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she was wearing a tail

My oldest daughter and I went to the Asian market Saturday afternoon. We found all sorts of foods to try that were new and some that she had tried before (new to me), along with the produce and other items that I like to purchase there.

As we were going down one aisle, we noticed that the lady who had just passed us had a big white fluffy tail sticking out of the back of her pants. Actually, it didn’t look like it was coming out of her pants, but more like it was hooked on her waist and hanging out of her shirt in the back. It was a very strange thing to see.

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See her there in the red shirt? I was trying to be unobtrusive, so I didn’t walk right up and ask her to pose with her tail and all. That would have been a w k w a r d. More awkward than it already was to have to explain to my 15 yr old that some people dress up like furry animals, that I don’t understand why they do it or what they gain from it, but that they do, for whatever reason.

Thanks, furry tail lady for presenting me with that lovely parenting opportunity. I’d have been happy to skip that one.

visit with the endocrinologist

Day 62

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This photo was taken this morning at the clinic where J sees her endocrinologist. Since December of 2006, I have been in this clinic many, many times.  I have wondered why those two parts of the ceiling that are hanging down have leaves stenciled on them and no other parts of the ceiling do. I thought they must have started stenciling leaves, then got busy and didn’t ever finish. Today, I realized that the pillar thing in the middle of the room that’s painted brown was supposed to represent a tree trunk and those stencils are supposed to be leaves. Leaves on the tree. Duh.

I’m not sure why I didn’t “see” it before today.

So, this morning was J’s appointment with her endocrinologist. She’s got appointments every 30 days for the next 90 days because her A1C was not very good last month at her quarterly visit.

Today’s visit was so much better than last month’s visit. J had her log book filled out, had her blood sugar meter, had better readings, and had been doing the things Dr. K had asked her to do.

I’m really happy that Dr. K is J’s doctor.  The thing I love most about Dr. K is that she visits with J, not with me. She talks with her on her level, explains things, only asks me questions if J says that I know the answer.

J likes Dr. K a lot and relates well to her.  She left the visit beaming.  She is proud of herself for making improvements and for working hard to reach her goal.  This month, her goal is to continue to do the same things (checking her blood sugar at least 3 times each day, logging her blood sugar readings and bolusing -giving herself insulin- each time she eats).  I’m proud of her for working so hard and for having such great determination.  She definitely has strength of character.  It’s one of the things about her that I like most.

Also, we got her paperwork for diabetes camp this summer completed.  Dr. K filled out the part that the physician has to complete and I’ll fax it this week to secure J’s spot.

no bolus

Diabetes stinks. Having a twelve year old with diabetes stinks.

J. was very mean and not her usual happy self when I got home from work when I asked her to help bring in some things from the car. Then when I saw her having a snack- right before dinner – I asked if she’d done an insulin bolus to cover the carbs in her snack. When she started yelling, I asked her to check her blood sugar. She threw down the snack and started yelling for me to leave her alone. I made her let me check her insulin pump and saw that she’d not done a single insulin bolus (to cover food) since yesterday at 5:45pm. We ate dinner around 7pm on Monday. It’s now almost 7pm on Tuesday.

I made her check her blood sugar and it’s 245. Not as high as I thought it would be. Her higher afternoon bolus and her mile walk home from school must have helped lower it some.

I’m worried about her. And exhausted from worrying about her health and her attitude regarding herself and diabetes. It’s so hard to know what to do to help, to encourage good behavior, to discourage poor choices, to discourage self-harm and encourage healthy habits.

a hard lesson learned

My youngest daughter learned a valuable lesson today.  She learned that it’s not always ok to say everything you think and feel whenever you think and feel it.  Especially not on myspace.  Sometimes it’s best to keep things to yourself or to let it sit for a while and gain perspective before putting it out there for the world to see.  I’m all for saying how you feel and for standing up for what you believe in, but as we all have learned (by trial and error), there’s a time and a place for everything.

J. has learned that feelings are not right or wrong, they just are.  How we act upon those feelings is a big part of what makes us who we are.  None of us are islands and what we say and do effects others.  Words can hurt and cause misunderstandings.  Words can be taken personally when that was not the intent.  They are a powerful tool and must should be used wisely.

I am sad that feelings were hurt and that others read her words before she realized she needed to remove them. Knowing that those feelings belonged to people that I love was awful.

I feel badly for my daughter.  Seeing her cry as she realized the impact her words had on others broke my heart.  Seeing her cry because of hurting words written by others made my heart ache even more.  At the same time, I’m glad she’s learning this now at age 12 and not later on in life.  Maybe this lesson will help her grow, become more sensitive and realize that she has an impact on others, whether she realizes it or not.

The best kind of prize

Today when it was almost time for me to leave work, 12 yr daughter J. called and asked if she could cook dinner. I have several things in the freezer that she could bake in the oven for dinner, so I said yes. She said all she needed me to do was stop by the store to get garlic bread and ranch salad dressing.

So I did.

