I lied about the lists

I know I said no more list updates, but I have maybe 5 minutes before my son realizes I am no longer washing my hands and starts hollering for me. So here goes.

  1. Last Thursday, my mom found out she tested positive for TB. She does not have TB; she has a related illness called MAC. Which is not contagious, and offers a far better prognosis (“cure” is possible, even), so hooray for MAC.
  2. Unfortunately, we didn’t find out it wasn’t TB until after we’d tested the kids and I had a chest x-ray. (I was to have a TB test yesterday, and R…at some point. We’d not worked that out yet.) Bonus, though: the kids don’t have TB, my lungs are healthy, and we had a reasonably fun family outing (after the needle portion, of course).
  3. Mom is out of the hospital. On oxygen, still, and taking a cocktail of three antibiotics for the next 12-18 months, but she’s better than she was. (So yeah, she was in rough shape before.)
  4. R’s grandmother is dying, so he is off this week visiting her (and other friends and family). Our anniversary (a big one — 10 years this Thursday) will come and go before he gets back, so we celebrated last night. Because of Mom’s current condition, it was a kid date, but at least we had a date, right?
  5. And there’s Kai. Let’s see how long I have before he starts shrieking like a velociraptor.
  6. When R gets back, he’ll work one last weekend at his old job, then immediately start his new one. And in the meantime, I will be doing a lot of work after the kids go to sleep.
  7. Bedtime’s about to get real.
  8. Yesterday Anya had her first art class. Like, with actual art supplies, not Crayola washables. I’m beyond impressed with it, and the teacher, and Anya’s response to the class. And this was just one session. Quite excited to see what she’s producing by the end of July.
  9. Took the kids on their first library outing today. Anya now has her own library card. (And I have two.) We have nine (NINE!) new books to read. Both kids are participating in the summer reading challenge. And they discovered that libraries have play areas, and even got to play with some kids their age. It was a lot of fun, today.
  10. We didn’t go to the local library today. That’s on tomorrow’s list.
  11. Anya played very nicely with the other children. As did Kai. This is a far more comfortable alternative to the park.
  12. Kai, I learned, can do puzzles now.
  13. This afternoon I received an email that I did not, in fact, get a job I really, really wanted. I didn’t realize that I had convinced myself I was a near-perfect fit until I was told they picked someone else. Now my ego is in tatters on the floor.
  14. I’m trying very hard to convince myself to trust the universe, but secretly I’m thinking the universe doesn’t particularly give a crap about me.
  15. Because she could tell something was up, I told Anya I didn’t get the job. I figured she would be reassured, because she was worried about who would watch her while R and I worked. Instead, she comforted me.
  16. Then she went to get the ring she gave me the other day and insisted I put it on. It’s a silicone ring that says “SUPER.” So I collected myself, put it on, and am now trying very hard to live up to what it says.
  17. Tonight Anya starts t-ball. Not Blast Ball, where they swing and run to one base — actual mock baseball. She’s so excited. Which makes me excited, even though it’s blazing hot out there.
  18. Today we also picked up some supplies for a super-cool Father’s Day project. But that’s all I can say about that, because Daddy reads this blog. ;)
  19. Since I’m going to have all this time on my hands now (and also because I need there to be a bedtime), I’m going to work on getting them into Wii Fit. I mean, obviously we will go to the park, the botanic gardens, etc, when it isn’t miserably hot. But it’s June. Wii Fit lets them chase puppies in our air-conditioned living room.
  20. And there’s Kai again. More later.

Friday funday, hopefully

I think I’m going to have to knock the blogging back to three times a week. Not because I don’t have enough to say — I have more to say than you ever see. No, it’s because I can’t seem to find the time to do the posts justice. And I’m getting a little tired of the list updates. I’d rather write a bit more of substance, even if that means I write less often.

I’ll have all kinds of time to write when the kids are older. But right now, I barely have time to do this list. So starting next week, I think I’m going to scale back to twice-weekly updates. If I find more time to write, well, there will just be bonus posts.

Goals

Daily meditation. I talked to Anya last night, and she’s agreed to meditate with me every day for the month of June. I’m hoping that once we’re done, she’ll be hooked on the practice and I won’t have to beg her to join me. She seemed genuinely peaceful after last night’s session — and after the day we had (more on that later), that’s a minor miracle.

