Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just today...want to say

I'm feeling overwhelmed at the love in my life. I am blessed to have so many people who try to understand and support our family through all our trials and victories. I just wanted to get that down. Sometimes when I'm writing I realize what a bummer I make it all sound like. It's not...not all the time!
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 are felt!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

hymnal happiness

DD enjoys singing...I think I've written about it before. She'll belt out any tune on the radio and really rocks with her karaoke machine! (so do I)
Lately, she is struggling with keeping busy on her own. I have her in pretty much line of sight...but for us that doesn't mean that I keep her busy all the time. So, she still must find things to do within my space (and out of it when I need a major break). A couple of nights ago she came up with the idea of writing songs. I thought it was brilliant and really encouraged her to do so.
Now, I was raised in a penecostal environment and some of those songs have stuck with me. During her time with us, we have gone to church on and off...but we are definitely not regular worshippers. I'm not proud of this fact - much guilt from my youth accompanies these facts...but it is where we are right now! So, she has written three songs. They are very cute and actually could probably be hits - in the world of Christian rock. Where is this coming from? Every line is about God being with her and her being God's best friend. There is some therapy talk in there (I'm a respectful girl and God loves me for it)...but mostly just about God in her life and all. Now, I have no problem with this information...I hope that she does feel God's presence in her life - whatever that means to her...I'm just mystified.
Where would this be coming from? We just don't talk about it least this is a non-worrisome thing to ponder!

Monday, May 18, 2009

what about a safety alarm for the inside?

Many parents with AD kids have to use door alarms. They need to know that little Johnny is staying put for the night and not prowling for food or worse, people to hurt. At my house, I need an interior alarm. All joking aside...I don't like how often DD seems to be hurting herself lately. It started with the teeth, moved on to purposefully bruising herself (baseball to shin creates large purplish black bruise) and other little things are showing up. I don't seem to be able to catch her 'in the act' anymore and she is really having to try to sneak it - because she's in line of sight a good majority of the time. There are just times when I send her to bed and I worry. Tonight is one of them. I'm upstairs at the computer so that I can go in and check on her every 30 minutes or so, then I think - geez, she could do a lot in 30 minutes. When I went in to check a few seconds ago, she told me her stomach hurts and I immediately try to figure out what she ate or how she hurt herself. I don't like that. I'm torn on giving her medicine, because I now have a fear of her knowing where the medication is...and she does know. Crap...DH isn't home or I'd probably be out buying a full set of locks. Docs seem to think it's just a stage - since much of her previous behavior is not getting the desired results (as I do a better job at my parenting) - she had to move on to bigger and better. I just can't get into this 'ignore it' mode. I'm scared. Truthfully, she hasn't scared me in a long time...and now I'm obsessing. I don't even know what to tell her when I go to check on her. I don't want to say "I'm making sure you aren't hurting yourself"...but I don't have anything to say that would sound remotely true because I don't normally do it. Just something about her attitude tonight - her expression is different. I'm going back in...

