Tuesday, October 25, 2016

One-Sided Sibling Rivalry

I'm not sure why we decided to start Jordan in piano lessons when she was in first grade, but we did. Wasn't I the one who mentioned not too long ago, that we were overwhelmed with our already busy schedule? Again, maybe it had something to do with that damn Jones family. We found the sweetest, most patient instructor in our neighborhood, so at least we didn't have to travel a long distance to get to the lessons.

Jordan enjoyed learning how to play. Initially we had to limit the amount of time she spent practicing because she would do whatever it took to avoid hitting the wrong notes.

Even as Jordan became more confident and more capable, she continued to have an attitude towards her younger sister, Kayla. When Kayla would walk into the room Jordan would instantly yell “Get out!” or “Go away!.” Then there was the “Kaylaaaaaaaaaa” which she stretched out for a good 5 seconds. She may as well have said “Kayla, I really don't like you.”

Although this scenario didn't happen often, sometimes Jordan would actually push Kayla's face away from her, by pressing on her cheek. It was gentle, but she would physically move Kayla's head. Um... no. I talked to Jordan about how it might feel if she had an older sister who tried to make her sad all the time. I wasn't positive if she understood what I was saying, or if she had the ability to empathize, but I had to say something. And after this type of conversation with me, Jordan would get very upset. It was almost as if she didn't like to think of herself as someone who treated her sister so awfully.

Even back then, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I was fully aware that sibling rivalry was normal. But clearly, I had trouble tolerating blatant disrespect and well... meanness. It drove me nuts. Kayla didn't ask for it, or deserve it. I would have loved for Kayla to "give it back" a little bit, but at this point in their lives she was young, and she didn't.

There were a few times when Kayla didn't need to do, or say anything to get back at Jordan. One time all it took was Jordan having the opportunity to watch Kayla play and have fun with a friend. Jordan longingly looked into Kayla's room, and very dramatically uttered (I assume for my benefit): “I hope Kayla remembers me the way she did, before she hated me.”

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. ;)

Thank you.

Us Too

Friday, October 21, 2016


I've been thinking about how life changes after having children. Those tween and teen years could have the potential to ruin relationships. Please try to remember that no matter how unpleasant, belligerent, angry or antisocial a child may become, no matter how hard a child tries to push their parent away, a parent can never go away.

No child wants to be locked in their bedroom feeling alone, misunderstood, and hopeless. Even if someone isn't capable of, or willing to verbalize it, everyone wants to be heard, accepted, and loved for who they are.

It may not be easy. It certainly wasn't always easy for us. But the results of communicating throughout those tough years, could be momentous. Because one day a child may be doing his or her very best to find success. But if the realization "I deserve, and will be happy", is slowly replaced with the overwhelming, all consuming, downward spiral into hopelessness... no one should feel alone.

All things considered, a little bit of attention, intervention, reassurance, closeness, understanding, and love, may be all that's needed to get someone back on track towards finding inner peace again.

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Don't Ever Compare Siblings. Yeah... Okay

I may have thought this, but I'm thankful I never said it.

As I had mentioned, it's common knowledge that parents should try not to compare their children. Each one of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. Each should be nurtured and tended to, because individual children will develop at their own pace. They all possess an assortment of different emotions and personalities... Blah, blah, blah.

That's hard to do when you have two children, who are both sick, and one takes the chew-able Tylenol in 30 seconds, while the other eventually gets it down after 40 minutes. And because said tablet is laying around for those 40 minutes, the chances are pretty high that an energetic little puppy named Ladybug, will eventually, accidentally eat it. And she did.

Again, good times.

Here's the thing. I always tasted medicine before I gave it to my children, and these tablets were delicious. I also knew better than to hand them pills that needed to be swallowed, because most kindergarten and first grade children have not yet mastered this skill. So I thought I was being a reasonable mom, making a reasonable request for my children. I don't specifically remember, but I assume we were out of the liquid Tylenol. Although knowing my stubborn streak, at this point, if we did have it, I may have neglected to offer it to Jordan anyway. Because her younger sister chewed up the medicine in seconds.

So Kayla, who was now feeling much better, went downstairs to play and romp around with the currently medicated Ladybug. (Who I was informed by the vet, was going to be fine.) And Jordan, who was currently un-medicated, stayed upstairs and probably continued to feel pretty crappy.

Live and learn. I guess. Ugh.

Thankfully, she decided to eventually take the medicine. Every time something like this happened, it kind of broke my heart (And it still does). She didn't feel well, and as the last post mentioned, I "felt it twice". But I was also frustrated, angry and seemingly powerless. You can't force a seven year old to chew up and swallow a pill, even if it does taste sweet and fruity. It really was much easier to squirt liquid Tylenol into the mouths of screaming infants. Things do change as they get older.

Was all of this a symptom of her anxiety? Maybe. I don't really know. It probably was. Because who wants to continue to feel sick, if they have the choice to help themselves feel better? No one, right? So maybe some people truly can't help themselves.

Thank you.

Us Too

Saturday, October 15, 2016

When One Little Cold Changes the Ebb and Flow of... Us


Remember when I explained that Jordan didn't like to cough? Well, I finally found out the reason why. When she was in first grade and coughed, a boy told her she sounded like a buffalo.


According to Jordan, from this point on, she would do whatever it took to stop herself from coughing. Especially in school. There was that self-control issue, resurfacing again. My mature reaction was to tell her she should have coughed directly into the boy's face. Adam suggested that next time she say, "Well, at least I don't smell like one." This made her laugh. I hoped one day she would care less about what other people thought and said. Not an easy task to master.

