Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Won't Grow Up!

My daughter has always been a bit of a paradox.  For quite some time now I've been calling her my "M & M".  She's got this hard shell that makes you think she's hard and tough, but she's got this squishy center that is so easily melted.  It's a perfect metaphor for her.

So lately she's been even more paradoxical than usual.  She has hit those Tween years with a vengeance.  No longer a little girl but not a teenager.  As much as I hate the word "tween", unfortunately, it's incredibly appropriate.  Because she is truly stuck in between.  One day she seems like she's 9 going on 19, growing up at the speed of light.  The next day, she's watching Disney Junior and giggling at Mickey Mouse the same way she did when she was 3.  You'll understand my confusion, of course.  I never know which child I'm going to encounter at any given moment.

For example, she took a shower the other day and when she got out, complained that she needed more shaving cream because she was out.  Yes, my 9 1/2 year old daughter shaves her legs.  A pity for her, she inherited my French genes that encourage too much hair growth that is not limited to on the head.  So she shaves.  She's very responsible about it and has only nicked herself once in the four months since she started.  The very next day, I hand her her clothes to get dressed in the morning and she throws a hissy fit over the training bra on top of the pile.  And I quote: "I'm not a woman!  I don't want to wear that thing!"   Mind you, she's been wearing one for about a year now.  And she does need one.  It sucks.  She's developing.  I don't want it to happen any more than she does.  But it's happening.  Things need to be done because of it.  But because I point that out to her, I'm the bad guy.

Looking at the Christmas list I had for her - stuff I've already gotten for her and stuff I'm planning to get for her - I was amazed at the lack of toys on the list.  In my defense, though, she barely asked for any toys!  The only toys she's playing with the days are her Lego Friends sets, her American Girl Dolls, and the occasional Monster High doll.  So really, it's not like I had a lot to work with in the first place.  But I wanted to make sure I got her at least a few toys.  I remember back to when my cousin Allie was 10 and she opened this really cool remote controlled skateboarding doll that I had bought for her and my aunt and uncle sighed in relief, turned to me and said, "Thank God you got her a toy because we just realized that we didn't get her ANY toys."  I didn't want to be them.  But it's hard when your kid looks at you and says, "I want books, pens, and art stuff."  What am I supposed to do with that?

Sigh.  I hate the in between.  Hopefully, we will both get through it unscathed!!!

In honor of not growing up, I present you with the forever-child:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 4

Okay, So I didn't get to post the last couple of days but I've been thinking about posting.  Does that count?  So, here we go....

Yesterday I did an hour and a half of roller skating.  I was so sore from Jillian's 30 Day Shred on Day 1 that walking up the stairs was excruciating!  But I managed to get through skating.  Today, Day 5, I did the Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD - Warm Up, Boot Camp 1, and Cool Down.  Total of about 30 minutes.  Holy hell Bob Harper is MEAN!!  And I officially hate push ups.  No seriously, I SUCK at pushups.  But I don't totally hate Bob.  He's pretty awesome, actually.  And it was actually a really good work out. 

My goal is to work out 5 to 6 days a week.  That's the plan, at least.

WEIGH IN: 178.5 lbs

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Workout #1 - Done

Oh Jillian Michaels, how I loathe you!  Yet at the same time, I adore you.  It's weird though, how after 3 minutes of strength and 2 minutes of cardio, I'm soooooo happy to lay down and do her ab work!  If you don't know how the 30 Day Shred works, it's basic interval training.  It's a warm up, then 3 circuits of 3 minutes of strength/2 minutes cardio/1 minute abs, then a cool down.  It sounds like it's not a lot.  But it so is.  My shoulders are killing me.  They're shaking like crazy.  And my legs are killing me.  But you know what the best part of a workout is?  The endorphin rush afterward!  TTFN  See you tomorrow!

Getting fit

Sometimes I think I should be fit for a straight jacket.  But in this case, I actually mean getting fit like, well, you know, losing weight, getting healthy, fitting into my favorite jeans again.  That kind of good stuff.  I have this horrible habit of starting out of the gate with a vengeance, really excited and determined.....and then I get a week in and that's where my fitness kick flounders. 

My husband should be an incredible inspiration to me.  After all, he's lost like 50 pounds through sheer will and determination.  He eats better.  He exercises nearly every day at least once a day, sometimes twice.  He's pretty damn amazing.  But instead of inspiring me, occasionally he just pisses me off.  Unlike him, I don't have that crazy awesome willpower.  I admit it, I give up too easily.  And I self-sabotage too quickly.  I'm so self-conscious that I don't want to exercise in front of anyone, especially my husband.  I feel judged.  I feel like he always wants to correct me or instruct me.  Sometimes it's true, and sometimes it's just how I feel.  So instead of letting him judge me, I thought I'd blog my journey so I can let the general public judge me.  (Okay, I know there's not much general public reading this so I'm fairly safe, really.)  But I also thought that if I made the commitment to blog my weight loss journey, perhaps I'd stick with it a bit better.

