Photography post: Easter weekend, and kid updates

OMG KID UPDATEZ. Everyone asks for them, and then I keep not doing them. Because, life.

Z is acquiring language at an alarming rate. She’s passed through the “Dardo is everything” stage and has entered the “No is everything” stage, which is equally as fun. Sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm. She says dozens of words, a few names (“Nan” is Xan, “Ippy” is Serendipity, etc) and babbles through the gaps of what she can’t yet communicate. She needs very little prompting to say a new word, which makes her an exciting new toy for the elders to enjoy messing with. For instance, Xan has taught her the word “Butt” so now whenever she wants a diaper change she comes tearing through the house yelling, “OH THE BUTT! TAKE MY BUTT!”. After that Tempest successfully taught her “please”, which is much nicer than ‘butt’. Not to be out-done, Xan has gone to work on “fart” which has been met with minimal success. Thank god for small favours.
We continue to skirt around the idea of potty learning. Also met with minimal success. She loves the idea of running to sit on it, and the ritual of making awkward noises and then asking for toilet paper, but is horrified by the reality of what this must mean. The few times we’ve managed to ‘catch’ a poop on the toilet seemed to leave her legitimately traumatized. The other two weren’t potty learned until after 3 so I’m not particularly concerned, or in that much of a rush, it’s more of an issue of wanting her familiarized in a comfortable way long before she has the desire to move forward with it. Today I managed to catch her just as she started pooping and move her to the potty, which was rewarded with the first time she’s ever actually tried to poop and then done so at the potty rather than tried to poop on the floor/diaper and met the potty with dumb luck. I was very happy for her, but she cried hysterically. So there’s that. At some point this gets easier and more straight-forward, but for now it’s just ridiculous.

Xan has been making incredible progress in school, both academically and behaviourally. He’s a busy kid, and he’s challenging in a lot of ways, but he’s also hilarious and really smart and imaginative and crazy unique in this way that I am desperate to nurture because it’s just so damn awesome. The things that come out of his mouth on a daily basis make me laugh until my sides hurt, and he always has an interesting perspective or idea to share about things. But he’s also really, really, really challenging sometimes. Really. Part of why I’m really loving this school is the way they handle challenging kids: you don’t “get in trouble” and get sent to the principal’s office, you have one-on-one time or are given special tasks to complete. A kid who is having a hard time focusing is approached before it gets totally out of control and given tasks to help them cope with the excess energy and emotion. As a result, Xan says of his school, “It’s so great. I never get in trouble anymore!”, which is so wonderful to hear. It’s done wonders for his confidence, and better behaviour follows that.
The improvements are awesome, but there’s also a lot there that is too difficult and impacts his life in a negative way. It’s enough that we asked for a referral to a doctor who specializes in kids with emotional or neurological issues. We’re not really looking for any specific diagnosis as much as we just want to ensure he’s getting the right support. He’s brilliant, but often very anxious and neurotic. He’s hilarious and makes friends easily, but finds it impossible to work in a group setting. He does incredible work… when he can focus on it. We’ve resisted pushing this for a long, long time in part because his personality is so extremely different from Tempest (and us) that neither of us felt sure that what we were seeing wasn’t just “who he is” and is normal and awesome for him. But over time and with improved communication it’s becoming more obvious that he’s having struggles that should be addressed, and when we discuss it with him he’s expressed a want to change certain things that seem completely beyond his ability to control (like his anxiety, for instance). And after the post I made regarding the stigma surrounding recognizing and treating children’s mental health, the importance of seeking help becomes clearer for me too.

While him and Tempest seem to have the anxiety in common (which is obviously inherited from two very anxious parents, both of whom have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety at some point in their lives), they share almost nothing else. I mean they barely even look that much alike. Zephyra’s looks act like a bridge between them and her existence has single-handedly drawn the three together as a recognizable sibling group. But other than when the three stand together, Tempest and Xan are rarely even recognized as related. Tempest finds this hilarious and often points out how different they are – citing this as the reason that they get on each other’s nerves so often. I remember writing papers about nature versus nurture for my psychology course, arguing for each side and personally leaning much more heavily on nurture. Nowadays I feel like I could be using my kids as case studies for the nature side of the argument. There is literally almost nothing, personality-wise, that they share other than their love of listening to hours upon hours of video game music on YouTube. I mean Xan isn’t even that big a fan of cats. Cats!

Tempest has been taking skating lessons, and has excelled in ways we did not expect. She’s done so well, that the teacher started her on level two stuff (she came in at such a beginner level that she was physically unable to stand on the ice for more than one or two seconds) and after she’d gotten all of those things in the bag he didn’t know what else to do with her… he ended up doing next to nothing while she taught herself the rest of the way just by watching and copying. I went to her last lesson a week ago and took some video of her for Curtis (who was working as usual, and could not attend). And while she fell a lot more from nerves (since I brought out the camera) it was clear she was doing a lot better than the rest of the kids in her class. She has an amazing natural talent for skating and she loves doing it. At the end of the class all the kids were given report cards, and she was one of two who got all check-marks, and the only one who had a notes about being well into Skate 2. I’m so unbelievably proud of her.
My mother took her to a local figure skating club performance yesterday (which she adored) and after it was over she spoke with the troupe leader about Tempest’s skill and love of skating, and they actually asked that she come to their practice next week and try out… if she’s enough of a natural they’ll take her in and start teaching her figure skating, which is apparently very different from the regular skating classes. I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never skated before past a few school trips and the most I can do is glide about ten feet without falling over. Much. We’ll know by Tuesday, I believe. Tempest is so unbelievably excited.

