Exactly one year ago, I wrote this post, https://adoptingspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2012/01/page/3/ . My word for 2012 was going to be “moment“, as staying in the moment. Looking back, I would have to say I failed more often then I succeeded. There was a a 3 month period over the summer where I was unable to start fresh each moment. Getting physically beat up can do that to a person.
The last couple of months The Dad has been Hope’s primary caregiver. Yesterday, Hope raged and got him with a head butt in the face. It looked painful. She kicked me, but it didn’t catch me by surprise, as she had already kicked The Dad’s brother.
Hope is on medication, which she wasn’t on this time last year. Her raging is a little less in terms of frequency and intensity- but not much. This year provided very little healing for Hope.
We have a new configuration of therapists lined up. If you are interested you can read it on the other blog.
I am looking at 2013 as a fresh start, but I decided to use the word “moment” again. I do not want to repeat all of 2012’s mistakes again this year. I still think an RTF is Hope’s best shot, but I am willing to try a new approach. For Hope’s sake, for my families sake, I pray for healing.
The last week have been full of many unexpected changes. It has now been a whole month without Hope attacking me. This week I realized it has also been a whole month of me not being Hope’s mother. That is not acceptable to me. We have two different agencies involved with out family to help Hope. We saw nobody from either of them this week and Hope’s behavior hasn’t been any better or any worse. She has still raged, she has been nasty, and she has been physical with GB. Monday the newest worker, Mary Poppins is coming to meet. I have scheduled 15 minutes for this meeting. I plan on telling her I see no benefits for our family in her visits and we will not be using her agency’s services any more.
I now have over 12 extra hours a week available, since Kenny chose to let go of this world and move on to the next. I have done a bit of crying, but overall I feel proud of him…the courage it took to deliberately say “I am ready to go”. I want to have that kind of courage when it is my time. I kept a regularly scheduled appointment with my cardiologist and heard that I have been upgraded from “cardiac insufficiency” to “heart failure”. I go to St. Peter’s this week for tests that, among other things, will measure the ejection rate of my heart. It explains my ongoing fatigue and how difficult it has been to get anything accomplished.
Divide and conquer techniques have made life easier for GB. The school, in its infinite wisdom, decided GB could skip recess in order to mainstream. I am not sure of their reasoning, since I spent Wednesday and Thursday with Kenny and only had time to remind them, via email, that they could not mainstream her without my permission and they did not have it. I meet with the school this week to figure out the next step.
GB is still heavier than is healthy because of the loxapine. I printed of two healthy eating charts, one for me and one for GB. I will take them to Stapl*s to get them laminated. I hope, by making us more aware of what we are putting in our bodies, we can improve our eating patterns. If we are both doing it, it might be easier on GB.
Kenny’s funeral is Tuesday. For many reasons I have avoided church in the last year+. I will be there Tuesday.
Last weekend, The Dad and I took the kids to visit my friend and her family in Pennsylvania. Despite three special needs kids, we had family fun, a Trauma Mama EFT conference call, anIEP a meeting with a limited bureaucrat that lasted three hours longer than his knowledge, an adoption seminar, swimming, and even took everybody to Friendly*s. The kids had no meltdowns, lots of fun, and the adults had ADULT CONVERSATION. Sure, the kids required constant monitoring and frequent intervention… but there were four adults to do it. At other times we have gone to the zoo, horseback riding at a resort, and swimming mixed into everything. The kids love to swim.
The Power? Besides adult conversation, of course. Our kids are not “special needs” when our families are together. The structure, the rules are just what they are. They are not compared to what other children can do. Pull-ups at night, medication, quiet times… they just are. Some how, this gives our kids the gift of just being kids. Enjoying the normal activities that go with childhood. They are friends that share a growing stash of memories and look forward to what comes next.
The connection is a normal connection between families that are friends. The more the connections, the better. For our kids. For us.
We no longer accept DAY in our house. The acronym stands for: Defiance Aggression Yelling. I point out the behavior to them, using which ever word applies, and give them a do-over. If the do over works, fine. If not they owe time. They have to sit quietly for eight minutes. They can’t get up or make noise or their time starts over. Ugly, nasty faces are allowed however. As an incentive to get the time done, doing it well the first time can result in shorter time. If Hope does her time right the first time, I let her up in four minutes. There is a fifteen minute window of time do to your time right.