Friday, May 15, 2009

green socks and vacuum knocks

It's been a wild ride this week. DS2 had a pretty major rage - attempted to hurt me and in the process of restraining him I learned that I stink at restraining him. It was like an out-of-body experience and all over a pair of green socks. Well, they started out white...I handled it just like I'm being told to. I saw what happened and stated the truth with a small blank that he could fill in.
"I see that you ran around in the grass with just your socks on. Was that at first recess or second recess?" I should have known then that it was going to get out of control - except kids can start to tell lies like breathing. They don't even know that they are lying. Well...he was lying. Interestingly, I was disappointed that he had ruined a pair of socks, but not mad...the lying however starts to grind on me even after the second one.
I stayed busy with what I was doing and let him vent and fume and put himself further in a corner. When I tried to talk to him, he wasn't able to calm himself enough to hear me...and I pulled him in toward me by his tee-shirt. This wasn't a hard, mean pull...just a way to get him closer when I knew he wouldn't come on his own. Well, the incredible hulk moment came about then. Eyes changed, demeanor changed - everything. He lashed out at me with his arms and hands and it went from there. I ended up holding him in a sitting position between my legs (which he tried to bite) and I'm sure the whole thing only lasted 2 to 3 minutes...but it felt like an eternity. He was screeching and yelling terrible things at me...holding his breath and turning purple. Again, I was obviously totally unprepared.
At therapy earlier that day (mine), I had mentioned that I felt I was losing sight of DS2 because he was flying so under the radar - doing SO good. I was focused on DS1 and DD and although I was certainly spending time with him - I was probably letting small behaviors slide. After the rage, I spent a couple of days beating myself up for this fact. But, now I think - why wouldn't I? These children have to have the ability to earn back trust and get their 'leashes' loosened a bit and he had really earned it. His behaviors were overall normal - meaning that attachment didn't seem to be at play in anything lately.
He had been respectful (answer me everytime with eye contact and a happy 'yes mom'), responsible (doing so well on tough school assignments and getting chores done quick, snappy and well) and fun (really showing that he was working on conversation skills and being a wonderfully cuddly guy). Since those are my expectations, how could I still sit on top of him every second? He fulfilled his end and I was fulfilling mine. This is not to read that suddenly he was roaming the neighborhood and playing war games on Xbox all day. Those rules will take a lot longer to bend...just other things like I wasn't requiring daily writings in his feelings book. I had stopped asking him to name his feelings 20 times a day. So, while I'm upset with this set-back - I have to view it as just that...a set-back. He has apologized and (here's the biggie) taken responsibility. He said he knows that I wasn't going to hurt him and he snapped...he is hugging me at every passing...telling me stories. I find that I'm more on high alert with him right now - but working hard to trust that slides happen. If it became a regular occurence - we'd need to intervene. Of course, therapy is quickly approaching and yes, the leash is back a little tighter!
DD was vacuuming in the kitchen for me and she decided to see what would happen if she stuck the vacuum hose in the dog's water bowl. Well...what didn't happen is electrocution...what did happen was that my vacuum (beloved Dyson) looked like it was filled with prehistoric mud. She didn't come clean (ha) until DS2 found the muddy gunk the next day...but she did tell the truth the first time I asked her. I must say that while this isn't a great thing - it does seem like a normal kid thing. I'm glad she didn't get hurt...I'm sorry the dogs were probably thirsty and I didn't enjoy the sopping out of mud from the inner workings...but, it still works and she's moved on to bigger and better pain in the butt moves. For two days now she's been drawing fake bruises and cuts on her body...the wonders never cease!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The me show

Oh, how I used to love days to celebrate myself! My birthday ranks up there a bit higher than Christmas...and once I became a mother, I added Mother's Day to the small list of days that were ALL ABOUT ME! Except, now it isn't. It's a lot about the pain of my children and the pain that they hope to perhaps inflict on me.
I should be on cloud nine and ready for my gifts (not sure I'm getting any) and my special treatment...maybe a massage or pedicure...or just a nice walk on a nice day. Instead I feel like I'm preparing for battle. Not that I'm going to duke it out with my children - it's more like duking it out with myself. I just want to make it through the day and not let them ruin every aspect for me. I want to open my mind to understand why they can't enjoy this day and maybe let them see that it's ok to like me a little even on this tough day. I don't even know if they celebrate a day for mother's in Russia. But, if they do - my kids didn't have a lot to celebrate.
On top of the heap is DS1 and his craziness...not creating the most loving environment either. I have no big plans tomorrow. I'm going to figure out all the cool stuff on my new car and all I asked for was Pizza Hut pasta for dinner - see, no one even has to cook.
Today I had my best friend take DD for a few hours while I went to baseball. I just needed a bit of time away. How blessed I am to have a friend who cares about me and my children enough to offer this help. DD had a nice time being away from me and behaved well. I didn't do it to punish was for a refreshment of my spirit. When she got home we hung out at that park and she showed me some tumbling she's working on (dang, she's good!!!). It was a nice time.

So, maybe tomorrow is more than just another day - although perhaps not the national holiday all for me (and you other mother's) that I daydream about! But, my birthday still is and always will be the greatest show on Earth!

Friday, May 8, 2009

the conclusion...

