Friday, May 02, 2008

Meanwhile, back at Distraction Central

Poor Annie(6) has been sick all week. The Zithromax hasn't touched her, so obviously it's some kind of virus that simply needs to run its course. She perks up with Motrin, but then I look over, and there she is, lying on the sofa with a blanket, asking me to turn off the lights. Ruthie (4) has loved having her around, except that Annie hasn't exactly been up for much playing.

And speaking of Ruthie, man, I've got some work to do with that girl. It seems like I never notice behavior issues until we're in public. I'm distracted at home and tend to dismiss the whining and attitudes as related to being up late the night before (many nights), delayed dinner (because of sports, music lessons), or any number of things I choose to use as excuses for bad behavior.

On Tuesday I took Annie to the doctor, and Ruthie was annoying to the point of disobedience. Being last-born, she cleverly disguises her bad behavior as silliness. She was laughing and hanging on Annie's legs while Annie was on the exam table. When she didn't immediately let go, I pried her pudgy little hands off and placed her on a chair. From the chair she sang and otherwise made distracting noises while I tried to talk to the doctor. I made a feeble apology to the doctor, looked directly into Ruthie's eyes and said, "I am trying to talk to the doctor. I need you to be very quiet right now. Here's a book for you to look at." She was obviously not interested in the book, but was better for about a minute while I secretly prayed for the doctor to hurry (an unusual prayer, I know).

Somehow we made it through, and I suppressed thoughts of what I imagined my pediatrician (who has no children of her own) was thinking: See, she has too many kids. She can't manage them all. What were they thinking?

Yep, that's how I feel sometimes. Especially during very busy, distracted times, like right now. I heard someone talk about MADD, mommy attention deficit disorder, and I'm sure that's what's going on right now. My kids are feeling the effects of a mom who's got other things on her mind.

Neal (13) and Libby (10) are arguing more than usual (they are remarkably like my older brother and me: very much alike - but we didn't see it, and heaven forbid we should ever acknowledge it - and we both liked to "win." We took turns correcting each other during those years. Mom, I am SO sorry!). I'm praying that, like my brother and me, Neal and Libby will pull it together in the next few years, but I'm not hoping for a miracle between now and our move date, May 25. A truce would be nice, though.

So right now Neal is grounded (the ultimate punishment for my social guy) so some togetherness is helping things. He's been spending all afternoon playing guitar. I can tell when he is becoming resigned to his home-bound-ness when he starts getting creative, which was the point last night at which he got the microphone out and locked himself up in the game room, accompanying himself on Eagles and Switchfoot songs. He may find himself free this weekend.

Meanwhile, the distractions continue.

In addition to my landscaping dreams, I spent this week getting bids for repairs on the house (it's a foreclosure, so there are some issues), getting papers together for financing, arranging for utilities, and picking out paint and carpet. The biggest thing we are doing is having a contractor enlarge the 1962 teensy windows across the front of the house, which I think will be almost as huge of an improvement as my incredible landscaping will be. More to come next week.


Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Goodness, but Ruthie sounds EXACTLY like my 4yo Scooter! The kid can not be still for more than 15 seconds, and must be singing/making noise/flipping/spinning at all times. Even in Time Out.

I'm so excited for your new house, but not envious at all about managing all those projects. I get bogged down in the decisions sometimes - or all the time.

But still - YAY! You get a "new" house! We overhauled our 2nd house - new carpet, paint, wallpaper, before we moved in, and it was so great when it was done!

I'm so enjoying reading about your adventure!

Susanne said...

I have made many an apology to my mom as my kids and teens have acted out behavior I know I displayed when I was their age. Funny how all that comes around.

I can so relate to the youngest bad behavior being attributed to many excuses. My eyes were opened when my oldest one day complained that the youngest was getting away with everything and she never would have got away with that. It really brought me up short and I had to really take a look into my own frazzled distractedness. Hard stuff especially when your own plate is overflowing.

Only a few more weeks Katherine! Praying it will be smooth for you and soon you'll be digging in your new garden.

Anonymous said...

Trust me that doc. office visit has been repeated by family's of two and ten ... you're not unusual - don't be so hard on yourself.

Jen said...

Our home was a foreclosure too. It's alot of paper work girl. But it was so worth it once we had it.

Raquel said...

Sounds like our week has been looking the same i have been dealing with estimates, and a sick (teething so whiny baby) and a behavior issue! ahh the joys of being side tracked with a move on the horizon, i will keep you in my prayers.

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Man, oh, man, do I feel your pain. Life in a large family...

Julie said...

Umm, embarassed to say I could have easily written this post. Paige acted up last week at one of my boys doctors appointments and I actually said to the doctor "I'm sorry, she's the fifth child, and we have all turned her into a spoiled brat". Not one of my better parenting moments, however, the doctor just laughed. Paige could have cared less. Maybe we can form a support group.

Happy Moving, hang in there!!


Dimple Queen said...

Poor Annie...and poor Momma...I haven't been commenting much this past week with TAKS and all, but I have been reading....just wanted to check in!


Oh, and for Ruthie, MADD, and Too Many Kids.....well, my 3 1/2 year old (my second of two) acts the same way and I dont' have the whole "too many kids" excuse.... so where does that put me?? LOL

Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys said...

I agree with the other Moms here, this happens no matter how many kiddos you have. I've had my fair share of whining and complaining over the last few weeks with my two. We'll have some great days then some that bring me to my knees and I wonder how I could be doing this thing called parenting so badly!
Things are sure to settle down eventually. Hang in there! Sometimes, for me anyway, just recognizing what's going on and taking steps to deal with behaviors that have crept in makes all the difference. The kids are getting the best of Mom, even if that means more discipline, and everyone is happier.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

This is so encouraging! I have had a TON of stuff going on lately (and it's only going to pick up from here) and I think it really is having an impact on Dacey's behavior. I am making an effort to spend some focused, one-on-one time with her each day because I know a lot of it is for attention (negative attention is better than no attention, right?). Thanks for reminding me I'm not the only MADD mama struggling with this.

Christy. said...

There is nothing like the pediatrician's office to make you feel like they think you have too many kids. My four year old is my handful and she is always goofing around at the doctor and I feel like our pediatrician thinks my life is chaos, which it isn't. :0)
Hang in there with the move!