Monday, July 31, 2006

He's Comfortably Tucked in with Slick and Horney

That would be the stuffed animal snake and bison, respectively. The Kid is good at naming his toys, if nothing else. Snakey was just renamed Slick tonight. Slick, by the by, was the name of my first car, a Toyota Tercel, which I wrecked the day before her wedding.

Anyway, in all reality, The Kid's really not all that comfortable. The poor little dude has caught himself a nice mid-summer stuffy nose and cough. He's way sick, yo. It is so heartbreaking to hear him cough all night. And then talk all day with the hoarse cough-voice. Poor baby. But he's not feverish, and he's so energetic. It's so hard to be sick and crazy at the same time.

Anyway, I spent the day interviewing daycares and talking on the phone with daycares and my sister, alternatively. I've brought it down to two daycares, both promising reasons both different and the same.

1. Both daycares seem to have teachers that are literate. Always a good thing.
2. Both have familiarity with handling "spirited" children, and were not surprised or dumbfounded by his diagnosis, which is the reaction I got at the old daycare.

1. I'm attracted to Daycare 1 because of it's facilities
2. Daycare 2, because I witnessed a developmentally disabled student at the daycare and watched a bit of positive reinforcement with him. And I was impressed.

Making daycare 2 attractive because, honestly, I know for a fact The Kid will not be the most challenging kid at the daycare. Is that sick and wrong? But I seriously look around at kids I see (the little boy at Karate who has a facial tick and refuses to do what the sensei asks, for example) and know that they have disabilities infinitely more challenging than The Kid's and wonder, Where do THEY go all day? Do their parents not work? There has to be a single mom with a severely disabled kid, what does she do for daycare?

Anyway, I'm encouraged. We shall solve the ensuing daycare problem.

I'm also having a meeting tomorrow with our total absolute dream school which I cannot afford under any circumstances. It's a private school, founded by hippies about 20 years ago. They work under the amazing assumption that children can fuel the curriculum, and that learning is not all about "accountability" and tests, but about empowerment and creative problem solving. Admittedly, it certainly is about more than just test scores, etc... when one's parents are paying a $10,000 annual fee for the pleasure of attending such a school. So, yeah, it's awesome, but it's freaking private.

My mom was a primary teacher for many years, and my dad a secondary elementary teacher turned principal (so my sisters and I could go to college, not because he wanted to be a principal, I know for a fact he missed teaching so much after he took an administrative role), so I grew up hearing so very much about public schools, how they are run, how districts alternate between supporting teachers and squelching their abilities to actually TEACH. When I visited this school for the first time about 18 months ago, I got the feeling that it was built from the vision of teachers like my parents, dreaming about what their ideal school would be like. It is child-led. And creative. And they have this super great science lab. And art teacher. And I know people who have kids there and they can't stop talking about how awesome it is. It is not affiliated with waldorf or montessori or anything like that, and had I not secret ambitions of amazing scholarships or me washing the dishes every night to pay The Kid's tuition there, I would totally put a link up, but I do have these amazing fantasies, where somehow, amazingly, the $10,000 tuition is paid by some amazingly friendly millionaire who just likes to do that sort of thing, and yes, the fantasy is so amazing that it warrants the use of the word amazing and/or its adverb counterpart, amazingly, at least four times in one sentence.

Again, wish me luck.

And please, wish for The Kid to have a good night sleep with a nasal cavity cleared of that nasty crap he keeps coughing up. Because it's whack. And he needs to sleep.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Just in case pregnant women and mothers of babies aren't paranoid enough...

There's this article from the New York Times today.

I also read a little blurb about Schitzophrenia, OCD and Bipolar and other mental illnesses that are linked to the existence of certain bacteria in the blood stream.


All nature. Where's the nurture?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Darn It!

The Kid is back. In a big way.

Remember last summer, when I started this blog, I had to write a very long post explaining what had happened at daycare last summer? When I wrote a really long post about how desperate and horrible I felt when everything came to a head at the school last year? It's all back.

I've written recently about brewing troubles at daycare. The Kid has been exhibiting very troubling anger and violence toward other children. For the second time this summer, he has been suspended for two days due to hitting and throwing things.

This is a tough place to be. The Kid and I have worked really hard on his anger. It was beginning to feel manageable at the end of the school year. We worked hard on body awareness when he was angry, and on ways to avoid frustration, safe places to go when he was angry, etc. The school was very supportive in our attempts.

As the summer progressed, it became increasingly clear that The Kid's anger management was suffering a major setback, and that the daycare lacked the staff and/or the staff with training in helping him in a reasonable manner. I think that they are lacking in a regular schedule of engaging activities, and their staff does not understand how to manage The Kid in a proactive way. Additionally and most importantly, I think The Kid is suffering from a period of high irritability and is definitely "worse" than normal. I guess we could call it mania? Or especially bad impulse control at the current time?

I don't know. But I'm not feeling from the daycare that they will be taking any of my suggestions for proactive behavior modification. They don't intervene with The Kid until it's too late, basically. And my suggestions to watch him more closely before he ends up "having a fit" (their words, not mine), are not being taken under advisement.

