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!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things I learned from the internet

The Accidental Advocate has an excellent post called Lessons of an Accidental Advocate. You really should read it. My favorite new phrase that I'm working on memorizing is, "It's not your fault. It's your challenge." Whenever I call Kitty's name she says, "What'd I do." When I tell her I need her to clean up a mess she made, or go back and do a chore correctly, or sometimes she just randomly assumes I'm upset with her, I get, "It's not my fault" or almost as often, "It's your fault (or Grandma's fault or Ponito's fault or whoever)."

We watched the movie Cool Runnings again the other day, which is based on a true story about the first Jamaican bobsled team. When the coach is asked why he cheated (and had his gold medals taken away) after already winning 2 gold medals, he said, "A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without it, you're not enough with it."

The Land of the Loo Loos had a post about Abilify, and I learned it can cause an increase in appetite aka "the munchies." This is our "miracle drug" for Kitty, who is 5'5" and over 180lbs. Most of (but not all) of her weight is in her belly and breasts. This means she pretty much looks 7-8 months pregnant - all the time. She hates the 20 minutes of aerobics we do a day, but if you try to restrict her eating in any way she has a meltdown. One of the big triggers for last week's meltdown was definitely the fact that she had to fast that morning. Of course food is a big issue for Bear too and he's not on Abilify (although he is on Seroquel which has similar appetite effects). Today for lunch he had 6 sausages on buns!! And when Grandma and I commented, his response after snapping that it was what he wanted to eat and he didn't care if it was healthy, was to mumble, "well I offered it to everyone else and no one wanted it so I'm going to eat it." Honestly I let out a big sigh and ignored it. I like my head attached to my shoulders and am tired of it getting bitten off.

The Bipolar Child Newsletter - In Honor of Mothers and Fathers of Bipolar Children - This accurately describes most of what goes on in our home. It was like they were sitting in my house except since starting on meds, my kids rarely act out in public, and we've been very lucky that they are not hyper-sexualized (at least not that we're aware of).

Allergy Mania

OH NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!

Recently discovered a new blog called Different, not Diseased (just what I needed a new blog to add to my Reader!) that says she just learned that Zyrtec and other allergy meds like it can trigger mania in bipolars!! I already knew that the "D" in Clairitin D or Allegra D made me so manic I wouldn't sleep for days and avoided that, but this is bad.

Where I live is like the allergy capital of the world. If we don't take our allergy meds, Bear starts hacking and spitting, Kitty's asthma and hives kick up, and I want to gouge my face off to stop the itching and dripping (oops - sorry about the graphic description).

We are all bipolar. I've always been hypomanic until the stress of adopting special needs teens caused me to have to start taking meds. Looking back now I realize that once I started taking meds regularly then I could finally remember to take allergy meds regularly - ooh I now see a viscious cycle. THIS STINKS!

I was just trying to figure out this morning why there are days when I feel like screaming, pinching everyone's heads off and throwing things (or kids). (No, of course I would never do this, but these mood spikes make things very difficult when dealing with people). I was planning on calling my doctor today to see if I needed to up my mood-stabilizer because a manic phase was "bleeding through" the meds.
What to do?! What to do?!

Monday, June 28, 2010

True Partnership?

76 Questions on How to Tell If Your Marriage or Relationship is a True Partnership

It's time to discover the amazing (and sometimes warping) effects of perception. Some spouses think they are helping out when in reality, they are merely delusional. For instance, one man told his wife he absolutely washed the dishes, because one time he actually did.

So if you are ready to find out who performs the most household chores, here are the questions (by the way, if you cleaned a toilet only once or twice it doesn't count). Respond ONLY to questions that apply to you and your spouse or child(ren).

Record H for husband, W for wife, C for child (if more than one, record as C - all 4, C1 - Bear, C2 - Kitty, C3 - Bob, C4 - Ponito.), N for nobody, and D for does not apply. This quiz will also help children who think their parents work them to death - they can see in black and white who actually does the most work:

General Household Tasks

1. Who takes out the garbage? C1

2. Who separates the laundry? W (C do own laundry, but do not separate it)

3. Who puts the laundry into the washer? H, W (C)

4. Who puts the laundry into the dryer? W and C (Sometimes. Sometimes they start it and walk away or refuse to switch over laundry because they'd have to touch someone else's clothing). If it's gone sour then definitely only W. H will do it if asked.

5. Who hauls the laundry up and downstairs to and from the laundry room? H and W. C1 and C4. C2 only under when forced. (Bob's room is downstairs)

6. Who hangs up the clothes? W (C don't hang up clothes except maybe C1)

7. Who folds the clothes? W (C never fold clothes)

8. Who puts the clothes away? W (C 1 and 4 if reminded. C3 claims she doesn't have enough room in her drawers. C2 "would rather die" - she lives out of basket and leaves them all over the house. If forced to put them away she just dumps everything in drawers - even dish rags and sibling's clothes).

9. Who dusts? N (rarely W. C are supposed to do the rooms they are responsible for)

10. Who vacuums? N or Grandma (C do the rooms they are responsible for - except C2 who "would rather die")

11. Who washes the floors? C

12. Who cleans the toilets? C (unless it’s overflowing in which case H or W)

13. Who cleans the counters? W or C and Grandma

14. Who cleans the sink(s)? C and Grandma occasionally W

15. Who cleans the tub(s)? C4 (C1 is supposed to clean his bathtub, but I doubt it happens).

16. Who cleans out the refrigerator? I think it's currently C1's job to clean inside and garage fridges. W decides when to throw out leftovers.

17. Who cleans the stove? W

18. Who polishes the furniture? N

19. Who does the gift shopping? W

20. Who does the grocery shopping? W with C dragged along sometimes

21. Who carries in the groceries? W takes in a load and then H and C when home.

22. Who puts the groceries away? W unless she forces others to do it.

23. Who prepares indoor meals for the family? W unless we're at Grandma's

24. Who barbecues meals? N, C1 or H (we deliberately haven't bought a new bottle of propane because C1 likes to cook, but charcoals everything.

25. Who washes the dishes? C, Grandma (almost never W)

26. Who puts the dishes away? C, Grandma (kids empty dishwasher then fill it when it's their turn for dishes).

27. Who picks up the dry cleaning? N (used to be W)

28. Who straightens up every day messes? W or Grandma, C when forced or if it is a room they are responsible for that day.

29. Who pays the bills? H (W sometimes pays the bills, but only when W tells her exactly what to pay, when, and to whom).

30. Who picks up prescriptions at the pharmacy? W or H

31. Who handles phone calls to bill collectors, etc.? H (W won't even answer the phone)

32. Who works full time outside the home? H (technically W is not full-time at any one job)

33. Who fills the car with gas? H or W (depending who drives the car).

34. Who takes the car in for repairs? H

Families With Children

35. Who does the clothes shopping for the kids? W

36. Who does the shoe shopping for the kids? W

37. Who gets the kids up in the morning? H or W

38. Who makes sure the kids' teeth are brushed? N (although sometimes W will comment on the disgustingness of their teeth and tells them to brush)

39. Who combs and brushes the kids' hair? C (although sometimes W brushes C2 - when it's tangled and C2 asks her to). W tells C to do it if needed.

