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, August 29, 2009

Can't catch a break

Bear deliberately skipped the bus, but we can't really prove it. I feel like he's sliding back to the kid we had before he went to residential treatment, but with less rage. We talked to his new therapist today and the therapist asked if Bear is attached to me, after almost 3 years of being in our family. Bear said no.

Been taking Bear to the doctor a lot, something is wrong with his kidneys, but we don't know what it is yet. All we know is they're "working overtime." Had an ultrasound yesterday.

Got a call yesterday(Friday) at 20 minutes to 5pm from the residential treatment center. Our insurance has decided that Kitty does not need to be at the RT and will no longer pay. The RT had their doctor to talk to the insurance doctor, but could not convince them. Nebraska had said they would pay for her care if it was medically necessary, but if our insurance thinks it's not medically necessary, what do you think the odds are that Nebraska will pay either. The best part? Because this happened at 5pm on a Friday, we won't know more until Monday. Which means we're paying for the weekend ($800/day) and any additional days it takes them to decide if NE says no. We won't tell Kitty yet. She's already begging to come home.

The air conditioner upstairs in our house went out last night. All the bedrooms (except Bob's) are upstairs where it was 85 degrees. Got it fixed this morning. For $600, which of course we don't really have, but with temps of 100+ we don't have much choice.

The big client who promised us a very large contract (including giving us a legal letter of intent), called Hubby recently night and told him he'd decided to go with another company because he doesn't feel we could meet the deadline. We've been working with this guy for over a year. Hubby had thought of him as a friend and a confidant. Apparently the latter was the problem.

Hubby is an introvert and very private. While he does not make friends easily or often, he is extremely loyal and holds himself to a very high standard. The hard part is he fully expects others, especially people he has allowed to become friends, to follow these same high standards. It is so hard to find people with whom he has much in common. This client was a fellow entrepreneur who was starting up his own company. Very smart and willing to take risks and be a sounding board for Hubby. Hubby has been telling him about the financial trouble that our company has been having, and now apparently the client/ friend has lost confidence in our work. Hubby feels betrayed and insulted that the guy wouldn't know he would be true to his word.

While this might be a death blow to our company because of the economy, I honestly think Hubby is more upset by the loss of the friendship. He has no idea how to make a new friend. Ironically we saw the movie, I Love You Man, last weekend about a man who has no male friends and is trying to find one to be his best man at his wedding.

Last, but not least we're back to Boldwhat do I want to be when I grow up?! At the beginning of the Summer we were going round and round about the fact that our company wasn't capable of supporting both of us. I even applied for a job, but Kitty needed me at home. Now the kids are back at school, Kitty is in residential treatment (for now), and Hubby is overwhelmed at work and needing help or for me to bring in an income. Will save that for another post though.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Homework on the first day to school!

School started for 3 of the kids today. So why do I have homework?!

Bear's open house at his special school was yesterday - easily 10+ enrollment forms, but I got them all done during the meeting. Yea me!! Then I get home today and ALL the kids had enrollment forms that have to be turned in tomorrow! Since Bear now attends both his special school and his home school I had to fill out his forms twice! Luckily me!

Went to Kitty's family therapy today. I really like this therapist. Turned in the last of the admission forms and she gave me all the missing neurological results from when Bear was at the treatment center! Some light reading. Also staffing/treatment notes for Kitty to review and see if they're on the right track. Did I mention I like this therapist?!!

Get a call while we're in therapy. Bear apparently deliberately missed the bus (he of course claims he didn't know which one it was, but the driver says a boy stood debating getting on the bus for 10 minutes before deciding not to get on. He got a ride from "Someone's mom" - no name, and no one saw her. He was 45 minutes late coming home. He says he had a bad day. I do know he says he broke up with his latest girlfriend. Time to play Monk and figure out where he really was. *sigh*

Monday, August 24, 2009

Update/ Vent

Bear – He’s been complaining/whining for the last two weeks about how hot football practice is (yes, it’s been in the 100s, but the other 300 kids are handling it – they of course are actually drinking water all day so they don’t get heat exhaustion, Honey); how the coaches don’t care (that’s because you just stand around and you’re on Junior Varsity second string and in highschool being 5’9” and 200lbs is not as big a deal as it was on a small town middle school team, Sweetie), the trainers don’t care that he’s dying from his (psychosomatic) illnesses and injuries (that’s because all you are not really dying, Sugar). So when EVERYONE told him to stick with it, he decided to get himself kicked off the team by skipping practice (and doing who knows what). Which was totally justified because it was “our fault for not letting him quit.” Everyday he’s trying to manipulate us into taking him to the school and leaving him there unsupervised. Not going to happen, Sweetheart, this Momma trusts you as far as she can throw you.

