I love him dearly but I don’t like sleeping with him

For the last two nights I had a full house here with five extra people staying over. To accommodate them I moved JJ out of his room and into mine, the plan being that he could sleep in my bed with me. There certainly ain’t no other male taking up that space at the moment.

Unfortunately this decision meant that I had two really bad nights of sleep. It probably didn’t help my sleep cause that I drank bourbons with coke before going to bed. Caffeine and I don’t have much contact so my body is not used to it so I had trouble getting to sleep.

It’s amazing that a person half my size can take up so much space in a queen size bed. Before I hopped into bed I put him back on his side, over as far as I possibly could but constant turning over meant each time that he would encroach on my space. I also got knees, elbows and toenails stuck into me. I cut his toenails last night before he went to bed by the way. After the first night’s restless sleep we both woke up at 6am because that’s what happens when you want a sleep in. The rest of the household was fast asleep so I said over and over that it was too early, go back to sleep. We both eventually did and I woke up with an elbow in my face. Fortunately it had been placed there without waking me.

Last night, I went to bed with renewed optimism that because I’d had such a crap night’s sleep the previous night surely this night would be better. It nearly was until at 2am he started sniffing and snorting. I passed him a tissue, but then the dreaded words, blood nose, were mentioned. Sure enough, when I turned on the light, there all the blood nose evidence was. I stemmed the flow, left him with a tissue up his nose, turned over the bloody pillow, ignored the blood stains on the sheets, went to the toilet, came back to bed, he went to the toilet and eventually turned out the light and managed to get some more sleep.

My house from 10 this morning is back to its normal numbers until tomorrow afternoon when they come back from their short trip. I think I’ll setup a mattress on the floor for JJ so I can get some sleep. I need it. If I don’t have enough sleep I’m not very nice to be around.

My sheets and mattress protector and his pillow are all on the line drying. Tonight I look forward to a solo, uninterrupted sleep with clean sheets. Tomorrow they’re back, and JJ is back with me and then we’re all going away for a few nights, and then I’ve got a weekend away child-free so I might not be blogging for a week or so.

Shaggy dog

JJ has had a pretty hard time adjusting to being at school. He’s been there for just over half a year now and the adjustment’s still happening – the wheels grind slowly. I think he has a hard time making his own friends. He does have friends – they are kids of my friends that he has known all of his life so they’re used to his ways and he’s used to theirs.

Then along comes school, and JJ’s safety net of me has gone regarding the friends thing. He has to find his own way and he’s having a hard time of doing it. This is part of the reason why I’m seeing a psychologist about him because I want him to learn how to make friends as this will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life. It’s obviously not an innate thing that we know how to not scare potential friends away as JJ unfortunately seems to have a habit of doing to the kids at school.

His teacher thinks he’s insecure and this makes sense as insecurities make us overcompensate, and JJ’s way of overcompensating is putting himself right in people’s faces and scaring them away. He’s had issues with one particular kid in school. This kid is really quiet and doesn’t stand up for himself and JJ has tried to make friends with him.

At school swimming lessons a week or so ago, JJ was in the changeroom after the lesson and shook his head, shaking his hair like a dog does when they’re wet. He has lots of hair, like a shaggy dog, but only on his head of course, and as a result lots of water stays in it so when he shook his head, lots of water went over the quiet boy’s mum. She didn’t like it and asked him to stop. Well that’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull – he kept going.

She didn’t like him shaking his wet hair all over her and consequently told JJ’s teacher. I’m not quite sure what purpose that was supposed to serve, especially as playground policy for the kids is that they try and deal with things like this themselves and then if they can’t and/or there’s danger involved, that’s when they tell the teacher. I don’t think this was justified in this case. The only reason I heard about it from the teacher was because she mentioned it to me when we were talking about other stuff.

I don’t know if she mentioned it to the teacher because of JJ’s reputation, or because that’s the sort of person she is. But this is the sort of thing I guess we’re going to come up against at school.