As for me, I am slowly improving but remain fucking exhausted all the goddamn time. Curtis told me it was his “Friday” as we lay in bed, and I was so happy I actually started crying. I completely lost track of time this week, missed a day or two in there somewhere, and was convinced we had another 3-4 nights of work left.
This week has been particularly tiring. I’ve spent every night of the last five up until 3-4am with a baby who wakes up at 11 or 12 and stays up all night. She won’t sleep, she won’t play quietly while I doze, she won’t do anything but sit next to me and do this suck-rip away-suck half-assed nursing shit for hours. And hours. And hours. And by the end of it I’m so tired and so touched out that I just want to lock myself away and sleep in the bath tub for 20 days. She has made my one breast (the ‘good’ breast) so sore that it feels like I’m nursing a newborn again. It’s this kind of nonsense that leads to forcibly night-weaning, so you better watch out baby.
In a weird twist, amidst my exhaustion I suddenly and inexplicably became awash in a terrible pining for my sister. This is a strange feeling, a bit like in a way one would pine for a tapeworm that had lived in you so long that you’d grown to love the familiar hole it clawed through your gut.
And here I was so proud of myself for dealing with the night shifts so well and barely missing Curtis at all. I was even starting to find ways to enjoy the silence… and then this crap came along. Goddamnit depression, why you gotta ruin shit?

Some photographs from Easter; one of the only times I’ve brought out my camera in months.

It was fucking gorgeous all that weekend, with beautiful clear skies and warm temperatures, which was ideal for a candy hunt. Everything was very fresh and dry so we put some of the hard-shelled candy out in the open instead of in little containers. We wanted Z to participate as well, so this made it easier for her to have a taste.

Aaaaand they’re off!

Z finds candies by the fence.

We had a bit of a problem with the eating of all the candy though.

Eventually she got the hang of putting some in the baskets.

Kids and their candies.

We went inside to dye eggs after the hunt.

Xan’s manly egg.

Tempest’s kitty eggs.

Tempest lookin’ all 14 and shit. Jesus.

A few from last week, as we introduce potty learning to Z. It’s totally exhausting, but apparently hilarious for her.

And finally one from yesterday afternoon. While I checked my email, she went upstairs to make herself a nest. I came upstairs to find this :

As soon as she realized I’d seen her, she sat down amongst the shreds then grabbed a large handful and threw it up in the air. “Yay!” she cheered. Indeed.

She also found her bum cream and put it on her nose. Because one mess isn’t enough.

Toddlers, amirite?

Frightening misunderstanding of the day:
I mentioned in my last entry that I went to the walk-in clinic two weeks ago for what appeared to be a spontaneous kidney infection, and the doctor sent me for a kidney function test since I had no real symptoms in the days prior to the sudden onset of horrible kidney-stone-like pain, then gave me a script for some antibiotics.
So anyway I got a letter in the mail last week from the clinic that said the telephone number they had on file was out of service and I needed to, “contact the office IMMEDIATELY–” this was highlighted and in all capitals, “– to discuss your test results”. Hm, okay. So I call them up and give them my name, and the secretary asks me some questions and pulls up my file. She takes a minute and goes, “Um. Okay. I-I think you’ll have to come in. I need to get someone else.” and puts me on hold.
That person asks if I’ve been helped, and before I answer she says, “Oh wait here’s your file. Oh. Um. The doctor needs you to come in right away. I… Let me get someone else.”
And at this point I’m starting to wonder if this is the kind of visit where I need to bring a family member. Someone else gets on the phone and spends a few quiet minutes apparently looking through my file. “I think I have to talk to the doctor first before I can say anything. He wants you to come in. Please hold.”
Five minutes later another person comes on. “Is this Heather?”
“You got a letter about your test results…”
“The doctor wanted you to come in.”
“Okay… why?”
“Well…. I guess I can do it here. He wants to make sure you know to take your antibiotics.”

“He wanted to make sure you know that you should take the antibiotics.”
“Are you serious?”
“Well… yes.”
“That was a whole lot of ominous letter-writing and phone call nonsense for something I was told at the visit.”
“… Oh. Well have a nice day!” *she hangs up*
I seriously thought someone was going to tell me I had cancer or something. Good lord.

Links of the Day:
Baboons kidnap feral puppies and raise them as pets – This is a bit difficult to watch at first, but is terribly fascinating.
Disney Princesses Circa 2012: I’m too sexy for my gown? – A disturbing trend not just in princesses, but in all toys, that is leading little girls as young as 6 to believe that sexuality equals friendship and power. (Hat tip to Pam)
What old people think about gay sex – My favourite part was the 80+ year old woman saying, “My favourite part was the cum, cum, cum, cum, cum!” as she swirls two fingers in the air. Oh my god, so hilarious.
29 signs you were raised by hippies – I can relate to all of this list. Most of the names they mention are either members of my own family, or friends I grew up with.
Test your social intelligence – An experiment from Harvard; test how well you are able to read emotions just by looking at people’s eyes. As the experiment page explains, “The ability to read the emotions of others is linked to “social intelligence” which, in turn, is linked to performance on team-based problem solving tasks.”



1 Comment

  • Stacy Haworth says:

    Oh what a joy the children are, each with their own uniqueness. 🙂
    The ice skating is amazing 🙂 you know they always say children with special needs have special abilities inside them 🙂 Its great.
    the Xan manly egg is too cute 🙂
    I love the Z photos of her in her pile of shreds and how happy she is.
    The potty training my grandbaby is 16 months and giving it a try, her choice.
    I am with Tempest on the ‘please’ training LOL we just taught smiley that so that the pointing and whining would stop. Gotta learn to use those words.
    Hugs for the ‘friday’ realizaiton, we have those here sometimes too and I can feel the relief that your body had when you heard that.
    Have a wonderful day!

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