Sunday, February 05, 2012

Cascading Negativity

I tell you. Some days are just out to get you.

So, after a peaceful morning (for me), the afternoon was tense. I walked into a household of unhappy people who coincidentally had not eaten in over 3 hours. I was also blamed for the kids being moody because I am too soft on them. Um hmmmmm. You know, I could be wrong, but I don't agree. See, there are these things called autism and sensory overload and they live many places, like our family. Plus, we've all been stuck together in this house for four days -- so throw in cabin fever. I got out lunch STAT and 3/4 through the meal things began to even out.

Then I announced the kids were finishing up homework that had been missed while out sick. Oh the whinging and unhappiness. My husband had had enough and was trying to get his work done in another part of the house. Can't blame him -- it's about the only way to get things done when the kids are home.

I gave management my best shot over the next two hours. Steadily coaxing my daughter through a review of fractions at the homework desk. Attempting to get James to sit down and work on his spelling words at the kitchen table. Trying to keep them from looking at each other and derailing the process. Keeping my voice calm (yeah, that's a neat trick -- I "pretend") and things moving.

James really didn't want to write and he had two time-outs for not cooperating. He kept fretting over a baby tooth that's been lose for weeks. Finish writing a word 3 times ... try to get the tooth; repeat. Finally, about word #6, he yanked it out and lost his mind to excitement. It took me ten minutes to get everyone really refocused and the tooth secured in a ziplock bag and stored in a cupboard. Many moons later, James finished his spelling. While his sister looked over her paperwork, I had him read his test story for school. That went much better than the spelling. Yay. Break time in his room with some DVDs on my old laptop.

Focused on daughter in the family room, with several pages of review and a practice test to complete. I walked her through several questions ... and privately wondered why they are teaching some fractions the way they are. They seem to be doing basic algebra already -- treat it like algebra, not a chart. Daughter says it helps her to have me near her, so I sat quietly near her, exuding calmness and mathematical genius. Or you know, whatever ...

Her work checked out, but she could not find her sheet with her spelling words. Oh well. Someone is going to have to be quick on her feet for that makeup test! We made scones from scratch to celebrate, and left a voicemail with a classmate who might have spelling words. Yes, it's now in the midst of Superbowl Party Heaven ... I can dream (in vain, as it turns out).

So now I start dinner. I am trying to MAKE meals from scratch for my husband and I: chicken breasts with veggies in a casserole dish, baking in the oven. Also frying some chicken on the stovetop while using the microwave. We live in development housing that was built with quantity favoured over quality, shall we say, and the appliances are really, um, underwhelming? So ... the microwave over the stove gets fried and starts emitting a really nasty buzzing noise. Won't cook. *Sigh*, okay ...

Finish dinner prep, taking more time to cook without the microwave, and ... the microwave's fan starts blasting on all by itself while we're seated at the table, sending James into fits of crying and screaming. It must be physically awful for him. It's really hard for us to hear him and try to calm him down. I bail out the tiny tea cubby so my husband can unplug the zombie fiend that is now our microwave. Takes minutes to calm James down. My husband and I, not so much. Meal, while delicious, has FAIL stamped all over it.

My husband has been home more often than usual this past week and kind of ragging me for how I do things around the home. I am not perfect, by any means, but I have been doing the best I can, choosing my battles between tantrums, cleaning the house, getting homework done, working on AB challenges and general child rearing (as well as doing some work on the side to bring in a little money). It's been I doing the choosing, because every week day my husband has to leave the house before breakfast and gets home around their bedtime.

Well, this weekend he wants the kids to cut out the chips at meals and eat fruits and vegetables instead. A good idea and I invited him to try. Hello, frustration and rising blood pressure -- I know you well. Our daughter did end up eating some of the new foods and got better about it each night she tried. James at first flat-out refused. Tonight, he was made to eat a carrot sliver, and I remembered why I choose not to fight this battle with him: he threw up all over the kitchen table and started crying and choking. My husband was livid. Ten minutes later, three people were in bed, unhappy but safer from the cascading negativity. Good God, I hope so!

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