Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Sadly, I find myself saying the same thing that I say every year - "Why do I go home for this?"...our adoption is still not a favorite topic in my family...and heaven forbid I try to speak honestly about issues we are going through. Apparently, everyone in life changes - except me. I must still be the exact same person I was 25+ years ago...because no one credits me for anything positive. Why, as children, do we feel that we have to hang on? It's hard to let a parent go...you know. I should be a pro - I've done it with one parent...oh well...it's just sad.
I looked into my future and hoped for more brilliant times with my children when they are grown. Who knows?
DD didn't have a great Christmas - poor baby. She had nothing on her list that we allow...and she doesn't play with toys - so our options were limited. Of course, she was disappointed to not get all the swag she thought she'd get and was tired of the things she did get in about 10 minutes. I do, honestly, feel so badly for her...I want her to play and enjoy life. However, DS2 did awesome - he can keep himself busy and really loved his gifts - ESPECIALLY his iPod! And DS1 really acted remotely polite during all our visiting with folks. That's a gift in itself!
I hope that each and every one of you had a GREAT holiday...with love and happiness surrounding you (or at least no blood and major tears)! Welcome in 2010...I'm excited to do so with friends and kids. I even bought the 2010 glasses...because really...it's the last year for those for awhile, right? How do you find a place for 2 eye holes in 2011...or 2012...maybe in 2013, they'll make the bottom of the 3 have a hole...but there is a limit to where you can put eyeholes, I would think. So, unless you are a cyclops - buy the 2010 glasses NOW!
Friday, December 18, 2009
He just stood in my kitchen and yelled at me - more like screamed...through tears and the whole bit. Very uncool in my opinion. He is mad. That pretty much sums it up. He's just mad. I had to explain to him that our house isn't a democracy - I am the authoratative ruler and sometimes I let DH sit on the throne. But, him? Nope...no throne for him. And, we don't have princes or princesses either...just me - the Queen.
While he was screaming at me - he was telling me how much I scream at him. Hmmmm...interesting theory. Patently false - unless you count when I have to scream at him up the stairs to simply get him to eat or leave or anything else. His room is like a superhero's hang-0ut - totally soundproof...however, the door can come off the hinges and that might be next.
I could write a list of all the other terrible things I've done. Number one being (I swear this is his words)
"I could go in a five mile radius and not find a single other parent who asks their kids about their social lives. You want to know who my friends are and who I'm 'dating' and you ask me at least once every three days. NO ONE else does that to their kids. NO ONE."
Perhaps I should post his email here so that you other parents of teens can reply and let him know that actually - I'm not the only one. I think every three days is even pushing it a bit...but I always thought it showed I cared. I'll have to remember this when I decide to pull his hair out at the root to drug test him - that pesky chatting would have stemmed the tide that might lead there.
On a serious note he told me he feels depressed. With my bi-polar I do worry about that. I wonder if it could be sneaking in...I know I had 'it' in my teens. So, perhaps another doctor is about to enter our world.
During his tirade he told me I'm a very unhappy person - ME. Come on now...I actually am feeling pretty darn positive lately. I sing Christmas carols (loudly and off key), I laugh about things that used to make me cry and I still love all my children - some days that is the biggest hurdle to climb!!! So, I told him if he thinks I'm unhappy now - just imagine what a great mood I'll be in after being yelled at by a 13 year old.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Things have happened around here that I never expected - and wow...you would think I couldn't be surprised by much anymore. DS2 and DD coordinated a strange 'attack' on my dog the other night...there are a lot more details - but it just wasn't good. Max is fine...although perhaps emotionally scarred. We've got new standards in place to keep children and dogs separated. My poor dogs can't figure out why they can't go upstairs anymore...
There were two days of complete shock and awe around here. Tempers flare - not at the kids...in fact, it's been creepily quiet - mostly because I just have nothing to say. Tempers are directed at DH and me...we get angry with each other. Although that's not true...we are just angry at where we are sometimes. Every time we say, "I just never thought this would happen", I feel like it's a jinx - a way of asking for another much BIGGER shoe to drop.
However, we sat down in our quiet house and really talked. We opened up about what we can still handle and what we can't. We cleaned up our holiday business deciding what was still on and what might need to be off. I shared my frustration at the fact that when we have to clamp down tighter - it generally means me missing things I was looking forward to. I don't like the idea of losing my own life because of their choices...but hey, I don't like the idea of doing much with them either.
We came up with a plan - which mainly consists of no more talking. Lecturing, yelling, making deals, setting expectations...none of it works. We have to take what we've learned in attachment therapy and apply it. We have to find out what avenues are available to us and be honest about what we can still 'do' for our kids. In NO WAY am I saying we are giving up - but there is an obvious need for a break...
Answers aren't easy to come by - but I sure am glad we are looking for them together.
Then, the up...my kids are suddenly REALLY polite when they realize just how busted they are...and it feels rather good since this time - I didn't even open my mouth.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So, I'm even staying away from the stores...otherwise my children would get spoiled and sometimes I already feel they are.
I was talking with my grandma yesterday and I mentioned that DD thinks we are quite strict. My grandma says "well, you are much stricter than most parents". I'm just wondering who, exactly, she is comparing me to? I want my kids to grow up to be respectable adults...so I don't let them get away with things now that won't benefit them in the future. See, I don't call that strict. However, I realize that I don't match up with many other parents out there in the world. When I take my kids places - they sit and pay attention...well, I guess I can't force the attention part - but they fake it well.
We went to a basketball game (NBA) the other day - in fact it was on our four year family day. As I've said before - DH and I are huge sports fans...really get into certain teams and are huge fans of our hometown bball team. The kids are 'fans'...watch when it's on...know the player's names - but not overly so. Anyway, went to the game and DD couldn't sit still. I took her up to walk around the arena once and then made it clear that cheering was great - dancing during breaks was cool, but wiggling in your seat was not. Strict? Once she had a treat, she settled in and eventually got tired. I will admit, it was a VERY boring game. We got up by over 20 within the 1st quarter and well...it didn't get any closer.
So...we are heading home for the holidays...the ACTUAL holidays. In years past, we go for 3 days either before or after Christmas. This year we are going for 7 days - over Christmas. And, now I know that they think I'm too strict. So, I could go one of three ways...really lay off and let my kids run wild and pay for it for weeks afterward...or tighten down even moreso and really give the family something to talk about...or three - just be me. Just be the family we always are. I gotta say that my kids know us...they know what they can and can't do and they know the results will be the same every time. I am not ashamed of that. So STRICT is now a title I'll wear proudly!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
What am I THANKFUL for?
Boy, this question sure can be tinted by the most recent events in our lives, can’t it? Here is my list – based on where we are right now…
1. I’m thankful that I decided to take part of my life back. I can control my health and my attitude about life and I should have never let someone else – even my children – take over those parts of my life. I’ve lost some weight and go to the gym…even when I should be doing laundry. I figured out that the house will still be standing if there is dust on the tables or dishes to be unloaded…but honestly, I may not if I don’t do this for me now. I’m thankful that I’ve actually done it for over a month now…
2. I’m thankful for finding a med that works for my daughter. We’ve been at a bleak place with her – even considering in-patient treatment. Day 8 of risperdal rolled around and she is a different child. I’ve joked for a long time about there being a golden pill…and I’m not putting all my eggs in this one basket…but when every member of our family notices and comments on her happiness (which we sadly haven’t seen…maybe ever) – it’s making a difference.
3. I’m thankful for my marriage. Even when stress is high and one, or both, of us let off steam at each other…I’m thankful that we’ve stayed through it all. I’m thankful that we can joke about days that might break someone else – or might break us if we weren’t together.
