Welcome To The Weekend

What am I going to do if my son is still having tantrums when he’s full grown?

Today he threw a suitcase into the air, hit himself repeatedly, screamed, whined, shook, knocked over chairs and basically destroyed our front room.

I screamed at the top of my lungs too and now my throat hurts.  And of course, I feel like a failure as a mother because I lost my cool and couldn’t stop his behavior.

He made a weekend schedule yesterday.  This morning, he couldn’t find it.  That was the cause of the tantrum.

He doesn’t care about the ease of scribbling out a new schedule.  He doesn’t care that he is able to tell you everything that he wants to do today.  He wants the paper he made.  He is devastated that it’s gone.

Devastated, yes.

The aggravation for me is that he won’t look for it.  He reduces to tears, then escalates to rage, be cause I can’t find it.

It makes absolutely no difference to him that I have never seen it.  I don’t know what color it is or how big it is, and I certainly have no idea where he last put it.  He is just beside himself with anger and grief because I can’t produce it the moment he asks.

I turned his room upside down, looked in the bathroom and sifted through the piles and piles of his papers downstairs.  All of that and nothing.  No schedule.  No end to his meltdown.

It’s only 7:20 a.m. and I am already exhausted.

How is your week going?

P.S.  This was our Tuesday:

♣♣

A Day At The Beach

My front room is a disaster again.  😦

What I wouldn’t give for a few feet of formal entryway, just a little something to soften the blow and keep every visitor from instantly seeing exactly how we live.

Right now, this space contains two large dishwasher-size boxes, a power sander, a heavy duty orange extension cord, a laundry basket full of cds, and five extra pieces of furniture.  I can’t stand it.

There is clutter everywhere.  A lot of it was generated by the little boy, but plenty of it is mine and a bit belongs to the husband too.

I want to get organized before the holidays blow in, you know?

Gotta tackle this disaster!

There is a loose plan brewing in my head for all of it, but it seems I never have time to implement the plan.  When I do get a few free minutes, I am usually so exhausted that I haven’t the brain power to make good decisions.

Consequently, I am easily defeated, sometimes teary, and a little depressed over this space.

Today, I needed a distraction from it.

Thank goodness we had plans for some family time at the beach.  🙂

Husband and the boy ventured much farther into the water than I cared to go.

I took pictures with my crappy phone.

My favorite part of the day (not) was trying to discreetly change to our clothes, in the street, next to the car, while another vehicle full of beach goers waited for our spot.  Awkward, but sooo San Diego, right?  😀  Heh heh.

Enjoy the pix!

Happy Sunday!

P.S. Come back in the next few days to find out if I solved my front room clutter dilemma.

P.P.S. Do you like my hat?

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Back Again

There were words missing from the word search in the little boy’s homework packet this week.

The words were listed on the bottom of the sheet, but they didn’t appear in the grid of letters above.  And the word “built” was backwards.

My son couldn’t handle that.  “No backwards!  No backwards built!”

He gasped that out through lumpy-throated, head-shaking moans.  Then he flew into a raging tantrum like I haven’t seen in a long time.

He ripped the paper into six pieces, wadded up the bits and threw them to the floor with a scream.

Next, he reached for the pencil bucket.

He used both hands to send bunches of sharpened projectiles into the air over his head.

Most of them rained down on the china hutch and computers behind him.  His scissors and the hole punch landed halfway up the stairs.

I snapped at him to pick up immediately.  He didn’t.

Instead, he up-ended a basket of his school papers and sent them sliding to the floor too.

I was mad and I yelled.  Nine years, and I still instantly feel like such a rookie in the face of his upsets.

I fought for calm and grabbed a piece of paper.  I drew a scale – one to ten – and tried to make him understand that the missing words on the homework sheet were just a “level 2 frustration” and not the “level 10 mad” he had just displayed.

He stared at me, a little catatonic, but with a spark of understanding.  I actually think he knew what I meant.  He watched in stillness as I taped the word search back together.

I talked to him quietly about his homework.  I told him we would put it away for now and try again tomorrow – maybe even make our own word search.  He seemed okay or, at least, distracted from his rage.

I stood up and I told him I was going to make dinner for daddy.  He had started drawing, so I left him at the table.

In the kitchen, I put on gloves to peel and slice some garlic.  I should have predicted it wasn’t the best night to do that.  He interrupted me on the third of ten cloves.

“I want to take a bath.”

It was a routine, even-tempered, and perfectly articulated announcement, but it was much earlier than usual and I wasn’t ready to go upstairs with him.

I showed him my gloves and knife and the cutting board too.  I even told him to smell the garlic, so he would know my fingers were too stinky to touch the shower curtain or the faucet, much less the shampoo bottle or his hair.

I reminded him that last night we talked about what a big nine-year-old boy he is and how he can take a shower by himself now.