The good news? Because school starts on Tuesday and he quit the team on Friday this mucks his schedule up completely. He’s working his way out of a special program for emotionally disturbed kids so their principal is able to work with his schedule and get it to work, eventually. Plus, Bear is on fairly good behavior so we will allow him to change to the ROTC program he wants to join.

Kitty – She went to residential treatment last week. They started school the following day (all our other kids don’t start until tomorrow). We’d sent a lot of information ahead, but since the schools were still closed while we were filling out applications, none of that was included. I signed all the releases, but they still have her in regular classes so must not have her IEP or they’d know she’s in almost all resource room. They called her old school’s counselor asking for info about her dyslexia with Math that Kitty mentioned she had?! In other words, they know nothing (she doesn’t have dyslexia, she has a learning disability in reading and is years behind in all classes but science where she gets inclusion help)! The school of course refused to give confidential information to some random person who obviously knew nothing without a release form or six. No one in the new school has returned my calls so I don’t know if I can send them any info.

The good news? It seems like her new therapist seems great and she actually read Kitty’s entire 25+ page timeline!

Bob – Just turned 13 last month. She is now 5’10” with men size 13 feet, and a bra size of 34D. I can’t find her any nice shoes and she’s complementing her ample bosom with tight shirts or ones that fall off her shoulders (think Flashdance) and her long legs with short shorts. I refuse to buy them of course, but she just wears her old clothes over and over again. She refuses to buy anything new, and if I trash something I hate, she just wears that many fewer clothes.

The good news? Bob isn’t acting like a teenager right now!!! She’s almost fun to be around.

Ponito – having the same problem of wearing his clothes over and over, but for him it’s because he’s too lazy to bring me his laundry to clean, and he LIKES wearing the same things over and over and over again.

The good news? Ponito hasn’t been having as many pouting fits where he kicks things, and is mostly my sweet baby boy.

Hubby – I don’t know how Hubby is functioning. Our company is in the toilet (and not because we’re designing one unfortunately); the bills are triple what we make and except for the calls for Bear from the girlfriend he wants to break up with, all the calls are debt collectors; we’re about to lose our health insurance (which is what’s paying for Kitty’s residential treatment); one of our former employees is suing us for back pay AND the overtime we didn’t know she qualified for (luckily she was pretty lazy). The bank foreclosed on our business loan, taking the collateral – the property our business was in - so we’ve spent the last few weeks using the (whiny) kids as slave labor moving everything we’re allowed to out of the old building (an old house) including all the dusty tons of stuff from the attic, and the rat poo covered things the pack rat of an original owner stored. Did I mention it’s a 45 minute commute from our house and the new building to the old building downtown? One way. And the air conditioning in our car went out over a year ago. And this is the hottest Summer Texas has ever had in recorded history with temps in the hundreds almost every day. And we’ve had to make MANY, MANY trips back and forth.
So Hubby’s trying to juggle the finances (including the fact that we have no money); trying to coordinate all the contractors; trying to set up the new business – including finding a building we can (hopefully afford), getting the phone, internet and electricity set up; trying to deal with family needs (like Bear going missing, having to confront him with his lies, and then having to take him to meetings with his coach, oh and of course all the dealing with Kitty going in to treatment); oh, and in his spare time(!), trying to make sales calls to bring in new clients in this economy. Needless to say, he isn’t sleeping, and he’s pretty short-tempered and cranky.

The good news? He hasn’t keeled over from a heart attack and he’s still plugging away.

Me – I’m overwhelmed with multiple doctor’s appointments for everyone; packing, sorting, and unpacking the business; trying to keep up with all the kids’ stuff - getting all the tons of paperwork filled out for Kitty and of course getting ready for the kids to start school tomorrow (paperwork, school clothes, coordinating schedules…). This is causing insomnia and an addiction to my computer so I’m spending a lot less time with Hubby who is short-tempered and it makes him very upset with me for not helping him more at the company. I’m irritable too, and trying so hard not to take it out on the kids and Hubby. Bear’s bad behavior is giving me flashbacks to how he was before treatment and worrying that he’s regressing. I’ve gained even more weight, and although I was doing aerobics with the girls for a few weeks, that went by the wayside the minute Kitty went to residential treatment.

The good news? Kitty’s therapist praised the thoroughness of Kitty’s timeline and thought I should write a book! Plus, at an Open House for Bear’s school tonight, Bear admitted that I’ve only lost my temper and snapped at the kids maybe 3 times in the 3 years I’ve known him! With my kids/life that’s saying a lot y’all! And the last time was over a year ago.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Skipping and lies

Bear had been telling us he wanted to drop football because he is stuck on JV second string (worst you can get and still be on the team - and they take everybody who tries out by the way). He hates not being a big deal. Plus it's HOT HARD WORK. Hubby told him he needs to finish something he started. All of Bear's friends and the principal at his school, one of his favorite teachers... all have told him he needs to stick with it. So I ignored his continuous whining about his many psychosomatic complaints.

