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4 kittens


Posted on 2015.11.08 at 17:34
Let's back up two weeks, pre-deluvian.  Within a seven day period, both Hawaii and Pokey's teachers had told us that each kid needs counseling. I did not feel like a great parent.

For Pokey, it's his explosive temper. The teacher is concerned that we're nearing the three month mark at school, and he hasn't made any progress. She has been tracking his outbursts. There are 8-10 per week. A lot of times, an adult has to physically restrain him. We were gobsmacked. "How come these haven't been showing up on his daily reports?" we asked. We certainly know he has a temper. "I didn't want to overwhelm you," she said, apologetically. We got in touch with a therapist.

At home, we introduced Pokey to the idea of Dragon Brain. "Dragon Brain is when you are so angry that it feels like your brain is on fire."  He yelped, "YES!" and spontaneously listed several times he'd had Dragon Brain. "Like when I bit Becca!"

We discussed how you extinguish the flames:
you breathe in through your nose, so that the air will get up into your brain and cool off the fire, and out through your mouth, to quelch the flames. You keep breathing until it's all gone. He was less enthusiastic about the cure than about the Dragon Brain.

For Hawaii, there were some mean girl dynamics that concerned the teacher. It's a combination of being socially dominant and highly attuned to other people, but also super insecure. So this past week, Hawaii met with the school counselor.

Afterwards, the counselor called me on the phone and recounted her conversation with Hawaii. It sounds like Hawaii may have managed to converse exclusively in lies. The most egregious was "I used to live with just my mom and my siblings. We met my dad when I was older, and he moved in with us." The counselor was very smitten with Hawaii and I could not figure out how to respond, so I just made squawking noises. It was a weird conversation. "Hawaii says that she has anger problems. One of her strategies she uses is breathing exercises, like pretending to blow up a ballon, and telling herself that there is a party, and she can only go to the party if she blows up the balloon," the counselor told me. Hawaii does not have anger problems - that's Pokey - but she is superb at sensing the right answer to give her counselor. I squawked supportively.

At home, we instituted a nightly mindfulness ritual, on the vague premise that maybe we need more Eastern mysticism in our lives. The kids are really into it, but Pokey keeps calling it Jedi training. I take a candle in their room at bedtime, and drone on in a soft-brush voice about paying attention to your breathing, and then we all stare at the candle in silence for 30 seconds or so.

This is the candle we use:

Praying to the Great Zack Morris to save us from the Great Bell.


This one is a climber:

We haven't had a climber before.

Rascal's teacher was gushing about him. (It was a nice change of pace.) "He is so DETERMINED!" she said. She described how he was hellbent on going on a slide. He worked on the steps for a very long time. "We didn't help him!" she said, "If he wants to go down the slide, he's got to be able to get up there."

Eventually he was able to climb up and slide down. He was very pleased with himself.


Funny things that Ace says:
1. "These are my abba-dabba-dominals!" pointing to her stomach.

2. "Here's my eyelashes," pointing at her eyelashes, "Do you remember these?" Yes, Ace, I remember your eyelashes.

Decorated with feathers and paper. Less rotting than the carved kind.

3. Jammies asked Ace if she'd seen his beer. She went hunting all over for it. Eventually she came back and said she couldn't find it. Jammies picked her up. She stroked his chin. "Where'd it go? Where'd your beard go?"
"Ace! Were you looking for my beard?" Jammies asked.
"Yes! Where'd it go?" she asked, stroking his face.
"I shaved it off! You were supposed to be finding my beer. For me to drink," he said.
Isn't that funny that she hunted all over the house for his beard?

4. Halfway through dinner, canonically, Ace asks, "What are we having for dinner?"
We like to look blankly at her and say, "It's on your plate. Right there. It's those noodles."
E. Messily said, "I think she wants seconds, but can't remember what it's called. So she's asking what we're having, not asking what we will be having."  Which is surely the explanation. But it's still funny to misinterpret it.


1. One thing I adore about Pokey is his doggedness about reality. He is certain that there is no Santa Claus, no magic, nothing but good old reality. I don't think I was that certain at his age.