40. Who dresses the kids? C (W sends them back when dirty or inappropriate)

41. Who cuts the food for small children? N

42. Who cleans up kids' meal messes three times a day? C, Grandma, N

43. Who gets the kids to softball (football, dance recitals, etc.) practice? H and W

44. Who stays and watches the games/recitals? Whole family.

45. Who takes the kids to the doctor? W

46. Who bathes the children? N (W sends them back when dirty or smell cause H can’t smell)

47. Who cuddles with the kids? W or H (depends on the child)

48. Who changes the baby's diapers? D - W or H used to (W deals with C2's pull-ups and now Kotex)

49. Who puts the kids to bed at night? C, H, and W

50. Who spends quality one-on-one time with each child? Mostly N except in therapy (H and W depending on child)

51. Who drives or walks the kids to daycare (Grandma’s)? H or W depending

52. Who disciplines the children? W usually decides need it and think it up. H enforces.

53. Who takes the kids to the dentist or doctor? W

54. Who schedules kids appointments? W

55. Who takes the kids to the hairdresser or barber? mostly W (W cuts the hair of C1 and C4 sometimes)

56. Who attends kids' school open houses, ARDS/IEP meetings? H and W

57. Who goes to parent-teacher interviews? H and W

58. Who restrains the out of control child? H and W

59. Who emotionally regulates traumatized child? Mostly W

Spouses With Houses

60. Who mows the lawn? H and Poppy (W's step-dad). (C1 used to)

61. Who rakes the leaves? N

62. Who waters the lawn? H

63. Who cleans the gutters? N

64. Who shovels the snow? D

65. Who takes care of landscaping/gardening? Grandma

66. Who cleans out the garage? W (C n H when directed)

67. Who paints the walls? W (although C3 is currently painting her bedroom walls)

68. Who cleans the windows outside? C

69. Who refills the water softener? H

Families With Animals

70. Who cleans out the kitty litter box? C2 and C4

71. Who walks the dog? C

72. Who bathes the dog? W and C

73. Who clips the mats and trims the pet fur? W and Grandma

74. Who feeds the animals? C1 and C2 (C4 used to do it), H and W

75. Who cleans out the cages of smaller animals or birds? Was W now D

76. Who takes the animals to the vet? W and Grandma

Figuring the results for this quiz is fairly simple. Count the questions that applied to all of you (husband, wife, child). Tally up the marks for H and for W (and C if necessary). Compare your number of initialed answers to your spouse's number of initialed answers. To find out the percentage of how many more tasks you complete than does your spouse, divide the numbers like this: say only 40 total questions applied to you and your spouse. You answered 30 with your initial and your spouse answered 10 with a spouse initial. 30 (the number of your initials) divided by 40 (the number of questions that applied to both of you) equals 75%. 10 divided by 40 equals 25%. These results are clearly not equal. If your quiz results are similar (or worse), why not sit down with your partner and discuss equality in relationships.An interesting benefit to taking this quiz is discovering your spouse's perceptions. Maybe this quiz will open the door to discussion and to a more equal partnership. One more thing: if you discover your children are carrying the burden of performing household tasks, consider either rewarding them or helping them if you are not already doing so.

Good news and bad news

Good news:
Bear and Kitty are compliant and doing OK as if nothing has happened.
Bad news:
Bob's turn.

Good news:
Bob is acting horrendous because she is a teenager and not because she is mentally ill or traumatized.
Bad news:
Because Bob is bio she apparently is biologically wired to be able to push my buttons. She infuriates me.

Good news:
I don't have to be at work until 2pm because I don't have any appointments until then, and for once almost everyone has their chores done. Even sick Ponito.
Bad news:
Bob is the "almost" and the whole time will be spent with a pouting Bob who is refusing to get in the car with me to go to work. So I have to sit here while Grandma gets everyone else.

Bad news:
Ponito is sick.
Good news:
He just has a mild cough and a low grade fever and is such a sweet tempered kid he's behaving well and even voluntarily doing his chores (I had to stop him from doing aerobics, but let him do his chores).

Good news:
I got all 25 dozen cookies done and delivered for the prison ministry.
Bad news:
I ate a lot of the extra.

Good news:
My niece is 8!
Bad news:
Pizza, birthday cake and ice cream.

Good news:
I got to go to Sunday School (to deliver the cookies).
Bad news:
I'm still staying up 'till all hours because I can't sleep, and Hubby gets up at the crack of dawn to get enough hours in at work. We hardly ever see each other.

Good news:
Company is still operating, and we have some proposals out to small clients.
Bad news:
We lost the two major contracts we were trying for, so we may not be operating for long.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trading off

Tuesday we had more of the same with Bear, but he did calm down so I let Grandma pick him up and take him to "Open Gym" at the church. I was hoping she'd supervise him a little more closely, but there was a miscommunication. Luckily his new girlfriend didn't show up after all.

I lost track of time so we were super late to everything including taking Kitty to meet her new psychiatrist. I hate being rushed! It's so hard on all of us. This psychiatrist is actually located about 4 hours away, but she talks to Kitty via a video camera and screen at our local MHMR! Of course we had to discuss everything in Kitty's files, so in a 1/2 hour period we talked about how Kitty came into foster care; Kitty, Biomom and Bear's diagnoses; Kitty's meltdowns; Kitty's hospitalization; developmental milestones (I'm not much help there) and past trouble with enuresis and encopresis (that's wetting and pooping on herself if you don't know), Kitty's meds and how well they're working.... Basically Kitty is pretty stable so no med changes.

Then Kitty and I rushed to see her attachment therapist. This was not a very upsetting meeting we didn't go over any majorly tough issues, but we did talk about how well Kitty was doing - which immediately prompted her to start asking for special privileges. In the past it's usually been seeing movies I don't approve of or getting to go to a dance. She asks for things a million times and I say No. After awhile she seems ready to handle something and I'll allow her to do it (not after she's been whining of course!). This week she wanted to dye her hair black. The therapist and I alternated over and over reasoning with her (her hair is beautiful as is, she can't afford upkeep...) with Mom said No, period. Ad infinitum.

Kitty seemed OK.

Wednesday, Bear was very well behaved. Hubby had told the boys he'd allow them to join his scuba class that night (yes I'm single parenting it this week while Hubby teaches).

Flash forward to this morning. Kitty hates doing morning aerobics. It's hard for her, she's not very coordinated, and I have to do a lot of redirection (she hates it when I "criticise" her). The last couple of days I've given her a choice. Aerobics with the family or jump on the mini tramp. She quickly learned that the mini tramp is not as fun as it looks, and mom still keeps her on task (she has to jump 20 minutes - it helps with her ADHD). Today she decided to go back to regular aerobics - and the whining continued.

Kitty woke up early (2 hours early!) and wasn't allowed to eat (fasting for some blood work the new p-doc wanted). She whined and complained all through the aerobics tape. Finally we were done and Grandma arrived so I took her to get the blood work done (she was totally fine in public!). Then it came time to do her chores. Today was cleaning her room. You've heard the phrase, "a lick and a promise"? If it were in the dictionary there would be a picture of Kitty next to it.

I've met many men who just don't see dust (you could write on all the furniture in Hubby's house even though he's basically a neat person). Personally I'm a clutter bug. My mom's family grew up in the depression and the phrase "waste not want not" doesn't even begin to describe them. I'd mention they were Scotch "pinch pennies," but I don't want to offend anyone and sound prejudiced.

Kitty's lack of feelings, emotional and physical, have always caused her to be messy and not appear to know it (milk dripping off her chin, blood dripping down her leg, encouraging kids to pinch her arm because she couldn't feel it, not being able to tell you when she last pooped....). We quickly taught her the meaning of the word oblivious. I have to say she's come a LOOOOONG way, but she still has quite a long way to go too.

Junk, clothes, shoes just drip off Kitty and then it's "out of sight, out of mind." (I'm having fun with the sayings today). She'll look at her room which I think is a mess, and see nothing wrong with it. She sweeps a room by waving a broom in the middle and calling it done. Chores have always been a cause of major meltdowns because we expect them to actually get done, when we say to do them (because "later" means never).

So yup, you guessed it, Kitty had a meltdown over doing her chores - and it wasn't even dishes!!

Of course I was supposed to have left for work hours before and was trying to get some e-mails written when she tried to turn the TV on (a privilege reserved for those who have finished their chores). Grandma tried to take over, but Kitty was having none of that. Mom was in the house so she claimed Grandma had no authority over her. My mom and I ended up double teaming her. Kitty's meltdown was inevitable, but it most certainly didn't help for her to feel ganged up on so I went back to my computer to let Grandma handle it. Kitty didn't like that either (she wasn't going to like anything at this point).

