Monday, July 30, 2012

Tales from the little potty- Book 2, Volume 1

Do you see what I see?

As Ian is talking about a potty, wanting to flush any and all public toilets we are moving into potty training, Take 2.  We renewed his favorite potty book so many times that we finally bought a home copy.  This summer is all about some potty awareness  including letting him sit whenever whether clothed or not on the little potty.  Since we have been consciously tracking over the past couple of weeks weeks he's peed on the potty twice.

Unlike the almost 2 year battle to train Ben I am trying a much more relaxed approach.  I'm hoping that once back in regular daycare in late August that their efforts along with ours will help Ian along.

I'm hopeful that during book 2 of these potty diaries never to write the following sentence, "Like a bear in the woods my child sh*t behind a bush." Remember from Tales from the Potty, the Leather Bound Edition when  Ben graced me with not one but two nuggets of parenting gold?  Actually upon re- reading this is one of my favorite posts ever.  I'm glad I gave it the 2 friend test and published a keepin' it real parenting moment.

Tomorrow Ian and I are going to meet his new teachers and take his supplies/forms as he will be there all next week while I'm in Kenya.   While I'm not expecting anything in a week time frame I do hope that with the positive influence of other children as well as supportive teachers that some progress this upcoming school year will be made.

My God have mercy on my soul as well as my patience.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ben ADHD update

We are close to 90 days into the decision to medicate Ben's ADHD.  Yesterday was a good example of the strides he has made but also how very difficult managing his behavior remains.  The third med trial resulted in a choice of a medication that he takes with breakfast that lasts until around dinner.

Most days Ben is at his best in the am so we have blocked out weekly tutoring, 1/2 day camps, or appointments early. Afternoons are for the pool, playing outside with our neighbors, t-ball, and being lazy until dinner.

We've gotten into a summer pattern that seems to work with the exception of tearful outbursts over what seems to be inconsequential nothing. Luckily the tantrums are fewer on the medicine but still occur and mostly are triggered without notice.

Let's take yesterday as a prime example.  Ben is in a 1/2 day art day camp called "Art Outside the Box."  All week the class is using unconventional items to create art.  Yesterday they created mud paintings. When I dropped him off today they were stuffing paper inside an upside down tomato cage with the intention of throwing paint a la Jackson Pollack for some type of sculpture.  For a kid that normally raids our recycle barrel to create art projects this was a great camp for him. 

Back to yesterday when he dropped the mud painting in the parking lot sending most of the mud to flake off and be ruined.  Enter a massive meltdown with crying, kicking my car, screaming and at it's worst hitting and kicking me.  

What I have found is that when Ben falls into one of these tantrum, it is best to let him burn it off in a safe place.  When driving, I pull off the road and if needed pull him out of the car if he's throwing items, if in a store or restaurant someone sits with him outside until he is calmed down.  In the case of the ruined painting we sat outside the building on a bench while he transitioned from anger to sobbing to asking if we could ask the teacher how to make the mud paint and try it at home.   

It is a test of all our wills not to react in anger but rather calmly explain that we are not leaving or returning until he is calmed down. What also works is to let him know that if he destroys something, it will not be replaced unless he pays for it, if he physically hits us or Ian he automatically goes into time out regardless of where we are with additional punishment once home.  Part of me has just has to suck up the embarrassment of a bear hug to temper an out control tantrum in public.  Luckily minus some scornful looks, I've not had anything said to my face.  

Part of helping Ben, is also letting him figure out how to rebound and move on.  Even with abysmal behavior he on his own apologize and tell me he is going to try to think.  I like "try to think over try harder, because ADHD is not about doing it harder."  This is a huge gain for him to learn to regroup and move on with limited adult involvement other than physical proximity.  

As I already have a toddler in tow some days it seems like Ben is just a 50 lb version of Ian. The days of double tantrums are hard.  I still wouldn't trade that he is better due to consistent medication.  He has soared with self confidence working with the tutor as well as with praise for listening and acting appropriately during t-ball games/practice from his coach. I finally decided to check the box on camp applications and briefly mention that he has a diagnosis and is on medication and asked to be called immediately if he has a tantrum at camp.  So far not one call this summer and each of his counselors have reported good behavior at pick up.   

