Thursday, April 26, 2012

Google Search: Piranha

First ever report assignment!?!

Totally keeping it for the funny factor alone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A diagnosis, a plan, a goal

Ben has officially been diagnosed with ADHD after several weeks of testing and meetings.

Our pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, and a family therapist have all confirmed that his behaviors, descriptions of difficulties, interviews with his teachers, parents, and in person with Ben were indicative of a positive diagnosis and needed interventions.

The plan involves the following:

1. A combination of medication and behavior therapy. There is much more of a back story here about coming to a consensus about when, where, who will be evaluating, how Bill and I differ about this decision and how we have worked to compromise for Ben’s best interest a combined approach is the best choice. The bottom line that is research backed is Ben has the best chance of improvement with both used in tandem.

2. Bill and I have also agreed to spend the next 6 weeks in family therapy refining how discipline works in our house, fine tuning what we are doing with the sole focus on being a united front. Who you are to your kid is often illustrated by the choices you make in how you discipline.

3. Also on the list of interventions is continued use of the chart we have been using with Ben to track am/pm expectations. We are in week 4 and so far breaking down transitions into smaller parts has helped. I laminated our chart and use a wipe off pen. Bill does the am, I the pm.

The chart is an easy check in twice a day and a chance to earn 2nd chance at home if school has gone badly. We physically pay bear bucks at the end of each night and allow him to pick a reward at the end of the week. Rewards have buck values. Ben has bought in and it is working well, hence a recent reward weekend trip to Krispy Kreme.

Our therapist liked that his school contract works together with the chart at home and has asked his teacher to further break down her expectations of him into targeted goals. At our parent conference she was not only open to making changes, but also is willing to recommend a supportive and ADHD knowledgeable 1st grade teacher placement.

4. I have also asked her for a recommendation for a summer tutor to help review and build on his reading and writing skills over the summer. I am not working this summer and plan to use some part of the day working with Ben on his skills based on the recommendation of the tutor.

Bill and I thank our friends for the support as we move from perusing diagnosis to now working on interventions. I don’t expect that after a week of medication or a couple of sessions of therapy that Ben is going to suddenly be a different child.

These interventions are about helping him be successful in school, with his relationships, to feel he is a good boy who is capable of making good decisions over the long haul.

I am not surprised at all and in some ways this is a relief that maybe it wasn’t just parenting choices but rather a biological component going back to toddlerhood has been part of the problem.

When a meeting on yet another couch begins with, “you are not bad parents,” there is a part of you that wants to believe it. Another part that wants other people to also see that you are doing everything you can and have been doing everything you can for as long as you can remember and not judge you, judge your kid, judge your choices.

What I hope for Ben,for us as parents, for what decisions we are putting in place is support.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The cure for male underwear overexposure

I live in a house filled with man and little man underwear. I often think that if I was one of those people who would hang a bright, colorful flag displaying the seasons that it would say, Vinson: House of penises with underwear embroidered welcoming all who enter.

With this realization, I try to make it out with female friends when possible. Adult conversation that does not involve discussions of superheroes, legos, cars, and anything else stereotypically male is welcomed and is a sanity saver.

Enter a weekend of XX fun. Up first was a jewelry making class that I got ½ price on Groupon. I’ve wanted to check outOrnamentea
for a while, and when they offered up a class to learn the 7 basic types of earrings I was all over a ladies day out.

Note that after 3 hours, with much help from the instructor, I had seven pairs of earrings. My apologies to the instructor, who should have gotten combat pay for all the times she had to reshow me a technique. I got to catch up with my friend as most days I only get a quick minute between classes.

Up next was finally seeing the Hunger Games. For a book that was so visually rich with what I thought scenes would look like if it ever came to film, it didn’t disappoint. So ready to reread the whole trilogy, again.

Lastly on the XX front was getting summer sorority reunion plans set. Once again a group of us are getting together for a weekend in July. This year we are in Nashville where two of our friends live and have promised us a honky-tonk good time. One of my friends is driving up from Myrtle Beach to fly out with me. Good odds that one or both of us may be booted from the plane before we make it to Nash-Vegas. The crazy thing about this friend is that she went to high school with Bill and has known him longer than me.

I’m fairly sure that the cure for overexposure to male underwear is cultivating female relationships.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday tradition

Thanks for supportive thoughts both here as well as those posted to me privately. While we don't plan to play out every decision we are making about interventions/treatments publically it helps to know we have support on our side. Giving voice to how this impacts our family through writing seems to give worry an outlet.

On the positive today I want to share something I do with the boys most every Friday after pick up. We started it last summer as a weekly trip and we kept it going throughout this school year.

We hit up the library for new books, hang out in the amazing kid’s area reading a couple of books from the little chairs. Ben loves to check out all the books at the self service kiosk with Ian nearby helping me stack the books into our bags.

