Friday, February 27, 2009

Arrepentido, Désolé, Жаль

DD used to be the girl who cried, she's the girl who cries "sorry". I had been noticing the pattern for a few weeks (ok, maybe a couple of months) and now it's front and center. Yes, we are say 'sorry' at times when something else should be said, we all say 'sorry' and don't mean it...I even say 'sorry' to my kids when I mean TOUGH LUCK. But, hanging out with a person who says sorry at least 500 times a day (and those are the days she goes to school) becomes incredibly annoying. You know how you listen to a public speaker and they might have a tic...something they repeat - even the way they breath. My DD's tic is to say sorry every few seconds. Telling a story "so, I played at recess with XXX and YYY - sorry (apparently she moved an inch during her re-tell) and we played puppies under the slide - sorry (she dropped a paper) can see where this is going. The final straw was apologizing to the dogs for walking past them - not bumping them, not stepping on them - walking past them...and I might point out that they had planted themselves in a bad place in the traffic flow. Some folks might be thinking - how sweet she's apologetic. But, we are back to control. I discussed that apologies are supposed to have meaning behind them - you say you are sorry when you feel badly that you hurt someone (accident or on purpose) do not apologize after someone has told you to stop doing something - that isn't being's getting caught. Apparently, she is pulling the sorry act at school also and her teacher had told her the same thing - without us even talking about it - scary? We must now communicate on a higher level! We both said - don't say sorry...just fix it (meaning the behavior she's apologizing for). Last night I counted the sorry's in one story and calmly asked her to do a push-up for each time (without telling her what they were for). It took her 6 times to understand why she was being consequenced. SIX times. She'll have quite the upper body strength from that little workout! And, I kid you not - within two minutes of our hug and restating what she was to work on...she pulled back and my hair was stuck to her button and she says "sorry". Ugggghhhhhhh!
I have decided to put her back in tumbling/cheer classes. You know what, she's talented and loves doing it and really - it would be nice for her to have something to be proud of right now. I feel like there isn't a lot for her to glom onto in the self-esteem category. So, I called a much smaller gym than her previous place and I actually talked to the instructor she'll have and she actually listened to me explain how she'd need to be taught. No hugging and kissing, not letting her manipulate the class into what she wanted, etc. This young lady (all of 19 years old) listened and asked great questions and wrote it down. She said that should I chose that gym, she'd find me before class for an update of anything going on with DD and check in with me after class. In one of the classes DD will be the only one for right now - that should be great for her if the teacher really stands firm. Yet another chance to see that someone can be in charge without her getting hurt. She'll start next Tuesday and try out both classes. She's estastic and started stretches last night to be 'ready'. I'm happy for her! DH and I will have to rearrange schedules for awhile as we want someone there for the first 6-8 weeks with her. I began feeling overwhelmed last night looking at my planner...a lot coming up in the next few months. Every day scheduled. As long as I stick to a regular homework/dinner schedule - we should be ok...but spring is often a tough time for the kids - lots of transitions back into the more busy, but laid back, summer schedule!
DS1 is playing basketball at the middle school while in the middle of baseball season. Wouldn't you know that his practices are mostly on the same nights - he'll be at basketball from 3:30 to 4:45 - baseball from 6 to 8...I guess eating and homework will fit in somewhere within that evening. I'm seeing a lot of tiredness and complaint...but, we've made it clear that basketball will go bye-bye if he makes it that difficult on us. He has made a committment to a competitive baseball team and needs to hold up that end of the stick. Isn't it sad that he has these decisions to make at 12?
DS2 is still excited for track...the parent meetings are coming up and I sincerely hope that we find a program that works for him and us. I would HATE to disappoint him right now. I'm liking one club way over another and wanting badly for the head lady to be as nice in person and she is in email! The travel will be tough - how can one be away and leave the other 2 kids with one parent during this busy time? I feel like a wimp - other families do so much more than this...I think it's the added stress at home with attachment that makes me nutso!
Do we do too much? I don't know the answer - I do love seeing the kids in activities - I feel like it brings them a physical outlet and hey, obesity in kids these days!
Parenting a child with attachment disorder is like completing a puzzle that's missing 10 important pieces. Should I stop trying to get her to learn what sorry means? Should I stop being annoyed that she doesn't know what country she lives in now? Does she know and simply wants attention? There are so many questions and not enough answers! I really am trying to figure out a way to create expectations that are attainable for my children (heck, all 3 of them), while still staying true to what I believe they need to learn to become adults. Tough road some days.
Today's worry de jour is that she only has $4.15 in her lunch account. I said "I'm betting you'll burst into flames at any moment - I can see why you are so worried...they might even kick you out of school" - she laughs. She knows it's ridiculous...but tomorrow it will be something else crazy to worry about! I kissed her head while doing her hair just now and she said "yeah...I love getting kisses"...I guess I should step it up a bit in that category!
I watched Supernanny last night (yes, it was on days ago...) and kept thinking "at least it's not that bad" - but then I wondered...if you came into my house would you call that English woman to help me? Huh? Maybe it would look bad - to us, it's just reality! Not reality TV...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

home (and not sick)