4. I’m thankful that my oldest son is blazing a path to high school. Thankful may not be the right word…since I’m feeling the strain of letting go in that fashion. However, I’m touched daily to see his growth into a young man…when I see a light of life in his eyes and a spirit of determination – I’m so proud it fills me up. When I see the typical teenage angst and maybe not wanting to work as hard as I hope he will…I’m still thankful – because that is normal…and I crave normal!
5. I’m thankful for having a best friend at my age. I remember what a best friend was in school…the person you laughed with, cried with and hung out with whenever you could. I still have that. Through the miracle of where we built our houses – we met. This woman is my strength on days I don’t have any. She is my confidant about the deepest parts of my soul. We have fun together and think of each other. She brings me grapes from the store while I’m dieting…so I don’t head for the chips! She doesn’t have big connections to adoption or RAD…and that helps it all work. She is an advocate for my children at their school when I can’t be there. She loves my family – as I love hers…and if I could have chosen another sister in this world – it would be her.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
***The world is not made for families of five****
Come on now - go to a restaurant and look around. Lots of tables for 2 and lots of tables for 4...then the 'big party' tables...you know 6 or 8 people. They like to stick 5 people at a table for 4 with a chair on the end. Then you bumb knees throughout the meal - plus you have a child sticking out in the aisle and making it hard for people to pass. They don't want to give you the table for 6 - you have THREE KIDS...that bill won't be big enough to tie up that table and when you ask for it - they look a little shocked!
Don't even get me started on 'family packs' - which are always for a family of four. I'm looking forward to the census in 2010...maybe it will be proven that 4 is not the only number for a family. Vacation deals are for four - two adults and two kids...game night deals are for 4...buying season passes to amusement parks? FOUR. And...can you add another one at a discounted rate...Nope. Blank stares when you ask.
Five seats together on a crowded flight - ha. Maybe two here and two there and then a floater. You all know that putting two kids together on a flight of more than 30 minutes would be woeful...so a kid ends up sitting alone.
So, here is to the family of five (or three or seven or nine...I think all uneven numbers are unfairly treated)...those strange oddities that struggle to survive in today's 4 packs of chicken breasts and 6 packs of cookies (what to do with the last one?)!
If you'd like to read my more 'sappy' ode to four years...here it is!
November 24, 2005 was a snowy and dreary day in Kemerovo, Russia. In the U.S., families were gathered around tables of traditional food, celebrating Thanksgiving. After court, we became a family of five and rushed right off to pick up our new daughter and son at their respective orphanages. By 9:00 that night, we were sitting in World Pizza having our Thanksgiving meal.
It’s been four years since that long ago memory or a crazy day. These little strangers have become our children. It’s been a long and winding road…
Things never did become the Hallmark movie of the week and I kept waiting. My children were hurt, battered (in mind, spirit and body) and scared. While they showed excitement for all things new and shiny, they had a battle going on inside them. Our oldest son wanted to have instant brother/sister bonds and he may have been the first to realize that “family” was a totally foreign concept to our new children. We overdid Christmas that year – wanting so badly to show them love through the things we could offer them…because at that point, they would not accept hugs or physical affection. That served only to backfire. The toys were broken within hours and the break from school was anything but peaceful.
They learned language quickly and attended school within weeks. There were minor issues at school…but the trouble seemed to brew over at home. I wasn’t a real loving mom…I was in survival mode and my husband probably wanted to hide in a hole somewhere. He told me over and over that he lost me on November 24…and he wanted me back. But, I already knew…I might be gone for a long time.
It was 18 long months before I was able to admit how much help we needed. My children were unable to bond to us…and I wasn’t doing so well in return. They were physically violent to me and to others. Food was a constant issue for DD and being told no about anything sent DS2 into rages. I had read about RAD and just kept thinking it couldn’t happen to us – and it definitely could NOT happen twice. Those are crazy odds. But, it did.
We’ve gotten help…and we are slowly moving forward. Learning about the nuances of healing tiny hearts and souls is a incredibly draining process and our family has suffered immense loss to add to the loss my children felt from their past. I alternated between misery and anger, right along with them. Being told that my daughter sincerely felt that to love me meant she would die…not just literally…but 100% truly…was one of the most changing moments of my life.
I learned so many things about the little people hidden underneath the layers of pain. My son is a fabulous artist. He’s creative and willing to spend quality time making his thoughts become reality. He has built some of the most fantastic things out of trash…cars for his action figures are a favorite. His academic struggles are not behind him – they may always be with him – but he is slowly accepting help and learning to work with the abilities he has. He hopes to be a CIA agent someday and knows the path he must take to achieve that goal (which, by the way, he’s stuck with for over 3 years). Quick to make new friends, he seems happy with his social life. He shares my love of watching HGTV and seems to see that his creative abilities could be used in many avenues!
Little daughter is not quite so little anymore. She has shown such a talent for tumbling and cheerleading and seems to be that type of person in life…always boisterous and ready to cheer others on. She has multiple abilities in academia…shocking everyone with her grades right away. This year she scored perfect on the state testing in Vocabulary…only speaking English for about 3.5 years. Amazing! She is independent, but understanding of boundaries most of the time. Her sense of humor is wicked and she’s willing to make you laugh, no matter what! While we’ve had a desperate struggle lately, I can say that a new medication she is on seems to be a golden ticket. She is calmer and able to focus and has been able to relate interpersonally with us for the first time in years.
We are growing on the healing path. I continue to have faith that my children can create a life so close to normal, that maybe they won’t know it’s not. I pray to use the years I have left with them (where did the time go…they are 11 and in 6th grade and 10 and in 4th grade already) to move closer in all realms. Teaching them to love without fear and to release control to safe people around you is our daily goal. Every time I see movement in that direction…I know it’s going to be OK.
I made a decision on October 25 of this year – I choose my attitude. I shared it with my children. We choose each and every day how to wake up, how to live each hour of that given day and how to show others our feelings. We choose whether to love or hate, whether to cry or laugh, whether to give up or show up…and I’m picking LOVE, LAUGH and SHOW UP. They can choose that with me or they won’t. Either way…I’m hoping to pull them with me…into our futures together!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I looked at DH tonight and said "do you feel normal?" - of course, it's not normal for us...but I sure would like it if it could become so.
Not getting my hopes up too high...but pretty pleased with just getting a one day break and hoping that maybe more could come???
Thursday, November 19, 2009
If I'm supposed to parent my children in a non-emotional manner - YET - I'm also supposed to teach them how to show emotion in a correct way...aren't those blatant opposites?
My kids' attachment therapist has consistently told me to model good emotional choices - like crying when I watch something sad in a movie (in fact, we purposely watch sad movies to work on emotional reactions)...explaining all the while what made me sad, why my body reacts with tears and sadness. However...when my own children hurt me - I'm supposed to NOT show emotion. That is beginning to make no sense to me. Why should I hide that I'm hurt by them and their action towards me?
Yes...I get it. If I show them I'm hurt, they are 'winning' the control battle. There are just sometimes that I wish, I hope, that letting them win will also mean they break through just a little bit. It's still hard - all this time later - to realize that I live with kids who want to see me hurt...they like to see me sad. The weirdest part is that when I cry after a bad interaction with them, I'm usually crying FOR them. I feel so badly for the hurt they are going through that got them to this point...I feel so badly for them that I'm apparently not helping - or not helping enough.
I just want them to be happy...but be able to show emotions that fit the situation.
Last night I attending a meeting with DS1 about advanced placement at high school. The opportunities there are AMAZING. I sat in disbelief that we've gotten this far and trying to measure how much I would/should be involved in helping him choose his path. Not that I would force him to choose a certain 'career'...but I don't see a 13 year old boy real motivated to take a class with extra homework. He can't see far enough in the future to want to take that path. So, DH and I will admitedly give him a shove and hope for the best.
I guess that's all I can do with all my children - shove them in the right direction and be there if they turn around. Maybe I could get a scary mask so turning around would seem worse?
