All the Small Things

I'm happy to report that our school has really stepped up quite admirably in response to Ike's most recent struggles. I'm sad, of course, that he's having all these struggles in the first place. It's heartbreaking to watch your happiest, bubbliest child suddenly close up and fold into himself, unable to look out at the world without a lens of suspicion and anxiety. We're on it, though, and so is our school. One of (several) services Ike now receives is a "stress reduction and mindfulness" small group that meets once a week and is run by the school counseling department. (All the third graders were asked to rank and rate their stress levels. Anyone who rated themselves as REALLY STRESSED THE FUCK OUT was invited to join the group. Turns out Ike has plenty of company there.) At the most recent meeting, they were asked to draw where they physically feel stress, and to describe what it felt like. This was Ike's: (I asked him if I could share all of this, by the way, and he said yes. He also gets to clear any photos I post, but usually makes his selection by deciding which one will "get all... Read more →


Curb Your Enthusiasm

Something Jason and I struggle with is making sure each of our individual children get enough quality one-on-one time with us. We finally seem to have hit a solution by just picking random dates on the calendar and marking them off as "Mom and Ike Night" or "Dad and Ezra Night." We have no specific plans for what we're actually going to do on those nights, but dammit, we're going to do something. For the last couple months, Mom and Ike night has mostly been about ribs. Ike loves ribs. He is otherwise our pickiest eater by far, but ribs, man. He will eat the shit out of some ribs. Chocolate milk is another must for Mom and Ike Night. (Please note the happy face drawn on the chocolate milk. He did that because that's how chocolate milk makes him feel. Thank you, chocolate milk!) These nights are a screen-free zone, so we usually bring along some word searches and books and art supplies. (And plushies. So, so many Very Important Plushies.) This past Wednesday was our latest Mom and Ike Night, and our plan was ribs, chocolate milk and a trip to Michael's for more art supplies. We ordered... Read more →


Can't Hurt, Might Help Me Stop Crying

So I mentioned in the thredUP post that we went cold turkey on paper towels. This is a topic that I am 100% sure some other blogger wrote about years ago, and I am also sure that -- at the time -- I rolled my eyes so hard because that's some sanctimonious hogwash. Paper towels? Really? Sorry, I live in the REAL WORLD with REAL CHILDREN; gimme that good Quicker Picker Upper action. But now the planet is on fire and my kids are coming home from school crying about the polar bears dying, and why isn't anyone doing anything to help the polar bears, and I admit to having had SEVERAL Amy-Poehler-in-Wine-County style breakdowns over the last couple years. (Usually after consuming Amy-Poehler-in-Wine-Country levels of wine, but still. I CARE REALLY HARD!) Anyway, I thought we made the switch just a couple months ago, but after combing through the photo evidence, we've actually been paper-towel-free since July, when I first spent an evening cutting up a stack of Jason's old undershirts into a satisfying stack of rags of various shapes and sizes. Of course I took a photo of them. It was probably the most I'd accomplished in a... Read more →


A Diagnooooooooooooosis

Well. It sure has been a WEEK. Or technically, it's been three-and-a-half days that FELT like a full week. It's also been a roller coaster of emotions and a water slide of productivity, and okay, that's enough silly metaphors for today. Sometimes, I'm like THIS! But then I realize I need to change that first lyric from "For almost 30 years I knew something was wrong" to "For over 40 years," and suddenly I'm less at the 'I Want' Song portion of my life's imaginary musical and more like TIME TO ANGRY DANCE! (I only said I was done with the silly metaphors. I still have plenty of oddly-specific yet thoroughly tortured ones left.) "What if it was ALWAYS this?" I asked Jason last night, almost through tears. "What if everything, all of it, was actually just this?" I was angry and frustrated because the Vyvanse was working. Because I could clearly, easily and unequivocally tell the Vyvanse was working, because the Vyvanse kicks in your brain door and flips whatever switch it needs to switch within a couple hours. As opposed to an antidepressant that you need take for at least a couple weeks before you can decide if... Read more →


Gamechanger

So this happened. I, a grown-ass 42-year-old woman, was (just! like yesterday!) diagnosed with adult ADHD. I imagine a lot of people are reading that and thinking, "Well, yes, Amy. Have you met yourself? Ever read your writing?" Other people who've known me for years, on the other hand, have already responded to the news with, "Huh. Really? Are you sure?" Either way, it feels weird! I have two different children with two different flavors of ADD/ADHD, so you'd think at some point (like maybe while filling out my four dozenth Vanderbilt parent rating scale) I would've stopped and thought, gee, this feels familiar. But it's that "adult" bit, which is admittedly different. I don't think I ever looked up that particular symptom list or that specific rating scale. And why would I? I was a quiet, well-behaved child who earned straight A's all through school and college. I landed my first real editorial job before I even graduated, and accepted my first big promotion the same day I left to go take my final exams. I used to churn out 10, 15. 20 blog posts a week for years without even part-time childcare! And I've spent more than a... Read more →


