Sunday, March 29, 2009

A good weekend so far

We often dread weekends around here because Tortuga's mood tends to hold everyone hostage and lately he has been particularly difficult EVERY weekend.

To my surprise, this weekend got off to a good start and for the most part we are holding steady. C. and I have so little time to spend together and because we still don't have many friends (any friends really) in this town it is hard to get a night out without kids. My sister lives here and is one of the reasons we decided this was a good move to make but she has her own life and the kids are a bit much for her to handle. She takes a couple off our hands at different points but we have only left the four of them with her on 2 occasions and for short periods of time. We decided that we were going to aim for 2 Fridays each month when we would go out to breakfast after school drop offs and have a chance to catch up with each other without constant kid interruption or drama. Of course, we have Milagro with us but she is a relatively easy going child so it is almost like being by ourselves and the closest we can get right now. We also don't know lots of places to go out around here so breakfast "dates" are helping us get to know the area. We had a nice leisurely breakfast where we didn't talk about the kids and then ran a couple of errands to find clothes for this weather since our New England winter wear is no longer needed around here. Milagro was in fine form, chatting with every baby she saw, trying out her new words "park" and "car" along with this new mischievous grin she has developed and uses every time she is about to do something she isn't supposed to.

When the boys were home (Corazon had gymnastics until 7) my sister called and informed me I was cooking stir-fry for her and her daughter because her husband was working late. We usually eat one weekday dinner at her house so it is only fair that I reciprocate. I agreed and told her we had splurged and bought the movie "Bolt" while we were out so we could screen it for the kids (and adults) after dinner. We don't do much TV around here because the two older kids cannot handle it but movies work pretty well. Tortuga was being very disrespectful towards me and using some bullying behaviors every time he addressed me. We have an issue with him because he is a tall kid for his age and I am not tall. I am probably only 3 inches taller than him so he will try to puff himself up and tower over me anytime I talk to him about something he doesn't want to hear. He does this all the time with smaller kids, especially girls, but he has been trying it on for size with me. I checked him about it a couple of times but he seemed hellbent on spirally down. I was trying to cook a nice dinner and was getting tired of redirecting him.

Then I learned that Tortuga had a bad day based on his behavior contract in school because he was disrupting the kids and teacher. I informed him that meant he would have early bedtime and he got really mad. I sent him to do some tapping (thanks, Lisa) so he could reign himself back in before he missed out on a wonderful family dinner.

While I don't usually consequence him at home for every bad behavior at school our expectation is that he is supposed to be actively working on a couple of things at school that are also issues at home. Currently he is working on not bullying girls (school and home), not interrupting when others are speaking, (home and school) and staying where he is supposed to stay (his seat, room, etc.) without constantly disturbing and distracting other people who are doing what they are supposed to do. If he has two or more "bad days" at school for the same reason he gets early bedtime on Friday. His behavior since he got home suggested he really needed to spend some quality alone time anyway.

We had dinner with my sister and my niece and Tortuga held it together nicely although he started to spiral downward when I reminded him he had early bedtime. I gave him the option of reading in bed for a little while but that just made him angry so I changed my mind and announced he needed to go and call it a day. He started to fuss but I gave him "the look" and told him he could do the extra bedtime tonight or he could pay me tomorrow morning by staying in his room until lunchtime. He LOVES Saturday morning breakfast and family chore time (yes my children are weird) so that settled him down. The rest of us enjoyed the movie "Bolt" (nice to see one that doesn't have over-the-top adult humor embedded in it) and Tortuga didn't try to interrupt/disrupt it.

Yesterday, we did family chores in the morning then realized we had invited one of Corazon's teammates over to play with her. She is the daughter of our new(maybe) friends. The dad called to say his wife left town for a funeral but he would love to bring her over and hang out for a bit. They ended up hanging out for the entire afternoon and having dinner with us. The girls played together but I could tell that Corazon was a little off. Tortuga was playing with Milagro outside and Corazon's friend (who is 6) was more interested in playing with Tortuga than with Corazon and Corazon didn't seem to mind which was unusual. I had to redirect her quite a number of times and remind her she had a friend here. Since this was the first time they were in our house I was trying to keep things in check and not freak them out about our rules with the kids. Corazon really tested it. She took out items that were off limits, didn't put anything away after they played with it, played with running water and made a mess, grabbed toys that belonged to her brothers then pretended she "forgot" she wasn't to touch them, etc. I was really annoyed with her but held back. The friend's dad, M. was really easy-going, very interested in the kids' stories, and it turned out the daughter is adopted and he was raised by his grandmother in some pretty crazy circumstances with 4 of his cousins who all have big time issues. He seemed genuinely interested in hearing about adoption issues, saw one of my books about RAD and asked some pretty good questions. I tried not to get too excited about the fact that he didn't seem shocked to hear about RAD and that our kids had some "issues." I tried not to share too much and I think we did OK. It was really nice to have someone who didn't seem to dismiss some of the stories (mild to moderate ones) we told. We even discussed the fact that we don't let our kids go to friends' houses without our supervision and he didn't think that was strange at all. C. cooked a lovely dinner and everyone had a really good time.

Since the kids had done pretty well and Corazon even did all the sentences she earned without too much drama we did a rerun of Bolt (first time for Tortuga.) They loved it and asked to see it again. This is one of the things I like about our kids, they get hooked on one movie and can see it a dozen times and still not get tired. Probably because we limit so much of their TV watching because it really sets them off.

I stayed up late (past 1 a.m.) catching up on my blog reading. Actually one particular blog that I have been trying to read from beginning to end all week. The kids have football today and I have cooking for the week to do but I am going to try to post some football pictures later today.


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Goodness, I think I might have cried in the face of a visiting parent and child who understood all of the craziness. A live living person who you can see! I think I am jealous.

Lisa said...

I'm with Essie....someone that didn't live in the computer too.
It's a miracle!

Dia por Dia said...

I agree. I was so reticent to say anything but he seemed to "get it" and made some connections to his cousins' behaviors when they were growing up. Asked some good questions about how attachment gets built and about sensory issues. C. & I were both giddy that he didn't do those usual "all kids do that" or "they just need love and/or discipline" etc. Of course, we didn't reveal tooo much but it was a nice start. Don't pinch me in case this was all a dream!

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