Monday, November 16, 2009
*Three days ago she was twirling her hair around a comb and I pointed out that the comb could easily get stuck in her hair and she should stop.
*Yesterday she lost 'time' for all kinds of things and therefore went to bed early...apparently not actually to bed...
*She snuck out of her room and got the scissors (that I've been remembering to hide until last night) and did this deed - AFTER getting that exact comb wrapped and stuck in her hair.
*She left the scissors in the middle of the hall and when no one 'found' them...she came out and pointed them out to DH...(that's a story for different day)
*She shoved all the hair she cut into the air vent in her room...wonder what else has gone down there
*AND drumroll please....she came down this morning and told me she had slept funny and that is why her hair looked that way
YES - 3 inch bald spot...another good 5 inch circle of craziness that sticks straight up. OMG.
I didn't do bad this morning with my reaction - but I wasn't spot on either. I cried...I thought I was alone. I cried because I'm sad for her...yet another reason to look weird to all the kids at school...yet another reason to be different...yet another way to take a jab at the people that love her. I, however, wasn't alone. She popped out and laughed at me for crying.
So, she's at school with all that insanity on her head. Her teacher was going to announce it at morning announcements - in order to take the power from her (and the story I'm sure she would tell would involve me screaming with scissors in my hand). This morning DS2 tells me (as we are gathering all scissors and sharp objects) that she held scissors pointed toward her stomach yesterday and said she was going to stab herself...and bleed.
So...we are left with few options. DH is buying a door alarm today on his lunch break - that's not something you hope to do anytime in life. We'll get her room alarmed before bed tonight. Her room is stripped down to bed with bedding and furniture...nothing else (oh, I left the clothes, but took out hard soled shoes). I've got a call in to the psych to find out more about the in-patient program he recommended and I've spent some time coming to terms with what all this means: for her, for us as a family...for her life. Try not to look too far ahead - what my therapist always tells me. Right now, it's tough to look to tomorrow...and hope that my DD has a lot of those.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I got into the storage room today. It's one impressive space. Now...my kids helped. Not necessarily out of the kindness of their hearts, but out of the inability to make good choices. I'll tell you what...having little souls that can't, for the life of themselves, make a good choice and continue to end up spending extra time with mommy...well, it makes for a little less work. I ended up with tons of extra space (how many shoes boxes does one family need to keep?) and a feeling of complete satisfaction!
DD has been a little upset with me. Mainly because my attitude is better and that makes her really mad. So, she wrote me a little love note tonight and made sure to leave it out exactly where she knows I would be in her room. The sweetness:
I hate Mommy.
I hate my mother.
Kill, kill, kill.
Now, I'm not actually scared. After I went in and came out...she ran to me expecting me to 'yell' at her for the note...I gave her a hug and asked how she is feeling. That didn't please her. She even asked if I'd been in her room to look at her school clothes (where she left the note). I said yep and walked off, offering for her to join me in helping Dad with a job he was working on. Ha!
Last night as she meandered to bed - early - by her choice, because she couldn't stand to be with me one more minute...I said "night...see you tomorrow" and she dramatically answered "No, you won't...I'm going to die tonight". Again, I'm not scared. But, it does concern me...obviously. No one wants to hear their child say these things. Honestly, most kids who are really going to do severe harm to themselves or someone else DON'T talk about it...so her obsessive discussion about it relaxes me a bit. Not that I'm sitting on my haunches and thinking all is great. I've made these concerns known to the doc and therapist. And doc says...
How about an in-patient program? Yes...I know it's a possibility...but no, I'm not ready for that yet. I just wonder how she would ever gain trust if we do that. So, now I've had a doc tell me to put her in a 'program' and a therapist remind me to get her the birth control shot when she starts her 'womanly time'. AAAAHHHHH...the good life.
At least my junk is clean!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Heck, I share our story with everyone and anyone who might remotely want to listen. But, I knew this mattered more. The meds they're on aren't working...in fact, maybe backfiring and I didn't want to go home and give those to them one more day. If we can't get it right, I just want to go back to before. I'll go back to pretending it's not RAD and they can go back to chaos. Not that they ever left that land.
They sorta got it. They won't make the diagnosis I'm expecting will be made someday - bipolar for DD. As a bipolar adult, I can see it...it's different than mine...but there, none-the-less. They won't name it. They admit it's probably true...but they can't really treat it. It's a frustrating process. Again. I just want to take her off everything and wait until they will. But, I was an untreated child and remember wanting desperately for someone to try to help me. So, I'm trying to help her.
Today I told DS2 that he was arguing with me a lot...and he argued back "NO - I'm NOT"...he didn't get the irony.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
It didn't stop. As we were sitting down to work out the final prices for what I wanted (it took a little while) - he kept looking at DD and saying things like "You must be such a fun little girl to have around"..."You look so special"...I started thinking - ummmm...child molester? He wasn't doing this to either boy. It was weird. I held her on my lap (let me also add that her time in the store was filled with name calling to me and her brothers and lying...but never in front of her new bestest buddy) and kept her close. She was wanting to wander to other desks and did at one point get another salesman to ask her math facts and use his calculator to impress him with her skills.
After we left (on the way out he complimented all three of my kids for being so 'good'), she gets in the car and says "whatever you think, I can always look good...that furniture man would take me home today".
She is playing all of this like a fiddle...I will give her this big compliment (probably very back handedly) - she is smarter than me on even a good day at figuring out how to take a bad moment and turn it to her advantage!
By the way - I hope you all have a great and safe Halloween. I hope all the ghouls, goblins and little princesses or frogs get great candy (and you can hide it quickly) and enjoy their 'scary' night out!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Me: Why is this napkin here? (...I must admit that as soon as why came out of my mouth I knew it would end badly. I hate that I still do that...especially since I knew the answer.)
Her: I have no idea. (I knew that she had spilled the napkins earlier during dinner and probably just missed one...I knew that she knew that, too.)
Her: If you want me to tell the truth, you have to tell me that every time. You know how sometimes when you ask me something you say, the truth is the only option, tell it the first time. Well, if you don't say that, then I think I can lie. It's your fault I lied just now.
Me: Go to bed.
Oh my...she really does find a way to blame everything on me. I'm so terrible, how could I not remind her to be honest about a stupid freakin' napkin??????
Can't wait for snow day 2. She won't be at game day...
The day went pretty well. DD really hates missing school...I think she thought I was just keeping her home to be mean. They played in the snow a lot (of course I had to pay DS1 to take DD) with the neighbors. We played some games.
Tomorrow may be a little tougher...they'll get bored at that point! I just love the snow. I really do. Not sure I love it so much on October 28...but I love it!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Her control battle was raging. If we said "sit there" - she'd sit in any other chair but the one we pointed out. If we said "we are going to the pool" - she'd head to the beach. But, probably the worst part of it was her false allegations - ON VACATION. She told strangers that we hurt her. Everytime I took her hand or scooted her over - she'd scream "OW you are hurting me" - at lunch, at the show, at the beach, at the airport, on the freakin' plane. It didn't matter...she wanted me to go down in flames.
DH doesn't always see all of this. Even I have to admit that it was at it's worst on the trip.
The boys were not good either. DS2 went for a lie record each and every day and DS1 was just mean to everyone. We probably looked like a load of fun. Crazed daughter (the look in her eye half the time was literally crazed)...angry sons and tired, dejected parents. Up to this point, vacations had been a bright spot - they were good travelers. I plan on never vacationing again...at least not with children.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
After she ran into it, the tech started rubbing her head and walked her back to me and said (at least 5 times) 'What a sweetie, she just didn't see it and ran smack into it'. Ay Carumba! That puts me back in the position of crazy person. Do I go along and say "oh, poor you" and rub her head - thereby she knows that I caved to not look stupid? Or do I do what I did...I looked at DD and then at the tech and said "that's not shocking, she runs into lots of things, it gets lots of attention, huh?"