So, after our lovely ride home I asked my daughter to complete what should have been a fun and creative assignment. She could make anything she wanted for her dear teacher as part of a end of year gift. Well, she copied verbatim what another child had written and then declared her innocence over and over and loudly. When she lost her birthday cake (yes, I am THAT evil), she went to her room and wailed out the open window. It's a little like Romeo and Juliet, except she's hoping for a new mom on a white horse and not a hot man. So, we sang happy birthday over chicken strips (homemade at least) and french fries. A lovely evening was had by all - except her!
DS1 has his first official girlfriend. DH feels strongly that we should meet her, so I think it's happening tonight. I guess I somewhat just wanted to ignore it - but she's going to come to the kid's birthday party and at least, I'll be busy. I'm a mom who feels like I need to be a bit cool for these older kids and that causes pressure sometimes!
DD is home from school today for mommy camp. I think she'll earn back school by lunch time - it's up to her. She went yesterday and cheated...after the evening of consequencing for cheating. Last night she was a big hold out on wanting to do things mommy's she had a fun evening of re-doing a somewhat failed math test over and over. Funny thing was (there was also a language sheet) - she was leaving out periods in the abbreviations. She finally yelled...I don't know that a period goes there and there. seems like you know. She realized she had screwed up and shown her hand and cried for her loss of that control. During cuddles last night, she admitted that she hates to do what I want. Although we all know that's true - it's one of the first times she has admitted it and I'll take it as a good sign!
Party tonight - heaven help me!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Road that Lies

Well...the first part of adoptive date stress is over. Unfortunately, it is three-fold this year. First, her actual birthday, then the birthday party and then Mother's Day. All within less than a week. The day was about a 75%, I would say. She woke up already upset because there wasn't going to be big wrapped presents. She pouted through breakfast and getting ready. I continued to give hugs and great big "happy birthdays", "I can't believe how old you ares"...
A few days ago she had lost her privilege of taking birthday treats to school. There were guidelines to follow to get to do that and she blew it - and they weren't hard. So, 10 minutes before school she says "if I'm good for 10 minutes, can I please take treats?" and starts on this whole self-pity thing about no one paying attention to her and no one will sing and blah, blah...all that I knew was not true. So, I caved. I rarely do and it came from a good place - I wanted her to feel special on her birthday and maybe, be able to feel good about herself. I gave her the smaller portion of her treats that I had purchased and spoke to her teacher about good behavior for the morning before allowing treats in the afternoon (brilliant teacher came up with that one). So, she got to give them out.
I picked her up for therapy (yes, I'm the mean mom that lost track of dates and had therapy scheduled on her birthday) - for which she was in desperate need. She worked diligently in the car to get her homework done and it was a beautiful day. The drive to therapy, for me, is therapeutic. The most gorgeous views and fresh air and winding roads and well...I love it! I always point out the wonder to her, but she's uninterested. We got there and it was just her for once - usually DS2 is with us...but he is doing so well right now and she's not and I felt it was more important to concentrate of her this day. DS2 is not done with therapy, I know it's a long, ongoing process...but he got a little break!
We had our parent meeting and she was given two books by Doc XXX to read. When he opened the door to invite her in, she had left the books and gotten into his closet in the waiting room to get out puppets. Now, she did not have permission, has never had permission and apparently has done this before. He called her on it and she continued to hold out on naming her feelings. She consistently tells me (and him) that she feels 'weird' - which we've pointed out is not an actual feeling. She is supposed to use the BIG 4 - mad, sad, happy, scared...and variations of those. Never can...she'll say she's happy when she is really scared or that she's mad when she's really sad, and it's tough for me. I've tried to model the right reaction and show her what the emotions look like - to no avail.
Therapy was not real productive last night. He had to call her on usuing 'therapy talk' - just giving him answers from things he's said to her before...she answered 'well, I am IN therapy'. Valid point...but not valid use of this time. She came so close to actually opening up about some pain and then withdrew again into herself. At the end of the session she lied to him about reading the books - it was quickly obvious that she had merely looked at the pictures and he pointed out that he would have been ok if she had just said that - but she is so worried about 'keeping up appearances' that her first reaction is to lie. Foreshadowing...
DH was going to stop and get a small cake for her day. We are doing the big cake for the party and then DS2's birthday is next week - so I was thinking that was a lot of cake (and sugar around here can be a trigger). I told him to wait until we were home to see how she reacted to her afternoon. The after-therapy glow is sometimes wonderful and sometimes not so. Driving home we opened all the windows and sang Beastie Boys as loud as we could (you gotta introduce them to the classics)! I had a wonderful time and although she tried to sabotage things by throwing her homework out the window (yes, I'm dumb enough to not see you pick it up and put your hand out the window). I really felt like she was happy. I want her to start to love herself. Doc explained yesterday that her heart is like a cup with holes. She accepts the love, she wants it so bad and it fills up her heart, but then it leaks out. The way to fill those holes is by learning to love yourself...that's a long road for her!
As I said, lots of foreshadowing here and I must leave you hanging...I have already written a book and I have kiddos needing me...later!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday blues

