Thursday, April 28, 2011

House Detective

  In my every day life I wear many hats. All Moms do this, some juggle more hats than others, but we all do it. One hat I wear almost daily is that of House Detective. You see, my house is inhabited by someone named 'Not Me' who seems to be hell bent on destroying things, making messes and wreaking havoc. This little person, Not me, is very very quick and silent. He is really, really hard to catch.

  Just this week he filled the tub with water and toilet paper, smeared poo on the wall of the bathroom, dunked a shoe in the water, and threw plastic easter eggs all over the living room. I have tried to catch him in the act, no luck. I have interrogated all of the witnesses, but never get anywhere. I have offered rewards for anyone who can give me information leading to the arrest of Not Me, but no takers.

  I think I am going to have to set up a sting operation!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My New Job

  You might have guessed by now that I went back to work. I fully intended to stay home with my kiddos but the most excellent, wonderful, perfect opportunity fell into my lap. I said No at least 4 times before I finally accepted. I am now working for the Neuro-Sensory Center of Houston. I am actually going to run a satellite clinic (which is already set up) near my home. The training I have been receiving is all in preparation for taking over the clinic. I assume the leadership role on June 1st.

  So what is a Neuro-Sensory Center? They specialize in working with all sorts of kids with visual, neurological and sensory disorders. It is specialized therapy for very special kids. I am learning at an extraordinary rate and loving every second of it. No one has ever taken me under their wing and taught me so much, and at such a quick pace! I didn't learn this much in two years of vision therapy as I have in just a few weeks. I still have much, much more to learn.

  One quick funny and then I have to go. There is one special sweet boy that I have connected with. This little guy, who I will call S, has serious neuro-muscular issues (oh my heart) and is really struggling. He is adorable and smart and full of energy. The first day I met him he demanded to sit in my lap the whole time he worked. I agreed. The next visit he quietly found me, took my hand, and led me to his therapy session. He had me at hello.

  Today he was working with another therapist and I was working with another patient. I was standing there explaining a technique when suddenly I felt two small hands on my behind. I looked back to see S grinning like a fool. i gave him a quick hug and sent him back to work. Afterwards his Mom apologized but I told her no problem. S and I were tight, and I didn't mind. I gave him a huge hug before he left and watched as his grinning face disappeared into the parking lot.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

1000 OMG!

  We went to the birthday party of a dear friend yesterday. The little guy is also an adoptee and turning 2 years old. Coincidentally, he looks just like Ahren at that age, so he is a fave of mine! We had games and fun, cake and singing. Ice cream, an egg hunt and lots of good times. We then retired into the house for the opening of presents. All went smoothly, which is amazing given the number of small fry in the room. Once the presents were finished, the kids began to play and the adults to talk.

  There was a toy box full of the little guy's toys and the kids began to explore. Just as the room came to a lull, Ahren shot to his feet, holding a small battery operated back massager in his hand. He then loudly, and quite clearly announced,

  " This is a vibrator!"

  My mouth fell open and my head fell to my hands. The group began to guffaw with hilarity. Lots of comments were sent my way accounting for my taste in early education and the importance of basics.  I am never going to live this one down.

Post 1000, at my expense!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Post 999......

  I can't believe I am about to post my 1000 blog post. How can I have that much to say????? Oh well, it might not have been riveting, but it was real, and honest and totally true. This is the legacy for my kids. My feelings, the events, the struggles, the joys. All of it, in realistic black and white. I can never convey how much I love these kids. That is not possible. No way. No words describe that kind of love. Fierce and protective, total and complete, deep and encompassing. I really have no words that fit.

  Ahren.......Genetic testing results. I had high hopes for this set of testing. I wanted so badly for an answer. Some direction for us to go. Unfortunately, the genetic testing only covers 126 known mutations. It does not look for insertions, deletions, or duplications. It leaves a huge amount of genetic errors out. Ahren tested normal for the known mutations. We already knew that he did not fit into any known category. This just confirmed that.

  Several times recently people who do not know us well have commented that he seems totally normal. They look at me as if I am TRYING to find something wrong with him. Like I am a monster who needs the attention a sick child would bring. It hurts me so much. You have no idea.

  If they lived with him, they would see him fall many times a day, hurt himself and struggle with normal activities. They would see that his speech is worse than before. That he won't try and eat anything that requires chewing. That he cannot do what he did 6 months ago, he cannot keep up, he cannot participate.

  He has no reflexes below his hips. None. They pound and pound and no response. He drools, he struggles, he tries so hard. He looks so happy and normal, but he is not. It just keeps getting worse. My heart aches to help him, to protect him, to make him complete. I love him so very much. He is not normal, no matter how he appears. Do not expect him to be normal. He just can't. My sweet boy......

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wee Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden

I am not doing a vegetable garden this year but I did want to add onto my butterfly/hummingbird garden. This one is tucked up against the house and protected by a large hedge. There is a water faucet right there for convenient watering and over the past few years I have amended the soil so that it is less red clay and more real soil. 