So I've chosen to take him out of daycare. Except that I have no other alternative. And I DO have a job, because I make the bacon around here, and we must have daycare.

It's so very frustrating because The Kid that lives with me is not The Kid that goes to daycare and hits other kids. He's a good boy for me. He's a good boy at Karate. He's a good boy at Meema's house. I feel horrible because I feel like I should have taken care of this so much earlier, before it came to this point. I hate that I'm going to have to call daycares and explain that I have a son with a bipolar diagnosis and that they are going to have to do all of this extra work and hear from them that, uh, no, he doesn't sound like a very good candidate for their daycare.

So, I'm taking a few days off next week to settle this. I need to find a suitable daycare for the next three weeks, and one that will hopefully be afterschool care for him after he starts 1st grade again.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And so, I'd like all three of you who read my blog to go check out The HiPo Lounge. It is written by my dearest friend Sarah. Let me tell you a few things about Sarah Dawson.

I must tell you about the first time I met Sarah. I was a freshman at DePauw. I flew out to Oregon to visit my best friend from high school (for the interest of brevity, her name is Caty, and I guess I've caught a little of the Sarah Dawson, "I'm Direct" disease) at her college for a long weekend. Caty, being an anxious type, was very nervous about my visit and feverishly planned how I would meet her new best friend. She just wanted to make it a big deal that she had loads of new friends in college and her new best friend from college was the coolest girl in the world. She is just kind of neurotic that way. So there was a big party, and Caty was so fiendishly involved in being popular in her new college that I hung out with her new best friend from college and got to know her a little better. What ended up happening? Sarah Dawson became one of my new best friends in college and on and on.

Other things to know about Sarah:

  • She thinks talking like a stoner is both ironical and funny.
  • I can speak to her with complete sarcasm and she always gets it. Like, I have no need to put the, Just kidding! at the end of a particularly sarcastic comment.
  • She loves dogs.
  • She lived in Ireland and knows all about the student villages at the University College Dublin
  • She shares my deep, true adoration of the job of bridesmaid
  • We grew up 45 miles from each other, went to the same concerts in H.S., hung out at the same young, hip coffee shops and hangouts in H.S., but we never met until that trip to Oregon in 1995.
  • Most importantly, she is a truly great writer. Check her blog out!

Friday, July 21, 2006

I heart Jon Stewart

This is probably one of the best bits I've ever seen them do:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In the interim, here's Kitler!

File under "I'm thinking about writing something but its going to take some time figuring out how to write it:"

Fun with cats:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just curious...

Just wondering, how long do you think The Kid will require at bedtime 450 kisses, a special tuck in just for him, a special tuck in for his Snakey (his stuffed animal snake, that is, you sick twisted pervert!!!), his skelly pirate dude from McDonalds, his cold nosed pup, his Ice Bat, his mini Ice Bat, his OX, and his mini OX? Because between you and me, I wouldn't mind if he kept that up for a little while, anyway.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


It is 102 degrees in Denver today. Oy.

In order to avoid the heat, we went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I guess it all started with Lord of the Rings, or maybe even the Matrix's second two movies, but there is definitely a trend toward Hollywood making movies that have plots last over several movies. It's not like Star Wars, the first three of which had actual beginnings, middles and endings for each movie, with a larger plot paying off at the end of the third. This second Pirates movie was a lot of exposition for the movie that will come out next year.

That said, I thought it was such a blast. The Kid enjoyed it very much too. Some parts were a bit scary though and he spent a few minutes of the film on my lap with his head buried in the crook of my neck. He let out the single greatest, loudest, blood curtling, scared to death scream at the moment Captain Jack Sparrow met with the mouth of the cracken or craggen or whatever that thing was called. It was good, thrilling moviegoing.

Highly recommended.

Anyway, that's kind all I've got this afternoon, apart from a pounding sugar headache from eating half a bag of sour gummi worms.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Help! I'm perpetually grumpy!!!

I'm turning into that grumpy girl! The negative nelly! What the hell is wrong with me?

I don't even know how to begin tonight's must-get-it-off-my-chest post tonight.

The bottom line? The Kid's daycare is driving me batty. They go on field trips three days per week. Two days of this and the next two weeks is to have a lesson at a [rival to The Kid's regular] Karate dojo. Karate is a sport that teaches the mechanics of the martial art along with social and life skills. It's a mind-body-soul thing. Ultimately, it's Zen in sport. For reals, it came from Zen Buddhists. This is a big reason WHY The Kid is already in Karate, and has been for the past three months. Okay? I get it. Character! Effort! Etiquette! Self-Control! Respect! I totally see the need for a sport in his life that will teach him how to use his body and mind simultaneously .

So, I was told today that as part of this other Karate lesson that The Kid is getting through daycare, they have to perform "homework," in which the young grasshoppers must respect their parents. I must say, I have no problem with repsecting parents. None whatsoever! What has my panties all in a wad is this: I was told by uneducated-hourly-pay-daycare-worker-lady today that he can now learn how to respect me because of this karate class they are providing me. You know, because before this karate thing, he had no respect for me. Clearly.

