Childhood, or early-onset Dementia?

*Shhhh, shhhh, shhhh. Before I get started, please understand that I am by no means trying to make light of the terrible disease that is dementia. I understand how terrible both dementia and Alzheimer’s can be – we’ve experienced it with multiple family members. I’m just trying to make light of my life – basically what I do best. If you’re super-sensitive (or don’t have kids – or a sense of humor), just skip this post.

The Feldmanns are beginning 2017 with a bang. We just got back from a 2 1/2 week vacation in Longboat Key with family galore, and we are headed to enjoy a ridiculous amount of snow with my twin and his family later this week. (I know, I know – my life is super-hard).

In the meantime, we are beginning a renovation of our laundry room/pantry/mudroom/dining room. Today.

Have I mentioned that I try to only take on as much as I can reasonably handle?

Except the exact opposite of that.

The back half of our house will be basically inaccessible for the next 3 weeks or so, which includes the family lockers – where the girls always (*cough – should – cough*) put their backpacks, shoes, coats and other junk they’ve hoarded throughout the day. And the backdoor, which is the only door we ever use to enter and exit our house.  And our laundry room – and the pantry, where I keep all their snacks. Oh Lord, what the hell was I thinking…

But, I digress.

The point of this story is how my children are preparing for the construction. Those of you who know Paige well knows that she has a bit of *ahem* “difficulty” transitioning from one thing to another. Like, from getting out of the car and into piano lessons. Or out of the bath and into pajamas. Or from one spot on the couch to the other. You know, the really difficult transitions that plague only the most strenuous lives.

In light of the construction, our morning and afternoon routine will be drastically changed (well, drastically may be a strong word – unless you’re under the age of 10, I’d imagine). We will be parking in front of our house. We will be coming in and out of the front door.  Coats will be in the front closet. Backpacks and shoes will be in the art room. I mean, in my kids’ world, we are basically living in another planet. (Although, Derrick had to have me remind him three times yesterday where his car keys were – so perhaps the apples don’t fall far.)

I spent much of the weekend walking the girls through what our new morning and afternoon routines will look like. I moved their coats, backpacks, shoes, etc. to their new locations. During dinner, I talked all about what our morning would look like (especially since their dad would be out of town). This morning, as they were having breakfast, we talked through it all again.

Fast-forward to 7:30 am – time to pack up for school. I ask the girls to a) stop fist-fighting while they are trying to “help” each other make their beds (WTH?), and, b) to go downstairs to get their shoes, coats and backpacks. Both girls head downstairs … and immediately start panicking because they can’t find anything. Like, actually screaming as if their things had been stolen out from under our very noses.

Everything I had discussed IN BRUTAL DETAIL and MULTIPLE TIMES?

Gone from their minds.

When I looked at them like they were crazy people and yelled, “Guys! It’s all in the art room and the front closet! What the heck?!?! I JUST told you that!” They both started at me like they literally had never heard this before. Ever. Paige even went as far as to say, “Why would you put our stuff in the other room? That doesn’t even make any sense!”

Sometimes, I’m fairly certain that my voice is white noise to their little ears. Either that, or their little brains have already started deteriorating to the point where they have zero long- or short-term memories remaining (except for whose turn it is to play the Wii-U – THAT is always clear as a bell).

I mean, it is truly as if I had never even discussed what would be changing with them at all (can you imagine the energy I would have saved). We eventually cleared everything up, and headed out the door. I was pretty sure they understood now. Right.

As we are pulling into school, Blair catches my eye in the rearview mirror and asks, “So, when we come home after school, will our bedrooms be in different places?”

Yep.

This afternoon should be interesting. I may just drop them off at the Forum Memory Care Unit and tell them the construction is done. I bet they wouldn’t have any idea where to put their backpacks…

Humble-brag

Well, it finally happened. After years and years of prepping my ‘Mom of the Year’ application, finely tuning my craft by yelling patiently explaining things to my girls, and pretty much raising well-behaved, respectful children – well, I finally got the recognition I’ve been not-s0-patiently awaiting. Because – you know.

I’m super-impatient.

