Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fallout

The new nanny situation is working out wonderfully. The boys already know her and she knows them. We let her use our extra vehicle to pick Levi up from school and run any errands she wants to during the day. (If she is brave enough to do it with the two little terrors in tow) The daycare called on monday and said they worked it out to be open at least to the end of the month and begged me to bring the boys back. I said No. They called on Tuesday again begging, telling me they had a potential investor on the line. I again declined, even though I have paid until the end of the month. I know I won't ever see that money, so why did I decide to do that?

Because I have seen the fallout of making a big change like that suddenly. Even though it is a good change, it still upsets the apple cart. We are seeing sleeping issues (or should I say NOT sleeping) lots of intentionally annoying behavior, hitting, kicking, tons of potty talk (thank goodness they don't know any really bad words...) and arguing over everything. I do not like the arguing. It is constant and non-sensical. This morning they argued with each other over what car ran over the dead rabbit in the road. None of us knows who hit the poor bunny but they picked sides and settled in for an epic battle. Seth said it was a blue car, Ahren picked black. I chose to turn on the radio and ignore them for the moment. I hadn't had my coffee yet!

This Saturday is the big joint party for Ahren and Seth's 5th birthdays. We are keeping the preparations low key. We ordered cupcakes, borrowed decorations, and although I have the stuff to make the gift bags I haven't started on them yet. It's all hidden from them. They know about it, but seem to be OK so far. Sunday will be the fallout day, and maybe Monday too. We are prepared.

I wonder if they still build fallout shelters? I could use one of those!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

When Disaster Strikes

This has been a very challenging weekend. No, not the boys. They have been...well....normal. Instead I have been major stressing about something else. Something that hits close to home. Child care.

At the beginning of the school year, I had planned on being home with my boys 24/7. It's what my gut told me I needed to do. The doctors begged and begged me to stay, and my guilt and feelings of responsibility to the children I teach got to me and i agreed to come back to work in the afternoons. That meant i needed to find afternoon child care.

Our much loved sweet nanny we have had for 7 years is now not up to watching these very active boys, so we looked for an alternative. i found what I thought was the perfect choice. A small, new day care that was very homey and personal. I loved the people there. They wanted so badly to accept my kids, warts and all. It turned out to be really good, but not perfect. We worked through a few issues where they gave my kids too much candy and toys, but they meant well and they listened when I told them no more. The boys adapted wonderfully. I was so happy that things were going so well.

And then.....when I dropped the boys off on Friday they announced they were closing their doors effective immediately. As in that day. WTF? (Oh and many more expletives that I cannot post) It's only been 4-5 weeks. That is not long enough to get a business up and running. No way. They must have planned the cash flow based on a full load of kids on day one. We were screwed. Big time. Add your own expletives here.

So I didn't sleep this weekend, worrying how I was going to find child care, and not only just normal childcare but quiet, caring, special needs, make my kids feel trust kind of care. They Do Not Deal With Change Well!!!!!! More expletives, and now I am making up new ones cuz the normal ones aren't strong enough!!!!!

The end of this story is a happy ending. The daughter of our beloved nanny, well known to my kids and much loved by them, will start tomorrow as their new Nanny. OMG! I could kiss her on her lips!!!!! The boys are very excited about it, in a wonderfully good way. Thank God!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Upset the Apple Cart

Things have been really good around here lately. There has been a low level of craziness, but it is totally manageable. We have been on a schedule, week to week, and it is helping so much. It is really quite amazing and wonderful and many other nice words I cannot think of!

But......into each rainbow some rain must fall. Levi had Monday off from school and Seth had an early morning doctors appointment. We made the appointment and then headed to a fast-food restaurant and play place for breakfast. We ate (who am I kidding, the kids skimmed the food and eyed the play place) and then they played and I read the paper.

A few minutes later I heard a small child making a huge racket. Not just ANY child. My child. It was Ahren and he wasn't hurt or mad, just Even through the glass it was deafening and annoying. I looked in and saw Seth and motioned to him and said he needed to tell his brother to be quiet. He looked at me like I asked him to float above the floor and sprout a third eye. It was a no go. So I jumped up and headed around the corner to the door of the play place.

As I rounded the corner, I saw a middle-aged couple at a table there and the woman began to apologize. Picture me with a huge question mark over my head! What in the heck? Eventually I found out that her husband had made the comment " Someone needs to shut that kid up", when he heard the screaming.

This is where my survival instincts kick in. I laughed and said I was also on my way to shut him up. Oh how funny. NOT! But I laughed it off, and took my kids home.

I can't explain some of their behaviors. I can't make it seem OK to some people. Why should I? They are who they are. They are babies, for God's sake!!!! Who can judge a small child and be a good person? Kids need acceptance and guidance and comfort. Not judgement and chastisement.

I guess it is easier to laugh, walk away, and do what I need to do to make my kids a little bit better. Screw those other people. I need to stop trying to justify, protect and 'make' normal' what my kids do. They are beautiful, no matter what. God made them just the way they are and I LOVE that!!!!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I don't know why..

