Wednesday, June 24, 2009

At long last - a new entry!

While I was in school, I told myself that when I finished I'd update this blog every day. It's been over a month, and obviously, I have not managed to follow through on my intentions.

So, sorry about that!

I'm not sure why I haven't wanted to write. Usually it's because I feel like my relating this crazy life we lead comes out angry or whiny instead of funny, although the kids keep me laughing way more than they keep me angry or in frustrated tears these days. I think it has something to do with my getting more sleep and being less stressed. Who knows? The other night at the dinner table, R was sitting there with us, having already finished his dinner, and T looks at him and says - "Dad, are you finished?" R replied, "yes, T. I'm finished" and T says completely seriously and in a stern tone, "Then you need to leave the table and go into the living room." It doesn't sound that funny, but trust me, it was, mostly because it was such a perfect imitation of R.

Our most recent issue that makes me want to jump off the roof is spitting. Lordy, how I dislike spitting kids. S is the worst, spitting at T when he upsets her (basically about 50 times a day) or at us when we make her really angry - although it's interesting to me that she's usually up in T's face when she spits at him, but is as far away from us as she can get when she spits at us. It's a smart decision on her part, because spitting=automatic time out or other consequence depending on where we are.

A few weeks ago, T had a massive meltdown in the bowling alley which turned out to be loud enough and intense enough for a bowling alley employee to come and try to help me. T, not used to intervention of that nature, freaked out and kept shouting, "I don't LIKE that man", which seemed to prompt S into a seemingly unstoppable round of spitting (and when I say spitting, I mean the phbttttttt kind, not the hocking up a lugey kind) at this poor man who was just trying to help. I think he came over because it sounded like I must be murdering this poor kid, only to find out that I was the one taking the majority of the abuse. T was hiding under a table, screaming at the top of his lungs, refusing to come out, put on his shoes, or calm down. He's a strong little sucker, so trying to pull him out just made everything worse, or rather, louder.

Now, I'll admit, six months ago, I would have been escalating with him and the scene would have been much worse. I've been doing a lot of reading on sensory integration disorders and was able to stay relatively calm and to simply keep repeating what I expected him to do. I realize that to people who don't have kids with issues like this that it seems like I'm letting him run the show. To a degree, that may be true, but from months and months of trial and error (mostly error) I'm starting to figure out how T thinks and to be able to predict how he will react. This has greatly reduced the number of incidents and outbursts in the last year. I'm far from perfect, but the more calm I can stay, the quicker he recovers when he gets overwhelmed or too wound up to be able to calm himself down. Any progress is still progress, and I'm grateful for how far he's come and how much better I feel like I understand him now.

But as I'm half dragging T out of the door and carrying S so she can't make this rather embarrassing situation worse, I can hear her going phbttttttt phbttttttttt phbtttttttttt at the guy over my shoulder. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to making the kids go back and apologize for their behavior (as in - not at all). But - and thanks to my dear friend Chris for the advice and feedback - it's important that the kids own up to their unacceptable behavior and do the right thing (i.e. apologize). Whether or not T could have avoided or scaled down his reaction, he's able to tell me when he just can't deal and needs to leave, and behaving that way is just not acceptable. That's the entire point behind developing coping strategies and good communication skills. It would be SO SO SO much easier if the doctor here would take me seriously and help me get T tested and diagnosed with sensory issues, but I've had to face reality that it isn't going to happen while we are here. I'm hoping that once we move to our new assignment (and any time the military would like to give us those orders, I'd appreciate it) that the medical resources will improve. If not, I hope I can find another advocate like T's current teacher Mrs. Angela, who will be understanding and supportive as we try to get assistance.

So, stay tuned for the further adventures of the Dahl's. I guess it's a good thing I never wanted to live a boring life. LOL!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fever pitch

Sunday, R, the kids and I met our friend Kellie and her two kids and went to a larger base to the southeast of us because they have a new indoor pool on base. I never really liked indoor pools before moving here because in NC, there's no need for them. It's warm enough outside to swim usually starting in early May. The water may be too cool until sometime in June, but it's always been hot enough outside to make up for it.

Last weekend here? The high was around 57. I'm not necessarily complaining, because I'd rather be too cool than too warm by a landslide, but 57 in June is a wee bit unusual for me. So, naturally, I'm grateful to have the indoor pool option.

We were supposed to meet at the gas station on base, but as luck would have it, that particular section of the base was completely closed off. While we didn't need gas, Kellie did, but we decided to try and make it to the other base anyway. We ended up having to stop but it worked out well because T and R needed a potty break.

I was impressed with the pool when we walked in. Everything was so clean, it was only $3 for the day, and they had life jackets in sizes for every kids. They also had lifeguards. LIFEGUARDS!!! Hooray! It's nice to have someone official looking back up the no running/no roughhousing/no dangerous behavior that it seems like we are always preaching.

