Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pantscil Sharpener

“Introduciiiiiiiiiing….the Pantscil sharpener!”  he proclaimed loudly (and proudly).  Arms triumphantly raised over his shaggy brown mop of hair and grinning that famously snaggled toothy grin only an eight year old can posess, he waved a fresh, never been sharpened “I ‘heart’ NY” pencil in the air.  The pencil took on an air of “magic wand” as he prepared to demonstrate his first fully functioning invention.  Admittedly, I had only half-heartedly looked his way when he came bounding down the stairway.  Skipping the last two risers so that he could enjoy the loud “thump” of energy pounding into the floor after landing solidly on lower ground was such a part of daily life, it had no special meaning to my ears.
“Wait, what?”
“Introduciiiiiiing….the Pantscil Sharpener!”
“Mom, don’t you wanna see what a pantscil sharpener is?”
“I’m not entirely sure I do”
“Come on mom, its funny!”
Tears of laughter were beginning to collect in the corners of his eyes and he just couldn’t contain himself any longer. The Pantscil Sharpener must be demonstrated.  Now!
“Ok, show me what a pantscil sharpener is”
“It’s a pencil sharpener in my pants!” he explained in his still high pitched voice.
I dared myself not to laugh, but failed miserably as I observed him swinging the pencil downward, towards his waistband where he had stashed an electric pencil sharpener exactly front and center. 
The pencil activated the sharpener and the high pitched squealing of blades against new wood, paint, and graphite competed with the laughter in the living room. 
“Dude, NOT appropriate!” I managed to spit out between hearty laughs.
By now the tears were streaming down his cheeks and he was jumping up and down like a happier version of Rumplestiltskin.
He composed himself long enough to remove the electric sharpener from its temporary home and place the newly sharpened pencil on the dining room table.
“Here you go sis, a brand new pencil from my greatest invention”.
She gladly picked it up to draw a rainbow and a unicorn.
“I love my mama”
“I love MY mama”
“I love you both”.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Just to see what its like"

Its no secret, I love The Onion.  Every day the feed pops up on my facebook page and I giggle out loud at such inane observations as "Paleantology class winces whenever Fundamentalist kid raises hand" and "Rich first grader buys whole sheet of Gold Stars".  The stories are pure ri-donk-diculous-ness, and that's what makes them great.  One might think it would be hard to pick a favorite, but oh no.  It is not. The story that forces itself into every part of my daily life, remains knitted into my memory of all things hilarious, even DEMANDS to be acknowledged each and every day is "Boise Homemaker Bows to Mecca, Just to See What its Like".

For some unknown reason, Cave Dude has chosen the "Call to Prayer" as his alarm tone.  Every morning at 6:30 a very soft warbling call emits from that small hand held device we like to call "the slave driver". The tune is not unpleasant.  In fact, it sure beats the loud death-to-the-human-race robotic beep/buzz alarm that he used to have.  To describe the call to one who has never heard it is not within in my range of abilities.  If I were to try and sing it, it would come off as an irreverent mocking.  If I were to try to write it, it would come off as pure gobble-dee-guk. But what really wakes me up is the powerful urge it provokes in me to be that Boise woman and find a colorful rug to kneel on, just for a moment, while facing east.

In my head, that Boise woman looks alot like me. I have the scenario all worked out. The mother of two has been a lifelong member of a Christian church of one sort or another.  She's worked hard, had some disappointments, has a great , but not well known sense of humor, and a secret desire to be rebellious... in the safest way possible.  She's 40 lbs overweight, has a home that's reasonably well kept, but no showplace.  Her kids are classic kids.  She doesn't know what to do with her boy, and her husband tries his best to be boring, because he thinks that's what everybody wants from him.
She has two of those old fashioned braided rag rugs somewhere in her basement.  She found the kids playing "Magic Carpet Ride" last winter and has been toying with the idea of using it as a prayer rug ever since.  She kept her thoughts a secret, absolutely sure that admitting to wanting to try out bowing to Mecca would get her an appointment with the local clergy immediately and a whole crap-load of hail-Mary's.  The day she tried it, her husband came home for lunch unannounced and caught her bowing in front of the kitchen sink.  Thinking quickly, she explained that she was just "doing some detailed scrubbing" on the floor and quickly got up to fix him a turkey and mayo sandwich, on plain white bread, no mustard. Never suspecting she had been caught in the act of bowing to Mecca, he simply shrugged and asked "what's for lunch?"