I did tell Kitty she was going to work with me which she screamed denials to, but did move upstairs to her room. Grandma offered to help Kitty finish cleaning her room and make her beds, but Kitty would rather yell at Grandma (7 minutes, we timed it). She threatened to jump off the second story railing (I ignored this - she likes to threaten, but was not suicidal). I told the defiant Miss. Kitty to finish up and get something to do because she was going to work with me. Kitty slammed her door and made her beds.

When I didn't immediately come to check on her made bed (Kitty's room is upstairs so Grandma tries to make as few trips up there as possible). Kitty got even angrier because I didn't love her. I know she feels abandoned when I don't follow her and help her regulate, but sometimes it's just too much. Kitty threatened to run away. Again I ignored the rant and continued to work.

Finally Kitty went out the front door. Truthfully I was hoping for this, because she'd already repeatedly screamed her refusal to get in my car to go to work with me and I (rightly) assumed I'd be able to get her in the car once she was out of the house. I'd already started shutting down my computer. I checked her beds and they were mostly made (horrible job, but better than bare mattress with bedding strewn all over. Kitty's flip flops were in the hall so she was barefoot.

Ponito was outside with a friend and he pointed me in the direction she'd started walking. A lady was pushing her baby in a stroller and she hadn't seen Kitty so I knew which way to turn at the next turn. I quickly found Kitty who had circled the block and was probably headed back home (she's not the bravest soul and was probably afraid I wasn't coming for her).

Of course she refused to get in the car and started walking away. I honked the horn to let her know I wasn't above embarrassing her (Sorry neighbors! Hope no one was napping!). I pulled out my cell phone and told her through the open window that I was calling the police to report her as a runaway. That worked.

When we drove right past the house she realized she was stuck. She kicked and hit the car, I informed her she'd be paying for repairs, she stopped. She didn't put her seat belt on (which she carefully pointed out to me), I told her she'd pay the ticket. I had a few moments when I was at stop signs and stoplights when I was afraid she'd get out, but she decided not to. She said she wanted me to get in a wreck so she'd die, but eventually put her seat belt on.

LOTS of "you don't love me"s, suicidal threats, and lots of "I want to go home"s. Not to our house, but back to Nebraska. I said this is home. Nebraska is not an option. She threatened to go live with her grandparents, I reminded her they want her to stay here, and if they took her that would be kidnapping. We talked about how legally, ethically and emotionally she is our child. I reassured her over and over that I love her and will not let her go.

She pulled out the "Home is where the heart is" and my heart is in Nebraska. I'm kind of proud of my answer, "Home is where the heart is, and you have pieces of your heart all over the country, in Nebraska, with your biofamily, and here with us - whether you're mad at us right now or not, your heart is with us."

When we got to work she refused to get out of the car. Luckily? it is a semi-cloudy day. Still this is Texas and it was noon, so she only sat out there a few minutes.

More pouting, discovered that the "4 foot rule" was in place, and was finally given 2 options. "Calm down and get out of my chair or I'll have you sit in the sales guy's office so he can watch you while I make lunch for me, since you didn't want any of the leftovers I brought for lunch." The salesguy is a very large, former military, former police officer who had a tough childhood and is an amazing guy who is pretty understanding of what the kids have been through. He's mentored Bear a little bit. He's got 4 daughters and would never dream of hurting Kitty, but she's intimidated by him nonetheless.

She did calm down, ate the leftovers, complained that she's still "starving," drew for a little while, cleaned up an overflowing toilet (she claims all she did was pee, but that toilet has never overflowed before - I told her she could clean it up anyway as there have been many times when she did make it overflow that she didn't have to clean it up), of course whined because she's bored (told her next time to listen when I say get something to do - she says there won't be a next time and I hope she's right!), and begged for me to call Grandma to come get her so she could go swimming like Bear got to (told her Bear was here for hours before I let Grandma come get him and he didn't fight with Grandma, threaten suicide or run away). Now she's laying on the floor with a blanket, even though she's "not tired." Hopefully she'll sleep until my conference call is over.

Now all I have to do is decide if I should change her meds, call her therapist (will probably just send her a copy of this post), or just blow this off as life as usual.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bear growls

This morning Bear rudely informed me he was not going to do aerobics because he didn’t sleep again. I had him rephrase it into a request and then let him off the hook. He really has been having trouble sleeping lately.

When we were finished with the whine fest aerobics, he was on the phone. (Don't know who all he called, but apparently one call was to Grandma to try to get her to take him somewhere). I told him to get off the phone and do his chores. This was not well received. After I insisted and he slammed the phone down and went to his room, I went to change to work clothes.

Bear apparently came out of his room and began fussing at and/or ordering around one or more of the kids, but it was relatively short and I wasn’t dressed so I let it go. When I came out of my room his glasses were on the floor in front of the bedroom door. I brought them downstairs and he asked if they were broken, because they wouldn’t stay on his face while he was vacuuming the hall so he threw them.

Kitty complained that he’d cleaned his room (the family room) by throwing stuff in her room (game room). He was not exactly apologetic and implied, “tough toenails.” He was being very argumentative and rude. Oh, by the way, because I was “rude” and “pissy” last night this apparently means he has the right to act that way too. (I’ve got to figure out what to do about my semi-annual mood spikes – they just make things so much worse by justifying in his mind his life-long pissy attitude. You get mad and pissy, Mom!)

At this point I made the “mistake” of telling him to grab a pillow and something to do because he was going to work with me instead of going to Grandma’s. He refused. I told him several reasons why including I didn't trust him not to act the same way to Grandma. He said he didn’t fuss at the kids (I love how he picks one thing out of the list and denies it – whether it’s deniable or not). I said he was tired and being rude and she didn’t need to deal with that and 4 other kids. (For some reason Ponito's friend Neighbor Boy was going with them to Grandma’s? I don’t think anyone gave permission for this by the way.)

Bear got angrier when I wouldn’t give in to him demanding telling me he was going, and stormed upstairs saying he wasn’t going and I couldn’t make him. I e-mailed Hubby during this so I wouldn’t have to talk out loud on the phone and set him off any more than he already was. In the meantime I was trying to get 4 other kids to get their chores done and ready to go so I could try to be at work by 10:30am since our sales guy had told an annoying but paying client that he and I had a morning meeting so couldn’t meet them until 11:30am (I found out later that it was as I’d suspected just a ruse to give me plenty of time to get to work, but it backfired anyway cause the client showed up at 9:10am saying he never received the e-mail).

About 10 minutes later Bear came back downstairs and got on the phone. Apparently everyone he called wasn’t there, and he even asked Kitty for some biofamily numbers. I ignored it, and started trying to figure out how everything that still needed to be done could possibly have involved EVERYone being in the kitchen (still don’t know how that worked out that way, but they all had legit reasons for being there and couldn’t be sent away if we were ever going to get out of the house).

He then started sobbing. Really sobbing. I took a few deep breaths (because I really didn't want to deal with him) and asked if I could help. He mumbled a negative. He lay his head down and sobbed. I focused on the other kids (how sad is it that they ignored him completely and when about their day). I asked him once more if there was anything I could do. (head shake no). After a bit minute he moved to the couch and put a blanket over his head.

I went in to the room and finally got him talking. As I expected, he wouldn't tell me why he was crying, but did when I asked him why he thought he wasn’t sleeping. He said it was that med we’d put him on that had been messing up his sleep (Tra zodone). I told him he hadn’t taken it in 3 days. “Oh.” Then he didn’t know why.

I asked him in roundabout ways, if he was having nightmares (No), if his brain was racing (No), if he was afraid of something (No). I think what he finally said was his body couldn’t stop being active, but mostly he didn’t know why. He says he can’t nap during the day either.