Then, of course...I get the looks of crazy, mean mom. I don't want to hand out articles on RAD or even ask anymore people on the outskirts of our lives if they know what RAD is. I just want to live our reality and hope for JUST ONE TIME that this doesn't come up.
On a somewhat comical note: The orthodontist looked at DS2 first and we talked about making some room by pulling teeth and he commented that we had a long road there. (DS1 is already in braces) Then, he flips to DDs x-rays and says "holy moly...DS2 will be easy" and smiles. We have a long toothy road ahead!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Strange then that is what my children go through also. Their memories are places to fall into, you know? How do you remember something terrible and not feel the pain in real time? How can a child know that the people who should have protected them, failed them miserably and then look at us and think "oh yeah, they'll do better"? Why would they believe that?
Friday night we went to some haunted houses. I'm a huge wimp...HUGE...I don't watch horror movies or even relatively scary ones. I made the mistake of watching the Ring and basically didn't sleep for months afterward - and I was in my 30s. I still freak out if my TV goes to static - years later. So, I had to be aware of my reactions. These were 'tame' haunted houses at a local amusement park. Approved for all ages and we went with five kids...just DH and I and all that child hood excitement. House #1 - we lost one kid in about 30 seconds. Quick emergency exit...but the rest of us held on. It's easier when you realize it's only teenagers dressed up in costumes. We laughed a lot and at one point I actually picked DS1 up and ran forward with him...he seemed a little stuck. As we walked to house #2 - the legend of "bloody mary" came up. I remembered being terrified by that story as a child. We walk into the opening room of house #2 and the speaker says "Bloody Mary welcomes you..." - three kids bolted back out. What are the odds??? The other four of us went through what was a LONG haunted house and we were followed the WHOLE way by a man with a bullet sticking out of his head. It became a joke "look out, there's bullet head"...but, he wouldn't go away...he was everywhere.
Why am I telling you this? Well, besides the fact that I am still laughing about the fact that I finally did it as an 'old' lady...I realized that bullet head is much like life. It's always following you with it's gaping wounds bleeding out. The bad parts are sometimes more 'out there' than the good parts.
At the end of house #2 - we were all running out through these camo colored nets with people jumping out at us. A net got dropped on my face and ripped my hoop earring out. I turned around and THERE was bullet head...I looked right at him and said "help, I lost my earring"...he bent down, picked it up, handed it to me and said "BOO". See...even the goriest moments have a silver lining!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Also, check out the newsletter now available over at GIMH - Surviving the Holidays!
Now, on to the names!!!
Our children got new names along with a new country, new family, new food, new smells, new home – pretty much new everything. Honestly, that was part of our reason for doing it. The one extra change was taken in stride with all the others. But, it goes much deeper than that. Here are a few reasons we changed our children’s name (yes, 100%...new first name, middle name and last name).
o I don’t have a lot of their stories to tell them. I don’t know about the rush to the hospital when their first mother went into labor. I don’t even know if they were born in a hospital. The only stories I do know are sad ones. I wanted a story to tell them about how we prepared for them. I tell them often of choosing a list of names I loved for each of them. That list was based on a premise that matched with our oldest son’s name. I can tell them about their brother looking over the list and weeding out a few names that he didn’t think was either ‘cute’ or ‘manly’ enough. I can tell them about the exact dinner we ate the night we showed the list to Dad and some of his funny comments about names that eventually dropped off the list. I know where these names come from – our hearts and souls and it’s something we gave them…it was part of our nesting.
o Many children in Russian orphanages are not called by their birth names. There may be 20 Vladimirs and therefore each one becomes a pet name of their own. Some children don’t even know their birth names after living in the orphanage for a length of time. Bringing them home and calling them by the name on their birth certificate would be the same as calling them by a new family chosen name to them. My daughter did not know her name (hadn’t even been called it in her first family) and when we mentioned it to her one day she argued that it wasn’t her name. Our son did know his name and had learned to spell it – but was not called that as far as he can remember…again, a pet version was what he knew.
o When we had to fill out the papers for new birth certificates, we did not know our children’s names. It was a strange glitch that happened after we lost our first two referrals. So, we had to pick blind. Either check the box stating “Leave names as current” or “change names to XXX”. There are simply some Russian names that I am not in love with and that don’t ‘translate’ all that well. We found out later that our son was Andrei and our daughter was Anastasia (btw, that name is not pronounced like the Disney movie and the chances of anyone ever saying it right were slim to none). Had fears of Igor…honestly…
o The day we told our daughter (through the interpreter) what her new name would be she replied (in a dramatic fashion that we now know and love) “It’s like a choir of angels singing when I hear that name”. She remembers saying that and she still loves her name. And fittingly, she is that name -perfectly. People who don’t know our adoption story have said “wow, she must have just looked like a XXX when she was born”. She embodies it perfectly. She’s proud of her name!
o When we told our son his new name, he asked how to write it in English and he continued to write it for a long time. I have the notebook he carried on the 14 hour flight home. He filled nearly every page with his name – first, middle, last – over and over. Never tired of it. In Moscow, he walked up to a hotel maid and spoke to her in Russian. While I could not understand most of what was said I did get “my name is now XXX and this mama and papa chose that for me”. In her broken English she said “a beautiful name for a wonderful boy…you are all blessed”. I remember that still.
o When we met our first referrals, we chose names for those children. After losing them, we didn’t simply ‘recycle’ the names. Those names belonged to those children – and we still talk about them now using those names. We pray for them and all our children discuss them from time to time as lost family that we no longer see. It wasn’t about ownership when we chose new names – it was about inclusion…again, about the story being a happy one.
I’ve chosen to not use my kids’ names here in public forums. I want them to have a modicum of privacy. But, it makes me sad. Their names and their being have become one. They are Russian – new names did not, would not, could not, take that away. They can move through life and choose who to tell their stories to and that, also, was part of our decision to rename.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today he came home from school with scratches on his neck. The story is really unimportant - he was hurt by a kid at school...but hazy is the fact that he started it. His anger is boiling over. When I tried asking about it and looking at it, I was told that I was being stupid and it's no big deal - definitely NOT a fight! Anything that ends in physical injury is a fight to me. I tried to talk, he interupted - because he is smarter than me. I was calm, but hurt. I cried. He eventually told me that he is a bad person because I'm a bad person and he has no one to look up to. He went on to say that he hates living here...hates the stress...hates living with people who constantly are in a state of awareness. There is no relaxation here. He said I'm a bad parent because I haven't been able to make them better.
I have let him down too.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Three: She does not like Super X, our therapist. She threw his pillows and got angry and humphed and hawed and basically therapy talked him until we were all blue in the face. She's already too good at therapy - she knows what to say. Four: She'll now lie about me RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Let's see - I don't feed her all the time (she could remember one time that she supposedly didn't have dinner...I do not remember that time) - I hit her with a paddle EVERY day (I'll admit there is a paddle at my house...and it has come out as a scare tactic and she and her brothers were caught spanking each other to see what it felt like...) Alas, I laughed and she turned and looked me in the eye and said "What?"
So, DS1 is doing comparative writing right now in class. His analysis are at a higher level, but when we were driving and DS2 and DD were missing reading/writing at school - I asked them to write a comparative paper. We talked about what that meant. (wait, door opening in other room...must go see) Ok, she is not escaping or running away...back to my thoughts! Anyway, I told them to compare two things they knew a lot about. DS2 came up with Russia and America. That was the 'idea' - I expected things like "Russia has old buildings and America has some newer buildings" - "In Russia, I lived in an apartment. In America, I live in a house." Well...they both went a different direction. The best line was "In Russia my mother was never home or when she was she came home drunk. In America, my mother is ALWAYS home and she's usually not drunk when I get off the school bus."
Good to know...pretty sure I don't start drinking that early! That was DDs paper...