I won't lie this trip usually involves fishing the boys out of a back room that has a stage that they love to jump and roll into the floor. Luckily the library an hour from close on Friday is usually dead.

Once home we make a single batch of cookies or brownies to enjoy over the weekend and then play outside until Bill gets home.

Friday nights are typically family movie night with easy dinner, popcorn, and whatever we made that afternoon to enjoy. we've starting letting the kids stay up one extra hour on Friday nights in return for a 7/7:30 Sat am wake up. So far minus DST changes it works.

As much as I've written about struggling with Ben of late, these types of traditions are what I want to look back and remember. It is what I want the boys to remember about growing up in our home.

Lazy weekend ahead and after a stressful week all hopes that by Monday we can start fresh for a better week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Of licking paper towels and guinea pig bites

This feels like the Bataan death march of trying weeks. Lots of work as the semester winds down. More importantly just more ongoing Ben issues. So far this week I have gotten notes home about licking paper towels in the bathroom and yesterday putting his finger in the classroom guinea pig's mouth, resulting in a bite.

Both super nasty on the gross out front. Both resulting in lots of tears and time talking at bedtime about better choices.

There is a post soon about working on a longer term plan for Ben. Bill and I have had more conversations in our kitchen this week in which one or both of us have exclaimed we just feel defeated. On the positive, and yes there are MANY positives here to early intervention, I think wanting to be a united front may be one of the best things for our marriage in a long time.

While horizontal bound I caught up on several books. I finally got around to reading Siblings Without Rivalry and and How She Really Does It. Both were great reads among a book club pic, 2 ADHD books, and skimming a couple of others while at home.

From How She Really Does it I took the advice that working outside the home makes me a better, more centered mom and I shouldn't apologize for saying it outloud. I wouldn't trade the year I had a home with Ian for anything, most importantly it helped define that I am good at what I do and the highly structured day of working outside my home makes me appreciate and protect the time I have at home more fiercely.

Up next was Siblings Without Rivalry. Good timing on reading as the fighting between Ben and Ian has become a daily issue. Ian can hold his own and has finally developed some language to fight back. Most importantly I took away were ways to listen to kids, making them part of the solution with their ideas, and don't cast them into preset roles. I'm on board to read How to Talk So that Kids Listen next.

To wrap up this Thursday rambling I mentioned to someone who was asking about Ben that yeah, this really sucks and feels like a major parenting fail. But there is so much positive at doing what we can for him now so that when he's 15 or 25 or whatever that his relationships, his self esteem, his ability to concentrate better at school or work or whatever will be because of the energy and yes so many tears now.

That makes me feel like it's all worth the time, stress, and tears.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

The freckle-faced, blue-eyed one in the middle has no idea to what length I will go for him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Post Op Check In

Super busy week with teacher conference, meeting again with the psychiatrist about Ben, working a benefit concert for Kenya fundraising, doing a class. Busy.

Thanks folks who continue to ask how I'm doing, or in some cases tell me quit doing _____, are you nuts? Keep calling me out on overdoing it.

I'm still in major recovery mode at three weeks out today. I'm really, really tired and going back to work a week ago was a mixed bag decision.

Good in that I am now not having to play catch up with work. All feelings that a sub would have butchered this unit and I would have been stuck reteaching and then being behind until the end of the semester.

Bad in that I hurt. Badly. Everyday last week it became harder and harder just to move. By midweek all the energy I had was gone and I was beyond exhausted. Bill is on a release at work and working late almost every night so I've been solo parenting at night.

I could give you the most jacked up word problem involving at what time can Bill still get home and Heather still take painkillers and still be functional leaving for work.

The answer: 10 pm

This week is better as I really tried to take it easy over the weekend. All incisions look good. I have about the same amount as before, around 30 inches that have to be taped daily for the next 3 months. I also have to wear compression shorts (think super tight bike shorts) that are becoming uber hot as the weather is turning warmer. I was released to buy a bra which after a good hour of bra shopping last weekend I'm the size I hoped to be long term.

When I went to the 2 week follow up with the surgeon last week he couldn't believe how active I already was and once again referred to me as a "wagon train kinda gal". I think if he uses this phrase a 3rd time, I'm making it my epitaph.

At this point I wish I could say I'm completely done, but for lack of a better phrase there is some clean up nip and tucks that need to be finished up after 6 weeks out. All be done in office under local anesthetic with only a day out of work.

I have a fairly high pain tolerance, frankly I'll admit to being a bit of a pain junkie who for some certifible reason has long since equated phyical pain with reaching some type of goal. With this set of surgeries I've been in severe pain. Simply because of where these scars are it is inevitable that siting, walking, and lifting just hurt.

