Archive for August, 2011
Progress is Good

Re-reading my last post, I realize I was sounding a little negative.  Since I posted all of that negativity, we’ve had some really great times with H where he was supremely well-behaved, followed by more frustrating times where I could just lock him in his bedroom and drive off into the sunset.  His behavior is variable, even within a given day.  All in all, it was a good summer—incredibly busy, but we did indeed meet all of our goals for Vermont’s shortest season of the year.

Remember back in spring when I detailed my aspirations for the summer?  Well, we did A-OK.  We planted our garden.  We did get sugar snap peas, but they were bitter and fibrous, so we aren’t planning on doing them again.  We planted broccoli, but our plants haven’t yielded any yet (and won’t, at this point).  We planted carrots, and they seem to be doing OK.  So we’ll be attempting those again next year.  I’ve always wanted to grow parsnips (I LOVE them), and they are a little odd, because you plant them in the fall and harvest them in the spring.  So that will be my next garden project.

Oh Holden, how correct you are to give that broccoli plant a doubtful look.  Stupid broccoli plant.

Our other goal for the summer was to enroll H in swimming lessons.  Enroll, we did!  Swim, H did not!  Oh well, there’s always next summer!

I also had a lofty exercise goal for the summer.  And although I only diligently kept track of my exercise for a little over a month, I found that I did the following:

  • 2 hours of kayaking
  • 8.5 miles of running
  • 2 hours of yoga
  • 4 miles of walking
  • 26 miles of biking
  • 10 miles of hiking

So yeah, I would say I reached my fitness goals!  The best part, was when R and I reached the summit of Camel’s Hump for my birthday.  The summit is just over 4,000 feet, so it was my first “over 4.”  We were sweaty and gross for sure:

One of the 5 mile hikes that we did was with Holden, when we were camping at Elmore State Park.  We hiked Mt. Elmore, and Holden did the entire 5 mile trek on his own two feet, except for the last half mile where his little legs just couldn’t carry him anymore.  Here’s my big boy at the summit:

I should also mention here that I climbed this same mountain with Holden when he was only 8 weeks old.  I’m still a little amazed that I was able to do it!

Holden also did a lot of kayaking with us this summer as well:

As for progress on the usability business, that was something I didn’t really work on.  I was supposed to have a meeting with a potential client, but it turns out they are going through hiring and salary freezes, and it just didn’t seem like the right time to work with them.  As for reading professional publications, I didn’t do so well with that.  Although I *did* read four books for pleasure, and I did end up writing and submitting article to a professional journal.  So there.

Potty training?  Don’t get me started.  He does well.  He doesn’t do well.  He does well.  Then he doesn’t.  If it weren’t for preschool, I’d say to hell with it and keep him in diapers.

Our 10-year wedding anniversary was spent in beautiful Rockland, Maine.  We planned to relax and we did.  It was great.

Holden’s birthday came and went, and as a belated present, we took him to Glen, NH to visit Storyland.  He was on his absolute BEST behavior—I mean, seriously, he was a model child for the whole weekend.  AND, we discovered he likes rollercoasters.

My parents visited in June, and we had an AWESOME time.  We took a cruise on Lake Champlain, attended an air show in Warren, VT, toured the Shelburne Museum, cooked out on the grill, and just relaxed.

House projects?  Did I do some.  Um, yes.  I need to upload some pictures of my progress.  Here’s what I did:

  • Painted wood paneling in dining room a crisp white
  • Painted above wood paneling a warm orange (it’s seriously my favorite color I’ve ever painted)
  • I painted ALL of our kitchen cabinets white.  It took forever.  But it does look better.
  • I painted Holden’s closet door white
  • I refinished the bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet and replaced the old hardware with new
  • I learned how to install ceramic tile, and fixed the areas around the kitchen and bathroom windows where our new windows were installed
  • I got halfway into replacing our toilet, when I encountered a situation that required a plumber.  So, we were toiletless upstairs for a few days, but now we have a nice, shiny toilet, that actually flushes and doesn’t waste a ton of water.
  • We hired a nice guy to replace all 19 of a single pane windows from 1973.  This was literally the only project where I could kick my feet up and relax.

So that was our summer.  We did other things too, but it’s just too much to fit in here!  Now looking at this, I can’t freaking believe how busy we were!  Holy cow!


Well, I’m glad *that’s* over…

On the very same day that I wrote my last post, lamenting how motherhood seems to propel us into a whirlwind of purgatory and self-doubt, I was approached with a job opportunity in the neuroscience field.  I investigated the option, turned it down for various reasons, and the same day I turned it down, I was contacted by a different principal investigator of the same clinical neuroscience research group, who wants me to consider working with her.  I spent about half an hour on the phone with her, and we are scheduled to meet next week.  Again, I’m feeling so incredibly conflicted, I can’t even express it.  I could defer the opportunity for a few years, and it might still be there in a few years, or it might not.  Who knows.  I can only follow my gut on this.

