Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Lucky Day!

My husband was reading a book earlier this week, the author was talking about his 30th High School Reunion. He then started to count how many years he has been out of high school. 19 years.....19 years and next year would be 20 (like my math skills?). He contacted a woman from his graduating class to see what was planned for the momentous year. God clearly knew what we needed!

His classmate is someone he has always been fond of and apparently with good reason....She is now one of my favorite people, too! (J-sorry for sucking up, but you don't realize the gift you are giving us!) J* has a motel on Cape Cod. She has kindly offered us a room at her motel. The Cape is a hopping place during the summer and for her to offer to make sure we got a room during the "In Season" rocks.....

The summer can be such a long and trying time for RAD families. Our kids struggle a great deal when there isn't strict schedules that they have to adhere to. My kids hate not knowing what will happen at 11:37 am everyday. During the summer, there is no way to guarantee that the same way they can when they know exactly where their behind will be sitting at 11:37 am once September comes.

So sometimes it is nice to really throw them off and go away for the weekend! Every April we go to Vermont on a long weekend. It is so much fun but even in that we have tradition. We go the same weekend every year and every year we go to Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and the Shelburne Country Store. Every year we get a teddy bear when we are at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. Every year we buy "penny" candy at the Country Store. And Every Year we swim at the hotel swimming pool and stay at the same hotel. Every year we stop at the same mid way pit stop and we get gas as the same gas station. We even play the same get a dollar if you can name the Vermont state capitol. They Love it and it makes things less anxiety ridden when we have a "routine" for that trip.

When we offered this opportunity, I wasn't sure at first. But I decided that we need a break. Perhaps we will have great success and we will have another safe place to get away....Plus now I can be like everyone in Massachusetts and I can answer the what did you do this weekend question with "oh I was on the Cape" Sometimes I need "normal", too!

I was reading another mom's blog today....She is really neat! I am thankful that she found me....I have her listed in the blogs that I read (her blog is "Living with RAD"). Actually, I think every blog that I have listed is fantastic...I am sure if you enjoy mine, you would find enjoyment in theirs too! Oh yeah...about her blog....every weekend she lists something positive about her kids...I think that is such a fantastic thing because it takes the focus away from the hard I am hoping she doesn't get upset but I am going to do the same.....Thanks, Brenda!

Marie: She is such a positive kid. She is extremely helpful and I enjoy all the times I get to share with her.

Rose: She is extremely good at doing chores! She excels at organizing things and folding laundry! I enjoy watching her be so exact with the folding of my clothes. She is very earnest with showing us that she can do a good job and she does!

Be Well!

The Last Lecture

I am sure most you have already heard of Randy Pausch and his Carnegie Mellon University lecture. My husband and I have watched this lecture on You Tube as millions of others have. I was so struck by the simplicity of his message and how profound an effect it would have on me. I wanted to send you all the link. It is worth the time it takes to watch it.

The Pausch Family lost Randy on Friday. His book and this lecture has left his young family a lasting and wonderful legacy.

I don't have anything profound to say, I just wanted to share something that I found to be extraordinary.

Be Well!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Can I post you?

Hey, My Friends! If you have commented on my blog, I have read your blog.....I would like to add a link to your blog....Please let me know if that is alright with you!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trauma and Loss

I have spent a lot of time today thinking about trauma. Trauma and loss. I am sure my sister won't mind me telling you what she said last night. She said that coming to my house is very intense and sometimes she doesn't come around for a bit afterwards because she has to recover. I did feel bad for her because it seems as though every time she is here, there is some major drama happening. I don't know whether we have so much drama that we always have an issue going on OR she is just lucky!

This morning my daughter, Rose, was upset with me for once again setting a limit and sticking to it...(that pesky parenting that I do) I explained to her that she was given an opportunity to do what she needed to do and she chose to do the opposite of what I asked and that lead to her being unable to do what she wanted to do. She looked me in the eye and said " so you are putting this on me?" My husband and I laughed so hard. I couldn't help but laugh. She was aghast that I was putting the responsibility for her behavior on her! I wasn't even sure why she was surprised by this but today it struck me as very funny.

I suppose that story really didn't have anything to do with what I intended on talking about. My mind can be such mush sometimes. Plus I don't think you realize I started writing this blog on thursday during my lunch hour and it is now ten on friday night.

I am trying to snap myself out of this muck that I feel that I have become stuck in due to dealing with Trauma and Loss every day....Hey, I brought it back!!!!! ( I deserve the high five I just gave myself) Our kids(personally and collectively) have experienced so much trauma and loss in their young lives that it just oozes out of them. Almost like (warning, gross analogy) if you have ever seen someone that has an infected wound, where the puss just oozes out. Gross yes, but it makes sense. Infected wounds need to be cleaned over and over again, sometimes they have to be dug in and that can be soooo very painful. We have to dig into their trauma and loss to really ever begin to "clean up" their wounds.

