Saturday, September 27, 2008

The TV is Skipping

This little story gives a little bit of visibility into the relationship between my children. Although, over the last year, it has greatly improved, my two children are not the most compatible or happiest of siblings. My dreams of hand-holding lovebugs flew out the window a long time ago. I live in a more realistic world now. Anyhow, on to the story...

For the last few weeks, the cable has been skipping. There seems to be some minor, intermittent interference with certain channels, Sprout being one of them. When it first happened, it disturbed Elena immensely and she made me explain all about satellite transmission and cable reception. Finally, I just summed it up by saying, "The TV is skipping." She would then announce loudly that the TV was, AGAIN, skipping all the time.

A week or so later, Liam had picked up on this. Now, when the TV skipped, the scene unfolded like this:

TV: skip skip skip

Liam: tee-bee skip-ping, tee-bee skip-ping (I haven't mentioned this before, but he does repeat everything twice, which is a bit odd)

Elena [flying in from other room]: NO WEEUM! DON'T TELL ME IT'S SKIPPING! STOP IT!!! (no clue why it bugs her so, but it REALLY bugs her, sometimes she would even smack him or shove him...sigh)

Liam [looking shocked and trailing off]: skipppp...

Mommy [entering room, looking perturbed]: What is the problem? Why can't he say what he wants? Why can't you let him notice that the TV is skipping? [then she walks out muttering and berating herself for getting involved when she knows she shouldn't]

So, that scene has repeated dozens of times in the last month, with me becoming more numb to it and getting less and less involved and Liam getting smart enough to keep his mouth shut about the TV skipping...

This morning, Elena was upstairs and no where near. The TV skipped and I watched Liam, alone in the room, to see him react to it. I waited through about four skips before I said to him, "Hey, is that TV skipping?" (am I an instigator? maybe...) What was his reaction?

Guess he's picked up a little something from his sister, huh?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More on Mailboxes

Well, we all know about about Liam's mailbox obsession. It's still going strong. When we walk, we pass a cricket mailbox (crooked mailbox) and a beebee mailbox (baby mailbox, which is just one that is shorter than the one beside it, which of course is the momma mailbox), there are many broken mailboxes, any empty post is a goggone mailbox (all gone mailbox) and mailboxes of various colors. It's like a mailbox expo.

This past week, he cracked me up with his latest mailbox descriptor. We walked by a birdhouse on a post. This was one of those little houses that was quite elaborate and looked like a small Victorian house. He spied it and got excitedly shrill. "CUCKOO MAILBOX!!!!!!! CUCKOO MAILBOX!!!!" I had to think about that one for a minute. What the heck was he talking about? AH HA! Any box on a post was a mailbox and since this one was a cute little house, it looked like a cuckoo clock to him...hence CUCKOO MAILBOX...I explained that that was not a mailbox, but a birdhouse. So, he amended, in his cute way (interspersing the word hess (yes) into the sentence), "Hess, cuckoo birdhouse, hess."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Liam's Language

I just adore some of the language interpretations of the toddler stage. Liam is at that stage now. Here are some of my favorites:

dipprent = different - When we are walking, Liam will talk about going the wong way, the wight way, this way or a dipprent way.

wainboat = rainbow - Interesting story about this one, last week I was putting Liam down for his nap and Liam was talking about the "wainboat in sky"...there was a CD positioned so it was refracting a rainbow on his ceiling. I pulled down the shade and still the rainbow remained. It was being created by the sliver of light that was sneaking in from the side of the shade and creating a beautiful wainboat on his ceiling!

twactu = tractor - Liam has a book about Tractor Mac who holds a starring role in Liam's life as of late. He is OBSESSED!

beabs = beads - Mommy is obsessed with beading and Liam likes to help. "Help beabing?"

He's also passing into that lovely age of specificity...moving from just car, to race car, Jeep, Mini Cooper, Bolbo (Volvo - SOOO cute) or from all construction vehicles being "tractus" to back hoes, diggers, steamwollers, et al.

It's just so neat to watch them acquire language!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Highly Sensitive

So, when Patrick and I first started dating, he was reading a book called The Highly Sensitive Person. This was a prophetic moment for my relationship with him. He was, indeed, highly sensitive (in temperament). I should have read that book cover to cover, but I didn't. I skimmed. Now, I have had his children and it appears our daughter favors his temperament.

So, I went to the Highly Sensitive Child Website and took the Highly Sensitive Child inventory. I had to practically RUN out and buy the book. Holy crap. This child is highly, highly sensitive. On the inventory and she scored a twenty-two out of twenty-three possible! So, what does this mean for parenting her? For raising her? For her challenges in life? I think this excerpt from the website sums it up best:

So, what now?
First, appreciate that this is a wonderful trait. It is no illness or syndrome. Nor is it something new I made up or "just discovered." It is an inborn temperament or style that is found in about twenty percent of children and of nearly all animals. Anything so persistent is not abnormal. It represents a strategy of taking everything into account before acting (the other, more common innate strategy is to act quickly and be first, then think later). The trait serves an important purpose for the individual sensitive person and for the larger society--for example, sensitive persons sense danger and see the consequences of an action before others do.

Unfortunately, the trait has been somewhat misunderstood in our culture, so that most psychologists and parents tend to see only one aspect of some sensitive children and call this trait shyness, inhibitedness, fearfulness, fussiness, or "hyper" sensitivity. If one could see inside the mind of a sensitive child, however, one would learn the whole story of what is going on--creativity, intuition, surprising wisdom, empathy for others...

