Family · Parenting · Perspective

Flexible Thinking

After “officially ruining” my 7yr old’s day by requesting he get dressed for school this morning – which I might add we had a 5 day break for Parent Teacher conferences, President’s Day and then a 2hr late start due to an ice storm! – I’ve apparently decided to binge eat myself thru my morning at work with a healthy chicken noodle soup, less healthy croissants, and unhealthy Girl Scout Thin Mints.

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It’s been a banner eight hours since I got out of bed. It’s only 1:25pm.

Mixed into the muddle of this morning, I had the most uplifting text conversation with my dear friend Sarah at Horizon Mental Health. She is an amazing person, friend, college roommate, mother, wife, therapist… I could go on and on. The past few days, she’s been helping me sort out how I can better communicate with, guide, and connect with my 7yr old son.

My son has been thriving at school. He excels with his friends, peers, and in almost every activity he tries. When a friend was unhappy at school because he had to miss recess and read to finish an assignment, he stayed in with him and read his book at the next desk over. He is respectful with his teachers and coaches at school, youth group, and in community sports. Responsible, kind, loving, friendly, willing to work with others – all personality traits he possesses.

But whoa! We are not clicking at home the past few months. The last three months are also our busiest at work, craziest with family holidays, and then we all had various cases of influenza A, B, stomach flu, and some other weird respiratory virus. We are all out of whack!

What I’ve learned since November is that as his mother, I AM WRONG ALL. THE. TIME.

Me: “There’s 13 grades in school if you count Kindergarten.” Him: “There is NO SUCH THING as a 12th grade! You are WRONG!” Me: “Yes buddy, I taught 12th graders. They are called seniors. It’s the last year of school before you go to college or a trade school or get a full-time job.” Him: “You are WRONG!” Then I walked away from the debate because this wasn’t a war I wanted to fight. I love him too much to argue about absolutely everything.

Argument after argument. He gets angry and tells me I am wrong or he just isn’t going to do it (like wear pants or walk to his bedroom at bedtime – completely normal daily things). We are “bossing” him around.

My amazing friend directed me to a thought process call “flexible thinking.” I started researching it upon our initial conversation. My son is a “rigid thinker.” Very bright, likes structure, and gets his world rocked when there is unexpected change. Sometimes he is able to go with the flow. Other times, he is a mule with his hooves cemented in the ground.

As his mother and the main parent at home on the weekends and after school (my husband’s work schedule puts this in my wheelhouse), I am the one who typically is introducing the change or requiring him to be flexible.

Frankly, we need to dial back the frustration and find our workable space again.

A few things we will be trying to implement in our house after learning about “flexible thinking”:

  • A better framework for a schedule before and after school
  • A better framework for the weekend schedule
  • A process for him to adjust when it is out of his control WITHOUT arguing.
    • Breathe. Accept that some things are out of his control. Decide how he wants to proceed. Carry out his plan.
    • An example: T-man, in 5 minutes we are heading home. Five minutes later, it is now time to go home from the office.–“Breathe. Accept that even though you want to do x, y, and z before we leave, it is time to go now.” Then he will need to make his own plan for how to handle this and carry it out. This plan will likely look like him picking up his backpack, grabbing his snack and heading to the car. But if I suggest this, I guarantee it will be met with resistance.

Last week, I told a friend that I realized that I didn’t really have any life goals right now except keeping the wheels on this bus. The bus symbolizes my family. I have to keep us going.  I guess with every flat tire or change oil light, I’ll learn a new skill and be ready for the next challenge.

We don’t have to stay on the beaten path. Let’s be adventurers! It would be fantastic if we could ride the bus with minimal breakdowns, without the wheels coming off, and maybe enjoy the ride.

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Family · Parenting · Perspective

extra

I’m sitting here on my couch reviewing the past week and looking ahead to the next. My daughter is trying on clothes from the cousin hand-me-down bag (which is amazing).