We stayed for a couple of hours and then went to the commissary there. Holy cow! The fruit and veggies section was HUGE and the produce looked so much better than what we seem to be able to get here. I hope R was serious when he agreed we could make a monthly trip to do a pool day and then a commissary run.

The kids were tired, so we headed home after that, only to have T end up with a fever that night. Of course, then S got it, then R did and then T got it again over the next 10 days. I don't know if it was something that he picked up before we went to the pool or while we were there, but it was no fun. It also makes me wonder why our base doesn't have a pool. Even South Dakota had one, and the word is that people who were stationed here years ago say that there used to be one, but no one knows where exactly, which makes me wonder if there really was one. With any luck, the weather will get warmer here and we can walk down the street to the pool in our town. I wouldn't bet my winter coat on it, though.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I think no is going to be our family's motto. It seems like we are constantly saying it to the kids and the kids are constantly saying it to us. Without a doubt, it's S's favorite word, even when she means yes or maybe. It may even be what is put on her headstone: "She always said NO!"

The best part of the constant no is the reaction you get when you abide by it, even though said child means yes. Case in point: Last night and the dinner/bedtime routine.

Me: T, what do you want for dinner tonight?
T: I don't want nothing. Just...nothing.
Me: S, what do you want?
S: NO!
Me: mmmmmkay. Leftovers it is!
S: NO!
T: I don't like leftovers.
Me: Okay, no leftovers (I'm totally lying)

I go into the kitchen and start to heat up what I think they'll eat, think about it a second, and decide to get the pots and pans out to help fool them. Within five minutes:

T: Mom, what are you doing?
Me: Making dinner
S: NO!
T: Making dinner?
Me: Yep! Smells yummy, doesn't it?
T: Yes! I'm hungry, Mommy, I'm hungry (he picked up this line from 101 Dalmations)

10 minutes later as I'm serving dinner
Me: T what do you want to drink - juice or milk?
T: Milk
Me: S, what do you want to drink - juice or milk?
S: NO!
Me: Do you want juice?
S: NO!
Me: Do you want milk?
S: NO!
Me: okay, milk it is then since you've had juice today.

Fill cup with milk and put it on the table

S: No! No milk! NO!!!! I want juice!

Because I know this is coming, I switch out the milk with the cup of juice I already poured.

Me: Okay, here you go. Juice instead.
Me: Your only other choices are air and water.
S: NO! I want juice.
Me: You have juice right there.
S: No mommy! NO!
Me: (sighing heavily) S, do you even know what you want?
S: No
Me: Are you tired?
S: No
Me: Are you grouchy?
S: No
Me: Are you hungry?
S: No
Me: Are you just determined to be difficult?
S: NO! Leave me alone.
Me: Okay.
S: Mommy! Mommy!!! Mommymommymommymommymommy.
Me: Okay R - tag team - you're it.
R: No problem
S: NO NO NO!!!! Mommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommy
Me: I'm turning in my two week notice.
R: I will not accept it.

I love my kids. Really I do.

Moving on

One of the things about being a military family is that you get used to saying goodbye pretty quickly. For me, at least, it seems like almost every time I meet someone that I really, truly click with they move within a year. It doesn't make the friendship any less solid, it's just something that's always in the back of my mind "she's leaving soon, drat it!". In one way, I think it's beneficial because I tend to try and make the most of the time I have before they move, but in another way, there's always a little hole in my heart when they leave. For the first few months, we'll stay in touch and then we'll slowly stop emailing or updating each other. It's sad, but I am grateful because for these few women that I have met and developed friendships with, it's made my life here better, richer, more bearable during the ups and downs.

Friendships were something I always took for granted without even knowing it. When I lived in NC, I had the fortune to meet some amazing and wonderful people along the way and I formed some amazing friendships. Of course, since that's what I was used to, I didn't really appreciate it for what it was or realize how rare it was. Now that we've been gone for almost six years (gosh, it doesn't seem possible), and since we've been stationed at a base that seems to be filled (at least from my experiences) mostly with women that make me want to dunk my head in the nearest toilet so I don't have to deal with the drama and hypocrisy that mere socializing seems to involve - I've developed a true appreciation for those few women that have truly touched my life. With them, I don't have to be anything but myself and they accept me as I am both good and bad. For those of you that read this blog (and I really hope you know who you are) thanks for being my sounding board, psychologist, support system, cheering squad and most importantly my friend.

As my friend J just left, she asked me if I wanted her baking supplies since the movers couldn't pack them and it didn't make sense to ship them. I went over to her house last week and was surprised to see five large bags full of stuff. They sat in the car for a few days, then we moved them into the house were they sat by the door for a few days and I finally got around to going through them today. I now have more baking stuff than I'll be able to use before we leave here, so thank you J! You've only been gone a few days, but you are missed :( and not just because of all the sugar. LOL!