Tiny morsels of cranky, update-y goodness

Life! Life, you so crazy. Or maybe you so normal and my coping skills are not. Hard to know. Maybe best not to dwell!

Various and sundry, because I am still suffering from the illusion that anyone gives a damn:

* School has been in session for about a month. Two excellent weeks at the beginning gave way to… reality. Reality kind of sucks.

* Speaking of school, I promised to share the poster grades once they were in, and I didn’t forget, this teacher is just a slow grader. Chickadee got a 100, Monkey got a 97. Both were pleased. (I may or may not have muttered “grade inflation” under my breath. Whatever.)

* So remember how my meaniepants doctor told me to lose 12 pounds and I was grumbling about that? The Cold Hard Truth and I had a conversation and—ever the overachiever—I decided I would set a goal of losing 15 pounds and Be Serious About It and Make Changes and all of that. Go me! I’ve lost 5 pounds. That’s good, except at the moment I’m completely stalled out because my feelings are DELICIOUS and napping is way more fulfilling than working out. I know what I need to do to lose the weight (eat less, exercise more; SCIENCE!), I am just… not doing it. I’ll just be over here, snacking on self-loathing.

* We are doing various medication dances for fun and profit. (Except, you know, not fun and there’s no profit. What?) Monkey went from being boy-sized to man-sized this summer, necessitating some pharmaceutical adjustments, which is fine. But! If I ever thought the period of time when my meds weren’t right was hard, PFFFT, I forgot how hard it is to watch one of my kids try to wrench their way out of anxiety’s grasp. (There have been some white knuckle days.)

* At the same time, Chickadee has discovered that yes, a booster dose of her ADHD med after school if she has band or something else is very helpful, so I went through the process of registering her ERMAGHERD CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE with the nurse’s office and filling out forms in triplicate and… she never remembers to go get a dose when she needs it… on account of she can’t remember shit like “medication helps” until she’s actually medicated. So. That worked out well!

* FURTHERMORE, because my kids do not have enough to deal with, it was recently discovered that Chickadee’s IEP is “unavailable” in the computer system at school for unknown reasons, which meant that the first time she opted to exercise one of her given accommodations her teacher had no idea what was going on or why, which is SUPER GREAT for a kid with anxiety, lemme tell you.

* And—who could’ve seen this one coming?—while Monkey’s IEP is available and calls for organizational help and “missing work” alerts to both student and parents, AND I have emailed all of his teachers on this particular topic specifically, AAAAAND have already had an extensive conversation with one teacher about how “if this is not implemented we will have a situation where he is getting 100s on tests but riding a C average because of his inability to turn on other work without support/reminders,” ODDLY ENOUGH we have a situation where there’s been no communication and he’s gotten 100s on all tests/quizzes but due to missing work has a C in the class. WEIRD. IF ONLY THERE WAS SOME WAY TO PREVENT THAT. It’s a puzzle.

* Licorice continues to be a Very Good Dog. Duncan continues to confirm my belief that Casa Mir is indeed a modern-day Island of Misfit Toys. He’s been with us for… coming up on a year? I guess? And the occasional maybe-a-seizure has been replaced with near-daily “events” where his back legs randomly stop working and he falls over and looks very confused and sorry and I end up doing things like spending an hour with him in my lap and letting him drink directly out of my water glass (soaking me, in the process) because hey, I am nothing if not devoted to pitiful creatures. He’s a sweet boy and thankfully he doesn’t seem to be in any pain when this happens, but it’s still a drag.

* So here’s the real thing: I am not feeling so hot these days and I honestly have no idea if it’s fixable. If I’m depressed “for no reason” that’s probably fixable. If I’m unable to meet my responsibilities due to depression, that’s probably fixable. If I am just feeling crummy because of a number of very real and shitty life circumstances BUT basically doing the stuff I need to do AND going to therapy and taking my meds, well… maybe that’s just life? Maybe I just need to find myself some of that “acceptance” I hear people talking about and move on? There’s a lot of good stuff in my life for which I am thankful, and there are still moments of joy I can grab onto here and there. But at the same time: grief, man. Grief is such a relentless asshole.

