Sunday, July 22, 2012

Difficult Children

My five-year-old is driving me to distraction.  I have to leave the room sometimes to cool down because he makes me so angry that I feel like screaming in his face or worse.

He is a very intense child.  Two days ago, my husband had gone to work for the night shift.  We had eaten dinner and I was allowing the kids to watch a little TV before winding down for bed.  The five-year-old was upstairs watching something else than the other kids, who were downstairs.  I was on the computer checking email.  The power went out for about one minute.  Then it came back on.  We have Direct TV so the satellite had to power back on, which sometimes can take up to thirty minutes after a power outage.  The three kids downstairs shrugged their shoulders and said, "It will probably be on again as a re-run anyway" and went upstairs to brush their teeth and get pajamas on.  Not him.  He started screaming and wailing because he couldn't finish his show.  I told him that because the power went out, the TV company's system had to restart and sometimes it takes a while to get working again.  He continued to scream and wail as if he hadn't heard a word I'd said.  I told him that there wasn't anything I could change about what was happening with the TV.  I told him that we could look for that same episode of that show later to try and record.  We could even try to find it online.  Nothing would calm him and he screamed like that for a good twenty minutes before he found something else to wail about.

The above scenario is pretty typical.  He probably does something similar at least twenty times a day.  He wanted white milk and I gave him chocolate.  He wanted a sandwich not cut and I cut it.  He wants to ride his bike but it's raining.  He wants to play Legos with his older brothers but they want to play something else.  He doesn't want to do his chores.  Any and every little thing, a change or something he doesn't want to happen or anything unexpected comes along and he goes nuts wailing and crying.  I do try to forewarn him when it's time to change activities, like if his time on the Wii is almost done (this is a daily battle, even though he KNOWS he only gets 30 minutes and he KNOWS when he's down to the last few minutes and he KNOWS he has to get off or  he's grounded the next day, he still throws a tantrum almost every time), but I can't forewarn him about everything, like the power going out. 

I have tried to soothe him, ignore him, tell him "too bad", empathize with him, but nothing works.  He ignores everything and everyone around him and wails and wails.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  And I'm nervous because he starts school this fall and we all know that things don't always go your way at school and sometimes things change without warning too.  How will he handle that type of thing at school? 

Has anybody ever dealt with something like this? 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Favorite Book and Book Group

I haven't reviewed this book on Goodreads yet, and I actually want to post that one when I do it.  So this isn't the actual review I will write on this book.

I recently read the book "These Is My Words" by Nancy Turner.  It one an Arizona Book Award and was nominated for a Willa Cather award.  A friend of mine told me about the book several years ago when I still lived in Arizona.  She had read it for her book club.  I put it on my list of to-reads, and it kept getting pushed to the bottom.  A few times, I tried finding it for fun at the library while I was there, but it was never there.  Finally, I moved it to the top of the list because I felt like reading something from that period of time, late 1800's.  I reserved a copy at the public library and within days I had it in my hand.

This has got to be one of the best books I have read.  I loved it.  I couldn't put it down.  It wasn't exactly a page-turner, but I fell in love with the story and the simplicity with the way it's told.  I have always loved that time period and I think that was one of the factors that drew me to the book.

I was so excited about it that I decided to finally try and organize a book group, something I've been wanting to do for a while now.  So I sent out messages and suggested the book and got quite the response.  Tonight is our first meeting where we will discuss this book and I am quite excited.  In fact, I ordered a copy of the book for myself in the mail and got it on Saturday and have been re-reading it ever since.  It is just as good the second time around, even after only a month of having read it the first time.

I am excited about a book group.  One thing I have really missed about being in school the last 12 years is the discussions about learning.  Admittedly, a book group won't be like learning new things, but I'm looking forward to discussing what I'm reading with other people who've actually read it, not just my husband after I tell him the story of what I've read and then proceed to tell him what I think about it.  This will be much more enlightening and much more rewarding.  I have always wished I could put together a group of ladies who love learning as much as I do and would be willing to research out topics to learn about and then get together periodically to discuss them and share what we've learned.  I'm not sure anyone would want to form such a group, so I figure a book group is second best.  We won't always be learning new things, but we'll be discussing what we've read, and that is something I really look forward to doing.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vacation vs. Real Life Addendum

I was thinking more on my previous post and decided that there are a few reasons why I felt that way.  First of all, when I was on my vacation, much of the time we spent in our car driving.  Therefore, I had the complete, undivided attention of my spouse, something I don't often get.  Lots of times, he is so engrossed in a TV show that he doesn't hear what I tell him even though he acknowledges me and acts like he heard.  When I bring up the same subject again at a later time, he never knows what I'm talking about because he didn't listen the first time.  Or he's checking voice mails or responding to texts from people at his work.  Or playing the Wii.  So having his complete, undivided attention for 2500 miles was wonderful.  Of course, we did use a lot of that time listening to some audio books, but being able to turn it off and talk was rejuvenating for me.

Second, I got to see some of my favorite friends and family members.  I thrive on social activity and being shut away from the world in my house most of the time is hard for me.  I try to go to Girls Night Out every time I can, and I try to attend play group.  I just recently am attempting to start a book group, so we'll see how that goes.  But when I go for several days without talking to anyone but my kids (and my husband, who usually isn't listening), I feel like I'm going to go mad.  Being able to have conversations with lots of people, particularly some of my favorites, was refreshing to me as well.