So here it is.  I currently weigh 180 pounds.  (It's interesting that as soon as I typed that, I felt the need to say, but hey, I USED TO BE SKINNY!  And I have a medical condition that makes losing weight difficult!!  Both are true but really meaningless in the long run.  It doesn't matter that I used to be skinny.  It's the "used to" that's the point.  I am no longer skinny.  And yes, medical condition.  Blah blah blah at this point.  It's not like it's going away.  It's a chronic condition.  I have to live with it.  So there.  I think that's the first time I ever thought about it that way. I guess that's progress??)

So here we go:

WEIGH IN: 180 lbs

GOAL: Weigh in at 130 lbs

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Haven't done it yet but the plan for today is Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.

MOOD: Quite honestly, I'm scared.  I'm so tired of being fat.  And I admit it.  I'm fat.  I have mirrors.  And I've tried to do this so many times.  It's sort of like when a person tries to quit smoking.  You try, and give up.  Try again, and give up again.  I don't want to give up this time.  I want to be skinny again.  So here's the deal, I'm relying on whoever reads this to keep me honest!  Keep me going.  I'll check back in again today after I hook up with Jillian.  TTYL

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I got an odd text two days ago.  Little Miss' BFF's Mom (my friend S) texted me to say that BFF told her on the way home from school that she no longer wants to be LM's friend.  She claims that nothing happened, that no one did anything, it's just that she's not feeling the friendship anymore.  Ok.  Huh.  This is after a sleepover and family birthday party this past weekend.  This is after multiple hugs for both Hubby and I from BFF at field day the other day.  This was just an out of the blue thing.  Now, BFF has been acting strangely since two things happened (nearly at the same time), her mom went back to work - which means that BFF is woken up at 5 a.m. to drive her mom to work (the family only has one car) and she's usually not in bed until 9 or 10 at night.....the other is that the parents started talking about moving up north to be closer to S's parents.  BFF has been mega-moody (more than usual).  So maybe it's *not* out of the blue, I don't know.  I thought it was just BFF being moody and tired and whatnot.  Apparently not.

So yesterday LM comes home from school and says, "I asked BFF if we were still friends, and she said, didn't your mom tell you?"  So first of all, after 4 years of these two being BFFs, this girl thinks that *I* am going to be the one to end this friendship for her?  OH HELLZ NO!!  Second, I think it was incredibly mature of LM to be very up front about the whole issue by asking point blank what was wrong and what was going on.  I did explain that XBFF is apparently going through something at the moment and really just wants to take a break from their friendship for a while (Thank God that summer vacation is 6 days away!!!!!).  LM took it well (better than I'd anticipated) but I know that it's still right there under the surface.  There's going to be some major fallout from this and now we're just waiting for the fallout to occur.  But as it stands, she's trying to be very strong about the whole thing.  It's not going to be pretty when the fallout happens.

Yesterday I got a text from S saying that even if the girls aren't friends that she would like to still be friends with me so we can chat and whatnot.  Sure, yes, she's a very good friend of mine.  But, and I think this is pretty expected, I'm a little upset at this point and have hit Protective Mama mode.  I'm looking out for my kid at this point.  She has to come first.  So I said, of course, we still love them (though XBFF is NOT my favorite person at this moment) and how I think everything is going to depend on what degree of 'not friends' they end up at.  I'm hoping they don't end up enemies.  I also explained to her that I was disappointed in how XBFF expected ME to tell LM about her decision.  S hadn't known about that so, ok, whatever. As I told her, just trying to go with the flow here.

Then on top of it all, LM says that XBFF is telling the other girls in school that she's quitting Girl Scouts.  Really?  Well that's news to me since I'm her Troop Leader!  It would have been nice if she could have told us that before telling her classmates.  I know it's wrong to be angry with a 9 year old.  I do.  But I'm feeling so annoyed with XBFF.  For 4 years I have called her my second daughter.  And I feel like we have all been betrayed, not just LM.  Ugh. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feeling Victorious!!

So we finally had our meeting at school to see if Kiddo qualified for an IEP to help with her writing/spelling issues.  And now all I have to say is.....whew! it's finally over!!

Okay, I have way more to say than that.  But it's really no wonder that more children don't get the services they need to succeed.  The road to Special Education is such a difficult process.  Thank goodness for 1) my sister-in-law and 2) Outside Evaluations.

