Friday, June 17, 2011

Fear continues

Its still going on.

The 'shadow' has turned into the 'shadow monster'.  It seems our curious 3 year old picked up a slightly more advanced picture book at daycare a few days ago, and it had a rather frightening picture of a shadow with evil yellow eyes in it.


Now the shadow monster has come into being.  He talks a lot about shadows and the shadow monster.  Our approach has been to dissuade him that there is such a thing as a shadow monster (rather than the opposite approach of playing into the fantasy).  We've been telling him to talk back to the shadows if they bother him ("You can't hurt me, you're just a shadow), that he isn't alone in the house at night, that his room is safe and nothing can hurt him, and that if he needs mommy and daddy we are right here.  He will eventually fall asleep, but still wake up 2-3 times at night crying and running into our room.

At this point it is also manipulation:  he wants to come sleep in our room.  But we definitely do NOT want to encourage that.  So he ends up being brought back into his room, quite unhappy.  This goes on a few times until he finally gives in and stays in his room, after much crying and yelling from everyone.

A nightly occurance.  Luckily for me, I am used to multiple wakings and little sleep.  I lived that life for over a year when I was pumping and pregnant.

Hopefully this is just a phase.  But its getting tiring.

Jason took up boxing.  There was a Groupon for a discounted month membership at a local boxing gym.  Boxing is something I have wanted to do for YEARS.  But I was always pregnant/breastfeeding/pregnant/etc.  So when I saw this Groupon, I jumped at it.  Jason decided he wanted to try it to, so he is going first.  Two classes so far, and he really likes it.  Its both a stress reduction and a way to get in better physical shape.  It leaves me alone with the kids two evenings a week, but that's ok:  I'd rather he get the stress relief. 

Because, as always, we have stressors.  I think we are going to put the girls back in Early Intervention.  The initial interview is next week, and then we will schedule an assessment for them.  Our pediatrician agreed that it would be ideal to have someone work with them one-on-one since they refuse to walk independently and have only a few words each.  They may need someone to force the issue.

I'm not too worried about it.  But I do agree that early intervention is a good idea.

Fathers Day is this weekend.  I already have my gift for my husband, but I'll have to wait to share it in case he decides to read this between now and then....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Afraid of the dark

What do you do with a toddler who is afraid of the dark?

I've mentioned before Zev's refusal to go to bed at a 'decent' time.  At first, I believe it was because he had been getting very little parent-child time and didn't want to miss out on the 'fun' mommy and daddy were having downstairs after he went to bed.

(yeah, fun.  Both of us exhausted, and trust me, there was no 'fun' being had if he was refusing to go to bed...)

Our 'solution' until a few weeks ago had been to turn off all the lights downstairs and watch some television while he laid down on Jason.  Eventually he would be too tired to refuse, and he would be brought upstairs.  But Iif he was brought up too early, even if he said he wanted to go, he would just come right back downstairs: "Don't want to go to bed".  My fear in arguing has always been waking up his sisters, so I generally wimp out and let him stay up pretty late.

But that isn't working anymore.  And now it has become something else.  He has mentioned 'the shadow' for about a year.  Being far more verbal now that he's older, he has been able to say that he doesn't like the shadows in his room.  He will point them out and be obviously very afraid.  We've tried blocking the shadows with various objects, using different lights, distracting him with his new overhead fan or books, telling him that his 'bear' and 'tiger' will keep him safe...  but every night its a battle.  Jason talked to his teachers at daycare, and they said they were pretty surprised that someone his age (so young) would have enough imagination to be afraid of the usually doesn't happen until children are a bit older.

Great.  My son has to be 'advanced' in such a way that screws us over.

I do have to add that I feel horrible for him.  He's obviously frightened, although I'm sure part of it is a manipulation to stay downstairs as long as possible.  But at 3am when he wakes up and comes into our room wimpering because he doesn't want to be in bed, its hard to be sympathetic given that I'm up before 5am.  Which of course just makes me feel like a horrible person.

Anyway, the teacher suggested we introduce flashlights to him and let him 'play' with shadows so he understands what they are and that they cannot hurt him.  We bought one for him to use at daycare and they are going to work on it with him.  He loves it of course; he's seen flashlights before and loves the big utility flashlight Jason has.

Hopefully this will make things easier.  Because as I said, we aren't having 'fun' in the evenings if he is refusing to go to bed until we do.  Hell, I'd like to just have some nice time with my husband watching some stupid movie on the couch.  Or having an adult conversation without hearing "Mommy, watch me!!" as he does something utterly random, the purpose of which is just to make sure he stays in the center of my attention.

"Trust me, Zev.  I'm always watching you"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer is coming

Memorial Day weekend was BRUTAL!  90 degrees and very humid.  We're still working out our tree issues from last summer, and a fair amount of time was spent shoveling mulch into refuge bags.  So far we've bagged 34 bags of mulch.  And we haven't even touched the dirt.  We have to remove all of the mulch and dirt around the stump before we can get it ground up and removed.  It took a weekend to build the wall and lay the dirt and mulch, and its taking much longer to take it all down.

In addition, I do have to say building that retaining wall and garden bed was a heck of a lot more fun than tearing it down.  I do enjoy the work, though.  I like the physical labor; in another life maybe I would do some kind of landscaping for a career.

Sat, Sun, and Monday mornings were spent sweating over a shovel and mulch.  The kids were pretty good at playing in the backyard while we worked.  Sunday afternoon we went to a picnic at a friends house in a local suburb.  Every time we drive down there we have the 'should we move out here' discussion (cheaper houses, good jewish community).  And every time we come to the conclusion that the commute would be too awful to live with.

Lovely time.  And thanks to SF for the pictures.

And now its June.  Some good news for me:  we may have a new diagnosis on what has been bothering my GI system for the last year and a half.  A week ago I was woken up with intense, excrutiating chest pain at 1am.  I was lucky to be chosen to fulfill my civic duty of jury duty had to go to jury duty the next day and suffered through it.  The next few days were episodes of horrific chest and abdominal pain which OTC antacids were not helping.  A long visit to the doc concluded in a possible new diagnosis:  esophogeal spasms.  Everytime I would eat, I would get sharp chest pains similar to a heart attack.  Basically, my esophogeal muscles would spasm every time I would swallow anything, including water.

Not a good situation to be in.  It made me nauseous, cranky, and very frightened.  I'm trying a new medicine which is an antispasmotic, and it is (gasp!) working!  No chest or abdominal pain since I started.  Unfortunately I am only going to take them for a week, so it remains to be seen if it comes back once I'm off of them.  We'll see.  I haven't been that good at taking it (it is supposed to be 4x/day, and I don't always forget to take them to work) so I'm going to hope that I won't need them long-term. 

Kids are doing great.  We've been going on nightly walks with the kids now that the weather is nicer.  I have a two child wagon that we cram all three kids in, and we walk around the neighborhood.  Daycare is going smoothly, although the girls had a slight 'altercation' there the other day:  Tzelia bit Meorah hard enough to leave bite-marks.  But I suppose if she's going to bite someone, its better that she bit her sister so I don't have to deal with some other kid's parents.  So now two of my three kids are biters (see previous post on Zev's biting habits).  At least its confined to family members and inanimate objects....