What’s going on? #life #mentalhealth

Where have I been? Well, work has been very good. There has been sickness. There has been car trouble. Yet we have adapted and overcome. I even handled a bit of real anxiety in the midst of all this.

Work has its challenges. But it has not been dull or tedious. I have really begun to dig into the meat of the work. Making a serious mental effort to improve. The key for me has been finding a way to make the information real so when I explain things I will be persuasive. It’s a very different kind of work than I was doing before. However, I find the work more interesting, While the difficult parts present a unique kind of work.

This week a plague descended upon our house. All three kids were home from school on Tuesday. Number One son was hit the hardest. He ended up missing 4 days of school, which meant 2 wrestling meets out the door. It made mornings hard for me as I would try to get him to get up and go. Which meant I had to start every morning with a battle.

That led to my fighting a case of anxiety. It was tough. I managed to make it through. I even managed to work through it all. I am really happy with how I handled that because there were so many stressors at work at once. Kids sick, car trouble, adapting to work. I took it all, figured it out and managed it without too much trouble.

Yeah, my car gave me some trouble this week. In fact, I have to take it back next week. Which was a big pain in the neck. But nearly as bad is it would be without the aid of parents who were willing to loan vehicles out.

So I made it through the last 2 weeks intact. And now I get to look forward to the craziness of Girl Scout cookie season. In fact, as I sit and type this my nostrils are filled with the scent of cardboard from the stacks of cookies filling up the room. I will regale you with more stories about that tomorrow as I plan for a double post weekend to make up for last weekend.

To recap, I made it through family illness, transportation problems, anxiety trouble to say that it was a good couple of weeks. I have the joy of continual challenge at work. Family health is recovering. I am moving more, feeling better physically. In short, life is good.



It often is in the details #Life #Mentalhealth

Funny thing life. There’s a saying ‘the devil is in the detail’. In my life and experience, I have found that definitely to be the case. So much of what goes on in life is about making sure that you do not miss the little stuff.

Lately, I have been trying to teach and impress this lesson on Jimmy. I understand that few teenagers grasp this. It is more of a life lesson to be learned. But it is a lesson he needs to learn.

It was easy for me to figure this lesson out. My OCD tendencies helped me pay attention to the little stuff. My only problem is and always has been my anxieties. They have kept me from doing a lot of things and held me back.

Luckily, Jimmy is not afflicted by my anxieties. Which is good for him. He just has to figure out how to control his teenage male hormones. Those wonderful chemicals that tend to fill him full of energy.

I can only do my best to teach him, and keep harping on this lesson. Harp on his need to focus, to bring all that energy to bear on one thing at a time. Learn to finish things properly. To pay closer attention to what he is doing and what he needs to be doing. There is no simple way to impart this lesson, it will just take a lot of repetition. And my paying attention to what he is or is not doing, to see if he is learning the lessons.


Thankfully putting it off, and relaxing #Kids #weekend

I took yesterday off from work. We had to take Danny to a big Doctor appointment, where the news was a mixed blessing. But I did get some time to just relax some. And of course tomorrow is the weekend, and I get to play this weekend.

Danny has been seeing an Orthodontist for a while now. Which was not a huge surprise, genetics and all that. Well, his orthodontist had told us that he had effectively done all that he could. That the real problem was that his lower jaw is set back a little. Which means he has an overbite that no amount of orthodontia will correct.

Yesterday we had a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in Orthognathic surgery. This is really pretty serious stuff. Fortunately, we were able to get a free consultation with this surgeon to discuss it. After a long spiel about what the surgery involves, and all the factors involved we actually saw the Doctor. He did some looking at Danny, at the various images. And advised us that it would be best to wait until Danny is older, maybe the summer after he graduates from high school. That in some cases performing this surgery at Danny’s age might not correct things long term, that he might have a relapse etc.

This was a relief on multiple levels. First, for Danny and his development, I think this is a good thing. He has enough other issues that adding in all of the time from recovery etc would things worse. I know that from personal experience, that going through Middle school is hard enough without dealing a big medical issue. Second, this is not a remotely small medical bill, and we would have to jump through some hoops to get it done. And who knows how that will work in 5-6 years. Third, I know that we are putting this all off, but at least we can plan ahead for it, and know that major event is out there on the horizon. Last, I am not running to look for another opinion because any time a surgeon says that it is okay to wait on an extremely expensive procedure I trust them.