He looked at me and started to shake.

Clearly, this was not the time to begin a new independence.  I cut the garlic faster and told him to wait a few minutes.  He couldn’t.

He started looking around for something to throw.  He used his arm to clear a binder and some loose papers off of the new glass topped dresser in the kitchen.  He looked at me and then turned back to the dresser and tried to push it over and the glass off too.

That was the final straw for me.

I yelled at him to stop, I pulled off my garlicky gloves and I followed him out of the room.  I was defeated and he had begun whining, slapping himself and flailing his arms back and forth.

He wanted me to come with him upstairs, but he was so mad and I was too.

I am embarrassed to confess that I lectured him all the way to the tub.  It really didn’t help or make either of us feel any better.  I am an ogre.

He got in, turned on the water and yanked the curtain shut.  I left the bathroom and went back downstairs to cry and finish the damned garlic.

I knew I had only ten minutes until he emerged from the shower, failed to dry off, and came dripping downstairs, expecting me to get pajamas for him.

That time limit made me cry even harder and chop even faster.

Sure enough, he came into the kitchen, naked and damp, just as expected.  I kept chopping.

He said nothing and left the room.  I heard the laundry doors open and could hear his little whisper voice talking about something in the hall.

I was weighted by his tantrum and couldn’t even muster a smile, but I had finished the garlic, so I washed my hands and went to get him the pajamas.

Much to my surprise, he was already in them!

Miracle.

He was even wearing a pair of shorts that he typically rejects.  He did it himself and he made a compromise too.  I was speechless.  Something sunk in…and it kind of melted me.

In the day’s sea of frustration and tears, my smart little boy extracted some useful tidbit and took a step toward more independence.

It may seem like a teeny step, but it’s big enough for me.

Happy Tuesday, indeed.

Good little boy.  😀

God, I’m tired.

Sigh.

P.S.  Look at the new hibiscus now…so pretty.  Thanks, husband.  🙂

♥♥

Early Saturday

The boy and I made a schedule for the weekend.

Today we were up at 6:00 a.m. and out the door for Crispy’s Donuts (not Krispy Kreme!) in less than twenty minutes.  That’s what the boy wanted, so that’s what we did.

I tried to exercise a little more restraint this time.  We still got the whole pink box, but I only nibbled on small chunks instead of inhaling half the dozen like it was my very last meal.

I did eat most of a croissant.  I had to.  Crispy’s makes the best croissants around.  Don’t argue.  That’s the flat out truth.  You can’t just buy one and leave it in the box.

The boy mowed the glaze off of his selections and threw the carcasses in the trash, as usual.

He did that for lunch and snack time too.

By 8:15, we were at the park.

Clearly, a couple of tweenage girls had been there too.

Do girls still just love to write their idols’ names and draw hearts and stuff, or is there some bigger picture here?

Does Justin Bieber actually ♥ Justin Timberlake?  I’m so out of the loop.

Maybe the girls were a little goofy on birthday fumes.  Not sure what to make of that monkey.

Though it may explain this:

Really, piggy park users?  There’s a trash bin less than twenty feet from here.  😡

The boy was in a funny mood today.  His very purposeful stare was cracking me up.

 

After sliding, the boy wanted a push on the swing.  I hung the camera around my neck and turned it off.  Or so I thought.

 

We had a good time.  😀

Now it’s almost 2:00 p.m. and the little boy is at the table, cutting out nouns from a workbook and stapling them onto a paper he made.  He loves to do schoolwork and will design it himself if there is nothing more to finish from his teacher.  We have a pile of workbooks that he has dismantled and rearranged and learned from in the last several months.  He’s such a smart little boy.

And now he is asking me to help him with his fluency time, so I have to wrap this up!

Happy Saturday!

P.S.  I’m going to see The Help tonight.  I can’t wait.  The book was sooo good.  Have you read it?  Have you seen the movie?  What did you think?

♥♥

Jonesin’ for the Jig

The little boy is enamored of arms.  For months now, he has been fascinated with freckles and veins and moles and anything that sets an arm apart from the one next to it.  He likes to study these things.

Mostly, it’s kind of charming.  He is gentle and sweet and genuinely interested in the differences between us and himself.

Sometimes though, it’s sort of annoying.  My arms are not my best feature, you know?  I don’t really want him to point them out in public, much less unexpectedly reach his hand up my sleeve and shake them.  😐

To combat this unwanted activity, I started pulling him close and threatening “if you jiggle me, then I tickle you!”  It stopped him about three times. 

Now he has, in fact, used the word “jiggle” to nickname my arm.  And his dad’s arm too. (Though dad’s doesn’t actually jiggle.)

Funny, right?

Um…well…no.  No.

Okay, it’s a little funny.