* Oh hey, THAT was cheery. Um. Rainbows! Sunshine! Bright futures (haaaaa)! Yep, I’m queen of the smooth segue. Uh, if you have high school kids, I’m going to be writing a periodic series for Alpha Mom about the college application process. The first post is up, discussing some of the things we’re already thinking about at the beginning of junior year, here, and I’ll fill in as we go. Let me know if you have specific questions, too, so I can cover in future posts. Standard caveats apply, like that I am not an expert (nor do I play one on TV) and this series may well end with the revelation that my child or children have dropped out of high school to pursue basket weaving. Who knows.


  1. Amy

    Love you lots!

    Also, as per my therapist everyone seems to be going through junk right now. As per my hippie friends, it’s the Pisces moon in Virgo. So as soon as that’s over, we’ll all be back to normal asap. Unless Mercury goes into retrograde prior to that, then we’re all screwed.

    You’re welcome for my analysis.

  2. parodie

    Ack, fall is hard! Especially once you come out of the back-to-school euphoria and have to sink into the routine of it all. I’m sorry you’re feeling crummy, whatever the reason, and I hope it lets up soon. For Chickadee, a suggestion (which perhaps you’ve already thought of): could you set up some kind of electronic reminder (an automatically-sent text message? a special alarm on her phone?) that would remind her to go get her meds? Since she has the device it might as well be helpful, right?

    As for the school and IEPs … argh, I hope you kick their butts. Nicely, with cookies, which as I recall is your preferred strategy. :) Good luck (& you’re pretty)!

  3. Alison C

    All the points you talk about above sound like pretty normal life… yes annoying and messy but (touch wood) a lot calmer than things have been for a long while.

    Do you think that you could just be adjusting to not running on nerves and adrenaline?

    That and totally the Pisces moon!

    Anyway hope you feel better soon

  4. Jenn K

    Hey Mir. As for Miss Chickie’s forgetting to go to the nurse and take her booster, does she have a smartphone? (I’m assuming yes.) I downloaded a fabulous little app called Dosecast, which helps me manage all my vitamins and supplements and meds that help me be nice and not Mommie Dearest. It beeps at me to remind me to take stuff. I could not live without it. Hope it helps! As for the other stuff, ugh. Hugs.

    • Mir

      1) she doesn’t have a smartphone and 2) part of the problem is this super-fun thing where Unmedicated Child feels absolutely certain that she’s totally fine and doesn’t require meds. HAHAHA. As we move towards “you need to start taking responsibility for your own stuff because Mom isn’t going to bring your meds to school for you when you need them,” we’ve been encouraged to make it her choice. So it is. And in theory natural consequences will either change her behavior or not.

      • Lara

        Mine took a med vacation and his anxiety went way down so we thought maybe we will keep him off! Second week started, Tuesday was day two of him coming home and raging at me for two hours and I was like screw the anxiety, back on the meds! Zero issues with him after school that next day. He says “no difference”!!! So ya, totally get that and totally terrified of the giving them the responsibility years …

  5. Jan

    I am becoming, as I begin the slow march toward FIFTY, more and more convinced that yes, life sometimes does go through periods of mostly-crap-punctuated-by-some-moments-of-joy and that all I can do is focus on the good stuff and let the rest of it go. And that it’s really OK to experience it all.

    I don’t know if that makes any sense, but for me part of what made/makes it hard is the feeling that if I were just Doing It Right, I could be happier. So I beat myself up a little for my life having crappy parts.

    I don’t pretend to know what all is going on that’s making life hard, and I’m not trying to say, ‘hey, just improve your attitude, and all will be well.’. But … there’s a little of that. Having crummy periods is part of the human condition, methinks, and knowing that helps ME, at least, put that into perspective. That combined with focusing on the things for which I have real gratitude (not the “it could be worse” kind of gratitude either — the kind that reminds me to soak in the love of an 8 year old who cuddles me on the couch in the morning) has finally given me the freedom to love my life. My life overall, not every bit or piece of it, but the sum total that includes 3 amazing kids and a husband who’s trying and a comfortable home and a job that treats me pretty well and lots of other things I wouldn’t trade.

    And if none of that is helpful, ignore it and just hang in there and know we’re on your side.