Bear has also been continuously manipulating us to try to get to spend unsupervised time with his friends, in particular his girlfriend. I've tried to outmanuever him every time. Like when he told Grandma to just drop him off at 1pm so he could pick up his books and then go to football practice, when I knew it wouldn't take more than a few minutes to get his books and football practice didn't start until 4pm. I let him go to the school, but Grandma and all the kids stayed with him the whole time.

Thursday he told us he wanted to go to school early so he could help the ROTC with something. I figured his girlfriend would be meeting him there or something, so I told him no. The whole family was working on moving our office to the new location all day. Grandma dropped him off just in time for him to go to lift weights (which he probably wasn't scheduled to do, but we couldn't get any info about his schedule from the coaches). He had a game on Friday so we were supposed to pick him up at 6pm and had decided to go out to eat soon after instead of our usual Friday because of the game.

6:15pm, practice is out, but no Bear. Grandma has the kids ask the coach, nope, Bear didn't go to practice. They search the grounds - no Bear. Hubby and I were on our way back from visiting Kitty so we swung by to look too.

We called his girlfriend, but her phone was turned off. I left a message ayway stating we were getting ready to call the police if we didn't hear from him within the next few minutes. Almost immediately after, we get a call from Bear. He's waiting at the gym door and Grandma is not there. Yea right!

Bear denies that he skipped practice. We leave a message for the head coach and go on to dinner. Knowing he's lying, but no proof...yet.

He spends 1 1/2 hours after bedtime talking to Hubby. He wants to quit football and go to ROTC. Still lying about going to practice.

Friday morning. Coach calls. Bear was not at practice.

Bear says he wasn't lying because he was at practice. He just didn't participate. Keep pushing, well... he was there, but he wasn't actually inside the fence. He was just outside the fence, under a tree with a group of other boys most of the time. He'd also helped out with the ROTC thing he'd said he wanted to help with earlier.

It was our fault because he'd TOLD us he wanted out of football and we didn't listen. Hubby's biggest issue is with lying and Bear knows this. *sigh*

We made him tell the coach in person that he was dropping football (the coach apparently ripped into him some - *yea!* Told him all the same things Hubby and Bears friends said).

The school principal pulled some strings and got Bear into ROTC (he has to have something to replace athletics). We're not thrilled because we feel he "won" by skipping and lying. Don't know how else we could have handled it though.

He's grounded for 2 weeks. No phone calls. He's "fine with that." He is "thinking of breaking up with her anyway."

Monk Episode - spoiler warning

I watched a Monk episode the other day involving an adorable 2 year old foster child.

To set the story - Tommy, the foster child was discovered in the park carrying a man's finger (gross!). Monk wanders the park with the adorable little boy hoping the child will lead him to where he found the finger, Monk gets attached to the little boy. Because the boy'd been allowed to wander away from the foster mom, for 10 minutes before being found with the finger, the caseworker came to take him away (this part is totally realistic).

Monk happens to drive up while the caseworker is confronting the foster mom, "the kid found a pinkie, what's the big deal?" At this point. The caseworker tells Monk that she doesn't have a new placement for the child ready for 2 weeks. And here's where it gets totally unrealistic. Monk (a mentally ill single man who has never even been around kids) offers to take the child and the caseworker says yes! Then she takes the child to his apartment, has him sign a few papers, and walks off and leaves him with the child! He even asks her what the child eats and she says something along the lines of "you'll figure it out."

To top it off, the foster parent turns out to be a money hungry kidnapper who leaves the four other child in another room watching TV. In other words she's the bad guy.

Way to go media! Let's portray foster care realistically!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why worry?

Kitty went to residential treatment today. We got a call yesterday morning saying they would call us back when the insurance company approved it. He called back at 5:30pm and it was official. We needed her there with all her paperwork and stuff at 2pm the next day.

So the logistical nightmare begins.

Hubby had to go to work.
Prescriptions and updated immunizations had to be picked up.
Laundry had to be done so Kitty would have clothes to take.
Kitty had to get packed. (She admits she doesn't have a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush or socks).
It's a 30 minute drive to the residential treatment center and they think it will be about 2 hours to drop her off and get the paperwork done.
Bear had to be at Football practice at 2:30pm.
Hubby had to teach a class at 4pm. The person was leaving for a trip at 3am so it couldn't be rescheduled.
All the kids (including my niece and nephew) usually go swimming from 4-5pm.
Ponito's teacher was supposed to drop by to meet him sometime between 4 and 6.
Bear has a 5:30pm psychiatrist appointment downtown (with rush hour traffic - easily a 45-60 minute drive there).
Bear had to be picked up from football practice at 7:30pm.

We only have one car, although my mom lets me borrow hers sometimes. I stressed and worried all night and most of this morning.

