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Friday, August 10, 2012

Temper, Temper

I took my mother and son out on a shopping jaunt yesterday. Nothing dramatic, just a quick trip through the grocery store for some staple items. However, we made the mistake of taking my son out directly after his nap.

About five minutes into the store, my son started to fuss, and the fussing progressed into a full-blown, teary tantrum. Ordinarily, I would have my husband take my son to calm down while I finished, but with my mother in tow, and just a few things on my list, I pushed on despite the theatrics. My son wanted to run around the store, and, as any parent knows who has been in a busy store, particularly one on re-stock day, it wasn't about to happen.

As I've mentioned before, my mom and I differ in parenting styles. My mother is much more indulgent. Case in point: I told her to watch my son for a second while I grabbed a piece of ham from the meat section, and I turn around to see her taking my son over to a rack of toys. I motored my way over as fast as I could before she could even touch one of those toys.

"If you give him the toy now, he'll think that throwing a tantrum will get him rewarded in some way," I calmly stated, turning the cart, and my wailing child, back toward the household items. I wanted to shout, "Oh my God, you flipping saboteur! Have you lost what little mind you have left in the graying meat-case you call a head?", but I didn't. Probably a good thing. Probably.

"I told him that he could have it," she replied. I walked on, but re-stated that we needed to send my son the message that throwing a tantrum doesn't yield whatever he wants. After he settled down, we gave him his afternoon snack, and that seemed to restore his sense of balance.

We were on our way out of the store when there was a piercing shriek from outside. A woman, somewhere between my age and my mother's, was struggling with a girl who was probably about six or seven. It turned out that the girl wanted to ride in a cab on the way home, and her mother said "no". The girl was shrieking as loud as she could, not because she was in any danger, but because she wanted to attract attention. Every time she let loose, she would glance around to see who was staring. It was a power play with even odds on who would win.

I felt for the woman. I think most people did, really. She kept saying she didn't have the money for the cab (something I can well understand given the rising cost of food), and her daughter kept screaming louder with every refusal. She was still screaming by the time we had finished loading the car and were getting in to leave.

I looked over the car to my mother and, pointing to the shenanigans, said, "And that's what happens when a child gets their way from a screaming match."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Loss of Independent Sleeping

Our family is preparing for a big change. In approximately four weeks, I will be leaving the work force. At the same time, we will be moving from our current home into my family's home in horse country. 

My mother is beginning to struggle to care for my grandmother. If they're both honest, they have always gotten on each others' nerves, but with my grandmother's failing hearing, my mother is more on edge than before.

In addition to trying to combine two households into one, we're also preparing my son for the move. Right now, we all have our own bedrooms. When we first move in, we will share a bedroom until I can re-convert my old bedroom from a library. There appears to be little peer reviewed literature on the subject of sharing a room, but not a bed. Co-sleeping is one of those issues with strong support for every side of the decision whether or not to share a bed with your baby or young child. Personally, I don't want to open that can of worms. There has been much said already, and it isn't the issue at hand.

As an infant, I slept either in the cradle in my parents' room (it was a big-butt cradle) or in the crib in the nursery. After my father left and I had outgrown my crib, I had to share a bed with my mother for a while until the bedrooms in the attic could be updated. It never struck me as odd that I didn't have my own room, even when I went to friends' homes and played in their (typically) well-appointed bedrooms.

I don't worry so much about the effect sharing a room will have on my son's sense of independence as I do about the effect my snoring will have on his quality of sleep. That's right - I have smaller than normal nasal passages, so I'm a noisy sleeper. In fact, with my current sinus infection, my husband describes me as sounding like a diesel truck. (Have I mentioned how much I love him?) 

