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Facetime

So Blitzen has figured out how to facetime from her i-touch.  For long time readers, you will know that Blitzen has long had a tremendous amount of angst about the fact that she doesn’t have a cellphone and can’t call the people that she loves.  Keep in mind that she can call the people she loves whenever she wants because she is always with an adult that has a phone.  The overwhelming desire to reach out and touch someone most often comes at homework time, guinea pig cage cleaning time or shower time — she is not allowed to phone her relatives when she is supposed to be tending to her responsibilities.  This has caused many a disagreement – ‘You never let me call my mother! I could call her if I had a phone!’ she will wail.  To which we reply, you can call your mother as soon as you sit down and do your homework. And you still couldn’t call if you had your own phone because you still wouldn’t be allowed to use electronics during homework time.

But I digress.  This week Blitzen has begun facetiming me, right after school, to inform me of things.  ‘Carrie, I have a stomach ache.’ she informed me on Tuesday. I suggested that she ask the babysitter to get her a gingerale.  ‘Ok, Carrie. I will.  I’ll see you tonight.’ she replied.  And then yesterday she facetimed me again and we had a comical and typical Carrie and Blitzen discussion.

Blitzen, ‘Carrie, I am not coming home after.’

Carrie, ‘Yes, I know, you are going to M’s after school, right?’

Blitzen, ‘But I am spending the night.’

Carrie, ‘Yes, I know, sweetie, M’s mom talked to Andrew before she invited you.’

Blitzen, ‘Oh, ok.  I just wanted to call you so you would know where I am.’

Carrie, ‘Thank you, honey, I appreciate that.  That was a good thing to do.  Have a wonderful time.’

Blitzen, ‘Ok, Carrie.  I love you.’

Carrie, ‘I love you too.’

Darn that kid is adorable..  And these discussions are always even more hilarious because I am always in a meeting and Blitzen is always so earnest.

 

Blitzen, teacher

Blitzen is teaching a special course at her school again – she is working with the music teacher and teaching a group of 2nd graders how to write songs.  Blitzen is quite the lyricist, by the way.  I am sure that no one is surprised by that.  I can’t wait to hear the future hits this group produces.

Blitzen and the rain

Andrew and I worked a bit late last night so one of Blitzen’s babysitter extraordinaires took her to the hair braiding place to get her hair done.  Just as they were leaving the salon to head home, it started to pour down rain – not misty, not drizzle, more like monsoon.  And no umbrella.

Blitzen burst through the door, happy and laughing, telling the story of how they ran all the way home and showing off her wet, soggy clothes. Smiling, giggling, giving her babysitter a hug goodnight and moving along into the evening routine.

Now some people are all – so what?  Lots of kids like the rain.

And I am thinking back two years to our first spring with Blitzen when we got caught in a similar downpour and the child simply ceased to function.  Hysterical, sobbing, unable to move — not a cab or dry awning to be seen.  It was awful.  We practically had to carry her home — she just came completely undone.

I will try very hard to remember this triumph of emotional regulation and happy embrace of childhood wonders the next time Blitzen balls up her fists and growls at me (her latest thing).  I’ll remember that even the growl is an improvement, heading toward a much more socially acceptable expression of negative emotion.

Last night, after about 30 minutes of bedtime reading, I concluded a chapter and said, ‘That is it for tonight. I’ll read more tomorrow.’ To which Blitzen replied in all seriousness, ‘You’re refusing to read to me?!?’ Keep in mind that the 30 to 40 minutes of reading that she and I do each night are followed by 15 or more minutes of Andrew and Blitzen story telling in her room as part of the tuck in ritual.  She and Andrew are ‘writing’ a book together and they tell a new chapter each night.  I have never met a kid that loves a story as much as Blitzen. I really enjoyed books as a kid and still do – it is my main downtime activity by far – but Blitzen just craves stories.

It has been fascinating to look at the many many ways books and being read to have positively impacted Blitzen.  Even going back to the very beginning when things were so tough and Blitzen couldn’t slow down — we’d go to the library every Saturday and she would make me read 2 or 3 storybooks right there (after complaining the entire way to the library about how much she hated the library) and then we would go to the park and run around for hours.  Finally when she was just about to fall over, we’d go home and she would lay down on the couch, almost falling asleep, and listen to books for 30 minutes or so while she recovered.

Engaging with a book is clearly one of her best calming, connecting, coping strategies.  And of course it has been amazing to see her vocabulary and critical thinking grow and how much is learning about the world and people through stories.  I hope that this is something that she carries with her throughout her life.

 

Blitzen meltdown

I won’t go into the details but in the middle of it all, Blitzen yelled at me, ‘I suppose you are going to tell the FBI on me.’  Now, it was bad but it wasn’t that bad.

 

And no parents, no kids lawyers yet. So I glad that I am not there.  I sent him the following email:

Is there an algebraic formula that we can use to figure out what time we are actually supposed to come like 9:00am / x (y+1) = z – 30/ n2

In other words, come 3 hours, 49 minutes and 34 seconds late.

Rest and love

Blitzen has been so happy to be able to spend quality, real life time with her mother and sisters.  Not locked up at the agency, not just 2 hours – real time.  And I have been so happy to see Blitzen getting that time and attention and love (maybe sometimes a little jealous and nervous too but really, mostly happy) and for me and Andrew to get 6 hours a week together to just be.  We get a little ‘quality time’, we putter, we errand, we go out for a nice quiet relaxing lunch, we watch 2 or 3 tv shows in a row.  It has been refreshing and invigorating and it is filling us both up. I hadn’t really realized how completely depleted I was.  I have so much more patience, more mindfulness — I can simply breathe through a 25 minute discussion about why I suck because I won’t let an 11 year old wear eyeliner and 4 inch heels to school and it never goes off the rails, never descends into a power struggle because I am more in touch with myself and the parent that I want to be.

Every parent should get Saturday afternoons off.

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