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    One week

    September 28th, 2012

    Today  marks one full week without Neko. I’m getting acclimated to his absence, but I don’t like it. The first day after he passed, things felt surreal. It was my denial stage. The second day was really hard, and the little moments (like expecting him to be meeting me at the door, or wait on the cushions over the shoe storage) were hitting me the most. I still feel as I walk around a corner that he’ll be right there, snoozing in the sun. Loveys and stuffed animals loitering the floor only perpetuate this mirage.

    It’s been really wonderful how supportive so many people have been. I’ve gotten condolences cards and calls from the emergency clinic and our pet insurance, and notes from several people that have cat-sat for Neko over the years… even poor M, who was the unfortunate target of Neko’s demonic side.

    G showed me his empathetic side by standing by me a few seconds while I cried on the stairs, only to run off, grab one of his loveys and throw it to me. It was sweet. Really. His loveys make him feel better, and he NEVER wants to share them, so it was a pretty big, unspoken gesture.

    The days since, G progressively asked more and more questions: where he was; was he at the vet… And he’ll stop playing once in a while, frown his face and tell us he misses kitty.

    Within a day or two, I had an irresistible urge to go out and get another cat. Don’t worry! I didn’t. I’m resisting with all my might browsing petfinder.com. Mostly, because I know that I’m not looking for another cat. I want Neko. And I will never have another Neko.

    I try to tell myself some bright sides to being pet-less for the while, but at the end of the day there’s no such thing as a bright side. I’ll happily take any of those “inconveniences” if I can get him back.

    I don’t really know how to close this, so I’ll end with a picture I took of us at one of Neko’s last vet appointments. So fuzzy!

    A letter to mommy and daddy

    September 28th, 2012

    G’s theme for this month (at school) is community helpers. They’ve gotten visits from the police department, a fire department, and they took their first field trips to the train station and post office.

    Their trip at the post office was to mail out letters… to the parents. They just did this on Wednesday, and I was pleasantly surprised to see OUR letter waiting for us in our mailbox yesterday. Here goes.

    It’s so eloquent, and to the point. He might be a writer some day!

    Say my name!

    September 27th, 2012

    G was feeling a little sad the other day that S2 wouldn’t say his name. To be honest, I hadn’t heard little man to do it date, so I quizzed him at bed-time. And this was what I got:

    Yeah, this is where we all swoon and collectively say “Aw!”

    The black box of therapy

    September 25th, 2012

    G had his first play therapy session today.

    I’ll be honest, in that I feel three things:
    1) underwhelmed
    2) lost
    3) proud

    Let’s go through them, huh?

    S and I met with our therapist yesterday. We took G along, mostly because I thought we should since we’re discussing HIM. The therapist was very nice, patient, and a good listener (hey, what do you know — job requirement). She listened to our concerns, validated our parenting approach to date, and told us about the play therapy she uses. She works with kids using sand-play, art, and chess. I’m excited about the approach, but a bit underwhelmed by not understanding how it works. A part of is was that S and I did not really do our homework before hand and didn’t really know what play therapy involved. Thanx to Wikipedia, now, at least we have the 10,000′ view of it, but for action item people such as ourselves hearing things like “Somehow this approach just works” goes against our core being. There’s no homework, nothing for us to address, stop doing or keep doing: therapy is just supposed to help. I’m into it, don’t get me wrong, I’m just not used to black box treatment so it’s going to take some time to acclimate.

    The lost was because while undergoing this process with G, I had hoped for also more guidance for S and I on our parenting skills. Yes, I can keep reading books, but I was really hoping for an ongoing discussion with trained professionals about specific situations and things to do or for us to stop doing. As it stands, I’m not increasing my parenting tool-kit, and I was hoping that would be a by-product of this process. I’m hopeful that the play therapy sessions will be helpful for G, but this only reinforces my drive to find local parenting courses, or perhaps seek family therapy for myself.

    The pride comes from the final moments of G’s session. S and I aren’t allowed to be part of the appointments. She doesn’t disclose what was said, I’m sure as part of patient confidentiality (although I’m interpreting this since she didn’t volunteer it). It’s weird to NOT know what my 4yr old is doing, and while I want to respect his privacy… he’s 4! I guess I kind of figured that as long as he was asking for my help in the bathroom, I was kind of entitled to know it all. She gave me a hand out on how to approach gifted children. She exclaimed he was really bright (and likely gifted), but couldn’t assess to what degree just yet. She noted that many bright children excel intellectually, but have difficult time developing emotionally, and that can be represented in more extreme tantrums and issues with adults/authority figures. She also volunteered that gifted kids often have allergies, and apparently seasonal allergies count. Check, check and check. I guess it’s left me feeling pretty good about a crappy situation: “Hey, it sucks to be you, but it’s because your kid is really intelligent!”

    She noted that he was not hyperactive. I didn’t even bring up the idea, I assure you. He can stay on task pretty well… when he wants to :). As a whole this is good. No ADHD right now. To be honest, if anyone had brought up the idea of ADHD I would have strapped G to a gurney and demanded an ANA-panel ran firtt. Kids with thyroid disorder present similar symptoms as kids with ADHD, and given my thyroid disorder, I would want that checked first: if I’m going to medicate my kid, I want to know it’s for the right thing.