Drumroll, please …

 

 

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I. Mean. COME ON.

RIGHT?!?! I’d like to thank my parents, my husband, my extended family …

Oh, wait.

This mug right here?

The one that reads: Best. MOM. Ever.

Wasn’t actually given to me by my supposedly loving children. It was given to me at a gift exchange the other night. A BLIND gift exchange. Meaning? I pretty much got it by the luck of the draw (although, Chrissy Sweigart, I’m POSITIVE you had me in mind when you bought this). The fellow women there graciously didn’t try to steal it from me. It’s like they could just SENSE how much I needed this. Also, they probably got the hint when I verbally threatened/dared someone to try to take it from me. I’m such a sweetheart.

I love it more than anything ever – for the following reasons:

a) I have ZERO chance of ever actually winning this award. You know it. I know it. My girls sure as hell know it. I mean, just this morning, Paige lovingly screamed into my face, “Well, I guess you just hate me then!!!” Because I asked her to please brush her teeth. I even really said please this time. So there’s that.

b) This mug is GINORMOUS, and the only thing I like better than ginormous wine glasses? Ginormous coffee cups.

So, rest assured, all you better moms out there. So, basically, all you other moms out there. The award for 2016 has not yet been chosen, and I’ve officially decided to take myself out of the running this year. Mostly because I’m afraid the school nurse will remind the judges that I have had to have her call Paige to her office at least once a week because I’ve forgotten to give her the ADHD medicine she’s supposed to take before school every morning. And because for the past 3 weeks, I’ve forgotten to have Blair do her Sunday night homework of finding a picture starting with the letter of the week.

You’re welcome.

#BestMomEver

A Little Game I Play

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me – my brain works in weird ways. Like, really weird – I try not to say everything I think out loud, but as many of you know, that RARELY works.

So, I think it’s time I taught you about a little game I like to play. Now, be fair-warned: once you read about this, it’s highly likely that you will begin doing this throughout the day. Every day. Or, maybe you already do it. In that case, I knew I liked you for a reason, friend.

Here goes.

I like to take kids’ behavior on any random situation and imagine what it would be like if it were actually an adult exhibiting said behavior. (Not to be confused with looking at an adult and imagining what it would be like if a child behaved that way – I’m looking at you, Mr. President-Elect. You’d be in your room for a LOOOOOOONG time if you lived in the Feldmann house. And our bar is SUPER low when it comes to bad behavior.)

It really only works when the behavior is outlandish or irrational. So, for those of you with children – it works all the freaking time. Below are a few examples to get you started – then, imagine away. I had to limit it to a few recent faves, because I seriously could go on forever.

  • Today, I went on a field trip with Paige and the entire 2nd grade. We visited the home of President Benjamin Harrison. The kids have been learning all about him for a few weeks, and were super-excited to see where he used to live. (Okay, I’ll be honest – they’re Catholic school kids who are dropped off and picked up everyday in carpool but their parents. I’m pretty sure they were just excited to ride the school bus, but I digress.) About an hour into the tour, Paige’s teacher and I were commenting on how good the kids were being, and how much they seemed to be learning. I’m not joking when I say LITERALLY 10 seconds later, two kids walked by us. One turned to the other and said, “Is this Benjamin Harrison’s house?” The other replied, “I don’t know.” Guys? As adults? This equals a one-way ticket to the Memory Care Unit.
  • Earlier this year, I went into Blair’s class as a Mystery Reader. I sat down before 21 little kids and began reading stories. All of sudden, one of the kids in front of me toots. LoudlyWhile making eye contact with meAnd homegirl just did nothing. Nada. Until it happened again. Yup – just as loud. She then raised her hand and informed the teacher that she needed to poop. Also? This happened when I did this in her preschool class. MULTIPLE times. I mean, I’m laughing as I type this – can you imagine that happening during a presentation you were giving? Try to – and tell me you’re not laughing now either.
  • This morning, we were running late to get to school (I know – HUGE shocker). After asking the girls about a million times to get their socks and shoes on, I looked at Paige (who was completely ready to go, including her coat and backpack), and then at Blair (who was standing barefoot in the kitchen, with nothing else ready to go). I took a deep breath and lost my shit calmly asked her to go get a pair of socks. For the one million and one (oneth? one million and first?) time. Apparently, I had poked the Honey Badger and this was a ridiculously unacceptable request. And she screamed, ran up to her room, and threw about 15 pairs of socks down the stairs – then threw one at my head. Let’s just say the situation resolved itself and both girls made it to school. (Disregard her tear-stained face, principal – the cold makes her cry, I guess.) But, I mean – can you IMAGINE? If I asked Derrick to put on some socks and this was his reaction?!?!?
  • My last example involved my nephew, Nate. He’s such a sweet little boy – just a few months younger than Blair. And this kid can eat like I’ve never seen anyone eat. In fact, I frequently tell his mom that she should enter him into some sort of competition. And he’s only 4 years old. The first point of Nate is that, when he eats, he ends up with food ALL over his mouth, shirt and self. Not just a dab or two you discretely point to with your napkin. Like, ALL over his cute mug. Every time I watch him eat it makes me laugh to imagine sitting across from an adult to whom this same thing would happen. Imagine a first date setting. Or a business lunch. Right??? Also, sometimes ol’ Nate-Dogg shoves so much food into his mouth that he pukes. And when I say sometimes, I mean multiple times a week. Picture your husband or wife – MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK – putting so much food into their mouth that they puke. Sometimes right at the table.