Doing the medication trials over the summer gave me so much more time to evaluate beyond relying on teachers' observations alone and I have hoped that instead of blindly guessing what the deal is with a tantrum, if knowledgeable can react appropriately.  I feel like a huge piece of my job as a mother to a child with ADHD is public education that my kid has something that makes him different, just like any other illness. Providing insight into what works for him including legit praise and catching him being good as a 1st line of defense.  Ben also reacts well to silliness, just like every other kid this age I know.  

Being at home with the boys without the responsibility of work has also allowed me to spend time with each of the boys alone.  Ben almost always chooses water slide racing at the pool and the days Ian has been in camp from 9-noon we've raced to the point my 37 year old butt aches.

Before his last art class today we walked to a nearby old time soda fountain as a field trip Friday at Camp Mommy.  Ben's behavior was stellar to the point that the man behind us commented on my kids good behavior and that watching Ian eat ice cream was the highlight of his lunch.

Remind me to revisit this day when the transition to 1st grade arrives with what I've sure will be behavior to match.  I'd like to be surprised that Ben's gains are more than imagined, they are real.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I think you could say Ben is smitten with a girl from his after school program that just so happens to also be at the same day camp this week.

He rushed home yesterday to make her this note.  What I would not do to be a fly on the wall when she opened it.

Note:  love the line, "the grat thins wee doo."  The 6 year version seems sweet, the 16 year old version scares me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shots, Nuns, and a Mechanical Bull

***Disclaimer:  No matter at what point of my life you know me, high school, college, even adulthood if you have ever asked yourself if given the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull would Heather partake in such foolishness?  

Folks, you would be right and today my Monday has been rather tame compared to my Saturday in Nashville.

Actually from last Thursday afternoon until yesterday lunch I was with my college sorority sisters for reunion weekend. Much like our weekend at the Grove Park last year expectations were high.  

Actually I must start a wrap up back on Monday with a single picture.

Say would that be a hella lot of shots you took at one time and  I would answer in the affirmative.  5 shots including:  Typhoid, Hep A, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, even a Polio booster.  Add in a prescription for Malaria meds to start next week and yes I will again tell you that going is totally worth it but man did those shots hurt.

Back to Thursday when my friend Meredith arrived in town to join me on the flight.  On our (thankfully) closed Facebook group the reunion has lived on with all bets were putting us on a plane together would

1.  result in a Bridesmaids-type confrontation
2.  someone would be really sorry if they got stuck sitting next to us, especially the nun

By Thursday night we had met up with our group with both of us not banned from Southwest airlines for life.  

Friday am I felt horrible, and not from the say 1 drink I had at dinner.  If you know me then you also know I know that post surgery I've super careful not to make myself sick with any amount of drinking. I felt horrible, like a bus has not only hit me, but also run over me horrible.  I stayed in bed watching the Brady Bunch movie while everyone else is at breakfast.    

I made it out for an amazing lunch of every southern goodness on a plate. I actually cannot stay awake and at this point all I want to do is sleep.  My awesome friend Beth C. (See photo below) is a nurse by trade and immediately linked the shots to the now asleep version that was fun lovin' Heatha just hours before.

Not that the time in bed was all bad, I finally after 4 months of waiting had this little beauty so when not sleeping I was reading.

I was in bed a total of 18 hours and minus leaving for dinner was in the bed for most of Friday.  So yes that kinda of sucked, but if at home would I have been able to pull an monster nap?  Why no, you have kids that would maybe let you sleep 1-2 hours but would want to be like to be fed and entertained at some point.  So in retrospect  it was a good place to be sidelined.

Saturday we opted for BBQ and shopping.  I felt a gazillion percent better so I headed out.  Note: neither Dabni or I purchased said hats or boots.  

We had an elegant dress up dinner followed by a clothes change to head out.  So if you must ask (because I did) what does one where to Nashville Honky Tonk row?

