Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's Up?

Wow. What a crazy past few days - it's all gone past in a blur and I can't believe it's Wednesday already!

Tommy was on a 'two-year-old hunger strike' for a good part of last week, refusing just about everything we'd put in front of him to eat. Forget 'he'll eat when he's hungry' - he was so hungry he wouldn't stop whining and crying, but if it wasn't what he wanted to eat, it wasn't going in! It's really frustrating to know he's hungry, but have him refuse everything including things he usually begs for. He went so far on Sunday as to tell us "I don't like pizza." He LOVES pizza, it's the food he mentions first whenever we ask what he wants. So we didn't eat much for several days there. I've been watching for his upper molars, thinking this might be part of the problem, but can't feel or see anything. He's notorious for feeling his teeth a long time before they actually cut through, so we've been using the homeopathic teething remedy when he's crabby hoping it'll help. Seems to, but still no eating.

The fallout from all of this wanting to live on bread, milk, and cheese (basically) was a good case (his first ever!) of constipation on Monday. Talk about crabby and miserable! I finally called my brother-in-law for advice - their son had some issues like this for a while and they had pretty much gotten it solved. "Pear juice", he tells me. Apparently pear juice is even better than good old prune juice. So I took a trip over to our local Sprouts to pick up some pear juice. As soon as Tommy got up from his nap we started giving him a cupful. He actually ate pretty well at dinner - we grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and he ate a hotdog and bun, and had a couple whole-grain cookies. All I can say is that fortunately my husband happened to be getting Tommy ready for bed when the pear juice finally took effect. Thankfully, it happened before bed!

So the constipation is solved, but he still has been cranky and whiny. It's actually very frustrating. He goes to daycare Tuesday through Thursday, and has a fantastic time there, then comes home and as soon as he walks through the door the whining starts. We figure he's hungry, since it's close to supper time, but even a snack doesn't help. He just whines and whines, and of course, we're in the middle of getting supper so we don't have time to pay 100% attention to him (and when we do, it has to be the whole time, not just for 15 minutes and then he's ok, like some of what I've read says). Basically, tempers wear thin, nerves fray, and everyone is exhausted by the time we eat. No matter how hard you try to tune out a whiny toddler, there is only so much you can handle before your brain implodes :-) Eating while we prepare food seems to help sometimes, but not lately. Last night was a minor victory with several fishsticks being ingested, but it seems completely random.

Then bedtime battles ensue. The books are right on this one - he has a horrible time sleeping on the days he doesn't nap at daycare. We're trying earlier bedtimes and a change to bedtime routine that seems to help keep him from getting re-wound up after teeth brushing. Basically, we were brushing teeth, reading stories, saying goodnight to Nana and Papa, and then bed. He always seems to get worked up during the goodnights, so we switched them to before reading stories, and that really seems to have helped. Now we read and then are whisked off to bed. Last night was only a couple of minutes of crying (complaining really) before he was out. Some nights he'll scream for 15 before settling down - and this is still an improvement over the first 16 months of not sleeping - at least now once he's out he sleeps through the night! So anyone out there who is struggling with sleep issues - I feel your pain. We've tried the methods and have just come to the conclusion that he is one of those kids who needs to yell for a few minutes to settle down. Makes you feel terrible, but it's worse if we sit longer with him. He'll just keep pushing for more until you're in there all night.

So much for my toddler rearing troubles. I've also had so many other balls in the air I'm not sure how I'm tracking them all! I've been on unemployment for about a month now, and last week I got a letter to appear at an orientation workshop at the local job service office. It ended up being more helpful than I thought it might be, and gave me some ideas to pursue. I'm considering looking into grants for returning to school, but can't decide whether I would like to use this opportunity to change careers, or just get some advanced training and certifications in what I'm currently trained for. I like lab work, but have found that maybe I'd like to be more involved with people - directly interacting and the like. I'm also interested in web design and e-commerce, so that might be an option. Lastly, I had put some serious thought into Dental Hygiene a few years back but lacked the funds so I'd like to consider that too. I need to take some assessments and get a good idea what my skill set is, and then go from there, I guess.

My sister-in-law was kind enough to lend us her copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Revisited and I'm about halfway through reading it. I'm hoping to get our financial house in order, and I think his methods will be ones we can work with and stick to. I'm happy to say that we had been taking some of the right steps on our own, but have been shying away from budgeting because it's sure to dig up some discomfort. I think we're at that stage now, but we realize how important it is to take this step before we can completely reach our goals. Big plans for the weekend - budgeting!

We also have started attending church. My sister-in-law and her husband introduced us to their church a couple of weekends ago because they are starting the Fireproof (Love Dare) series about improving and strengthening your marriage. We met with our small group last Sunday night and were pleasantly surprised. If you had told me last year that I'd be doing this, I'd have laughed, but I think I'm just at that point in my life now where I'm looking to make some changes. I've always had faith that there was more out there than just chance - too many times I've been faced with a choice or a challenge, and I've found that when I open myself to these changes, it's always worked out for the best. I have a lot of questions, and a lot of doubts, but I feel that I'm in a place where I'm more open to exploring these questions and finding some answers.

I'm hoping that I can keep juggling everything until things begin to settle, but I know that once I get one thing taken care of something else will come up! I'm hoping that we can help Tommy through some of his frustration at being unable to do the things he wants, and thereby alleviate some of his crabbiness. Hopefully.

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