Thursday, July 29, 2004

It's true 

Besides being mildly humorous and sweetly winsome in a Mrs. Santa Claus sort of way, I also have the amazing ability to do a number of small to medium household repairs. Yes, if I could bottle and sell me, I would be rich! Which would be nice except for the being in a whole bunch of bottles part.

Today I've kept busy with assorted little tasks, such as taking the back off the dryer so I could dislodge a clog of lint as big as three guinea pigs and a hamster which was preventing it from operating in an optimal manner.

I've also been toting things around all day. I'm sorry to say Mike and I are deep in the throes of a stare-down in re his recent hideous behaviors. Sadly for him, I'm not much on blinking.

It started out with us restricting him from watching TV unless someone was beside him, because I felt that just sitting there watching was a trigger for absent-mindedly beginning to pick. As you can imagine, he wasn't too happy with that, but I thought it was working, because it meant he was spending more time with me and Caro, doing things that were at least more companionable, if not more fun.

But it somehow turned into a battle of wills. I don't consider myself a control freak, but Mike assuredly has that kind of tendency. Our general policy has been to try to make him see that we WANT him to be in charge of himself, but new freedoms come from making good choices in the smaller matters.
"When you don't act right, you miss out," is his least favorite phrase in the whole world, because we've been drumming it into him since he was four or so....

Anyway, the short version is that today I carted his computer AND all his video tapes downstairs to the basement. I've got the internet and a printer, and for entertainment, he's going to have books and worksheets.

Yes, I AM the Meanest Mom in the World, possibly the Worst of all Space and Time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

$197 Worth of Not Happy 

I try to keep my posts, and my attitude in general, towards the positive side of things. But Today didn't cooperate.

As you may recall, we arranged for Mike to take up the hobby of Tooth Bondage a few months ago. It has so far been a limited sort of success. Most of the problems that cropped up have been worked out, except for one. Picking.

Mike has had a problem with picking and nibbling the skin around his fingernails for quite a while now. I mean a PROBLEM, where he peels off upper layers of skin until big patches of bright pink subcutaneous flesh lay trembling in the light of day. Sometimes he miscalculates and draws blood. NOTHING we've tried has dissuaded him, and we eventually just gave up everything but the rear guard action of lots of lotion and a steady supply of band-aids.

So I was not all that surprised when he popped loose a wire on his braces within the first week. And its replacement the next week. And so on. The dentist was not any happier about it than I was. He tried stronger wires and something called "chain" to try to thwart Mike's amazing power of pick. I jokingly inquired whether welding was an option; sadly, no.

Part of the difficulty is that the orthodontist is in Garden City, a two hour drive from here. He has to travel to work with his far flung patients, and sometimes is only in a given town once in a month. So when he saw Mike in June, he said sternly that the NEXT time Mike messed up his wires, we would have to come to Garden City for the fix. *I* sternly told Mike he would jolly well pay for the gas himself if that happened.

In the meantime, it was time for Mike's annual check-up with his neurologist. We had talked about the picking before, and decided to wait and see. It's something I like about this doc, that he DOESN'T just throw meds at a problem. But he also says that if you've tried everything else with a kid's problem, and he doesn't comply, maybe he CAN'T.

So we started Mike on Zoloft, which does help in some cases of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder type behaviors. I knew what bad side effects to watch for, but he took to it well, and I'm happy to say that his fingers are looking great, nearly completely healed up.

But that MIGHT be because he has his new friends the braces to pick on. Sometimes I think he doesn't even know he's doing it. So he messed up his wires AGAIN, but I explained to the dentist about us trying the Zoloft, and he agreed we could wait until his next Lamar visit to replace them.

Then I went away for the weekend of the 10-11th. Without Mike, because big sis Damaris was going to be with me, and Mike doesn't always mind Big Nigel like he should....

So I came home to find Mike had not only picked out his wires, but removed almost half of the brackets from his teeth. Hence our pilgrimage to Garden City today.

They were really quite nice when they explained that such extensive extra work wasn't covered in the total fee, and it was also nice of them to say I could pay it *instead* of this month's payment on same, rather than in addition to. But people who know me well might be surprised to hear that I came THIS close to bursting out crying in the waiting room as I stood in line to set up Mike's next appointment.

Petty of me, I know. Yeah, Mike has his quirks, and is sometimes quite a challenge, but I am well aware that thousands of parents would swap me kid problems in a New York second, no questions asked. And I knew what I was getting into when I got into it. And 90% of the time, Mike is the sweetest, cutest, funniest boy you could ever want....

It just gets kind of wearing, is all.

What might also be contributing to my bummed-outedness is that I'm having some sort of weird cramping problem. No, not the usual kind that bother the XX crowd--even before I had "the same operation the cat had" I wasn't troubled by those. But the past few nights I've had cramps in my feet and the shin area of my legs. Today while driving I got one about 20 miles from home, which has kept popping back all afternoon, despite several doses of extra potassium. I take Lasix to help control my high blood pressure, see, which depletes your body's potassium as an unavoidable side effect. I have been pretty well adjusted to the dosage of both the Lasix and K+, but I don't know what else it might be. Guess I should call the clinic for some blood work....

Oh well, it's only 5 1/2 hours until tomorrow.

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