I should have trusted God.

So Bear's psych appointment they'd told me on Monday couldn't be rescheduled for any other time this week? One call saying we'd be registering our daughter and couldn't make it... they said they have an appointment next week in the morning. Perfect. New appointment doesn't interfere with football practice and school doesn't start until the next day. They didn't charge me for rescheduling with less than 24 hours notice either.

Borrowed Grandma's car and got all the errands run (including all the care products Kitty didn't have - with a $5 off coupon I'd found in the mail this morning!).

Kitty packed while I found paperwork etc. (Note to self: Never let Kitty pack for herself - even though you ask her 10 times if she remembered items like socks, underwear and shorts and she says yes? Somehow they'll mysteriously disappear out of her suitcase - I've got to take her a ton of stuff tomorrow, but she at least had enough to get through tomorrow.

A friend I trust, picked up Bear for a "playdate" with her older son, and offered to drop him off at football practice since she had to go anyway! When she came to pick him up, she caught us going out the door. She had her daughter with her. Her daughter was released not too long ago from the same treatment center. They were able to give Kitty some information about the apparently great therapist she would have and what she could and could not take.

Hubby got a call from his student saying she needed to move back her class to after 6pm because she couldn't get off work!

We got home at 5:30pm, just in time to meet Ponito's teachers who drove up at the same time we did.

Hubby had enough time to grab some food and meet his student. They finished in time for Hubby to pick up Bear from football practice.

Kitty's biggest concern about going was that she would have a roommate that she didn't get along with and might make a pass at her (had a couple of bi-sexual roommates while hospitalized this year.) which scared her. We met her roommate, who appeared to be sweet and "special." She had Tinkerbell sheets which is Kitty's favorite. Everyone was nice and accommodating. Kitty is still nervous, but seems to be feeling safer.

So it all worked out. God works in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What is a rage?

When I had rages as a child (epileptic seizures). I would curse (words Mom didn’t even know I knew), fight my mother, and scream for hours. This started when I was an infant. I would scream for hours until I fell asleep, soaked with sweat and exhausted. I had a cousin who was the same way, they would put her in a cold shower to shock her out of it.

I finally out grew these with the onset of puberty. They were total blackouts for me. One of the last ones I had I remember “waking up” sitting on my mother’s lap (facing her) she was sitting on the closed toilet seat holding me. She pointed out my hand was bleeding. I have no idea how I’d gotten from sitting on the living room floor watching the Hulk (ironic, huh?!) to the bathroom. I still have the scar on my finger. From the blood we guess I’d hit it on the doorjam.

When we got our son at age 13 he was undiagnosed with bipolar, experiencing PTSD night terrors, and undiagnosed RAD. His rages were scary. He held everything in until something relatively small (like being told No), and he would explode like a volcano. He threw chairs (big upholstered chairs), put fists and objects through walls, yelled and cussed and would start swinging wildly if he felt you were getting in his face. He NEVER hit me or any of his younger siblings, but threw things without really caring if they hit me a couple of times, and certainly there was a lot of intimidation and verbal abuse. He is a big kid (5’9” and 200+lbs) so even though he wasn’t very coordinated his wild swinging was almost more than my husband could handle without hurting him.

Our daughter’s rages have changed over the years. They started like her brother’s, kicking holes in the walls, threatening to kill herself and run away, yelling that she hates me and wants to go home (to Nebraska), and physically attacking members of the family. When she’s in “fight, flight or freeze mode” she is acting in a purely instinctual way and will hit, kick, bite, spit… indiscriminately until she calms down enough for her brain to start “thinking” again. If she is able to hurt herself or whoever is trying to protect her - we have had to hold her until she calms down.

It's hard to see in these pictures, but here's an open mouth bite mark from one of these holds. It's hard to see, but the oval bruise wraps around my forearm. I've been trained how to do a physical restraint while I was a social worker and more recently as a foster parent. The foster parent training was a joke and unlikely to have helped us stay safe or keep our child safe. Even with the experience I still often get bruises like these, although Kitty has never gotten a single mark.

Now she has what we call “meltdowns.” Not true rages. She has some control over how far she goes. She still goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode easily, but the actual physical aggression has changed to mostly verbal threats, although she's not above kicking cabinets and biting me. We can usually reach her and calm her down fairly quickly, if not actually de-escalate her, before she “melts.”

Got a call this evening. Kitty goes to residential treatment tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why I'm not posting much

Kitty went to the psychiatrist this morning. She’ll most likely be in residential before the end of this week. She's hanging in there, but today I left her in the van with Grandma, Bear and Ponito (air conditioner running!) while Bob and I ran an errand that was supposed to be quick, but wasn't. Within 10 minutes she was inside talking about how much she hates Grandma and Ponito, hugging on me, and unwilling to leave my side.