Is it blasphemous?  Maybe.  But it makes me laugh every morning, and if laughter is the best medicine, then what better time to get my daily dose than first thing in the morning? Maybe tomorrow morning will be the day I try it out, "Just to see what its like."  Maybe Cave Dude will join least in the giggle.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Forward Marching

Its only fair to follow up after throwing out various diagnostic suggestions to the blogosphere. Professionals and opinions and doctors and technologists, and what feels like a lifetime of appointments kept in a 1 month period of time have left us with all kinds of "potential" diagnoses.  And again the question pops, why do we need everything to be labeled?

Well, because a label for cave-dude means qualifying for additional schooling, and other important services and resources for our family.

And a label for cave-dude jr.  means moving forward without a label.  Confusing, right?  Let me explain.  I think I've got the right people for our family working on all the right things.  As I had written before, the school had suggested that cave dude jr's behavior was far outside of normal. They were able to recognize that he is not malicious, or destructive, and is actually a pretty awesome kid, who has a deep need to be a big squiggle in the teacher's day. So we've pursued getting a "label" for this behavior, because the school requested it.  Without a label, he's headed down a disappointing road of school suspensions and dropping grades.  But here's the GREAT news.  Apsergers....nope.  He's too physically attached to his family for that to even be looked at as a root cause.  I'm good with that.  Hyperkinetic....heck yes, just about scored 100% on that one.   Hyperkinetic is the old word for a label we all know and hate.  ADHD.  UGH.  But here's the scoop on ADHD, with treatment, the school doesn't even need to know that he's been diagnosed.  So long as the treatment is successful, no label necessary! So, we're getting a label, to avoid a label.  The idea behind this is that with the proper medication, his ability to modify his own behavior (because the medication speeds up the neurotransmission between the parts of the brain that say "Squirrel!" and send you running, and the part that says "Its just a squirrel, no need to check it out, you already know what a squirrel does.") will be so much improved, that he shouldn't need any modifications in what the school, or his parents, or anybody else should expect of him.  I also love this doc's opinion that medications are to be consistent, not used "recreationally" to get through certain events.  In other words, the ADHD is a 24/7 issue, learning is a 24/7 behavior, and medications should match the 24/7 climate.  This also helps in laying the foundation that drugs are not used to get through events. Drugs are used to treat important medically related situations.  In other words, we lower the risk of recreational drug use in the future by not allowing the ADHD meds to be used recreationally where the child learns what it feels like to be "up" or "down" because the dose will be constant.  12 months ago, I would absolutely not have been open to medication for this.  But after seeing the excellent improvements for cave dude sr.  after starting meds to assist in coping with PTSD and knowing how much better he feels because of them, I feel open to giving it a try. Here's hoping for a future that includes an 8 year old who acts more like an 8 year old, and less like a toddler who's exploring the world for the first time every time we go out into public.  This could be a good thing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The summer of what

I clearly remember a conversation wiith Cave Dude on Jan. 1, that I had a great feeling about 2011.  I knew it would be the year we finally learned how to function a little less like neanderthals, and put our family first.
We've done REALLY well so far. Thus far, the hardest part of putting your family first is learning to say "no" to the things that don't add any value to your family life. Not everybody understands, and many want to argue that by not saying "yes", you are somehow not being a good example for your family. I couldn't disagree more. Setting boundaries, and showing your spouse and children that they genuinely come first honors and enhances life like no other experiment we've tried.  These experiments in family-first living are taking us in interesting directions. Our hearts and minds have been opened to new possibilities and opportunities. Our eyes have been opened to ideas and philosophies that support and enhance our religious ideologies while providing us additional tools for health and Happiness. We're in a good place.
But this good place is also a transitional place, and we're not quite sure where we go next,  because we've never traveled this road before. It feels alot like arriving in a foreign country with no language skills, Perhaps a kind stranger gave us a map, but we don't know how to pinpoint exactly where we are at, and don't know enough about the country to know where we want to go. So we embrace our new life as an adventure. Which is a little ironic, really.  I crave adventure, but we have lived so much of the last 8 years protecting our hearts from the reality of hurt, by engaging in being valuable to everybody but ourselves,  we lost our adventurous spirits. And as we've opened up and owned the responsibility for our own happiness, opportunities for relaxation, fun, and adventure have come pouring out of the woodwork.
And so we come to the summer of "what?" As in "what? I really get to New York?" And "what? I really get to attend a meditation retreat?" And "what? Really? Six days floating down the San Juan?" But also, what do we do next? What is it we really want the answer to be? What is it that we can improve on? What are the tools we are still missing? And what does our future look like?
We have the answers to some of these questions, and we are still seeking the answer to others. But I do know that we are at least in part becoming successful in our creating of happiness because of the many good examples of friendship, and especially family that we are privileged to have in our lives. We love you all.