This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kid's rooms

I used to be really into interior decorating. I loved it so much that I would decorate my friend's houses for free! I even had my own website. Now of course I really don't have the time or energy.

I recently found a blog, Kelly's Korner, that has been posting something called Show Us Where You Live Fridays. This week's theme is Kid's bedrooms and nurseries. My kid's rooms are currently so messy that I wouldn't dream of taking pictures, but I would love to show off some of their rooms from the past.

This is Ponito's room. My mom and I decorated the wall's with murals. His room had a safari theme. I'd found the cutest crib set, and then added to it. I quilted the crib blanket shown here, and used the fabric from the crib sheet to make a diaper bag.

As my little one got older, his love of vehicles grew, but I wasn't ready to give up the cute theme. So I adapted his big boy bed to look like a safari jeep. He loved it. The animals on the curtains are made with family member's hand and foot prints.

(Sorry it's sideways, but this computer doesn't have a photoshop program). This is the cover I created for a metal loft bed. He liked to play underneath, and when he got older he could put all his stuffed animals on the loft.

Bob as a little girl was into the Princess theme, of course. We attached wooden boards to the outside of her wooden loft bed (so it didn't damage the bed - which I sold last weekend, yea!). The tower held the ladder to the loft bed. The piece of wood covering the loft was attached with a hinge so we could drop it down to make the bed. The tower was also on a hinge so we could open it up when we needed to drop the front (and get in easier if we needed to reach Bob in the bed). We glued bugs, butterflies and lizards to everything. Under the bed were murals of windows that looked out onto gardens, castles, unicorns and waterfalls. Bob liked Pocahantas too! As she grew she decided she wanted a more grown up theme. We changed to the Four Elements. Her stripey bed quilt took me forever to make. The curtains were easier. Could have sworn I had a picture of her dolphin mural. Will have to post the more recent pictures later.

Real reality TV

Yes, I know I watch way too much reality TV. Don't judge me!

Have you seen the show World's Strictest Parents? It comes on CMT (country music television). I don't like country music (and no one in the family is allowed to listen to anything but Christian music), but for some reason CMT plays great shows like Nanny 911, Extreme Home Makeover and of course World's Strictest Parents.

I let my kids watch these shows on CMT because the commercials aren't as inappropriate as ABC Family (which I think is ironic). ABC Family advertises for a lot of shows like Degrassi which appears to be almost soft porn, and American Teenager which is about a very young high school student who gets pregnant. There's worse stuff on cable and if people want to watch that, or let their kids watch that, that's their choice, but this channel advertises itself as a Family channel. My kids get so upset because the channel often plays good family friendly movies, but they aren't allowed to watch them because I won't let them watch the commercials.

So I've been avidly watching this new show, World's Strictest Parents, hoping for tips and ideas for handling teens and good parenting. The premise is that they place two rebellious teens (drugs, alcohol, illegal and destructive behavior, sex, cussing and major disrespect) with conservative families that are strict with their biological children. The kids stay in the home for a week and are expected to abide by the new family's rules. Most of the family's search the kids, remove cigarettes and alcohol, force the kids to remove piercings, and not allow inappropriate clothing.

Consequences for the teens' misbehaviors vary, but the ones on farms usually involve manure in some way. The kids always end up sneaking away to smoke or drink and get caught early on - frequently ratted out by the host family's children who are horrified by the disrespect. It seems like the kid's always have a change for the better at the end of the week, but it seems to be based more on the new parent's consistency, willingness to seek out and sympathetically listen to the kids, and spend time with the kids than any major change that we could insitute here. Not that those are't good things, but we already do that.

Even though there is a lot of cussing (bleeped out) and attitude, I've been letting my kids watch the show (mostly Bob since she's only one who can sit still for more than two minutes), foolishly hoping that the kids will get the idea that our rules aren't that strict and it could be worse.

Now that I've seen a few shows though, I find myself not as interested. They really don't show any discipline techniques and the teens aren't RAD, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, abused kids who have been in the foster care system for years.

Considering that none of these families appear to get any training at all and the kids seem to be total messes at the beginning, I'm always surprised that the kids always seem to have this huge change of heart by the time their parents arrive.

Now I find myself wishing they would combine this show with Nanny 911. I like Nanny, but it's almost always younger kids. I like World's Strictest, but only the teens change (then they go right back home to the family and friends that "allowed" them to become like this). It wouldn't even matter to me that a new show would probably have to be generalized to teens living with birth families versus the more challenging special needs kids and kids from foster care.

I like watching Wife Swap too. Which takes two extremely different families and switches the moms. The new mom has to spend one week doing things exactly the way the original mom did, then she gets to make her own rules and her new family has to follow them. Homeschooled kids going to public school and playing video games, slacker kids and husbands getting jobs and doing chores, military families holding peace rallys and all their kids being forced to get rid of all their violent toys, socialites living in the projects and cleaning toilets, blue collar moms getting spa treatments while nannies and au pairs raise the kids. I figure my kids probably already feel like their lives are like Wife Swap though, but for them Rule Change Day never comes.

So my dream show would be some variation of all of these. First your kids are sent away for a week or so to somewhere that really knows how to work with special needs teens to give them an "attitude adjustment" ala World's Strictest Parents. During that week, the parents are sent to observe and participate in a family that are therapeutic parents ala Wife Swap. Then it's followed up with a specialist coming to your house to give you hands on training in learning how to handle the kids and their specific needs (think Katherine Leslie or Nancy) ala Nanny 911.

Here are some show name possibilities:

Therapeutic Family Swap

Reality Parenting 911

Extreme Family Makeover

Tame Our Teen
World's Most RADical Parenting

What do you think? Should I approach the networks?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer plans?

I'm not considering RTC because we're not sure what to do with Kitty for the Summer, but I have to admit, our Summer options don't look good. What do you do with a 6 year old child in a teenager body who is emotionally fragile and has been in and out of psychiatric treatment all year?

So what are our Summer options?
  1. Summer school sounds like it may not be an option for Kitty since they apparently don't offer special ed services in the Summer, but I'm still researching this (which she knows and is furious with me about).
  2. All day every day with Grandma and Ponito. Seriously bad option as evidenced by today's meltdown.
  3. Go to work with Hubby, Bob and I. Nothing to do but sit around all day watching TV because she refuses to do any school work. BTDT! No thanks.
  4. Stay home all day with me while Grandma takes Ponito, Dad takes Bob to work, and Bear goes to Summer school. In the afternoons we can join Grandma and go to the pool or other activities.
  5. Residential treatment
  6. __________________________ (please fill in the blank with your suggestions! Remember we are flat broke, but have good insurance and our deductible is paid for the year.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Residential Treatment?

