{GHF Blog Hop} The Case of the Car Seat Fury

C hates her car seat. She has hated it from day one. When she was a baby, we rarely ventured more than 20 minutes away from our home unless we were prepared for Ultimate Scream Fest. B was the same way, but her cry was much more mellow and, as awful as it sounds, much easier to tune out when a longer car ride was inevitable. Still, the switch to the booster seat was SUCH a welcome moment for B, and the end of many degrees of stress.
C is almost big enough to make the switch. As in one-half inch and three pounds from the recommendations. The cautious side of me would like to wait another three or six months to promote her to the booster seat. We do a lot of highway driving, and I want her to be safe.
But on the other hand, the screaming and fighting when we get in the car is getting old. She is strong enough to be a problem, and I have to plan ahead 15 minutes to leave the house, knowing that there will most likely be an incident before we can go to our destination (frustrating, multiple times daily.). Once safely buckled, she moved the chest buckle down as far as she can (unsafe), pulls on the adjusting strap and loosens the belt (unsafe). She wiggles, she groans, she states where and how this car seat buckle is ruining her life. I don’t like to think it is affecting my driving abilities, but it probably is. She’s pretty distracting with the trying to escape and all. We need an extra 10 minutes once we reach our destination so she can compose herself and act appropriately. I tallied it up the other day. We went to three places, which means in and out of the car three times….so roughly an hour of our day (plus the time IN the car) was spent on C dealing with her car seat hatred. That’s like 30 hours of my life PER MONTH.
We tried the Ride Safer travel vest. That was a disaster for a week. B liked it, but it took away her independence, because her hands just weren’t quite strong enough or dexterous enough to maneuver the belts, so that added another 5 minutes to every trip, along with some extra frustration on both of our parts. (On those three trip days, that was another 15 minutes! 7 ½ more hours per month! All together, with Little Miss Scream, that’s equivalent of THREE DAYS spent on car seat trauma, you guys.) C didn’t like the feel of the vest around her body – it’s much like a water safety vest, and those are a whole separate calamity. She didn’t like that it held her still in the seat. She began to wiggle and groan and state how this seat belt vest was ruining her life.
So, I decided enough is enough. I bought the high back car seat this morning. I am just hoping that it isn’t too straight, or too itchy, or the car seat belt isn’t too “wrong” or whatever else she might come up with. My only other options are to stay at home the rest of my life or invest in some duct tape and really, really good ear buds to drown her out.
I’ve commiserated with other parents about this… what options have worked for you?
**Edited to add: The new booster seat seems to be working well, with the exception of one seat belt removal experience while in the car. C loves the colors, silver and purple, and is actually thrilled to go places now. She also promises she will never, ever remove her seat belt again while the car is moving. We arrived everywhere on time this week. No fits were thrown. It was a miracle!
This blog post is part of the GHF April 2014 Blog Hop. Be sure to visit these other fantastic bloggers’ posts on promoting health and wellness in the gifted/2e child!

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When the World is Telling You "Hush"…

I ran across this blog post from Paula Prober on the GHF Facebook page…

“Individuals with rainforest minds are often intense and quite bright. They love learning new things and sharing what they learn with others. But you may run into trouble when your cohorts don’t appreciate your long detailed descriptions or your esoteric musings.”

                                                                ~Exuberance and Unending Curiosity

                

It described me exactly. I love to find an article or blog or research paper about something interesting that has lots of other links to study it further. I read the links, I check the cited books out of the library, I soak it all up until the next subject is discovered. I love to share what I’ve learned, usually with my husband or sister, who humor me kindly.

Sometimes, I get so excited about it, that I forget to check my surroundings before I start spouting off.

One night, the husband and I had a Trivial Pursuit night with his best friend and wife. One of the questions reminded me of some random subject of interest that I had just finished reading about. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember saying, “Oh! I was just reading something about that, and what actually happens is…” and it being so interesting to me, but the eyes of our friends began to glaze over. My husband started doing the “cut” sign across his throat. And the sound of crickets.

I may just be over-analyzing (yes, I do that too. Sigh.), but I believe that was the last time we were invited over to their house. The guys hang out all the time, but our families haven’t gotten together in a long while. Are we just all busy, or did I accidentally cross the line of letting too much of my wiring out?
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It’s so rare and comforting to run across someone besides my husband who “gets” me. It feels as is a big sigh of relief washes over my entire body. I can be myself. I can talk about my kids. I don’t have to pretend. Most of these people, however, I have only found online, and I am a proximity person. I typically need to see you often to be able to feel close to you…but maybe I will have to train myself to be different in this area if I’d like more real friends. I have been making a concerted effort to be more involved in a few of my online groups, and I’ll see how that goes.

