2.08.2014

Stepmonster

I don't consider myself an evil stepmother. Maybe all evil stepmothers have the same opinion of themselves. All I know is I am not a meanie, a slave driver, or a harsh disciplinarian. Having said that, I must disclose that I do have a bad attitude, especially toward my stepson and his mother. 

A little background. I first met this child when he was about 18 months old. His father was no longer in a relationship with his mother for a number of reasons I don't need to go into at this time. We were married within 7 months and we moved away a few months after that. We had to do what was best for us at the time, and over the last ten years it has proven to be the right choice again and again. We've always supported his son financially. When he was 3 years old, his mother wanted him out of the way so she could remodel her house. He came to live with us for about 9 months. At that time he was not potty trained or even close to it. He was still drinking out of a bottle. In fact he would walk around with it hanging out of his mouth. He threw a lot of tantrums, and I just chalked it up to terrible twos/threes. I had no children of my own at that point so I did the best I could given the circumstances. While this post is not about money, I will note that she did not send a dime to support her son while he was living with us. I worked full time so I had to pay for him to go to daycare. I returned him bottle-free and potty trained. 

Fast forward a couple years. We had been trying to get him for the summer and/or holiday breaks with no luck. She finally agreed to let him come for the summer when he was 5 - IF we took his older sister too. She's not my husband's kid, but we agreed to it so we could spend time with our son. By this time I had my daughter who was around 15 months. The two kids came for a month. It was the only way it could work given the differing school schedules between our state and theirs. Again she sent no money to support her children. We had to pay $100 for each for the unaccompanied minor fee to send them back. We were not reimbursed. During their stay I noticed his behavior seemed a little unruly but again I'm no parenting expert so what did I know?

Every summer since then we were unsuccessful at getting him to visit. His mother was always full of excuses and kept putting him in a "summer program". Finally this past summer we booked a ticket for him. He arrived the day after his school got out. Throughout the summer it became very evident to us that he had not been properly cared for or supervised back home. At ten years old there is a certain expectation of self-sufficiency and responsibility. This child displays none of those characteristics. I could tell that his reading was extremely poor. I urged my husband to keep him and enroll him in school here. I fought for him to stay. Finally a few days before school was to start I won, or so I thought. Both bio parents agreed to give it a year. I enrolled him in school and began the painstaking process of peeling the onion to uncover all of the mess underneath. 

After several conferences with his teacher and the pediatrician, we have obtained an ADHD diagnosis. He's receiving special ed services for emotional behavior disorder. That basically means they make accommodations for him because he's a pain in the ass. He was receiving similar services at his school back home. His mother never said a word about it!! Had we had this information we wouldn't have been spinning our wheels for months. It is so infuriating how some parents don't care how their children behave or what they might need. Try spending some time with your kid instead of working 24/7 in pursuit of material things. 

Even though I know the kid has issues and we have him on medication, I still find him extremely annoying. And I can't change the tone of my voice or the look on my face to conceal my annoyance. Does that make me a monster? I'm not treating him any differently than any of my other kids. I let those two know when they are annoying me as well. Part of the problem is he's a liar. His mother is a habitual liar and she's taught him to tell lies to try to avoid consequences. It seems to be the only thing she has ever taught him. He cries at school when he doesn't get his way. Now everyone in his class is annoyed by him too. He doesn't cry at home, which leads me to believe that he knows exactly what he is doing. He is constantly seeking attention. Not for anything good either. Maybe he never got attention because his mother was never home. Or maybe the ADHD makes him do it. Whatever the cause, I don't reward attention-seeking behavior with the benefit of my attention. Go be a clown somewhere else. 

Academically he is not struggling at all. He has excellent grades. At the start of the school year he tested at a third grade reading level. He's now testing at a sixth grade level. We make him read every day and we give him extra work to do during school breaks. He struggles socially. That's an understatement. He behaves so immaturely that we commonly joke that we have three 6-year-olds. Our kids are 2, 6, and 11. He is constantly bickering with his sister. The behavior seems consistent with her age but not his. She actually takes more initiative to help with the baby and do things around the house than he does. He really only has one chore - sweep the kitchen after dinner. Yet there's a 50/50 chance he will forget to do it. 

I'm really trying to be a good mother. I know I lack empathy. The nice mom voice. Fun ideas to keep them entertained. But I have more patience than a lot of people. I only snap when they are being really ridiculous and I'm outnumbered. 

If I can remember to blog I will explore ways of dealing with ADHD and making a happier home. 

P.S. He's been here nearly 8 months and she's yet to send any money. 


7.27.2013

surgery

Yes, I know it's been far too long since I've posted.  Sorry.  I'm a busy mama!  I'll try harder from now on. :)

So anyway...I had surgery last week.  It was an interesting experience, to say the least.  I'd never been hospitalized outside the normal routine of childbirth.  This surgery is referred to as ACDF - anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.  In essence, they removed a disc from my neck and replaced it with a plastic spacer.  They also removed bone spurs from the vertebrae.  A titanium plate was attached to stabilize the vertebrae, and over time the two bones will fuse together.  It is "anterior" because they went in through the front of my neck.  I have a bit of a sore throat, pain at the incision site, and muscle pain in the back of my neck and shoulders.