At this point we are strongly considering the residential treatment center (RTC) that Bear did so well at, for Kitty. There are some major differences between the two kids that might effect the outcome though. Kitty is sick so Hubby and I went to therapy without her. We had a good talk, but I'm still torn.

We broke down the advantages of the RTC based on our experience there with Bear.

  • This RTC is well-known for it's neuro-psychological assessments - which our insurance won't pay for outside the RTC. However the AT did mention that while our personal insurance won't pay for it, Medicaid will - if we can find an excellent neuropsychologist who takes TX Medicaid.

  • Unlike other programs, this one is fully paid for by Nebraska if our insurance or state won't pay for it. For as long as we need it (Bear was there 6 months). Our insurance would most likely pay for a MAX of 6 weeks. TX Medicaid doesn't pay for RTC.

  • Bear's meds were adjusted until he finally received what apparently was the right cocktail. However her current psychiatrist actually consults on a regular basis with the RTC, so he could easily do what they would - if he had the neurological assessments.

  • When they "muck with" her meds she won't be home to take it out on the family.

  • The whole family will get a break from her increasingly frequent verbal abuse and meltdowns, and it might "break the habit" for her.

  • After the trouble with the PDH (unsafe environment that triggered her PTSD, fight, flight or freeze reaction), I'm feeling guilty about sending her away to another facility - even though I know hindsight is 20/20. I worry if the RTC environment is similar she will think I don't care enough to keep her safe. (I hear so often that she thinks I don't care about her, I guess I'm starting to believe it). However this is NOT the facility that asked if we were "OK" with our son getting beat up.

  • Poor Kitty already has major abandonment issues, and obviously feels that if we send her to an RTC we are sending her away forever (like when Biomom sent her to foster care and then terminated parental rights). The AT reassured me that she doesn't think Kitty will hold it against me.

  • My biggest concern is that sending Kitty to an RTC would damage the "anxiously attached" relationship we have. This facility appears to have no experience with RAD or other attachment issues. Therapy there seems to be pretty much a joke. However, now we know that we can complain, and if we really hate the therapist or have concerns, we can complain to her supervisor (didnt figure this out with Bear until the last week).

  • This RTC is semi-nearby so frequent visits are fairly easy.

During her meltdown at the grocery store this evening I realized that Kitty's issues with jealousy over Ponito and need for his childhood to be as miserable as hers, are not going to be easy to ignore. She hates Grandma for loving Ponito and treating him as "special." She accuses Hubby and I of loving our biokids more than her, and giving them things, letting them go to friends' houses, not punishing them when they do something wrong.... I know this is her perception and not reality, but just like you can't make someone believe you love them, I can't convince her that she's wrong, while still protecting the other kids.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

To Kill a Mockingbird

Kitty and her little brother were sitting outside after Kitty had a tough therapy session. She told her little brother to throw a rock at what she thought was a Mockingbird that has been making lots of noise outside her window daily. She said she wanted him to scare it away.

Ponito threw the rock and apparently hit the bird in the head, killing it (unfortunately not instantly). Kitty was totally distraught. She has had many of her pets killed by birthmom and her men (sometimes accidentally sometimes intentionally) and Kitty had sworn to herself she would never deliberately hurt an animal. It took about an hour to calm her down enough to take a shower and go to bed (I did give her sleeping medication).

In calming her down, I wanted to balance her accepting responsibility for the act (a big step for her) with the fact that everyone makes mistakes and it doesn't make her a bad person. I tried to help her take this as a lesson learned (one that I don't think she'll forget). We talked about how God forgives those who ask for it and are remorseful. I prayed with her (a first for us). I tried to help her actually believe that she was forgiven, but as Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman,

"It's easier to believe the bad stuff."

Ponito did not seem terribly upset, but after Hubby talked to him and they removed the bird's body (no way did I want to deal with Kitty's reaction to that in the morning), he did seem a little remorseful.

That morning Kitty was agitated and loud, but did not follow through with her threat to not go to school.

To Kill a Mockingbird - foreshadowing

A couple of weeks ago a neighbor asked me if we had a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird she could borrow for her son. We didn't. Not too much later I found a copy in a thrift store and purchased it (it's a classic!). It sat on the bottom step of our staircase until a couple of days ago.

Kitty asked Grandma what it was about. Grandma's summary was: It's about some kids who decide to kill a mockingbird, but someone stops them and tells them that it was wrong because the bird never did anything to hurt anyone. There is a man in the neighborhood that no one likes, but the kids stop people from killing him because it's wrong to kill someone who never hurt anyone.

Or something like that.
I had no idea what significance this book was going to have on our lives.

*Cue ominous music*
This is a bit of foreshadowing... tune in tomorrow to hear what happens next.

Why I hate garage sales!

Let's see...


5:30am- Finish getting dressed and walk to the end of the block to put out our garage sale sign.

6:45am - I was so tired I unthinkingly gave Kitty her lithium. Forgetting that she was supposed to have her lithium levels tested that morning. Meaning now she couldn't be tested until Monday, which means her test results won't be back on Monday (her last day at the PDH). *sigh*

7am- I finally had the garage sale I've been planning to have since I started piling anything we didn't want in our 3 car garage - completely full of crud again even though it's only been a year since our last one (at which point I had sworn to myself -never again!). Walk to the end of the block to make sure our garage sale sign hasn't blown away (it has). Jury rig it.

7:15am- one of the early birds who saw my ad (finally placed at 9pm on Craigslist the night before), complained that wasn't my garage sale supposed to start at 7am? I politely informed her that I'd had more stuff then expected, and was doing everything myself so not everything was out of the garage yet (all my sister's stuff was on the driveway, OUR stuff was still crammed inside waiting for me to drag it outside). How rude!

7:3oam - in the middle of my Little Red Hen whine about not getting any help with this stupid garage sale that I didn't want to have in the first place, after all who needs more than a trail through their garage, it's starts to drizzle. Several of the "salers" kindly point out that the forecast clearly said it was going to rain today. (Of course it ALWAYS seems to rain when I have a garage sale - but the good news is that I won't have to worry as much about sun burn or heat exhaustion. This is Texas and Summer started months ago). I ignore them as I continue to drag out all the furniture by myself. Kids come out occasionally to look through the stuff I've managed to get out and beg to be allowed to take something inside, or threaten that they better get ALL the money made from the sale of their precious items.

