Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 2,429 of my sleep deprivation experiment

Exhaustion - by Felix Neuman
It has been nearly twenty five hundred days since I gave up having a full night's rest in favor of being a parent and the experiment is progressing smoothly.

The dark circles and extreme moodiness have dissipated, somewhat, however, I have a growing sense that I'm slowly becoming stupid. My wife has not noticed this tendency in me, as she claims that the same phenomenon is occurring to her.

Sometimes, it seems that perhaps I've overlooked an important trick, but I suspect that parenting, done right, is work intensive and difficult. I've never had an enjoyable or fulfilling job which wasn't also stressful and burdensome. I can't imagine why this should be different.

My eleven year-old is working on his science fair project, and he's taken a rather simple experiment and complicated the task exponentially with the ingenious and creative application of well-timed temper tantrums. I believe that my receding intelligence has significantly impacted my ability to divine an effective intervention when he employs this tactic. He regularly plays the "tantrum card" in response to most long-term projects and successfully complicates every similar situation with near perfect consistency. For example, he lost his book twice on our trip to Tucson a couple of months ago as the result of an extreme emotional upset brought on by the fact that we expected him to actually finish reading the book, with sufficient time that he could spend several days working on a book report. Hence, I have written to a number of peers at Stanford, Yale, and various asylums to see if they have found an effective remedy to the tantrum phenomenon.

Meanwhile, my fourteen year old has discovered that if he refrains from taking his ADHD medication on weekends, his appetite returns and he is then able to consume food with the same enthusiasm that a ravenous pack of wolves might have as they set upon an injured doe in the forest. The unfortunate side effect (aside from our enlarged food bill) is that he unwittingly plays a significant role in furthering the Universal Chaos Quotient. This week in particular, the HD portion of his ADHD has enhanced the complications of the previously mentioned science fair project by providing incessant distraction, whether by means of irrelevant questions and comments pertaining to nerf guns or the delivery of an occasional insult resulting in conflict of varying intensity, none of which furthers the successful completion of said science project.

My six year old is somehow not figuring too heavily into this science fair drama but instead capitalizes on these periods of familial chaos to undertake his own personal endeavors, many of which would be regarded as unsafe by myself and my wife. After having formulated a plan, he quietly undertakes the physical preparations for manifesting his scheme and often we don't become aware of the impending danger until the last minute, at which point, we stop him and suggest that there is no reason he needs to climb up on the icy roof of our house or that standing on an upside down stainless steel bowl placed on a step stool, precariously perched atop a book, resting on the seat of a folding chair might result in serious physical injury.

Ahh the joys of parenting. I believe that soon my experiment for training elite undercover operative via parenting will be complete. Until then, keep the faith all ye parents and stay focused, you never know what will come next.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's an animal...guess what?

My ten year old has a difficult time sleeping and the consequences of his losing sleep are too much for any of us to bear, so we have reinstated a 30 minute reading time before bed each night. The idea is that he will calm down and be in a better state to hit the hay.

Currently, my wife is reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers. Last night she finished a great chapter in which two Hobits tell of how the Ents defeated the evil and traitorous wizard, Saruman.

Because my wife is great at reading out loud, I make a point of lying down in the living room and listening when she reads. One benefit of my interest in this activity is that it helps bolster the atmosphere of calming down. When both Mom and Dad glare at disruptive kids and say quiet or shhhh, the ambiance tends towards being quiet and kids tend to listen.

Because all of our kids seem to have some form of ADHD, we allow them to use dry erase boards for doodling but we disallow playing with toys or with each other during reading.

So directly after last night's riveting tale, my ten year old stands and with a goofy but sweet grin and asks my wife to guess what he's sketched on his white board.

She says, a cat, he says no, grins, and say but it is an animal...she says Xavier (our dog) and he says nope. She says a duck and he says no, keep guessing, to which she responds I'm all through guessing. He says no you're not and she rolls her eyes and says that she is indeed done guessing, that it's his bed time.

He says with a bigger goofier smile, its a bunny rabbit and shows her this:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Can we watch CNN?

I'm thinking about my eleven year old, a boy with ADHD, a boy with impulse control issues a boy who was prohibited, a few years ago, from watching the tigger movie, because he would destroy the house and everyone's serenity. My eleven year old, who's first grade teacher described him as being one of two boys in the class who would at random jump up, run across the room and start bouncing on and off the bean bag, thereby distracting the whole class.

This boy, my smart, rambunctious and often very challenging child, now asks if we can watch CNN. When this first happened, I looked at him in a bemused manner and asked, "who are you and what did you do with my step-son?" He laughed and explained that he now enjoys watching CNN, for a variety of reasons one of which being that he really likes Anderson Cooper's hair! To my dismay, CNN's Anderson Cooper has now displaced even Michael Phelps in my son's world of important people.

What was even more amusing to me, however, was when my son saw Sarah Palin explaining how she gained foreign policy experience doing trade missions to Russia and keeping an eye on Putin while he's in our air space. We asked if he thought she seemed like a qualified person to be Vice President and he looked at us as if we were crazy stating, "NO! Her answers sounded like something I would come up with if I were being interviewed!"

Yes, my son, who can be incredibly difficult, can also be surprisingly sweet. I do wish that he'd stop picking on his eight year old brother, however, I have to say for the record that I think he is incredibly smart and I am very proud of him. I am proud that he wants to be a safe school ambassedor, I'm proud that he is great with little kids, I'm proud that he does well in school and I'm proud that he convinced me to volunteer for the Obama campaign. He was so enthusiastic, that I relented and took him and his brother to do the thing that is near the very bottom of my list of things to do...walk around, knocking on people's doors and asking them to vote for Obama.

All I can say is...Rowan for President 2040!

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Cry and then a hug

My three year old is great. I love him with every fiber of my being and every day, I can hardly wait to get home and see him.

Being obsessed with firefighters, he greets me when I come home by saying, " are here! Hi Fire Daddy." He runs over and hugs me, I bend over and kiss his little head. My son.

Tonight, he had a temper tantrum at bed time, I heard him screaming as if someone had cut off an appendage and discovered my poor wife looking annoyed because he was carrying on about having to get into his pajamas. I took over and talked to him encouraging him to cooperate and to get into bed. He continued to scream and I finally walked out closing the door behind me.

He screamed for ten minutes, every moment transmitted to me via the room monitor we have in his room. Finally, he stopped having a fit and after a few seconds began to cry, obviously feeling sad. At this time, I went upstairs and held him until he calmed down, gave me a hug, gave his Mommy a hug and seemed ready to go to bed knowing he is loved and cared for.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time, he Go!

Daddy, where’s my socks?

I don’t know little one, where did you take them off?
Are they inside?

NO! (with a smile)

Are they outside?

NO! (with a laugh)
I don’t have them! … …Daddy Up!

His arms reach toward me an expectant look on his little face and I smile, bend over and lift him into my arms. He smiles and looks into my eyes…

Daddy, I don’t have my socks. I want them! …please.

Well, little one, lets see what we can see…OK?

OK! (giggling)

Uh-Oh…I see your socks!

Oooh…where are they?

Over there! (I point)
(smiling and tickling)
I wonder how they ever found there way into the dog’s water bowl?

How Daddy….How? (laughing)