I have been having terrible pain in my left heel for about a month. I have been hobbling around work and home. I can't stand for very long, much less run or go to kick boxing class. I finally went to get my foot x-rayed. I have a couple of things going on. I have plantar fasciitis as well as a heel spur. The bone spur is the source of most of my pain. The treatment for now is to wear heel cups and orthotics and rest.
107 The temperature it hit in Tulsa today. 81 The number of chiggers my sweet Emma Jane has on her body from her camp which is outside in the one hundred and seven degree heat. 13 The number of minutes it takes to treat eighty-one chiggers with medicine after a cold bath. 4 The number of times I have heard Emma Jane say anything about the heat or her chiggers or the following painful ear ache. 1 The number of swimmer's ear infections Emma Jane has from swimming at summer camp.
Isn't Summer Fun???? 3 The number of times I was thanked this evening for taking her to see the movie Brave at the theater.
That girl is the strongest, funniest, smartest, sweetest, most resilient little girl I have ever met.
This has been my favorite word for as long as I can remember. I don't know when I learned it, but it beats out "polyatomic" by a long shot (my second favorite word). Anyway, this last year in third grade Emma Jane learned about personification. When she told me about personification in the car on the way home from school, I said "Oh, that means the same thing as anthropomorphizing, which is my favorite!" She had me pronounce it a couple of times and now it is her favorite word.
Lucy anthropomorphizes a lot. I mean a LOT. "Pink blankie is lonely"..."White silky wants me to hold her"... the list goes on and on. When we were in Mexico at the dinner table she said "Brown blankie wants to go back to the room and go to bed." Emma Jane said "Lucy, will you please stop anthropomorphizing!"
It is now Emma Jane's favorite word and she uses it correctly no less.
I am titling this post not for what I have done, but what I hope to do. Several people have commented that I haven't blogged since I have been back. There is a reason. I have nothing good to say.
Then one of my friends contacted me via email this last weekend and said that it makes her feel so much better to read about Lucy as she does not feel so alone and isolated anymore. I have had 2 friends share with me their experiences with their children after I so publicly shared mine.
When I returned from Mexico I went to several state agencies who are supposed to provide you with resources. I went to the Parent Child Center of Tulsa first. From the way I was dressed the receptionist assumed I was a volunteer. (Because people above the poverty line are not in danger of child abuse, right?) They have a great resource called PCIT, Parent Child Interactive Therapy. It sounded like just the thing that Mike and I needed to give us the tools to understand Lucy's outbursts and help diffuse them instead of fuel them. But we make too much money. They only take SoonerCare which Lucy is most certainly not enrolled in.
I then contacted the Health Department and was told that I should contact the Parent Child Center. But I was finally able to find a private center that takes private insurance and I feel very optimistic about going. The way this therapy works is ideal for Lucy. She does not fight or argue or meltdown for anyone but Mike and me. So this therapy takes place in private room with toys and two-way mirrors. Mike and I both have ear buds in our ears and there are child psychologists on the other side of the mirror watching us interact and helping us, giving us words to try and bring her off the precipice when she gets there.
We go for our first appointment to see if we "qualify" on July 10th. I decided to write about this journey as it has helped at least a couple of my friends.
But what I am most excited about is the description of this therapy. It says that it "can" improve family relationships and help you find the joy in your child again. I can't speak for Mike, but I have lost the joy. The temper tantrums and fights about the most basic life skill are sucking the joy out of every day. I dread bedtime, dinner time, bath time, reading time, basically any time where Lucy will probably become defiant. And it can change so quickly that you feel cheated when you start to enjoy her and then she flips the switch to angry. You think, hey wait...I was just giggling and cuddling with you. How did I just become the enemy?
And just in case you are thinking what we were thinking about a year ago...she is not bipolar. She would not be able to control that at daycare or for babysitters. She only does it with us. And THAT ability to turn it on and off when she wants to, puts her in a different category.
So I am making a commitment to blog about one joyous moment for each gut wrenching one. I will continue to be honest for those of you who need to know you are not alone. But I will try to focus on her positive moments.
Furthermore, I am looking for the joy with Emma Jane as well. She has fallen into the background of this drama around her. I am making a commitment to her to bring back the joy in our house. Play in the sprinklers, ride bikes, bake cookies...whatever.
Summer is short. They are only little for a short while.
Let's find the joy...