You know that very Ally McBeal television show fantasy/internal dialogue device/"quirky" filming style where someone says something shitty to the protagonist and then there is a fantasy cut to that someone's head exploding? I did that in that moment. Seriously. Like I literally thought how I'd like to watch her head explode at that moment.

I asked, So, how are they finally going to teach him how to respect me? She said, well, they want him to say Yes, ma'am when you ask him to do chores. I said, Oh, is that all it takes to teach respect? I'm so glad I spend an extra $1 per week for these karate people to teach me how to be a parent!! Quelle bargain!!!

It's a lost cause to even try to tell these people that The Kid respects me without this amazing "homework" assignment. They have their own fantasies of how I am a parent to him. I'm sure they are certain that we live in a screaming, fighting, angry house. It's really no use to tell them that we actually live in a very peaceful home, and that he is very loving and kind and caring. Because they don't really care. They're making their $6.50 per hour. The Kid is a pain in their asses, what with his special needs and all. And all of his "fits."

I'm so tired of it! My kid gets really angry. He's sensitive, and he gets mad. I'm sure it's hard to deal with all day. But there are ways to avoid it. There are ways to work with him to learn how to deal with it, but like I said before, the daycare teachers are making $6.50 an hour, they are not educated to work with bipolar children. They don't know about behavior strategies and "somatic awareness" in anger management techniques. I can't expect them to. And I can't expect The Kid to constantly live in a world where people understand and support him. With his temperament, this is going to be something he deals with for the rest of his life. I can only hope to teach him how to recognize and work himself through his own strategies for calming himself when he gets angry. Someday, he'll be mature enough to be his own solution. Right now, however, he's pretty young, and immature as far as being able to control this. And he depends on people who can't help him.

Talk about a rock and a freaking hard place. Poor Kid.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I haven't blogged in a while. I've wanted to, and I've sat down to write a post many times in the last two weeks. But every time I've started writing, a virtual diarrhea of negativity and whining keeps coming out. I really hate whining. I hate myself for whining. But I've got to get a post out, so get out your cheese, because I'm serving up the whine.

The end of June is my annual work-my-ass-off time of year. For some reason, this is a time of the year for my clients and prospective clients to make decisions to finally purchase the insurance I've been soliciting for the past 9 months. Ultimately, this is a good thing, because sales=keeping my job. But it always seems to come at once, and it always seems to come at the exact time that I have all sorts of other internal deadlines. Whaaa. Poor me.

But what makes my job so crazy and annoying to the point that all I want to do is cry and whine is that the nature of my position, my occupation, is combative. I work as the intermediary for my clients, representing them to insurance companies. My clients want A, the insurance company wants to offer C, and I have to either fight until we get A, or find an acceptable B. Because of my company's muscle, we usually get A, but it takes a LOT of fight, a lot of politics, and a lot of knowing who to call and feign righteous indignation. It's generally not pretty, and I'm dealing with mega-egos about 99% of the time. But lately, fighting for my clients has taken WAY too much energy, causing me way too much anger and stress. This is the kind of anger and stress that builds up in your tummy until you get stomach cancer or have a heart attack or something. I'm not kidding that I think that my job requires that I have an unnatural amount of bossy, political ire, and I just get tired of it, because I am not a drama queen, I do not enjoy "the fight," like a lot of my colleagues seem to.

I'm just generally in a rut. Work is killing me. Home life is boring. I have no disposable income at the moment. My best friend moved to Canada. George Bush is our president and our culture seems to be degrading into an acceptable brutality and quasi-fascism. It's like reason and beauty have faded into prefab materialism and this strange idolatry where idealism and critical thinking is vilified.

But I think all of this hopelessness and boredom I feel in life right now goes back to my work. It really feels so pointless to care so much about my job, except that I want to do well in everything that I do. But my business helps mostly big companies give more money or benefits to their already too-rich executives. Or help the big companies mitigate risks that will provide them tax free dollars in the event of the loss of a key employee that will cause them a loss of income or a dropping stock price. I understand what they need, but I have some major disdain for the people I call clients a great deal of the time. I want to spend my life working towards helping people who actually need it. I have done that in my current job, like the time I helped the guy with quickly degrading MS keep his life insurance policy so his children could go to college someday. But that was three years ago now. And all I'm doing is helping rich people get richer. That disgusts me.

I just have to turn the negative energy from boredom into restlessness. Restlessness that will make me want to improve things.

Another of my best friends, one who has not moved to Canada, is my inspiration. And my future business partner. She and I have grand plans to work together on an endeavor to provide aid or empowerment to people who today have neither. She works for a non-profit micro-credit institution. They provide small business loans to prospective home-grown business owners in small countries (like Guatemala). Our plan is prepare ourselves, educate ourselves and learn about needs that exist in the world of burgeoning businesses in the underdeveloped and underrepresented world that will allow for self-sufficiency and perhaps an alternative to the globalized, oligarchic world economy that seems inevitable right now. I don't delude myself that this won't take a great deal of work and energy, or that it will be tiring, hard and a major personal economic sacrifice. But perhaps I can feel like what I spend my energy on is part of the solution, and that energy will be spent in much more positive endeavors. Or at least one that won't fill my stomach with cancer causing anger. I hope.