DS2 is doing well - really well - in most regards. Our residual issues right now are stupid questions and answering everything with "I don't know". As Super X pointed out - I don't know really means "I don't care to think about what you are asking me right now". We came up with some plans to help him through that and shared the plans with him. Overall though - I am impressed with his attachment right now. That's bigger than most things I've ever said. I actually have been feeling ATTACHMENT from him. Like coming to me for hugs and kisses and offering kind words and deeds without asking. I can honestly say that most of the annoyance is not attachment based and in fact, there is little annoyance in general with sweet boy right now.
Ah, but don't worry - I still have plenty to write because DD-precious girl is on a tear. BTW, she's in pay back mode right now. Wasted about 45 minutes this morning with drama and lies and so, she's cleaning the dog hair off my couch right now. I hate that chore...and I'm selling the couch tomorrow at my garage sale. Can I also say that this garage sale is partially causing the mania in DD? She can't handle any change - no matter how long or short lived. While it is sad, I'm also tired...
Monday, September 21, 2009
So is what I say here. My kids know I blog and write for an adoption site. They see me working on my computer and will sometimes ask "are you writing about me?"...they've even commented when they make a bad choice "I bet that will make the blog today". I'm honest with them...they already know pretty much everything I write here. They know that there are sad days and mad days and glad days in our lives. We've discussed that love can live in the background sometimes while anger and yes, even hatred, can seem more out front. They have hated me and I have have hatred towards them. RAD is a hard pill to swallow...you just never know what it's like to live this life, until you do. That is where we are now. Living it and there is no way I know how to live like a liar.
Don't take this that I sit and tell my children daily whether I love them or hate them. I'm not cruel or even living in anger. But, when they've seen me cry (and my gosh, I've become so much more of a cryer than I ever was before RAD), I don't pretend that they didn't play a part. I wonder what will happen if they read this someday - and I will let them if they ask...then I wonder if it will surprise them at all. Much like our daily life - there are good posts, sad posts, funny posts and mad posts...and underneath it all I write about it because I trust that one day - they will be healed and this can be our journal of memories. So, if it's you, my precious children, reading this now...know that I did my best, just as you did and together we found success!
Friday, September 18, 2009
- My kids are ALL getting great grades in school and they are proud of it. My middle schooler actually ASKED me to check the parent portal (where I can view gradebooks) and my daughter brought home a whole folder full of As. DS2 is doing his best and I'm proud of that!
- Even though I'm sick, I found myself humming today. I got to hang sheets outside to dry (totally illegal in my little HOA hole) and I got to breathe them in as I made clean beds. I love clean beds...it's like a new beginning everytime.
- I cuddled my daughter BEFORE school today. She's doing her routine so darn well that she ends up with extra time and I just hugged on her...and she hugged back!
- We celebrated my husband's birthday yesterday and sat and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. It was nice.
- DS2 achieved greatness in my mind by going on his school trip and having fun without trouble. I'm proud of him and although he's exhausted...he's holding it together and even got up early for running club. That boy can run like the wind and he's getting more into it. I love to see committment in him toward a goal!
- I bathed the dogs today. In the shower. With all my clothes on. This is a happy point because the dogs smelled bad and now they don't. And...my shower doesn't have a door and no wet dogs escaped to shake all over my room. I do love my dogs and they are devoted to me...that's nice.
- We are hoping to attend a Russian Festival in the city tomorrow. I'm looking really forward to it - I think it's a small event...but honestly, it's the first time the kids have been willing to do anything related to Russia. It's a step and maybe will lead to good conversation - even if it doesn't...I'll get to see cool stuff and maybe buy some more nesting dolls (I didn't get many in Russia)! Really neat if we could meet some other adoptive families!!!
What no one told me about adoption
No one ever told me that a child (who could remember) won't be grateful at all for your love or the life you are giving them. They will continue to feel/see that you took them away from something they didn't want to leave. No matter how bad things were - you could end up being the bad guy in their minds. I didn't want a child full of gratitude for everything - but I hoped and dreamed of a child that was happy with what we could give them and didn't grieve daily for the past painful life.
No one ever told me that I might not love them right away. I had read about attachment on the child's part - but never that MY attachment may not work out. No one told me to talk about it and find support for myself - no one gave me permission to hurt over not feeling what I wanted to feel. Only when I stepped out from complete exhaustion and fear did I hear that SO MANY others go through this too. Call it post-adoption depression or attachment disorder on my end...it's out there big time.
No one told me that physicality could play in. A child's smell or body chemistry can honestly be adverse to what you expected or are used to. Our bodies react to that also.
No one told me I'd meet people in the department of child services and the psych departments at school so that I won't go to jail for my child's false reports!
No one told me that my husband and I could come THIS close to divorce because attachment is so much more strongly placed on the mother and so much harder to understand for the father. I didn't know my marriage could/would suffer so badly.
No one told me that after 30 months - I would get my first spontaneous hug without being asked and then sit in my chair and cry.
No one told me that my daughter would look at me after 3.5 years of being home and say "I can't believe you love me" or that even today (after almost 4 years) she still shrinks away when I go to hug her.
No one told me that the odds of a child from an orphanage having RAD are so high. No one told me that while medical reports are often wrong about physical limitations, they are nearly always wrong about mental/emotional disabilities. They don’t list them…they probably don’t really even know that something is wrong because all the children there are living through the same thing.
No one ever told me how HARD I was going to have to fight the system. That people I’ve called friends for years would begin to drift away and others who are strong enough to feel my pain and help me with it would step up. No one told me that authority figures would never have heard of RAD and often totally disregard it and me and my children’s needs.
No one told me that they would have so much trouble making friends and not really understand what a friend is.
No one told me that even on the darkest days – when giving up sounds like the sweetest relief, that I would find strength anywhere I could grasp it and I would not give up on myself or them. I’m determined to beat this and bring them with me…no one told me that.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
For the few of you who have commented recently and are 'new' readers - and all my old readers also! I appreciate each and every comment and am too tech non-savvy to know how to reply directly to you!!! It really does help to know there are others who get it and have lived in the trenches with me...it's what gets me through many days. I hope that maybe just reading one thing that 'sounds like your life' can get you through a day a little easier!!!
Tomorrow Grown in my Heart is starting a blog carnival. Look for the Things I wish I Had Known Before Adoption here on my blog as well as checking out all the other writers and please join in on your blog as well...you'll be able to hook up through Mr. Linky! Check it out tomorrow at www.growninmyheart.com!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The teacher met me as we walked to tell me what a turnaround year she felt DD was having. Then, she started listing the 'little things' that are happening. The list included EVERY thing that has happened every year that has made our home life so challenging. I love the idea of home and school being seperate...but when my DD is learning that she can control the information I receive - the she is contolling an adult...it's dangerous territory for her. Heck, I think it is somewhat dangerous for any child to see that they have that control.
DD makes the bad choice and then says "PLEASE don't email my mom, are you emailing my mom...she'll be SO MAD". I believe she's leading teacher to believe that things happen here...once again, ogre mom who takes away food or spanks or grounds for long periods of time because her daughter was out of her seat. So, teacher has NOT been emailing me...reassuring DD that it's 'not a big deal' - as long as there isn't blood, there is no reason for mom to know. Of course, she planned on telling me...but telling me this far after all these things have happened does little good. DD barely 'remembers' what happened that day...she'll feign complete ignorance of any misdeed yesterday.
This has been going on all year (over a month)...and I've never been told. She's still manipulating, lying, trying her best to do everything she's been asked not to do without getting caught. She's not good at it...she gets caught - but it doesn't get back to me.
When she got called on it last night - it was typical answers. NO, I didn't do that! That's not true. I don't know what you are talking about. I could see the anger at her teacher and at us boiling under the surface. She's mad that the control she thought she had didn't work...she's mad to be held accountable...she is mad that maybe, just maybe, the teacher doesn't believe I'm evil.
