Monday, February 24, 2014


Remember last time when Jacob ruined our snow day by peeing on the bathroom rug?

Yeah, I may have been wrong with that.  (And I did apologize.)

Turns out it really could've been cat pee.  Who knew?  

Not me, that's for sure.

Ten days later I was all like, "What's up with all this people pee in front of every toilet (four) in the house?  Who did this?  I am looking at ya'll boys (and man)? "  And then I saw my cat exit one of those bathrooms and was all like, uh-oh.  

So I googled and guess what?  Cat pee that does not smell like cat pee means said cats kidneys are failing.  


But she didn't seem different.  

She was still jumping onto the counters.  And the beds.  And racing Adam across the house.   She didn't seem sick to me.    Surely this was a fluke and maybe the litter box is too dirty or the kids have too many shoes/dirty clothes/toys blocking it.   Yeah, that had to be it, because she sat right next to me on the chair arm while I was googling all this strange information.   

That was Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning she was dead.

Overnight she got worse.  She would jump up onto the bathroom counter but fall into the tub.  She wouldn't try to get up.  She slept in the bed with me and two of the kids but she didn't sleep much.  She paced a lot and then she curled up with each of us for extended amounts of time.  She always curls up with us, but then she gets down to go to her bed:  

She never went to her bed that night.  

(See how pitiful.  She was not doing well)

The next morning she was stumbly.   Derick said she probably had an ear infection and was taking her to the vet.  He'd be back with antibiotics and she'd feel better he said.  You stay home and take a bath and read your book and don't you worry about her.  

But I knew.  

He called me half hour later and said I had to come.  

So the kids and I went.  

Her body temperature was 96.  I guess a cat's normal temp is 102.  Who knew?  

He gums were gray.  They are supposed to be pink.  

We cried.   The vet left.   We cried some more.   We passed her around and gave her kisses and she snuggled us the best she could.   She tried so hard to get up and be with Elizabeth who was in a ball in a corner.    Of all the kids she tolerated Elizabeth the most.    

The vet came back and said we could take her home but she wouldn't last much longer.   Phoebe hated the carrier so I couldn't put her back in it again.  I looked at her and could tell she was done.   She needed peace.   We needed peace.   I couldn't continue to do that to my hysterical children.   So we kissed her and hugged her and sat with her until the sedative took effect and then scared all the people in the waiting room as we attempted to get to our cars and make it home with an empty cage.  

I had that cat for 19 years.   I got her as a kitten at a pet store in a Virginia Beach mall for $30.  I didn't go there shopping for a pet, but I saw her in a cage outside the store as I walked past and for whatever reason decided I needed her right then and there.  They put her in a cardboard box of which she promptly escaped and attached her long sharp claws to my head and neck.   I somehow made it through a Wendys drive thru and then home and released her into her new home.   I unpacked my meal at the coffee table (where I always ate as a single yuppie) and she immediately raced over and stole the bacon from my sandwich.   Then she came back for fries.  

I named her Sara to begin with because that was my favorite name at the time.   She was not a Sara.  Three days later she was Phoebe Figalilly because I loved to watch The Nanny and the Professor when I was young.  

She was good company the next two years as I lived alone.  She greeted me at the door when I returned from work.  She would fetch furry play mice and we'd play that game for hours.   She loved to run and roll into the coupon cutting trash every Sunday morning.  She loved to jitter at the birds outside the glass door.   She would sit on the edge of the tub while I showered or bathed and she always slept on the extra pillow I kept beside my head.  

I have been with her longer than anyone else in this house.   Being a cat, she was not all up in my face like Ezra.  She didn't love everyone she saw, she was not a dog.    My dad would always tell everyone to stay away from her that she was a cranky old cat who didn't want to be messed with, not like his Mimi, his version of the-best-cat-ever, but he would end by saying, she does love Andria.  Andria is the only one she'll deal with.   And for a long time he was right.   She eventually warmed up to Derick and would wait for him at the door with fake furry mice too until he brought Ezra home and broke her heart.   She was always good to the boys in the sense that she never hurt them, but she didn't hang out with them much.  I think Jacob's months-o-colic scared her and Adam was scared of her so she stayed away.  When we brought Elizabeth home she was lying in the crib with her two hours later.  I said she must have sensed there was another girl in the house.  