Beyond that, I worry about what effect sharing a room will have on the dynamic between myself and my husband. We do most of our talking in bed before going to sleep. We unwind in bed with our laptops, even though we know experts (ahh, those darn experts) say that the bedroom should be used for sleep only. Well, sleep and a limited number of extracurricular activities. If my son continues to go to bed at 7:30, though, I think the list of activities in the bedroom will be quite limited.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An Uncanny Knack

<p>That's right, my family has an uncanny knack - for getting me sick. I have been out from work for some time now due to issues from bipolar. Finally, I have been feeling better, and I am starting back to work next week. (I think. They have yet to give me a firm date.) What an awesome time for my husband to bring home a sinus infection from school.Ordinarily, I don't really mind getting sick. I' m one of those people who gets past the worst of a cold in a few hours. Sinus infections, on the other hand, always mean fluid filled ears for me. Which muffles my hearing just enough to make it difficult to hear calls on a headset in a boisterous call center.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Riding Rant

Watching the cross country portion of the eventing trials at the Olympics yesterday, I was taken back to when I used to compete in my childhood through early twenties.

The Hunter-Jumper division in which I competed was very politically biased. Your trainer affiliation mattered as much as your performance, or your appearance. I never had any patience for knowing which judge liked what with their coffee. I always just wanted to go into the ring, complete my class, and go put my feet up until the next the next class. Most of all, I wanted someone else to ride my horse in the under saddle portions.

I damaged my knees at an early age between all the time I spent on horseback and playing volleyball. Ironically, the over-fences classes never caused me pain, despite the pressure it places on the knees. And in lessons the under saddle workout didn't bother, either. But for some reason, when I would wear my field boots in competition, the pain during the rising trot was excruciating. I tried Advil, Aleve, all kinds of OTC medication to try the dull the pain, but nothing even made a dent. I tried multiple times going to doctors for treatment, but they mostly wanted to discuss my weight in the saddle. I had built huge muscles from riding. Most of the riders you see are very slender, with beautifully lean muscle build. I build muscles like I'm on steroids, only without the use of any enhancing drugs. As it was explained to me, the combination of the bulk from the muscle in my thighs with a large Q angle was putting too much pressure on my knees. The suggestion each time was "lose weight", but they never offered any pain management.

By the time I was a Senior in high school, I was exhausted. I had been on diet drugs for almost three years solid. Every time I took adipex and pondimin, I would lose bulk from my middle, but I could never lose anything from my bust or, of course, from my main muscle groups in my arms, back, and legs. The result was a frame that looked attractive enough on the ground, but in the saddle I never looked as though I had lost any weight. I can remember my instructor telling me how fat I was at 135lbs, a size 6 around the waist. Even then I was still a D-cup and my thighs were bulky as ever, so I guess from her perspective I must have looked like I wasn't trying to get slimmer.

I was also tired of the politics of the local show scene. I hated that certain judges would automatically discount riders based on the color of their horse, or whether they were wearing a navy pinstripe jacket versus a solid navy jacket. I never really had an issue because my mounts were mainly chestnuts or bays, but I did ride a gorgeous paint at one point. There were two judges who would never pin her above fourth place, even when my ride was technically clearer than the horses that placed ahead. Ah, well, gotta love subjective scores.

Which brings me back to the Olympic eventing. There were snide remarks yesterday regarding Niklas Lindback's tie and how it came out of his jacket during his jumping round. He had a decent round except for two downed rails, which begs the question, "Who cares?" It wasn't as though his pants split in an embarrassing way or his attire was unclean after warm-ups, and it definitely didn't happen during the dressage phase. If the biggest complaint you have with a rider's jumping round is a minor, minor, appearance fault, which has nothing to do with the rider's score, while there are rails falling, then perhaps you shouldn't be commentating for that sport. Equestrianism isn't a national pastime , and when a good rider is brought low for something unrelated to their performance, let alone their worth as a human being, it only makes it harder for people to understand and appreciate the skill involved. If you want to make negative remarks, there were several riders who not only "took an extra step" as you put it, but completely buried their horses at the fence. One can certainly find more to say over those gross errors than "he should have used a tie tack". And, bless his soul, Lindback quietly tucked in his tie at the end of his round, no embarrassment (for really, there was none owed), and completed his ride.Lindback's was a nice round to enjoy for highs and lows, as he and Mister Pooh work well as a team. The same could be said for Jonathan Paget, whose tie also came out, even though he did drop arail. In the end, style should matter less than substance in jumping, where you have enough to worry about between downed rails and time faults, and the commentators should recognize that.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Turn off that TV

I know, I know - not another post about watching less TV. Well, yes and no.

