June 30th, 2008

Nail-biting time. It’s my son’s first day at his new school. For the past year, he had been attending a nice little pre-school with a wonderful, talented teacher, but the age range only went up to 3 1/2. He turned 3 1/2 a couple of weeks ago, so that necessitated a change. Obviously, he’s not new to going to school, but he’s shy and rather sensitive, so changes, new people, new places can be very difficult for him. Unfortunately, when he gets nervous or uncomfortable, he acts out by being obstinate or, worse, by hitting.

Yep, I had a ‘hitter’. It started about a year ago and peaked when he began attending his last school. Everyone who observed him agreed that he wasn’t being purposely aggressive or malicious –-a lot of it was based on social anxiety and just needing a certain amount of personal space. Sometimes it appeared to be a maladjusted attempt to interact with other kids. We all worked hard with him, even enlisting the help of his teacher’s college-aged daughter as an extra assistant at school for a short period of time. Any hitting at home earned an immediate timeout. If we were somewhere else, like the park, we would leave immediately.

Everything I read and everyone I consulted advised that consequences had to be immediate. Stopping the infraction before it happened was even better. So I basically shadowed my son in any situation that merited it. Believe me, this was exhausting. No kicking back at the park, chatting with the other moms. No playdates or parties where he wasn’t directly supervised at all times.

How I envied all those parents who barely had to watch their kids! Not to mention that it was mortifying when my son walloped another child. Most parents were, thankfully, understanding, but not all of them. Usually it was the parents who had more than one child or had a ‘hitter’ themselves who took it in stride. But the parents who had one sweet angel, they were the ones that shot daggers at me with their eyes and assumed I was The Worst Mom In The World. We stopped going to Gymboree. I stopped leaving him at the gym daycare. Parties were a trial. Playdates were a dicey prospect. I felt like The Worst Mom In The World.

As frustrated as I would get with my son, I still felt very protective of him. Yes, he can be difficult, but he’s also a sweet, loving, exuberant child. And I can see how much he wants to fit in and how much he wants the other kids to play with him. The hitting is like an impulse that simply overtakes him when he gets overwhelmed. As a mom, it’s my job to help him gain control over that impulse and let all his wonderful qualities shine through. For all you parents out there that think my son wouldn’t have been behaving this way if I were a better parent, please don’t make assumptions until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes. When a mom could obviously use a little support, judgments are isolating and hurtful.

Slowly, my son’s behavior improved, but it was hard for me to gain trust in him. Unfortunately, it seems to take a long time to break bad habits in spirited kids. And the process was cyclical –he would improve and then regress again. A year later, the hitting is nothing like it was, although my son will still lash out when he’s frustrated or anxious. Big changes can cause regression, so as I sit here and write, I can only hope that he has learned how to cope better, that somehow my guidance has helped, and that he is doing ok on his first day at his new school. Mommy’s thinking of you, swee’pea.

R-e-a-d My L-i-p-s

June 27th, 2008

I love how being a mom affords you those startling “grown up” moments, like when you realize you are behaving exactly the same way your parents did. These are the things that send you running for the liquor cabinet.

Actually, it can be pretty amusing being on the dark other side….. unless you’re not a particularly fast speller. Case in point: I enjoy the fact that my three-year-old son, Babyzilla, is still a pre-speller. I can talk about things in front of him, and as long as I spell out all the key words, I’m totally incognito! Nifty! I learned to spell at a fairly young age because this is the kind of crap my parents would pull on me. The only problem is, Hubby occasionally has a hard time keeping up. What can I say? He’s an engineer. Engineers aren’t paid to know how to spell particularly well. Or even to use correct punctuation. (Oh, the run-on sentences this man can write!)

So, a recent conversation during Babyzilla’s bath time went something like this:

Mad Me: Did you see that coupon in the e-mail?

Hubby: Huh?

Mad Me: There’s a new T-h-o-m-a-s coupon. T-o-y-s-r-u-s sent it out. It’s good for one of the T-h-o-m-a-s t-r-a-i-n-s.

Uhhh….. Oh, ok.

Mad Me: So, I figured we’d want to choose between the R-h-e-n-e-a-s e-n-g-i-n-e or the musical c-a-b-o-o-s-e. What do you think?

Hubby: R-h-……… ???

Mad Me: I’m thinking R-h-e-n-e-a-s, since you-know-who likes him. But the c-a-b-o-o-s-e sounds pretty cool.

Hubby <<grabbing for a bath crayon to work it out on the tile>>: R-h-c-b-s…..

Mad Me: Yeah. Let’s get R-h-e-n-e-a-s, ok?


Ok, so maybe ‘Rheneas’ wasn’t really a fair word to throw at him, even if Hubby is more alarmingly familiar with all the Thomas train characters than I am.  And this type of communication is a bit awkward.  Gives me the odd sensation that I’m verbally text messaging him. The nice thing was, we were able to reach an agreement about which train to get without much discussion at all.


I wonder if this would work for a pair of bitchin’ Jimmy Choos.

Writing On Plain Site

June 26th, 2008

I’ve decided that I’m not going to let my paralyzing perfectionism stop me from starting this blog. When I first made the decision to venture into the blogosphere, I envisioned launching a site with a killer header and kickass graphics. It was supposed to be cool, funny, wild, Mad Mama crazy -sort of like Studio 54 meets ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’, with a dash of motherly love. Alas, I have lots of ideas…… but not a lot of experience creating graphics or setting up websites. Tons of experience with computers and the Intartoob but only very rudimentary knowledge of website construction and design.

So rather than wasting more time searching through themes or learning to edit the WordPress templates, I’m just going to launch this puppy and start writing. For now it’s just me, my random thoughts, and the plain ol’ Kubrick theme. I’ll work on Nurse Ratched doing the hustle in a halter top and platform shoes later.