If the child chooses not to complete their time in fifteen minutes, then a DO is added. Once we have a DO, privileges are suspended until the DO is done. Of, course, the DO can’t even be discussed until the time is done. You have control over the DO. You can ask them for their suggestions. You can just assign one. It can be as simple as a hug, or as difficult as picking up all the sticks in the yard (we have a big yard, with lots of sticks). I have been basing the DO on how much time and energy it cost me to get through their time: If it took twenty minutes to get the time done, the DO might be a hug along with an apology. If it took a ninety minute rage before they got their time done, it might be picking up the sticks or cleaning the playroom by themselves- both big jobs. You also control what privileges are suspended, again depending on how much time and energy they have taken from you. It might just be TV, it might be all electronics. Your choice.
The idea behind using DAY is to build your relationship with your child and make it stronger. It won’t work if one of the parents are not holding themselves accountable for DAY. If I yell at a child, I need to apologize and repair my relationship. My goal is to remove most of the Defiance Aggression Yelling from our family life. That will allow us to focus more on building relationships.
I am going to Chicago for the Parenting in SPACE event in Chicago. The Dad and I leave before the girls are up tomorrow. There are some pluses- I think I’ll get to have dinner Sat with one of my favorite Trauma Mamas. It wouldn’t hurt for The Dad and I to spend time without the girls. I believe I have made solid arrangements for both GB and Hope, separately.
BUT I am not comfortable with both of us being so far away from them for 3 full days. I dislike meeting large (say any more then eight) groups of people. I will feel claustrophobic.
The Dad really wants to meet other Dads that are doing this. I already have my Trauma Mamas.
I will stop whining and start packing. But that doesn’t mean I like it.
Hope’s meeting today gathered information. The information will presented to SPOA tomorrow and we probably won’t hear anything until Thursday.
One of my Trauma Mama friends’ son made a really bad choice. My friend was devastated. I am so proud of the way our group rallied around her with love, support, information, and practical help. There is no other group of ladies I would rather have my back then this group. I love them all.
Orlando was awesome. I experienced so much in 72 hours that it will take time to process it all and will never fit in one post. The picture above started off my weekend. The beautiful, talentedKelley comes to Orlando even though she is not a trauma mama. Kelley spoils us all and this year she blessed my friend Lisa and I with these beautiful matching henna tattoos. I have never gotten a tattoo because life has a habit of changing and I have never had a design that I was sure I would still love ten years later. I love Lisa and the tattoo was perfect. I started thinking about having it made into a real tattoo.
One of the activities this year was a scavenger hunt which sent people from house to house to complete activities. We each had an ETAAM passport to get stamped at each house. Right after lunch Saturday, I was declutteringour villa of my mess and found my ETAAM passport. This triggered the realization that I had not seen my real passport when I unpacked Friday night. The real passport was the only ID I brought with me to Orlando and I was going to need it to get home.
I checked my knapsack and my tote bag. Others looked in various vans I had been in and the main housethat had been first stop. I called the Orlando airport and waited on holdfor while, but it hadn’t been turned in. Tried the airline and they didn’t have it either. I reluctantly called The Dad to update him on a potential problem with me flying home Monday. To say there was a notable lack of support was an understatement. I was feeling more than a little annoyed.
I did find my passport in my bathroom and was greatly relieved. I didn’t call or text The Dad right away and let him stew for a while. He was at the pool with the kids and their friends and I figured a little stewing wouldn’t hurt. My housemates thought my tattoo was beautiful and were encouraging me to make it permanent. The Dad and I exchanged a couple of snippy texts and as the afternoon turned into evening, making it permanent sounded better and better.
I was still pissed three hours later when some of our group were getting ready to leave for a tattoo place. I so wanted to go. I didn’t. Sensible people don’t make decisions that are difficult to change when their decisions are being, at least partly, fueled by anger.
I still am enjoying my henna tattoo. I am still thinking about having it made permanent. But not while I am angry.
I am at the Orlando Airport, waiting for my flight home. Some of the most loving people I have ever met are taking a piece of my heart with them today as our weekend had to end. I am at peace. These are women I can trust and know they will handle the pieces I shared with them gently until I see them again.Thank you all.
I am on my way to Orlando! This year, I am not feeling nervous. Maybe a little excited. Mostly, I am experiencing the peace of going where I belong. I will share some of my Orlando experiences when I get home, but this weekend I will be too busy being to blog.
A volunteer from the North East Pyrenees Rescue came to visit today with her two Pyrs’, Emma, a one year old female, and Vasa, a three year old male. Both were beautiful and well behaved. It was quickly apparent that a three year old male was a much better fit for our family than a one year old female. The girls loved them. They were what I expected. If we were to get one, it would be an older male from a rescue. My husband says “No F#@*in way” and “Get an apartment first”. I was already contemplating a two bedroom apartment. Decisions, decisions.