We went out for the night, making a stop by for bull riding.  Yes a bit touristy, but given the chance to ride a mechanical bull while my friends of 19 years sang the "Heatha Hendricks Song" aka it's 2 am and we are still practicing for rush events and need a comic diversion.

Well the answer was of course YES. As expected just like the song, watching me (as well as sister Stacy Jo) be thrown from a mechanical bull was in the perfect company.

Until next year ladies, it was as expected a wonderful weekend with a quote list of inside jokes a mile long.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Exit Through The Gift Shop

There, I'm done with all Disney cynicism because we had a wonderful time.  Of course with a toddler in tow as well as frequently whiny Ben not all moments were filled with Disney magic.

Bill and I worked together so we each had time alone with each child, each picked favorite attractions to either ride swap, or in some cases gave each other time alone.

We toured all four parks plus added Blizzard Beach water park.  This trip we opted to fly over driving or taking the train which gave us essentially an extra day.

I give Bill all the credit for planning the trip, staying again on site at Port Orleans-Riverside.  He also took care of all of our dinner reservations including the for the 1st time the campy Hoop Dee Do Review and the Luau at the Polynesian.  We also opted for some familiar favorites at Ohana, Garden Grill, and Biergarten.  If you've done WDW dining you understand it is a feat to get optimal times especially during peak season.  

Instead of taking our camera we used the Disney Photopass system and using a pre-vacation special essentially paid for any pictures we would have bought anyway.  We won't have our digital copies until end of month, but never fear we caught some pictures of the trip on our phones.

Florida forecast:  hot, sunny and 100% chance of cuteness

In each park we made sure we spent time on the "playground."  Needless to say the Boneyard at Animal Kingdom was a big hit.

Mom was adamant that we had to ride her favorite ride, Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios as many times as possible.  This is an insanely popular ride, all Fass Passes are gone within an hour or two of opening and without you risk a 2 hour wait.  I literally RAN to get tickets.

Pay Gold!  

Seriously, how to get me to agree to go back to Disney?  RIDE THIS RIDE!  Even the waiting area queue is awesome and filled with giant replicas of favorite old school toys.  Don't tell anyone but I cried at the end of Toy Story 3 when Ben and Ian... sorry Andy :) goes away to college.  

One of our secrets to staying cool and looking like the middle aged parents were are:  HATS!  Mine was an Africa trial run.  Bill opted for channeling Indian Jones, kinda.

We often split up with someone taking Ian back for an earlier bedtime and someone staying with Ben see the parades and fireworks.  I love this picture of the Illuminations show at EPCOT.  Ben made my glow necklace, then asked to wear it.   Indian Giver.

When asked what was their favorite thing:

Ben- driving a car at the Tomorrowland speedway

Ian:  any and all chances to get wet including fountains, spray park, and of course the kiddie waterslides

Bill:  The motherload of all Star Wars memorabilia. Add riding all the roller coasters with little wait being a single-rider.

Heather:  Seeing the electrical parade.  Nothing says childhood like the opening bars of that 1970s cheesy electronic music.  Admitting more misty-eyed nostalgia was in full force.

Thank you Bill for once again planning a great trip. While I still don't own a Disney t-shirt I'm going to admit that being in the kid mindset for a straight week was just awesome.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Looks like another family moved in while we were on vacation.

We had a wonderful vacation at Disney.  I would go as far to say one of our best family trips ever.  Having a busy week back with a pukey toddler, lots of prep for Kenya, and realization that a blue crayon in the dryer ruined all my vacation laundry.  

The stuff of life.

The same life that is unfolding in the fern outside my door.  A perfect soundtrack of baby birds every evening on my porch during this lazy summer.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Choosing Dumbo Over Tyler Durden

I once said I would rather hang out with Tyler Durden than Dumbo and while that sentiment has not really changed, I must admit I’m getting excited to leave on vacation over the weekend. We are again heading to Disney World.  I beg to differ that it is “the happiest place on Earth” as I could make a good argument for a deserted beach with a butler and an open bar.
But having kids, better yet being married to a bigger one, Disney is about as family friendly as you can get.  We figured that being the last year Ian is “free” that why not take advantage of what has proved to be two successful past family vacations.   Everything about a Disney trip is designed to maximize making things easy for families. 

