well, it's Thanksgiving, so maybe we could say what we're thankful for?"  He named off the things he had put on a gratitude turkey at school, informed me I was not allowed to be thankful for smoothies, and then wanted to move on to talking about Zelda - which we're still playing a good deal of, as I'm not yet quite able to get up and play fight.

We were talking about some of the characters and what he thinks is going to happen, and I clarified that one particular character had been mailing a love letter.

"Maybe he loves them because they're nice," he said.  We talked a little bit more about love - how sometimes you can't even say exactly why you love someone, and sometimes people you love aren't very nice to you but you don't stop loving them (like when he yells and is uncooperative I don't stop loving him).

Clearly on the mend, laying down with my sweet kiddo, talking about love?  Is there a better way to end Thanksgiving?

And who could not be grateful for this picture and everyone in it?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"I gotta ask....what's with the skirt?"

We all went out to dinner tonight at a local pizza place. While I waited for the check, The Beast took the boys outside so we could stop asking them to sit down and stop shouting.  The waiter came over, handed me the check, and then sat down across from me saying, "ok.  I gotta ask.  What's with the skirt?  Is it a kilt-loving thing, or...?"

My first thought was "I am not wearing a skirt," but then the kilt reference registered. Bean was wearing a skirt and a swim shirt (they "match" because they are similar satin-y textures).

Honestly, I don't even give the skirt a second thought anymore.  I don't even always realize when he wears costumes anymore.  I generally only take note if he tries to leave the house in pajamas, or if it is 30 degrees out and his legs are bare (I did suggest he wear his leggings to dinner...and he did agree to wear his warm boots - both items from this year's costume).

Every now and then, I'm reminded that my son is wearing a skirt by other people's reactions - like the guy headed to Rocky Horror dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter who appeared to have the wind taken out of his sails upon seeing my skirt-clad 4-year-old yelling and doing "fighting moves" down the sidewalk as I hobbled alongside him on a crutch (you think you're a spectacle, Frank-N-Furter?? This is my every day!).

My conversation with the waiter went like this:

Me:  "Do you know the movie How to Train Your Dragon?"

Waiter:  "Yeah, of course!  I own it!"

Me:  "Well...who would you say is the most bad-ass warrior in that movie?"

Waiter:  ".....the dragons?"

Me:  "Astrid.  Astrid is totally the bad-ass warrior.  Hiccup certainly isn't."

Waiter:  "....ok...sure."

Me:  "Well, my son loved that movie, and he wanted to be Astrid for Halloween last year.  I made him an armor skirt with spikes and stuff, and now he thinks of skirts as armor."

Waiter:  "Oooooooh!  Ok."

Me:  "Frankly, I tried to convince him to settle problems with his words and wit like Hiccup, but he was only interested in the fighting.  So he had to be Astrid."

Waiter:  "Yeah.  You can't fight dragons with words!  ...but I never really thought about the fact that Astrid was the bad-ass warrior before."

I loved that this guy asked me point blank about the skirt.  I get the sense that a lot of people think it must be a political statement from me - that it sprang from a feminist parenting playbook of some sort.  In reality, Bean wanted to be (as The Beast pointed out) the most stereotypically masculine protagonist in his favorite movie, and that character just happened to be a female in a skirt.

He is aware that girls usually wear skirts, but he doesn't think there is any reason boys can't wear skirts.  He knows he gets attention for it, but he doesn't have any reason to think there are assumptions that go with that attention.  And I find myself wondering if the waiter would have asked The Beast about the skirt.  I think The Beast takes less note than I do, as he can name types of actual armor that look skirt-like and is kind of a nerd of Ancient and Medieval warfare, myths, philosophy, etc.

Someday Bean is going to realize that people assume things about boys and men who wear skirts.  He is going to recognize that some people become confused - even uncomfortable - seeing a boy in a skirt. And that day is not far off, I am sure.

But for now, beware my skirted son, for he is armed to the teeth.  (At least in his imagination.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chuggin' right along

Sneaky Link

My spirits have not been particularly high this week.  I miss running.  I wish I could at least go for a walk.  I miss The Beast as he is working 6 days a week (and I need to set up a date for us).  The boys are fighting a lot.  Bean seems to be in another difficult phase.

Bean seems to be back into major negotiations mode.  He's negotiating everything and, more obnoxious, he's being sneaky.  After the perfume incident, The Beast and I were just too frustrated and spent to deal with it right away.  The Beast was frustrated that it meant more work for him, I was experiencing a range of emotions over the perfume itself (what if he had swallowed it?  What else did he take?  It was Mom's, and I don't want it to be tainted with some big disciplinary event...).

We basically slept on it.  We told Bean we didn't have the patience to do bedtime that night.  We gave him hugs and kisses and said we were going to go calm down and we'd talk about it in the morning.

I decided that it was much more important to me that he be safe and that he hear about Grandma Nita than that he repent or somehow be punished.  So, the major consequence-that-could-be-construed-as-punishment was that he had to keep his door open for a few days so the room could air out.  This meant his brother and anyone else who came over had free access to his room, which meant he had to keep his room kind of picked up and keep special items up high on his bunk bed.  He didn't fight me on this even once over the 4 or so days I enforced it.

The second thing was that we sat down and looked at the two items he had snuck off with, and explored them safely.  I showed him how to put on the perfume, just the way Grandma Nita had shown me.  I showed him pictures of the bottle Grandma Nita had had (it differs from mine).  He really wanted to spray it at a target (if the weapons phase is like the dinosaur, airplane, and dragon phases, we've got a year of hardcore interest in weapons ahead of us...), and I told him I would give him a different spray bottle for that - the perfume was a special thing and it made the house stink if it was sprayed a lot.

