Inappropriate

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L is 5 and at home she’s a bit of a… spitfire. You would never know it when she’s out with strangers, she’s a well behaved little girl, some even say shy.

As with all little kids she goes through phases of needing to be naked. However, as she grows older, we point out more and more how inappropriate being naked is in front of an open window, or being naked in front of others who aren’t your parents or a doctor.

The other week she was getting changed in the living room (shades drawn) and she laid down on the couch, naked.

Sighing and trying not to get angry (no naked butts on the couch!), I said: L, please put some clothes on, it’s not appropriate to lay like that.

Her response: But you’re my mommy, you can see my inappropriates

I still laugh when I think about it…

School Daze

I hope to get this out cohesively but I just need to get this out, I apologize if it doesn’t flow fluently.

When I first had Kirsten and was reading all the parenting books and magazines it was all about telling parents to calm down. There are ranges for children to do their firsts: crawling, walking, talking, potty training. It would all come on their timeline no matter what we did as parents. Fine, I accepted this. It was hard at first when I would see K’s peers crawling all over the place. Then she started and it was no big deal anymore. We moved on, looking forward to the next milestone.

As K got older I would notice things. She wasn’t focused like some of the other kids. She also was more focused than other kids. I let it go. I chalked it up to her age, her distractions at the moments, etc. When she entered kindergarten I was nervous. She did great in Pre-K but now she was in school and it was also the first year of a more rigorous curriculum, state wide.

She didn’t do horribly in kindergarten. She got extra help in reading. She didn’t seem to care, she loved going off and doing her own thing and reading more with the reading specialist. Cool, no big deal. Her teacher said she was holding her own. She wasn’t the best student, she wasn’t the worst student, she was average.

First grade happened and again, during the testing she came to below grade level on reading and this time math as well. Again, it was not big deal. She seemed to get right back on track as she worked with the extra reading/math specialist. She would ace her spelling tests, she seemed fine. We got the same report from her first grade teacher: not the best, not the worst.

Second grade is a whole other ball game. More testing, more rigorous, more emphasis on reading. Once again she was placed in the extra help for reading. Which, again, was fine. She seemed to be doing well. The parent/teacher conference P went to indicated that she is in the average/just below average category for reading. Math? She’s doing well in, she knows her math facts, she gets it with no problems. Her spelling tests are still coming in at grade level, doing well, maybe getting one or two wrong. Her handwriting has improved so far this year. The one thing the teacher did say is that K is one of, if not THE, hardest working student she has this year. Nothing comes easy for her, but she is doing all she can to stay afloat.

Then yesterday I came home and P was going over one of the weekly tests with K. She got almost all the questions wrong. Out of maybe 25 questions she got 3 right.

3.

It was reading comprehension and vocabulary. Her math test didn’t go much better. The math test had mostly word problems.
Do you see a theme?

It’s reading. She doesn’t have the confidence to read, so she doesn’t. It’s a struggle to get her to read because she dislikes it so much. Still, we read with her, she reads at school with her class and the reading specialist. She has extra reading homework. Still, through all of this, she is still struggling.

She did not try her best on those tests, her words. I have had a feeling for a while now that something is going on. She’s smart, she KNOWS this stuff, she learns it, she just doesn’t learn it as fast as the others. I think there is some test anxiety happening here as well. She may see her peers zooming through the pages and think she has to do the same. She guessed almost all of her answers because she didn’t take the time to read the passage and then read the questions. Same with math, the word problems… she doesn’t read the problem. She just reads the numbers and tries to guess what they are asking. It’s not laziness, it’s not because she doesn’t understand, she’s having some issue with tests.

We are in a good school district with teachers who care. We are going to work to help K get over this hurdle and succeed like we all know she can. United front and all that.

Then why do I feel like I failed her somehow. Why do I feel like this is my fault? We read to her every night, always have. We don’t allow a ton of TV time. We are an engaged family. Of course this has nothing to do with me, it’s about K, NOT me.

So, I’m sitting here saying the same things over and over in my head:

This is not about me, it’s about K
We need to find out how to help K
This is not about me, it’s about K 

When I see people post on Fac*eboo*k how their child is at the top of their class, that they are doing super-duper well and look how AMAZING they are… I feel bad. I feel bad for not being able to post the same things about K. At the same time, there are so many things that come so easily to K that other kids struggle with and I take for granted. She can make a new friend like no one else, she is an amazing artist, she’s great a math, she loves animals and music. She’s an amazing person and I want her to keep all that, just add reading.

The trouble is, for myself, when I’m doing poorly I tend to beat myself up before I bring myself around and start the upward path back to success. I cannot do this to K. I cannot tear her down and then try to build her back up, I know this. Which is why I bit my tongue last night and didn’t go off the total deep end in regards to her grade on the weekly tests. It won’t help her, reacting like that will only hinder.

It is so easy for me to congratulate and be there for K when things are going right. However, it is really hard to separate my own anxieties and offer her support when she needs it the most.

Weight Control… with Friends!

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About 3 years ago I counted calories using an app on my phone. Both P and I did this and we both lost plenty of weight. Actually, P lost about 120lbs. Significant. I lost 30lbs, not as much but still just as significant.