The worst part of their wounds....No one sees them but us. Which leads to judgment and well intentioned but ridiculous advice. Which leads to its own wounds. This stuff isn't fun.

Sometimes, I have to take a step back from the behaviors and really spend a great deal of time reminding myself....This has little to do with me. It has to do with her heart being sick....And though she oozes, I am there to help clean it up and heal her past.

I thought that I would share from my heart tonight. I know it isn't full of my usual humor but this is what is in my head tonight...

How can it not when my princess spends so much of her time.....driving me crazy!!!!!

Have a fantastic evening! Be well....Until tomorrow!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mama Mia.....

I saw Mama Mia tonight with my oldest daughter and my sister. The movie was terrible....we were checking our watches ten minutes in! And that was sooo disappointing considering all the fantastic actors in the movie. The best part of the movie was the time I got to spend with my oldest daughter doing something we rarely get to do....laughing so hard we couldn't breathe! Actually, truth be told...we laughed so hard....I peed my pants...literally peed my pants. It was as if we had so needed that kind of wonderful loving release that I literally could not stop myself.

I am sure that the other movie goers were less than impressed with us. We were loud and obnoxious! Soooo much fun in an awful movie....Good company equals good times.
I enjoy these times where we just get to be mom and kid and not dealing with another struggle or another hurt.

Marie got some difficult news about half an hour before we went to the movie so I know that she and I needed to giggle and snort with my sister. And the positive interaction led to her being relaxed enough to process her bad news when we got home. So on all fronts it was a much needed escape.

Be well and Have a wonderful night!

Vomit....A Plan for success......

Did you know that puking could make you happy? I was also not aware of this! My sweet, clever child has learned she can achieve much in life with vomit. I have to admit, I am at a little bit of a loss with this. And at the moment, my inclination towards therapeutic parenting goes out the window.

Scenario for the day.......

We discussed Rose's diabetic state last night and her headache with super powers. When she awoke this morning, it was as though she were a Disney Princess. She was so sweet that you could imagine all of the little forest animals gathering at her feet as she flung open her cottage window and hummed a happy tune. You can see it, right? She was almost too sweet. Not something to complain about when your child is usually contrary as a normal state.

Her voice was sing songey as she dressed, gathered her lunch and brushed her teeth. She was even respectful as she asked to have yogurt instead of cereal...Good Day....She even made a crack about her "headache" last night. We had cuddle time and good times=)

Marie walked in while Rose and I were cuddling and she asked what time the movie started. Rose chirped about going swimming today and maybe when she got home we could go to get Ice Cream...You are still hearing the chirping birds right?

As fate would have it....Marie and I had changed plans and decided to go to the Mall with my friend and her brood....We were about twenty minutes into our ride when I got THE CALL.....a call I have gotten soooo many times before....."Mrs. Smith (not my real name...hahaha) Rose is in the office...She doesn't feel well....She just threw up" Of course, in my unsympathetic and crass voice I said " of course she did..."

So, I bought her chicken broth for dinner and she is in her bedroom...banished to her bed till tomorrow am....I am sure her belly did hurt after she got herself into such a state that she actually puked! She is still sleeping off the excitement...I do have to admit that it is quite upsetting to me that she does this. It is a lot of wasted time when she spends so much of her time creating misery for herself and those around her.

Here is what I really don't get. She was going to camp today..They were going swimming, she was going to have a blast. I was going to spend one on one time with Marie while she was at camp so that it would minimize the upset to her...

Minute by minute update....God just touched her and she is no longer sick...a true Christmas miracle in July. Please know that I am not being sacreligious or disrespectful to the Lord when I say that. I just know my kid.....She just told me that she was refusing to stay in her room because it was stupid. She is fine now...what is the big deal.....i said we wouldn't even be having this conversation if you had chosen to stay at camp. Unfortunately, when you chose to puke you chose your bedroom.....The door slammed...we will see what happens...

So back to now she didnt get to go to camp, she has to stay in her bed and Marie and I are still going to see Mama Mia today while she does that....Consequences....gotta love them.....sometimes you don't need punishments when being a good mom does the trick! I mean, a good mom makes sure that her child gets plenty of rest and nourishment when they are sick.

It is like God knew I was not able to theraupetically parent her today on my own and threw me a bone. Gave me the words to show her I was only being a good mom! She can't argue with me being a good mom....Well she can...but it is much more difficult when I am doing it with that much love!

Also lest you think I am a cold heartless cow....Rose could be sick...But when Rose gets sick she is totally compliant with everything.....she is sweet and a joy when she is sick. When she is well, she is totally contrary to everything that you say to her. I love her soooo much and it pains me to see her sick BUT it is really a pain when she fakes it....and today she had a fresh there you solved, Inspector!