    G himself had a pretty good time. He enjoyed being in her office yesterday and playing with the toys and sand. He was excited to come back. Our conversation preparing him for it was actually pretty amusing. It went something like:

    G: I get to go back?
    Me: Yes, do you want to?
    G: Yes! Why aren’t you going to come with me?
    Me: Because Dr. G wants to have a play-date with you, alone.
    G: Like when Big K comes over?
    Me: Yes, like when Big K comes over.
    G: So she’s baby-sitting me?
    Me: [snort] Uhmn… no!

    Our next sessions is not for 2.5 weeks. I’m bummed, because I want to keep building on this momentum, but the therapist is on vacation so we’ll wait.

    Therapy is covered by our insurance. Hoorray! Unlimited. We get to pay only our copay. This will make the process a lot easier to get through, as I see very regular visits to therapy for many months to come.

    Until the next one, I’ll leave you with this little sound tid-bit to share in my muzak experience:

    Movie Monday

    September 24th, 2012

    This is what happens to toys in our home that make mom and dad want to poke a fork in their ears. We (and by “we” I mean S) were “lucky” enough to getting G onboard to doing some surgery.


    The best part to this, was actually Skyping with my parents this week-end (the contributors of this gift) and listening to G tell my dad why it no longer made sound. The chat went something like this:

    Gappa: What happened to the sound?
    G: We turned it off!
    Gappa: Why?
    G: because it was driving us crazy! [Ha! please observe use of “us”]
    Gappa: How did you stop it?
    G: We cut it off?
    Gappa: With what?
    G: Scizzors!
    S: Actually it was wire cutters.

    Enjoy! Oh — feel free to use this technique with your toys too. It makes a lot of them a TON more enjoyable… for the listeners.

    Today, I feel…

    September 22nd, 2012

    It’s not even 6 right now, but Thanx to Littlest Man giving roosters a run for their money, I’m sitting on the rocker in the nursery thinking (while hoping S2 will find inspiration to nap). I’m thinking about how I feel and right now my first sense is that of

    Gratitude. Neko died at home, with us by his side. It was what I wanted for him. He hated going to the vet, and I hated the possibility of having to compassionately end his suffering in a place that wasn’t where he was at peace. I’m grateful that it didn’t happen while we were at work, or in the middle of the night. We got a chance for closeness, even though those last few moments went fast and unexpected. I would have wished he made an effort to say good bye to each of us, rather than spending all day in the nursery, but he felt so peaceful all day. I’m grateful that his condition gave me some time to prepare, and acknowledge that he needed some extra love to say Good bye in his final months. Yes, there could always have been more love, and cuddles, but I am at peace with where we are. I also feel

    Sad. Generic feeling, but I’ll miss him. I’ll miss him blocking the stairs as he stretched himself out and refused to budge so we can pass. Although he hadn’t truly been himself for awhile, I’ll miss the fur-ball that couldn’t wait for me to wake up so that I would fill his bowls in the morning. I’ll miss my spooning buddy. I’ll even miss apologizing to visitors, that he hissed at, for invading his space or daring to give him attention. I miss the chance the kids would have had to get to know him the way S and I knew him. I also feel…

    Angry. This has been a pretty shitty week: a friend of ours died on Saturday night. I’ve been crying over his loss too. Then all the stuff with G came to a head, and now this. I feel over it. Really! I go back to the thankful part of today acknowledging all the positives, but anger still streams by.

    I don’t know how today will go yet. G was with us when it happened last night. He’s such an astute kid. He knew what was happening. He asked as I was scrambling to call the emergency hospital if we can get another pet soon. I’ve been preparing him by reading books about loosing a pet, and talking to him about what was going to happen. As a biped mom, I feel awful for not being there for him before he fell asleep to make sure he would be OK: I took Neko to the hospital (just in case there was something anyone could do and he wasn’t really gone). S stayed at home with the kids. S2 was already asleep, and g needed someone to take him bed.

    Today I’ll talk to both the kids and we’ll take it from there. Although to be honest, I dread the thought of S2 asking ‘ooh-ah kitty?’
    I thinking about creating a Neko memory box with his favorite toys and blanket inside. The rest we’ll donate. I’d like the kids to help. I’m projecting it would give them closure, who the hell knows…

    I miss you already, little buddy! Cat-nap, forever, in peace 🙂

    a Neko memory lane stroll:

    Rest in peace, fuzzy man!

    September 21st, 2012

    Neko died tonight at about 8:40pm.

    I have nothing more to say, right now.

    It’s all about The Claw!

    September 21st, 2012

    There is a 6-inch gap between our wall and couch. This is a good place to hide stuff (like an old box that can probably be recycled), and a sad place to loose items. G has discovered this the hard way as many balls, toys, socks, and loveys have found themselves stuck in the ravine. The gap is just wide enough where I can’t enter, my arms don’t extend far enough to the floor, and the couch is just too heavy to move around. This places a unique conundrum on how to evacuate items from this spot of “the lost”.