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We are on Day 2 of fall break. Day 1 was parent-teacher conferences, an hour in the office at work, Cosmic Kids Space Club, and dance class.

Space club is a group of my son’s buddies that were invited to check out Saturn on one of the boy’s grandpa’s telescope.

We just finished soybean harvest. The guys are drilling on the last few dozen acres of wheat. For a blessed day, we are still a few points too damp for milo harvest.

As I sit here, I realize that the role of mother, wife and working mom isn’t what wears me out. It’s all the extras.

It’s the Ear Nose and Throat specialist we will visit in Monday for 3 rounds of strep throat in 60 days. The additional meeting I need to attend.

It makes me wonder how necessary some of those commitments are. The ENT is a must. What about the others?

At kids’ youth group Wednesday night, another volunteer from the generation before mine asked me if my parents scrambled around as much as my generation is to make it all happen. After a few days of thought, I’m convinced they did. However, I don’t think it started this young.

Is it really going to put my kids at a disadvantage if they don’t do that next extra activity?

I speculate that having a mom who isn’t scurrying, rushing and occasionally loosing her sh*t  patience is likely better for everyone.

Health

Road Trip

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Sunday- Monday was our biannual road trip to see my neurologist. We left after church on Sunday. Kissed the kids, installed the car seat in grandpa’s vehicle, threw the bags in the backseat of our truck and headed west. 

I love getting to spend that time with my husband — and by time I mean about 7 hours one way and then about 7 hours back. We cover a lot of topics that we don’t normally get to talk about. 

I sing in the car to pretty much anything that comes on. I tried to introduce him to a different genre of music, not so successfully. I listened to his talk radio shows for awhile. We tried to get excited about the Super Bowl, but meh. Not so entertaining on the radio.

We arrived at our friends’ apartment in time for the 2nd half of the Super Bowl and then continued to visit late into the night — 11pm is late for us. Don’t judge. We changed time zones and have two young kids. They were very gracious to put us up for the night. In the midst of our visit, they are closing on a new house and moving out of their apartment in 2 weeks!

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Denver is a big city. We spent most of the morning in traffic trying to get somewhere to eat breakfast. We finally settled on a clean, suburban IHOP where 3 guys were sharing a joint outside. Oh Colorado… How different you are…

Of course, IHOP isn’t known for its dairy free options so it isn’t EVER my first choice. However, the map on my phone had taken us to two options that were not open, so I settled for a California scramble minus the cheese and butter and added some hot sauce. 

After that we trekked back north towards a shopping center where I completely struck out on the two things I needed: jeans and a swimsuit. There are no swimsuits for sale in or around Denver in February. #Ihateshopping

Fortunately, there was a good coffee shop at this shopping center. I settled for a coffee and read my book while he continued to browse. (Present over Perfect – a gift from a friend for Christmas – check it out for a new read.)

As usual, my actual appointment and reason for the road trip was short and sweet. We reviewed my MRI – stable, did blood work – all in normal ranges, and ran thru my physical assessment – no loss of sensation this time! All good things.

She was very interested in my bout of GI virus about a month ago as it apparently caused a psuedo-relapse and threw my nervous systems for a loop before I even had the actual GI symptoms. The crazy pain it caused was likely a “MS Hug.” All things that are new to my experience with this disease. See my blog Tingles about this.

Two interesting developments:
1) We didn’t do contrast on my annual MRI. There is research that the gadolinium can eventually build up in the body and isn’t good for the kidneys, so the group of specialists where I doctor have decided not to order contrast unless they believe something is new or active. I have neither indicators, so no contrast.
2) There is a new treatment being approved by the FDA this spring. It is only twice a year infusions and thus far after 3 clinical trials, has no risk of PML. I’m doing well with almost non-existent side effects with the Tecfidera. I’m not looking to change right now, but this would be a good option in the future according to my neuro – pending getting it thru all the insurance hoops.

Home again home again…

We were happy to make it home late last night and the kids were excited to see us this morning. It’s a big sigh of relief when that trip is over and done.