miracles

30 09 2010

This is just a small update after dealing with all the frustrations.

The oldest child had his meds upped and we met his new CSI last night.  It’s been going really well for him.  There’s still a lot of taking a step forward then falling right back down, but when he met the new guy last night he was shy at first but by the end of the visit was giddy and playful.

It helped that Abbie fell completely and totally in love with him.  A man that is good with dogs – especially serious, jumpy dogs – is a man I’d trust to advise my kid.  I trust Abbie’s judgement and she never barked or growled at him.  She went right up to him and put her nose under his hand.  Abbie just does not do things like that.  After she responded so well, LJ started responding well.

Anyways, a CSI is like a mentor with a degree and experience in therapy.  Chickpea has one and the results have been mixed, but she likes having the extra support during the school day.  I also get more reliable information ABOUT the school day from her CSI.

I like this program quite a bit.  Mentors are a great thing but with special needs kids you need trained professionals with experience in the hard things.  You couldn’t take a normal person and ask them to deal with the things my kids go through.  Gentle support and unwavering availability won’t work.  They need advice and coping skills that WORK.  They need more than an older friend.

LJ has needed a male mentor for a while.  Shaun and I are great geek parents but as far as making friends or building social skills, we suck pretty damn bad.  We grew up wanting the same things LJ wants – friends, to be a part of something, someone to talk to who really knew us and had our backs.  We never really figured that out.

We also needed someone for LJ who could show him that he could be a sensitive male and still have male friends.  Boys at this age are assholes.  My response to boys (as a very small girl and later, small woman) was to “man up.”  I took my respect and kicked ass along the way.  I made sure that I could do anything they could do, and then I did it better.

In school, Shaun made sure he was the biggest threat around and then those who could stand up to him and WITH him got to see the real him.  The part that is smart and funny and kind.

LJ just doesn’t have that sort of camouflage.  I don’t know if I want him to get hurt badly enough to build it either – to learn to separate who he is from who he seems to be.  It’s a hard lesson and I’m not sure it’s necessary.

However it turns out, it will be fine.  He’s got a good brain and learns incredibly fast.  He’ll figure it out but now he’ll have a new tool.

Chickpea had her meds changed and she’s doing better.  She’s not as belligerent and restless, which is very nice.

I went to her parent/teacher conference a couple weeks ago and saw her work.  Now I know why her teachers aren’t that concerned with her.  Her work is head and shoulders above other kids her age.  Her handwriting is perfect.  Her Spanish is PERFECT.  Her writing skills are amazing.  Her comprehension skills are spot on.

It looks like she’s sloppy about things at home but I guess that’s just because she’s already bored with it.

She’s in a special school BECAUSE of her intellect and her knack for causing trouble if she’s not challenged.  (Sounds a lot like me, doesn’t it?)  She’s gone and blown it all away and now her challenge is in social skills.  I don’t think she cares, though.

When she got home from school that day I told her “if you keep doing work like I saw today, I don’t really care how you act.”  I’ve always believed that if you’re good at it, you don’t necessarily have to be good.  If you’re not that good at it, then yeah – your behavior is what your survival depends on.

Oddly, since that conversation her behavior at school has dramatically improved.  It may be the medicine or it may just be that she knows it won’t get a rise out of me any longer.  Oh, the joys of attachment disorders…  now she’ll have to come up with a new plan to piss me off.

The boys spent the night with my dad and we took her to get her hair cut and nails done as a reward for the good work.  She ended up having enough hair to donate to Locks of Love and she LOVES her new haircut – a chin length bob.  We went to dinner and had an actual conversation with her.  It was amazing.

This morning as we waited in line to drop her off at school, I was showing her my new purse.  Shaun was totally unimpressed with it, so I needed some girly reassurance. 😉  She saw my little rollerball perfume – Fracas – and wanted to smell it.  I dabbed some on her and now she’ll smell like Mommy all day.  She giggled and blushed.  I dabbed some on me too and I’ll smell like Chickpea all day!

The youngest had his intake to the therapy group last week and will meet with the therapists and psychiatrists in the coming weeks.  Hopefully it makes a change for him.  He’s having a lot of trouble at school in just about everything.

Last night I caught a glimpse of the little guy I held when he was 2 and first came to us.  He fell asleep in the floor before bath time and when I woke him up he was so cuddly.  His little angel face was just precious.  I got him bathed and then got his lotion on him and he kept falling asleep in my arms.  He’s so big and I can tell he wants to be small again and curl up in my lap.  It’s moments like that – moments where he’s completely trusting and relaxed – that I savor.

This morning he was snuggly.  He loved on everyone and gave big hugs and just wasn’t as mad as he’s been lately.  It seems like falling asleep in Mommy’s arms is what a lot of us need.