We have some events this weekend, but none that will be especially taxing. We are attending a family birthday at someone else’s house on Saturday, so no problems with hosting. Sunday I have my Denver game, which is nice and something to look forward to.

I do plan to try to get some cleaning done around the house on Saturday, putting the kids to work. On that note, I have been trying something different this week with the kids. And the results have been good for the most part. I have been assigning all of them daily chores, simple stuff. And for the most part, I think that has helped keep the house under control. That went well enough that I plan to keep it up in coming weeks.

Sometimes Occam’s Razor is right #Kids #Mentalhealth

Today was one of those mornings. I was hustling, trying to get all the stuff done that I wanted. Which got me a little flustered, I’ll admit it. And when Danny just refused to go to school, his tummy hurt too much, I had just about had it.

Which sent my mind running in all sorts of directions. Which is what anxiety does, it’s a real pain in the ass. So I took Emily to school and called the Doctor to get Danny in. Of course I did not think it was anything really physical for him. I know that he has anxiety issues just like his Dad (lucky him.) And this half of the school year has not exactly started off great for him. He wanted to play basketball, but he has missed a number of practices due to illness. His regular teacher is out for surgery so he has a long term substitute. Cub Scouts is winding down, he will be crossing over in a month or so. He’s got a lot on his plate. So I wouldn’t blame him for being anxious. But he does need to learn how to cope with that and get into school. Which he was refusing to do.

And yeah, that ticked me off some. I completely empathize and sympathize with his anxiety. I know how paralyzing that can be. But I have had nearly 50 years to learn how to cope with it. And I was really hoping that he had turned the corner on this.

Then I took him to the doctor. I prepared him to accept it if the doctor gave him a clean bill of health, saying he would need to face that. And then we saw the doctor, went over all the symptoms. Did an examination. And lo and behold he actually has a sinus infection, not a terrible one, but certainly enough to do him in.

Well anxious Daddy was a little chagrined. Here I was all worried about him dealing with all this stuff. And thinking he just needed to get better at handling it all. When it turns out to be the simplest explanation: he is actually sick after all. Yes, I feel bad for thinking it was something else. But I will just take this as a lesson learned: maybe when a kid claims they are sick, they really are and it is not something bigger going on. And I clearly need to do a better job of not forcing my view on others about what is going on. So that is partially on me, I’ll admit that.

The most important thing is now he can get on some antibiotics. Return to school tomorrow as normal. And no real long term harm done. And some lessons learned by all of us. And I can lay my own anxieties to rest for now (I am sure I will find something else to obsess about.)

It’s official, and it’s okay

As of today I am the official parent of a Special Education student. And you know what? That is just fine with me. Danny just needs help figuring out how to process things, it doesn’t change who he is, or me or the rest of the family. In fact it is a good thing because now he can get the help that he needs so he can continue to grow in the classroom and not spend his days sitting in quiet frustration.

We had our meeting with the school yesterday afternoon. They went over the results of their evaluations and 2 things came up. He is definitely having real trouble with reading and writing comprehension, which is gradually bleeding into problem solving in math as he progresses into word problems. And he has been receiving extra attention and tutoring in the class room for the reading at least since Kindergarten, a fact that while a little startling did match with my recollections from parent conferences. In other words it was nothing new, just an affirmation of what we all pretty much suspected.

And now he has an official IEP. And there is a plan in place to get some special outside teaching during the school day and also some extra help in class for things like test instructions etc. It is technically minimal, he will still be in the regular classroom 80% of the time each day, and that is just fine. And at our request they will put together a packet of tasks and assignments he can do with us and his grandparents, both now and over the summer.

It was amazing this morning. Danny woke up and was telling us, like he has all week, how much his tummy hurt. But after I sat him down and talkaed about all this, and how we now understood better that he just gets frustrated at school because he just doesn’t understand things. And being the sweet quiet guy that he is he just internalizes that frustration and then his tummy hurts. I told him it is okay to get frustrated, that he needs to talk about it. And that it is okay to just kind of yell when things frustrate him (not at school of course), let those bad feelings out. And after that talk he remarked to me as we left for school that his tummy didn’t hurt any more.