I'm not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds for at least 6 weeks.  This proves to be challenging when it comes to taking care of my 2-year-old.  He doesn't need to be carried or anything, but it's next to impossible to not lift him throughout the day.  He still needs help getting into the car and into his car seat.  Because it doesn't hurt to lift him, I have a difficult time remembering not to lift him.  I'm not even really sure why I'm not supposed to lift anything, so I think I'll put that on my list of questions for the surgeon.  My first post-op appointment is coming up on Tuesday.

The most surprising thing about this particular surgery is the ease and speed of recovery.  I was physically capable of working last week, just a few days after the surgery.  However, I took the whole week off and returned to work this past Monday.  I have a significant advantage because I work from home.  It is tempting to jump back into my normal routine because I feel fine for the most part.  I do tend to get tired and sore around 3:00 in the afternoon.  A few days I've had to stop working early and take a nap.  The flexibility in my job is a tremendous help in that regard.  If I'd had a commuting job, there's no way I could have returned to work so quickly.  I only drove for the first time today.  I did fine with it - I did not take any pain medicine until the evening after I was done working and done driving around for my errands.

Before I had the surgery, I dreaded taking kids to the store with me.  They just make the whole process so miserable.  Now that I am constantly tired and in pain, I dread it even more. And speaking of kids - I have a bonus kid for the summer.  My stepson, who lives in New York, arrived at the end of June and heads back home at the end of August.  If I am feeling up to it, I will write a post about our crazy summer with THREE kids instead of two.

3.09.2013

back to blogging

Long time, no blog!  I am soooo sorry to have left you stranded for so long without an interesting anecdote to carry you through your day.  My excuse: work.  Yep.  I returned to Corporate America and abandoned my little hobby.  As you may recall, I'm working from home, so it's imperative that I stay on task during "business hours".  I can't be donning and blogging (or is it blogging and doffing?) while software sits unconfigured.  That would be unethical.  And it would just make my work more difficult later.  So blogging got put in the attic for the winter.

Since it's been so long, I will update you on my typical daily routine...

  • 5:00 a.m. - Sleep through hubby's alarm (I literally don't even hear it)
  • 6:30 a.m. - Snooze through my first alarm; listen for daughter's alarm and subsequent sound evidence that she is, in fact, up and getting dressed.
  • 6:45 a.m. - Snooze through another alarm, but continue to keep one ear open for getting ready noises
  • 7:00 a.m. - Snooze my last alarm; remind my daughter 47 times to brush her damn teeth
  • 7:05 a.m. - Slowly roll out of bed; brush my own furry teeth, fix her hair, schlepp downstairs to fix her breakfast and pack her snack.
  • 7:25 a.m. - Grab baby boy from his place of slumber and strap him into his car seat (yes, he's still in his pj's and his night diaper - so am I); scream at daughter for standing around doing nothing
  • 7:30 a.m. - Leave for school (about a mile away); upon arrival, scream at daughter to get out of the car already, people are waiting!; head home
  • 7:45 a.m. - Back at home, change baby's diaper and dress him for the day; feed him breakfast, fix my coffee; watch Ni Hao Kai-Lan
  • 8:00 a.m. - Start working. Yes, I'm still in my pj's.
  • 9:00 a.m. - Nanny arrives. 
  • Meetings, work, blah, blah, blah.
  • 2:15 p.m. - Head to school for carpool line
  • 2:30 p.m. - Scream at daughter to get in the car already, people are waiting! And sit down, how was your day?
  • 2:35 p.m. - Arrive back home, continue working.
  • Meetings, work, blah, blah, blah.
  • 5:00 p.m. - Nanny leaves.  I should probably figure out what's for dinner.
From that point on, the kids transition from fairly calm demeanors into their CRAZY mode.  They are fighting and running and falling and screaming and driving me up the freaking wall.  Sure, it's possible that they could muster the effort to sit quietly and read or watch Dora or play nicely together.  But why would they do that when they can get Mommy committed?  If it weren't for the saving grace of beer, my husband would come home to find me curled up in a corner in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, muttering "Swiper, no swiping..."

By 6:30 or 7:00, we've had dinner and we start our silent countdown to bedtime.  Don't misread that - it is not silent in our house.  We just don't let the minis know that we are counting down.  The other night I'd had enough of the madness and I put the kids to bed.  Once they were all tucked in, snug as bugs and whatnot, I happened to look at the clock.  It was a whole hour earlier than their usual bedtime.  Oops.  The surprising thing was that they did not wake up any earlier in the morning.  I think I'm onto something here...

That's my life the last six months. Not a lot of time for blogging, but I will work it in.  I know you need it.  How else will you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are a far better wife and mother than at least one person?

11.09.2012

winner - bundles and buzz store credit

And the winner is...Sophie D.!!  Congratulations, Sophie!  You have won $15 store credit to Bundles and Buzz!!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the Bundles and Buzz Giveaway.  I hope you all will try a Bundle for yourselves!  I'm currently awaiting delivery of my Super Cloth Bundle. :)

I have another giveaway coming up VERY SOON...stay tuned!