As time went on we stopped counting because, hey! We know how much calories we’re eating, we’re fine! Except, we weren’t. We overate. Good, healthy foods, but lots of them. Then the sweets started to creep back in to our lives. We moved into a fixer upper so we ate out a lot and for longer than either of us wanted. This all lead to weight GAIN.

During this time, I still ran. I did half marathons, I did another sprint triathlon. Still, I wasn’t getting any faster, I was losing motivation.

Finally, about a month ago I decided that enough was enough… I was going to start counting again. This time I used a different app. One with a social aspect. I’m sure you have heard of it, My Fit*ness P*al. Anyway, found out my good friend was on it and some others that I knew.

What a difference. I’m accountable not just to an app, not just to myself, but a real person. Someone who, because she’s awesome, will tell me to NOT EAT THAT DONUT. I made it through a weekend staying under my calories. I’m so proud of myself and having that app with my accountable friends… huge.

Basements and Convertibles

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It was an emotional weekend.

There is something so final about cleaning out the furthest reaches of your late mom’s house. Everything there still has some memory attached. My two sisters and I were quiet or chatted about superficial things while we bagged up what was in the basement on Saturday.

That night we talked and had fun and I generally let go of some things.

Sunday morning came along and we still had much to go through. Most of this stuff was going to be what really reminded me of mom: her Christmas ornaments. I didn’t want to start.

None of us did.

Then, my sister H and I looked out the window at my nieces adorable VW Bug convertible and asked if we could take it for a ride. Sure!

Off we went, we put the top down after a minute.

We drove for 30 minutes with the top down, in the 32 degree windy weather, heat on, heated seats on, just… driving and generally having a really good time.

I wish S had come with us.

We needed that ride.

2014-11-02 10.17.14

Oh Hey, Are You Waiting for Me?

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Halloween. What a great time of year, I love the spookiness of it all.

Last night I went running in the late evening, I’m normally a morning runner. It was odd being out when so many lights in homes were on, Halloween decorations ablaze.

I ran through a neighborhood that doesn’t have street lights. The only light I had was from my head lamp and safety vest… and of course the Halloween decorations. As I started to get toward the end of the street I saw the silhouette of a person: all black (or at least dark), hooded, standing there like they were waiting for something. My heart beat faster as I tried to figure out what I should do, these were my options:

  1. Run right past as if everything is fine, no problems here! Pray that that’s the truth
  2. Turn around, where in the person would see that and come after me immediately
  3. Wave and say hello and gauge the response
  4. Stop in bone chilling cold terror

The option I chose was #1. As I got closer I realized the person WAS waiting, but not for me. They were waiting for their dog to finish doing its business. My mind has a way of going directly to horror movie mode when I am faced with stuff like that. In actuality the chances of anyone doing me harm in my neck of the woods? Very slim. Especially where I was running, I mean it’s a full on, established for 60 years, neighborhood. Chances are nobody even sneezes without half the neighborhood knowing. I was safe, but my mind is always ready to say… not so fast.

So, I guess everyone who is out and about is NOT out to kill me. Good to know.

Looking Out and Up

As detailed in a post a few weeks back, things at work have been… not ideal.

I had been blaming most of the people, situations, and anything else that I could for my unhappiness. I was unhappy because of this person at work, I was unhappy because I wasn’t getting a chance to do X, I was unhappy because I needed “this” to succeed, etc.

Like I said it was everybody else’s fault but my own.

Then, one day, it hit me: It’s my fault. I need to be my own advocate for my needs/wants at work. I am in charge of my own professional development. I needed to step up or shut up.

So, a couple weeks ago I did just that. I stepped up, I put myself out there.

I’ve been happy at work every since.

Basically, I stepped way out of my comfort zone and talked to my colleague about taking on more and learning more. I needed to hone some skills in order to pass my licensing exam. Those same skills we do day in and day out in the office. I was given my own project the very next week. It was great. I learned new things, I was excited to come to work.

Then, my colleague wrote an email to the VP of the discipline and asked that I be able to charge some non-billable time to professional development so that I can learn on more projects, VP has no issue with this. Of course he wouldn’t. My getting licensed only helps my little satellite office. It only helps me too. It’s a win/win.

There will be some push back from other higher ups as thing progress to where me and my colleague hope to get them. That’s okay, I’m ready. I’m ready to be my own advocate, to feel confident in my skills.

It could just be, that I finally have confidence in myself (at work at least).

It’s Clearly October

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I wake up from a nightmare.

My heart pounding heavy, my breathing fast. I look out the window and see the tree limbs being blown by the wind. The sound of leaves rustling against each other. I don’t remember what I was dreaming, just that I was scared.

I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want anyone to know I was awake. My mind was in that half-sleep/ half-awake state.

I look over towards the bedroom entrance and see nothing but the glow from K’s nightlight. I look over at the closet, nothing there but the faint outline of clothes. I look over to P expecting him to be fast asleep but I didn’t hear any snoring.

He wasn’t sleeping. He had his head propped up on his hand, leaning on his side, looking at me.

“What are you doing?!”, I asked with a shaky voice.

“Stretching my neck, I can’t sleep, my trigger points are all going off in my neck and shoulders”, he replies with a soft whispered voice.

“Well, cut it out, you scared the crap out of me”, I reply as I turn away and go back to sleep.

I mean really, can’t he stretch somewhere else? 🙂