She lived 19 years.   I can't really ask for much else.   She was my sweet baby.   I miss her.

Phoebe Figallily
May 12 1995 - February 8, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day


We are having a snow day in southeast Texas.    Never mind that it isn't snowing, or even icing, but nevertheless, we are having a snow day.

I want to poke my eyes out with a rusty fork.

I got so excited yesterday when we got the calls.   I thought they were crazy, but still…..NO WORK!  NO SCHOOL!  Yippee!!!

The little kids made a fort in the living room and slept away from me for the first time in weeks.

We were going to drink cider and watch Back to the Future (all three!) and not get dressed and love our life today.

Um.  Not so much.

I don't know why I ever think we will EVER have just a nice relaxing day.

As is usual for our mornings, it was ugly.

The same yelling, the same fighting, the same fits.   I don't even remember what it was all about, but eventually I sent Jacob upstairs and told him not to come down until his meds kicked in.

About an hour later I went up to retrieve him and saw his patch still in the package on his desk.  (Shame on me for trusting) and Adam's dirty clothes piled on the bathroom rug covered in pee.  Along with the tile floor and grout and the wall and sink cabinet surrounding the toilet.

Are you fricking kidding me?

Oh, he blamed it on the cat.  Which would not be too unusual, we have an 18 year old cat, but um,  it you've ever had a cat you know there is a distinctly different odor.  I've dealt with cat pee before.  Just last week even.  This, most certainly, was NOT cat pee.   As calmly as I could, I put the sopping wet clothes down the laundry chute and handed him the rug and told him to take it outside and hose it off.   He lost his ever loving mind and let me know that was MY job.

Oh, hell no.

Sure anyone else would just throw that rubber backed rug into the washer but guess whose husband bought a washer that has a great big Mr. Yuk sticker on the lid explaining how you can't wash anything waterproof or else you'll ruin your washer.    I mean, WHAT?

He wouldn't clean the rug.  Or anything else for that matter.  And I was informed it was a holiday so he didn't have to do anything and I should get my lazy ass downstairs and fix him something to eat because that was my job.

That's when I dragged his ass outside.

With the rug.

With instructions that he could come in when it was rinsed.

He spent 30 minutes beating on our front glass door.    There's a crack now.  I am waiting for it to completely collapse soon.  Then what do we do?  Invite the neighbors in?

I kept waiting for the police to show up.  It was 35 degrees outside and raining.  I probably should have let him in.  I know he was sure I would let him in.   I know my neighbors are probably still talking about me.  But you know what?  I told him to do something.  I don't think I was being unreasonable in asking him to clean the mess HE made.   I was NOT going to let a fit throwing toddler-like teenager believe I would back down and do it myself.  This child IS going to learn that HE is responsible for his behaviors and actions.    Thirty minutes later he finally sat down and shut up and I opened the door.   He washed the rug.  Sort of.

This is what we get.  Always.  It would have been easier to just throw the damn rug away.  I could've cleaned the floor myself.  (Adam actually cleaned the floor and wall and sink).   I could've said absolutely nothing to him today and avoided all of this.  In fact, I have done just that before because sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with it, but he is almost 13 years old.  This has GOT to stop because,  HELLO ADULTHOOD COMING.  Plus, I just don't know how much more I can take.

He had a psych appointment last week.  My husband took him for the first time ever.   He explained to her how we are reaching a breaking point and she prescribed yet another medication.   That makes three now.  So far I can't tell it's making any difference.   I bought a bunch of essential oils for a ton of money that someone else swore worked so well they were able to quit the meds.    I swear it made him worse.  At least they smelled good.   I have cut out dyes and gluten and artificial everything and still, here we are.   We will never enjoy an evening or a weekend or a family vacation or even a rare snow day because this is what we get during the hours he is here.

