Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Entering the darker time of the year

Has anything memorable been happening?
This morning we went down to the bathroom and there was a dead mouse in the toilet.  It was a bit shocking, but practically, it save us from trapping it.  Still pretty gross, and surprising because usually mice are in our kitchen, not the bathroom. Also, we haven't had a mouse problem in a while.  I guess its back.  Its that time of year. Ugh.

Other things?
My little star is re-entering terrible twos?  That's what it seems like; perhaps it has to do with turning four soon.  Perhaps its to repay me for suggesting that the psychologist was exaggerating when he said my son was hard to parent.  He's had a lot of meltdowns recently over... well... nothing aside from maybe he was hungry or needed to go to the bathroom.

He had his four year old checkup today in which we waited about forever in the doctors office- you know after the nurse takes you in so there are no toys and nothing to do except to keep your inquisitive little child from opening up the two biohazard waste containers in the room.   Little Star handled this as well as could be expected especially considering the day didn't exactly have him in the best of moods.  Our new doctor examined him for perhaps five minutes- the time it takes to check his ears, eyes, heart, tummy, and feet, tell him to climb on the examining table and jump.  I think I have everything here.  He told us the boy was he was healthy in the top ten percentile for height and weight.  I asked about hearing and eyes, so he conceded the nurse should check his eyes- he did fine on that, and that he didn't need hearing checked since we hadn't noticed any issues.

He explained what we would have noticed as issues, and I supposed he was right since yesterday I took little star to this very nice children's concert where he complained that the orchestra was too loud.  Stupid me, I sat near the front with him so he could really see the instruments.  Brainless.  Next time, into the balcony- maybe he won't remember that he didn't like it last time because it was too loud.  It really was a nice concert.

So about the doctor...the corporation, which is the American Health Network, or somebody in the practice has decided to keep us on with the practice and they are looking for a nurse practitioner to take our doctor's place.  Now, frankly, I don't really mind seeing a nurse practitioner most of the time- I don't have serious health problems, and if I did I'd probably have to see a specialist anyway.  But it does strike me as somebody just trying to save some money.  Or it could be no doctor in their right mind wants to live around here, so they might has well find somebody they can get.  

But that's not my main complaint- aside from them NOT NOTIFYING us that our doctor was leaving.  My main complaint is that I believe we are being kept on because our insurance is OK.  We think that's the only reason we got in to start with.  This situation is just so unfair, and I feel bad participating in such a system at all.  The office is also 25 minutes from our house.  If I had an acceptable alternative closer I would certainly take it.  Luckily they've just opened up an urgent care center near us.

The only thing,  I can say that's good about the idea of the American Health Network business, is that they give their doctors a salary so there are not these perverse billing/testing incentives...  Our new doctor also comes highly recommended from other moms I know.

Frankly, I wasn't that impressed.  He didn't ask me anything at all that I can remember, aside from if my son was caught up on vaccinations.  We do have concerns about our son's social growth.  I didn't bring them up because we are addressing it in other ways, but I remember last year I had a long talk with my doctor about it.  You might think they would ask if I had any questions or concerns- or maybe he would ask if the boy was potty trained- maybe he just assumed the kid was since he was wearing underwear and most kids are. He's making some progress on the potty training, but he's still got a long way to go, so I am still frustrated with it.

Oh, the other great news (that was meant to be sarcastic), we are accepting brine water from fracking in PA into injection wells in our county.  I learned that last night from our local paper.  We can only hope "brine" water is really all it is and that it won't be a problem.  And what did facebook have to tell me today? Our governor has decided to allow fracking in Ohio state lands- I forget exactly which lands the article mentioned.  Oh Yay.  At least there are no earth quakes here... yet.  And we still have power... so far.

I think my son's moods are affecting me... or mine was affecting his?  All things change in time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The good news and my whining

So we got to meet with the psychologist to see if my son has autism or Aspergers or what; he observed my son last week.  Well, it wasn't really like I expected, but that's not a bad thing. He said my son definitely is not autistic, and explained why.  He said he didn't seem to have Aspergers... we at least not definitively- yellow flags not red ones.  So maybe at some future date that would be diagnosed, but there wasn't enough evidence now, and there were things that suggested he did not have it.  So, although he used the term "eccentric", I like the more common term, "quirky", to describe my son.   So this is excellent news to me- what it says to me is that my son won't need to continuously work around his basic wiring to deal with people.