I called the new psychiatrist and his new caseworker, but didn’t get hold of either of them. The caseworker called me back later and said the p-doc called in a prescription for Bear. They still don’t have Bear’s psych records as far as I can tell. They’re still trying to get the results of the sleep study too.

When everyone was ready to go, Bear got up and got in the car. Hubby called, but I didn’t want to "jinx it" by telling Hubby what was going on when he was finally being compliant. Bear went to work with me and was sullen, but behaved, mostly. I took him to the grocery store (where a gangbanger did some weird things when we walked by, which I’m sure triggered some issues), and got him some protein. He’d had no breakfast of course and didn’t take his meds until after 10am (I think we need to go back to having Hubby set them out in the morning!). First thing he did when we walked in the office was find some candy to eat. *sigh*

By the way, he did get a nap (less than an hour), but he’s still being a Negative Nelly. He has a new girlfriend (He wrote “I love ashaley” on the white board) and he’s mad because I won’t let her come over tonight when Hubby's not home. Plus I had the audacity to say I don’t think he’s ready for a relationship. He’s “not going to leave her.” (I told him I don’t necessarily want him to leave her, but he himself said he wasn’t ready for a relationship at therapy on Saturday – he said it’s Hubby and I that’s been saying for years that he shouldn’t be in a relationship). I mentioned that if he has relationships when he’s not ready then they don’t last (ex. the Kleenex girls). Apparently I am a bad parent for bringing this up, because I am not “supporting” him.

I’m a horrible person because I’m “always” telling him everything he wants to do is “Not a good idea,” so I’m always “running him down.” I told him we’re trying to help him follow realistic steps to get what he wants, because that’s how you succeed. He prefers doing it himself and he’s going to prove us wrong. I mentioned the reason he’s home this Summer and under strict supervision is because he’s not following those steps. Guess how well that went over?

If he were participating in therapy, working on his issues instead of ignoring them and maybe even listening to the advice/coaching we’re giving then he would probably be in a very different place right now. It’s not our job to tell him everything will be OK and he’ll be president one of these days. Rabbit hole about what a horrible job he thinks the president is doing – I dragged him back.

He started talking about how no one listens to him about how horrible a childhood he had or they wouldn’t do this to him. I told him we realize he had a tough childhood, but it’s our job to help him succeed anyway. What he’s doing (or not doing) is not working. If he wants a car and a good job then he needs to learn how to work on things. He stated he’s going to get a car when he’s 18 anyway. Umm… I risked being a non-supportive person again and asked him how an 18 year old without a high school diploma was going to get a car. He’d get a job. What kind of job is an 18 year old without a high school diploma going to get that will help him earn a car, and gas, and insurance. He'll get a job. (In case you haven't noticed Bear believes that stating things makes them so).

[I need to start saying things like… "You don’t have to do this on your own. We will help you and take care of you. We’re not pointing out that you can’t do these things or get what you want, we’re trying to point out that you can’t do these things or get what you want… ALONE! You need help and we’re offering..."]

He’s wanted to go make “Bags of Grace” at the church tonight, and I said no. When he asked why I told him because I had to watch all the kids and you weren’t there. We “never let him go anywhere.” We “have to” give him a chance. I called him on this and pointed out we give him chances all the time – he had chances at school to make good grades and be where he was supposed to be.

Rabbit hole – “You can’t say YOU’VE never skipped a class.” Yes I can Bear, and it would be true. (Of course he doesn’t believe me). “You can’t say you haven’t failed a class.” True, I have failed a couple of classes, but I’ve never failed all my classes. He of course argued that he passed all his classes. I said this was only because he had a big buffer from all those As and Bs at the beginning of the Semester and he’s not going to be able to do this next year. Bear then said, all he has to do is pass, and he might not even be here next year. I asked him if that was a suicidal threat or a runaway threat and he said neither. It’s just the same thing he says every night. He just means anyone might get hit by a bus tomorrow or the sun might explode….

That’s all I really remember. There was a lot of sullen pouting. I let Grandma pick him up to take him swimming and he apparently behaved OK.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Manure Happens

Forgot to note that the evening of my The Poop Hits the Fan post we got to do our first volunteer work at the Hippotherapy (hippo means horses!)/therapeutic riding place. Kitty and Bear were sidewalkers, which means they walk alongside the horse holding the saddle and usually bracing the child (usually a child) in place so they don't fall off. We were there two hours and I got to watch a little of the second hour. Bear was walking with a little girl, and when I noticed her tiny hand rested trustingly on the back of his big man hand, I thought my heart would melt.

Bob isn't old enough (she's counting down the days though - 4 weeks and 2 days) to work with the horses and neither of course is Ponito. You have to be 14. Until then you have to be supervised at all times by a parent which means I can't work with the horses either. Bob was planning on working in the office (in spite of getting Grandma to buy her new $120 men's boots!), but they were closed. Instead we mucked stalls.
Bob whined. A lot. The lady showing us what to do, finally made a deal with Bob - 3 stalls and then you're done. She let Bob help her lead out horses, and at one point Bob followed the working horses and picked up things (they were using toy food for something). Ponito and I mucked stalls steadily for over 2 hours (yea Caerobics, I wasn't even sore the next day!).
Ponito was fascinated by the mice, maggots, raking the refuse away from the wheelbarrow dumping area to make room for more, filling and dumping wheelbarrows (full of hay, uneaten alfalfa and of course manure and stuff), and finding and mucking hidden pee - in that order! He is such a little boy! I'll admit that cleaning the kitty litter box, while taking less time smells more and is a yuckier chore. This place is clean and fresh"ish." These very special horses live like royalty! Most of them are in their late 20s and 30s!
We're going back on Saturday. They really want me to help, but I don't have a lot of options of things to do with Ponito, and he's too young to be unsupervised (they asked if I could let Kitty and Bob supervise him - even though technically Bob is supposed to be supervised too, but I don't let any of the kids supervise each other - too much of a chance that someone will take advantage of the situation). They'll make due with Kitty or maybe my sister will take Ponito (she's finishing moving out of her old house this weekend - they leased it - so she'll probably not want him. We'll see).

I'm sooo tired - MHMR

I'm sooo tired, as Lilly Von Schtupp said in Blazing Saddles "I'm not a rabbit. I need some reeeessst. I'm tired." I stayed up till after 4 am last night trying to update Bear's now 34 pages long time line (I was looking for something else and ended up doing this instead).
Bear had his first meeting with the new psychiatrist. Whom I like. I just wish Kitty could see him too, but she's not got enough issues to qualify for the MHMR program. (Of course I have no idea how I'd fit in more caseworkers and people so I guess it's a good thing she doesn't need it.) Instead she'll be doing this video medication management stuff. I'm not entirely sure about the qualifications of her new pdoc. This lady seems to not have a lot of experience and my kids' meds are not simple, even Kitty who is relatively stable right now.
Soooo embarrassing while visiting with Bear's new pdoc there were two women in the room. One looked kind of familiar (actually they both sort of did). Normally when there's interns or something they introduce themselves, but they'd already had an individual meeting with Bear so I thought maybe they forgot. After awhile I asked them straight out who they were. They both just looked at me like I was kidding and said, they'd both been to our home! One (the more familiar one) was Bear's new case worker. *mortified blush* The other was the mother of a friend of Bear's (from the special school), and it had been a long while since she'd been to our home (Bear recognized her though). We joked about Bear needing a friend's mom at his pdoc appointments. Turns out she's the family support person at MHMR.
I don't really understand this place. After 4 years of doing it on our own, I'm not used to getting any support. Now we have a caseworker who comes weekly, a skills trainer who comes weekly, a family support woman who says, "Call anytime and don't forget to come to the monthly support groups (which are during Kitty's therapy so not an option)," and they were trying to help me find Summer programs for Bear (didn't work because theirs stopped at age 14 - which surprised everyone there apparently. They'd spent at least 10 minutes looking for the forms). I met with the man helping me get Kitty's paperwork set up for her new pdoc, and spent about half an hour with the financial aid person (set up another appointment that's 2 hours long to see if Bear qualifies for SSI when he turns 18)...
We were there 2.5 hours for what I was thinking would be a 30 minute med management appointment at most... umm, with all these appointments when am I supposed to work? Needless to say Bear was not happy about having to sit around and wait. Especially because he missed swimming. We picked up the rest of the kids and rushed to the church to watch all the vacation bible school kids sing. Kitty and Bob's classes were in the first group (5:45-7) and Ponito's class was in the second (7-8). Bear had to be there from 5:30-8:30 because he was signed up for sound and "had to" spend most of his time outside the church watching the sound equipment (and wandering). We didn't get out of there until almost 8:30pm.
Seriously, between the kids' appointments and activities and volunteer work, when am I supposed to work? Work is finally starting to pick up a little so when I'm not doing kid stuff I'm finally doing some work stuff - which is all wait, wait... get it done yesterday! type stuff. Still haven't sent out a lot of resumes or followed up on the ones that I have sent. Not sure how I'm supposed to leave work right now either since we switched all our staff to contract (lost our payroll services) and our only on-site employee needs lots of attention (sales guys need people to talk to!).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello, my name is

Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

I told Ponito about this photo I'd found, and yesterday he came home from vacation bible school wearing a name tag with this written on it.

I love my kids!

(This is a quote from the must-see movie, Princess Bride for those of you who are not classic movie buffs).

The poop hits the fan

The kids have been working vacation bible school (VBS) at the church (well, except Ponito, he's in it). They really seem to be enjoying it, even Bear (although he doesn't say it, he's very animated). I love listening to them tell stories of the children they're teaching. Bear is working with the recreation group which means he is "teaching" PE type stuff to all the grades all day. Perfect. Wish this went on all Summer!

Today the 5th graders (includes Ponito), the teenage volunteers, and some adult staff are going to a nearby waterpark after VBS - which ends at noon. Bear desperately wants to go (it's outside and active and away from family and direct supervision - what's not to like?!). He's been angling for it ever since he heard about it, and I've been giving him the same answer. I don't think it's a good idea.

He decided my only argument must be because it's $20 per child so he talked someone at the church into giving us a partial scholarship. This ticked Hubby off when he heard about it. We could be on welfare and Hubby wouldn't want anyone to have a clue. I understand privacy and not wanting pity, but this is our church family and I don't think they're judging us. Still, that's why he and I no longer go to church. I can't keep my mouth shut about our life. I'm so glad he doesn't read this blog!! It gives me the outlet I need so I don't feel the urge to vent in my real life as much. (THANKS FOR LISTENING Y'ALL!)

Grandma wrote a check for the other half (but Hubby doesn't know about that). Thanks anyway Grandma! I'll tear it up today.

I've been trying to find someone who's been to this waterpark to tell me if it's even possible for the kids to be supervised at all, but no one I know has been. After Kitty went to Six Flags where I though she'd be under direct supervision and instead there were 200 kids, maybe 20 teachers total, and no adults at all in her small group of herself and 3 boys (with thousands and thousands of park visitors), I'm not taking for granted that people will even keep an eye on my emotionally disturbed kids! And I don't think a bunch of 10-11 year olds (Ponito's age) need to be wandering the park either. Bob might be safe enough, but she doesn't want to go.

Some people at the church know my kids have issues. Most don't. Just looking at them people assume I must be crazy. They present as typical teenage kids. I told Bear last night that it was a supervision thing. He told me that he only hangs out with the youth group leader (early 20s) and he promises he won't get into any trouble. The truth is he probably wouldn't, but what if he does? Or this opens the door to doing even more things. This time he may behave, but next time he most likely won't.

We've often said if you give Bear an inch, he'll take a mile. It's definitely easier to not even give him that inch, even if he can handle it, and everyone around me says I should, because once the door is open even a crack he'll try to force his way through it and he just can't handle more than an inch or two. He knows it too. He acts all surly, but I think he feels safer - or he'd just run away. He claims that he doesn't complain because he knows there's no point, and some of that may be true, but I think he doesn't complain because he thinks he doesn't deserve better, he knows we won't give in, and because deep down he agrees with us.

Hubby told them "No" this morning (because my "No" all week isn't sufficient obviously). So I'll be dealing with the consequences when I pick them up this afternoon (Grandma is still sick). I want to sign them up to do volunteer work this afternoon at the horse therapy place, but I'm nervous about their reactions. I might take the number with me and call and see if they need any walk-on help.

Anyway I better get to work. I'm exhausted from staying up late last night. The dogs ran out of dog food (why can't the kids tell me before the food is completely gone?!) so I was at the grocery store at midnight picking up a few things (Bob was out of contact solution too), got home and unloaded groceries and realized I needed a bath because it had been awhile (I don't do the shower thing unless I absolutely have to - I prefer to soak in the tub and do some recreational reading. I think the year in college that my apartment didn't have a shower contributed to my depression - although I did pick up the impressive skill of being able to read in the shower).

Of course the Master bedroom toilet chose last night to overflow (Kitty used it when she was upstairs taking her shower - guess it's time to increase her constipation meds again). Usually I can unclog it pretty fast. If not, Hubby has gotten good with the snake, but the snake is mysteriously broken and Hubby was asleep. So I cleaned up the mess, poured some drain cleaner in it, left the plunger in it so Hubby wouldn't use it (I wish it was clean like the one in the picture. Sorry Hubby, good thing you have no sense of smell!), and took my bath (yes, I washed my arms and legs first so I wasn't soaking in "that.")

Debt collecter call work me up 5 minutes before my alarm. *sigh* At least we're finally getting most of them paid off. This one said the payment wasn't due for a couple more days, but he was calling now to give it time to "process." Why don't they just move up the due date to accomodate that? It's just stupid.

It's 11am. Do I declare myself officially "working from home" and take a quick nap, or go to work for 30 minutes before picking up the kids at VBS.... decisions, decisions.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What a job!

I've been job hunting for several days now. So of course I'm totally swamped. I've never had so many appointments, conference calls or sent so many e-mails.

The kids got into the MHMR program... mostly. Kitty is in, but I can't get hold of anyone to schedule a psychiatrist appointment. The good news is I did find her latest psych eval so was able to finish the paperwork for her CRCG meeting.

Bear's new caseworker came to the house for a first meeting (the kids hate it when that happens cause they have to clean - at least no one can remove the kids if the house is messy/cluttered). She and I talked for over an hour in another room. All the kids of course came and climbed all over me (they always do this when we have company).

Did I say all the kids? I meant all the kids but Bear. He sat in the next room watching TV and wrestling with Ponito. As the caseworker was leaving I asked her if she wanted to at least meet Bear if not actually get to make eye contact with him. She had seen him, but assumed he was 20 or so and therefore couldn't be 16 year old Bear. Yeah, that happens to him a lot.

He still refused to look up at her. He has a meeting with a life skills trainer tomorrow and I'm betting he'll do the same (in addition to pouting because he won't be able to go swimming because of the timing of the meeting).

The kids are working at the church vacation bible school. They seem to be having fun. Poor Grandma is sick so she's off duty for I don't know how long. This morning I woke up early (kids have to be at the church at 7:30am, and while Hubby is taking them on his way to work, they're still noisy, needy, LOUD, little buggers). I spent the morning working and job hunting and then drove to work. I was there 15 minutes, called a client ( a real paying job!) and then it was time to pick up the kids.