Read all the things. I meant to get us library cards yesterday, but we were derailed. It’s on the list for next week.

Family fun. We had a great dinner out after our traumatic day, and went to the park afterwards. Anya then wanted to go for a walk. Good, cheap, (mostly) healthy fun. Fun does not have to cost $100. Fun does not have to be flashy. Even if I can’t work them in on a regularly scheduled basis, I’d like us to have more evenings like that.

Write. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about writing lately. Mentally writing my novel. Mapping out what I’d like to do with this blog. And I think I’ve hit up on how I want to proceed with both. But now I need to fine-tune my voice. I’m thinking of piecing together some short essays, either on this blog or on a writing-only blog. We’ll see how that pans out.

But for now, I need to get back to work. Because I want to have a little more fun this afternoon. We need some fun, after the week we’ve had.

June’s challenge: Calm

I think I mentioned this in passing, but I have challenged myself to meditate each day for a month. I’ve decided that month should be June. I’ve got a lot going on right now (seriously, just more than I can wrap my mind around, this week alone), and that’s usually a recipe for disaster where I’m concerned.

For instance, I shout a lot when I’m stressed. And now so do the kids. I know this doesn’t make me a bad parent, or even necessarily a unique one, but I can’t help but feel I’m letting them down when they yell like that. I would like to yell less — not at all would be ideal. But first I have to lower my stress levels.

I can’t change my circumstances. No matter how things pan out in the next few weeks, life’s going to be stressful for a while. If I am to attain any chill, I’m going to have to do so despite the events in my life at present. A month of meditation would do me a world of good.

It helps Anya, too. So I’m shooting for bedtime, mother-daughter meditation sessions. A bonding activity, a sleep aid, and a coping mechanism all rolled into one. Yes, please.

Ultimately, I’m hoping to ingrain this behavior into our daily routine, so that we would no more skip meditation than we would teeth brushing. But to create a habit, first you have to start it. Consider today the first step.

Bring on the Pop

I dunno what rock I’ve been living under, but until I saw this article, I didn’t realize that listening to songs on repeat in order to focus your attention was a thing. I read once that Stephen King does it (he subjected his poor wife to Mambo Number 5 until she nearly lost her mind, as I recall), but I didn’t know of anyone else who employs such an annoying (without earbuds, anyway) habit. Turns out I’m not as unique as I thought I was. But when am I ever?

However, I’m guessing that, while I may not be the only one who uses musical repetition as white noise, it’s certainly not a common practice. Recently, someone posed the question to a Facebook editor’s group I’m a part of: What do you do when you can’t concentrate? The responses were pretty standard: Listen to white noise. Or classical music. Or nature sounds. Treat myself (sweets, reading time, video games, what have you). Go for a walk. Sip hot tea. Do yoga. Meditate. Power nap. Of all the answers I read, nobody else said “Listen to Maroon 5’s Payphone on repeat for 6 hours straight.”

Thing is, I don’t even like Maroon 5.

I’m also not a fan of Kesha, or Lady Gaga. In fact, many of the songs I listen to in these binges aren’t songs I particularly care for. But they get the job done.

Maybe it’s because I don’t care for them. Could it be that listening to music that repulses me causes my attention to retreat screaming into whatever is handy — say, the task before me? It’s an interesting hypothesis. And if I’m right, how fortunate for me: Annoying pop abounds. I will never run out of concentration juice.

But I should probably stock up on earbuds. My kids love pop music. Their father? Not so much.

Monday update on a Tuesday

List post because I have a lot going on: Anya is sick, Mom’s in the hospital again, and today’s agenda includes a full workload plus a job interview. And because I wanted to do this yesterday, but the copy/paste thing is annoying to attempt on my phone.

Loving:

Kai talking. “Mommy?” he will say. Followed by a bunch of gibberish that lately includes increasing numbers of actual words. My favorite part is when he just takes me by the hand and leads me where he wants to go.

Reading:

This very good article about how our kids teach us stuff about ourselves. I, too, have sensory processing issues. Until I had a daughter who also has them and started reading up on the topic, I assumed (as did everyone else) that I was just a gigantic pain in the…well, you know. Now that I see my own issues more clearly, it’s easier for me to take my daughter’s in stride.

The sibling rivalry will never not annoy me, though. There are eleven million toys in this house, child. Go play with a different one for five minutes.