Thank you God!

Be well.....I am reading all of your blogs too...I love them all! You are all inspirations to me! I hope I give you something back.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Jerking My Chain!

Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder like to be in control. Not just in control of one thing or another but in control of EVERYTHING. Which,friends, doesn't work out when the mommy is also a control freak. I have had to learn that not every battle is worth fighting. Some things it is ok for my RAD kid to control. The key is more how I remain in control...Even if it is secretly (yes i am twirling my devilishly long mustache as I say that with my evil laugh)

Tonight was just one of those great nights....Controllllllll.....Today was therapy day....Everybody was on board and participated...Sooooo guess what we had Chinese food! Bonus points. Actually they got to go to the Mall to have Chinese food at the food court. I met them there after work so we had two cars. So Marie had been on a little trip with her grandfather and as all Grampy's do...he slipped her his change....Five bucks! Grandpa rocks, right? So I felt bad so I slipped Rose two dollars....Well she tried to convince Marie that it wasn't fair that she had more money and that maybe Marie would feel better if she shared her money with Rose so it would be equal.

Finally, Marie said ..."uh no.....not falling for that again!" Rose handed me her money and apologized that she wasn't able to spend such a small amount of was I supposed to feel bad that she didn't spend it...hahahha...still laughing here! Folks...first clue.....foreshadowing.....

Rose HAS to go to camp...She has a hard time when she doesn't have a structured day.So the only way that is guaranteed during the summer is camp. She has this thing where she wants the world to see her as perfect, she behaves unbelievably well in public places. So camp is a good match for her.

Marie is more of a free spirit and although consistency is wonderful for her, she doesn't usually like to be involved in things that are too organized. She is able to amuse herself and does well in a go with the flow kind of situation...She is very much a free spirit....

So tomorrow is my day off. I am taking Marie for a treat tomorrow and we are going to the movies. We are going to see "Mama Mia". Rose heard. second clue....

When we went out to the cars, Rose ran and jumped into hubby's car. Marie hung back and got into my car.....the Trifecta for trouble.......

When we got home...Rose announced that she had a bad headache, possibly diabetes, and that she couldn't go to camp tomorrow because she was contagious. She went to the camp nurse today for these things but insisted she didn't call me because she knew I would not take time out of my day for her....When are the Oscars?

My chain was almost pulled too tight today....she had jerked it a metaphor isn't working right the picture though, right?....

I reassured her that diabetes isn't contagious and I was fairly certain that she didn't get it over night....She also said the headache was too bad for her to shower....I do have to admit when she said that I laughed. I couldn't help it...I mean, her headache gave her diabetes and a fever AND she was contagious...Plus it was making her nightly shower impossible, too. Headaches with super powers.
That is cool.....

Some days the chain jerking is so unbearable...Today, it was humorous, even though it took us forever to get her to bed. I did tell her after 45 minutes of nonsense that since she had such a hard time getting settled in for bed...that as a good mom I would be more responsible tomorrow night and we would start getting ready for bed 45 minutes earlier than usual so we could make up that time that we wasted tonight....Funny....she was in bed and asleep in ten minutes...Am I good or what?

It is all about the control...I have to learn how to maintain control....even when she isn't looking....hahahaha....Another successful day finished....Another story shared....Life is good....

I have this book that I believe is called 99 Ways to Drive Your Kids Sane. I will get the exact name and share it...Great Ideas for dealing with some of the behaviors. It is the inspiration for some of my shenanigans..Many of my lessons are lost on Rose. Her heart is still too sick to learn them, but I hope at some point funny stuff will make an impact....What a great thing for me to teach her...Laughter is such a healthy emotional release....A Good thing to teach a kid that is so angry and scared....

I got a few complaints about this blog today and several compliments. I know that I can't please everyone with what I am writing. That is Ok, everyone has the right to their opinion....But before anyone assumes they know anything from reading this, please come live in my home for 24 hours....and you, too, will be seeking the support and love of other families in similar situations. Sometimes, you find support in the most unusual places. I love all of you that send your support and comments. I truly appreciate it...I also appreciate your blogs. I am truly blessed by God for all of you! For the record, once again, my children are aware of this blog and its content. I am proud of what I am writing and I also love my children more than anything. Nothing I am saying is embarrassing or humiliating for them. It is our life and we embrace it. Secrecy and shame are not words in our vocabulary.

Please be well! Know that I thank God for you everyday!

PS...blame my husband for my grammar errors....I wasn't done when he left for once again, I published this without his proof reading....Have a great night!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Betsy Ross....

Who knows anything about Betsy Ross? My daughter had to do a report about Betsy Ross. At the time my daughter had convinced us that she was "simple". Under the mistaken idea of her intellectual shortcoming, my husband and I read the book to her and we basically did the report for her....Well, we didn't do the report, before all you with studious children die that we did this. We offered her suggestions, OHHHH and the teacher wanted her to dress like Betsy Ross AND make a scrapbook....