When I got home, J. met me at the door with a purple flower from one of our Rose of Sharon trees/bushes. She proudly showed me how she’d oiled our old wooden dining table & chairs (inherited from my grandparents), how she’d swept the living room and kitchen floors, set the table, had salad made and the oven ready for garlic bread to be heated.

After we had our dinner, she was still grinning from ear to ear. When I told her how nice it was to come home to a cleaned up house and a prepared dinner, she said, “The best kind of prize is a surprise! Tee hee hee! (Willy Wonka – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) . J. asked me to close my eyes after she got out dessert plates and pulled a cheesecake with cherry topping out of the fridge. She was so cute cutting and serving it. She told me it took 1 1/2 hours to make, because it had to be refrigerated for an hour.

Now 14 yr daughter, B. has just fed the dogs and is cleaning up the kitchen so I don’t have to. Isn’t that sweet?

I must have done something right along the way, no? 🙂

buying favor?

Ex-husband called the house yesterday to speak with the kids. He asked 13 yr old son to hand the phone to 14 yr old daughter at the end of the first phone call and she hung up the phone without speaking to him. She’s not spoken to him much for over a year because of some things that happened last March that added to the already strained relationship that was paved with broken promises and lies. Ex called back after she hung up to tell son that he won’t be buying 14 yr old daughter anything for camp since she won’t speak to him. Nice of him to send that message from one sibling to the other, huh? He has been telling son and 12 yr old daughter that he’ll buy them extra clothes and stuff for camp this summer.

Fourteen year old daughter told me last night that she doesn’t want him to buy her anything because what she needs from a dad cannot be bought. She said she needs a dad who spends time, who is interested, who cares, someone who knows parenting is not just about buying things.

I agree with her. Parenting is about a lot more than buying things.

shaken, not stirred

My apologies. The title is not a reference to a beverage. It’s a reference to my state of mind for much of today.

I don’t often feel belittled or so angry that I’m visibly shaking, but today I did. This morning when I was at work, the lovely ex-husband sent me a text message about our oldest daughter that was very mean. Cruel, in fact. After I responded, he sent a few more messages that were absolutely hateful and vile. I responded, but kept myself from typing the horrible things that were swirling around in my head. I was to the point, reminded him that he’s chosen to not be involved in their lives and has no right to insult me as a woman or as a mom, and told him to not contact me again unless it concerns the kids.

Even now, hours later, the words he texted keep playing in my head like the horrible things he used to say always did. It’s been a long time since anyone spoke to me like that. Actually, he’s the only person who’s shaken me to my core, planted seeds of doubt about who I am, what my family stands for and made me feel bad about who I am as a person. Ever.

He can be a nasty, controlling, small-minded, stupid man. The amazing thing is that he also can appear to be kind, fun and engaging… for a while, at least, as long as things are going his way. When the excitement has calmed and normal life ensues, as tends to happen in the real world, the mask comes off, the gloves go on. He fights dirty, fights to win at all costs, fights to protect his little ego by belittling the women woman in his life.

I’m so very glad to be divorced from him. On July 11, it will have been 7 years.

internet filter

Do you use an internet filter to block out sites with inappropriate language and images? I’m currently searching for a good internet filter and have downloaded one called K9 Web Protection by Blue Coat Systems. I did a search for several “bad” words (as a test – to make sure it was working and to see how it worked) and was completely blocked by Google SafeSearch. The only issue that’s a concern is that the Google SafeSearch settings can be accessed with a click of the mouse. I have not seen a way to password protect Google SafeSearch yet.

Ideas and suggestions are welcome.

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I cannot think of anything to post about at the moment that does not sound like I’m hosting a pity party for myself.

I’ll just say for now that living with two teens and a tween who all have strong personalities, wacky hormones and immature brains is like being on a roller coaster with all the ups, downs and crazy turns. It’s much harder at times than I could have ever imagined even a few short months ago.

Hope is still alive, though, along with the knowledge that it will get better. Or it won’t. Either way, I will get through this. Maybe they will too. 🙂

growing up

My youngest child will be twelve years old next week and is growing up faster than I’m ready for. I knew this day was coming from the moodiness and wacky blood sugar readings she’s had lately. I have talked with her about what to expect, what to do,  and have given detailed explanations (much to her dismay) about how the human body works. I thought we’d be dealing with this in the next year or so. I just didn’t think it was coming so soon. As in, today.

Some would say, “she’s a woman now.” When I said that to her, joking around with her a bit to ward off her tears of horrified frustration that this nauseating, painful fun will happen monthly instead of yearly, she buried her head in my pillow and said, “Mom, please don’t ever say that again.”

So I won’t.

tagged

Youngest daughter and her friends have recently discovered the joy of text messaging and celebrate this joy by keeping the phone at their side at all times with a really annoying and loud ring tone for incoming messages.   I’m really glad our family plan has unlimited texting.

Yesterday afternoon, J (youngest daughter) came running through the house in a panic, touching each of us on the arm and shouting TAG! as she frantically found Sophie, Smokey and Dobby and “tagged” them too.  I got tagged twice to make sure she had tagged nine others.