 I mentioned yesterday that we drove a long way to a specialty nursery (I picture it somewhat like the nursery Elle works at) and bought lots native plants. Salvias and celosia, pentas and lemon verbena. Many things I had never even heard of, but would attract the butterflies and hummers. Luckily it didn't hit the triple digits but it did hit 90 degrees.

While we planted and worked the boys entertained themselves quite well.
 And because of the extreme drought, even though these plants are supposed to be deer-resistant, we fenced it in for now. I'm sure the homeowners association will ding us, but until we get things going and the rain finally comes, my sweet little plants are safe. Even as we worked butterflies began to swirl around us and this morning I saw hummingbirds on the plants. I have a soaker hose twined all around them and next is a nice cushy layer of mulch.
 I do love to garden.....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I knew there would be fallout

  Later I want to tell you all about my week of training to work with special needs kids, but right now I need to focus o n my own special child for a bit. I knew he would struggle with having me gone this week and there would be fallout. I tried my best to talk him through each day, give him extra love in the evenings and to never leave in the mornings without telling him goodbye and how much I love him. I knew it would not prevent the fallout but in my wee lil brain I hoped that somehow it might help him to begin working through the anxiety and start to have a tiny bit of understanding of his own self.

  I finished training at noon yesterday (Saturday). When I got home the husband had laundry churning away, had gotten all three boys to martial arts and had fed them lunch. (Lord I LOVE that man) We got organized and headed out to a specialty plant nursery located southwest of Houston (we live north of Houston, so quite the drive) As we were grabbing DS games and such to occupy small peoples I smelled a nasty-ness from the boys bathroom. Ah, yet again someone had done a large nasty poo and failed to flush. Around here that is totally normal so I thought nothing of it.

  We tooled around the nursery for an hour, loaded two wagons up with plants, then paid and headed home. Boys played outside while I made dinner, then played inside until bed. Bedtime was easy-peasy and I was thinking that the day had been really great.

  It is now Sunday morning and the fallout has appeared, but this time it was unique. This child is brilliant, a very very smart child. I am amazed at his brain power (and a little scared that I will not be able to stay ahead of him later on) He is running around in his tighty-whiteys and ask he passes me I notice a large white lump in the back of his pants. My first thought is that the poor child has a dryer sheet in his pants, so I ask him to come to me so I can get it. He freezes, he starts to back up and stammer. This is clue #1 that whatever is in his pants is there on purpose. I ask him to come to me, and he fights it but finally comes over. I look in his pants as he whines and cries. Guess what I found? A wad of poopy toilet paper stuck to his butt cheek.

  Now this is where the brilliance plays in. He knows that if he poops his pants he will have to wear a diaper, but he needed a way to punish me for being gone. The smarty pants figured out a way to get poop in his pants without technically pooping them. The messy toilet paper just accidentally fell into his underwear. Yesterday. Before we left for the nursery. Eeeew!

  I had him sit on a chair next to me and think about why he did this and he couldn't get up until he could remember (after cleaning him up first). Of course this was NOT going to happen. I kept telling him he wasn't in trouble and that I wanted to help him but without knowing why I was stuck. He hemmed and haw'd, he scratched his arm and talked about bug bites, he changed the subject fifty thousand times, his eyes rolled around until I wondered if they would fall out of his head. Finally, I asked him if he wanted me to guess why he did it. He did.

  Honey, I think you were upset at Mommy because she was gone this week. You felt you needed to show Mommy how bad you felt and this is how you did it. More than anything you just were scared and mad and that is OK.

  His little eyes filled with tears and I scooped him up and hugged him tight. I told him it was OK to be upset and mad, but he needed to talk to me and get lots of hugs instead of showing me with poop.

  Baby steps. I know this is not the end of the poop wars. I know he still has a long way to go. But today I am very proud of him!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More training on Special Needs

 I need to make this quick. Three little boys need to be slowing down and heading for bed, but I had to make one quick post.

  This week of training was amazing. I learned so much and met some amazing kids. I am working with a Neuro-Optometrist, a specialist in the brain -eye connections. Oh my, it is sos exciting. I will post much more soon. It will be soooo helpful.

Love you all!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Garden Plans

  I love to garden. I have a set of raised beds (the soil here is nasty, so raised beds help a lot) inside of a deer-proof fence that is my garden. Each year I plant the plants I love to eat plus a few new choices to try out. I love puttering around in there, picking fresh produce and enjoying the outdoors.

  Unfortunately, the last two years we have suffered a severe drought and extreme heat which is not good for a garden. As much as I have tried to nurture the plants, most of them have failed to produce. I have gotten very few tomatoes, four servings of green beans that were tough and sunburned, no watermelon, no citrus, no peaches, no peas, no onions, no peppers. I did get a lot of cucumbers last year, but that has been the only harvest I have gotten.

  this year we are still in a severe drought, maybe even worse than years past. The temps are already higher than those the last two years. The cost of plants/seeds, fertilizer and water, water, water, far out-weight the produce i have been able to harvest. So this year, my garden will lie fallow. No plants, no green sprouts, no produce. Instead, I will use the money I am saving to visit the farmer's market. I will miss the joy I get from the garden, but not the anguish over the fight to keep the plants form burning up.

