Tag Archives: stress

Operation Unplugged

A few days ago, we set up a new reward system that involved the boys earning TV/Wii time rather than having full access and losing it when they misbehaved. Basically, a full day of good behavior earns one hour of time the following day. Semi-good day = 30 minutes. Bad day? No TV/Wii the next day.

This means our TV is only on when the kids are awake for a max 3 hours/day now. Compared to the almost non-stop television/game playing we’d gotten into the habit of enjoying over the summer, this is a very drastic change. I was a little worried this would be more stressful for us than it would be for the boys!

This is only our third day, and you know what I’ve discovered?

Our boys are calmer. The stress level is MUCH lower in our house right now. They’ve been (*shock!*) using their imaginations more. They’re reading and playing with puzzles more. They’re enjoying those precious television moments more, rather than mindlessly sitting in the room with the TV going.

Today, we went to a local fair that featured various restaurants. The drive down was over 45 minutes. Usually, we’d flick on the DVD player in the van to keep the peace. I pointed out that was TV time and they’d used up most of their earned time already, so we left it off. You know what happened? They looked out the windows and asked questions about what we were driving past. Rick and I were still able to talk because the kids were calmer.

As I type this, all three just sat down together to put together a new puzzle I bought for them. (Colin could put the older ones together in under five minutes! This one’s a bit more challenging.) They’re begging me to let them play the new “popcorn game” they saw in the bag with the puzzle – I picked up both items from a local teacher supply store. The “popcorn game” is a word game – you pick a piece out of the box and it has an ending sound typed on it (ex: -ound, -ord, etc.). You then have to think up words that end with that sound.

Yes, I’m trying to trick them into learning!

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Oh my word! They're working together!

Robbie just made me pinky-swear that I’d show them the popcorn game when they finished with the puzzle.

We’ve been listening to a lot more music. I have a little speaker that hooks up to my ipod, but we keep that in the car, so Rick pulled out his old iPhone and we’ve been using that to keep us entertained when the TV is off.

Things were so nice and calm today, I even let the boys help me make dinner. Homemade pizza. I make pizza every couple of weeks. Usually, I just give the boys cheese pizza. It’s easy and that’s usually what they want anyhow.

Today, I offered options and let them top their pizzas. Colin just added some cubed turkey…which he attempted to pick off later anyhow. But Robbie and Ryan surprised me. They chose spinach, tomatoes and turkey. They even wanted some of my feta! Who ARE these boys?? They were so excited for the pizzas to come out of the oven and they ate every bite.

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Nom nom nom

All in all, I’m really enjoying this. I love the star system – giving them a warning before removing a star really helps them become more aware, I think. So far, Robbie and Ryan have kept their stars. Colin had one bad day and two ok days – lost one or two stars.

I really hope this holds up when Kay is here tomorrow. I told her about the plan and she is on board, so…fingers crossed!

Words words words

Words are failing me lately. I have thought of so many things to blog about that I don’t know where to start. None of these things go that well together, yet on their own, they would each make for a pretty lackluster blog.

And yet… I feel odd not writing for days on end. 

We’re still struggling with medication issues.  Colin seems to be sleeping better, which is good.  He’s still wandering out at lord-only-knows-o’clock to sleep on the couch, but at least he’s sleeping.  He seems – to me – quite out of control on the 20mg Adderall XR and yet he’s having “green” days in school, so I’m not what we should do.  Mornings and evenings are more of a terror than usual.  Even sending him to his room doesn’t work, because he physically can’t stay in there for more than a few seconds at a time – door open or shut, it doesn’t matter. He will pop his head out or ask a question or tell you something every flippin’ 30 seconds.  I would honestly say mornings are better than evenings, but even that’s a struggle.  Within 5 minutes of waking up (if you’re lucky) he’s at 10 on the hyper scale. 

Evenings? He’s on 12.

The mixed blessing is he’s become a bottomless pit.  He’s out-eating all of us at most meals and constantly asking for snacks!  Hopefully he’ll gain a few pounds!

We won’t see the Psych until 5/31 due to scheduling issues.  Phone calls haven’t seemed to cut it – again, I never feel like we’re explaining things quite right.

 

Last Friday was Robbie’s Kindergarten Graduation.  So much cuteness.  I wish I could share some pics without violating the privacy of others, but I’ll just keep them to myself for now.  They put on a little production to show off what they’ve learned this year.  This school has been so good for Robbie. He’s learned a good bit of Spanish as well as improved his handwriting and spelling. He’s learned dance, theater and art basics.  He’s just blossomed in ways he never would have at the daycare we had him in last year. 

I was surprised to learn that most of the other parents are holding their kids back and repeating kindergarten in the fall – even kids that are technically old enough to be in 1st grade without any testing.  Here I am testing to push him ahead.  I don’t feel that my choice is any better or worse than those parents holding their kids back.  Sure, he may mature a little slower than the other kids in his class, but what about the ones being held back? They’ll be hitting puberty before any of their peers.  I have to imagine that it all evens out somewhere along the way.  As long as he’s capable, I want to give him opportunities to excel.

 

The other thing that’s been weighing on my mind…is me. In fact, I’ve been pretty self-absorbed lately.  Not entirely a bad thing from time to time.

I was going through the process to get the Lap Band procedure done.  Rick had it done almost 2 years ago and has just done great.  I even started a little side blog about it – http://eyeononederland.wordpress.com

Today, I got the call that I don’t meet insurance requirements.  No lap band for me.

However, through the past two months of working on the insurance requirements (the ones I was able to meet), I learned a lot about myself.  I’ve had a mental switching of gears and – lap band or not – I’m ready for change. I’m taking better care of myself and I have a goal in mind.  I want to lose 70-80lbs over the next 12-18 months.  Not unrealistic. 

I have studied nutrition so much over the past 15+ years – I know the ins & outs, I understand why I crave the things I do, etc.  I have always approached this part of my life scientifically – I’m not one for “fad” diets or insane exercise routines.  I love attending boot camps when I can afford to, but we also have a regular gym membership and my office building has access to a great walking path with shade that winds around a pond.

In anticipation of getting lap band, I had Rick take “before” pictures for me.  Front, side, back… the view from all angles were such a painful reality check.  The next day, I renewed my vow of fitness and nutrition.  I’ve been journaling my food and exercise – today is just day 4, but I already feel a difference.

I’m rambling. If you want to know more about all that, please take a look at the other blog… I ramble there even more. 🙂

 

I’m feeling a bit deflated at the moment.  Stress with Colin, summer approaching, lap band denial… I’m ready for that week in July when Rick and I can just relax and escape from everything for a bit.  I need to recharge.

My kingdom for a nap right about now. 🙂