On the way to tumbling she was crying (please note: no one yelled, there was no consequence set down on her...as you can see, her life was going on as normal...we're at a loss as to what you can do to consequence or change a child that seems to not care at all about basically anything)...and she blurts out "I don't like you because my first mother in Russia was a beautiful woman. She loved me and cared for me and she would bring me toys after she'd been out drinking." Just the craziness of that sentence nearly made me laugh. She went on to tell me that she was deeply loved. I stayed calm and pointed out that adoption doesn't happen because there is nothing wrong in a family. As per our attachment therapist, I used the honest facts that I have in a calm tone. I'm not trying to tear her birth family apart in her mind...in their own way they did love her...but, they couldn't/didn't care for her. They weren't feeding her (yet, I get blamed for that ALL the time)...her mother didn't even come to court to fight for her. I can't truly understand what that must feel like - but I do have an idea.
My biological father stopped coming for visitation one day when I was 8. I had my bags packed for the weekend and he just never showed. He lived 7 miles from me for 10 years and never called, sent a card...didn't even come to my high school graduation when I invited him. I still don't have a relationship with him. But, I allowed my step-father in...he's not my step-dad...he's the man that raised me and tucked me in at night and was there to take my prom pictures and throw me a birthday party. He gave me a few dollars to put gas in my tank...he loved me and still does. There is no genetic tie there - yet, I don't drag it around all day with me. I wish she could do the same. I wish peace for her little heart and soul...
I could hear the tears in the back...it felt like an actual emotional break through. We pulled into the lot at her gym and I actually expected we wouldn't go to class. I thought she was coming to terms with some things, so I turned to tell her we could just go home and cuddle and talk and when I turned...she was jumping out saying "see you in there". Her face wasn't red...there weren't dried tears on her cheeks and I sat wondering "was any of that real?"...I am constantly amazed at how out of touch she is with her emotions. I have cried for her, with her about her past. It stinks and it's not fair and it's worthy of tears and anger and sadness. Yet, I seem to be responsible to cry for both of us...
As for school - I emailed the teacher. While this was happening, I was too shell shocked to know what to say. Now, I wonder how the rest of this year will go. I'm back to looking like a crazy person - I was hoping for one year where we could just sail through and things actually went easily. I guess this may not be that year.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
He is a special young man. I was given this gift at an odd time in my life. Done with college, but not ready for life and obviously not making the best decisions...but what an answer he became. I knew from the first second I found out about him that my life was going to change and I wanted him to be the center of it. His first few years were not that of normal child-rearing books. I was still dating and his 'circle' consisted of my best friends and weekends with Mimi and Ada. My friends and I were like co-parents. DS1 and I were so blessed to have people love us and help us. We had a house with a yard and he became the center of so many people's lives. He slept with me every night (bad momma...tired momma...unwilling to deal with tears momma) and I remember his scent from way back then. He was obsessed with tractors (Ada is a farmer...that's my dad) and trucks - for his third birthday we had hay rides in my backyard using a John Deere lawnmower with a small wagon attached. He was the happiest kid ever. There were times when it didn't feel like there were enough hours in the day to do what needed to be done...but he was happy with fruit for dinner (again, bad momma) and ice cream for dessert.
Right before he turned four...we found DH and life changed again. He was always happy and that dimple in his cheek can still do me in. He went from a little hyper boy who struggled in school, to a relaxed, laid back kid with a competitive drive in everything from baseball to algebra. While the changes he goes through can be hard on a relationship - he's still my baby. I make him sit on my lap sometimes and he does it - and maybe even enjoys it. His scent isn't quite so sweet (why won't he lather on the baby lotion anymore) and his laugh has grown to sound like a man's...but I can still see him running through a park in his diaper and wanting someone - wanting me - wanting his mom.
I am a lucky woman for many reasons and this amazing child is one of them!
Happy birthday to my no longer little boy...may your teenage years be years of happiness, growth and independence from doubt and maybe even from your crazy mom!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Then I felt an attack. I can't tell if I really felt 'attacked' or if it was internal. Am I really a failure parenting my children because I can't continuously live in a place of tragedy or redemption with them? Does it make me a bad mother because I just want there to be normal in our lives? Does living through their pain, neglect and trauma nominate me for an award in the adoptive parent category?
I really don't know...but I don't do it. Not every day...sure, it pops into my head quite often. I talk with them and try to relate the struggles we are having to the things that have happened. But, I don't come at every situation in the 'you are hurt so badly and I need to nurture your pain' standpoint. So...maybe I'm part of the problem - not the solution.
Boy, that would suck for all involved, huh?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
OTOH, DS2 is bombing in most arenas. His behavior at school is not atrocious...but it's just lacking on all fronts. He's turning in work that is sub-par - actually illegible...the bright spot there is that his teacher is calling him on it and I believe she'll be giving him the grade he's honestly earning - which probably isn't good right now. We found that he tested high on the state tests. I know that isn't a great predictor of ability - but by school standards it means that I have little leeway in claiming that he needs more services. We are looking into options for next year...we wrote up a 'contract' with him outlining the behavior guides he needed to reach. They are very basic...nothing that should be hard for even a child half his age. He's not reaching those goals. He has lost privileges dealing with school (he's not going on the 6th grade trip in a few weeks) and I'm sad. Mostly sad for him...but sad for us too...we want him to succeed so badly. I'm finding dealing with him excessively difficult.
So, it's a complete turnaround from my expectations - yet, sadly - still correct in one way. One is succeeding and one isn't!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The kids get home from school late this year...don't walk in the door until 4:35. Many times we have activities or even just dinner and they don't get homework done. So, when that is the case, they go to bed early in order to wake early (since DS1 has to be up at 6:40) and do their work in time for school. So, yesterday, DS2 had to get up early. I made the mistake of telling him his schedule in front of her. I think I learned that lesson. She went to bed at her normal time and YET...bright and early...as soon as I got Cole up...here she came. She was out of her room, hiding on the balcony to stare at him doing his work. After being caught (she's not quiet enough to sneak around in a silent house early in the morning) she lied and said that we were being too loud and she couldn't sleep. She received the pleasure of doing chores for over an hour while he completed his work and I sat and relaxed. If she's going to be up - she may as well be useful!
I kid you not, every time I looked at her, she had found a reason to be in the living room with him (the chores were in the bathrooms) - simply staring longingly. Ok, that sounds yucky - but there really isn't another way to say it.
According to her files, there is no sexual abuse...but I'm really starting to wonder. Can a 10 year old be this obsessed with a boy (who is her adopted brother...Jerry Springer comes to mind again) and, for the record, other boys without there being something else in her history? I just don't know.
We discussed how families work - used mine as an example. Siblings grow up together and care about each other - but mom and dad are the central people in a family. Then siblings grow up and leave their family. They remain friends and hopefully stay close in heart - but chances are that there will be miles between most siblings. Each person goes about life and creates a new family...it doesn't mean you lose your childhood family, but you are tied to your new one more firmly. I pointed out that when I tell a story and say "my family", I mean DH, DD, DS1 and DS2...none of whom were with me when I was young. Should I be talking about childhood folks, I start out by saying "My sister, L" or "my mother in XX". Did she get it? Well...her response was "I can move wherever he goes". So, no - I don't think so.
Overall, I worry about the effect of this on DS2. He feels sorrow for her so often. If he plays with her and moves on later, she tells him that she has no one except him. She guilts him incredibly. She is his shadow and he asks me for help - which I give him...but at the cost of him feeling even more guilty. I have to physically remove her many times from his side. It generally ends in him getting to choose where to play or what to do and me forcing her to be elsewhere (actually, she generally ends up with me in time-in). I am having trouble distinguishing a response to this one.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I'm back to wanting the sign. I want to laminate something and carry it and have it say "You can think I'm crazy and guess what? It won't change my home life...THAT will still be crazy!"