So, there’s your new challenge – if you think it’s stupid, then don’t do it. I really don’t care one way or the other. (That’s a lie – if you think it’s stupid, then I think your sense of humor is stupid.). Good luck – and get out there to those holiday parties to fart and smear food all over your face.

Game on.

 

 

Feldmann Family Returns

Oh-mah-gersh, guys. I can’t believe it’s been a couple of days since I’ve posted!

Um, yikes. Scratch that. It’s been TWO. EFFING. YEARS. I can’t even imagine how you’ve been getting along. How are you coping? How are you even making it though the day(s)??? I say ENOUGH already! I’m back – so, get your big girl/boy panties on and get ready for the onslaught that is me complaining-yet-unconditionally-loving-my-TERRIBLY-behaved-children.

We’re back, y’all. And boy do I have stories for you. Blair started Kindergarten. Paige is in second grade.

Blair told me to “pull yourself together” the other day.

Paige asked me “how would anyone grab someone by the pussy?”

It’s been a rough, and busy, two years. And I feel like it’s my duty to report on the shit-show that is my life so you can feel better about yours.

You’re welcome. And, you’ll be hearing from me soon.

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Kindergarten Parent Program

Remember last week when Paige started Kindergarten? Wait … crap.

Here we are already, at the end of the school year. And here am, with the cliché end-of-school-year parent posting. What can I say – I’m secretly a sap. And, also? I secretly love my kiddos. Shhhhh … you tell anyone, I kill ya.

Paige’s school hosted the Parent Program this morning, and all 3 Kindergarten classes hosted a program where they sang us songs, talked about how much they love their moms and dads, and pretty much cornered the market on cuteness (and also being off-key, but we’ll forgive them – because of all the aforementioned cuteness).

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I wish I could figure out how the heck to fix this picture – because it’s a whole lot of Paige being cute. It’s right before the program started, and she’s clearly terrified. Hahaha! She’s actually yawning – which, if you know her, makes a lot more sense than stage fright.

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Just some of her classmate buddies. Stop. With. The. Cute. I’ve officially decided Kindergarten is my favorite (mostly because it’s “real school,” but they still all love me enough to run and give me hugs when I come into the classroom).

 

All the kids had some sort of spoken part, and they all did such a great job! Granted, I could only hear about half of what they were saying (despite the mic and my front-row seat). And of that half, I could only understand half of that … but, I got the gist enough to get a little misty-eyed. I’m not sure when kids start hating their parents, but it sure as hell ain’t Kindergarten. These kiddos are memorizing poems about how awesome we are. Please freeze this age now. Also, make this happen at home a little bit.