2. Also, I like how he describes his friend: "Brandon had surgery for his broken heart," says Pokey. Brandon did have open-heart surgery, and did indeed have a hole in his heart. Broken-hearted.

3. My dad was in town this weekend. Pokey asked him how to spell something. "I have to whisper it to you, so that it will be a surprise." My dad obligingly bent over to Pokey's height.

Pokey stage-whispered something garbled, but clearly he ended the sentence saying "Yoga, not Yoda. Yoga." So my dad spelled Y-O-G-A for him.  Pokey wrote it, then showed it to me.

"Yoga!" I read. Pokey got very upset. He pulled my dad aside, and we went through the routine again. He whispered something garbled, but the end was clearly "Yoga, not Yoda. Yoga." Again my dad spelled Y-O-G-A, and Pokey got more upset. "Yoda?" my dad guessed, "Y-O-D-A?"

Pokey deteriorated into Dragon Brain - markers were thrown, etc. "We don't know what you want to spell!" we all said. "We're trying to help!" we said unhelpfully. Eventually he cooled off.

Finally I coaxed him to tell me what was going on. It turned out that he wanted to write, "I don't know how to do yoga. Not Yoda, yoga."  The entire sentence.





It's hilarious that he had his mind set on a sentence which sounded like he was clarifying what he was saying, but wasn't. For the millionth time, I'm reminded that parenting is basically this Rob Schneider busking skit.


More data sets from Hawaii:

I do like the data sets.


For the first few days last week, I felt crummy about life and depressed about the flood and the flood victims. Everything was overwhelming. Eventually I watched this silly Postmodern Jukebox video, a shagadelic 1960s cover of Give It Away. I laughed disproportionately long and hard and the shell of sadness shattered, mostly.

Also these guys showed up on our porch:

Each day, the a Red Cross truck drives up and down our street, loudspeaker blaring an offering of clean up kits and supplies. We got phone calls and flyers from the city, informing us of evening meetings for flood victims, complete with transportation provided back and forth. Right now, the city is helping take care of our neighbors on this sad street. There are resources; they haven't been abandoned.


(Anonymous) at 2015-11-09 05:24 (UTC) (Link)

storm-tossed refugees


md 20/400

heebie_geebie at 2015-11-16 03:28 (UTC) (Link)

Re: storm-tossed refugees

Fluffy Daddy is my favorite. He is such a cuddler.
rebeccastob at 2015-11-10 06:19 (UTC) (Link)
Somehow your kids problems make me feel better about my kids (is that bad?) - and I kind of love that Hawaii lied to the school counselor. Like they are actually doing pretty well, all things considered, even though they really miss their dad and I am not always the best at being positive and not seethingly angry about what a self-absorbed asshole he is - and how unfair it is that I am now a full time single mom. UGH!

So Persephone cries a lot and won't talk to adults at the after school program and doesn't want to do her (stupid annoying) homework. And actually Morpheus is overall doing well in school and he loves following the rules and structure and having class jobs etc. So I guess having kids with a bipolar sociopath gas-lighting narcissist isn't the worst thing ever? And at least there's no horrible natural disasters affecting us (that sounds really terrible).
heebie_geebie at 2015-11-16 03:29 (UTC) (Link)
No I know what you mean! It's a relief sometimes to just agree that childhood is not actually idyllic and sweet and all. It's actually very hard for kids, and they have people-sized problems, not tiny dollhouse-sized problems. And that that is fine and normal, and we're all fine despite that.
Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2015-11-10 13:37 (UTC) (Link)

Sending Internet Hugs

Kittens make everything better.

Frankly, good for Hawaii for lying to the therapist, I say. A nice survival strategy.

Poor Hokey's anger issues must be more trying. But it sounds like you're doing the right things.
heebie_geebie at 2015-11-16 03:32 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sending Internet Hugs

Well, thanks. I was kind of smirking as I heard what she'd told the counselor. The counselor sounds like a bit of a dupe.

Pokey...I think he's actually aging out of the tantrums, self-control-wise, and is now just not yet in the habit of having higher expectations for himself. For the past two years or so, he was actually out of control, but now I think I can tell that his superego is tuning in and pointing things out to him mid-tantrum, so to speak. So I think we're rounding the corner on this one.
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