Geez...I've heard about it before...but both DS2 and DD have birthdays in the next week and they are crazed. DS2 is just acting out in small ways and DD - well, she's off the charts. I know she's been making bad choices lately, but this is more than that. Anyway, I planned them a party for Friday - and I wanted it to be a nice one. They've witnessed the huge parties that DS1 has had and this year I felt like it was our last chance to have a big blow out. I hired a guy to come make cool explosions and glow in the dark stuff and I got a huge cake and let them invite a ton of I realize it probably wasn't a good idea. Only 5 people are coming to their party (each), they have to deal with the fact that they haven't really worked very hard at making friends. Oh, man...I actually hope they learn a lesson from least it will be worth something then.
At our house, we do an every other year approach to birthdays. One year is family only and they get to pick a dinner out and they get gifts (2 or 3). The other year they get to have a, the kids have only had two parties (counting this upcoming one)...on the party year, our gift is the presents. So, we are in a sporting goods store this weekend and DD walks over with a pair of roller blades and says "this is what I want for my birthday"...I proceed to re-outline the way it works...and she says "yeah, but this is what I want you to wrap"...again, I tell her that she isn't getting wrapped presents from us. She gets mad and yells about not having any money (she lost her allowance to pay us back for the dining room table's glass top, which she decided to scratch up when she was mad) and continues to escalate. Thankfully, we were finished and leaving the store - but oh, the looks you get when a 9 year old is acting 2!

Happy birthday to them...pray for me on Friday!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We pause for this deep thought moment

I can't seem to stop thinking lately. I know that we never stop thinking, but I can't stop with my big thoughts and let me say that those thoughts have not always been at the forefront of my daily brain activity. I'm ok with the grappling nature in my brain lately, except I wish it would let me sleep more! In reverance to that great man with great dreams - I will now share my Deep Thoughts (although I'm not standing in front of a mirror like Stuart Smalley always did).

When I worked at the elementary school we were supposed to have the children use I statements during confrontations. "I am sad that I haven't gotten to use the jumprope, because I was looking forward to playing with you" - instead of the typical "you aren't taking turns and you are making me mad". I thought at the time that it was silly...and hard for the kids. But, I know realize that it's true. Can other people really be responsible for our feelings, especially the negative ones? Yes, the jerk that cuts you off on the highway can give you a flare of anger, but is it possibly because you are in a hurry and stressed out and looking for somewhere to put your anger. In that same vein, have these last years of hurt and sorrow really been that for me? I continue to say I'm sad FOR MY KIDS that they aren't making good choices, but aren't I sad for me too? Aren't I sad that I lost the dream of what I though I'd have? Did I let that sadness/anger/resentment boil up to make some of the smaller things they do into bigger things?

When I was 14, my family and I lost our home and all our possessions to a fire on Christmas night. I think my mind has protected me from a lot of that time, because strangely, I remember so many good things. I remember that my friends all gathered their new clothes from Christmas and gave them to me without the thought of anything in return. I remember that our family had to cram into a much smaller house in the small town where we went to school and I could no longer hide in my room to be alone. I know that I got closer to friends that summer because I wasn't 'way out on the farm' anymore and I could just walk to their houses. I know that I never took a fear of fire away from that. I just don't believe that 'lightning strikes twice' in that way. And, I know I wasn't the adult there. It effected them differently...they were much more sad, they were really starting over. We would go to the site and go through the ashes hoping to find something, anything that survived. We did find one thing (and it's the only one I remember, but my family may remember more) and it was a small statue of a little girl on her knees praying. My grandmother had painted in to match my room years before and it had always sat on a shelf in my bedroom and there it was - all the paint melted totally off and only one tiny chip in the knee. It was amazing! The brass bed in my room was gone completely, melted until it no longer existed...but that little girl, she was ok. I know my mom was touched by her existence and she took her to prayer meetings and bible studies and one day when opening her car door, the little girl slipped to the ground and broke into many pieces. Mom glued it back together and I'm sure she still has it somewhere...but while it was sad to lose that last piece of what we had before, I always felt like it was meant to be that way. The little girl was part of that house, she was strong and was there to tell us that we weren't left all alone. Whether you believe in God or not, it's always nice to feel you aren't alone...and she did that for us for a time. I think that people, I, have to search within myself for that strength though and so, she left us again.

In sticking with that great man again...I'd like to end with these thoughts which I am (seriously) taking with me each and every day!...I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with. And maybe, just maybe - it'll rub off on my kids!!!