Bear is discovering that football in a big town is hard work. He’s no longer the big fish in a small pond, and he tries to quit every day. (He's used to being 5'9" in a small town in Nebraska playing Middle School football and no one cared that he wasn't very coordinated. Now he's one of 300 high school football players). Yesterday he came home vomiting from heat exhaustion because he hadn’t been drinking enough water.

We’ve spent the last week or so moving what we are allowed to from the office building (the property was foreclosed on). Tons of rat poo, dust, and years of crap to clean up. The original owner was a pack rat and we don’t know what we have to keep because it is related to a client, and what was shoved in a box and stored because the man couldn’t throw anything away. The kids, Hubby and I are doing all the moving ourselves with our Blazer (no air conditioning) and my Mom’s minivan. We’re alive, but we’re tired and cranky.

Today I finally got a chance to take the girls to a local thrift store for school clothes. Last weekend one of the store managers mentioned he'd be working alone most of this week and would be willing to "help me out." Store managers at this store have taken pity on me before (they see me running around with my brood of growing teenagers). Turns out this manager had seen the kids, but for some reason was under the impression I was single! He still gave me a discount, but probably not as much as he would. *sigh* Maybe I should have flirted?! *grin*

So that's the highlights of why I'm not posting much.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Provoking stress for residential treatment?

Got a call from Nebraska today (finally), they basically said go ahead and apply for Kitty to go to residential treatment. It took them 3 weeks of dithering about to say, well, put her in and if we want to, and your primary insurance won't cover it, we might cover it. Really reassuring and helpful! (insert sarcastic snarl here)

I could have had her in 3 weeks ago and she might not have missed any school! Now we have to see her psychiatrist again because we have to have a recent evaluation and it's been a whole 2 weeks since we saw the psychiatrist last! Are you kidding me?! *sigh*

This has been a long journey. We've had Kitty with us for almost 3 years - since she was 11 years old. She is diagnosed with RAD, complex PTSD, bipolar disorder,ODD, ADHD, learning disabilities, and was abused and neglected...

We had to put her biological half-brother, 13 at the time, in residential treatment within 6 months of the time he moved in with us because he was violent, suicidal and at 5'9" and 200+lbs he was dangerous. He was out 6 months later with new diagnoses and new medications - and for the one and a half years since we've mostly been able to feel safe with him.

So here's my dilemna, maybe because I think of kids needing residential treatent as extremely violent like my son was, I'm not always sure it's right to send our daughter to residential treatment. I want her to get the neurological assessments this treatment center is known for, and to get her medications in order. I do not expect the turn around that we got with her brother, but I think she would benefit from 4-6 weeks in this treatment center.

She constantly talks of vengeance and threatens us with physical violence (although she doesn't follow through). She was hospitalized in January for unstable mood fluctuations and again in April for suicidal threats. Her meds have been mucked with substantially. We're in the process of removing it, but one of her many mood stabilizers makes her sleepy. She naps for 3-4 hours a day.

We have removed as much stress as we possibly can. I'm working from home so I can be there to help her regulate and stay calm. We've stripped her room of all but the essentials, and she's always under direct adult supervision, and we rarely do anything more stimulating than Sunday school once a week (she tends to be an aide in the 2 year old room instead of hanging out with kids her own age. Even though chronologically and intellectually she's 14, emotionally and developmentally she's closer to 4-6 years). It's working. Her meltdowns are less frequent, milder, and she recovers quicker.

Right now anyone looking at her might see her as stable (or at least too stable to be in residential) and think it's because her meds are working. To write the referral for residential, her psychiatrist will be asking how she's doing, and at the moment she's "OK." I can't protect her forever though, for one thing, school starts in less than 2 weeks and that will trigger all the stress that's boiling below the surface. She never acts out at school - she'll be saving it all up to vent at home.

My daughter can honeymoon for weeks and weeks, and because of her RAD may never allow them to see a meltdown. Even when she was raging at home, the school system and the partial day hospitalization program she attended never saw it. This residential treatment center knows little of RAD.

So do I stretch the truth with the psychiatrist? Do I stop protecting her and allow her stress levels to increase back to the way they were? Do I wait until she starts school when there's nothing I can do to about the stress? And what about the interview with the residential treatment program? Should I bring up something I know will upset her so they see how close to the edge she is or just hope that they take my word for it from all the paperwork we've filled out?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Makin' Mud Pies

This is how I'll always picture my baby cooking. He has gotten a little more sophisticated at the ripe old age of 10. Tonight we made a mud pie together.

We ran out of sugar and had to borrow a cup from a neighbor (until Grandma got back from the store). No Cool Whip so we made a substitute - so much better for us and yum!


1 c. butter
1/3 c. cocoa
1 c. nuts, chopped
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa, nuts, eggs, sugar, flour and baking soda. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in 13 x 9 pan.