Without my sister-in-law bestowing all of her hard earned Special Ed knowledge on me, I wouldn't have known what kind of homework to do.  I wouldn't have known my rights.  I wouldn't have known what my options were.  Because God knows, the school system isn't going to tell the parent.  Why do that?!  But because of my sister-in-law pointing me in the right directions and lending me her books, I was able to do my homework about what was going on with the whole situation.  And because I knew what I was talking about, the school didn't have a choice but to listen to me.  I knew the language.  And I was able to use it.

Without the Outside Evaluation to use as leverage, all I would have had was my own opinion to prove what services Kiddo needed in order to succeed.  With the Outside Evaluation, I could point to the opinion and test results of a very reputable doctor and say, hey look, see, this is what she needs!

Would they have put her on an IEP without the doctor's evaluation?  Maybe.  I don't know.  But it was much easier when we had it.

So now, she'll be able to get extra help in reading and writing plus she'll get help with her anxiety.  So all is good at the moment.  I feel like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders.  And while I wish all of this had happened months ago, at least it's finally happening.  And perhaps now Kiddo can succeed the way she is capable of succeeding!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Quest for an IEP

It's no wonder more students don't get the help they truly deserve.  Honestly, it is SO unbelievably hard to get a public school to provide services for a child.  In my case with Kiddo, she's "near the average range" so they hesitate to see her as in need of services.  Okay, so basically since she's barely scraping by with regard to spelling and writing, they're willing to let her keep doing that.  Another problem, even with her issue (language based learning disability) she has jumped two reading levels since the beginning of the school year.  So for that, YAY!!  She's reading at grade level.  That's huge for Kiddo since she has consistently tested low on any reading test since Kindergarten, even when her daily classroom reading and our own observations at home, said that she was far more of a capable reader than what the tests show.  But YAY!  On-grade reading level!  Woooohooo!  I celebrate all victories these days!

Then there's the school testing.  When I presented the school with the Outside Evaluation, the coordinator actually said, "well, your doctor did all the tests, he barely left us anything to do!"  Wouldn't that be a good thing?  But no, she was annoyed that the school had very little left to do.  On top of it all, I requested that Kiddo be evaluated for learning disabilities back in December.  It's now March.  It's been 3 months!  Three months that she could have been getting help toward figuring out how to overcome her learning disability.  Three months of nothing. 

First they lost my original request.  Or, let me rephrase, the request never got processed.  So it was never put in to be processed until I called two weeks ago to find out what was going on. Then there was a delay in processing even getting me the consent form in order for them to perform there tests.  And now our post-testing meeting to "see if she needs an IEP" won't be until the first week of May.  May?  So basically we're going to put something in place to be done for a whole month and then it'll be put on hold until next fall.  So in other words, nothing is going to get done.

I've also figured out another reason why kids don't get the services they need.....it's too bloody difficult for their parents to figure out how to ask for things, what to ask for, and what to do with it when they get it.  There are timelines for all of these things, requests, meetings, testings.  I didn't know that.  And basically, I still don't know it.  I'm fortunate enough that I have a very smart sister-in-law who has been down this road so many times that she knows all the street signs in and out.  And she is kind enough to bestow her wisdom upon me.  Without it, I'd be lost.  There is no easy-to-find roadmap to getting your really bright kid services.  And that just sounded stupid.  But that's all I've got for now.  I'm too tired from my educational assessment journey.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There's Always Spell Check

In the midst of dealing with trying to get evaluation reports from the independent doctor who charged us a ridiculous amount of money, an evaluation from the school system that was supposed to do the eval over a month ago, and an IEP meeting from the same school that doesn't seem to want to do anything to help my kid get services she needs......in the midst of all of that, Parent/Teacher Conferences descended on us.

Come to find out, even with the "mild language-based learning disability", she has bumped up over two reading levels.  She is at (perhaps even a bit above) grade level.  Yay!!  That's a huge step for her.  But as we discovered during her testing, Kiddo doesn't have a problem with 'decoding'.  Her main problem lies with 'encoding'.  In other words, her learning disability doesn't inhibit her reading, but it severely inhibits her being able to put pieces of the word together to spell it correctly.  This is the crux of the problem, of course.  She spells WELL below where she should, well below what her intelligence says she should be able to do.

In going over recent test scores, the Teacher mentioned that Kiddo's writing was getting better.  Then I asked about the spelling issue.  Teacher says, yes, the spelling issue is there but that she really doesn't want any of us to worry about it because, "After all, there are always things like spell check!"

Wait.  Back up.  Say that again?  Spell check?!  THAT'S your solution?!  Come on!

