Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mom Rules

Something that I have mentioned here, oh, every once in awhile, is how proud I am of Sweetie. :) How proud of her Hubby and I both are! She is truly an amazing little girl who, for the most part, is a kind, respectful, and polite person with a heart as big as her imagination and an ever-increasing curiosity.

Does she ever do anything wrong? Ooh, boy! Ha! Does she ever! Of course she does - she's a kid! A kid learning her way in the world, testing her boundaries and trying to gain every bit of independence she can. And with all that testing, learning and gaining comes, at times, disobedience, attitude, and just plain rottenness. She is not immune from it, oh no.

I would have to say, though, that her biggest "issue" - and Hubby would agree - is her inability to listen and/or her "selective" memory. We tell her several times to do something, yet she claims we never told her. She remembers very well when we happened to mention, on a whim, that we may go to such and such fun place at some point, sometime. But does she remember the very pointed direction we gave her to follow as one of her weekly chores? Heck, no. 

But, well, that's a kid for you. I'll take this "off" behavior over lying, stealing, back talking, sneaking, and outright defiance any day, thank you very much. 

Furthermore, as I know I've mentioned here a few times, one of the things I am most proud of Sweetie for - most impressed with - is her remarkable ability to recognize that, when we are upset with her about something, we are merely upset with her behavior, not her directly. Sweetie's ability to separate these two aspects and to understand, completely, that we always and forever, unconditionally, love her, but do not always love what she does - and the bad choices she makes is what gets her into trouble sometimes - well, it's just really mind-blowing to me that she "gets" this so well at her age. She's always "gotten" this. Make no mistake. 

As a parent - as her parent - I am amazed every time she does something so wrong that Hubby or I get so mad at her - raising our voices, sending her to her room, probably dissolving her into tears - yet, moments later, after she's calmed down, allowed to leave her room, and go back to behaving like a reasonable person again, she'll come up to me on the couch and snuggle in, or tell her Daddy this funny joke she just made up, or ask us if we all can play a game together. She understands - perhaps more readily than we do - that the anger is over, the punishment done, and we can all get back to a happy household as we know and love it. 

All this to say that, yesterday, Sweetie's rotten behavior almost paralyzed me. Her outright defiance of my directions left me - I admit it - feeling practically helpless. Meaning, if she truly was going to NOT do as a say (at a friend's house, without Hubby there), how in the world was I going to make her comply?

I can't pick her up. If Hubby were there, well - if it came to that (and I think it just about did), he'd have just picked her up and taken her to the car (situation: I was picking her up from a sleepover and, after staying awhile so I could visit with my friend (Sweetie's friend's mom), I told Sweetie it was time to go. Well, she was not having it. First, she ran in their house and hid. Then, she told me that she was NOT leaving. That she WAS staying for another night. You get the idea.)

And I wasn't about to ask my friend to hoist her up and out of their house. No sense turning Sweetie's friend's mom into a bad guy. No, this was Sweetie and my battle to duke out for ourselves.

So. I definitely had a moment or two of "what do I do now?"

She would not come with me. She would not go say goodbye to her friend (who was obliviously still playing in the backyard.) She was in tears. She had made up her mind what was going to happen. I could leave, and she would be staying. In fact, she tried to insist that I told her it was a 2-night sleep over, which I quickly made sure she knew I never said. "Well, you said it was a sleepover - you didn't say how many nights at all!" True, that. But you got one night, little girl, and that's the end of that.

As my friend checked on her kids in the yard, Sweetie and I glared at each other - me trying not to show her my deep-set concern that, yeah, she really could play it so it was darn near impossible for me to get her in the car as I needed. Sweetie's not dumb. She knows what I can and cannot do, physically. But she also knows that I'm in charge - whether she likes it or not. When it comes down to it, I and her Daddy tell her how it's going to be, and that's that.

And, when it comes down to it, she does as she's told, every time. In the end, she knows she's got no other choice.

(I also realized how highly exhausted she was after staying up late the night before, thus greatly contributing to her bad attitude.)

So, knowing how well even an upset Sweetie, ultimately, can follow the rules, even when she really, really dislikes them, I set in with my feet grounded and my voice raised.

(Sweetie!) We are going now! You are coming with me! Go tell your friend goodbye, thank Mrs. Friend, and get your shoes on. Now!

And... she did.


We said our quick goodbyes (Sweetie even giving her friend's mom a hug of thanks) and we left.

Of course, we didn't talk much on the long trip home. Except for when Sweetie realized about 3 or 4 things she thought she left behind and so we had to go back to get them. "Nope, Mrs. Friend packed it all up for you while you were busy being angry." or "That's okay. I'm seeing Mrs. Friend tomorrow and I'll just have her bring it to me then."