Lucy is NOT going on family vacations anymore. Ever. Lest I forget, I have a record of these events.
We all got showered and dressed for family pictures. I had a photographer, the beach, and MAKE-UP on. I don't wear make up.
Lucy ruined it. Never even made it out of the room. The crying, whining, arguing, and disobedience is something that should be on Super Nanny. Does that show still exist? If so, I have video to send in.
Let's see...where was I? Oh yes, the birds ate my breakfast...
After losing this breakfast to the birds, I sat in the room with Lucy for an extended time out while Mike and Emma went to the Premium side to swim. I worked on the playlist for the dancing that would follow the rehearsal dinner that night. Lucy was tired of missing out on the day, so since I was not finished I took my laptop to the pool. I worked on the playlist poolside and even in the restaurant. It took my mind off of being pissed off at the hotel, my youngest daughter, the birds, the travel agent and was just starting to enjoy the day again. Then a very managerial lady walks up to us at the pool and says that she understands that our room number is 4419. And that room number is not in the premium section and to "maintain the quality of their side of the resort, they ask that only premium guests occupy this side." Oh hell no. Uh uh. She did not.
Davis was sitting there and had bought 9 or 10 rooms for this trip and everyone is in the premium section except for the poor schmucks who shelled out an extra $700 for adjoining rooms. And WE ARE BEING ASKED TO LEAVE? I was so sick of explaining why I deserved to be there, I started to pack up and almost pushed the lady into the premium pool she was standing in front of.
Why doesn't she explain to my kids why they can't play with their uncles and cousins? Because their parents were stupid enough to spend more money to get downgraded. The day just got worse.
I really don't know how to get the bad taste out of my mouth about this place. It seems that every time I am about to, someone pries my mouth open and pours a little more salt in.
As the day wore on, I became increasingly agitated. Soon it was time for the rehearsal dinner and I was seething still. But as soon as we walked onto the beach and the sea breeze was blowing and the tables were set, I just let it go. I just took it all in and thought, this sunset is everyone's. It doesn't belong to the rich people. It belongs to those who are smart enough, sober enough and quiet enough to take it in. It belongs to the people who are here to celebrate this night as a family and we are family. We are a mixed up bag of step brothers, half sisters, cousins, step uncles and ex-laws; but we are family.
We had a wonderful dinner in the most beautiful setting I could imagine. We had toasts to the bride and groom and then we danced the night away to the playlist that I had made. Emma Jane started calling me "DJ Mama." I kind of like that nickname.
Lucy even let us take a few pictures of her...
And since I made the playlist, and I could add any damn song I wanted, I played Kenny Chesney's, Beer in Mexico song. The music, the beer, the sunset and the dancing worked their magic to bring the zen back...
PS. the next day was equally awesome, ending with the wedding. But I have to go to the beach now...
Since this blog is more of a journal for me than anything else, I am going to record what is really going on in Mexico.
So here goes...
I did order room service. It took an hour to get here. In that hour Lucy asked 40 times, when am I going to get to eat? I'm hungry. She was relentless. She heard me order food and she thinks that things are instant. She thinks that everything is instant. When she thinks it, it should appear. So the hour wait was quite a challenge. I would like to blog that she sat on this beautiful king size bed and was adorable and sweet while her dad and sister slept in the next room. But she was a little shit. Then when room service finally arrived we had only this one small table to put our food on. And even though we ordered 4 breakfasts, they only brought 2 silverware set ups. So only Emma and Lucy got to eat.
And nothing was right for Lucy. She didn't want syrup. She didn't want bacon. She wanted my tater tots. She didn't want orange juice. Constant whining and complaining. Her default is unhappiness. Her default is disobedience. Her default is defiance.
I took my food out to the balcony to eat and realized that I had no silverware. When I came in to call room service to tell them they only gave us 2 sets of silverware, the birds swooped in and ate my egg white omelet with fresh fruit. They even got my coffee. Lucy dropped her fork on the floor so we only had one set of silverware among 4 people, but since my breakfast was gone, it really didn't matter to me anymore.
I have lowered my expectations a lot in the last few years. I don't expect more than 6 hours of sleep. I don't expect to eat my food while it is hot. I don't expect to enjoy an entire day without something going wrong. I did expect that ordering room service would be simpler than getting Lucy dressed and finding a restaurant. Must lower them some more.