7:45am- I put a serious gash in my calf while moving furniture and decide that maybe the blood will get me some sympathy sales. (It didn't, all I got was a disgusting wound that grosses out everyone who sees it and will most likely scar.)

8am- I pull one of the kids away from their rousing game of "splash your sibling in the face while playing in the puddles of dirty water accumulating in the street gutter," and send them in to get Hubby to help me lift the top bunk of the wooden loft bed in place. I also have him and Bear bring out the world's heaviest sleeper sofa since I can't move it by myself.

8:30am- I give up on pulling out stuff from the garage and collapse in exhaustion on one of the now damp couches. It's just a little drizzle, and will most likely stop soon. This is Texas after all, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change.

Grandma shows up to watch the garage sale while I take Kitty to the lab appointment. That's when Hubby informs me that I gave Kitty her meds. Since Grandma has offered to watch my sister's kids while my sister goes on a date, it makes no sense for her to drive home then turn right around and come back. So I ask mom to watch the sale while I run in and get some breakfast. Another big rush of salers means that doesn't happen (I don't price my stuff so I'm the only one that can really make any sales. Means no one else can work the sale, but saves me a lot of time pricing what isn't going to sell, will be bargained over anyway, and prices might run someone off.)

9am - rain is getting worse, but much of the stuff came from my sister's garage so I couldn't have fit it all in the garage anyway. Try covering up some of it, but the rest just had to get wet. After threatening her with her life, Bob finally gets me a glass of water and a box of cereal.

Bear has decided to "help" with the sale. He assists one couple with loading some lightweight but awkward stuff. He pockets all the money from "his" items, and sells the bike he got for Christmas for $5. I fuss at him a little for it and he gets offended and leaves.

9:30am - Sister drops off her kids and everyone but me goes inside. Thank goodness for Grandma, because usually it's a warzone in there when I can't supervise my 4, let alone all 6.

10am- a lovely couple from Brazil hide in the garage from the rain and seach the rescued books, videos and toys. She carefully dries each and every book and video as she stacks them back neatly in the bins while she searches. I give her a great bargain on the stuff she chose.

10:15am- It is now pouring down rain so I start lugging in sopping wet items. Do you have any idea how heavy a soaked rug weighs? I pull in the cushions from the couches, but the couches themselves and the recliners and most of the rest of the furniture have to stay outside in the rain. I stack them in a corner of the driveway, cover them with a tarp (useless since they are already soaked) and hope that the neighborhood association doesn't fine us for leaving them there.

11:45am - Grandma takes my 4 kids and my sister's 2 to McDonalds.

12pm- a man comes to pick up a piece of furniture he purchased. He very nicely helps me move in the few furniture pieces that I can fit in the garage.

12:30pm I start throwing the soft goods in the washer to spin out the excess water and then in the dryer. These will all be donated to a local thrift store. About 6 loads and one exploded pillow later, 4 trash bags are ready to go.

1pm Collapse in exhaustion on the bathroom floor. Too sore and tired to crawl in the bath (plus not sure what to do about the gash on my leg). Finally just dry off and put on dry clothes.

Finally count out the sopping wet money (luckily managed to save the one check I accepted, from a neighbor). The sale grossed about $200. My sister only took $30 (even though it was mostly her stuff that sold). Bear pocketed about $20. I gave $10 to Ponito, who helped as much as a 10 year old can with the set up. Bob got $5 because she helped a little with bringing stuff in. Bear got $2, he helped a lot with carting over all my sister's stuff, but he also got to pocket some money from the sale. Kitty got $1, because while she spent almost the whole time inside, she did do a couple of things for me without arguing too much, and I didn't want her to think I love the other kids more than I do her (not that this will convince her of course).

So all told I made a little over $100. Not bad. I also could barely walk for 3 days because of the sore muscles, and had a driveway full of furniture that no one wanted - not even charities. Found out it would cost $500 to have it hauled to the junkyard. This is the point where I got smart. I put an ad on Craigslist offering all the furniture for free! One couple was there within 1/2 an hour, but decided against the world's heaviest sleeper sofa. The next morning the wicker loveseat was gone.

Hubby and I ran back to the house this mornign when I realized I'd left my cell phone at home and needed some aloe for the sun burn I got on my left arm from driving our unairconditioned car around yesterday afternoon (I hate being fair skinned). There were 2 tiny college students in our driveway planning on picking up all the furniture with one pickup truck. Cool environmentally responsible volunteer program put on at the University of Texas in August called UT's Trash to Treasure.

Poor Hubby, I volunteered him to help them load (they make me look buff, and the girl had been in a bike accident recently so was only able to use one hand). They'll have to come back for 2 more truckloads at least, but our driveway will be clean by tomorrow and we might actually be able to fit a car in the garage again! (Of course the garage door is broken so we can't actually get a car in there, but it's the thought that counts right?!).

So next year when I say I'm thinking about having another garage sale - someone please stop me!!!!

Edited to add: Had a couple of guys come into our business to talk us into partnering with them. While showing them around, I mentioned we had an old plotter that came with the business 2 years ago that we couldn't get rid of. Next thing I know he offered me $10 for it! SOLD!

Friday, May 15, 2009

What did he say?!!

Can I get my around this weekend? SO I can use it for work and some
personal reasons I am willing to for it with my own money and work for it.

You let get on myspace later on our comp with you so I can read my mail and
try to email some of my friends.

These are actual e-mails to Hubby and I from my almost 16 year old son. This is my son who is a freshman in high school, allegedly has no learning disabilities, and is making ALL As! Great education system we have isn't it?!

Can I get my around this weekend? SO I can use it for work and some
personal reasons I am willing to for it with my own money and work for it.

Interpretation: In spite of the recent issues with trust, lying and stealing, may I be allowed to use the cell phone (tract phone) that you confiscated from me last year? (and then reconfiscated when I stole it back but was caught with it, and your "missing" cell phone, when I brought a realistic looking pop gun to Summer school to trade for drugs and the police had to get involved.) I would like to have it while I am mowing lawns in the neighborhood and so I can call and text girls and birth family and who knows who else without your knowledge or approval with no way to check up on me. I will pay for the minutes with the money that I am earning with my "company," which is just a fancy way of saying my friend and I who are willing to do manual labor for anyone in the neighborhood who will pay us.

You let get on myspace later on our comp with you so I can read my mail
and try to email some of my friends.