  6. Karen R

    My sympathies. I went through the ADD kid who couldn’t remember to take her meds unless she had taken her meds. Fortunately she was on a one-a-day med, so it was only an issue when she spent the night elsewhere.

    Re: phone reminders — I’ve had a smart phone for less than two years, so I still have memories of my basic cell phone. It had the ability to set an alert/alarm. Perhaps Chickadee could be encouraged to see the value of that particular feature?

    Sorry about the general suck-a-tude of your life right now. Time to bring out the lightbox?

  7. Therese

    My theory on doctors is to find one who needs to lose more weight than you do. They don’t tend to gripe so much about it then.

    • Mandy

      I like that theory! :)

    • Karen

      I REALLY like that theory!

  8. Andrea

    Thanks for always reminding me that I’m not the only one. My husband suggested last week that I should seek therapy for help dealing with the fact that my son is special needs and not one of the super over achiever all American everything perfect kids that ALLLLLL of our relatives are. :( Life sucks and is hard and stuff. Do I really need a therapist to tell me to suck it up and get over it? Meh.
    I feel for your not so hot feelings.

  9. Sarahd

    Medication adjustment recommendation for you: MORE WINE! For YOU not for the kids. A nice BIG glass every night before bed. Possibly while soaking in a hot bath and reading something awesome. I’m (almost) a doctor (PhD but whatevs) so you HAVE to comply:).

  10. Amy

    I’m having the same depression/grief sucks struggle. I feel you. You’re strong but sometimes it sucks to be strong ALL THE TIME FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY LORD MAKE IT STOP. Hugs and love and solidarity to you.

  11. hokgardner

    Your next-to-last bullet describes me to a T. I’m having a hard time with the whole acceptance of the fact that we now have a new normal.

  12. RuthWells

    It’s so good to hear from you.

    I blame all the crap on the Autumnal Equinox. For real. Should be over soon. Meanwhile, breathe. Or drink! Good to have a back up plan.

    (OR, come visit Philadelphia for the love of sweet baby kittens! We have wine here, too. ;)

  13. Ani

    Read every bullet point, cringed/laughed in recognition every time. We live (non-creepy) parallel lives.

    FWIW, ADHD boychild here wears a vibrating wristwatch, which includes an alarm for taking his meds. Does it work? Debatable. But, it has helped with many other things most particularly with “turn in the **&^%$#@#@%^& homework that you actually DO every day” conversation. Homework done, check. Homework turned in?? Hahahahahahahaha.

    FWIW2, me, dh and my various and sundry coworkers have all been on a cranky turn of late. I blame this unseasonably warm weather that refuses to break into crisp clear Fall. It may just be in the air right now. It doesn’t make it any better, but at least we can all be cranky together? (Related, my DELICIOUS feelings REALLY like ice cream. I’ve developed a dairy allergy. Double wah.) :-)

  14. 12tequilas

    As long as it’s UNDERWATER basket weaving, you’re golden.

  15. el-e-e

    It’s not an illusion, there are definitely those of us who give a damn. Hope things all sort out, fade away, brighten up, take shape, return to good, soon. :)

  16. Mandy

    Missed you!

  17. Melinda

    Sometimes life is just hard and the sucky times have to run their course.

    I love this quote by Unitarian minister Jenkin Lloyd Jones: “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

    • Alice

      Quotes like this make me realize why almost my entire family has moved over to being UU – it’s got the right amount of dour for us. My cynical brain can’t accept hope from Overly Upbeat Inspirational Messages, but it resonates with quotes like these.

      • Melinda

        Oh, I hope I didn’t sound too dour.

        Thinking this through, I think what I really mean is this: the idea that somehow life can ever attain some version of perfection for more than 30 seconds at a time is a harmful lie designed to make us “buy” something (a way of life, a credo, a new car…). I think it is more truthful to say that life turns on a dime. We all have been in a place where we go, “Yay! This is IT! This is the way it is supposed to be!” and then something unpredicted and horrible screws it all up.

        I really think that screwed up, chaotic place is the more “normal” place — maybe this is the acceptance people talk about? But it’s in that chaos that we really stretch and grow and learn what we are made of and how to love more and better.