Boys were ready, Kitty said she and Bob would be at least another 1/2 hour so we went to the high school to finally return Bear's $99 calculator and pick up his grades and test results. He passed all of his classes (we already knew they wouldn't let him fail). On the state standardized testing he actually passed math (barely) this year - first time since he's moved here, but failed reading and science. Of course 5 minutes after we left for the school the girls called and said they were done (30 minutes round trip).

Had an adoption support meeting tonight. It was good, but I feel like I took over the meeting to complain about my kids. It was supposed to be about giving up control of our child while still being in charge. As they get older we need to be letting them control themselves more. Basically that won't work for my kids because they need someone cont. Poor guy giving the training.


Tomorrow I get to do it all over again. 10:30am conference call trying to find a vendor for a proposal due Thursday. 11:30am talk with the freelance engineer about the same project. 12:15 pick up the kids. 4pm Bear and I meet with the new life skills coach. 5:30pm attachment therapy with Kitty. In between I need to job hunt, clean house, work, catch up on e-mails and blogs and other random stuff.

How am I going to find time for a full-time job? Worst part is I know I'm letting things fall through the cracks. It's 1am. Better make sure all of dinner is put away and get some sleep.

Nite y'all!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who let the dogs out?!

Wednesday morning the stupid dogs got out. Ponito and Hubby caught our old husky, Scarlet, who never left the front yard, but the younger two were long gone. Did I mention it was raining? So I threw a long t-shirt over my leotard and biker short outfit (I'll spare your eyes from any pictures), and Ponito and I went looking. Couldn't find them, so everyone but Bob (who as usual wasn't dressed and ready to go - she hates mornings), hopped in the van and we drove around a little. Still couldn't find them. Minutes after we got home the Animal Control people called. They'd found the dogs and would bring them to us (yea!). The bad news was they'd found them in the creek area so they were covered in mud and burrs (yikes!). This is when I found out that Princess' collar didn't have any tags on it ("Mom, we told you that a year ago!" *sigh*).

I decided the dogs needed a major bath and brushing to see if we can get the burrs out (Prince is a long hair dog and he had burrs EVERYwhere). Of course if we're bathing them we might as well wash them with flea shampoo, and if we're washing the two dogs we might as well wash all 3... and that's how it started.

At first I tried to stay clean. I bent over at the waist, then I crouched, then I kneeled (ouch! bare knees on the concrete driveway), and finally I gave up and sat directly on the wet concrete. Getting all the burrs off Prince took at least 20 minutes of scrubbing, cutting and brushing. Shampooing him and getting him rinsed was difficult. He has really bad hip dysplasia so he leaned his 75lb body against me most of the time. The kids washed Princess (a Rottweiler spaniel mix only 45lbs) and took her inside. For a long time I tried to keep at least one kid outside with me. The weather was perfect for this. Here in TX I usually can't spend 4 hours in direct sunlight, washing and trimming dogs.

Poor Scarlet, our Husky. the kids tried to wash her, but the water and shampoo didn't penetrate even the top layer of her coat. Huskys have a different kind of coat than most dogs. They have guard hairs which are like most dogs regular coat, and then they have an undercoat which is a dense, felted mat of fur. Kind of like a bed of nails (guard hairs) with 2o layers of dense down blankets (undercoat) embedded into it.

Two or three times a year they "blow out" this undercoat, meaning the undercoat detaches from the skin, but the guard hairs don't. The undercoat once removed looks like you could make a whole new dog with it!
There's tons of the stuff, but the undercoat is hard to get out because the guard hairs hold it. You can rake it out with a funky brush (we use a slicker which looks like a regular brush but the bristles are bent like talons), you can pull it out by hand (takes forever), or you can shave it all off (shortening the guard hairs and then raking out what's left - a little easier). Every book you read though says you should NEVER cut the dogs' guard hairs because they need it to help them regulate their temperature and protect them from the sun, but this is TX. Poor Scarlet is prone to yeast infections and is chronically miserable from the heat. So we trim her.

One time we took her to a pet store to get her undercoat professionally blown out and they charged us almost $150! It's not usually that much for a husky, but she's double the weight and her fur is twice the length (about 6 inches) of a regular long-haired husky. Lucky us.

We've tried to shave her, but her coat is so dense it burns out any razor pretty much immediately. So we have to use scissors. Which takes hours and hours. You can't get it more than an inch deep cause the scissors just won't go any deeper without getting stuck. When you finally get close to her skin you have to be so careful cause her skin is the same color as the undercoat. I can't tell you how many times I've nicked and scalped the poor thing.

Needless to say that she hates the whole process. She doesn't understand that it will make her feel better when it's gone. She remembers the pain of the nicks and scalpings. She has to stay still for hours. She usually will try to escape and has to be tied up. It take hours and hours and every time I think I'm almost done I realize I haven't gone short enough (or of course I've gone too far and she's bleeding). When she's done she usually looks awful (being cut with scissors makes her look chopped up, not sleek), and she's still pretty heated because even a half inch of that dense mat is like wearing a down coat - not fun here in TX.


This feels like the lack of progress we're making with Bear.

  • His survival skills are maladaptive for his new environment (She doesn't need a dense fur coat in TX - he doesn't need to protect himself from his adopted TX family).
  • The "right way" to remove that protective layer is different because of the environment (Not only is it too expensive to have it "blown out," she needs more because she lies in a super hot environment. He's older and his issues are complex and severe so therapy is more expensive and extreme).
  • Oh so many layers! (poor Scarlet's coat is soooo thick. Poor Bear's protective layer is soooo thick)
  • You can't just chop it off at the base - it's too dense. (only an inch at the most can be cut. We discovered what happens if you try to rip off protective layers all at once when we took Kitty to EMDR before she was ready. She became completely overwhelmed and it probably triggered her break down last year).
  • It's so hard to tell how deep you are when chopping (could have inches before you reach skin or it could be right there on top. We may not be addressing one of Bear's issues at all or not be anywhere close to the actual issue, but we might actually be cutting in a tender area to much that it's painful and bleeding).
  • Removing the layers takes forever so you have to be patient. Sometimes it's best to work a little bit at the time and let her get up and run around. Sometimes it's better to just forge ahead and get it done. She slept most of the time I was working on her.
  • The cleansing water and soap couldn't get through to the dirty areas until the protective layers were removed. You have no idea how much filth there was that she couldn't clean or access herself (she was covered in flea dirt, can't use toilet paper and was pretty muddy).
  • I could go on about how she felt once we got "done," and the fact that it will all grow back unless maintained.

Anway, I'm now incredibly aware that I'm not young anymore. 4 hours of putting myself in back breaking, straining positions is killing me. Two days later I'm still so stiff I whimper when I have to bend or sit still too long.

Are we having fun yet?

So far we're surviving the Summer. Bear is sitting at home under direct adult supervision at all times, and it doesn't appear to be chafing too much.

In the mornings I wake everyone up and we
  • do aerobics - if Bear piddles around then he has to do the Richard Simmons tape with the girls - it's an easy way to get around his passive aggressive "piddling." I usually end up gently redirecting Kitty's activities - I'm pretty sure she's got some coordination issues because she often forgets to move her legs when she's concentrating on moving her arms.
  • then chores (Bears are a little less than most and Kitty's are a lot less) with me doing a LOT of redirecting of all.
  • get the kids to Grandma (or she comes to us, but she prefers her house because she can get her own stuff done).

This routine has been taking us many hours, even though the 2 tapes are only 20 minutes each because I have to direct EVERY little step of chores. Kitty has to be sent back a thousand times because she "doesn't see it." Ponito has been lying. Bear spends the majority of time in the bathroom and Bob spends a lot of time closeted in her bedroom reading books. Plus of course I have to get ready for work and check work and personal e-mail too.