Yes - I am an advocate of limited TV time. My grandmother watched me as a child, and her method of babysitting involved popcorn and whatever children's programming happened to be on at the time. Children's programming for her ran the gamut from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood to Santa Barbara (an old soap opera, for those who missed it). Somewhere in the mix I developed a love of educational programming, not just shows like Sesame Street, but Nova and National Geographic, as well. Thanks to those programs, I earned many an "A" on my science exams. Ok, so having an aerospace engineer for a grandfather didn't hurt, either.

On the other hand, I spent so much time solo that I'm a little awkward around people,still. But, as I'm finding out, even educational programming can be of little use to a child with expressive language delay. The AAP recommends unstructured play and family interaction for those with speech or language delay. I support this wholeheartedly. My mother is another story. She doesn't want to plop my son in front of the TV the way her mother did, but she does believe it's O.K. for him to have the TV constantly on as "background noise". Since the official assessment two weeks ago, I've had more leverage to try cutting out TV completely in the afternoons after my son wakes up from his nap. Mornings are a little more tricky, because I wake up late most days, which means that my mom is on her own. Well, let's not forget Sportacus and Super Why are there every morning, as well.

I'm curious how other multigenerational families handle similar disputes. Ultimately, I am Mom, so hear me roar in our home. The problem with that approach is the sore throat that inevitably arises. There are very few multigenerational families in our community, and those with whom I've spoken automatically defer to the eldest member, regardless of whether their input is "correct". I know I shouldn't say there is a "correct" and "incorrect" when it comes to this issue, but I think leaving a child in front of the TV, all day, with no parent stimulation (and you'll note I'm stressing NO parent involvement), is on the incorrect side of things.My mother's approach, while in the gray area, does something I feel is incorrect - it countermands my in front of my child. I don't like the mixed messages that are sent to a child who is already struggling with viewing me as an authority figure.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can You Hear Me?

My son had his first audiology exam today. It was a behavioral audiometry, with my son sitting on my lap for the test. I wish I could say we passed gloriously or failed miserably, but we fell somewhere on the middle. The best that could be said, he does hear better with one ear, but we have no idea with which ear.

I think it would have gone better if he hadn't been clinging to me with his head buried against my chest. Also, he appears to be having trouble with fluid in his left ear again. We received a referral for the head of ENT since this is a recurring problem. We also received referrals for speech pathology and another audio exam. Right now, we have to wait until the ENT appointment at the end of the month. That has me on tenterhooks. I'm not the best at waiting for good vs. bad news.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Storm is Brewing

Soon, I will have to turn in my resignation to The Powers That Be. I have decided that five years, just a measly five years, in tech support has sufficiently soured me on life that I need to spend some time looking for the good in people again.

I also decided that I need to focus more time on son. He was recently diagnosed with a speech delay, and while children all over with speech delay improve with moms who work outside the home, I feel that I need to be home to work on our relationship. There is a closeness between my son and my husband, and between my son and my mother, that we don't share. When things go wrong, or if something upsets him, my son will go to my husband or my mother before coming to me. He doesn't respect my authority as a parent, either, which scares me when I need to take him somewhere alone.

I know this invites criticism of my skills as a parent, and I'd be the first person to say that I need some help in that area. Hence the desire to become a SAHM. I freely admit that I put the majority of my time and energy into so many things outside the home that I have become the person who realizes it came at the sacrifice of their home life. I guess you could say that it is fortunate that I have come to this realization early enough in my son's life that any permanent damage can be mitigated.