        Hang in there, Mir. You are a rock star. And your willingness to share your vulnerability and journey has made me a more reflective and better person.

        • Mir

          I didn’t take it as dour. And I don’t think my expectations are super-high, either, but my particular problem is that no matter how many times I think I’ve accepted that X will never be Y or A always requires B, every now and then it still knocks me on my ass while I go BUT WHYYYYYY NOOOOOT? I’m a giant toddler.

          • Lara

            Me too. I’ve decided grief isn’t linear it’s cyclical and this simple line brings me peace because I will cycle back!

    • Pippa

      I love that! I am not a happy go lucky, upbeat kind of person and most inspirational messages usually just piss me right off. But this…this is real, this is DOABLE! And it doesn’t require me to paste a fake, sickly sweet expression on my face while silently shouting very bad words. Thanks for this!!

  18. Meri

    Just because you aren’t sure it’s fixable doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying. Or something to that effect, I’m tired and can’t count double negatives right now. If you’re out of spoons to try, that’s a different thing.

  19. Stephanie

    I’ve been checking in on your blog every so often; glad to read an update. Sounds like you are due for some Really Good Stuff.

  20. Karen

    Believe it or not, my doctor also recommended a glass of wine at night. Mir, we’re all broken in one way or another. The important thing is to get up each morning and do the best you can with what you’ve got…and cut yourself some slack when you don’t quite get it right. You seem to manage that pretty well, regardless of the suckitude that occasionally overwhelms. Every single day is a gift, and as much as you just want to punch someone when they say that sometimes, it’s still an absolute truth. When I’m feeling really crappy or depressed about either mine or my daughters disability, I remind myself of that very thing.

  21. Alice

    Eesh. Mir, I’m sorry things are shitty right now. Whatever the cause(s), I hope that there’s an upswing on the way soon. You deserve to feel well *even when* life is rather mediocre and blah.

  22. Dawn

    Good luck with the supports. It depends mostly on the dedication of the teachers. My daughter has central auditory processing deficit and required a quiet room for tests and an occasional check-in to ensure she was getting things and even that was too much to ask of most teachers once she got to high school. You can advocate your little hiney off and if the teachers aren’t inclined to help, you’re kind of left swinging in the breeze.

    • Kati

      Well, no. If your child has accommodations, they must *by law* be fulfilled. I’m a high school teacher with 150 students, many of whom have their own unique IEPs, and it is part of my job to both keep track of who needs what, but to also make sure that they are met as each plan requires.

      • Mir

        There’s law, and there’s reality. I’ve gone to the mat with our school district before, but it’s exhausting (and often expensive). We’ve dealt with teachers who couldn’t be bothered (though that’s the exception; most teachers have been great) and administrators who seemed to believe their entire jobs hinged on saying “no” and throwing up roadblocks. This early in the year, I proceed on the assumption that everyone has good intentions and it’s just communication and procedure that needs some ironing out, but we’ll see.

  23. Lucinda

    Okay, I know that different people have different baselines of happiness. I suspect my baseline is naturally higher than yours so this may be worthless but it was the best advice my dad ever gave me, which is saying something since 90% of his advice is total crap. Fake it until you make it. If you aren’t happy, pretend to be happy. Research backs this up surprisingly. Smile even if it kills you and eventually it sticks.

    You have faced a lot of stuff. I’ve read it all and I’m amazed you are even still standing. I think we all get in ruts sometimes. Sounds like you are in a rut. It won’t last forever. That’s the best I’ve got.

  24. kazari

    When my six month old baby wouldn’t sleep and the first winter in the new house was freezing and my now-ex-husband ended our relationship – I was flagged for post-natal depression. Surprised?
    But I kept telling people that it didn’t feel like depression, it was just a F@##$%ing depressing situation.
    And of course, it was probably both, and of course, we eventually got out of it and everything got better.
    But yuck. Feeling your pain.

    Today is RUOK day in Australia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RUOK%3F_Day

    Are you ok mir?

    • Mir

      I’m getting to ok, how about that? :) Seriously, thanks. Everyone here is awesome.

  25. liz

    I’m glad you are getting to OK. Important to remember that maybe you also need to have your meds tweaked because it sounds like ’tis the season for that in your family? And also because losing weight can make that necessary too.