Sweetie started to return to herself as we got closer to home. But, sure enough, as we parked the car and made our way into the house, something else twisted her attitude and she was angry and in tears again. She was sent to her room to rest, as she was clearly exhausted (which Sweetie most certainly denied!).

In the end, we spent most of the rest of the afternoon in separate rooms. But when she was ready, after she lost herself in a Calvin and Hobbes comic book for a couple hours, you guessed it. All was right with the world again. We had a pleasant evening together and she slept well, and long, all night.

Today has been back to our regularly scheduled Sweetie - bright and happy and silly as ever.

All in all, I have to say, I really do love the relationship I have with my daughter. Because she's so confident in herself, because she's so curious and bright and not afraid to try and ask and do. We have a great, open relationship where she can ask me, and Hubby, whatever she wishes. And we do not, usually, blindly demand she follows rules without question. We try to remember to explain our reasoning as much as we can, and she is allowed to question us so that she better understands our rulings.

We three do have a fantastically fun, friendly, adventurous time together. We laugh, play, hang out, explore, learn and love together. But, we are not Sweetie's friends. I am not my daughter's friend. I am her mother. Sweetie doesn't need me to be her friend. No parent should be their child's friend, I feel. They can find those very easily on their own at school and/or church or what have you.

What children need are parents. Someone who will love them unconditionally, who will fight to the death for them, and who will teach them right from wrong. Someone who, like a friend, will get down on the floor and play with their children, and who will listen to their kid's deepest secrets and fears, triumphs and joys - if the kid wants to share, that is.

But someone, in the end, who will tell the child when it's time to go home - and the child knows there's no use fighting back. Mom has spoken. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


Over at my other blog, I often discuss the importance of having, and our happiness with Sweetie's own Lyme literate doctor (LLMD).

Well, I personally wish that I could find a primary care doctor for myself who was spina bifida literate!

Now, as a person, I'm really happy with my current primary care doctor. He's a good guy. But I don't believe he has a terribly extensive grasp on what it means to deal with a patient with spina bifida. Nor do any of his colleagues, I think.

And I don't even go to the doctor terribly often. But when I do, I'd really appreciate it if the medical professional I am dealing with had a better understanding of what I go through, or how I manage my life on a daily basis as a person with spina bifida.

Over the past decade plus I've been:

* sent to the hospital for possible meningitis, when in fact I just had mono.

* told over the phone that there appears to be no reason I need a have a handicapped placard for my car

* had multiple UTI's, usually in groupings (many in a row, then a long clear patch of time, then many in a row, etc....). The nurses and doctors always being extra careful with me about how I will provide a urine sample for them (answer: give me the dang cup and tell me where the bathroom is. No biggie. Geesh!)

Currently I'm in a "frequent UTI" phase. (Sorry if this is TMI about my UTIs). I'm on the same antibiotics I've been prescribed for the same thing within the last few months. It's always worked before. But now? Not so much. I'm not feeling like the infection is being resolved this time.

Hmmm.... You think maybe I may have become resistant to the same antibiotic over and over? That's what I think. I also think a quick call into the doctor to report this, and ask for a switch to a different antibiotic should be all that needs to happen. But, no. It's not that simple. Of course, it can't be that simple. They want me to come into the office again, for an exam. Because the antibiotic they gave me should be able to tackle the bacteria, they say. And it's not. So they need me to come in. Ugh!

I don't know. It just seems to me that a doctor more knowledgeable about spina bifida - and the frequency with which SB patients can and do get UTIs - would be more reasonable about trusting what the SB patient is feeling and agree to just switch the medicine. Simple as that. I swear that's happened for me before in my life. Just give me the right medicine! Really, it's not that far fetched to see how I may now be resistant to this antibiotic I've had over and over again in recent months.

And anyway, I do think, little by little, I am feeling better. Saturday was not good. Sunday, a bit better. Today, better still. And I'm just about half way through my prescribed meds. Maybe it's just taking a bit more time this time around. I don't know.

At any rate... we'll see in the morning how I feel. I really don't want to go in for this exam, nor do I want to rack up my medical bill anymore than it already is (can anyone say Most Awful Insurance Coverage Ever?!) But, on the other hand, it may be good to go in, and get this dealt with appropriately. Ask some questions, get some complaints off my chest. Figure out, in the grander scheme of things, what may be going on.

I'm just saying... it sure would be nice if the doctors I deal with most often had a better, more rounded understanding of the birth defect I live with everyday.