Interpretation: Because you have put a censor on the kid's computer that won't let me access Myspace, I want you to let me use your computer to access it. I know the only way you will let me access Myspace is if you are sitting right there, because I have many inappropriate friends and have already used the computer to access soft porn, give total strangers my address and phone number and talk to birth family and tell them how to call me and pretend they are someone else. I want you to let me access my e-mail accounts too, but I won't actually ask that directly. I'm hoping that once I'm on the computer you will allow it, and then won't pay attention to the actual e-mails. I also plan to pressure you to try yet again to contact my birth father who no longer responds to my repeated phone calls to his cell phone (I only call him every 3 minutes because I know he's really there and just doesn't want to talk to me). I want to continue to try to bribe him to contact me by sending him recent pictures of myself, and I will vehemently deny that his continued lack of contact bothers me at all.

Isn't it amazing how much two lines of almost incomprehensible, grammatically incorrect text can actually say?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Insurance and other sh** (poop)

At 4:45pm yesterday, I got a call from the business office of the partial day hospitalization program that Kitty attends. They just wanted to let us know that as of Wednesday, Kitty was being "stepped down" to their outpatient program. The only thing this changes is she would see the psychiatrist once weekly instead of twice, and family therapy goes to every other week or stops all together ( I forget which). She still attends school and group therapy.

Which would have been fine except for the next part. Insurance pays for all of the partial day hospitalization, but SURPRISE this new program is considered "out patient" which means we have to pay a co-pay for the services. That's $25 A DAY! Starting that day. $125 a week! They don't take Medicaid so we have to pay the co-pay, which, by the way, they want to discuss how we plan to pay this and the $1500 deductible that their records show is still owed! If we don't pay then this will be like any other debt and will be charged off (sent to a collections agency).

Needless to say, I FREAKED out! We are broke. Beyond broke. Kitty's doctor bill co-pays are already draining, Summer is coming which means we have to find all day care (Grandma will do it, but 4 bored kids, two of whom are emotionally disturbed, requires some sort of activities - which will cost money and lots of supervision (unwanted by the kids) - which is asking a lot of my mom).

So on the way to family therapy this morning, I called our insurance. Medicaid had met/ paid our deductible when Kitty was hospitalized in January so even though the hospital hasn't submitted a claim for April (which I still find hard to believe - don't they want their money?), we are still covered. *Whew!* Nothing they can do about the co-pay though.

The hour and 45 minute "Family therapy" ended up being more about case management then family therapy, and we didn't even bring Kitty into the room. Every family therapy session we had, we questioned whether or not we were doing the right thing by keeping Kitty in this program.

Our concerns:

  • Kitty is exposed to kids with way worse issues then we were led to believe. The kids in the PDH often interact with the kids from the residential treatment center (RTC), and the kids in the PDH are often just released from RTC and seem to quickly end up back there. This was the RTC we wouldn't even consider for Bear (who they planned to put in the ward for "aggressive boys"), because one of their first questions was "Are you OK with him getting beaten up daily?" Uh, NO!!

  • Kitty has been kicked, cussed at and told she "smelled like a litter box," had her seatbelt repeatedly stepped on in the van, had her hair pulled, allowed to listen to Hip Hop on the radio (very big trigger for her), was exposed to a picture of a scantily clad female classmate while working on a team project on the internet, witnessed kids fighting and punching each other in the face...

  • She has to be at the school bus stop (20 minute drive) at 6:45am and doesn't get home until after 5pm. Let's just say she is not a morning person, and often has difficulty with insomnia.

  • This environment is SOOO much more stressful then public school that Kitty was coming home so triggered she had meltdowns almost every night. We had to remove everything stressful we could think of so that Kitty wouldn't get more overwhelmed then she already was (taking chores to a bare minimum with little enforcement, allowing Kitty to spend almost unlimited time outside on the swings, removing Grandma from any responsibility for disciplining Kitty...).

  • The psychiatrist was on vacation for a week so Kitty had no med changes for the first 1 1/2 weeks in the program and then they seemed to want to change every thing at once to "make up" for lost time. They actually called me something like 5 times in one day changing their minds about what to start, when and how (the last call was at 9:30pm) and they still made yet another change the next morning.

  • The Family therapist, who also does group therapy with the kids, seemed very inexperienced, and is actually only an intern.

  • Kitty was not participating in group therapy, and while not completely superficial does not seem to really be dealing with any of her issues.

  • Kitty has begun to mimic the behavior and attitude of the other kids. Trying on new personalities at the drop of a hat. Parroting attitudes and language at home. Often its talking "gangsta," or "I'm a teenager, I DESERVE to have..."

  • She realized that she needed to behave at home as well as in the program in order to be released, and her behaviors at home miraculously improved (mostly). The PDH used this as a reason to "step down" her program.

  • Kitty "has" to have a BFF (best friend forever), but has very poor social skills so has trouble maintaining friendships. The girls at the school also have issues, usually including poor social skills as well, so Kitty is constantly dealing with girl drama.

  • If we remove her from the program and send her back to public school this sends a message to the insurance company that she is "better," and if we decide we need additional treatment (including RTC), we might have to start the process over again (probably including another trip to the psychiatric hospital).

  • Our AT (attachment therapist) can only see her every other week, while therapy at the PDH doesn't seem to be helping much is it better than nothing? (She still sees the AT even though she's in the PDH). There don't seem to be any other alternatives.

The good things about the program:

  • Until her meltdown last night (over being asked to clean up toilet water from a toilet she clogged and attempted to flush), she hadn't said she "hates this family" or talked about going back to Nebraska for a week. Of course we don't expect this to last when she is out of the program.

  • There is generally a quick response to my/our complaints.

  • They are actually required to care what happens at home (public school doesn't care what her behavior is like at home if it doesn't reflect on what happens at school).

  • Someone is there to supervise med changes and watch for side effects and results.

  • Adding Lithium has seemed to have a positive effect, although it's a little early to tell (5 days).

Once she's been "stepped down" we can't step her back up to the PDH, even if we start reintroducing stress into her life (like, Heaven forbid, actually expecting her to wash a dish!) and allow her to meltdown/rage again.

So after a long talk with the PDH psychiatrist and the family therapist we have decided to remove Kitty from the PDH on Monday. The public school has already said they will be happy to welcome her back and she will just go right into her old class schedule - which of course she was in when this (suicidal ideations and being miserable and angry) all started. Nothing is changing at home, so I'm thinking we might need to rethink the school structure. Possibly taking away electives and putting her in resource room classes instead.

OK here's the TMI (too much information) part about Kitty's bowels (I did promise to tell you how it all came out) so please feel free to stop reading now.

It's not too late!

OK, you asked for it.