Then we moved on to the bite plate he'd snuck off with - he said he'd used it as a fairy bow!  (Surprise!  He weaponized it!)  I told him we could find something else to use as a fairy bow - the bite plate was mine, it is made to fit my teeth.  He seemed ok with it all.

Basically, though, I really tried to imagine myself looking back on this in 10 or 15 years.  What would I want my teenage and young adult son to remember and learn from this?  I wanted him to know that he was more important than a thing - even a really special thing.  I wanted him to understand why it was special, and I wanted him to have a special interaction with it.  And I wanted him to remember that his safety was a priority and there are potentially dangerous items in the bathroom - that medicine cabinets aren't curiosity shops!

There have been a couple other incidents of sneakiness and downright defiance.  And a lot of yelling (by everyone).  I can't get up and get to him quickly to stop him from doing things (mostly bullying his brother), and I can't squat down to his level at all, but yelling is effective.  Which sucks.

He also seems to be in a renewed phase of turning things into other things.  It is creative and his attention to detail is amazing.  We give him random things (a broken purse strap, plastic gears, etc) and see what he does with them.  He comes out of his room with his life jacket and declares it a breastplate.  He builds weapons and creates sheaths and quivers.  He declares he has magic powers when he wears particular gloves, and they might require modifications to intensify his might.


Recovery has also not been the smoothest this week.

I was put back on crutches on Wednesday after having been off them since the previous Thursday.  This wasn't a tremendous real-world setback, but it was a huge mental blow.  Basically, starting last Sunday I was having increased pain every afternoon/evening/night.  I called my doctor just to check in and be cautious, and he said I should go back on the crutches to reduce my activity for a few days and see if that helped.  It did.  I guess I was overdoing it (note:  as soon as I had pain, I was done for the day and not pushing through.  But I was also feeling really good in the mornings and early afternoons.  So I guess I overdid it.  Blah.)

I'm almost 4 weeks post-op.  My range of motion is definitely slowly improving, but I still limp and I still end up with pain in my hip every now and then.  I think the pain is mostly my psoas seizing up, so I've been trying to stretch it and massage it and take loads of deep breaths and just relax.

I also might get to ride a bike in physical therapy this week.  I don't think it's exactly going to be a cardio workout, but it's a step in the right direction (the right direction being the one where I am out of breath, drenched in sweat, and am so sore a couple days later that I gleefully complain every time I stand up or sit down...).

So that's that.  I don't feel like I've got much interesting to say these days.  It's not all bad:  The Beast took the boys away for a few hours yesterday and I got a bunch of random stuff done, I'm looking forward to the holidays.  I'm just not as boisterous as usual.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ugh. I stink.

Last Christmas, my sister got me a bottle of Lulu - a fragrance that our late mother had worn, and it had had this distinctive bottle, and we'd had little samples of it...

This evening, my four-year-old drenched his bed in it.  My house wreaks.  My kids wreak.  My hands wreak.  His room is unbearable. (Thank goodness mine is in a spray bottle and not the dumpable packaging pictured above...)

I'm not even sure how to feel about this.  I'm upset that something lovely and that I would gladly have shared with him is now asphyxiating me.  I'm terrified that he is getting into things he shouldn't be and that he's at an age where I literally canNOT childproof the house against him.  I'm furious that he is being sneaky.

He has been sneaky about cough drops recently - which he is allowed to have, especially since he has been coughing.

Is this the beginning of some new phase?  How to handle to handle it...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Two steps step back

Bean and me, just under a year ago.  I will get there again sometime...I hope.

I know I'm still very early in recovery from FAI surgery.  I know.  I KNOW. (this is code for please let me have my pity party)

But I'm going bonkers.  I'm going bonkers sitting and not exercising.  I'm going bonkers with how tired I always am (I'm sleeping 3-5 hours more than normal every day!).  And both of those things are leading to the worst thing:  I have almost zero routine.

I mean, I do have a routine in that I have our lives set up so the kids are cared for.  I don't feel like I'm being (or have ever been) lazy.  I don't feel like I should necessarily be doing something I'm not.


I even finally went out for my usual "me time" yesterday - the first time I've taken that time since before surgery - and I was so tired that I cut it very short and came home and slept until 6PM!

I'm celebrating the little things (I cooked most of dinner today!  woot!).  I'm enjoying the kids a lot.  But three weeks of video games and Facebook and election coverage is rotting my brain!!!  And the kids are refusing to go outside (and I can't make them. I mean...I have to have back up to make it happen!).  I can't even get down the craft supplies without help.  

I have help during the week to get the kids out of the house, and that help (a friend and fellow mom) is awesome.  The whole thing is just getting old.  We're talking 3 weeks of not being alone with my kids.  I got on a futhermucking step stool for the first time in three weeks today.  I haven't even been able to go on a walk with my kids and enjoy the fall air!

And the past two days I have had increased pain.  I don't know why.  I have been off crutches since last Thursday.  I haven't walked more or been up more or anything Sunday and Monday.  I thought yesterday's might be because I sat with my hip and knee at 90° angles.  It was so bad that I took half a Percocet so  I could sleep last night.  But I've been cautious about how I've been sitting today.  Still the pain is back.   I suspect I will be on Percocet again tonight.  BLARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!

I don't have anything particularly witty to say.  I'm not feeling funny.  I'm feeling crowded and sluggish and mentally foggy and soooooooo frustrated.

Nucking futs.  I'm going futhermucking nucking futs.
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