Tuesday I eventually got the kids into Grandma's care and went to work, where it was finally quiet enough to work on my resume. I left work early to get some of the grocery shopping done and got a call from Grandma. She'd taken the kids to the pool as she always does, but that day they went to the pool Kitty prefers. I don't know exactly what happened, but apparently Bear (who only wants to go to a different pool) started teasing Kitty in front of her friends and she actually stood up to him (Go Kitty!). According to Bear though she told him she wished he was dead (which he informed me I would have handled the same way he did. Ummm... Bear? You guys told me this all the time, and I NEVER stormed off without telling anyone where I was). Grandma thinks Bear wasn't a little afraid to walk to the other pool as he'd originally threatened, but he did leave the pool area and hide around the corner where no one could see him. The good news was that after awhile he did come back, and he got in the car to go home willingly. He mouthed off to Grandma though and told her, "You're just as bad as she (Kitty) is."

Grandma is obviously nervous about keeping Bear, and I don't blame her. He behaves OK for me, but is still surly and isolates himself as much as possible. She doesn't want to take him to his favorite pool for awhile, and that's probably a good idea. He didn't end up going at all on Wednesday and today I told him I didn't feel like taking him/them. Today Grandma told me that she wanted to be home and paint. She was willing to take the younger three if I brought them to her, but Bear had his first meeting with his caseworker at noon so I decided to just hang out at home. I'm glad she got a day off - she deserves it, but I've got to figure out how to make this work if/when I get a "real" job where I can't stay home at the drop of a hat.

The meeting with the MHMR caseworker went OK. Turns out Bear didn't need to be there after all, which is good, because he completely ignored her. When she mentioned seeing him again, he said, "Good luck with that." Brat. It was kind of funny watching her face as she met the kids. All 5'11"+ of Bob walked up to ask me for something (for some reason the kids always ignore company, but practically climb in my lap for attention). It's hard for everyone to believe Bob is only 13 ("Almost 14.") Kitty wandered through and I pointed her out as Bear's biosis. Ponito did the lap climbing thing. The caseworker was surprised to hear Bear was right in the next room when I suggested she at least meet him before she left. She'd assumed the boy she'd caught a glimpse of was about 20 years old, and therefore not Bear. Bear sat in front of the TV with his back turned to her, even when I asked him to at least acknowledge her presence he wouldn't. She did get plenty of attention from Mr. Snuggles the cat.

Need to figure out where I put Kitty's latest psych eval so I can finish filling out her CRCG paperwork. Need to call her new caseworker to find out about getting her med management stuff done (will be some kind of virtual thing - sitting her in front of a screen to talk to the doctor). Need to call about how to fill out SSI paperwork and get it filled out. No idea if all this stuff will help, but as long as I can find the time, at least it won't hurt right?


It's going to be harder than usual to make myself go to bed knowing Hubby's not in it. Hubby is with Bear at the Sleep Study Lab. Will be interesting to see if anything comes of the study. I hope the fact that Bear ate a lot of sugar doesn't make a big difference (they said no sugar, caffeine or other stimulants all day). I made some mostly whole wheat blueberry muffins last night and some of them had sugar streusal on top. "No One" actually bit all the streusal off the top, in addition to actually eating the muffins. No idea what kind of candy he has stored everywhere. Plus we ate out tonight and Hubby let Bear get a soda. *sigh*

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Runaway Bunny

When Bob was a toddler we read LOTS of books. I loved to sit and rock her in the rocking chair at bedtime (she hated going to sleep). I'd sing to her and read books then nurse her and put her to bed (I know you're not supposed to nurse them to sleep, but it was the only way to get her to go!).

I loved to read her all the Boynton books including The Going To Bed Book. Goodnight Moon was one of my favorites, so I assumed that The Runaway Bunny by the same author would be just as wonderful. Nope. I hated it.

The premise of the book is that a little bunny decides to run away, and his mommy says if he runs away she'd chase after him.

"'If you run away,' said his mother, 'I will run after you. For you are my
little bunny.'" And so begins a delightful, imaginary game of chase. No matter
how many forms the little bunny takes--a fish in a stream, a crocus in a hidden
garden, a rock on a mountain--his steadfast, adoring, protective mother finds a
way of retrieving him."

I found this creepy and stalker-like. This is one book I actually gave away (ask me how many children's books, including board books, I still have. Did I mention my youngest is 11?).

Now? Now I find that this is what my two older children need to hear. I still would not chase after my kids like the Mommy Bunny, but I will always be here. Bear said he would never speak to me again or allow me to be part of his life, and I told him I would still be here loving him. He then changed his tune a little later and said he might call us on occasion (!!), but he wouldn't tell us where he was and he would not allow us in his life. I told him we would still be here. I don't think he knows what to think of that. Of course he doesn't trust me so he doesn't believe me anyway.

While I was telling him that I would love him no matter what, I was thinking how much I sounded like the mommy bunny in this book. Maybe I should write a children's book for the Forever Child series (fairy tales written for children of trauma - OK stories, but my kids weren't at the right age to read them or able to handle the messages. Might have helped Bob understand Kitty a little better).

End of a long week

Friday I took Bear to his intake appointment at the local MHMR. Kitty's appointment was an hour later and I'd arranged with Grandma to bring her for it and pick up Bear. I was going to bring Kitty to Grandma's house when her appointment was done and then go to work. Needless to say that's not how it worked.

Fifteen minutes after Bear's appointment was supposed to start, the receptionist said they thought Kitty would be there too (I'd told them I might have to bring them both), and that they wanted them at the same time. I assumed that meant that they would be in the same room which I wasn't really happy with, but hey they slotted us in two weeks early so I can't complain. I called Grandma and asked her to bring Kitty.

Luckily, Grandma got lost (Ponito was her navigator!) and didn't get there until right at her original appointment time (good thing I'd asked them to come early!), because they'd planned on having two separate intake workers work with the kids which meant I either had to be in two places at once or one child had to do this on their own! Not a viable option. As it was, the worker had Kitty for about 10 minutes without me, and I think she realized the mistake. My kids know very little about their diagnoses and needs, and almost no idea why we were there (Bear knew it was to get a new psychiatrist for med management, but that's not even a big component of what they do so they wanted to get him other services).

Bear of course shut down as soon as we walked in, because they were asking him questions. He hates being asked questions. He mostly just said, "She can answer that." (That's my name by the way, She. Both of them call me that most of the time, especially when they're upset. They will clarify that they mean "my mom," if asked, and they call me Mom to my face, but put them in a therapy session and my name becomes "She" or "Her.")

I think it irritates Bear most when I'm there because he can't lie, or conveniently forget stuff. His life is absolutely perfect and he has absolutely no reason to be in... counseling, ARD meetings, meeting with intake workers.... He also knows that I will not allow him to run away (dissociate, distract the listener, pretend nothing's wrong, shift the blame to others, claim his labels are wrong...) and that I will hold him accountable - and it makes him mad.

In most cases, I cannot allow him to pretend there is nothing wrong, because it means he won't get the services he thinks he doesn't need. I've mostly reconciled myself to the fact that this means I will always be the bad guy. If he can't trust me enough to love me then at least I'm still fulfilling a purpose (advocating for him when he can't advocate for himself). Maybe someday he'll see that I do it because I care.

The caseworked asked him some questions that I could not answer, mostly about whether or not he is suicidal or taking drugs. I have no idea whether or not he answered them truthfully, but I doubt it. I think it's pretty much a given that Bear will get in to the program. Which means not only psychiatric care, but transition and independent living training (he's almost 17) and case management. I'm a little nervous about the case management - that's one reason we proceeded with adoption even though we weren't totally sure, because we wanted to get CPS (Child Protective Services) out of our lives. we've been burned by CPS, but hopefully they'll be trying to help him and not trying to prosecute us for BS that never happened.

Kitty's appointment was not as cut and dried. Basically she's fairly stable, we're able to handle the behaviors/issues she's exhibiting, she's not quite old enough to need independent living training (15, but only going to be a freshman in high school this year), she has a wonderful counselor and really all we need is med management. They don't provide only med management, so we'll see if they decide to make an exception in our case.