Kitty finally pooped last night! The crazy doctor recommended I give my 14 year old, emotionally disturbed, sexually abused, major mom issues, daughter an enema. Luckily the nurse practitioner knew that was pretty much not going to happen and gave me some other alternatives.

Kitty took 2 doses of Miralax in apple juice, 6 teaspoons of mineral oil (to smooth the way) in an Activia yogurt, and a small bag of sugar free candy (she loved me for that one!). I didn't see this one so no disgusting descriptions of the anaconda in the toilet, but it did of course clog the pipe when she tried to flush it and the toilet over flowed (1/2 an inch of water everywhere). Hubby had to help it along and then insisted that Kitty help dry the floor. This triggered a meltdown, which while not of epic proportions was still pretty bad - no restraints or physical violence thank goodness.

She was disappointed that her tummy was not instantly flat. I assured her that there was probably still more in there, and this morning gave her Miralax in her Smooth Move tea (chocolate flavored laxative tea - can you imagine?!). If that works, the school can deal with it.

So now we'll see what the day brings.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To poo or not to poo...

This falls under the heading, TMI so feel free to skip it.

Kitty is constipated. Always. Saturday she was diagnosed with yet another UTI (urinary tract infection). She's had surgery for this (age 9), and they apparently are common for females with issues with constipation. Many of her meds cause constipation, and her hygeine is non-existent "down there."

Apparently she hasn't pooped since Thursday, and I know this because it was HUGE!! and unflushable. Poor Hubby - he is sooo lucky he has no sense of smell and ends up with this job a lot. *insert slight sarcasm - lots of sympathy - facial expression here*

She gets sodium docusate (stool softener) daily, and we've even given it to her twice a day. Since Saturday I've been giving her Miralax in her cranberry juice daily... Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Except for some interest when she was told it might help flatten her tummy (she actually looks about 6 months pregnant all the time now). Kitty seems completely uninterested. I don't think she's holding it in though.

So I talked to one of the pediatricians (not her regular one), and he suggested giving her a Fleet's Enema!!! What?!!! How am I supposed to do that? She barely let the nurse practitioner even look at her private parts, with the reassurance that she would not be touched at all (even then she had to be bribed with the promise of a Twix bar).
So now we've been told she needs to see a pediatric urologist and a gastroenterologist. That's a lot of co-pays. I wonder if there are any around here that take Medicaid? How do I find out? Guess it's time to search the internet.
Anyway, I'll let you know how it all comes out. (Yes, horrible pun intended. Please don't hate me! You're the one who chose to read this far after being warned!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe...

*Oops! Found this post from last week!*

We "laid off" Bear's therapist yesterday. He started doing the EMDR therapy (insurance hates paying two therapists), and is doing sooooo well that we decided he didn't needed to see two therapists anymore.

Bear and I went to Bear's last visit and told the therapist how well Bear is doing - even I, who have major trust issues, haven't found anything major to be concerned about. He's making all As, the special school he is attending thinks he's ready to start transitioning back to regular high school full-time, he's working his lawn care "business," he seems to be handling money OK, he dumped the neighbor girl with major issues, and seems to be handling her well... The therapist gave him some general advice (keep avoiding dating "yahoos," value your family, focus on positive goals...), and I told him I'd keep him posted.

So after the session is over, while the therapist is running my credit card (out of the room), Bear informs me that he wants to get a restraining order for the ex-girlfriend. He says she has been "stalking him" and following him when he's working trying to get him to take her back. He'd told me last week that she'd said she'd dump the girl she's been dating (?!!) and if he doesn't take her back she'll start cutting again. I was very proud of how he'd handled the situation (and guilty because I hadn't talked to her mom yet about this like I told him I would).

Apparently though she'd recently threatened to cut him. He says he offered her a tool from his toolbox and said basically, "go for it, but know that I will hurt you if you do." She declined. Not only was I less than thrilled with his handling of this situation, but he claims this all occurred in front of Ponito. NOT OK.

I told him I wish he'd discussed this during therapy, and we'd talk more later, but to me this didn't change how well I believed he was doing...

So I get a call from Bear's special school to talk about the plans for next year's schooling. The subject of Bear's behavior came up, and the principal stated he was very happy overall, but commented that Bear was starting to take advantage of the privileges that his good behavior afforded him. Things like - he's allowed to drink one soda during the day, but he drinks several. He is allowed to have fast food lunch brought in on occasion (if he pays for it), but is begging for this privilege often. He's also done some manipulation of the staff (asking one for some privilege, and when they say no, asking another).

Nothing major, but just a reminder that he's not perfect.

Last night Kitty got up to use the restroom and came to Hubby to tell him that there was candy on the bathroom counter. Kitty gets very hyper when given candy so it is rare that we have any in the house. Kitty is apparently having issues with constipation again, so Hubby had to go in the bathroom to... well you don't need to know what the poor man had to do, suffice it to say it's a good thing he has a strong stomach and no sense of smell... aaanyway he discovered that there really was candy in there. No one uses that restroom during the day except Bear, and no one but Bear would feel safe leaving their possession out (everyone else knows that their things would be taken, Bear's stuff is rarely touched - not necessarily because he's the one doing the taking, but because everyone is intimidated by him enough to leave his stuff alone).

So this morning I did a room search on Bear's room and found what was left of an entire bag of the candy under the edge of his bed, with empty wrappers everywhere. I had placed an unopened bag of this candy on the desk in my cubby for use as a reward to the kids when Kitty has a meltdown (- makes her crazy by the way, but doesn't seem to have the intended result of making her stop the meltdowns so they don't get candy). The bag was, of course, missing.

Despite MANY reminders and threats of consequences, Bear cannot seem to get out of the bathroom until 5 minutes after the bus is supposed to arrive. (Today I worked out with the school that the bus will stop waiting for him longer than the 3 minutes they are supposed to wait - he's not going to learn to be ready on time if they keep accommodating this, and driving him to the public high school next school year will be really inconvenient.) As usual he didn't have time to make lunch or breakfast, and was headed straight out the door, when Hubby stopped him to ask about the candy.

Bear immediately lied and said it was just a few pieces given to him at school. Hubby asked why he had the bag then. Bear, thinking quickly, said one of the teachers had given him a few pieces and just left them in the bag. Hubby asked point blank if Bear had taken it from my cubby. Bear said no. He also said Ponito had eaten some too.

So I called the school, and talked to the principal who confronted Bear. Bear had had the whole trip on the bus to come up with a better story. He told the principal that one of the teachers had given it to him. The principal brought in the teacher, who denied having given him candy in a long time. Bear claimed he didn't like candy much so he'd "saved" it from way back then, and then he claimed that he'd bought the bag from the store with his lawn money.