We are back from Florida. Wasn't sure what I'd walk into last night. Our friend who was with the kiddos said it all went well...but that isn't always how I get treated. However, I had one very excited young lady on my hands - I was attacked at the door. DS2 kinda hung back, but gave big hugs when approached and DS1 was happy to see us, although he needed to pretend he wasn't. We had a nice time and a few days away does a soul good. I'm back on the horse and ready to fight the battles and praying there won't be any big ones for awhile. I can tell that DS2 had a little regression, evening was a little painful and morning was a bit rough...but minor. While filling in people that I only see once a year - I did realize that we've come a long way. This was our year of diagnosis, beginning and meds and maybe the first time I've admitted what we are dealing with out loud. I think when people say "how's the family?" - they expect a quick reply of 'fine'. I must have looked a bit crazy. Oh, two kids with attachment disorder at my house...loads of fun all the time. Anyone else have a kid spit in your face this year???
A great lady and friend told me that 7th grade boys are insane, so I'm reveling in the fact that it's not just DS1. We will survive his trials and tribulations as well as the others.
We went kayaking while in Florida and DH and I shared a duo kayak (I'm sure it has a real name...). All the other folks were calling it the divorce maker. We did ok, kinda took turns paddling and annoying each other by going crooked. Left the water still great victory there! I figured out I'm a better packer when packing for all 5 of us. I did poorly for just two...could barely fit everything back in!
Getting back into the swing today, but wanted to check in!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

function junction - and the nuts!

I sent a sick kid to baseball last night because I didn't believe he was sick. Once home he asked for a backrub and I could tell the fever was there. That may officially move me into the 'mean mom' category - although, admittedly, he wouldn't have wanted to miss practice. So, I have one home sick today - one taking CSAP tests (and nervous about it) and one just cruising along. This morning the tragedy was snack time. I told DD that I was giving her a tupperware with nuts in it - brain food, right? She watched me pour the nuts from the mixed nut container. I showed her the nuts to know the right amount should she decide to take nuts as snack on a day that I can't help her. We discussed how nuts help you and you should eat a few from time to time. Then I walked out of the kitchen and heard her say "yuck, mom is making me take raisins for snack". Those are moments when I wonder how we get her from point A to point B. I walked in and took the snack and told her that fake drama doesn't get her a desired result. So, she won't have a snack and some mom at school this afternoon will try to sneak her something because "poor cute little girl with the mean momma who didn't send snack". Oh well!
Last night as I was driving home from practice I said "there are two milks open and one expires today and says 2/17 on it. Please use that one for dinner." When we got home DD stood at the pantry looking at all the cereal boxes trying to find the one that said 2/17 and DS2 poured himself a big glass of milk from the new gallon of milk. Therefore I decided that they probably never hear what I say - DD did kinda, even remotely, hear that I said 2/17...but did not apply it correctly. DS2 - nothing. While at practice for a whooping 20 minutes, DD asked me 20 times "what should I do?" - she had homework, a book and a toddler that wanted to play with her. I ignored her question over and over and so, she just kept asking. There is a major lack of connecting behavior with outcome!
DH and I get to have a parents only time coming up very soon. It's for DH's business meetings - but they are fun. We are heading out to Florida for 5 days - with no kids. A good friend of mine (who is a teacher) is staying with the kids and she gets the concept of what we are dealing with. I know that she'll continue to enforce rules we have in place + they could probably use a break from me as well. I have no doubt they'll be angels - seriously. They generally are for everyone but me! So, I'm leaving and not worrying about it - sitting on a beach or by a pool and having drinks with umbrellas. I can't wait! Preparing for the trip is a whole other topic - my OCD kicks in and suddenly everything in the house is labeled with instructions for use. The remotes, the medicine basket, stacks of clothes with socks, underwear and shoes contained. Anal - totally. But, when I leave I feel as though everything is in place.