Watching:

Trying to catch up on my CW shows. I have had precious little viewing time lately, so I’m way behind.

Listening to:

Today, the space heater. I’m Distractomom, so TV/music is out. The space heater keeps me warm and blocks out my baby’s sleepy whimpers, reducing my urge to go rescue him from naptime. He needs to nap; I need to work. We can snuggle later.

Working on:

Editing. A little web work. An editing test (cross your fingers for me!). Plus the usual snuggling babies and doing the mom thing. Nothing major this week. Chaos is on the horizon, so for now I’m not taking on any more than I have to.

Anticipating:

Anya starts art class and T-ball next week. She is so excited. And I can’t wait to see what she learns.

Making me happy:

Mimi is having a much better hospital stay this time around, and seems in good spirits. That’s a load off; I have been really worried about her. When she struggles to breathe, as she’s done more and more frequently, she reminds me of her father. It’s the only time she looks old to me. I’m not ready for her to be old. Not yet.

Hurriedly written with my thumbs before bedtime

I really meant to post before now, but today just didn’t go like that. It wasn’t an entirely bad day, just very busy.

Two things to note:

1. For 3-ingredient (4 if you count the cookies) ice cream, this stuff is pretty rad.

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Especially when eaten from tiny cones.

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2. Anya feels bad. Earache, intermittent fever…nothing horrible, but she is not 100%. She got weepy at bedtime and told me I wasn’t giving her enough attention, and that I should because she is sick. So we meditated, and cuddled, and read a story, and cuddled more. I apologized for not paying her enough attention, and told her that in the future, she could let me know when she needs a little extra TLC by using the code phrase “rainbow unicorn.” That appeased her; she is snoring peacefully next to me.

I have a full workload plus an important job interview tomorrow. This rainbow unicorn thing will almost certainly come back to bite me. Oh, well. What can ya do?

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Snuggle down, go to sleep, and hope tomorrow is better for everyone, that’s what.

Five posts in five days

Yeah, I’m kind of proud of that.

But also busy, and I promised my kids I’d take the afternoon off, so I thought I’d resurrect my Friday goal update post. Except my goals have shifted since I last wrote one of these, and I have a whole bunch of goals at the moment, so I can’t possibly write updates on each. Here’s the highlights.

Goals

Daily meditation. Though I have not started my meditation challenge, I’ve meditated every day this week. It’s helping. It also appears to be helping Anya. Still hoping I can turn this into our thing. 

Family game night. We’ve actually had a few of these. Kai has shown increasing interest in playing games. And then loses interest, because games are long and he is 2. But I am encouraged; perhaps he will be the push we need to game as a family.

Eating. Nobody is into it right now. I’m still in stressy not-eating mode. The rest of my household would rather snack. So I’m just trying to make sure we have healthy snacks for them. Meals will come later…but it may be fall.

Bedtime routine. I’m trying to steer us toward a better bedtime routine: Medicine, teeth, shower, story time, meditation, then TV. Because by the time we get to the meditation part, Anya’s falling asleep. (Kai is still napping erratically; we probably won’t get him into a regular bedtime til we fix that.) It’s a work in progress, but progress is being made.

Exercise 30 minutes per day. Not every day, but more this week than I have been. The weather’s been beautiful, though, so that’s been easy. June-August will likely be another story entirely.

Work with the kids on their letters/numbers/sounds. Anya got a wonderful report card yesterday! She went from only having mastered about half of what she was expected to know to knowing nearly all of it. This after having missed literally half the school year. I’m amazed at her resilience, and how quickly she’s learned.

She’s still struggling with speech, and her IEP report card wasn’t as wonderful as her pre-K one, but she’s doing a great job considering how many speech classes she missed. Practice is really helping. I’m also making sure some of the books we read are short and repetitive, so she becomes familiar with the look of the words, because that helps her figure out what sounds she’s missing.

Kai, too, is picking up what I’m putting down. We practice letters and numbers (which I’ve written on the shower wall in bath crayon, for visual reference), body parts (joints are hard, but he’s got the main pieces down), and I’m starting to throw some colors in there. The trick with both kids is short sessions every day. Neither of them have the patience for long lessons, but five minutes here and there makes a huge difference.

Blog regularly. Five posts in five days is serious improvement over my recent posting (non)schedule.