When we confronted him about the lying (and stealing) he denied it, Hubby started to reason with him and get him to admit the truth, but I quickly stopped him. This just makes Bear lie more. Bear saw that he wasn't going to be able to argue us into believing him, so he got angry and stormed upstairs (this is actually kind of cool - he didn't run away from the house or get violent). Hubby followed him and calmed him down.
I gave him a FAIR club assignment which he finished at record speed so he could get out sooner. Life was mostly back to normal very quickly, but I'm back to not trusting him.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fine Line between Love and Hate

I mentioned that I don't express my anger. After discussing this with Hubby and Kitty's therapist at the PDH, I realized I have probably been coping with my issues with anger for so long that I don't really even feel anger. It's not so much that I'm "stuffing" the anger, it's that it takes a heck of a lot to make me angry, and most of the time I vent that anger before it even comes close to the boiling point.

I thought about it some more and realized I don't really express any emotions easily or often. I think again that can be attributed to my childhood. My mom readily admits that she is a very emotional person.

For those of you into personality testing she is an INFP (one of the rarest
-if not the rarest - types of personalities defined in the Meyers-Briggs Personality Inventory). This means she is an Introvert, iNtuitive (versus Sensing), Feeling (versus Thinking), and Perception (versus Judging). Which boils down to - she interacts with the world and gets general information about her world through feelings instead of facts.

If you're curious, I'm an ENTP. I'm a borderline extrovert, and I
see the big picture rather than focusing on details. This means I'm good at coming up with a plan, but you need to hire someone else to do the day to day stuff and to make sure all the rules are followed and boxes checked.

In other words, almost all Mom's decisions are based on feelings. She is a very nurturing, empathetic person who gets her feelings hurt easily. Plus she had undiagnosed and unmedicated bipolar disorder throughout most of my childhood. You literally never knew if she was going to be fun and creative or crying and irritable (which she hid from us most of the time).

My dad on the other hand was almost the exact opposite. He reminds me a lot of the dad on Meet the Fockers, who I think was supposed to be a secret FBI operative. My dad has always been logical to an extreme and a little paranoid. Their divorce (while inevitable) was bitter. My mom tried to do everything he wanted, and he didn't respect her for it. Her sister-in-law told her once, "If T____ told you to dye your hair blue, not only would you do it, but you'd be mad at yourself for not having done it before he had to ask."

Mom obviously had a lot of difficulty functioning sometimes, and Dad ran her down all the time for it. Even after the divorce though, Mom was great in that she NEVER criticized or ran him down in front of us, no matter what he was doing to make her life miserable. I think this is VERY important for kids of divorced parents and regarding kids with birth family as well.

I learned at a young age to value logic when making decisions about everything. While I loved my mom, even she wasn't happy with the effect that being so dependent on her emotions had on her life. To me, logic was strength. Logic won arguments. Logic was valued by Dad and teachers.

Emotions made you vulnerable. I didn't want anyone to see me vulnerable, they might find out that they could hurt me. I even learned how to not be ticklish (just like Kitty). I ignored teasing, I never let anyone see if I didn't know the answers. I would cheat if I had to, in order to always be seen as right. I'm still so competitive that I don't enjoy playing card games. I only watch comedies and read books with happy endings. For the longest time I'd get caught up in the emotions of the media and it would actually manipulate my emotions. I was sad and irritable the whole time I was reading The Diary of Anne Frank (even though it is actually a very happy book, I knew what happened to her in the end).

To me, trust is huge. You have to trust someone to allow them to see your emotions, because emotions make you vulnerable to being hurt. I am not a very trusting person. It took years for me to trust Hubby enough to actually love him, and that was with him staying by me every day no matter how hard I tried to reject him before he could reject me. Sound familiar?! Yup, I have TOTAL empathy for my kids. I understand how hard it is for them. It's one reason I don't get angry with them when they act like "turds" or try to push me/us away. I get it.

So that's another reason why I rarely get angry, especially with the kids. I understand why they are acting the way they do.

I know this is also why I have such a hard time with believing in God. It's hard to have faith without trust. For me it's hard to have trust without proof, and of course it's hard to have proof when you're in denial because you don't want to see something that makes you vulnerable. I'm still working on it. God has given me some major proof(s), but I have to work every day to keep convincing myself that they are not just random coincidences.

I wish I had the "blind faith" and personal relationship that I see in children and others. I feel I am taking baby steps in the right direction, but that's all you can ask right?

So I continue to work with the kids and myself on allowing ourselves to feel ALL emotions. Trust is so hard, but we're a work in progress.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Anger Management

Kitty had a big test of her ability to handle her anger on the way home from her new program in the van. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to put 6-7 emotionally disturbed teens in a 9 passenger van for up to 1 1/2 hours each way with only a driver and no aide. (You know that I have stated this vehemently to many people at the program.)

Two girls, one of whom Kitty had thought of as her best friend, began picking on Kitty (stomping and pulling on her seat belt), and when she continued to ignore their behavior her BFF told the other girl to pull Kitty's hair. Kitty's hair is one of her triggers, and she turned and snapped at the girls, "I swear to God if you..." I'm so proud of her, and she was very proud of herself, that she didn't finish the sentence.

Luckily she went almost straight to therapy (by way of the ice cream shop!) and was able to vent and deal with the anger that she had just swallowed -- instead of inflicting it on us.

While we were discussing how she deals with her anger, how we (her parents) deal with our anger came up. At one point Kitty deflected the discussion by accusing us of yelling and cussing when we get angry, so therefore she can do it too. I pointed out that we rarely even raise our voice and I think I've "cussed" maybe twice in the 2 1/2 years she's lived here (and those words were probably "shut up" and "crap.") We reminded Kitty that it is her perception that we are yelling at her. Even speaking firmly triggers her, so we wouldn't dream of actually yelling at her - not to mention we are pretty calm people, we don't naturally yell or throw things.

We know Kitty is triggered to fight, flight or freeze reactions when she is scared of others. We know that shows of anger trigger this as well. For Kitty "behaving" means not showing anger or letting others know she is upset. Swallowing her feelings and running away from her feelings are common for her. I didn't want her to finish the sentence, "I swear to God if you do that again I'll kill you," which is how she wanted to finish it but I also don't want her to "behave" at this school and stuff all her emotions. Otherwise what's the point of having her in the program. I want her to learn to say something like, "Cut it out!" or "Leave me alone!" I want her to know it is not tattling to tell the bus driver.

I'm worried that we are not role modeling the proper way to deal with anger.