When I was in middle school, I was part of a gifted program that grouped those of us that qualified together for language arts, social studies, math and science. Those school years were my best – I was surrounded by people who were so much like me. We had different interests, and we understood how exciting it was to share them with each other. Then came high school, and several moves, and we fell out of touch. Since that time, I have made a few friends that have lasted with me over time, but they are not “spill my guts” friends. And certainly not “spill my guts about my kids” friends.

Over time, I have just come to the realization that I am who I am, and I like who I am. I have become an expert at toning myself down and fitting my personality into the circumstance, but it’s so cramped in that box!

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As I watch my kids grow and develop, and see that they have acquired many of these same traits, it encourages me to not keep myself folded up in that box. I want them to love and appreciate themselves for who they are, and the best way to teach them is by example. Of course, they will need to learn some situational cues and behaviors in order to survive in this world, but I’d like them to be confident in themselves and not be convinced that they need to camouflage their personalities, as I did for 30 some years.

So, here’s to getting out of that box and exploring the rainforest.

Sweet Sleep…or the Opposite

 

C told me from the backseat the other day, “No, I do not sleep on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days. I only sleep on Mondays.”

Isn’t that the truth.

The girls have a regular bedtime schedule. They get their pj’s on and brush teeth around 7:30pm. We read together until 8pm. Hubby and I turn on their music, tuck them in, give goodnight kisses, leave. The girls have a small light in their room that is on a timer, and turns off at 9:30pm.

B usually stays up and reads until the light turns off, and occasionally we find her laying on her belly, book stretched out to reach the light from the hallway. She goes to sleep on her own when she is finished, and wakes up happy in the morning, so it works for us.

B was a LOVELY napper. When she was a baby, she set herself on a sleep schedule…napping from 9:30am – 11:30am, and then from 1pm – 4pm. I didn’t know how good I had it. I had time to blog, time to read, time to clean, all in a quiet, serene environment. When she woke up, of course, it was a different story, but those hours throughout the day were so revitalizing. She went to bed at 7:30pm, and slept until 5am, and although that was an early wake up call, she was almost always in a good mood upon waking, and would keep herself busy for awhile in the morning. She has always enjoyed her own space, so co-sleeping was never an option.

C, on the other hand…She tells me she does not like the dark, and does not like to close her eyes. When she was a baby, she would nap for 45 minutes during the day at the most, and only after crying and fighting until she had nothing left to give. Those short naps disappeared around 18 months. She would sleep for about 8 hours through the night, but often only if she was snuggled right next to me. She was intense for every single other one of the 15 hours and 15 minutes left in the day.

Whew. I am worn out again just thinking about it.

These days, she is still intense, she rarely naps and it only occurs if we are driving around in the late afternoon, and that is ALWAYS worse than her skipping the nap altogether. She wants me to snuggle her at bedtime until she goes to sleep, which although I love it and try to soak all the snuggling up that I can before she gets to be what she thinks is “too big for that”, my moments to myself and with my husband are few. If she does sneak in that nap, she is up for hours in the evening, and would like some entertainment, please. Most times, she is just tired and on the verge of hysteria and meltdown and the slightest thing sends her over the edge…it’s a tightrope event every night.

Then there is the morning. I set my alarm for 5:15am daily, hoping to have some quiet time for myself to drink my coffee and do some writing, but most days C is up by 5:40am.

“Mama! The sun is up, so I am up!”

After we watched Frozen for the first time, I started calling C “Anna” in the mornings…such similar wake up calls. 🙂

She is not always a pleasant little bird in the mornings like her sister, and I have learned to just stop whatever it is that I am doing and pretend that I have just been waiting for this early morning moment to greet her, when my mind is screaming, “Can I just get 30 minutes of peace here?”

It can be very difficult some days. The worst ones include me feeling drained of patience at bedtime and my last words of the night coming out short and frustrated, causing tears (her) and guilt (me). Others leave me feeling like I am just spoiling her and giving into to her every whim and if I would just toughen up and tell her no, everything would be better. But I think anyone who can empathize with my plight knows that is just not the answer.

So what to do? For now, I am adding more activity to our day, attempting to keep her going non-stop to avoid the nap, wear her out sufficiently without sending her over the OE cliff. This will be a difficult transition, assuming it works, for B and I, who are more of the quiet-homebody-never-leave-the-house-if-we-have-a-book types, and it may result in some meltdowns of a different color for her. Maybe me too, to be honest…but there has to be a solution, right?

I’d love to hear ideas that you have tried, what worked, what didn’t…because as I am sure you are painfully aware, what works one day may not work the next, and my bag of tricks could always use some refilling.

For now, I’ll rest, because that sweet, sassy face will be popping through my door to greet me soon…