A week between posts, an ear infection, and scary fatigue…

Well it’s been a week between posts because I have been struck down with an ear infection and have been attempting to listen to and empower my inner voice.

Monkey has been tired for over two weeks. Not just tired, but sleeping after school when left to her own devices, going to bed early at night, and then looking as though she hasn’t slept in a week. She is manic when she is awake, and starts getting dark circles under her eyes and yawning before 3:00. She has complained to her teacher about tummy aches and generally not feeling well for days on end. She has become a regular at the nurse’s office, but is always sent back to class, because no one can find anything wrong with her.

I have been trying to let her rest, have been making sure she eats well, and have been experiencing a growing sense of disquiet for the past two weeks. Yesterday I finally reached the point when I couldn’t chalk it up to stress or lack of sleep. I finally took her to the doctor. He was nice, he listened. He didn’t put on the patient face most doctor’s get when a mom walks into their office and says “something isn’t right with my child.” He heard me, and examined her, and told me to treat her with cold medicine and come back after Christmas if she wasn’t better for blood work. It sounded very sensible and logical. It made perfect sense in the light of day. But last night, when I checked on her, and saw her pale little face, dark circles present even in sleep, it was the dumbest plan in the world.

I called again today. I walked into his office and begged him not to make me wait until Christmas was over to test her blood. I told him I was willing to be the mom who over-reacted, the mom who was wrong, as long as I wasn’t the mom who spent every night for the next week wondering if something was really, really wrong. The mom who spent Christmas trying to quiet the voice that trots out all the scary reasons for her fatigue, instead of the likely ones.

Let’s face it, when the voice in your head starts sounding alarm bells, it’s not because she might be anemic or have mono, it’s because a tiny little voice reminds you that fatigue can be an indication of cancer, lukemia, and other life ending dieseases that you do not want to spend the holiday season rationalizing away.

I spent last night crying because something was wrong with my baby. Something was out of place. Something wasn’t right. She was not okay. I have no idea what it is. It could be as simple as the flu, but it wasn’t the flu that had me peeking in on her over and over again. It was fear.

Luckily, the doctor treated me for it. He took her blood today, and promised me to check her for everything scary. I was so grateful, I almost cried.

Liar Liar…

Lying rears its ugly head…

Okay, so I am a little psycho about lying and secrets. After working with children who were sexually abused, it is easy to worry about those magic phrases of horror “don’t tell anyone” and “It’ll be our little secret.” I have worked very hard with Monkey trying to get her to understand that we don’t keep secrets from mommy and daddy, and we don’t lie. (I understand that she will get to a point in her development when she will need to do both those things, but by then she will be old enough to know that she needs to tell me if anything abusive is going on.)

Which is why my mind is in complete panic mode tonight.

My story begins several weeks ago when Devon and I were driving back from Lowe’s with Monkey. We were laughing about something and she said “If you two don’t stop laughing, I’m gonna kick your ass.” I would love to say I was shocked but it was too funny for me to anything but snicker uncontrollably. When Devon and I had regained control, I asked Monkey where she had heard it. She got really quiet and said “I don’t want to tell you.”

hmmm….

That phrase began the worst night we had had in a long while. It took four hours, a grounding, loss of tv for a week, and loss of computer for a week for her to tell me where she had heard it. So my little plan of teaching my daughter not to keep secrets from me or lie to me had seemingly backfired. We had another long talk about how important it is for her to tell me the truth. We talked about trust and safety. We held firm to the consequences and continue to express the importance of truth and openess in our family.

So tonight she calmly asks me if she can say “what the fuck?”. I answered no of course and then asked where she had heard it. Sigh.

“I made it up.”

She was in her room in minutes with the directions that she would not leave her room until she told me where she heard it and had stopped lying to me. She spent twenty minutes screaming “I made it up mommy, I promise” before I walked in to her room and told her to look me in the eye and tell me the truth. She calmed down, looked me in the eye, and said “I made it up mommy, I promise.”

(At this point, I had a slight problem. The first thing she asked me after I asked her where she heard it was “Are you going to call their mommy and daddy and tell them I told?” I told her I didn’t know if I was going to call them but she still needed to tell me who said it. That’s when she claimed to have made it up.)

Why would she ask if I was going to tell someone’s parents if she made it up? I ask her after being bold faced lied to.

She says “I would really like an answer to that question.”

I tell her “I am sure you would, but you can’t keep secrets, even if I am going to call their mommy and daddy and tell them, so please stop lying to me.”

So she screams “I am not lying to you, I made it up!!”

At this point I want to bang my head against a wall until I can no longer feel pain. Instead, I tell her “fine, I will not call their parents, who said it.”

She responds “someone at school” and later gives me a name.

Now the problem is, she has been lying to me over and over and over again for the past half hour, she has begged me to believe the lie, has promised me she is telling the truth, has acted offended that I would doubt her veracity, has looked me in the eye and lied to me. I tell her, you are still grounded in your room, because you lied to me. Why did you lie?

“I wanted to be a good friend.”

SO we had a long talk about how lying to mommy and keeping secrets does not make you a good friend, and friends who ask you to keep secrets are not good friends. We talked again about safety and truthfulness and trust.

What in the world am I going to do if she keeps flat out refusing to tell me when other people have done something wrong? How could I have worked this hard to insure her safety, only to have completely screwed it up?

Help!!

Washing cats…

Washing cats is wholesome family fun!!

A couple of weeks ago, almost a month now I suppose, we rescued a small cat from the swamp by Monkey’s school. She has adjusted to her life here rather well, she snuggles with us, visits downstairs even when the dogs are around, and is good at reminding us of our responsibilities. We have been waiting for her to adjust before we gave her a bath. Well today was the day!!!

Bathing cats is a lot like trying to juggle Slinky’s. They generally dislike being wet, and will fight fiercely to avoid it. However, there are certain holds I have developed over the years that will allow me to keep them from running away covered in pet shampoo, and will also prevent them from scratching the hell out me. (The most successful one involves placing a hand on each side of the cat, thumbs over the shoulder blades, first two fingers under chest, last two under the belly.)

I held poor trusting Hazel in the sink while Lee ran the sprayer over her. She never uttered a sound. She stretched into every permutation possible in her attempts to get out of my grasp, she beseeched us with wide pleading eyes, but she did not complain. We washed all the remaining loose fur from her little body and wrapped her in a towel. The she and I had a discussion about the purpose of the towel. I tried to show her that it was a tool intended to assist her in drying off, but she was only interested in fleeing the foreign device. She is currently upstairs, mostly damp, attending to her injured vanity.

We usually do kitty baths a couple times a year, with a special soap that assists in damping down the allergens they produce. Since many of our friends have cat allergies, and Monkey has asthma, this seems a good way to keep all our furry friends, and our human ones.

Soon, it will be the kitten’s turn. But not today. One cat bath at a time! Hazel has already forgiven us, she is purring away and using her persuasive powers to try to get me to bring her more wet catfood.

Hazel’s damp head seeking scratches:

Hazel sporting her squeaky clean coat