But he did suggest there might be some problems we should address...

and this is what I totally didn't expect about it- he asked why when I left last time it took us like 15-20 minutes to get into the car.  I was like, "what???"  Now I can't really remember it much except that I may have let my little start play around with something before he got into his seat because we weren't exactly in a hurry and I don't mind him exploring stuff if we have time, but it couldn't have taken more than about five minutes- he'd drunk a lot of water and I did want to get him home before he had an accident.  Now admittedly, it does often take my son longer to respond to commands than is ideal, but I am quite sure that if it had been important that we leave quickly, I would have got him to leave in a reasonable amount of time.

The Dr. thinks that he has to learn to respond faster to commands (which is true- but I hardly think him getting into the seat in that particular instance has anything to do with it), and its not that he never does.  The Dr. kept saying these things implying that I just don't expect enough out of my son (my interpretation), that I'm one of these parents that allows him to get away with murder, make too many choices, and explains too much (my exaggeration).  Frankly, that I take it too intellectually and am not direct enough.

The Dr. kept giving these examples of other parents that were doing things I don't do (at least not more than once, when I 'm not tired, when I realize they are ineffectual- what I mean is, they are not parenting behaviors that I find useful even if I do slip into them sometimes- I KNOW they are not effectual, I don't need to be told)  And then he'd say what the thing the "good" parent did with an emphasis on giving consequence that I really don't think would be effective or nice- they were based on fear, which he then said he wouldn't advocate a fear based thing- so I wasn't sure he really understood what that meant or that he wasn't advocating these particular methods; he was just suggesting I didn't give consequences.  I do give consequences, they just aren't draconian, and they are meant to teach, not punish.  That is, if you don't do x I'll have to help you with it, or we won't have time for y, you'll have to get down if you can't x because its not safe, or we'll have to put this away because its distracting you.  And he does respond to these.

The Dr. implied with an example that if we went about our bedtime ritual- that is if we had one, it could be done in fifteen minute rather than an hour.  Sure it could (and yes we DO have a ritual and yes it does take a while- he kind of implied we didn't as if he's even asked us!), but then I wouldn't get to spend half an hour reading books to my child or spend fifteen minutes singing to him every night.  I like reading and singing to him and I think its good for him.  We don't, as consequence put him to bed too late, we just start earlier, and if he's stalling too much we read less stories- but I didn't tell Dr. any of this.  The Dr. did not give ONE example of a way of going about any particular thing that would in fact be helpful and be any different than what we have done- and he doesn't know what we do anyway.    And the meeting really wasnt' about specifics, I was just really annoyed by the tone of his thoughts, assumptions, and examples.

Basically, all I took out of it was that I am not assertive enough (he pretty much ignored my husband- who agrees)- and this part is true, but its actually something we are both working on and I think have actually made some positive changes lately.  He said my son was going to be difficult to parent and the usual strategies might not work as well.  Thanks for validating that.  I actually kind of thought that while he wasn't the easiest kid, I've certainly heard of worse problems, so I was counting my blessings that we don't have problems with aggression and lots of other evil things I've heard of.

Although the Dr. claimed he was not attacking my parenting, I sure felt it.  I felt like the parenting he wanted is kind of a crushing of spirit.  He said something like, it looks like your son is waiting to decide if he wants to do what he's asked... rather than just doing it.  Well, why shouldn't he decide, why should an adults request always trump his interests and needs?  I think the doctor assumes that my little one automatically should do what authorities ask him to do- that I should train him to do so- and he has a point- the kid does need to do what his teachers tell him to do whether he likes it or not or he'll get in trouble and not be offered opportunities- that is he has to learn the game.  I kind of thought he had learned just fine to respond to his teacher... until a few days ago.  The doctor suggested that peers don't want to deal with him because they are not skilled in doing it and they won't make that special one on one effort he responds to.  Probably true- a concern.

I kind of think I missed something... like is that all it comes down to- he doesn't respond properly to requests?  The Dr seemed to think that my little one behaved differently with him because he was more assertive and knew how to do it better- that our concerns didn't mirror what he saw, but I don't really know what he was referring to- it looked to me that my son stalled with him the same way he does with me.  He said the boy did multiple step tasks with him... as if he doesn't at home when he's not tired?  Of course he does, and he does at school too.  And that was not a concern of ours.   He didn't try potty training with the kid, and he didn't try face recognition, so he can't speak to these- our main concerns.

