Hope’s fever broke this morning. She spent most of the day sleeping, but did curl up with MK and Malachi to watch TV a couple of times. During one of these times, I looked up and saw Hope standing there. She wasn’t saying anything or trying to make eye contact. I observed aloud that it looked to me like something was bothering her. I waited. Hope looked at me briefly and said that Mali had hit her and MK did nothing about it. I asked if a hug might help and she climbed on my lap. We cuddled for a couple of minutes in silence. Then she was done and went back to the TV. I think, for a brief moment, we both felt better.
The girls brought home report cards this week. Hope’s report card had some good news academically. Hope is not on target to meet any of her social/emotional goals. GB is hard working and a pleasure to have in class. The academic information I expect in a report card wasn’t there.
The same old debate started in my head before I even realized where it was going. It is a debate I have carried out, by myself, for every child we ever had. How much is an education worth? When is the price too high?
I have never been able to answer the first question and it is only in recent years I have started to answer the second. For my daughters, I have temporary answers that may change. Given GB’s abilities, I want her to keep working hard and do the best she can. I do not want her pushed so much that she is chronically frustrated. Hope’s abilities are much different than GB’s. Ultimately, I see no limits as to how far she can go. Right now, however, academics aren’t making the radar. Hope’s behavioral and emotional challenges have to be addressed first. Then she will be ready to learn.
If you have a child with any kind of special needs, I would love to hear how you feel and why.
After an awful start to her day yesterday morning, Hope was stuck within arms length of me for the rest of the day. She did not get to go shopping, she did not get to go to the movies. She missed a soccer game and Tae Kwon Do. What she did get is a lot of my undivided attention. She colored. We baked brownies. We reviewed her safety contract. We talked about hospitals. We talked about respite. Hope asked me to tap with her. Not only wasn’t she fighting it, she asked for it. I was happy to oblige. Later, as I was putting her to bed, she asked me if I tapped with GB every night before bed. I said that I did. She asked me if I could tap with her before she went to bed. I did.
When she woke up this morning, she had another awful start. But yesterday, yesterday was progress!
Life has been tough for GB. When Hope bounces, she goes after GB. In spite of that, GB’s week had some highlights.
- All of her Jordan’s wish packages got completed. Jordan thanked her for her help on TV.
- She made ornaments for all her teachers and specialists, who loved them.
- When she crumbled on a round-off, all the NT kids in her class surrounded her to make sure she was all right.
- She did her first unspotted back bend and realized it was easy. The NT kids recognized what an achievement it was for her and celebrated with her.
- When a NT girl she has been friends with since she was three made fun of her watching Barney, GB was able to shrug and tell her that is what she enjoys.
- GB was awarded an Effort Certificate for the first marking period.
- Throughout Hope’s tough week, GB continually tried to make things easier for Hope… not her job, but a sign of growing attachment and a big heart.
Hope currently sees a shrink twice a month- once at school and once privately. She sees a therapist three times a week- twice at school and once privately. Today, Hope and I went to therapy with her social worker and shrink at school. For most of the past year, these sessions were a waste of time. I did them so I would be labeled an outstanding parent. When the powers to be think you are an outstanding parent, it is easier to get what you need for your kids. This weeks session was different.
The shrink started talking about Hope’s meltdown at Fri*ndly’s two weeks ago. Hope didn’t want to talk about it. The shrink and therapist insisted. They asked Hope why she had been screaming I hit her. Hope shrugged. They asked Hope if I was hitting her. She said no. Then the shrink told her somebody used to hit her in the past, but it wasn’t me. Hope looked at him and said, “Nobody hit me. My Texas mom used to spank my butt with a belt”. They reiterated that was then and now was different. After Hope went back to class, they both agreed that separating the past from the current reality is what we will be focused on for the foreseeable future. Today felt like progress!
|Hope in Michigan|
Hope woke up this morning exactly the same as she went to bed- mad! She started raging because GB’s skirt fit GB beautifully. I asked her why she was mad, a question I have asked a million times before. She told me she didn’t know- which is unusual. She usually keeps on raging. It has happened before though. I waited 30 seconds or so, and when she was still looking at me I asked her if maybe she was mad that she had to change families. Not the first time I have asked that question, either. The difference was this time she looked me in the eyes and said “Yes”. Such a simple word, with so much behind it. We cuddled for five minutes without any more words. She got ready for school and had breakfast with no problems. I took both girls to the bus stop. Hope was out of the car and getting on the bus when she turned around and ran back to me. I am thinking “What now?”. She ran back and said “I didn’t give you a kiss”, kissed me, and ran to the bus with a smile on her face. These are the moments that keep me going.
Today I am thankful for for Hope’s amazing day yesterday. She dressed herself independently and for the first time since she came to live with us, there were NO tantrums or rages- not even a time out! She was looking at some pictures her Texas family sent her and that her and I made into a life book. She was crying quietly, but let me pull her into my lap and cuddle her. She was not able to verbalize much, but still, it was an awesome day of progress!