When Jordan was sick she was a trooper and didn't complain much, but she obsessed about little things such as wiping her nose, and licking her lips to the point where they got very red and sore. She also refused to blow her nose. If she wasn't feeling well, I would be informed that she would not be attending school that day, due to the fact that she was too embarrassed. Don't get me wrong, I did empathize with her. I worried about her most of the day, and told her to go to the nurse if she felt began to feel worse (while also realizing the chances of this happening were slim to none). I guess I had faith that her teacher would notice if she appeared miserable. (Especially because of the whole student-teacher connection they apparently shared.) But if she wasn't actually sick with a fever, I thought she should go.

And to my surprise, she actually did.

I never would have shared this with her, but I was always shocked when she made the bus on these mornings. Because nothing about these mornings was easy. She could have refused to walk out the front door, or leave her room. Then what the heck would I have done? We were well beyond the joyous days of being able to carry her like a football, while working up a sweat securing her into the car seat.

Ah, the good old days.

Parents don't like when their children are sick. This is not a new concept. I've heard many claim that if they could trade places with their sick child, they would in a minute. I certainly would have. Parents would do anything to help take their children's pain and discomfort away. So I can't help but think about how convenient it is, that we have the opportunity to administer medicine to them.

It's such a simple, fast acting, usually productive solution. Or is it? Because if two of your children are sick, and one takes the medicine, and one refuses, the solution is actually only coming in at a 50% productivity rate. And we all know what letter grade a 50% gets you.

And parents are told to not compare their children.

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Superpowers Are Back Again

One day Jordan came home from first grade and told me "If I were her (Jordan's teacher) I would quit my job because she has to yell at the kids so much."  Well, that can't be good.

A few weeks earlier, during our parent teacher conference, this same teacher informed us that Jordan being in the classroom, was like having a student teacher present. Huh? She said when they made eye contact, Jordan appeared to understand her level of frustration whenever she had trouble controlling the boys in the classroom.

There were so many aspects of this conversation that seemed wrong. School should be a comfortable environment; a safe haven for all children. Jordan loved learning and being in school, which was actually a huge deal for us. It was my hope that this positivity would continue. It seemed unfair that because a teacher was having difficulty disciplining her class, Jordan was made to feel uncomfortable and anxious. I understood first hand the dynamics of teaching, and the many challenges it involved. I was also blatantly aware of Jordan's tendencies towards over sensitivity and over-intuitiveness.

I assumed most kids were probably unaware of their teacher's emotions; of the behind-the scenes-vibes. Why was Jordan internalizing these angst-filled, adult feelings of frustration at such a young age? She said she would quit if she were the teacher. That's quite a telling statement. When I spoke to her teacher about this, she appeared to get visibly shaken by Jordan's comment. My intent was certainly not to challenge or upset her. After all, I actually had no solid evidence of what was going on in the classroom. All my information was coming from the mouth of a seven year old. A rule following, easily affected, super-serious, seven year old.

Yes, she was different.  (I know, who isn't?)  But my next pathway of worry began to evolve; the chance that she wouldn't "fit in" with the other first grade children.  What if she began to ostracize herself socially, and alienate herself from the other kids?

Realizing that once she was at school, I had no actual, hands-on control (which really was something to get accustomed to) I guess I was forced to hope-for-the-best, like most parents are.

Fast forward to today, and those special people who share the before mentioned super powers...

With the amount of information, emotion, anger, hypocrisy, ridiculousness, natural disasters, violence, lack of respect... well, you probably get my point. With all of this going on, having these super powers must be really, mindbogglingly difficult at times.

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, October 3, 2016

Blocking Out The World

This is an excerpt from an entry written in Momastery, by Glennon Doyle Melton.

"Because yes, I’ve got these conditions—anxiety, depression, addiction—and they almost killed me. But they are also my superpowers. I’m the canary in the mine and you need my sensitivity because I can smell toxins in the air that you can’t smell, see trouble you don’t see and sense danger you don’t feel. My sensitivity could save us all. And so instead of letting me fall silent and die — why don’t we work together to clear some of this poison from the air?"

Did you know there are people who have this acute level of sensitivity to every crappy stimuli thrown at them, from the outside world? Think about this. All the devastation, cruelty, discrimination, and evil, that we are constantly bombarded with, they can not block out. Damn. Unfortunately, the younger version of myself had no idea there were people so deeply affected. Honestly, I probably categorized them as being overly dramatic, or worse yet... weak.     


I, for better or for worse, have the ability to tune out the harsh realities of our world. I live in our (currently) comfortable Beck-Bubble  As long as my "people" are happy and healthy, life is good.  Am I making a difference in the world at large? No. But for whatever reason, at this stage of my life, it's enough.

Imagine being unable to reach this level of contentment because somewhere far, far away, others are suffering.

What a burden to have to carry. Those who are graced with at least one of Glennon's "superpowers" are most likely having difficulty dealing with recent current events. I'm sure (and SO hope) there were viewers left shaking their heads, after watching the presidential debate. But for some, it was so powerfully overwhelming that they cried themselves to sleep. And while "Black Lives Matter" has basically become a household phrase, there are those plagued with a sense of guilt because they were born in America, with white skin. These two examples only touch the surface...

I'm not saying everyone who is mentally different (because who isn't?) has a responsibility to go out and save the world. But I do think it's important to be aware of the various ways people may process the crap-storm of information that is constantly circling around us. Obviously it's much less complicated for some, than it is for others.

And I'm now unabashedly aware that this has absolutely no bearing on a person's level of mental weakness or strength.

Thank you.

Us Too