And lastly, we had the money set aside for the trip.  We used cash the whole way.  I never really felt like we were over spending or that I had to take note of what we were using the money for because it was already there, allotted for this very vacation.  I think that really took a burden off of me because one of my tasks is to manage the money.  Though we discuss it often and remain open about it, it still falls to  me to make sure the bills get paid and paid on time and that we keep up with the checkbook and the budget sheet so we know exactly how much money is coming in and going out.  It's a big job.  It's time consuming and stressful for me.  This trip took me away from that for nearly TWO WHOLE WEEKS!

Plus, I had quite a bad first week back.  Two of my kids have had the runs all week.  I dealt with the stress of trying to get the van repaired from our little mishap on the trip.  I had to jump back into real life full force--attending a funeral for a beloved family member, tackling mountainous laundry, trying to regain the summer routine of chores, school work, and music and art instruction, taking a child to Urgent Care for an earache, and getting back into the chore of managing the money.  It's been a lot to deal with for me this week.  Getting back into the groove is never easy, I guess.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vacation vs. Real Life

My daughter trying to cheer up her baby brother on the beach.  He did not like the sand one little bit.

I have decided that I don't want to be in real life anymore.  I want to be on a permanent vacation.  Even though our vacation consisted of driving 2500 miles with five children under the age of ten, I still found it to be enjoyable and relaxing, at least once we got on the road that first day.  Planning it and doing all the preparations for it gave me major anxiety, but on the trip, the only moment I felt any anxiety, or panic really, was when we walked out front of my brother's house in California and discovered our car was not there.  Fortunately, it had only been towed, wrongfully towed, I might add, and a window got busted during the tow, something we still haven't had fixed.  Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

I loved the drive and almost wish that we didn't have an exact destination and a time crunch.  We took the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey all the way down to Santa Monica and, although it was slow-going at times, it was a fabulous drive and I enjoyed looking out over the ocean and stopping at a few different beaches along the way.

I enjoyed not worrying about paying bills (took care of that before we left) or caring for our aging dog (we hired someone to come take care of him) or the day-in and day-out issues of raising children.  Though we still had to deal with exhausted and bored children and dealt with the usual sleepless nights with our 16-month-old, it seemed less serious, less urgent to take care of these matters.  We were on vacation, after all, so I felt like we dealt with things with a little more patience and a little less stress.

The best part was seeing all the family we saw.  Three of my five brothers and their families.  My parents.  All of my husband's siblings, their families, and his mom.  Many members of the extended family on both sides as well.  Visiting with them, talking with them, relaxing with them, all of that was so wonderful for me.  Probably because I crave such contact with other people and at home all the social interaction I get tends to be limited to the screen of my computer.  I wish it weren't that way, but the only time I ever really get out and interact with other people is at our ward's once-a-week playgroup and those conversations just aren't enough for me to feel fulfilled intellectually.  I rather enjoyed the deep conversations I had with my parents about child-rearing philosophies and ideas about higher education and other social issues.  I enjoyed discussions I had with siblings on gospel topics and also conversations that took us down memory lane where we reminisced about the past.  Why is it so hard for me to find deep, meaningful friendships now that I am married with all these kids?  It seems like often the only people I can have such discussions with are people I knew in my non-married life--family members, former roommates, and old friends from high school and college.  People who know who I am outside of wife, mom, homemaker.

Now that I'm back to real life, I can feel the anxiety acting up again.  My stomach just churns and churns about every little detail of my life and I can't seem to do anything about it.  Right now, I wish we had an endless supply of money so we could have more vacations like that.  Real life seems dreadful.  Not that it's boring--it is certainly filled with ever-changing ups and downs--but it just seems like such a drag compared to the last two weeks of traveling.

Though I must admit, it is good to be back in my own house.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

End of Hiatus and Blog Ideas

Oye!  I haven't posted anything new for several weeks.  I just got too busy with pre-vacation preparations and then I was on vacation, and blogging kind of slipped to the wayside.

Not only that, but I've been rethinking this blog.  I still feel like it's floundering, like I can't seem to make it the way I want it.  I want a place to write my thoughts on whatever floats my boat.  Most of the time, I like to mull over the social issues that crop up, especially in the political arena, yet I'm not very politically minded so I wouldn't be very successful at a highly political blog.  There are too many other times I want to talk religion and too many other times I just want to reflect on life in general.  Therefore, I would love to co-create a community of bloggers who are like-minded on social issues and religiously with whom I could connect.  I've been a member of Mormon Mommy Blogs for about four years but feel very unfulfilled by the shallow babble that takes place on that site.  I also started frequenting certain Christian blogsites (Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers) but feel like I cannot connect with others there because they believe that since I'm a Mormon, I'm not a Christian.  Even though I tend to agree with these sites more than most of the Mormon sites I've found on issues of child-rearing and living my religion, they do not accept me as one of them because I believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings and that the Book of Mormon is scripture like the Bible and that you actually have to be good in order to attain the highest degree of salvation, not just profess belief in Christ to attain it.  So I've been thinking about creating a blog site of my own with contributors who share similar beliefs and ideas.

The question is, would anyone who reads this blog be interested in partnering with me to create a new site with the target audience being LDS women who are mothers who want to become better homemakers and give ideas on how to do that and live our religion and be "in the world but not of the world?"


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