As a young child my anger actually triggered epileptic seizures for me. My mom's way of helping me deal with this was to teach me to avoid situations that triggered anger. I still feel very uncomfortable with both mine and other's anger.

When Kitty accuses me of not dealing with my anger well, I get very frustrated, because I feel that I'm dealing with it the same way she does - by swallowing it. At the same time, she can't handle anything else, so I guess for now nothing will change.

RADical Webinar

If I can find some people willing to split the cost I am definitely doing this!

Katharine Leslie is going to be doing a webinar!

May 18th. 10 AM to 11:30 AM CST.


Grab all your fellow Radical mom’s, invite them over for tea and split the cost. Continuing education credits will be issued if you need/want them.

Dr. Leslie presents at Attach every year and gets rave reviews. Also a parent to radicals. She doesn’t just “get it”, she lives it.

Parenting from the Trenches
Do you have a child who lies, steals, sneaks, stalks, hordes, chatters non-stop, or urinates in places other than the potty, etc? In this webinar Dr. Leslie will teach you essential, sensible, safe and effective solutions to your child’s behavior problems that can also increase positive behaviors in your child, create an attachment friendly environment, simplify daily life, reduce family conflict, and even get some of your parental needs met. Dr. Leslie will weave lecture material around questions from the audience.


This is a 90 minute Webinar

Quick overview of attachment and brain facts.
What children are supposed to give to the parent-child relationship?
What do you really want from your child?
Preventing negative behaviors
Rehearsing positive behaviors
Punishment vs consequences: What’s good for you?

Click here to sign up: Parenting in the Trenches

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder: Lack of one's own
identity, with rapid changes in mood, intense unstable interpersonal
relationships, marked impulsively, instability in affect and in self image.

We have always believed that while Kitty (and Bear) have shown traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, that they could not be diagnosed with it until they are 18. In talking to Kitty's psychiatrist today I learned that this may not be the case. Over a year ago Kitty was diagnosed with BPD traits, now I'm wondering if we should look into this further.

Personality disorders are not formally diagnosed in patients younger than
18 years because of the ongoing developmental changes. However, if the
disturbance is pervasive and if the criteria are fully and persistently met and
are not limited to a developmental stage, diagnosing borderline personality
disorder (BPD) in children and adolescents is appropriate.

I think the following description of BPD in children, really fits Kitty well especially the excessive use of fantasy. She spends hours outside in the backyard talking to herself (usually wildly gesticulating). Another typical symptom is self-mutilation, which I do not see with Kitty (although Bear did some cutting); however, Kitty is so unaware of how her body feels, almost complete dissociation, that she is constantly encouraging others to try to hurt her and runs into things all the time. I do not believe she would get the relief that some describe that comes from cutting.

Andrulonis evaluated a population of 45 children (aged 5-12 y) who met the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel, 3rd Edition, (DSM-III) and Gunderson criteria
for BPD.17 The primary behaviors that differentiated these children from the control group were aggression and rage, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, excessive use of fantasy, impulsivity, and poor relationships.

While Bear's issues seem to have dramatically improved and I am not too worried about him having to deal with this as an adult, with Kitty I am not so sure. They both have all the precursors.

Although the borderline condition in childhood is not necessarily a
precursor to BPD in adulthood, evidence suggests that both have strikingly
similar risk factors, which might indicate a common etiology. These factors
include family environments characterized by trauma, neglect, and/or separation;
exposure to sexual and physical abuse; and serious parental psychopathology,
such as substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder.

I looked into the differences between bipolar disorder (which Kitty is diagnosed with) and BPD. Honestly I think she might have both, but it was impossible to find someone who compares bipolar disorder in children with BPD in children, and bipolar in children is much different then adults.

"Bipolar disorder is essentially a mood fluctuation disorder, characterized
most often by depression. Bipolar people can abuse substances, but
otherwise they do not typically show the range of different symptoms BPD people

BPD individuals can be depressed, but BPD is essentially a
hyperreactive/impulsiveness disorder with mood features, but also other symptoms
affecting thinking and perception, self-concept, relationships, etc.

BPD involves instability not only of mood, but of perception of self,
perception of others, relationships, behavioral consistency, self-control, etc.
The mood disturbances in Bipolar Disorder typically are along a
depression--mania dimension; (mania, hypomania) with BPD, however, mood
disturbances typically involve the dimensions of anger and anxiety.

Most BPD patients do not have mania (sustained hyperactivity and elation),
though they can often act impulsively." (Daniel C. Claiborn Atlanta)

"In bi-polar the self-destructive behaviors are because the individual feels all powerful and invincible, whereas in the BPD the self-destructive behaviors are an attempt to stop pain. It's a huge

(I feel Kitty leans more to the BPD side on this one.)

In bipolar disorder mania or hypomania must be present for the diagnoses to be made. Many individuals with the BPD have been erroneously diagnosed with
bipolar because of the mood swings, even though they've never had mania or
(With Kitty's diagnosis of ADHD I have no idea how you would
tell the difference).

Can we confuse bipolar and BPD? Well, in theory, not !

  • Cycles in bipolar disorder are theoretically of rather long duration, sometimes a few months what is not the case in the borderline disorder.

  • The Bipolar has long periods of remission during which he is well, we cannot say the same with bpd peoples

  • The bipolar will suffer its cycles, basically no matter what it does, and independently of external factors, whereas in the borderline disorder cycles are the fruit of its emotions and its impulses, in short of lived moment what explains the speed of mood swing and the misleading feeling that he has several personalities

  • Borderline people are unstable almost in all domains like self-image, relationships, black and white thinking, emotions , ... what is not the case with bipolar

Unlike most adults who have bipolar disorder, however, children who have pediatric bipolar disorder are characterized by abrupt mood swings,
periods of hyperactivity followed by lethargy, intense temper tantrums, frustration and defiant behavior. This rapid and severe cycling between moods may produce a type of chronic irritability with few clear periods of peace between episodes

Can the BPD / Bipolar diagnosis be made with working medication? It seems
to be not possible to say "this medication is working, it is then the evidence
that my diagnosis is...". As the studies are saying, bipolar medications like
lithium and anticonvulsivants are also well responding with BPD so we can't use
such result for diagnosis.
One more depressing point:

    • "Bipolar is Axis I, BPD is Axis II. Insurance companies usually DO NOT
      cover Axis II diagnosis... An official diagnosis of bipolar disorder 'with'
      borderline personality traits is better then a single diagnosis of bpd, because
      bpd is NOT covered by most insurance companies" (Kathi's Mental Heath Review)