We talked a bit about him not recognizing people- the doctor seems to think its a just a matter of not remembering names- that not being salient and interesting to him- he thinks my little star probably really does recognize people just doesn't respond with a name.  I'm not too sure about that, but he suggested a way of testing it.  In any case it doesn't seem to be an indicator of autism, so I guess I should be happy.  Dr. doesn't seem concerned.

The doctor seemed to think other people were concerned about my son's social progress- ie there is a problem, and I tried to say that no, nobody was concerned, I asked for screening, I asked for observation, but it was like I had said nothing- after-all everyone had something to say and filled out the reports.

Well anyway, I really was glad to find that my little star doesn't have autism, probably not aspergers, and school is good for him.  And that maybe I was right that some early intervention would be good for him.

I just felt really crappy during/after the meeting.  The Dr. occasionally would sprinkle in things in the conversation that I'd never heard of, and I had to ask him what he meant.  I'm pretty educated, I've looked into this, took child development, pyschology, but I'm not an expert- that's why we went to him, so I don't expect to be talked down to, but I also don't expect him to throw in this jargon that I have to ask about.  I don't expect too many of his patients know more about it than I do, so I would think he'd know how to talk to us better.  I could have just sat there and listened knowingly, rather than asked what he meant and feel stupid that I don't.  That would have been easier, but I was feeling pretty ornery and I do what to know exactly what I'm supposed to know about my son.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Everyday life and thoughts on the "Christmas walk"

I figured I should post something, but I haven't had a profound thoughts or experiences lately.  This is how it went this week: Some days I stay home with my little star where we maybe go on a short adventure/errand, or spend some time outside in the morning.  Since we are still working on potty training we never go far.

Afternoons are taken up with trying to make nap happen.  If lunch begins around noon, nap tries to begin slightly after one, but then it gets delayed for extra potty trips, and suddenly it is two o'clock.  If we are lucky, nap lasts two hours.  If not, nap lasts one hour.  Still there is not much time for anything interesting to happen before dinner time.  The next day little star goes to play care.  Those days, for some reason he sleeps later, we get to play care after 10 am, and somehow he manages not to take a nap there.  I go to the gym, eat lunch, do some errands, check out some internet stuff, maybe mow the lawn, work on dinner, and its time to pick him up.  Occasionally I actually get some work on my project accomplished- often on the one day I skip the gym.  

This week I worked on the business plan, but had to quit when the question of location cropped up.  And then today I noticed the nearest new children's museum is able to offer family yearly memberships for $95, very affordable, and I don't think we can match it unless we get a lot of families.  And that seems to be the crux of my worries about it.  I just have no idea how many people will come.   I want to open up soon on one hand, on the other hand, I want to have lots more people organizing.  I wrote up all the responsibility of the half time paid director- all the payment I think we can afford, and the job is way more than that- it also should pay more.

Funny thing is, we have grant money.  Right now.  And I'm feeling more worried about the project than ever.  The next big event we should be at is the "Christmas Walk."  Its like a first friday event, all the down town merchants are open and there are fun activities for kids and freebies and stuff.... and Santa.   Personally, I think even having a public event called the "Christmas" walk is insensitive at best, offensive at worst.  I'm sure it doesn't occur to organizers that not only are some people not Christian and don't celebrate or enjoy Christmas, but that they find this celebration to be excluding them.  And I'm sure for the tiny number of non-Christians who care, our lack of participation won't make any difference to the merchants.   Perhaps there are Christians who also would rather that it wasn't celebrated in such a commercial way as well.

Thinking carefully about how they could do this event better, I have to admit that honestly it wouldn't make me that much happier if they called it a Holiday walk or something non-christian when they really DID mean Christmas. At least they are not equating Chanuka (a small non-bibical holiday) with Christmas.   A title that is used for a different non-religious event in Ithaca is "Light in Winter". I like that.  I like "Harvest Festivals"- nothing religious about that- every culture has a harvest.  How about "gift walk", "Autumn shopping", "Preparing for winter," "Lighting the night..." "Downtown celebration...".  And then people would complain we were taking Christmas spirit away from the "holiday season".  To be honest, non-christians often have to buy stuff for our Christian brethren or relatives, but still would rather it was called something related to the time of year or gift giving rather than "Christmas" that feels so exclusive.

In any case, since this is the big event, despite its name, our organization should be there, but it probably won't be because I will be out of town- its the Sunday just after Thanksgiving.