Yeah, I know, I'm overly sensitive about it all at this point.  But spell check?  My kid needs to learn to spell.  Yes, spell check will make things *slightly* easier.  But only *slightly* and only if she's at a computer.  That doesn't help if she's writing something longhand.  Notebooks don't have spell check!  Test papers don't have spell check!  And no matter what anyone says, spelling counts.  It always counts.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will get the report from our doc soon, that the school will stop losing our requests for evaluation, that they will perform their evaluations and go everything that needs to be done so that my daughter can learn how to spell something more than her name and "duck".  Okay, yes, she knows how to spell more than that, but I don't want her relying on a computer to help her get through a paragraph....or a sentence.  Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Zip it!

"See how my life is with two kids?  You're so lucky you only have Little Miss."

Really?  Really?

We hear all the time about the inappropriate comments that people make to parents of multiples (geez, how many horrible comments do you think Michelle Duggar gets in a day?), or special needs kids, or adopted kids.  But does anyone ever mention that parents of only children get snide comments/questions as well?  Hardly ever.  People look at Only Child parents as beginner parents.  OC parents have it easy.  OC parents don't have the same struggles as multi-child homes.  That's right, we don't.  We have our own struggles, struggles that are completely unique to a one-child family.

You have absolutely no idea why I only have one child.  You don't know if there were medical issues.  You don't know if there were financial concerns.  Simply put, you don't know.  And I shouldn't have to tell you.  That's my business. 

The simple fact (that I'm CHOOSING to share) is that yes, I originally wanted more than one child.  I never even considered that I'm have an only child.  But that's the way the cookie crumbled.  I got sick.  I was on medication.  I was told not to even consider getting pregnant.  By the time I was given the ok to have kids again, Little Miss was almost 5.  I didn't want 5+ years between my kids.  I was afraid of having two kids at such vastly different stages of childhood that we wouldn't be able to do things as a family.  LM was out of diapers.  She slept through the night.  She was in pre-school three mornings a week.  I didn't want to go backward again to diapers and potty training and 2 a.m. feedings.  So, that was that.  I ended up with an only child.

Regrets?  Sometimes.  There are times when I wish I hadn't gotten sick, that I could have had another child when I planned to.  There are times I wish I had sucked it up and had another child when I was finally given the ok.  And yet there is the rest of the time when I say, I love my family.  I love it exactly as it is.  I love that I can give my child the best of what I have including my time, my attention, etc.  I don't feel like my family is missing anything.  It's whole just as it is.

But just because my family is different from yours, don't assume that I have it easy.  You haven't walked in my shoes.  You don't know.  And chances are, I'm not going to tell you.  So please, just keep it to yourself.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hair Catastrophe

Selena Gomez
Demi Lovato
Miley Cyrus
Victoria Justice
Elizabeth Gilley
Miranda Cosgrove
Idina Menzel
BFF Amber
BFF Alexsia
Both godmothers

What do all these ladies have in common?  They all have brown hair.  Why is this important?  Well......

I was blow drying Little Miss' hair after her shower last night - much to her dismay since she hates having her hair dried - when she started to complain about her hair color.  "It's just brown.  I hate brown!"  But, LM, your hair is beautiful.  (And it really is.  I'm not just saying this as a Proud Mama, though of course, I am a Proud Mama, as far as the physical goes, the Kiddo gets complimented on her eyes and her hair ALLLLLL the time.)

"I hate *just brown* hair."

Sweetie, your hair isn't *just brown*, you've got these great golden highlights in your hair that shine when
the light hits them.

"But I can't SEE the golden in my hair anymore!"

Well, that's because it's winter and your hair is a little darker now.

"And that's the problem!!"

So I go through all of the women in her life and who she likes on tv and in music who all have brown hair.  But here's the kicker.  I can't even turn around and say, "Hey, *I* have brown hair!" because HELLO I dye my hair!  I spend $80 every two months to color my hair red.  I had hair pretty much the same color as LM when I was young.  But it got darker over the years.  And since my natural skin tone is paler than pale, it tended to make me look washed out.  So, I went in a totally different direction (and we won't talk about the grey hair that I kept finding!!) and went red.  It's fun to be a redhead for a while.  I've been a redhead for about a year. 

But now here's my daughter down on herself for something physical.  For something absolutely beautiful that she just can't see.  And I feel like I can't argue with her because I change what nature gave me!!  UGH!  How do I convince her that she's perfect just the way she is when I change something physical about myself to something I like better? 

It's bad enough that I'm having to deal with self-esteem issues at 8.  And really, we talk all the time about how it's more important to be pretty inside than to be pretty outside.  That it's about what you do, not what you look like.  But the simple fact is, there are mirrors in this world.  And anyone who has looked into a mirror and hated what they saw there, knows what a difficult thing that is.  It doesn't matter if you're 8, 18, or 38.  It's all the same.  So yes, there are more important things in the world to worry about than what color your hair is but for that moment, all that mattered for my Little Miss was what color her hair was. 

Hello parenting landmine.  Kaboom!