Friday, February 13, 2009

St. Valentine is coming

Happy almost Valentine's Day! Today are class parties and I, once again, am a room mother - but, I am putting down in writing that this is my last year. I figured out that I've attended the equivilent of 15 years worth of class parties and probably planned about 12 of those. I know that so many people do it...but I'm tired and not enjoying it anymore. I sent DD off today dressed for the occasion because I figure it's about the last year she'll let me put a heart dangling hair band on the top of her head! It was a rush job and a little sticky up when she left, but it's snowy and freezing here and she'll have on a hat anyway - well, I won't look good!

During my time away this week I've been watching my house get painted. I forget how clean everything feels after a fresh coat of paint. All signs of children and dogs (and me) are gone for now. I, of course, took this opportunity to move things around and buy some new things for the house. It's all put together and I'm happy with it and enjoying it!

We have a Valentine's tradition - we eat at the same restaurant every year and go around the table and tell the one thing we love the most about each other person. Cheesy? Yes...but I want my kids to grow up with those type of traditions. This year, DS1 tried to skate and get out of our evening. I do realize that someday there will be girlfriends and boyfriends and probably the need to have a Valentine other than me. However, that year is not now. He's was bothered that I wouldn't let him go with his friend to the Mammoth game (professional lacrosse...who knew?). I stood firm and DH backed me up. We also declined his request to fly off with said friend for spring break this year. Mostly because it doesn't seem fair to spend that money on just him when the rest of us will be home to 'save money'. So, in his world - I'm really upsetting the fruit basket. His grades are going down a bit and he is so moody and wants to be alone a lot - I think I've seen one too many 'keep your kids off drugs' commercials, because I became convinced that he was doing something in that realm. Bugged DH about it a lot and then sat DS1 down to talk about it. Apparently that is a ridiculous thing for me to ask - "where would I get that?" was his stock answer. But, would a kid ever admit it? I used to think it was weird when parents secretly went through rooms and backpacks and even took hairs in for, I can see myself doing it. He's not away from me enough to do it, right? I really don't think he's doing it - but I am worried about how I'll fare through HS if I'm this preoccupied now. I think I'll need some prozac or a large bottle of rum.

DS2 is cruising right along. He's doing really well. I am celebrating on the inside. He is not 'getting it' in school - but behavior is much better and I have to be happy with where he's at. I don't know if it is that he hit rock bottom and had nowhere to go but up - or our therapy is showing breakthroughs or the drugs are helping or all three...but so much better. He's REALLY into art right now and spends a lot of time drawing and creating. I followed through with a 'law' I'd laid down...his room is always a mess and he hides it. Under the bed, behind the bed...I told him I would put it all in the trash or donation from now on. Two days later I took 2 trash bags full of stuff from his room. I stored it downstairs to see if/when he asked for it. About a week later he finally noticed that something was missing. I said, well - it's being donated...took you a week to notice...can't be that important. He didn't argue. I guess he's more of a keeper than I knew. Some of the stuff was trash. I'm checking more often now!

DD is not doing better - she's so tiring lately. I feel terrible because spending time with her is a major chore now. I know she needs it and is crying out for it...but I can't always do it. She is pushing hard and lying and whining and being an overall energy sap. I'm continuing with restitution and she does that without complaint - almost as though she likes being 'consequenced'. She showed me a bruise last night and said that I did it. The lying to my face is ridiculous. I started to ask how I did it - but a more pointless question has never existed. Who knows what she has concocted in her mind? I'm praying for relief with her meds! I'd like to get her involved in some activities again - she has so much energy - but I can't do that until she is more even. She was trying to draw me in with a math test prep packet last night. I do want to help and sat down with her one on one to discuss the problems she didn't get - I still struggle with letting her fail. She admitted this week that she is not listening to the lessons, because she tries to get her work done during that time (even though she hasn't heard how to do that work). So, we are sitting and working and she's fake yawning, wiggling her teeth, blowing her nose - anything except listening to me. I would stop and wait for her attention and get it for 2 minutes and then back to the craziness. After 30 minutes of this I said - "put it away and move on with your day, you aren't ready to learn right now - go vacuum my room since you took my time and weren't respectful of it". She cried, put away her sheets, told me she'd flunk her test because I couldn't teach her math to her, and then smiled and ran to get the vacuum. It's like living with multiple personalities.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The music swells