But, for all of that to blossom, they absolutely must be raised with understanding. Otherwise, as adults they are prone to depression, anxiety, and shyness.

So, the second "what now" might be to read The Highly Sensitive Child. I wrote this book because so many adults were telling me that their childhoods were excruciatingly difficult, even when their parents had the best intentions, because no one knew how to raise them. Parents and teachers told them there were "too sensitive" or "too shy" or "too intense." They tried to change and could not, and so felt increasingly isolated or ashamed. My hope is to spare some children such unnecessary suffering and the world the waste of so much talent, because HSCs have a tremendous amount to offer the world. But they do need special handling. They need to be appreciated, to have their special needs and sometimes intense reactions and behaviors understood, and, when correction is needed, they need to be handled with special care so that they do not become anxious or ashamed of their failure.

This book is rooted in years of my experience as a psychotherapist and consultant to HSPs and parents of HSCs, plus interviews with parents, teachers, and HSCs themselves for the book. Then there are my experiences from my fumbling efforts to raise an HSC before I knew what that was. And there's what I know from having been an HSC myself.

Again, few parents and teachers understand this trait-–and as a result, HSCs are often mislabeled as "problem children" (and in some cases, misdiagnosed with disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder). But raised with proper understanding and care, HSCs are no more prone to problems than nonsensitive children and can grow up to be happy, healthy, unusually well-adjusted and creative adults.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Drink Alone

So, last night over dinner, my family had an interesting discussion about "drinking alone" vs. "drinking socially." A lot of people maintain that drinking alone is not a good sign, that it points to some sort of alcohol problem. After having lived with an alcoholic for years who drank alone for reasons foreign to me (and all of the non-alcoholics I know), I think drinking alone is not always a bad sign.

My sister brought up the point that being single women, as we both are, drinking a glass or two of wine at night alone should be fine. I mean, should we have to wait to be in a relationship to be able to have a relaxing glass of wine at the end of the day? If a married couple wants to share a glass or two of wine over dinner, it's completely accepted. However, if a single woman wants to sit by herself and drink a glass or two of wine, it's vilified, or a sign of a real problem. Consider the alternative, spending four times as much a glass for wine, risking driving while (even slightly) impaired, and drinking alone at a bar.
Weigh in...what do you think?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Skidding Out

Sometimes, when parenting, I feel like I am skidding. I think skidding is the perfect analogy because it connotes the lack of control I feel. I like to remind myself that, like a skid, it is a temporary situation. When the kids are horrid, or I cannot deal, or I want to lock them (or me) in a room in time-out...those situations are temporary. After a short period of time, things right themselves again and straighten out.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Citizen's Arrest

On Wednesday when I was out walking, I saw a suspicious van on a dead end street with out-of-state plates, and I thought...hmmmmmmm, that's a bit odd and seems out of place, and walked on. But, then saw it again on another circular street. So I called 911 from my cell....I was thinking of myself of a sort of neighborhood watch, even though it was not technically my neighborhood.

So, the police told me they were sending over a cruiser. They called me back when they had found the vehicle and pulled them over and so I walked on my merry way. All of a sudden I noticed there had been a phonebook delivery, all along my walking route, since I had first walked by. So, I felt like a total idiot for getting these poor, pathetic souls in trouble.

I got home and was making a hamburger dinner and the police called me again to thank me for calling in and to tell me that the guys were unlicensed drivers and they had to tow the vehicle. Now, who the hell takes a job delivering phone books with NO LICENSE? I feel bad, because they looked like (as much as one can look like one), they will probably be deported and all they wanted to do was take care of their little kids by delivering phone books!!!! Argh!

Costco Ridiculousness

Those of you who have read my blog for years, know my dyspepsia for all things poor in customer service. This week, it is Costco's turn. The other day, my friend Ketra and I took the kids to Costco on her membership. When we were ringing out, she attempted to use her debit card. The debit card has a Visa logo on it, which Costco doesn't take, but they do take debit, she swiped her card. Now, for the last week or so, she has been dealing with the fact that her debit card has lost its mojo...its swipe is gone.

She thinks it had a run-in with a magnet somewhere, but it no longer works as a convenient method of payment. Stores across Connecticut have been forced to retreat to 1988 to process her card, pulling out carbon impression machines and typing in numbers by hand. It's been a real pain. The bank, Bank of America of course, is very in tune with her challenge and is only making her wait TEN days for a new card, but that's neither here nor there, this is not a blog about BofA (been there done that). This is about Costco.

So, there we are at the check-out at Costco, we explain that the strip is defunct on the card we want to use and ask if they can simply type the numbers in. In a word, "no." No, we cannot type the numbers in...which wouldn't have peeved us if it hadn't been for the reasoning. No, we cannot enter the numbers manually on this card because we do not take Visa. Um...whaaaaaat???? It's a debit card! It just has a dead strip. Instead of inputting the data via a magnetic kiss with a swipe machine, we want you to enter the code. Escalation occurs to the managers and it is confirmed. Nope. Cannot do it. That Visa logo, which usually serves to make the debit card more useful, has in this case, rendered it useless.

The explanation centered around a specific exclusivity agreement with American Express. I understand that Marketing and Business Development are important pursuits, but to the exclusion of customer service and satisfaction? In my world, that's not right.

So, I write this blog, specifically addressing it to James D. Sinegal and Joseph P. Portera of Costco to ask their help in fixing this problem. In this day and age, when we have learned to rely on our plastic debit cards, there has to be another alternative for situations like this. Please?