tO qUIT OR nOT tO qUIT, pART tWO

A belated thank-you for all the feedback from...wow, was it only last week? Just a mere 47 impeachment news cycles ago? Anyway, thanks for all the feedback/advice/commiseration on whether we should let Noah quit the saxophone. (I didn't realize CAPS LOCK was on when I typed the original title of that post, then I decided to just keep that way for funz, and now here we are a week later, stuck with it again because STYLISTIC CONSISTENCY.) Your comments were all (mostly) very helpful, and I hope that it speaks to my growth as a Blog Person that FOR ONCE, I was able to read a ton of conflicting advice from the Internet without my head exploding like an anxiety balloon and/or me getting all snippy at people because THAT ADVICE IS NOT RELEVANT TO OUR SITUATION BECAUSE OF REASONS I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO INCLUDE IN MY POST. THIS COMMENT SECTION IS RESERVED FOR OMNISCIENT BEINGS ONLY. One of the background details I didn't include (because the post was already rambly AF enough), was that Jason played the saxophone as a kid. As did his big brother before him. His parents bought a really, really nice Yamaha sax for his... Read more →


Plushie Power

To encourage Ike to stick with his various reading and writing exercises, we bribe incentivize him with plushies. The kid is crazy for plushies. Jason came up with the ingenious idea to buy a couple bulk bags of cheap knock-off Ty Beanie Boos. (You know, those little toys with the oversized sparkle eyeballs that they sell literally everywhere, so you can't walk into a grocery store or even a gas station without your child begging for a fuchsia and purple giraffe-type thing that you could've sworn you've bought five times already, but nooooo, that was Gilbert, this is Twigs. And then the other one is Sweetums, whose birthday is in February, not August. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND VITALLY IMPORTANT, MOMMMM.) Ike gets to pick one as a reward for say, mastering a new sight word deck, doing well on a spelling test, completing a writing assignment or a challenging book, etc. The plushies make him very happy, and the possibility of even more plushies motivate him to seek out even more challenges, vs. doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. Which is what we were getting before, in the pre-plushie era. I'd find stacks of homework worksheets mashed into the... Read more →


Blow Us All Away, Part Ezra

Thank you, thank you, every one, for the (always consistent yet always surprising to me, somehow) outpouring of love and support for Ike. And me, because meeeeeeeeeee. I know he's going to be just fine. (A more literal interpretation of how I wish I could send their little hearts and minds out into the world.) Anyway, let's PIVOT TO EZRA for a moment. Ezra actually started out this school year as The One I Was Most Worried About, because he was also experiencing a lot of social/recess-related anxiety. He had a pretty important friendship fizzle out last year, and coupled with the fact that he's very much an Inside Bookish Type Who's Really Just Waiting Around For Adulthood at this point, he no longer knew what to do at recess anymore. Sitting around on the Buddy Bench while contemplating the complex contradictions of his being was getting old, tbh. So he joined the school safety patrol, which meets weekly at recess. A dear friend of mine had business cards printed up for him, because he totally remembers what it's like to be a kid like Ezra. (The Baby-sitters Club books were a gift from another grown-up friend who also deeply... Read more →


The Loop, Part Infinity

It's IEP meeting season, again, and supercharged. It's Noah's re-evaluation year AND time to start planning for his transition to high school (!!!!!WAT!!!!!) next September. His meeting was mostly spent debating whether he continues to qualify for special education services, so...it was a short meeting, because surprise! He's got Autism. Still! Imagine that. My mother-in-law will be so disappointed. Must've been the flu shot. Or our lack of interest in essential oils. So he won't be losing any supports or services this year -- if anything, he'll get more, since the middle school team likes to send kids off to high school with fully loaded IEPs, and then let us decide once he's made the transition if anything is overkill or unnecessary. I was also expecting Ike's meeting to be similarly short and to-the-point -- we'd just had parent/teacher conferences and gone over alllll his reading progress and goals last week -- so of course, I was thrown for yet another loop when the team expressed their universal worry that Ike is showing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Wait. What? Oh. "He's just not the same Ike this year," the school psychologist said. "I've known him since kindergarten. Something is... Read more →


The Best Things I Bought For My Brain (2019 Edition)

In honor of Cyber Monday, it's better mental health through consumerism, betches. In no particular order, other than in the order I remember them as I wander around my house: Brain-Saving Plan to-do list/mental health planner & Punch Today In the Face motivational coaster (KatieAbeyDesign, Etsy) The part of my brain that took the longest to heal (post-apocalyptic ZZZZZPPPTTTZZZZ-style short-out) was/is, unfortunately, the part that allows me to simply sit the fuck down and get shit the fuck done. Oh, I'm plenty good at making long, elaborate to-do lists around 3 a.m., along with the many terrible consequences that will surely rain down after my subsequent failure to complete said to-do list. But by 9 a.m., I've lost all sense of urgency and/or curled into a paralyzed ball of panic and procrastination. There are a LOT of mental health planners and motivational office supplies aimed at correcting this pattern, but I found most of them either too shmaltzy and motivational-quote heavy, or entirely too detailed and similar to my 3 a.m. version. (DRINK EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER OR FAIL AT TUESDAY!) This one from KatieAbeyDesign on Etsy is way, way more my speed. Keep Fucking Going bracelet (Amazon) Simple, to... Read more →