Anyway, it’s been kind of a rough couple of weeks.  H started swim lessons last week.  They ended today.  They started out OK—H would actually get in the water, but as the week went on, he was increasingly distracted, refused to listen to the coaches, or stay with the other kids.  The other moms began to ask whether he does OK in school, how I can keep him focused on tasks, etc.  I know that they were not-so-subtly hinting that he is a bit active, but so what.  He has ALWAYS been more active than other kids.  The reason I’m not concerned about that is because he has the capacity to focus on tasks like building his train set, reading books, etc.  So he is absolutely capable of focusing when he wants to.  He’s just a handful sometimes and requires TONS of redirection.  And this past week in particular, he was just really bouncing off the walls.  Also, since our trip to Maine, he has COMPLETELY regressed in his potty training.  I just finally gave up and put him back in diapers.  It’s a battle I refuse to engage in.  If he can’t pull it together by the beginning of September, we lose his slot at his preschool, and somehow I am stuck at home with him with absolutely no time to prep my class.  He’s just not the kind of kid who can tolerate me doing other things like working on my class when he is awake.  And he is always awake.  He still doesn’t sleep through the night, he doesn’t nap during the day, and geez, I don’t know why I am even bothering meeting with this prinicipal investigator next week.  It seems like a waste of time because I am likely looking at not having any childcare set up for the year. Fuuuuccccckkk.

When I told Holden that his swim lessons were over, he cheered and clapped.  Clearly, he was relieved.  I asked him if he liked having swim lesson a little or a lot.  He said he only liked them a little.  When I asked him if he wants to take them again next year, he said yes.  So, I guess he doesn’t mind them terribly, but he doesn’t love it either.  We got a little evaluation form from his coach today, and her comment said “Holden is very active and energetic but he needs more practice and confidence in the water.”  True.  She’s absolutely right.  I really want him to learn how to swim as he gets older.  I never learned myself, for two reasons.  First, I had chronic ear infections when I was little, and I was told not to submerge my head in the water.  (This was back when ENTs were putting in tubes and telling parents that their kids couldn’t get water in their ears).  Secondly, I think I can count on one hand the number of times my parents took me to the pool or beach growing up.  I started going more frequently as a teenager, when my friends and I would go to the local swim club.  But I was there for social reasons, definitely not for swimming.  So yeah, I don’t especially enjoy public pools, but I don’t think that my opinion of it should interfere with H’s ability to learn to swim.  I’ll just keep taking him over the years so he gains confidence.  Next summer, I want him to repeat the class he took this summer, so he can actually master some of the skills from the class.  I can’t say that he learned much because he spent so much time getting out of the water and running around the pool.  Everyone kept trying to encourage him to stay in the water, but after 2 weeks, I felt like he was getting worse, not better.  I have to say,  I am a little relieved it’s over.

This summer has been a weird time for Holden.  He’s been very contrary and just a poor listener.  I felt like his behavior was better last summer.  I’m sure it’s a phase—or at least I hope.  One possibility is that he’s just doing a ton of growing right now.  I cooked a pound of whole wheat pasta the other day, and he ate the whole thing himself in 2 days (and that was just his “snack”)!  Plus, he has been laying down occasionally saying that he is tired and needs a rest (but doesn’t actually fall asleep).  That’s very unusual for him.  He really needs the rest, but he doesn’t permit himself to fall asleep.  With the exception of earlier this week—Holden seemed fine all day, but then in the afternoon had an EPIC meltdown over a piece of deli meat.  He asked for a slice of ham, and I gave him one.  He started crying and screaming, saying he didn’t want it.  Every time I tried to put it back in the refrigerator, he would cry and scream some more, saying he did want it.  I knew it was a losing battle, so I locked him in his room.  He cried for 2 minutes, then he was OUT.  For 3 hours.  This never happens.  When he woke up, he was able to explain why he was so upset.  You know what he said?  You’ll never guess.  He said:  ”I WAS UPSET BECAUSE I WANTED TO EAT THE HAM, BUT I WAS ALSO SAD THAT THE HAM COMES FROM PIGS.”  Yeah.  I so did not have enough caffeine in my system to deal with such an explanation.  That night, H went to bed at his normal time and slept until 10AM, minus a 5AM wakening.  I let him sleep through swim lessons that morning.  He clearly needed the sleep.

So, I guess H is struggling with a lot of different things:  eating a lot, sleeping a lot (or needing to sleep a lot), being more active than usual, being a poor listener, and completely giving up on potty training.  The other day he tore down his curtains (hardware and all), purposefully emptied an entire water bottle all over the dining room floor, repeatedly kicked his walls with his shoes on, etc.  I kind of flew into a rage, and ended up ripping his little paper train off his wall.  It was mean of me, but I was just so at the end of my rope.  My class is starting in 3 weeks and I have SO MUCH to accomplish, and I just don’t know how I am going to do it, when I have a little monkey in my midst.  A lot of retarded parents have commented recently that he’s active and wants so much attention because he is an only child and doesn’t know how to share attention and resources.  Idiots.  This is *WHY* he is an only child.  He is more work than other kids, especially over the past few months.