This morning was very quiet at my house. If I couldn't say something nice - I decided to say nothing and there it is. Seriously, not a word spoken from me - except "time to leave for the bus". They got breakfast, they got supervision and they got safely sent out the front door. That was the best I had today.
I met some ladies for coffee at Starbucks and I'm yet again impressed with the glory of friends and strangers. So many people have told me that they are scared to talk about attachment disorder, scared of being judged harshly or honestly, being embarassed (heck, I'm embarassed everyday...) - and I get that. I was scared too. But, since I've named it and claimed it - I have been truly blessed. I've yet to meet anyone IRL that hasn't been totally supportive. Not that they get it - how can you without living it? But, they listen, they care about someone going through something hard (me at this time). I was afraid I would end of blubbering over a frap at the table and instead I could talk and laugh and feel ok. Yes, I had to go back to real life and I'll have to a mom again in a few hours...but wow...how fabulous my life is to get the joy of being listened to.
I read an article today about how to bring yourself out of a funk. Most of it was the typical stuff - be thankful for what you have (two children trying to kill me), name 5 things that have gone right lately (Starbucks...and.....ummmmm.....), so on. One of the ideas said to give back. Volunteer or even buy a gallon of milk for a neighbor...that one I like. People give to me a lot...I'm going to find a way to do that each day. Just give back...
DD went to the park across the street, where we can see her - I glance out the window at least once every 2 minutes. All seemed fine. DH went out to get her and it took forever to call her over (from 50 feet away) - when I walked out DH was fuming and staring down a man across the street and I find out that DD had beelined for him (after checking the window to see if we were looking) and talked to him and picked up the hat he had 'dropped'. I can't explain how many times we've discussed this! She walked in the garage already saying that she 'didn't do anything' and I think I skipped in the space/time continuum. I left. Threw a piece of corn back in the pot and left. Took my keys, said good-bye and got in my car and drove. It probably wasn't so safe - I had no shoes, no purse - no idea where I was going.
Maybe the upside is that I found a lovely walking trailhead that I never knew was there!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
DS2 is doing allright also...I will know more after meeting with his teacher Monday. Homework didn't go well already - but we put a foot down (or up his hiney...) and he seemed to turn it around yesterday.
That's really it - I'm feeling good right now!!!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The positive of this is that although they were sad (we told them seperately and allowed time to 'grieve' with us) - they handled it and really acted mature about it. They understood that it wasn't us out to get them. It wasn't a battle that they continued to fight. DD mentioned it a few times - being sad for not going...which I TOTALLY understand. I told her she gets extra hugs every day for being such a brave, big girl. This week is really a test for her. She was supposed to be gone and so - I put DS2 in a day camp and DS1 made lots of plans, as did I! So, she is making a go of it on her own (not alone in the house...but 'alone' in that the other kids are gone and I'm swamped). This is my child that cannot spend 5 minutes alone. She's done more like 30 minutes so far today. Big stuff!
We registered DS1 for 8th grade today. I can't believe how fast time flies. He was bummed about his a couple of class assignments and the fact that, again, he doesn't seem to have any buddies on his team at school (they are separated into teams for core classes). As we talked though, I could see realization that life stinks sometimes. You take what you get and don't throw a fit! He'll make it through...and I'll be able to let him do that on his own - even when it stinks! I hope...
I'm working on setting more realistic goals...both long-term and short-term. I'm the one who preaches that IF TODAY IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS, you have to be ok with that...but I don't live it very well. The stress that lingers around here seems to be tied to expectations. I know I'll never be able to completely not have any - I'm too goal-oriented...but maybe making them a little easier to achieve would be ok.
I'm trying to read the Four Agreements. Anyone read that? It seems very 'crystals hold power' to me...but I'm only a few pages in. I seem to have ADD every time I pick it up. But, it was assigned by my therapist and like the little geek from high school, I'll finish it just to be able to kiss up and look like a good student!
Friday, July 17, 2009
DD has a big performance tomorrow. I have been SO excited for her and for us - really, our family. This camp has taken a lot of time and she's worked hard. While she knew she had my support, I toned down my excitement for her because it's overwhelming for her sometimes. She's the star of this show tomorrow...tumbling, cheering, stunting...it felt so good to know how proud she could be of herself - HOW PROUD I am of her! Tonight she goes out to ride her scooter and it somehow turns into catastrophe. She comes in with a totally split lip - in three places. Blood everywhere and stories flying. Thank heavens DH was here - I'm bad with blood and the moments around that were flying. Once a calm set in I realized that she'll look like a mac truck hit her for the performance tomorrow. Forget the make-up she's supposed to wear...she may have black eyes and the whole package. Then I remember that she never cried. Not at all...
She and DS2 did this mess together and basically he ran into her face after she fell down with his bike. I don't believe a word of the story we were told. Neither of them cares.
I don't want to go tomorrow...I'm tired of explaining stuff and feeling embarrassed. I'm tired. I let it go...
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I do have to say that our overscheduled summer has kept the incidences to a minimum. I would say the hardest couple of things going on right now are that the boys' want little to nothing to do with DD. She is a bit clingy because they are staying away from her. So, sad little girl mopes around our house with 'nothing to do'. That is why her camps are a savior this summer. The second thing that is happening is stupid questions! They are just getting worse. I'm hanging on, but wondering what brings this back up so often around here. Our therapist says that if a child wakes up every day and pretends to a be a chicken - soon they'll forget how to be a kid. So, my kids have woken up so many days and pretended to be stupid that they've forgotten how to be smart. They are SO smart...I can see things in them that I know are gifts - but unused for sure! I think part of my job is to remind them how smart they are.
I have come to start saying "there you go" all bubbly like when they get something right! At a concert the other night, DS2 looked at me and said "I feel stupid when you say that". Bummer. When I think I'm doing something right - it's not!
We had family in town last week and we had a great time. We rafted the Arkansas River and hit some class 2 and 3 rapids. DD rode right up front and was crazy brave...just so little fear in her. Thankfully her self harming is getting much better and she seems proud of seeing her legs clear up...however, there are still mysterious spots that show up from nowhere!
I get to find out who the kids teachers' are on Wednesday. I must admit that I have some nervous feelings about this. I just want to know that this will be a good year...and I feel like the teacher decision is a big part of that. On the school front - I can't believe that DS2 is going into 6th grade...can't believe it so much that I'm dying to hold him back. I feel scared for him...his maturity, his attention span and his size even. I don't want him to have to be the 'little' guy his whole school life. DH says we need to let him go through 6th this year and re-evaluate before he moves on to middle school. I'm open to that...but will be hard core about letting him move on again! His grades are fine...it's the other stuff that gets me all worked up.
Can't believe I have an 8th grader this year or that little girl is going into 4th. I'm amazed at how quickly time flies! Tomorrow we are off to a HUGE water park and I'm hoping for a good day!
Sleep away camp starts on Sunday with DS1 heading off first. I have to figure out this week how to put all his 'stuff' into one backpack...he may not get to be as big a fashion plate as usual!
Hope all your summer's are going well.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
First - I want to make a couple of plugs. An 'adoption' friend has written a book about adopting an older child from Russia...there aren't a lot out there and I want everyone to buy, buy, buy this book to show that we all want to know more. I'm going to be lucky enough to review the book for Grown in my Heart and am looking forward to reading it. It's called Adopting Alesia and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Second plug - www.growninmyheart.com has published their first e-book. It's on having a culture camp in your home. There are tons of great ideas for many sending countries and it's focused on kids who either don't want to go/or are too young to go...please check it out and support a new adoption site. If you can't buy the book...at least go and read - great writers over there (including me - Voni)!
On to our life!