Paige has been practicing her part for the past few weeks, and I’ve had her read it at home every night. (OK! FINE! As often as I can remember. Soooo … probs about once a week. Don’t judge. It was under a derby party invite on the fridge. Fine. Judge.) I was surprised a few nights ago when she rolled her eyes at me (no, not by that part) and told me that she didn’t need the paper anymore – she had memorized her lines.

The moment arrived. She and her buddy Gus stepped forward for their moment in the spotlight … er, center of the room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajBc-NdEHUc

In case you missed it, she said:

“Yet you can hear my thoughts,
The thoughts I cannot say,
And, you can love a little child
Who finds a way to pray.”

I’m pretty sure it was part of a poem about parents loving kids (you know, based on the general theme of the program) – I wasn’t even certain, but I sure was proud of her, and it sure did get pretty dusty in the old South Gym right about then.

Afterwards, we posed for a few more pictures:

Seriously? If Blair doesn't get Miss Dubois for KG, her little heart might explode. We talk about her ALMOST as much as we talk about Taylor Swift. And that is A. LOT.

Seriously? If Blair doesn’t get Miss Dubois for KG, her little heart might explode. We talk about her ALMOST as much as we talk about Taylor Swift. And that is A. LOT.

We headed back to the classroom for the presents for the moms and dads. But not before the girls and I used the restroom, Blair took her dress all the way off to pee (for some reason her MO lately – regardless of where we are), and then the teachers walked in, and Blair tried to turn off the light on them as we exited the room. Yep. Sounds about right!

A cute little stepping stone (how huge does that hand look???), and pictures of Mom and Dad (D is the one on the right. Obvs.)

A cute little stepping stone (how huge does that hand look???), and pictures of Mom and Dad (D is the one on the right. Obvs.)

Finally, it was time for the treat – sno cones in the parking lot. The kids were SO excited, and even though it was only about 40-something degrees, they put their happy faces on and dusted off their dancing shoes.

Paige and one of her besties, Audrey B. And, yes - Paige still orders her flavors by color. As in, "I'd like blue and pink, please."

Paige and one of her besties, Audrey B. And, yes – Paige still orders her flavors by color. As in, “I’d like blue and pink, please.”

Even siblings got in on the action. I love this school.

Even siblings got in on the action. In fact,it was encouraged. I love this school.

All-in-all, it was a great day. I’m not even close to ready for Paige to be a First Grader – I feel like shit’s about to get real, and I want her to stay my little girl forever. Instead, we are about 5 school days away from summer break, and I’m about 5 days away from crying my eyes out like a big baby at carpool.

 

Conflict Resolution

Sooooo – Blair had her second “semester” parent/teacher conference last week. Overall, she is right on track and her teachers DEFINITELY love the heck out of her. Here are a few of their comments:

  • Blair is such a sweet little girl.
  • We enjoy her daily hugs and giggles.
  • She is able to express her feelings (roger that).
  • Blair loves to dress up every day!
  • She has been a delight to have in our classroom!

Awwwweee, sweet Blair. Got them fooled, eh?

Or, maybe not so much. Because then there’s this:

  • She is still learning how to settle conflict with her girlfriends.

Whaaaa … um, huh?

Yep, ladies and gentlemen – our little 3-year-old darling is having girl drama. With her 3-year-old girlfriends.

Now, her teachers and I had a good laugh about it, mostly because we were shocked that girls this age have issues already. Apparently there is a “triangle” of girls who tend to pair up and leave another one out. And it switches from minute to minute. So, basically there’s three little girls arguing about who gets to wear the dress and who gets to be the daddy. Or, who gets to be the boss in the sandbox. Or, gets to sit on the teacher’s lap.

Math skills – check

Writing skills – check

Speaking/Listening skills – check

Little a-hole skills – check

Promise me you’ll keep letting your kids come over to play. Blair CLEARLY needs to learn how to play nicely with others. Either that, or she’s well on her way to a one-way ticket to military school.

Lord help us.

Trouble at Home

Listen – I think we all know by now that the Feldmann girls’ sleeping habits leave MUCH to be desired. Need reminding? Check in here. And here. And also here.

Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

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Okay, now that you’ve reminded yourself and probably rendered your brain sleep-deprived by association, I shall fill you in on our past few weeks. Blair had her tonsils out almost 2 weeks ago. While it wasn’t the best 2 weeks of our lives, it was certainly a whole heck of a lot better than I expected. Let’s face it: Paige set that bar pretty low.

But, aside from spending most nights in our bed and spreading the “post-tonsillectomy dragon breath” love, Blair really was quite the rock star. She was eating solid food on day 2 (granted, she did the typical “day 5 backslide,” but was still eating ice cream, yogurt and popsicles). She snubbed her nose at any and all pain medication from day 5 on (yes, there was one incident of us holding her down to give her Norco so she would finally sleep. Derrick and I both decided we actually ended up breaking her spirit. She has proven us right by bringing up said incident multiple times a day since it happened.).

Anyhoo – Blair’s 13+ days of not sleeping well have made me a little, how you say … less patient with the behavioral shenanigans of late.

In response, Paige has ramped up her fit-throwing and whining, and both girls seem to have decided that their go-to method of playing together is really just torturing, name-calling and fighting. It’s been awesome. Let’s just say the time-out chair has yet to get cold, even as local temperatures dip below freezing. Catch my drift?

And I’ll admit it: I’m a yeller. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes it really is the only thing that gets the job done. I’m also a little convinced that moms who say they don’t yell are either a) bit, fat liars or b) residents in a state where marajuana is now legal. As I am neither of those things, I become a huge grouch when my “mommy patience threshold” is surpassed, and I get angry. I yell. I say things like “This is ridiculous!!!! Why are you throwing a fit like a baby?!?! Are we going to have to pull you from Kindergarten and put you back into preschool?!?!”

I don’t need you to tell me is neither nice nor mature, but the threat seems to stop the situation for long enough for me to pour a glass of wine and turn on the television for them calmly explain to the girls why their behavior was inappropriate and how we can all improve ourselves in the future.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Just kidding!!! Have we met? I toss their asses in timeout and threaten to remove all toys and technology from their possession if things don’t drastically improve STAT. And, you know what? It works for a while, and I’m a whole hell of a lot less frustrated than if I’d tried to spend 20 minutes rationalizing with a terrorist, only to have them immediately disobey me again.

I DO actually have a point here. 

So, I e-mailed Paige’s teacher earlier this week just to see if she had noticed anything specific about Paige’s behavior over the past few weeks. Here was my message:

Hi Sarah,

I just wanted to touch base about Paige’s behavior in class, and make sure you feel like it’s been okay lately. I ask because her behavior at home as been absolutely terrible – she is constantly throwing fits, yelling “not fair!,” being difficult to get along with (especially with her sister) and over all being pretty defiant. All of these behaviors rear their ugly heads occasionally, but lately it seems to be pretty regular.

I’d love any thoughts or input you might have!

Thanks, and good to see you today!

Bis

Here was her response:

Bis,

That is very interesting. She did tell Gwen that “me and my mom aren’t getting along at home”! Paige seems to be just fine here…very helpful, kind and sweet. The only problem she has is talking when she isn’t supposed to or following me around asking questions instead of raising her hand. She seems to get tired after lunch and starts sucking her thumb, and she did fall asleep at rest time the other day. I would make sure that she is getting enough sleep at night…even if she has to go to bed at 7:30/8:00. That would be my first guess. I will keep an eye on her though and let you know if anything changes.

🙂
Sarah

So, um … okay.

Basically, she’s being good at school, but seems sleepy in the afternoon (all good to know, but also fairly standard behavior for Miss P). However, she also didn’t hesitate to sell me up the river to the teacher’s assistant (Gwen)! I mean, we “aren’t getting along at home”?!?!? What, are we an old married couple?

Good lord, Paige.

I saw Miss DuBois at pickup yesterday and assured her that Paige does, in fact, still get plenty of hugs, praise, food and sleep at home. We actually had a good laugh, and she said she and Gwen enjoyed replaying the conversation several times throughout the day.

So, I guess my next step is for Paige and I to find a good marriage counselor to work through our differences and make home life better for everyone.

Or, perhaps just move up bedtime for both of us and see if that works.