8 oz. soft cream cheese
1 c. Cool Whip'
1 c. sugar
Mix and spread over layer 1.

2 sm. or 1 lg. box instant chocolate pudding
3 c. milk
Mix well with beater, pour over layer 2.

Cover with remaining Cool Whip and refrigerate 2 hours.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips?

Cool Whip Substitute - Because of course we never have Cool Whip
Low Fat Whipped Cream Substitute
Yield is about 4 servings.
5oz can organic evaporated milk (yea right, we used fat-free skim)
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp Stevia (Not Nutrasweet) - used Splenda
3 tbsp non-hydrogenated corn or safflower oil - used Canola
First, get the milk to a cold enough temperature to whip. This is easiest done by pouring it into a shallow tray or ice cube trays and placing in the freezer until you see crystals begin to form around the edges.
While the milk is chilling-out, combine the gelatin and water in a small dish, without stirring.
For five minutes, place the dish in a small saucepan containing hot water to allow the gelatin to dissolve.
Remove dish from the hot water and allow it to cool.
Whip the milk in a medium size bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, oil and then gelatin mixture. Continue beating until stiff peaks form again.
Cover and place in freezer for 10minutes, then transfer to refrigerator.The mixture will become very stiff. Before serving, stir to soften. Will keep 3 days covered in your refrigerator.

School Count Down

2 weeks, 7 hours, 40 minutes

I can't wait until school starts. Even my kids can't wait. Most of them need the structure and have had to act out to get the restrictions that regular Summer days don't provide.

Bear started football practice at 12:01am Monday morning. What idiot decided midnight was a good idea for the first football practice of the new school year? Poor hubby had to take Bear to practice, hang out for 3 hours, drive him home, and still get up for work in the morning. Bear now has practice every afternoon for 5-6 hours for the rest of the Summer, and he's fighting with his girlfriend, so I shouldn't have much more trouble out of him.

The kids are loving the aerobics every morning. It gives them such a feeling of accomplishment and a reason to get up every morning. Not to mention how great they feel that they're doing something good for them that is so much fun... OK, that's bull crud. They hate me for it, whine the whole time, try to fake their way through it ("my knee hurts," "I am too moing my feet,""I'm only going to do it for 20 minutes and then I'm stopping"....) , but at least they've stopped fighting me quite as much.

I have found one great way to keep them moving. If they don't do it well (and I keep them moving, but am not demanding perfection) or if they stop? They get to do the Gilad tape with me! Gilad is HARD! So far I've only had to make each of the girls have to do it again once! Ponito loves it and is always enthusiastic, energetic and really excellent! Bear does it all wrong and might be hurting himself more than getting any benefit from it, but now that football practice has started I'm done having him do it anyway. Have to give him props though he went after it without complaint and worked through to the end without stopping (once we switched to Gilad).

I've called and left messages with Nebraska repeatedly. No one is returning my calls (at least I don't think they are, I lost my cell phone last week so they might be calling that number. I turned off the service (beause I was afraid Bear had taken it again), so hopefully they hadn't left any messages on it before I shut it down. I have no idea how to check it remotely.

America's Got Talent is over, and I better get some sleep. I'm single parenting it for the rest of the week while Hubby teaches scuba diving after work every evening and does check out dives over the weekend.

2 weeks, 5 hours, 55 minutes

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Next steps

Things couldn't go on as they were so I've decided to make some changes

Something had to go so I thought long and hard and Hubby and I decided the biggest drain on my time is the new website I was helping with. I've been spending hours researching and working on the content, and was up until all hours chatting with the site owner or stressing out about an incident that happened on the site, how to help the few people asking me for advice, and how to make the site better.

I felt bad, but I let the owner of the site know I just couldn't help anymore. I haven't heard back from him, so I'm assuming he's not happy.

Now all I have to do is figure out what else I can do since I only started helping with the site recently and I was already close to overwhelm before.

I think the biggest step is to really start pushing to get Kitty in residential treatment already! I can't do anything until I am no longer attached at the hip to her. Nebraska should have all the paperwork finally. Will call on Monday.

Kitty had another meltdown today that emphasized just how much time and energy we have been devoting to keeping her calm and regulated. Bear brought me a book that Kitty had got at the library. Kitty is not allowed to read anything that has sex, blood and gore, or violence - she just can't handle it. This vampire book said on the back that it was a bloody gothic horror with a love theme... needless to say I took the book. For once she even threatened to kill Bear! (usually she is so afraid of Bear she would never even dream of threatening or blaming him)

I have no idea what it means but almost immediately after her meltdown (which Hubby handled), it was all forgotten! She spent about 20 minutes on the swing, and then came in, gave me a hug as she walked by and never mentioned it again. I don't know if it was because she knew getting the book was wrong or if she just dissociated from it completely. Immediately after it happened, Hubby warned me that I needed to be careful because he believed her when she threatened me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hubby doesn't want to come home

Life is too crazy around here as usual.