I love him, but I don't like this.

I want a good snow day.

One day.

Edited to add……two hours later…..

He is up in his room and I hesitate before calling for him to come down to get his folded laundry to put away.  I could just do it myself tomorrow, but I don't want to so I brace myself and ask him to come down.  He waited a bit but finally came, I held out the stack of clothes and told him I wanted them put up and he answered, "Yes Ma'am" and took them up.  Of course I haven't gone up to check that they aren't on the floor, but no fight.  This is the conundrum with him……Before the meds = hell; After the meds= not always so bad.  BUT…BUT….BUT…..I know if I'd woken him this morning, told him if he got through the day without fighting, raising his voice, or complaining we could go to Game Stop, then he would have been wonderful.   I know, because I've done it before.  Ugh.  

At least we were then able to have cocoa and cookies for lunch.  He declined.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Major Award

That's my girl!

Second highest average BAY-BEE!

That face is because she realized the boy with the highest average got a medal.  A medal.

She came back to sit with me after it was over and this was our conversation:

Me:  You got an award, aren't you proud of yourself?

Her:  This is not an award.  It's a piece of paper.

Me:  No.  You were recognized in front of the whole school for doing so well in school.

Her:  I want a medal.

Me:  Then you have to get highest average.

Her:  Austin better watch out.

Does this make me a better mother?  Because I think it redeems me.   My kid.  Who is raised by me.   Who possesses my DNA.  Got an award.

Ummhhhmmmm.........that's MY GIRL!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Strange Days

My children bicker a lot.  Over stupid stuff.  Everywhere.  Anywhere.

This afternoon we were in the car heading to yet another psychologist appointment when all three started screaming about something.  I don't even listen anymore.  I told them once to knock it off.   It continued.   I yelled at them to shut the hell up.   Still continued.   I sat and fumed for a bit and then I found a classical music station on the radio (91.7 for you locals).    Within thirty seconds it was quiet.  We rode the rest of the way in silence.   Adam even opened the door for Elizabeth when we arrived.


So we head home and it starts again so I instantly go back to the music.   Silence.

We ate dinner.  We cleaned up.   I have the television on the classical music station and all three are playing Wii together with inside voices.

I feel like this has to be a fluke.  Right?

I mean, I have heard that music soothes the savage beast, but really?

I guess I'll be adding this to our routine.

*please, oh please, don't be a fluke*

Monday, January 13, 2014


Every year I make a big list of the things I am going to do to make our lives better as the calendar changes.    Sometimes I stick to them, sometimes I forget all about them until I look back and see, oh yeah....oops.  I swore I wasn't going to make any in 2014, but I have this innate need to make lists and check off those lists, and work toward a goal.  It really is very annoying.

I did lose about 8 pounds last year.  I don't really know how I did it, except maybe the trip to Disney where we didn't purchase the dining plan and only ate one meal a day.   Combined with all that walking, I lost 15 pounds in just that one week alone.  Of course, they opened a Which Wich very close to me resulting in gaining some of it back, but I am now a size 8 again instead of almost a 12.  I'll take it.  I am 45 years old and approaching menopause.  I doubt I'll ever wear my size 2s again.   I hope to exercise at some point.  Don't know when that will be since I HATE it, but one day.  Maybe.

I did not blog every week last year, but I did double my blog posts so it's a start.  I don't think I'll ever get back to the way it used to be (sunrise, sunset), but such is life.  Hopefully I'll be able to document the big important things here because the baby books are collecting dust.

There will be pictures on our walls and stairway at some point in 2014.   Ditto curtains.