I don't know why I feel the need to defend myself. Honestly, each and every kid needs a different approach. Some have issue with one thing, and others with another. Some are RAD and some also have PTSD. Each and every child needs a customized approach to their problems. Their is no cookie-cutter approach to this. No play book. No instructions.

We all wing it. Every day, every moment. No one has ever written the book of how to deal with this. We are all on our own. We have each other and that is all. Oh my goodness! There are so many variations of what we deal with that it makes it so difficult to deal with. So many levels, so many gradiations. It is insane.

My kids have certain needs. They each have a unique history that has shaped them. Each one needs different things to heal and grow. My job is to figure these things out and fulfill them. It is a BIG job. Way Big. I am trying my best. Every day, every minute, every thought. I think about their future all day long every day. My babies have to be successful as grownups. That is my goal. Oh my, I am struggling and hurting and praying for them. My babies. I love them so much!!!!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To follow up on my last post....

I should have added a little more information about the 'normal' things we try and do. Vacations are comprised of visits to our beach house. Since it is a home-away-from-home for us, it is much less traumatic for the kids. We cook our meals and eat the same foods we always eat. We sleep in familiar beds. We take time out for rest times. The kids never stay overnight with anyone, never have sitters so we can go out, and only have sitters to watch while we do projects around the house. Where we go, they go 24/7/365.

The classes we have been attending at the Children's museum are made up of 4-6 children, while the museum is closed and the place is quiet. I sit outside the door the entire time and they can peek out and see me at any time. They were anxious at first, but after a couple of classes they have come to love it. I think this was an important step in preparing them for kindergarten next year. Also, the director of the museum is awesome and understands kids with trauma issues. She has made it a safe place to be ourselves and not be judged.

Halloween is also a small affair. We are making cute costumes and going to have a hay ride around the neighborhood with close friends. There won't be a lot of candy and I will control access to what they do get.

Their birthday party is with a small group of close friends at a craft place they know and love. I have found crafting activities to be an awesome outlet for the boys. The party will be focused on doing a craft and enjoying time with friends. They are crazy excited about it and I am sure we will have some meltdowns, but we spend a little time every day processing it and managing expectations.

So, in a nutshell, yes I am exposing them to things that might be more difficult for them to handle, but I do it in a controlled, baby-steps at a time way, and work with them to handle it as we go. For the most part it seems to work for us. Anytime I feel a situation is too much for them, we opt out. We have skipped many birthday parties and other events and I am sure most of our friends think we are the biggest party poopers evah! (Naw, they really understand) My goal is to have the boys prepared for school next year so that when they HAVE to attend it won't be devastating and terrifying. My heart breaks to think about them sitting in a classroom without me and being so scared and alone. I have to do whatever I can to give them the skill set to handle what is coming so they can be successful.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Do it anyway

When you have kids with issues, many of the normal things we do for fun end up sending them into a very bad place. Vacations, outings, parties, holidays, they all are so hard for these kids to endure/enjoy. In many cases, they actually get through the event with normal reactions, but the fallout afterwards is horrendous. They just cannot handle the fun.

So what do we do? Do we avoid all the normal, fun stuff that we would do with un-traumatized kids? That seems to be a good answer. Do not place them into situations that set them off. Makes sense.

Or, do we continue to introduce them to these situations and try and teach them to deal with them? Work through the acting out and breakdowns?

As much as I would like to do everything and anything in our lives to make things go smoothly and quietly, I don't believe it is in the best interests of my kids. Instead, we try and manage the triggers. We don't throw too many things at them at one time, but we continue to challenge them. (Oh my sanity!!!!)

The things we have been doing lately. Ahren and Seth have both been attending classes at the Children's Museum two mornings a week. The director is such a dear woman and has made a special allowance for me to sit outside their classroom each day. (That means I sit in the dark, quiet museum for two hours twice a week. I LOVE it!) With me nearby they feel safe. The first week was very rough. Lots of acting out for me but not in the classroom. (How come they act so perfectly for someone else?) They made some friends and got a little comfortable. By the second week they were much better. Only a little negativity to going and much less acting out. This past week was really good. Happy, comfortable boys enjoying class. Can I hear an Amen!!!

We are also dealing with the impending holiday of Halloween. Instead of scary costumes, we are making our own. We have been to several stores buying items to make our costumes. They will be fun and unique. That is what we are concentrating on. Still, it is difficult.

In addition, we are having a big birthday party for Ahren and Seth the weekend before Halloween. i think that is the biggest trigger of all. They talk and obsess about it all the time. But a birthday party is a normal kid event. I can't deny them a party. They have to learn to deal with it. No matter what the after-effects are, they need to know we love them and want to celebrate their births. They need great memories. They need to do something 'normal'. Even if they react in a totally abnormal way.

So we just do it anyway. Is that a new slogan for Nike? Just do it anyway? It works for us. Then again, ask me on the day afterwards........

Sunday, October 03, 2010

He doesn't know.....

...he's a dog.

Swinging on the patio.
Up in the play set. Thinking about going down the slide?
In the fort, ten feet in the air.
Does he think he is on lookout?
Dumb dog. Gotta love him.