Bill is the master Disney planner and managed to shave close to a $1000 in discounts using a Disney Visa.  We are doing a few things differently this trip and frankly after going previously we have down how to do Disney.   I’m almost a little ashamed to mention this is our 3rd trip in 5 years given the economy as well that this time next month I’ll be as far away from commercialization as possible.
Major changes for this trip include adding a water park day, the Luau at the Polynesian, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and Musical Revue, and a night at Downtown Disney at the giant Lego store.  We are using the WDW Park touring apps to help with crowds and wasting time (and patience) in lines. 

We bought the boys these awesome ID bands from RoadID. We’ve been talking rules and how Bear Bucks will work on vacation.  Without jinxing ourselves, but Ben’s behavior on the 3rd med trial has been amazing.  He’s been a big helper and an extra set of eyes for an increasingly fearless Ian. 

I give Bill all the credit for planning this trip from start to finish.  Other than packing he’s taken care of every l detail.  I’ve already offered to do naptime with Ian each day as well as taking meltdown return to the hotel duty.  I’m all over reading a book in the cool or taking a daily nap. 
The boys are beyond excited, even Ian who loves Mickey Mouse Club House calling him “Mick Mouse.”  Many of the Pixar and Disney classic movies have made the rotation into family movie night.  WDW bound for a week of fun. Besides where else will I ever pull off this outfit? 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Explains it

Bill was home today so I took advantage of a couple of hours to get some pre-trip errands run sans kids.

Pick up Typhoid preventive for Kenya trip from Dr- Check
Target run for more sunscreen and a travel first aid kit- Check
Bank - Check
Library Hold Pick up-Check

I even had time to run by a local running store to try on a new pair of shoes, something LONG on the to-do list. You get the picture that without dragging a temperamental toddler and ever questioning 6 year old was almost as good as a vacation

Last stop the pharmacy to pick up all family medications. I typically pair with a grocery run with prescription pick up since they are in the same place.  As I'm waiting child-free I am checking through the prescriptions and notice that I am missing one.  I mention it to the Pharmacist and she finds it.  I comment that it's sixty 500 mg tablets.  

"What I have here is 1000 mg, are you sure you have the right medicine." Hold the phone as I think how when I fill up my old people sized weekly pill keeper I've been putting TWO of these tablets not ONE.  The pharmacist looks back and has been filling this dose since moving all prescriptions here last December.  

Before you ask how did you miss taking a double dose I've been taking the same amount off-label for PCOS for 11 years. Long story short, because the new pharmacy fills all Diabetes drugs for free I didn't realize that the default 60 tablet supply was giving me 60 tablets at the higher dose.   

I feel a little stupid for all these months when I picked up prescriptions and looked to make sure I had the right ones and the right number of pills.  Somehow I missed the dosage.  Kinda important, right? 

I had the pharmacist look up overdosing side effects including: extreme tiredness and depletion of Vit B 12 stores. 

Flashforward to how for the last 6 months I've been SO tired.  Like falling asleep by 9:30/10 pm many nights tired or even struggling to make it to the end of the school day.  I've had no energy to exercise outside of walking the dog even though I've wanted to get back to a routine. 

Only since school ending have I been back in a gym, even adding some running back oh so slowly.  Thinking it was all just related to two major surgeries recovery and returning to work I pushed it off and kept going while just dragging through the day living on caffeine until I could crash at night.   

So what to do?  I contacted my plastic surgeon's office remembering that I'd done extensive blood work before both surgeries. I don't remember anything from blood work turning up negative, just my EKG having to be repeated.  Still it's a good indicator if the double dose is part of the tiredness factor.

What to take from this story?  

1.  Double even triple check prescriptions.  At least this was MY prescription.    
2.  Don't take the kids when picking up prescriptions.  Sadly one month recently BOTH boys were in the middle of meltdown mode and I walked out leaving an entire cart of groceries at the pharmacy pick up window.  