The biggest thing I want to change this year are our mornings.   Me, oh my.   I want to smash my face into the granite every.  single.  morning.   It is awful here.  Don't ever come here before 9 am.  Ever.  Or maybe do come here.  It will make you feel good about your life.   Oy.   I really don't know what to do for the hour-two hours we are waiting for Jacob's meds to kick in.  I have tried ignoring him, I have tried starting earlier, I have tried starting later, I have tried prayer, I have tried separation, I have even tried alcohol on non-school days.  Yes.  It's that bad.  I don't know what else to try yet, but we need the mornings to change.  The morning sets the tone for the rest of our days and I think if we can get this under control we'd all be so much happier.

Anyway, my boss gave us all a book called Jesus Calling.  Her intention was that we read it each morning and take that portion of The Word to sustain us while teaching our preschool children.   It's a daily dated devotional book with scripture.   With all that goes on here each morning, the last thing I have time for is reading.  Shoot, some days I get all the way to school and realize I didn't put any makeup on, so reading?  Gah.  My boss, though, was very insistent that we at least give it a try.  So I did.  I mean, I've tried everything else in the morning.  Why not?  So the first day I sit my little two down for breakfast while the big one is upstairs claiming something is unfair and I quietly juggled one page of verse and thought.  The three of us at the table in our own little world.


If I'm going to read it, why not read it out loud?

And that's what I am doing.

It hasn't miraculously fixed our mornings, but at least they have that message to take them through the day if they choose.

I'll let you know in 2015 how it worked.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out With the Old....

Just because I wanted at least one post in December.......

My friend took beautiful pictures of the children for our Christmas cards.  They were fantastic but, alas, I can no longer locate the jump drive they are on.  Figures.

I have a goal for 2014 that I will finally find some semi-matching frames and hang some photos in this house.  We have lived here five and a half years and have pretty much nothing on the walls.  Oh, there are the two mismatching very, extremely, is-this-a-joke? pictures my husband bought one weekend when I was away.  I mean, they are so butt ugly I actually explain to new visitors that I didn't do that and have no idea what he was thinking.  One day I'll post them, but to be honest, I don't want to waste the battery power on my camera on them.  

Anyway, Happy New Year and all that jazz.

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Are Not French


Have you seen the article swimming around Facebook about how French children don't have ADHD, because, you know, French people are better parents, yada, yada, yada.

I would link to it, but I still haven't figured out how to have two screens open on my almost year old Macbook.   Manual?  What's that?   If you are confused, google it.  You know, if you are even reading this rant.


Only- Facebook Friend, who I truly only know through Facebook, posted the article this morning along with a lot of other posts that let us know what a great mother she is now that she has a six month old and has truly mastered the art of parenting.  Good for her.  Such optimism.  STFU.  Please.

I wrote a pretty hastily put together reply that went something like this:

Until you walk in my shoes, don't judge.

 I told her I agreed many children in the US are misdiagnosed and overmedicated without looking into other underlying causes of the behavior.   As a teacher, I have filled out numerous forms from different doctors and stated my opinion in black sharpie about how I don't believe Brian, Jason, Adam, Peyton, Morgan, or Chris have anything other than a busy personality/loud voice/zest for life and have had said opinion not even matter when Brian, Jason, Adam, Peyton, Morgan, and Chris all came back the next week sleeping at their desks until the meds wore off mid-afternoon.   I get that argument.  What I don't get is how now ADHD is a fake illness that would mysteriously go away if I'd only stand up and actually be a good parent.


I invite any of these people, writing any of these "articles" to come to my house any given day and see our non-ADHD.

As I typed to my Only-Facebook friend, I let her know that since I was hoarding because at the end of the year there will be a shortage of them  giving my child a break from the morning override pill and still waiting for the takes-2-hours-to-kick-in patch to, well, kick in, that I was watching my almost teenager attempt to run up the wall, fall back on his back, and then laugh maniacally until he got up and tried it again.  When he wasn't doing that he was mumbling the MF words under his breath while also laughing maniacally slamming himself into the couch,  oh, and then there was the moment I went out in the pouring rain and got us all a dozen doughnuts, went to the bathroom, came back and there were no more doughnuts.  Oh yes.  While the others slept and I was out of the room for one minute he ate a dozen doughnuts.  He knows not to do that.   In two hours, he wouldn't have done that.  At that point, there is no impulse control.  He wanted a dozen doughnuts, he ate a dozen doughnuts.    As I was cleaning up that mess, he picked his lips until they bled and wiped the blood all over my favorite blanket.   Ruined it.  He also knows not to do that.   Now he is sequestered in his room at my request screaming about what a horrible parent I am and how he can't wait for me to die.  Ironic, no?