    • BPD is frequently called bipolar in a hospital because BPD is not covered by insurance companies since it is viewed as a "personality disorder" and not amenable to change" (bpd sanctuary)

    • "The statistic of 2% cannot be accurate for the following reasons: clinicians are actively discouraged from putting BPD on a patient's chart because of the stigma and insurance denials and because most clinicians do not have the training to make a diagnosis" (bpdcentral)

If we refer to long-term studies, we can see that bipolar disorder (BP I and BPII) are life long disorders. There are treatments to better live with BP disorders but it seems that we can't talk about "cure." For bpd, the problem is different, there are treatments but we also have the possibility to speak about "cure." Several studies show that most Bpd people can no longer be diagnosed with a bpd disorder after some years of treatment. The "funny" thing is that a lot of therapists don't hesitate to diagnose a person as "bipolar" but are afraid to diagnose a people as "bpd"... it seems that it is because they have in mind that there is no hope for bpd people. It is totally false!
So there it is. Does Kitty have BPD? Maybe. She definitely has a lot of the traits. Does she have ADHD? Well the stimulants work, and without them she is obnoxiously hyper, so almost definitely. Is she bipolar? She has the genetics for it, and a lot of the symptoms, so probably.
I wish the kids only had one diagnosis, and that all the diagnoses didn't overlap. Add in the RAD, PTSD, ODD and I don't know what is causing symptoms or how to deal with it or treat it.
We know a lot about our kids and have learned a lot about their diagnoses, but it makes me so nervous when the psychiatrist asks me what I want to do. Not that I don't want her to ask my opinion, but I'm not a psychiatrist either. I've always wanted a magic ball. Guess I'll just have to keep praying that I'm making the right decisions.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Superwoman guilt

It started out as regular guilt. That I hurt someone's feelings, didn't turn in an assignment on time, gained some extra weight, didn't keep my room clean...

Perfectionism Guilt

And I might be a wee bit of a perfectionist too. There's no guilt in that right?! Everyone feels guilty when they make a mistake, don't they?! Just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean I will feel guilty about it, right?! Right??!!

Marriage Guilt

Then I got married and there was more guilt.

Hubby is stressed, what can I do to make him feel better?! (This is of course my responsibility because I love him). I know!! I need to focus more on our relationship/ communication/ solving all his problems.... This is why the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus almost ruined our marriage. I thought it was my job to chase after him when he went "into his cave" and try to make him feel better, and I was excellent at it. The book told me that men need their cave time, time to be alone with their problems and think them through on their own (Women are supposed to talk through their problems). So when he went into his cave, I let him go - proud of my restraint and ability to let him work things through on his own. Problem was, Hubby was used to me chasing after him, so when I didn't... well he thought it was because I didn't love him anymore (guess I'm not the only one with abandonment issues).

Speaking of abandonment issues. There was a lot of guilt there too. I had major issues with men because of my childhood. I still can't believe Hubby hung in there and wouldn't let me push him away. Did I mention that took years?!

Health Guilt

I never work out. I weigh too much cause I love sweets and eat too much. I don't get enough sleep, and stay up until all hours of the night because I can't make myself go to sleep. I don't know why/if my husband finds me attractive. I potentially have cancer in the nodes growing in my throat, but don't have enough money to find out.

Faith Guilt

My faith is not strong.

Work Guilt

Then of course there was work guilt. I chose social work as a profession so of course I felt obligated to "rescue" every one. When I burned out on social work after only a year (no guilt there! *ironic smirk*). I had feelings of inadequacy chasing me everywhere I went, because this wasn't the job I got my degree in, so I obviously couldn't do it perfectly. So I strove harder. Staying late, working harder, always trying to do a better job... but deep down knowing I wasn't.

Boss Guilt

Now of course I'm the boss. I feel guilty because they are doing all the work and I couldn't if I wanted to (I'm not a designer or engineer), I feel guilty because I "should be" working harder to market the company and bring in new clients. Now I feel guilty because we can't afford to pay our staff and had to lay off many of them.

Blog guilt

I'm boring any readers with my whining and lack of consistent posting.

Mommy Guilt

And then the biggest guilt of all! Mommy guilt.

We won't even go into the fact that I gained 70lbs with both of my pregnancies. Every problem my children had was my fault.

My daughter (Bob)'s "spirited" tendencies (aggression, tantrums, biting, refusing to comply...), all my fault. Maybe it was all those years of my mom saying (cursing me with), "Someday you'll have a child just like you!"

Or maybe it was all my fault because I raised her wrong - not only could she push my buttons faster than anyone, she mostly acted that way with me. Still does actually. A conversation between Bob and I escalates faster then you can say, "stubborn." I read every discipline book known to man (123 Magic, Parenting the Strong Willed Child, Parenting with Love and Logic, Raising Your Spirited Child...), attended seminars and trainings, searched online, bugged my mom and friends for advice... and tried them all too . While a lot of them gave me greater insight, none of them "worked" for longer than 6 weeks. Either she figured out how to get around it, or it was too much work (star charts, keeping track of how many warnings she'd gotten, removing toys or priviliges...).

My son's medical problems were of course my fault too:

  • "Nicked" during his circumscision requiring repair surgery - my fault because I should have known to have it done with the "ring" or taken him to a pediatric urologist to have it done.

  • Allergies to wheat and barley causing constant ear infections which led to surgery and asthma requiring breathing treatments - I "should have" figured it out sooner.

Working Mom Guilt.

It's a family joke that even when I was a Stay at Home Mom I was never home. I was at friend's houses redecorating and painting their homes, forming playgroups, thrift store shopping...

Adoptive Mom Guilt.

I always feel like I should be reading more books and forums, and learning more about how to help my kids. I should always be a therapeutic parent and be doing everything I've read about (Reiki, tapping, strong sitting...), always calm and cool but loving and fun....

I have to make sure the biokids feel safe and loved, while at the same time dealing with the jealousy and issues of the adoptive kids.

Superwoman Guilt

So all of those different types of guilt add up to feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. My response to all of this is to shut down... just sit around playing Spider Solitaire and watch trash TV. Then I feel more guilty for not getting everything done. And play more solitaire and stay up later. And feel guilty because I know Hubby is a little resentful about having to pick up the slack.

The truth is I know it's not possible to be Superwoman. When I try to cut back and let things slide then most of the time Hubby picks it up. He is Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders. It's a no win situation. So I end up still overwhelmed and guilty.

And on that note I'm going to bed.

Are you Superwoman? Here's a quiz and a book review to find out.