It’s definitely what Mommy needs!





3 weeks

23 02 2010

3 weeks is how long it’s been since I’ve posted.

That’s because the past 21 days have been FUCKED. UP.

So instead of posting, I’ve been escaping into books.  Christine Feehan, Alex somebody or other, Kay Hooper, Richard North Patterson have all been on my  reading list lately.  Now most of them are in the bathroom floor because I normally read in the tub.

My bathroom looks like this: dirty laundry, dirty laundry, basket of soaps, stack of books, stool (the kind you stand on), stack of books, basket of bubble baths, books… It’s a really tiny bathroom too, so most of the floor is taken up by a big bamboo rug so it’s not like the books are TOUCHING the floor.  They’re just sort of near it.

It’s not gay unless balls are touching, right?

Reading is my drug basically because if you need to escape from life, no one will yell at you for reading.  People are SUPPOSED to read!  It makes brain cells instead of destroying them.  Right?

On the reasons for needing an escape, it’s pretty much because life has sucked balls for a little bit.  It’s all working out now and it’s all ending up to be for the best but as all of us parents of special-needs children know – everyone wants a say in how you parent your kids.

I’m trying to decide how much to share. While I firmly believe that my life experiences could help someone who needs to know they aren’t alone, I also need to make sure the family is safe and doesn’t feel embarrassment or shame.

3 weeks ago Chickpea went through a panic stage.  We know what the trigger was – there’s a teacher who she got abnormally attached to who went to have surgery.  Suddenly, that security blanket she had at school was gone and she started having a series of panic attacks and she self-harms.  Then things got blown out of proportion by the school and we ended up having to be scrutinized by DFCS again… just like when we were foster parents.  I may as well just keep writing the reports that we used back then so that when they want to call on us I already have all the paperwork ready. *rolls eyes*  Here I thought we were regaining some privacy.

The past 3 weeks have been spent in therapy dealing with these things – what was just  series of flashbacks in one of the kids has now turned into a totally new trauma for all 3 that threatens our “forever family.”  (Like my kids believe in forever… yeah, right.) Thank God for the kids’ treatment center because they were able to give us advice and make sure the damage to the kids’ was minimized.

It still causes all these… emotions… in me that the kids had to go through this AGAIN.  Fear, panic, shock, anger, more fear, stress, grief,  more fear, and then whole lots of fear.  I just feel so unsettled like maybe I’m the crazy one in this equation.  Then when other things that have nothing to do with these events happen, it just turns into the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Migraine?  *SOBS* Problems with my parents and siblings? *SOBS* Shaun had a rough day at work? *SOBS* It’s going to snow? *SOBS*

Everything now really is looking up.  The mail-order pharmacy finally got figured out and mailed me a 90 day supply of my medication.  I visited Best Buy to pick up some stuff and ended up leaving without being mad at the employees and with the stuff we needed to get. I got my Levenger order and I’m setting up daily diaries for the kids.  I have plans with my mom to go to a ballet with Chickpea and everyone is very excited.

And I’m ready for the next Kay Hooper book in this series.  Sanity is good so I’m going to try and hold on to it.  Bibliophilia saves another brain!





telling abuse related behaviors from age-related behaviors

11 12 2009

One of the hardest things for me to do is to tell the difference between behaviors that the children have because of the abuse they went through and just their natural personality and age based behaviors.  There are some things that are pretty obvious.

Climbing the counters to steal candy off the top of the fridge – age related behavior.

Grabbing a kid’s crotch at school – abuse related behavior.

Breaking toys when mad – age related.

Smearing poo on the walls – abuse related.

But what about the other stuff?  Things like acting out for attention, being a know-it-all, and competing with siblings and other family members for attention.  It could be related to an attachment or anxiety disorder or it could just be that’s how they are naturally.  (I know plenty of grown-ups who are know-it-all attention whores and I’m sure they were born that way.)

It’s hardest with Alyssa because she is so much like me but also so much unlike me.  She considers herself a small grown-up who has what it takes to take care of other people and who believes that grown-ups need to earn her respect.  That’s all just like I was as a child.

Then she also refuses to do her work at school or learn things just for the fun of it.  She’d rather make friends and play at school than do her part.  That is so unlike me – I always wanted to please adults and impress them with my mad knowledge skills.  I took control by exceeding all expectations.  She takes control by manipulation then acts out when people don’t comply.  I’m a perfectionist and hardest on myself.  She seems to believe that people should just give her stuff because she’s adorable and smart.  If I wanted something, I would figure out how to get it.  If she wants something, she just takes it.

So how do you tell?