A few weeks ago he came up to me, his eyes full of love for my fleshy underarm, and he said “Thomas hug the jig?”

Seriously?  I don’t even get the rest of the word, now?

My husband and I both laughed, but I don’t know.  It just sounds wrong or something, doesn’t it?

Well, whatever, that’s what he says now.  My arm is “the jig.”  More specifically, the squishy, unfit, underside of my upper arm is called “the jig.”

Oh, and “tickle puff.”  Sometimes he just calls it “tickle puff.”

The thing is…

the boy has eyes for other arms too.

He just likes to hug people, you know?  He sees their bare skin and he smiles.  He is fascinated and wants to wrap himself around them and just hug.

Most of the teachers and aides who know him at school are fine with his latest obsession.  None of them seem to mind this extra attention from my smiling boy.

The other parents?  Well, I’m not so sure about them.  I don’t think any of them would be troubled by an accidental nudge from a stray kid, but fawning adoration of a specific body part?  I don’t think they would be too welcoming of that.  They don’t know him.  They don’t know that he’s harmless and sweet.

Every morning as we stand in the line for his classroom, my son eyeballs the arriving parents.

It’s hot in August and all those mamas have on tank tops and spaghetti straps and short sleeves.

My son is fascinated.  He smiles, he laughs, he looks, he really wants to hug.

Today, one of the moms I’ve never met (and whom I’m a little put off by, actually 😐 ) showed up in a strapless sundress.  Oy.  She sat at the picnic tables with the kids who were eating breakfast.

Nothing happened, but only because I never took my eyes off of my son.

He skipped up to the tables, deftly weaved between the other kids and was standing next to strapless mama in about two seconds flat.

Her back was to him, so she never knew that she almost got an arm squeeze.

I called him back before he did it and tried to explain that he couldn’t hug just any jiggling arm.

I don’t know if my words made sense to him or not.  I’m guessing not, since I’ve told him this same information every day for several weeks and nothing has changed.

We get to school, we stand in line, and the boy starts jonesin’ for some jig.

Watch this space…

Next month, he’ll have a new obsession.

Sweet potato.  🙂

As I typed this, he wouldn’t leave my arm alone.  Just now he asked me “Thomas hug the jiggy?”

Thank goodness!

I got some letters back.  😀

P.S.  Those pix above are from our weekly IHOP visit.

P. P.S. Husband is making little changes in the yard this week.  I’ll post a few pix in the next day or two.  For now, look what I brought in to put on the counter.  I love, love, love the bright orange.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

Flinn Springs Park in El Cajon

We took the boy to Flinn Springs County Park yesterday.

It was beautiful and surprisingly empty.

The last time we went to Flinn Springs, we were turned away by the ranger, right at the gate.  There was a birthday party going on and the guests had filled the parking lots, leaving day use visitors out of luck.

We were caught off guard, had no solid back-up plan, and ended up a little disappointed in our family outing that day.  😦

Yesterday made up for that.

Flinn Springs is a huge park with a giant play structure…

beautifully constructed gazebos with a little stage and a skylight…

lots of shade and picnic areas…

a long creek with babbling bubbles…


beautiful old trees…

humongous boulders and views of the mountains…

and a lot of fairly safe room to run and run and run and climb and run some more…

The boy had a great time!  😀

We explored the shadier areas of the park, but skipped the trails because of the heat.  I’m not sure what those trails are like – how long, if they are shaded, if they include any hills, etc. – so you will have to check the park info or see for yourself on that.

Flinn Springs has handicapped visitor access areas, water fountains and decent restrooms with stall doors, but no soap or paper towels.  It also has a second, much smaller play structure at the very edge of the park.  That one is right next to a private residence though and it feels less airy and inviting than the other.

Over all, Flinn Springs Regional Park is a great place to take kids for a short dose of the great outdoors.

When the little boy finally exhausted his energy, we hit the road and found an IHOP.  We were sweaty and dirty, but no one in the restaurant seemed to care.

The boy was an angel while we ate.  As usual, he inhaled a full cup of chocolate milk, then sipped down three little cups of creamer like they were tiny aperitifs, he nibbled on a pancake, and then made an entree of croutons with ranch dressing.  His dainty ways caught the attention of an older couple sitting at the table next to ours.

When we got up to leave, the lady leaned over with a big smile and said “you have a very well behaved young man there.”  Her husband added “and he’s a good looking young man too.”

I thanked them both for their kind words and wished them a pleasant day.

Then, my well behaved, handsome son pointed to the lady’s legs and said “VEINS!”

We left pretty quickly after that.  😀

Happy Monday!

P.S.  When I was messing with the camera to get the right flash for that picture of the hole at the base of the tree, husband came up behind me and did that spider tickle thing on my neck.  I knew it was him, but it CREEPED ME OUT.  Bad husband.  😡

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