Ponito is still working on paying back his "fine" (has to pay back double the $10 he made) for selling porn to the neighbor's 10 year old.

Bear is ungrounded almost completely except for 3 more days of not being allowed to talk to his girlfriend because they lied about her father dying so she could come over while Bear was still grounded. After several doctor's appointments, the good news is he doesn't have a hernia! The bad news is he has protein in his urine that they can't explain (so for 24 hours he gets to collect his urine in a jug - thank goodness he is old enough to handle this himself!).

Bob is now 13... 'nough said.

Kitty is still waiting for insurance approval for admission to residential treatment.

I am still a stay at home mom so I can keep Kitty and everyone calm and regulated - and take everyone to the therapists and doctor's office (last couple of days that's averaged 3 visits a day). The bad news for me is I'm sitting on my tuckus messing with my computer all day and all night (insomnia) and I now weigh over 200+lbs. Last time I weighed this much I lost 40lbs in the next 3 days and gained my beautiful daughter, Bob. *sigh* The good news is I now have the time to do aerobics every day.

I'll have to get a picture of the whole crew doing aerobics. My 4 children, my niece (age 7) and nephew (age 10), and my mom (won't tell you her age! ;) ). We were all working out to Richard Simmons, but Bear insisted that Richard is too gay, and he can't handle it. My personal theory is he doesn't like the fact that he is not very coordinated and has trouble following along.

So today we tried Gilad. You canNOT say that Gilad looks gay! You can however say that his sessions are very HIGH impact and much harder than Richard's. The girls all dropped out. The little boys did pretty well (they're pretty active and wiry). Bear hung in there, but he couldn't do the steps right, and I'm betting he'll be sore tonight. He insists it's Gilad or nothing though. Tomorrow I'll have the girls do Richard and I'll teach the boys how to modify Gilad to low impact.
You can definitely tell Bear and Kitty have got some coordination issues and problems with their brain wiring. Kitty is also very overweight (mostly due to the medications). The girls had their well checks yesterday and Kitty weighs less than 1lb more than Bob. Bob is over 5 inches taller!
Hubby is still sane (though I don't know how) with as little sleep as he gets from all the stress. He found out today that we're being sued by a former employee for backpay (we owe it to several, but so far so good on the others), add that to me being sued by a former client, and that's a lot of bad news. We've talked about bankruptcy, but don't know if we can afford the lawyer. Hubby is as honest as the day is long and doesn't want to welch on anything. I don't either, but I'm trying to be practical.
The property for the business is officially foreclosed on, but we do not have to be out just yet. Our new rented office space will be ready on Monday. We've been packing... slowly. It's hard to do because I don't feel comfortable leaving the kids (even with Grandma). I'm so upset that Nebraska is dragging their feet on this. Kitty should have been almost out by now!
I hardly ever answer the phone anymore. Almost every call is a debt collector or an agency offering to negotiate debt solutions. I spend most of my time on the computer, but between the new website I'm helping start, all the blogs I read (245+ blog posts I was behind on) 125+ e-mails, and 3 pages here... even when I stay up until 5:30am (did I mention my meds don't help with my insomnia) I can't seem to catch up.
I don't blame Hubby for not wanting to come home. I wish I had a magic wand that could fix everything. OK, enough whining! Going to crawl into the bathtub with a trashy romance novel and pretend I don't have kids!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Manipulative Bear

Bear tells me that GirlFriend's Mom wants to meet me. Finally! I was beginning to wonder if she had parents. He says he has to be ungrounded by Friday so he can hang out with GF and her mom. He knows I will not allow him to hang out with GF out of my sight unless I approve the adult supervisor.

So I say OK (cause I'm easily manipulated apparently). He says GF's mom is going to go swimming with the family so I have to come (Grandma takes the kids swimming every day at 4pm). OK, I can squeeze that in to my schedule (somehow).

Friday rolls around and around 10am, Bear informs me that GF and her mom will be "in the neighborhood" and will be coming to our house at noon, and is it OK if GF stays with us while her mom runs some errands?

Wait! Noon?!! As in less than 2 hours from now? As in, I'm still in my workout clothes and have a ton of work to get done? As in we'd have to feed them lunch? Nuh uh. No way. She can't come before 1pm.

Wait, what did I just say? No, not 1pm... 2pm at the earliest! I have got to get some work done. (Hubby later, much later, points out that he still managed to arrange this to be 2 hours earlier than originally planned. Somehow that part I missed. Guess I'm still not getting enough sleep).

At 2pm I'm buried in my computer up to my neck. Bear asks Grandma to take him to pick GF up. Mom approved her coming over. (Only later in talking about my day to Hubby do I realize... how did this go from meeting her mom to us going to get her for a date?).