I'll once again say what a good decision it was to do these now 4 procedures. I feel like a walking advertisement for my surgeon's talent. These results look better than I ever imagined and the confidence that came with being on the other side is worth every penny and bit of pain now.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Urgent care and birthday cupcakes do not mix

See the cute cupcakes in honor of Ian's two favorite things:

Elmo and saying the word B-ball with single finger pointing to our neighbors goal repeatedly.

Listen as I recount the frantic lunchtime call from Bill recounting that the boys got into a fight at Target and he thought Ian's arm was potentially broken.

Bill: Hearing screaming in the background. Are you home? Can you meet me at Urgent Care, I think Ian is badly hurt. Ben bent Ian's arm backwards over the cart and hit it with full force and possibly broke it.

Bill is NOT calm as I try to get him to tell me where he is and if I need to come to him or does he want to come home pick me up and us assess the injury.

I'm coming home, so we can go in one car or you can keep Ben.

Once home Ian is still crying and refusing to lift his arm. I pull Ben aside and ask him what happened and he admits he hurt Ian's arm but that he was just playing around and not trying to be mean. I send him upstairs until we can check out Ian. Bill is still livid and Ben is now crying.

Any movement in his left arm and he screams even louder. I contemplate calling our ped or our family doctor to see if either are open before we trek it to urgent care.

Somewhere in the midst, Ian has stopped crying and asking for a drink, then strawberries (on the counter.)

His arm does not feel broken or swollen and his shoulder is in the socket. So we decide to do lunch and nap and see if after nap he is still favoring the shoulder.

After nap he picked up a sippy with his hand and lifted it without crying. Another check and no swelling or obvious reason to NOT spend the rest of his birthday sitting in chairs.

We had planned to go out for dinner but opted to play outside, order pizza, and do cake and presents on the porch. It was a gorgeous day to celebrate sweet Ian's 2nd birthday.

At 2 you are wide open, full of energy, have started to string two word sentences together like "Ben, not nice", "here Veg-hus", "Me hid (I hide)". Last week he said his own name clear as a bell. You love to run (usually away from us), give hugs, blow kisses, read books, try anything your brother does. We can usually find at least one Duplo in a pocket at all times.

Ian, you are a gift of light and laughter. I hear your sweet voice, your laugh and you instantly ground me.

Happy birthday sweet blue-eyed boy. Thankfully Urgent care was not part of your special day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Passing along some Wednesday awesome

One of my favorite local blogs posted how to get your kids involved serving others in your local community.

I'll personally give credence to the Women's Shelter of Wake County, where the majority of all my closet clean out has been donated.

One of my summer list with the kids is to find several opportunities that I can do with the kids (probably just Ben). Ideas if you are local welcomed.

Happy Wednesday folks-

Monday, April 9, 2012

Because Gandhi is a crazy long movie

Back at work today. No need to get in the what is wrong with you, what happened to taking another week, do I need to slap some sense into you line.

I would if I could, BUT with only 4 sick days left for year I need to hang on to them in case of infection, one additional outpatient procedure, the boys sickness, or if I can swing it a hooky day to surprise Ben at school to volunteer.

Since I'm mobile, off pain meds, and able to drive AND all my sub plans are complete, why not head back.

I will be taking it easy, not adding anything to my plate this week, and taking care of myself.

Really. No need for I told you so.

We had a wonderful holiday weekend and for the most part I feel back to normal. Thanks everyone for your continued good thoughts and support.

You can send me some good thoughts all week as I sit through Gandhi as we kick off a unit on Imperialism. It is a CRAZY long movie that kids actually like. That seems crazy on all levels. At least it buys me a good 30 mins in each class to be off my feet which I will take full advantage.

Friday, April 6, 2012

An Occasional 2012 Friday Series: Project Runway

I've never been a big shopping kind of gal. Basically with 10+ black tshirts I have a go-to outfits that all include, you guessed it one of the ten.

While couch bound I've been shopping. A lot. Like had to preface the conversation to Bill as, "since I worked out free shipping why not buy what I want and then return the majority."

Since I feel remotely human again I took some time to have a little try on show. By the end I had 4 new outfits ready to roll.

*sadly none included the cute dresses from Old Navy fit and even with different sizing the styles just didn't look good*

Up first my desire for some cute summer skirts

I LOVE this skirt and think I might be able to pull off leggings with it in the fall. I have two maxi dresses also on order from this same vendor. I might cry if neither look as good as they do in my dreams. PS this skirt is a MEDIUM!!! Hello haven't seen that size since Jr. High!

I found this jacket on clearance and still think I need some help finding ways to style, but for now I paired it with white cropped pants and hello a NEW SMALLER black tshirt (like I wasn't going to replace some of my stash)

Lastly was what I was wearing yesterday. I love this chambray shirt. Kim K of My Style Challenge totally nails how this can be a wardrobe staple. Something tells me she can give me some more ideas on this (and that gray jacket).

