The Aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias

Hey eversource my six year-old is working harder on the storm cleanup than you are!!!!

I’ve been lucky enough in my lifetime to not have to face the kind of natural disasters that so many people deal with between hurricanes down south, earthquakes on the west coast, tsunamis, tornados, sharknados… and the list goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong we’ve had some serious weather to deal with, Hurricane Sandy and Irene for example. We’ve lost power before. As a matter of fact a few years ago we were without power for almost two weeks during a massive snowstorm. The kids and Steph went to grandma’s house and I “braved”

It here by the fireplace. We lost a lot of food and whatever was in the fridge and freezer… things were tough, but not life threatening. You throw a couple logs on the fire wrap yourself up in sweatpants, a hoodie and a few warm blankets and you can survive… I did. . We have been very lucky. But as of right now… We’re on Day five with no power and it’s becoming an issue.

But this… no power when it’s 90* with 100% humidity outside? That’s some rapture kind of stuff. Right now as I’m writing this, I have decided to sacrifice the fridge and freezer for the ability to live another day. I just “borrowed” two giant ice packs out of the freezer for my upper and lower body. Yes I have a wife and two children who are hot and sweaty, but I’m sorry, it’s hotter than hell right now and at this point it’s survival of the fittest, (or the one willing to walk downstairs in the pitch black and grab an ice pack)!

UPDATE: FYI both ice packs have been confiscated by masked characters who looked very similar to Steph and Jax!!!

Everyone comfortable????

At this very second there are four humans and one cockapoo and a mini-schnauzer in a king sized bed… all seem to be cool and asleep. I, on the other hand, am sweating and sleeping on the floor. It is hotter than hades in this house and there is no air being circulated, or any breeze to bring some relief to these children who don’t yet understand that not everyone in the world has central air conditioning.

Yet, we survive and persist, but I’m not going to lie… I’m exhausted. Everyone is exhausted. There’s no power. People are fighting over generators and which tree fell on who’s side of the yard. There’s generators as loud as a WWII tank running all over the neighborhood and people are frustrated. Children are tripping all over extension cords, it’s a war zone.

New Covid/Power-Outage CrossFit workout: stair climbing through extension cords.

Here, at Casa de Chronicles, it’s not easy either. Mom works harder in a week than most people work in a life time, dad is trying to create multiple reopening plans for school, the dogs love having everyone home everyday and Oliver and Jax are stuck in the middle… all of that with no power. Every child in 2020 is going to need therapy, because this year keeps on “one-upping itself!”

Luckily when you have good friends you can count on them if you need to borrow some sugar or a stick of butter when you run out… or in my case a massive generator, three gas containers about 800 extension cords!!! So at least we have a small AC unit I found to stick in the window of the bedroom and the refrigerator running and an added bonus is we now have working internet and can now charge all of our devices… because god forbid Jax and Oliver can’t play Tom Gold Run on their iPads!!! Thank god for good friends.

Quotes of the week without power:

“Why won’t Alexa answer me?!??”

“Dad, we still don’t have power” (every 35 seconds as he flips a light switch)

“Can I plug this in here?”

“Someone throw me some soap.” (as I’m in the pool)

“Why doesn’t my iPad work???!???”

“No you can not plug Alexa in to the extension cord running the refrigerator!!!”

“Why do you always smell like gas?”

“CLOSE the refrigerator door!!!!!!”

“CLOSE the freezer door!!!!”

Terrible Twos

I’ve been in education and studying child development and child psychology most of my life. I’ve seen the struggle, I know the struggle, I live the struggle. The struggle is real. Picking and choosing the battles to fight with your child is hard. Being able to systematically identify and follow through with which battles to chose and ultimately fight with your child is a challenge, but being consistent with those decisions is darn near impossible. 

Jax is at that age where he has figured out exactly what buttons to press to get us worked up. He knows the basics of right and wrong, don’t go near the fireplace (it’s “ha” as he says), we put out plate and cup in the sink after dinner- we don’t throw them against the wall, and as our favorite bedtime book so eloquently says, “tails are not for pulling.”  But what about the little things? You know the small stuff you’re not supposed to sweat? The battles that sometimes have to be avoided, but other times just can’t be ignored? I work with teachers on developing the skill of “active ignoring.” If a child is displaying attention seeking behaviors, then giving him the attention, even in a negative way, reinforces the negative behavior by giving the child what they want even if they achieve it in a negative way… (IE positive reinforcement is not always a good thing). In operant conditioning, positive reinforcement is the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future.

But how, as a parent of a two and a half year old do I pick and chose what behaviors to ignore and which to address. For example, when a child misbehaves in a store, some parents might give them extra attention or even buy the child a toy. Children quickly learn that by acting out, they can gain attention from the parent or even acquire objects that they want.

So where does that apply and when is it impossible to carry out? I carry with me an extensive background of developing plans for students who need academic and or behavioral interventions. I know how to address these issues and work tirelessly to support teachers to promote student success in this area… and then I’m home… in sweatpants and getting ready to settle down and relax… read Jackson a book and head to bed…. and then it starts.

A tantrum that could make even a Kardashian who doesn’t get enough likes on Instagram jealous… it starts slow, but builds fast. An extended lower lip, squinted eyes and flailing hands and feet. Shrieking fills the air at ear popping decibels. I often find myself quietly whispering, “go ahead… flip out… you think this is my first rodeo?” I can’t even count how many times I have been able to actively ignore a tantrum or demands and then calmly be able to talk about what happened and discuss with the child the most effective way to “get what they want,” and tantruming is not that way. 

It’s easy, until it’s your own child… immediate breakdown of the rational decision making part of the brain. You try to keep calm. You actively ignore. You give reminders of the expected behaviors… You automatically go into self-preservation mode. Tantrums are the hurricanes of parenting. You can prepare all you want… cover up the windows, nail down the patio furniture, but no matter how ready you are about two minutes in you realize you are totally screwed.  

This tantrum phase is scary… he gets this look in his eyes that tells me he is surveying the landscape for something to destroy. Yes I ignore and retract and follow through with what I say. But then again, there are times where I’m just ready for the hurricane to end… I guess active ignoring only goes so far.