Please don't tell me my child has learned that this behavior is acceptable.  Not only has it never, ever been, but he was punished for this particular behavior this morning.   Go figure, I disciplined my child.  I took away his DS and put him in his room.  When he started destroying the things in his room and then kicking marks into the door, I put him outside.   In the cold and rain.  His therapist recommended this because unless he runs out onto the highway, he is probably less likely to hurt himself (or us) out there.   He stood there kicking our glass door until he realized his 12 minutes wouldn't start until he stopped because that is the way it has always been.

You know no matter how you deal with your children anymore, it's wrong to someone.

My neighbors and my mother believe we should put on the kid gloves when dealing with Jacob because HIS BRAIN there is SOMETHING WRONG!  OMG!  Baby him!  Love him!  Ignore that!   HE HAS THE ADD!  He can't HHHEEELLLPPP it.  I disagree.   I figure the police won't care if he has THE ADD when they find him destroying some property somewhere just because he feels like it and his meds haven't started working or, which is what I am sure will happen when I am not there to enforce it,  he will just not take it.

I detest giving my child medications.   I worry each day that I am ruining his liver, his kidneys, shoot, maybe even his brain, but if you want to see what will happen if I don't,  come here every morning between 6-7:30.  You may want some medication yourself after that.   If I didn't teach preschool I would probably take up drinking.  Yes.  That early.

Jacob's official diagnosis is severe ADHD.  He has some Aspergers tendencies but they won't add that to his "stuff".   He goes to school at 9 am and until I told the teachers he had "this", they didn't know.  Of course, I listed it on all seven first-day papers, but like everyone else, the probably figured, Ah, bad parenting when they read it.   One day he decided to peel his patch off and spit his pill onto the floor just to make me mad, even though, I wasn't mad because I didn't know anything about it until the emails started coming in.  Those teachers thought he was under the influence of drugs.  LOL.   That's what happens when he ISN'T on drugs.   Does this make them a bad teacher because they can't handle him?  No.  He has ADHD.  For reals.  What do you know.

Stupid articles saying that French parents are superior because they have routines, discipline more, and feed their kids better is very demeaning to American parents.     Don't lump me into the American bad parent just because my child has ADHD.   I am not a super parent, and I don't try to be.  I don't have the time or energy for that, but I do the best I can with the hand I've been dealt.   Someone, though, will read this article, hear about Jacob's ADHD, and naturally assume, well, I don't work hard enough and I am lazy with my kids because this author stated that I don't discipline, so therefore, she's a bad mother, so I and my kids will need to distance myself from them, because, that's a bad family right there.  OR, and I already get so much of this, let me tell you what you should be doing to make it all better.  If you just do THIS, then all of your problems would go away.  I will help you to be a good mother, because, OMG, you aren't doing so hot.

I have a child with ADHD.   It's more than just getting out of his chair during class or wiggling during criss-cross applesauce time.    It is real.  It is hard.   It is sad.   It is bad enough to deal with it without all of the judgemental "authors" out there trying to make us out to be the bad guys.  I didn't give this to my child.   I didn't make him this way.   There is nothing I can do, that I haven't already tried, that is going to make it go away.  Even the medicines quit working after a while and they don't completely get rid of some of the behaviors.

How hard is it just to accept others?  French, American, Swahili, whatever.  I say if the children are still  alive at the end of the day, it's a good day.  You've done your job.  Good for you.