Setting: Our breakfast bar yesterday around 11am
Players in the drama: DD and I after major meltdowns all morning. She was mad at having to stay home - doesn't like that it's not a party when you are sick. Both of us still in our pjs and me feeling like a nap already.
Trying to accomplish: Getting her math homework for the day completed. She is so anxious about it - I didn't even know if it was being assigned, but she couldn't stand to not do it - so here we were. I was trying to teach a 'new' concept...
Enter stage right.
Me: DD, you can do this. Calm down and look at what I'm showing you. You are so smart and I know this is new, but I also know that you can get it if you'll listen.
DD: I don't want to listen, this makes no sense.
Me: Ok, then let's not do it. It's not worth arguing and you seem to think that I don't know what I'm doing. Head on upstairs to rest for awhile.
DD: (starts bawling and throws herself into my arms) I'm so sorry mommy. I wish I could trust you, I don't know why I can't. I just want to make you happy, I want to be a good little girl, I wish I could do it. I'm sorry, I'm sorry...(really bawling)

It came out of nowhere and it was the first time ever that she's looked to me for comfort when she's upset. Suffice to say that the morning had been tough and not the nicest interactions. I had tried to regroup before I called her down - so these moments at the bar were much calmer. I had pointed out to her earlier that I would be happy to talk with her when she wanted to explore the fact that making me angry makes her happy. It's not something that can be understood...but we both know it's true.

So, I carried her to the sofa (wish I had a rocking chair) and rocked her while stroking her face and telling her how special and wonderful she is. I continued to calm and sooth her. She was able to stop crying and cuddle in. She was relaxed (also a major first) - no stiffness - actually closed her eyes and rested in my arms. She asked me to tell her things about our lives. Things about her life before us (I can only tell so much and always let her know when I'm filling in blanks). She wanted to know about when I was little. She wanted to know why I take medication every morning (for my own bi-polar) - I was honest and explained that both of us have brains that aren't real good at controlling how we feel and aren't real good at letting us relax - for different reasons. What a pair we are, huh? It was actually special - honestly, I felt so a mother and daughter that love each other. It felt real.

I woke up early this morning and couldn't stop the thought train. I wonder if I've done part of this to them. It's not like I was the softest place to land as they left their old lives. I certainly wasn't able to completely fake it every day. I struggled - so does that mean that I'm the reason they still struggle? Oh the guilt that I try to keep at bay - it's back today...

DS2 was angry at me last night. We were eating out and he choose a not-so-healthy meal so I had him order a salad - at least get some greens in him. He was mad and was spacing out - like he often does when he feels an emotion that he doesn't want to/or can't control. However, when I asked him if he was upset with me - he said "yes, I didn't want a salad". OK...seems basic - but for him to verbalize it and not lose it and stay calm and look at me while he told me he was upset - well, it was a great thing! Of course, he still had to eat the salad (and he did)...but I did give him a little hand squeeze to let him know I appreciate what he's trying hard to do. Integrate feelings into life...taking steps toward that goal!

Enter my brooding pre-teen just now into my computer space...asking when he gets his phone back (although he knows the answer and he chose the consequence). As he raises his arm I see the hair - OMG, hair under his arms. Not just a few strays either...real hair. I held up his arm and wanted to discuss it - apparently not a topic that he wants to discuss with me. Tickling him to make him smile and he's hard to tickle now - almost as big as me and strong as an ox. I guess a mom asking where else the hair is growing is a bit mortifying...huh - I'll have to remember that!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jimmy Walker's sick

You know - we've been having some really "GOOD TIMES" around here lately...Dy-No-Mite. The littel annoyances are still at a high level, and there are times that those can pile up so high I feel like I'll never dig out - but over all - good stuff. Today, DD is sick - actually home from school sick. That has never happened. In three years - neither DD nor DS2 have stayed home sick. Unbelievable? A bit...I like to think they built up super-immunity in the orphanage. Like a super power that only they could have (ok, plus the millions of other kids in orphanages)...but for our family...they are the blessedly healthy ones. I'm actually pretty happy that she was here today. It seemed like a bonding experience. I took her to the doctor (she has croup) and to the pharmacy and we stopped to eat (I felt like a terrorist possibly infecting all those innocent people at Tokyo Joe's) - well, I ate and she picked. Which leads us to my other obssession lately:
Weight. Not even mine. DD gained 7 pounds in 2 months. That seems excessive to me...I worry about her becoming a chunky monkey. I think that has to be so hard for a kid. Yes, I'm a tad on the chunky side now - but never when I was younger. I'll place the blame for my issues solely on DS1's shoulders - had him and have never been the same. Anyway, valid points for her weight gain are that it's a growth spurt and the height just hasn't bumped up yet or early onset puberty issues. OMG - I do not want her to get the girlie stuff for awhile...until we get her anxiety under control. Which brings me to issue #3 (or 4...lost track).
We saw the psychiatrist. DD is on Celexa for her anxiety/depression. I don't think of her as a depressed kid, but he says it will help calm her thoughts and should also slow the ADD characteristics...if she can think without the anxiety, she'll be calmer - that is the idea. We'll see. DS2 is holding steady with the Concerta - it really does seem to be we're sticking to that path for a couple more months.
Oh, Jimmie Walker - you too cool dude with the awesome clothes (how about plaid pants when you aren't golfing) - please stay at my house! Forever...