Back to Betsy Ross......Betsy Ross went against her parents and her religion to marry her husband and live a life with him. She also became very well renowned for her talents as a seamstress. Her first husband died as a result of his strong dedication to the beginnings of our country. She was quite young at the time. At that time, when a young woman became a widow, it was expected that she would go home to her family. She refused to leave the home and store she and her husband had created together. She was a talented seamstress that caught the eye of our Founding Fathers and as the story goes....she is responsible for the first flag. This is a brief story of her life and I may have mixed up some of my facts.....I am getting old and I already got the "A" so I don't need to get a grade from anyone else.

I was thinking of her because I was thinking of my oldest daughter, Marie. She has had many really traumatic, horrible things happen to her but she keeps going on. She chooses to be happy and to succeed. Betsy Ross also had that resilience. I am not so sure I have that spirit but I admire it greatly in others.

Marie has done some odd jobs for her grandfather and he gave her money for her efforts. I have been slowly and methodically giving her money to spend. Today, I gave her a small amount because we were going to Super WalMart.....Well, today was an exciting day for us.....SCHOOL SUPPLIES! Marie has waited for this day since the day of school.....She was cheering and squealing with glee.....Rose....not so much!

Back to Rose....Rose has lived with us for 29 months. She has some academic delays. Mostly from all of her moves during her time in Foster Care. We actually were concerned about her having some sort of global intellectual delays. She couldn't do basic math equations. She couldn't read a book or write sentences. It was compounded by the fact that she became so frustrated by her shortcomings, that she has monumental meltdowns.....

In Massachusetts we have testing in our school systems called MCAS. It is actually testing that is done that determines by the results what type of funding the school is eligible for. It is really a litmus test for how good our teachers are, BUT an inordinate amount of pressure is put on the children to perform well. They get pep talks about the proper food you should eat the morning of the testing, how much sleep you should be having, and that if you do poorly on this test....well your future is in the joke this is the pressure they put on kids....

I have a rule in my house....I don't care about grades...I care about effort and doing the best that you can do. If if is a hard earned C-, I am good with it, if the teacher says you did your best.....this has sort of bitten me in the bum.....

This has allowed Marie to blossom...Knowing that I will be proud as long as she tries....She is on the honor roll and quite successful....

My dear sweet Rosey...Not so much....She swore she was doing her best with her D- in math. She cried when she got her report card and seemed sincerely upset at her failure....I tried so hard ...I felt for the kid...I was sad that she was so "simple". My husband and I went to many meetings and endured multiple phone calls. The teacher calling us telling us how hard she tried but that she was struggling academically....Once I even got a call trying to blame me for her poor MCAS scores. I told that teacher that it was a reflection on her if Rose sucked in Math not me. She was the teacher not me...and OH...I had bigger fish to fry with this kid than 1+1. So I didn't win points with that teacher. day she came home from school with a 100% on a spelling test...While the whole 9 months before she never got more than a 60%. Then another day I was doing something with my checkbook (I am simple in math) and I asked my husband to do the math for me...and she answered the question...hmmmmmm...weird....

So we did this experiment with her....(please don't have a stroke with my very unorthodox experiments) I told her that my experiment was a one time deal. She could have $20 if she could do all of her homework in less than 20 minutes. Rules were that she had to show that she had truly attempted to do the math problem. It didn't have to be correct, but she had to explain the theory behind the answer she gave and that she could get no help from us. The reason for the money was that I had to use something that she would find valuable. Good work and self pride was not valuable to her. She finished in less than 20 mins and got 80% of it correct with NO HELP! The incorrect answers were because she was rushing and as my husband corrected them, she told him the answer before he told her.....SOOOOO..

For more than two years everyone thought she was intellectually limited. Teachers included! When in fact, she was playing games. Jerking our chains....She felt that if she just said she couldn't long enough...everyone would just do it for her....And you know what....THEY DID....Her jig was up....I hugged her and I told her how proud of her I was. In spite of her best efforts, she was indeed normal intellectually and that no matter what....we now knew she was smart.....Do you know....we never had another issue regarding homework the last five weeks of school.....

Who puts that much effort into lazy? She was dedicated! Man, I pride myself as an experienced mom of RAD kids, on not being easily scammed....She soooooo was in control of that....

By the way....I am not politically correct. I don't purposely want to offend anyone but if you are easily offended...I may not be the blog for you....I write as I talk....I am sincere and open.....I appreciate positive feedback....And I have no interest in haters....My world is too full and too wonderful to waste my time with silly drama...I have enjoyed those of you that have left messages...I am also enjoying your blogs...I like to see how others have victories and struggles of their own. So you guys rock.....!

Be Well....and May God bless you!