A long, difficult, week is almost over, but decisions loom

This has not been a great week. We were short staffed at work, making life hard there. Kim had her own very difficult week at work. Sickness abounded as Kim struggled through the end of her cold while I caught the same thing (at least my eye is fine now.) And Jimmy suffered through a migraine, missing 4 days of school. But at least the weekend beckons.

*************Danny’s weekend**************

The birthday madness continues for Danny. First on Saturday we have Pinewood Derby, which is not our favorite Scout event. Danny is just not remotely interested in cars (takes after his parents.) Nor is he the type who wants to model or work that much with his hands beyond playing with Lego. But we got the car done, and will enter it and finish the event. At least I am not trying to perform double duty with a race like I did last year.

But following that we get the joy of small kids invading our house for the night as Danny will get to host his first sleep over! As of now we now of 5 kids pretty much for sure. It should be an interesting night, hopefully Danny has a good time. And then Sunday we can recover.

************Decisions for Jimmy************

After this latest migraine and missing 4 days of school I am pondering pulling Jimmy out of track so he can just focus on school for the remainder of the year. We will keep him involved in the decision, if he really wants to stay in we will let him. But it could be a matter of he needs to reduce his mental and physical load for now. I could keep him running on weekends, maybe find some other races. Not sure yet, just something we need to decide on.

************Time and change***************

It’s amazing how time has passed and things have changed. A friend who once lived here in town has returned. I have been in intermittent touch over Facebook over the years but he left roughly 16 years ago. So I started thinking through how different things are from when he left as far as the general circle of friends we share. We are talking the births of kids, marriages, divorces, deaths. It’s going to be a lot to catch up on.

Just seems like we cannot win sometimes

Jimmy had a great Spring Break. He spent a lot of time with his friends, swimming at the pool, playing Magic, sleeping over at friends houses. Basically all the things he did not really do over Xmas break that I gave him a hard time about. He did not spend the free time sitting around on the computer and/or kindle playing electronic games.

I was really proud of him for making an effort to do all that. I even mentioned that to him on Saturday, that I was was happy to see him doing stuff with other kids instead of sitting around the house. And on Wednesday, when I had multiple events out of the house, leaving him in charge, including making sure he & the little ones had lunch, he did that correctly. Again, he had a great break, did what was asked of him and was responsible.

I even made a concerted effort late in the week to get him back to a decent sleep schedule. And for the most part we all stuck to a meal schedule.

But in spite of all that, once again he is experiencing another of his post-break migraines, this time just the head, not the abdominal. I am pretty certain a big element of this is sleep, he is a growing boy, and needs sleep. And at least on his sleep overs I don’t think he got as much sleep as he needed and he did have to get up early a few times to watch the kids while I ran an errand. But I thought that he got at minimum his 8 hours or more most nights.

If you cannot tell I am really frustrated by all this. I finally get Jimmy to get out there, out of the house, doing fun things with other kids. And it feels like he is getting punished by this damn migraine. I know that the key to migraines is triggers, and then trying to avoid those triggers. And for the most part the only real common trigger with him seems to be sleep. But does that mean that he cannot do sleepovers? That I have to supervise his bed times to be sure he is actually sleeping rather than reading or playing games? He is 12, and I really thought we were at the point where he had taught him the fundamentals of things like being responsible, and could just get a little more hands off. Instead it feels like we have to get more hands on instead.

I don’t know the answers right now, if I read or hear something different I will update, but for now that is the only things we have to focus on. Which does mean time for a serious talk about bed times, and then real caution for us as far as sleep overs etc.

*******************Blood Bowl******************

On a side note. The mighty Dark Elves made the league championship game, but lost as many players ended up on the IR, defying the odds. So the coach decided to move on to what should be a stronger team, with the idea of ending the streak of getting my teams beaten up with no counter.  With that in mind last night saw the debut of the Aztlan Gators, a Lizardman team. Only to see one of these ostensibly tough players get knocked out of the game and hurt for the next on the first play of the game (a roughly 4% chance play). Possibly the dice gods are trying to tell this coach that he needs to retire from the game? We kept trying, despite the losses of more players (the weak Skinks lost 3 players which is still high but I somewhat expected some casualties from them.) I need to try and be patient with this team but damn that is hard when you end the game with so many players off the pitch.