The summer is going well and we are busy most of the time. I really may have overscheduled a bit...but baseball in over until August for DS1 and track is over for DS2...that frees up some weekend time. We've had swimming lessons, cheer/hip-hop camp, softball, day trips and upcoming camps including weight training, sports camp, architecture camp and sleep away camps for all three kids. We have family coming into town next week - which means fun stuff like rafting, hiking cool trails and baseball games! There are days that I run kids to and fro from 9am to 7pm. But, they are overall staying busy and that's good!
The boys are in a hot and cold relationship. DS1 has gotten himself in hot water with his attitude again...so lots of free time on his hands to spend with the dogs (see him if you'd like to know how to get a dog to puke on your bed in 15 short minutes) and his sibs. There have been a lot of frisbee games in the backyard, until a younger one gets fed up with the competitive attitude of big bro. So many excuses - so little time in his life. I can't quite get a handle on him. He has been staying home a lot (even when not in trouble) and seeming very needy of my time and attention...but doesn't actually want to talk about anything. Just wants to invade my space. On the upside he is incredibly helpful around the house. He can nearly make a meal on his own now - definitely helps pack lunches for camps and laundry gets done quickly. Part of that is him being in my realm...if he's going to stand right by me - he should be busy. Sometimes he loses interest mid-task and that can be frustrating for me. Lots of pots boiling over and laundry getting wrinkled from sitting too long in baskets. But, being honest - that would happen if I was totally in charge also!
DS2 and DD were home for 10 minutes alone the other day. They had been plugged in most of the day...watching movies, playing Xbox, listening to music....and, just as I knew would happen - it all blew up. When I got home there were two angry, screaming kids. So and so spit first, then so and so threw first one down and both are hurt and mad and tattling like crazy. Imagine their surprise when they both ended up in trouble! Don't know why the shock...
So, neither has any plug in time right now - if you can't stand the heat...I'll get you out of the kitchen! This leaves plenty of wandering around the house with looks of boredom on faces. Those looks earn worksheets. So, really, they'll be prepared for school this year!
DS2 is totally back in swing with the stupid questions. I'm holding it together with 'what do you think?' responses...but I must say that I'm happy to see him hit the sheets at night. A red car drives past us and he asks "was that a red car?" Doesn't seem big until it happens 2,000,000 times a day. We attended an outdoor concert/movie the other night in a gorgeous spot nearby. I finally had to ask him to move away from me (switch spots) because I couldn't handle anymore. Then he tells me how mean I am. I want to shout "I'm only mean because you are a jerk with these stupid questions"...but I'm trying to exhibit control. I am the adult after all.
Cool little fact...we sat right by Annasophia Robb - the girl from Bridge to Terabithia and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Of course, none of us knew it. At the end of the movie a lady accosted her for an autograph and we put two and two together. Wish we could say we were more 'in tune'...kids didn't notice either!
I hope all your summers are going well!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tonight started the play offs. It went into extra innings and we lost by one...very sad and of course the boys were all disappointed. As they went out to shake hands - this woman is shrieking and then all the other parents start laughing at something she says. Of course our team is on their side of the field after the hand shakes - so it seems as though they are laughing AT OUR BOYS.
I did not react well...lots of anger flew out of me. I started laughing real loud and hitting the bleachers - once they were all looking I yelled "ha, ha, it's so funny to make 13 year old boys feel like losers...ha, ha, ha..." They looked shocked and I was burning mad. That was a tough loss - be happy for your kids without making mine feel crappy...
It only got worse. Their scorekeeper came over to tell me how great the boys did and I couldn't stop the verbal cascade. I looked at him and said "that woman is going to really start something bad someday, it's rude and totally unsportsmanlike and what is she teaching your team??? I'm disgusted." He claimed that all the other parents hate it too - well then - STAND UP TO HER.
The boys on our team were fired up about it and they were saying stuff loudly and then come to find out - she is the COACH'S wife. That just makes it worse to me. Why would he let her do that?
I'm not proud of myself - but in 5 years of this league, we've played them over 15 times...and I guess I just lost it a bit. Our coaching staff thought I was hilarious, because they didn't have to say anything - it was just the crazy lady! However, off note is that I am also the coach's wife...ooopppssss. But, DH wasn't upset, so I know I wasn't too nutso!
DS1 went to bed tonight thinking that his strike out is why they lost...tomorrow is another day, another game...no al-qaida!!!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The boys shared a room (with our neighbor's son) and that only lasted two nights...quite the fight. They were verbally nasty with each other and then physically...which ended in a kick to the face, bloody nose and missing brackets on braces. They didn't sleep in the same room anymore. They fight in general - but pretty harmless stuff. I wasn't happy with this AT ALL. We had a boat and the next morning, they didn't get to come with us. Glad they brought those books!
Both boys learned to water ski on this trip (DD wanted to...but too small for the skis) and we all tubed until our teeth nearly fell out! Seriously, DH's goal was to get us off that tube as fast as possible. I hung on longer than I thought I could - proud of myself and this 'getting older' body!
Spent the last two days settling back in and all the doctor's appointments you can stand...what was I thinking when I scheduled them all the day after we got back!?
DS2 had his first track meet right before we left and he did well. I had forgotten how LONG a track meet can be. We were there 9 hours and he competed for all of 20 minutes! Anyway, he got 6th in the long jump - jumped 12 feet, 9.75 inches! He got 11th in the 100m - with a time of 14.67...and the 400 (which isn't his thing)...well, not as good! It was a large meet - so both of these places for a first timer and VERY good! His state meet is this weekend and we are looking forward to his competition. DS1 starts his baseball tourney this weekend and DD starts her cheer/hip hop class today! We are busy...but I like that!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
When we moved to the farm, there weren't kids close by to ride around all day...but I still found things to do. I could run in the fields for hours...even sit on the porch with a book. My swingset was my favorite spot and I created a whole world of friends and an exciting 'big city' life while daydreaming out there. I don't remember ever saying "I'm bored" or asking to watch TV during the day. Boy, have times changed!
I want so badly to run a loose ship this summer...but I find that kids can't handle it. If I don't have an activity set up or a plan in place, they simply wander around the house looking lost or run off to plug into something! I'm still standing my ground and refuse to be the party planner all summer...GO FIND SOMETHING TO DO...seems to be my battle cry. They are finding that the bored routine is not getting positive stuff...instead we have breakfast, homework (yes, I'm THAT mean) and chores first thing in the morning. If that is too hard for you...I can find 'easier' chores! The homework is one thing per day - but my children can find a way to drag it out into an hour! As I explain that it's as quick or slow as they want to be...well, it falls on deaf ears!
Then, the mommy guilt comes in. Should I be planning things for them to do everyday? Is it simply the world we live in now? I must say that my neighborhood has a ton of kids and NONE of them are outside - EVER! Well...except mine and our good friends two houses up. Does that mean those 'good' moms are sitting inside playing board games all day and feeding the minds of their children? Are they taking day trips each day to show the world to these sweet young things? I worry about that and then I realize that the truth is probably closer to this: I'm doing it pretty dog-gone right. My kids should be able to find something to do...they have a million toys, a yard and park, bikes, blades, kites, dogs and EACH OTHER! I find time each day to spend with them - playing board games, shooting hoops and yes - taking day trips! But, at their ages, it is time to learn some level of autonomy. Really...it will pay off some day.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
DS1 is struggling and that makes us feel like we are struggling with him - and isn't that great. In some odd way, there is such peace in knowing that DH and I care. We may have to be cast as evil parents for awhile, but I believe that the day will come where he'll know what our caring stands for. We want what's best for all our kids and it manifests differently for each of them...
BECAUSE they are not the same person. Even if they had come from me biologically - they simply aren't. Today, I count that as a blessing!
The kids are done with school after today...I officially have an 8th, 6th and 4th grader. It's starting to seem like they are so old! We had hair issues today with DS2 and as I shared with him : Worse things could happen than a bad hair day (although it was REALLY bad)...
Summing up - Thank you all for following us and giving cyber thoughts...you are felt!