By the time we finished the kids' appointments it was almost 1pm. I took Kitty home to the other kids and Grandma, ate some lunch and fell asleep (I'm still having troubles with insomnia so the night before I hadn't gone to bed until 4ish). I didn't go to work at all which did not make Hubby happy.


Saturday Bear had therapy and the therapist really seems to be digging in. He's not focused on Bear's past at all and doesn't seem to be trying to get Bear to do any Cognitive Behavioral Therapy changes (which I don't think would work for kid's with Bear's issues anyway). He seems to be focused on getting Bear to accept accountability for his feelings and behaviors. He kept Bear talking through his agitation instead of shutting down, so that's definitely a step in the right direction. Maybe this therapist will work out after all.

I've discovered that therapists who answer crisis calls and provide parental support are rare so apparently I've been expecting too much. Maybe the MHMR caseworker will be helpful in those areas. This therapist has always had one or both of us parents sitting in on Bear's sessions, with never a mention of individual therapy, which is good too. He mostly talks to Bear, but we can participate and contribute easily.

Hubby was teaching scuba this weekend so it was just Bear and I at therapy (Bob was stuck sitting in the lobby because she did not want to hang out with Grandma at an Art Class). Bear did get thoroughly agitated during the session, so between that and the MHMR session he was pretty much a grumpy pill all weekend. I got to tell him he was not allowed on the computer, because we had evidence that he'd gotten yet another e-mail account (he's only supposed to use the one we provided so we could check up on him). He denied it of course, but he'd made the mistake of printing out and leaving the confirmation stuff on the printer. I also thwarted his plans to hang out with a friend and get that friend to give him a back pack. To the extent of having Grandma take her phone off the hook so he couldn't speak to the kid after 9:30pm.


I did not hear from our sales guy regarding any new clients bringing us money (in particular the big client we were hoping to hear from) so I have to assume they have not contacted us. This means I have no idea what will be happening to the company. Hubby has pretty much decided that no matter what happens with the potential big client he does not want to give up, so if anyone can continue to pull us through by sheer will power I guess he can (he's done it for 2 years now). I'm even more focused on/enmeshed in dealing with the kids now, and the economy doesn't really seem to be picking up any time soon, but God has surprised us before.


Gonna try to catch up on my blog reading now. I'm down to only 200 posts behind! If I usually read and comment on your blog it's not because I don't love you that you haven't heard from me lately! I'm just horribly behind. I really need to stop reading so many, or just hit "Mark All As Read," but it's like giving up friends!

Hugs and prayers,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Overbooked week

Friday - Kids got out of school.

Monday, Memorial Day - Hubby couldn't go in to work, and we sat around and did nothing all day. I literally spent all day on the couch. It was nice. Boring for the kids, but tough! I needed the down time.

Tuesday -

  • 6am Kitty on a bus to Six Flags with 200 other 8th graders. She did OK, but didn't get home until after 10pm (usually she's had night meds and is in bed by 9pm).

  • 8:30am - Aerobics with the kids. Big argument with Bear because the new Hip Hop DVD was too hard and he was just shuffling and flipped when I told him he needed to move his arms and try. 20 minute argument about whether or not correcting him meant I was a bad mom who didn't love him. I reminded him that coaches correct and it's not because they're putting the kid down. Bob and Ponito left the room. Finally got Bear calmed down and he picked a different DVD. This time Bob refused to participate, so I gave her the usual consequence of doing another DVD (Richard Simmons which is much easier and Bob prefers - Bear won't work out to this video because he's uncomfortable about the "gay clown."). Yea for me, double the workout on the first day. *sigh* Oh well, it's good for me.

  • 9:30-11:30 - constant redirection on chores. I really cracked the whip. Usually they wave a hand at the chore (or lie and pretend they did) and no one checks it. Since Kitty wasn't there, I made them do a deep cleaning. (Kitty can't handle this without major meltdowns).

  • 11:30 - finally driving the kids to Grandma's so I can finally get to work! Bear found out that I had a meeting about him that he was not going to have input on. He wanted to pick a fight, and sniped at me. Saying something about the kids doing all the work and me sitting on my booty all day working on my computer. I called him on it. He escalated and I refused to back down. He started threatening to never see us again after he left home. I said we'd still be here whether he liked it or not. He didn't run though and he did calm down after being dropped off at Grandma's. A couple of hours later he called me to apologize! It actually sounded sincere.

  • Work for a couple of hours (forget to eat all day - had a handful of trailmix at work, then grabbed and ate cookie dough in the car to get me through the CRCG meeting.

  • 3pm - Meet with the CRCG group. This is a Community Resource team that sit down with each family they work with and brainstorm on ways to get the child the services they need.
  1. The local MHMR was represented and this got them to move up our intake appointment so if we get in, which we hopefully will, then we can get a psychiatrist ASAP.

  2. They suggested some volunteer work for Bear with a program called the ROCK. (this is a place that does therapeutic horseback riding for special needs kids). I needed a place he could be for 4-5 hours a day where he would be well supervised, and this doesn't meet the bill, but we're going to do it anyway. All 4 kids want to volunteer and the younger two have to be supervised by a parent so I'll be there too.

  3. They got me in touch with the Special Ed Parent Liaison, who I haven't actually been able to talk to yet.

  4. They offered a chemical dependency counselor, but I don't think we need this yet.

  5. They gave me some advice about how to get what we need at the next ARD

  • Forgot Kitty was going to be at Six Flags and didn't cancel her therapy appointment so I took the appointment alone and got some support.

Wednesday - Aerobics, chores, and hurry Ponito to a dentist appointment. I'd discovered he had holes in his teeth. Two teeth with holes were right next to each other and you could fit a pea in the hole. Good news. The cavities and decay were all in baby teeth that were going to be falling out in the next 6 months so we only had to pay for the x-rays. The dentist even accidentally knocked out one of the teeth with the biggest hole and it flew across the room and hit me on the arm! I told Ponito I was going to tell y'all he bit me! *grin* Tooth Fairy came, but couldn't find the box with what was left of the tooth. She had to give me the $.40 (going rate is $1 - but this tooth wasn't worth that!). He woke up when I was trying to find the tooth and showed me where it was. Ironically we rented the movie Tooth Fairy the day before (It's cute by the way).

Kitty forgets her morning meds, but manages to hold it together!

I actually worked for 4 hours! Forgot to eat again, can't seem to squeeze it in. Made some soup at work, but forgot and left it in the microwave. Then went to the grocery store and shopped for 2 hours. Watch Twilight 2 with the kids. Kitty has had trouble with this movie, but seems to mostly handle it.

Thursday - More aerobics drama. Did not push the chores as much, but we still didn't get out of the house until almost noon. Probably cause I actually had breakfast. Got to work and was there for 10 minutes before I got a reminder call from my friend Struggling to Stand. I finished reheating and eating the soup I'd left in the microwave the day before and rushed over. (Shh! Don't tell Hubby I spent less than 30 minutes at work today!). She'd offered me a job making some curtains for her (yea! a little extra money, spending time with a friend, and a chance to see if I want to go back to sewing for extra money). Spent a couple hours with her and one of her adorable sons in the fabric store (couldn't find the "perfect" fabric). Got lost heading to Grandma's to pick up the kids. Found out they weren't there anyway. Picked them up at home, and then got lost on the way to the ROCK. *sigh* The kids seem to really like it. The people there know a little about Bear and Kitty's issues and seem OK with it. The volunteer coordinator is actually thinking about adopting, from the same agency we adopted through! Now all we need to do is attend volunteer training.

Friday - intake appointments for both Kitty and Bear at the MHMR facility so we can get their psychiatric needs met. Should know if we're going to have to close our company's doors by today too. Hope I get to spend a few minutes at work. We'll see.