She had apparently been sent a chain mail text message that said she was supposed to “tag” nine others in the next five minutes so all her dreams would come true.  For a few minutes, there was a flurry of activity as she rushed around yelling TAG!  Seeing the bewildered look on 14 yr & 13 yr old’s faces, not to mention seeing how Sophie and Smokey reacted was all so funny.  Dobby (our cockatiel) looked at her like she was nuts, as he tends to do often as he looks at us, as she tagged his cage.

She was so innocent and cute that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that “tag” in that case meant forwarding the text message to nine other people and that getting those chain mail messages can get annoying if you get 997 in one day and that they’re not real.  She doesn’t need to know that just yet.

I will miss things like this when she is a little bit older.

endo. visit

J’s visit with the endocrinologist on Wednesday morning did not bring good news. Her A1C was horrible. I am not exaggerating. It was higher than the machine could calibrate. Greater than 14. Fun, huh?

For quite a while now, I have felt that I was chasing her down, forcing her to check her blood sugar, forcing her to calculate carbohydrates and to do insulin boluses for the carbs she consumes.

Her endocrinologist is wonderful. She completely put the monkey on J’s back and talked to J. about her responsibility in taking care of herself, how she’s the one living with this disease and how she has to be the one to take charge and do the right thing regardless of where she is or how she feels about it.

She talked directly to J. about the contract she signed with the diabetes team when beginning pump therapy. The contract states that she will check her blood sugar at least 4 times each day and give insulin boluses for each carb she has. When the endo. checked J’s pump, she’d only done one bolus last Sunday. ONE! Yes, J. ate all day long. She had a friend over and they snacked a lot. I had not checked her pump to monitor her boluses, so I had no idea. I had no idea that I even needed to do that. I never imagined that J. would just not bolus. Now I have to check her bolus history every couple of days to be sure J. is doing the right thing, especially if she begins a pattern of high blood sugars again.

The endo. also spoke with J. about how grazing and snacking all day messes up her blood sugar and stacks insulin doses, which has the potential to cause big trouble.

Her next appointment with the endo. is in one month. J’s been given a second chance to get to keep her pump by checking her blood sugar and recording it at least 4 times each day and bolusing each time she eats/drinks carbohydrates. After the serious way the endo. spoke with her, J. (finally) realized how serious this really is. She thought I was being overly dramatic when I fussed at her about not checking her blood sugar very often.

Now she still thinks I’m dramatic and that the endocrinologist means serious business about the pump.

This photo is of J. at the endo. appointment. I had to take this photo to remember how silly (tween-ish) she was acting at that moment. She was “not talking” to me at the moment of the photo because I told the endo. how worried I was about J. not taking care of herself, how I worry that she’s establishing bad habits right now that will be hard to break later on and that I’m worried about her health and side effects of the high blood sugars in the future. J. rolled her eyes and said, “She’s so dramatic all the time. Ugh.” Of course, at that moment, J’s blood sugar was high, so she was extra irritable and fun.

Changes

are coming.  I like change sometimes.  At other times I am change resistant.

Right now, I’m feeling change resistant and a little nervous.

For the next few years (beginning mid-May), XH will be stationed nearby, within a two hour drive from here.  I would like to have a good co-parenting relationship that is healthy and positive for all involved, especially for the kids.  I don’t know if it’s possible, though.

During the past seven or eight years (since before the divorce), there’s been no co-parenting.  It’s just been me doing the parenting and XH jumping in and out of the kids’ lives at his convenience.  I feel an icky, jumbled feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about it, so I’ve been avoiding sharing for the last couple of weeks.

I don’t have high hopes, but am willing to keep an open mind.  I will keep you posted.

worst mom

According to 13 yr old son that’s my new title: Worst Mom in the World.

How can you earn this prestigious title for yourself (it comes with a tiara, a sash and everything) ?

1. Force your 13 year old son to eat dinner with the family 4 or 5 times each week.

2. Insist that 13 year old son comes home from his friends’ house early enough to get home work done and a shower each night. Oh, and make sure son sleeps with sheets on his bed, rather than on a bare mattress.

3. Have a set bed time for 13 year old son and stick to it.

4. Care about 13 year old son, his friends, how he’s doing in school, what type of television and movies he watches, which internet sites he visits, and which video games he plays.  Get to know the parents of the kids son hangs out with, know their phone numbers and speak with them often.

These four things, evidently, are the exact recipe for becoming the worst mom ever.

I will proudly wear my title and tiara during my reign.

Huzzah!

Mom

Today is Mom’s birthday.

She is one of the smartest people I know, has unbelievable determination, is fierce in her love and is willing to fight for what she believes in. She is full of integrity and is willing to tell you what you need to hear even when it’s the last thing you want to hear. She’s a wonderful role model and advocates knowledge, empowerment, and good values. Her belief in me has been the net beneath my tightrope more times than I can count. I’m proud to be her daughter and hope that one day my children look up to me the way I look up to her.

I love you, Mom.

photo courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS.com