At 3pm I surface, where's the Mom? Oh she had to run some errands. She'll be here around 5:30pm. What?! I have to be at therapy at 5:30pm. So now I won't even be meeting her? I know I'm being manipulated, but the girl is already here and her mom is mysteriously not. Bear assures me the mom will try to be here before I have to leave.

5:15pm. The mom shows up. 7 wet kids running around (my 4, her 1 and my 7 yr old niece and almost 10 yr old nephew). I have to leave to get to therapy. Not exactly a good time to have "the talk" with the woman. We exchange pleasantries and more importantly, phone numbers. And I'm 10 minutes late to therapy.

Skip ahead to Sunday night (cause of course I have no time to call the woman). Bear is talking to GF on the phone and wants to know if he can accompany them while the girl is school shopping. Normally would be an OK activity, but I still don't know if I can trust this woman. After all, she left her daughter unsupervised for most of the Summer in an empty house with teenagers of both sexes running around. So I tell Bear I have to talk to the mom - without him or GF present.

GF's mom informs me that she doesn't like the GF's best friend because the girl is not a good influence and the girl's mother has been known to give the kids alcohol (the girls are 14 and 16). They also let the best friend drive her grandmother's car and she doesn't have a license. Luckily her daughter knows better than to ever get in a car with the girl.

Gotta love Mom networks:

GF's Mom finds out that Best friend drove GF to our house several times. That I know for a fact that the Bestfriend and her little sister were alone with teenage boys in the house and no adults present for most of the Summer (Hubby searched the house once when we couldn't find Bear - we didn't find Bear that time, but there were no adults and Bear's guy friends were there with GF, Bestfriend, and Bestfriend's sister).

GF found out that Bear had skipped over a week of school and we're positive he was with GF for most of that time .

I found out that GF is on the pill (one less worry for me) and was in big trouble last school year for skipping school 47 times (another great role model for my son. Where does he find these girls? I still think he has a sign on his forehead saying "only chicks with major issues need apply!").

Here's the big one - GF's father is NOT DEAD! This was his big excuse for her to come over the day before his birthday even though he was grounded. GF's mom says she's OK with GF saying her dad is dead because he is terminally ill and practically in a coma. GF hasn't seen him in 6 years. I'm OK with her saying he's dead too, but not that he DIED on THURSDAY and she needs support from her boyfriend because her family abandoned her and went to Six Flags.

I banned the Bestfriend and her sister from our house and my kids aren't allowed to talk to them on the phone either. Bear is OK with this because apparently the Best friend has been trying to break Bear and GF up because she's jealous. I've been telling Kitty for weeks that she's too young to hang out with a junior in highschool (Bestfriend) and apparently Kitty hasn't talked to the sister that's closer in age to Kitty in weeks. I don't want the kids around someone who lies to my face (about Bear being at her house), illegally drives and apparently has no problems with taking others with her, and whose parents allow drinking, driving, and leave a 14 year old girl completely unsupervised all Summer.

I told Bear he was grounded for another week and he got extremely upset. I told him I was upset because I feel I can't trust him and he lied about GF's father dying so he could break his grounding. He stated that he shouldn't get grounded for a whole week when he didn't know it was a lie.

After Hubby and I talked it over we decided that the GF was grounded (from him). He can't talk to her on the phone or see her at all for a week.

I still need to discuss ways for him to start building trust again. That's a huge one because I don't think it's possible. He is good for 95% of the time. The problem is during that remaining 5% of the time, he doesn't think about consequences, he just acts.

We tried to explain it to him using the points and level system he has at school and had in treatment. A kid who was trouble all the time is easier to handle in some ways. They struggle and work hard on a daily (or hourly or minute by minute even!) to manage their behavior. They slowly move up the levels (or not). Then there's kids like Bear.

After a short time figuring out how it all works, he quickly goes to the top level and stays there. Everyone keeps insisting, why is this kid even in this program?! But when he does something wrong - it's always huge (drugs, guns, police). Maybe because he's so sneaky it's not until he's under scrutiny that everything comes to light. Sometimes I think he's deliberately sabotaging himself so that he won't be moved out of the restrictive environment that makes him feel safe (while at the same time he's learned he likes it on the top level because it has lots of privileges and it's easier to manipulate the system). Or maybe he needs the structure and restriction of being in a program like this and when we lighten up (like in the Summer time) he can't handle it. Probably all of the above.

So what do I do? I know I need to continue to advocate for him staying in the special program at school. He keeps showing us that he needs it. At home, I think I need to stop bending to the pressure to treat him like a normal 16 year old boy and keep him in a restricted environment. I think he even knows it's what he needs.

Would love any advice for helping him develop the ability to think before he leaps and actually be motivated not to do do something because of the consequences of his actions. He just doesn't get it.