Monday, February 2, 2009

My hate for the insurance people

I hate Aetna...
I sent in the refill for Cole's med THREE WEEKS AGO. Three weeks for heavens sake...and it didn't get here in time. I figured it out a few days early and so had to half his dose. Yes, after three days of half dose - the bottom fell out for him tonight. While in the middle of the muck - the doorbell rings and it's the meds - delivered by UPS - which usually come in US you think they knew they messed up? Ah, but no discount on the $350 tab...aaarrrrgggghhhh....

Here's the banner event: WARNING: cussing ahead
Kids are in basement bringing up the bags/boxes of donations to put out tomorrow. There is an old stereo and DS2 drops it and says "Shit". I would have said that or worse, I'm sure. Brother and sister come up and tell me about said nasty word. I wasn't's a reaction and at least he didn't hit something or someone in anger. I don't want him going out on the street and hollering the word...but no harm, no foul. So, as he walks upstairs I said "little problem with the stereo?" - he FREAKS OUT. Really. Crying, yelling at me for not believing him...I don't get it. I wasn't mad, I think I was smiling. I pointed out that it was no big deal and then he's still yelling and tosses a large basket toward my tables (with glass vases atop) and says "I only said SHI"...

Man, I hate lying more than anything. As I sent him up to take a shower, cool off and hit the sheets early - I pointed out that had he just said "yeah, I slipped and said it" - the whole fiasco wouldn't have even been a fiasco.

I'm tired...

where's my yellow flag?

I love football...really love it. I can watch any game at any time and feel good. I cheer for the underdog, I scream at the tv, it's a complete release for me. That's why the Super Bowl is sort of a sad occassion for me - football is over for the season. But, the game was great - although I wanted the Cardinals to stage the great upset. I even knew what was going to happen - called it, as it were. DD watched the game with us - mostly because we threw a mini-party and there were chips/salsa, cookies, pizza - really healthy stuff sitting about + I explained the great commercials! Every time someone caught a pass, she yelled "interception". I explained the difference between an interception and a completed pass - she kept yelling interception. I'm guessing it was just her oppositional side because I'm SURE she knew what she was doing. She had her barbies out and was singing to them in her play - great except refer to line one. I tried HARD to leave her be. She was in the room with us by choice and I was not going to let her ruin it for me. Eventually DS2 joined us. He is really into drawing, which is awesome and he's good at it. He drew me a wonderful picture of the Cardinals and Steelers as superheros battling to the death. OK, so death, blood and gore are omni-present in his drawing, but he is concentrating on something and enjoying it and very proud. I don't see that from him too much. DS1 was at a Super Bowl party of his own...which he didn't enjoy...again, with the age???

So, I am thinking that I could parent like an NFL referee. Have a yellow flag (in my case 10 flags for multiple penalties on one play) in my pocket and throw them whenever a rule is broken or a boundary pushed. No words. That would be great for me. Maybe I could even give the kids one red challenge flag for the times they really feel there is more to the story than what I know. Hmmmmm....while this started out as a joke (only in my head, I find myself much funnier than others do), it might be a good idea. Football is a real and central part of our lives and they would get that - maybe even find it cute and funny (for awhile?) - it could take away my need to constantly be preaching. Look, I know that the talking is like Charlie Brown's teacher in their heads...yes, I know that! I just can't stop.

Only ONE DAY LEFT before we see the psychiatrist. I can't explain how happy I am - I'm trying to not hope for a miracle - I don't want to be disappointed - I'm just praying for relief for the kids. Which, in turn, would be relief for me, DH an DS1. Oh, the glory. We'll see...

DH is gone again - the weather is warmer - so barring any major disaster, we should be ok. And, yes the heater did get fixed!