    I remember about maybe a year back, G crying about something he lost behind the couch. I non-nonchalantly walked over to the kitchen, grabbed a set of tongs, and fished required item. S was impressed (‘cuz yo’ I’m smart like that), but G looked at me as if I had opened a whole new world to him.

    Since then, he would drag a chair over to the utensil rack, grab the tongs and run off with them to help himself to fallen friends. It was cute. It was also a pain in the butt.

    So for G’s birthday, S specified to asking relatives, that a set of grabbers would be a great idea. Yeah, I mean one of those As Seen on TV things. An aluminum arm that extends about two feet, and a pincer you control through a trigger on the end. G LOVES IT!!! He calls it “The Claw” (tu da dum!)

    The Claw is coo — it helps him reach stuff. But the claw is also metal and sharp and makes beautiful scratches on our walls (not to include family members). S, and this is where he’s smart in turn, wrapped it in pipe insulating material. Now it’s cool, practical AND safe-r.

    Presenting… The Claw… and a happy boy illustrating it’s use.

    Monkey and string acquired!

    It’s not always sunshine and rainbows

    September 19th, 2012

    Parenting sucks. Sometimes.

    We’ve been told that with kids, when it’s good, it feels really good, and when it’s bad, it feels really bad. Right now we’re in a really bad spot. Actually, I don’t even know if I can say spot, because my moments in parenting desperation are transient by the hour of the day.

    G has been rough to be around of late. I can’t point exactly when it started. I want to say around turning 2. We had “the terrible two’s”, which then became “the terrible three’s” and somehow we’re kind of stuck in replay mode still at 4. I never questioned just how bad the tantrums were because everyone kept exulting just how awful this age phase is.

    I feel like all tantrums, since the beginning have been around him not getting what he wants. The tantrums were screaming and hysterical crying at two. Mixed in with some ground tossing and leg kicking. Annoying, but for the most part manageable. Then at three they turned more physical with intent to go after S and I and hurt us. I won’t lie, or hide at this point, that there were several occasions, when these outbursts were so out of control, I’d have to sit on G to restrain him from hitting me, until he exhausted himself. Or sit him on the stairs, with myself wrapped around him, allowing him to kick, but not injure me. The tantrums at three also included throwing things out of his room, which is why for quite awhile his room was bare of toys, books, etc. and included just the bare necessities of sleep. We have dings in the wall across his bedroom, and color marks from colorful toys rubbing off as they scraped the walls going by. Then the spitting started. Thankfully it’s more like blowing raspberry, with some wet flying by, but it doesn’t make it any better.

    I’ve kept thinking that it will get better. And on some days I feel it has.

    Lately though? Not so much.

    I dread picking G up from his classroom, because it feels like every other day I get a report that sounds like:

    “He had a really good day, until the afternoon when he started spitting”, or

    “He had to spend some time in the office, because at nap time he was being really loud, disruptive, started yelling, and woke up the other kids”, or

    “He got angry and started trying to kick us”, or …. well, you get the picture.

    I feel apologetic, and … a bad parent.

    It’s not that I don’t want to change this. I do! I just don’t know what the hell to do. I’ve read some parenting books, and talked to other parents. My issue with the parenting books, is that while the techniques are interesting to read about, the situations feel so high level and they don’t address my scenarios. Yes, there’s something to be said about proper application. Maybe I haven’t been strict enough in practices, or applying the techniques correctly, but it shouldn’t be THIS hard. It shouldn’t be THIS bad.

    Our school asked to meet with us to talk about what’s going on. It’s kind of the preschool equivalent of being sent to the principle’s office. This immediately sent me on a trip of a) instantly feeling like our parenting skills were called out as poor; b) worry that we’ll be asked to leave the program. You remember how hard it is to find a good daycare facility right? Thankfully, I’ve been assured that’s not the case.

    But between the meet request and just how awful G was at his 4 yr check-up, I just had to stop and cry about it. Cry for feeling helpless, and cry because I worry about what could happen if this doesn’t change. I have images in my head about a teen that gets in constant trouble, with no respect for others around him; a sociopathic adult, and ultimately a human being that I would regret bringing into being. Yes, my mind went there! All because I don’t know how to help my four year old control his emotions.

    I was planning on talking to Dr. M about seeking professional help. I guess G did that all on his own, because after seeing it a small glimpse into our world, Dr. M suggested that we see a child psychologist. He indicated that his behavior felt regressive, and something he would normally see of a two year old and not a four year old. Yey for validation. Crap for it really being bad enough to necessitate professional help.

    Yet, when he is sweet, he is really, REALLY incredible. He is helpful, he listens, he cuddles, he’s funny. He’s awesome. But the Jeckyl and Hyde thing? Damn!

    That’s the Thanx I get

    September 15th, 2012

    G’s purple rope has been missing and he’s been asking for it all week. S and Big K8y have flipped the house around and I committed to helping today. And guess what, I’m a winner! I found it. Ha!
    G and S were thrilled.
    Looking for some additional accolades, I ask:
    ‘G, who is your favorite Mommy?’
    Without missing a beat I hear ‘Daddy!’

    Yeah, Thanx kid, I guess I deserved that.