Wow, kinda glad this happened.  It kinda explains a part of the persistent tiredness.  Kinda glad I have about a month before Kenya to try rebuild some energy especially since the pre-trip vaccinations are not a walk in the park. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jr. Jazzercise- Not a Groupon Fail

Conversation about summer camps for Ben.

Bill:  What camps are the boys signed up for this summer?

Heather:  Did you look at the Google Doc I sent you?  I included where each of us including myself will be week by week.  I also included a list of free or nearly free places to go for the days when I'm home all day.  Maybe you could take a day off and join us? It's also posted on the fridge in bright neon green, you can't miss it.

Bill:  How much time did you spend on this?

Heather: Too much, but to my credit I was giving final exams and sleeping would get me fired.  

Bill:  Why is "Jr. Jazzercise" listed for Ben? Are you serious?  Is this some type of Groupon gone wrong?

Heather:  It's taught by one of the 1st grade teachers at his school and I've heard other parents rave about this class.

Bill: Define "rave" as right now I'm picturing is Ben in a Flashdance era one-sleeved shirt and legwarmers.

Heather:  Try an Olympics themed 1/2 day camp.  Each day has water play, a craft, snack, and then games  related to the Olympics.

Bill:  Ok, but I'm relegating any tshirts with the word "Jazzercise" to only to be worn to sleep in.

Heather:  Hater.

I'll have to admit everyday at pick up I noticed the overly perky instructor setting up the 5 pm class and wanted to ask if 'What a Feeling" was on the playlist.  By Friday Ben had already asked if

1.  The camp teacher would be his 1st grade teacher
2.  Decided if she wasn't his teacher he would come visit her daily on the 1st grade hall
3.  I would download Ice, Ice Baby for our car playlist.  I sadly broke into the first line when he walked out in this outfit. The jury is out on if I really want to hear this piece of 90s pain all.summer.long.

He had a blast and loved the camp, was super proud of his parts in the final performance including a solo in "Everybody Was Ku Fu Fighting", and was well behaved with no time outs at all during the camp. SCORE.

As far as the rest of the 1/2 day camps we are doing Art Outside the Box (using everyday items to make things like cars and rockets), the Secret Forrest at a local Nature Preserve, and a full week at all day camp with the town of Cary.  The last camp will be a couple of friends from his elementary school.

Will be back for Jr. Jazzercise?

Let me stop, collaborate and listen and tell you 

Hell yes.   

Monday, July 2, 2012

Golden Girls Lakeside

Some of us we met because our mom brought a 6 month old Heather along to meet a 3 day old Laura.  Other relationships formed when we were in Brownies together or because we had playdates including our
brothers.  We went to preschool-12th grade, summer camps, as well as church.  Our moms drove carpool, taught the others piano, was our scout leader, was the cool mom for sleepovers. 

I'm not even sure where the name "Golden Girls" evolved, other than the TV show's characters fit our teenage selves imagined Senior versions. Bets on who I emulated? Did you say Dorothy in purple 80s stirrup pants, well you would be correct.  

From Senior cut day Hwy 11 bridge jumping (and stupidity) into Lake Jocassee

To 18th birthday surprise celebrations at the "Jockey Lot."  Don't ask, it's a SC thing.

We each went our own ways to colleges in different states.  We went to graduate schools, got married, had kids, became thirtysomething adults but kept up first in cards/letters or through our parents, then email, now Facebook and texting.    

How else to spend a sultry 105 degree day then at Melissa's lake home chating, eating, boating on Lake Norman, hanging out with our kids and spouses.

Big thanks to Bill for helping me keeps tabs on the boys. Ian required one adult at all times on him like a hawk.  I really liked this pictures of us, just before we braved the raft to be drug behind the boat with Ben. Ian pretended to drive the boat. He was obsessed with Todd's boat.

Just like last year, mom wiped out again on the raft.

Thanks Potter, Linker, and Worthy families for spending the day with us catching up just where we left off.