The mum did tell me about the shaggy dog incident the next day at swimming and I laughed because I thought it was a bit funny. If it had happened to me I wouldn’t have told the teacher, I just would have worked it out between the kid and me, but maybe that’s the difference between being the parent of a spirited boy and a quiet one.

Child’s best advocate

As any sole parent out there knows it’s bloody hard work doing the parenting by yourself, particuarly when you don’t have the support of the father at all. It becomes even harder when there are difficulties that need to be worked out. Our difficulties have been brewing ever since my son – JJ – started school in the middle of last year. The main difficulty is his behaviour which has definitely not been angelic. He spent half an hour in the principal’s office on his second day at school for misbehaving in the classroom. Even with incidents like this and incidents in the playground and at family day care after school I kept thinking that things would work out and he’d just get it and start behaving.

I finally realised that this probably wouldn’t happen without some help. It had reached the stage where he nearly wasn’t allowed to go to family day care after school anymore. As I work 4 days a week out of the home, and there’s a shortaqe of after school care, it really freaked me out that he might be expelled from this and I’d have to find something else or that I wouldn’t find something else. Actually he wouldn’t have been completely thrown out as he’s been going there on and off ever since he was one, and she would have accommodated him until I found something else, but it would have disrupted him and me. I also noticed that he wasn’t getting invites to some birthday parties when lots of other kids did and of course I want him to be happy and get along with other kids and do the playdate with school mates thing.

During conversations with a good friend she said to me that I was my son’s best advocate and at the time I didn’t really take this on board. Last week though, I went to see a psychologist about him because I’m worried that his behaviour could escalate and he’ll become known as the school bully. This is the worst case scenario but I want to nip it in the bud.

After I finished my session with the psychologist (JJ meets her next week) I felt so so much better and being my son’s best advocate is coming home to me now. I had a talk with his new teacher and she’s just fabulous. We’ve lucked out there. She knows what he’s like and doesn’t put up with any bad behaviour from him or anyone else in her classroom so he listens to her because he knows there’s consequences. As she said it’s easier for her because she’s not emotionally involved. There’s consequences with me, but I am emotionally involved so don’t always carry through when I should. I was also given homework by the psychologist, one thing being positive play.

Positive play is where you let your child lead the play and you don’t give directions. There’s suggested toys for this, like building blocks, lego, magnetic blocks, crayons and paper. Toys to avoid are ones that encourage rough or aggressive play, ones that have preset rules or ones that lead the parent or child to pretend they are someone else. The idea is that imagination is encouraged without the play getting out of hand.

It is very hard to shift habits and not give direction when doing this type of play but I have noticed that after three days of it, that JJ enjoys it, I enjoy it and we have a laugh while doing it. It doesn’t have to last long – 5 minutes is recommended.

I know that any changes in JJ’s behaviour will not come about because the light switch goes on his head that he needs to change. He will have to learn appropriate behaviour and obviously this is harder for some kids than it is for others. But at least when I get the ‘teach your son how to behave properly’ comments which I have had occasionally I can say that I, and the school are taking steps to teach him how it’s appropriate to behave towards other kids and adults. I’ll be able to explain to them that this is not necessarily innate, but in his case it’s taking longer to learn and that something is being done about it.

I know there will still be incidents of naughty behaviour but I feel a whole lot better that I’m moving in the right direction to help teach him better behaviour.

Time to eat

It’s cricket time of year here. There’s no escape from it on Channel 9, and most weekend days and some week days there’s cricket being played on a local oval. JJ and I had a discussion about it and being the encouraging parent I am I told him that it takes a long time to play a game. I’m not real keen on him developing an interest in playing the game purely because I don’t fancy spending half my weekend watching him.

He obviously understood that a day is a long time because he told me he didn’t think he’d play cricket because they wouldn’t get time to eat. He loves his food and the thought of not being able to eat whenever he likes obviously worries him.

A few days later we were discussing the occupations of bus and train drivers. I told him they’d drive to the end of the bus or train route and turn around and come back. He then informed me that he didn’t think he’d become a bus or train driver because they don’t get time to eat. I tried to explain that both cricketers and drivers do get time to eat but it didn’t sink in.