One more.... Was totally playing around looking at dresses from Rent the Runway and found this beauty. I love every single thing about this dress. Just imagining my body just wearing something so beautiful makes me smile.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What to Make of It

Yesterday Bill and I met on referral to a pediatric psychiatrist for Ben's potential ADHD diagnosis.

Without a huge, long story our concerns have grown over this first year in public school. Remember the first day come to Jesus meeting where his teacher met me at the door about behavior?

After a daily behavior contract, nearly being suspended from the after school program, several meetings with his teacher as well as frequent email communication, concerns with report card after what felt like no marked improvement we moved to an evaluation. What was deemed immaturity in October is now a vaid concern and waiting until 1st grade is not an option.

So far we (each parent and each teacher) completed lengthy questionnaires and completed an observation survey privately and forwarded to his pediatrician.

The day before my surgery we met with Ben with our pediatrician. She asked questions of Ben and concluded that there are legitimate concerns. She identified multiple markers and felt a fuller psychological and educational evaluation was warranted before a diagnosis could be confirmed.

In a nutshell here are our top concerns and reason why we are seeking an evaluation now instead of waiting:

1. Inability to concentrate and finish school work despite multiple interventions within the classroom. From our volunteering we've seen Ben sit with his portable cubicle peeking under talking to others, not be able to stay seated, give up when frustrated, and engage in a power struggle and be defiant towards the teacher and TA. Completing homework is difficult and often a similar power struggle.

2. Being in constant motion from the minute up until he goes to bed. So many nights it seems that if I would let him he would simply stay up all night playing. So many of the questionnaires asked if it was like he was a wound up motor. Even with the outlets of recess, a good 2 hours outside or in the gym afterschool, and if we can swing it time outside once home, he is still going strong as we approach bedtime.

So many of the questions we have are about what is normal almost 6 year old behavior and what is in the realm of ADHD. The meeting yesterday was a step, Ben will meet privately and then we will meet again after she has both us and his classroom teachers complete more evaluations.

At this point I'm not worried that this what is likely pointing to a diagnosis that is going to be the end all, be all. Both physicians felt that what we were doing at home including a recently ramped up effort to break down the am/pm into specific tasks that ties into our already successful system of "bear bucks" were a positive direction and to continue as well as strive for consistency.

The more that I've read and asked, Ben's behavior could be much, much worse. As mentioned before I don't think ADHD even qualifies in childhood misery poker when put up again what we could be dealt.

Bill and I do have some concerns if medication is suggested what are the short and long term implications. We also do not want to only medicate in a vacuum and plan to augment with several other suggestions. Bill and I are making being a united front a priority even if it means lots of uncomfortable and hard conversations.

Yesterday between my post op appointment (yay.. no more drains and all looks good) and the psychiatrist appointment we had lunch outside and talked over priorities, concerns, and what being a united front looks like for our family.

The first steps in what has the potential to be a defining part of raising our boys long term and keeping our family dynamics on an even keel.

One thought that has keep me grounded came from a friend who commented that you will love your kid regardless if a label becomes involved. Ben is the same kid you've always known and anything you are doing now is only so you can honor the commitment to helping provide the best for his future.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NC Amendment 1- Family, Unfettered

Thanks to Facebook a high school friend found me locally. Since then I've met her amazing partner Karen and triplets Emma, Evan, and Grady. Yesterday she shared her family is part of a media campaign against upcoming vote on NC Amendment 1.

I commented that it is such a disservice to dismiss as a gay issue only. It's about families, regardless if it doesn't look like yours.

Family, Unfettered from Commitment | NC on Vimeo.

Thank you Kelli and Karen for sharing your family, regardless of the stupidity of the NC Legislature to even question your validity.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Super Short Check In

Thanks everyone for modes of communication while I've been horizontal bound. The short story is that the surgery went well and I'm feeling better every day.

Other than channeling Jack Torrance not leaving the house, I'm good and all plans to continue to rest up and heal up all this week. Bill is back at work today, the boys are in camp and daycare. It's quiet, so I'm in heaven even if it's drug filled.

Today is the first day I could officially get drains removed. All hopes for a "come on in and let's pull those babies out." Odds on "play again tomorrow, let's give it one more day."

Either way thanks for continued good thoughts. I'll add anyone thinking of doing a breast reduction, talk to me first. After I finish hooting and hollering at the results I will tell you it hurts like a mo fo.

Heading to sit on the porch and work on this 25 page intake form for Ben's appointment later in the week over this ADHD diagnosis.

Probably good I will still be on meds at that appointment alas showing up with a cocktail in hand and telling the pediatric psychiatrist to bring it might lead her to diagnose Ben with more problems than just attention. How about a bat sh*t crazy parent?