  26. Heather

    Hope you’re feeling brighter soon. Sending hugs and sympathetic thoughts to you and yours.

  27. TC

    This post makes me want to smooth your hair back off your forehead and then plant a light kiss there. That’s all I wanted to say. Oh, and don’t spend a lot of energy on “is it fixable?” and maybe just focus on “can I get through it for now?” and “can I find some joy in each day?” which I know you can, and deep down, you know it too, no matter how hard it feels to do at times.

    [Smooth] [Kiss]

  28. LizD

    I am so impressed that you are “getting Ok.” Sometimes that is hard and difficult and ugly. LOVE reading your adventures and so appreciate your honesty. Btw, my horrifying 16 yo has turned into a pleasant and thoughtful 23 yo. I hope for that for you and your preshus bahybees. ooxx

  29. kapgaf

    Perfection be damned, I’ll join you on the road to ok. Thank you for opening up that possibility to me!

  30. Kati

    I had to cringe a bit at the “slow grader” comment. I’m a teacher, and it can sometimes take me a few weeks to get through major projects. If each of my 150 students turns in a project, and I spend just 3 minutes grading each one, that’s 7.5 hours of grading for that project alone. I and my colleagues hate leaving our students and parents hanging, but there are only so many hours in the day, and many of those are taken up by requirements that have nothing to do with either teaching or grading. Of course I do not know the circumstances of your situation, and I will not deny that there are subpar teachers as there are subpar professionals in any career, but this stuff takes time to do in a thoughtful and fair fashion.

    • Mir

      “Slow grader” was not meant as a slur. Those grades took 3 weeks to come back, which seemed extensive to me, particularly as they came from one of the only teachers the kids have who had no grades available in our online system until just last week (a month into the school year). I also don’t think speed of grading has anything to do with overall efficacy of the teacher.

  31. Lara

    Oops this post got lost in my reading list! I could relate to so much of this. I’m so tired of fighting for communication for first half of the year and the teachers only getting the importance of it in the second half :( Hang in there Mir; you are so not alone!!

  32. paige horst

    Fall is hard. It’s hard on everyone, but particularly hard on anyone who has less than stellar brain chemistry issues. Actual, scientifically documented fact. And then when you throw in things like school, and time changes (coming up! Let’s screw with everyone’s clocks/heads!), things get…dicey. And uncomfortable. And just…bleh.

    I’m with you on the fitness thing, too. I recently got a Fitbit and it’s helping. I thought it would be just one more gadget to keep up with, but it’s been easy to deal with and easy to see how to ramp up my activity. I definitely need the exercise because I’m in the backstretch of a PhD program, and holy cats is that sedentary. I track what I eat, and my steps, and I accept challenges from friends.

    It’s been…fun? ish? At least easier than trying to do this in the past.

  33. Amy

    UUUGGGHHHHHH….. Teachers that don’t read IEPs make me want to scream. We teachers started the school year discussing this, mostly in response to the fact that there was one teacher last year that DIDN’T KNOW that a couple kids even had IEPs. *bangsheadondesk* Surprise! That one kid wasn’t just being a disorganized, defiant mess for shits and giggles!

  34. Zoe

    I lost my dad two years ago and my grandmother (with whom I was very close) a year ago. I agree! Grief is no fun.

  35. Chris

    It’s a puzzle. I loved that and your update helped to make my day better if that helps at all. I left a meeting to cry (which I haven’t done in a long time) and thought I just can’t keep doing this. Well I was also cross time zones and turns out getting sick so this week I seem to be managing again but it does always seem like it is something.

    Hang in there- I find extra walks to be helpful in times like this (walking really fast) and it could be a two for one with your doctor’s annoying goal.

  36. Pippa

    You didn’t mention Otto in this whole post and that worries me. In fact, I feel a little panicky. He’s there, right? He’s okay, right? You’re okay, right? Everything’s okay, right? Basically what I am asking is for you to set aside your own problems and concerns in order to reassure me about something that is none of my business. I know it’s wrong, but I CAN’T HELP MYSELF! Seriously though….you are ALL alright, right?

    • Mir

      Otto is the only reason I am still upright. He’s amazing. Do not worry. :)

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