We are in a separate part of the resort from the rest of the family. I decided the day before we came down here to "upgrade" to adjoining rooms so the girls could have their side and we could have ours. My thought was that Lucy, who wakes up at the crack of dawn, could watch television until Mike and I woke up. The thing is that Emma sleeps late now. So I find myself ushering Lucy to our side to watch TV and letting Mike sleep in. Expectations unmet. And it turns out that my little "upgrade" was a huge mistake. We are so far from the others, we might as well be on vacation alone. It is a trek to get to them. They are in the premium section (where we would have been had I not paid $700 to upgrade). When we asked yesterday morning if there were any rooms we could move to, in order to be closer to our family, they said no. But somehow another guest and their little boy got "upgraded" to a swim up suite in the same building as the rest of our family because they were out of rooms. I lowered my expectations for fairness.
As I type this Lucy is in time out sitting on the sofa in our room. She does not get to go swimming as she has resisted the most simple of requests...put on your shoes, sit on the sofa, put on your swimsuit. I am supposed to be working on the playlist for the rehearsal dinner tonight, but instead I am venting on this blog. But since I have about 3 people who actually read it, I figure I can say what I really feel and this will be a better venue for my frustration than going to the balcony and screaming at the top of my lungs.
I am surrounded by people with no responsibility. They do not have children. Only the bride has a son and he is staying with his grandmother. They only have to take care of themselves. They only have to make sure that they eat or wear sunscreen or get rest or don't drown. They do not have to dress anyone, wipe anyone's bottom, take anyone to the bathroom, wait for the poop to come out, referee arguments, or make sure 3 other people are happy. I am tired of responsibility. I am tired of lowering my expectations of happiness. I am tired.
I am sitting in a four poster king size bed in the most beautiful room. We have two adjoining rooms and on the girls' side there are two queen beds. They have their own bathroom and balcony and jacuzzi tub. Lucy is watching a DVD in our room while I write this. Emma and Mike are next door catching a little extra sleep.
Beyond the balcony is a labyrinth of paths, bridges and boardwalks that weave you in and out of turquoise pools. There are lazy rivers, swim up bars, shallow toddler areas, and a splash pad.
We went to the beach two times yesterday. This was Lucy's first time in the gulf. Emma Jane immediately started to comb for shells and trinkets. She found some treasures that will give her a tactile memory of the beach and this trip. She said "mom, this isn't just a shell. It is something physical that can help me me remember all the parts that aren't." (No way is she 9 years old)
We are here for the wedding of Eric Pharr. He is Linda Plunkett's son. (Mike's step brother) So we are having a family reunion of sorts. We love our granna...
We are eating amazing food and enjoying wine and beer and mudslides, and margaritas...the list goes on and on.
I am heading out to the balcony now to eat breakfast (room service is 24 hours a day!)
What a beautiful day for a wedding. We went to Norman, Oklahoma this past weekend for our dear friend Cassie's wedding. I have watched this girl grow from a pre-teen to a young lady. She is near and dear to our heart. I think I cried more than her mom did.
Cassie is an independent spirit with bright red hair. She can sail a boat better than most men twice her age. I have been on many a boat with this girl and have learned more than I care to admit from her skills. Nothing scares her. She joined the Marines when she was 18 and again, I cried more than her mom. It made me so nervous. But she, of course, handled it with ease.
And now she is getting married to Brandon, whom she met in the military. They are two freckle faced red heads and they are so adorable together. Cassie has always been a shining star. She always beams this big beautiful smile that makes you feel so special and like you are in the presence of the sun. But nothing compares to the smile that Brandon brings to her face. Surrounded by family and friends she was positively radiant.
And what a great time we all had. Emma Jane was a great flower girl. She feels special to have been included in Cassie's wedding weekend. Cassie said to me "I am not sure that girl gets how special she is to me...I feel like I helped raise her." I said back to Cassie "I am not sure you get how special you are to me...I feel like I helped raise you."
Of course I was a camera nazi as always. Lucy just ignores me now. She just thinks I make a clicking noise when I breathe.
I am a crafty, science mom. I love to sew, print, bake, knit, iron on,
hot glue and bake. I majored in Chemistry but no longer use it in my
job. Now I just use it in my crafts and bring it up in conversation as
often as possible. I am an anagram, palindrome, word fanatic. I have a
wonderful husband and two little girls who keep me busy. I am a
recovering perfectionist who is trying to accept that life is messy.