I’m thinking he’ll always do something where he can eat when he likes.

Addition – I meant to mention at the end of this post. Despite JJ’s obsession with food his memory lets him down. Yesterday at work I got a phone call from his vacation care director. They were at the pool and JJ had forgotten his lunch after being asked to put it in his bag. He had to miss out on food for various reasons and didn’t get his lunch until mid afternoon.

Still sleeping with sharks

I’m detecting a bit of a theme in regards to JJ sleeping with various toys in various states of action. He obviously starts playing with them and they wear him out so much that he just falls asleep while still playing. Here’s the latest in the series, a shark puppet.

In bed with a shark

It was a particularly hot night here too which is why he sleeps without any bed coverings. I usually put a sheet over him but that ends up all twisted around him or just completely off.

To see other photographic evidence of what he ends up sleeping with, see him with his other shark, sleeping in the batman costume, sleeping with my old doll.

I guess I’ll have to stop this practise of taking photos while he’s asleep when he’s a bit older and starts sleeping with real live people. That probably wouldn’t really be acceptable.

Goodbye trainer wheels

Today was the first day JJ rode his bike without relying on trainer wheels. Truth is, he had to, or not ride his bike. This is the third set of trainer wheels we’ve had and they just aren’t robust enough for a 23kg boy who relies on them, because they bend. The trainer wheels were’t aligned with the bike wheels, they were more at 45 degree angles so if he did lean on one of them, he would inevitably fall off.

This morning he wanted to go for a ride and I tried to bash the trainer wheels back into alignment but it just didn’t work. I said to him why don’t I just put the trainer wheels up a notch so that they’re there if you need them but I don’t think you do need them. Fortunately he was confident enough to give this a go. We walked the bike over to the school and after a short amount of instruction from me about how to start off with one leg resting on the ground to start with, he was away like a pro.

I was so excited, actually we both were. I was so excited I even ran alongside the bike with him here and there. Unfortunately the chain came off the bike twice. This has happened before and our friend had fixed it for us but it must be a bit loose again.

JJ has a bigger bike in the shed that’s relatively new so I might dust that off, pump up the tyres and get him going on that if this smaller bike keeps losing it’s chain. It’s had a lot of wear and tear from its previous owner, my nephew.

Now, I have to get myself a bike. I promised him that when he stopped using the trainer wheels I would get a bike for myself and we could go riding together. That day has come my friends.

Getting crafty about dinosaurs

During our six week school holiday break I am having three of those weeks off with JJ so I need to find things we can do together so we don’t tear each other’s hair out with boredom.

On New Year’s Day I wasn’t suffering from a hangover or a severe lack of sleep so I decided to find something crafty we could do together with bits and pieces we had around the house. I’m not that creative when it comes to thinking of things like this so it’s just as well there are websites like Kiddley to draw inspiration from.

I actually didn’t find the activity we ended up doing on Kiddley, but found a website called Kids Craft Weekly where we found out how to make a dinosaur from a paper plate.

We didn’t have a paper plate so I found some cardboard and used one of our plastic plates to draw a circle.

Cuttingcirclefordinosaur

We were then supposed to paint the piece of cardboard with acrylic paint. The only paints I have were cheap acrylic type paints and didn’t cover the surface very well so it looked a bit cacky but it still gave it a green base.

Paintingdinosaur

I then drew on the back as instructed to cut out the legs, head and tail, luckily found some stick pins in the toolbox and put it all together.

We didn’t have the suggested embellishments but had some bright cardboard small dinosaurs which we stapled to our stegosaurus and some feathers for good measure and we had a finished product.

We were both pretty pleased with ourselves. Here is the finished product. We’ve borrowed the image from the Kids Craft Weekly website.

Finishedstegosaurus

Along the dinosaur theme I bought tickets to go to the live ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ show on in March. It’s supposed to be pretty good and hopefully we’ll both enjoy it and JJ won’t get too scared. The dinosaurs are lifesize and pretty noisy so it could be a bit scary. I won’t be leaving the show if JJ gets scared so perhaps I’ll take some earplugs if it freaks him out too much.