This weekend is supposed to hit triple digits here. I may not miss my garden that much if it stays this hot.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mama Bear Blew

  Sigh. I try very hard to do all the best things for my kids and to protect them from the ugliness of some people. The docs told us that we should get Ahren into some sort of physical therapy so I have been researching that and visiting offices. I have not found anyone near our home that will take him or that has experience with his type of issues. So instead, we signed him and myself up for the same Martial Arts that the other boys take. I figured by me being out on the floor with him I could help him and he would be much more likely to participate. This is week #2 for us in the family beginner class. Up until last night it was going great! The owner and instructors knew our situation and were so supportive and kind.

  Last night there was a substitute instructor, a man who I have seen around but don't really know. He ran the class like a boot camp. When we didn't do things fast enough for him, he kept making us stop and do push ups and sit ups. He yelled a lot and he moved very, very fast. Everyone was struggling to keep up so we did a lot of sit ups.

  About 30 minutes into the class I saw Ahren flag down the instructor and ask him if he could get a drink of water. (Note here: Ahren's kidneys struggle to keep up with the waste products of his disease. He has lots of crystals in his urine and we prevent kidney stones by having him drink large amounts of fluids every day) The man told him No, he had to wait until the whole class could get a drink. My mouth dropped open for a second and then I began to move. Luckily the other instructor called for a water breeak right then, having seen Ahren asking. Ahren went to get his water and I went to talk to the man.

  I approached him and began to tell him that he cannot tell Ahren he can't have water, but before I could explain why he cut me off and denied he told him no. Well, now, hell's bells I heard him with my own ears! So I tried again and told him that Ahren has to have access to water, and at that point he cut me off again. Oh no he dint! BAMMO. Mama Bear appeared out of no where. My finger went up into his face, I turned red and my voice was steely. I told him to never, ever tell my child no again or we were leaving. Then i wagged my finger under his nose and told him Do Not Tell My Child No! And I stomped off.

Clarification: I only told him he could not say no to getting water. Our kids get told No plenty of the time and know to take it with grace. But water for a child with kidney issues? Do not deny him that!

  Not my best moment, but boy was I ticked. He wouldn't even let me explain. Then after class he disappeared so I didn't have the chance to explain then. Coward. Do not mess with my baby boy, especially once I learn how to kick his butt martial Arts style........

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today was Hard

  As Essie says, kids 'no likey change'. This week will be all about change. New schedule. New sitter. New routine. Less Mom. I feel horrible about doing this to them and yet, I need this time, this training, this focus. I need to grow as a human being to enable me to be the best I can be for them. They don't understand this. I don't expect them to. Their world is narrow and focused on me. But if I cannot be the best I can be, I cannot be the best Mom I can be. That's my view of the situation.

  So this week I head off to expand my horizons, in a very meaningful way, and I leave behind the most important people in my life to fend for themselves for a few days. I feel so guilty, and yet I am so psyched. That makes me feel MORE guilty. Darn guilt. I live with it 24/7, in my dreams, under my skin, between my very cells. Guilt.

  Guilt arises from our desire to be perfect, to be better, to be the best. If we cannot meet the criteria, we feel guilty. So what in the world is a perfect Mom? Perfect to whom? Perfect how? When? In what way? Who defines perfect????? In all honesty, perfect is whatever we Are Not. It is something else we desire to be, to attain, to control, but it is not possible. Not in our minds, not in others minds, not anywhere. Perfect does not exist. Never, ever, not in a million years. No perfection.

  We need to give ourselves a break. We do the very best humanly possible. Better than most. Above the curve. Greater than the masses. We deal with the most challenging kids, the ones everyone else gives up on, the ones no one wants. We need to remind ourselves of that. Our bar is set way higher than the rest. We cannot judge ourselves by their standards. These are not ordinary days, lives or emotions.

  We need to be kind to ourselves. Nurture ourselves. Love ourselves. No one else understands. We need each other. I love you my friends.

It was a hard day.

Sarcasm is Lost on Them

  I love sarcasm. Love, love, love it. I can wield the sarcastic comment like a light saber (or as my kids call them light saver). Swish, swish, cut right through you. Unfortunately my lil guys do not get sarcasm. It is wasted on their little heads.

  I mentioned Mr. Bossypants. He corrects me all the time. My usual response is a snarky one intended to point out how ridiculous what he said was. It backfires every time.

  Mom, when you tie your shoes you have to pull the strings.

  Really? Cuz I never would have known that. Thanks for pointing that out. (dripping sarcasm)

  You're welcome Mom! (happy look on face)

My sarcastic talents are wasted here.......

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Little Clarification and Mr. Bossypants

  After I thought some about my post yesterday about vision therapy with kids on the spectrum it dawned on me that I was not clear enough about the connection. You see, there is no connection. Vision problems do NOT cause autism and autism does NOT cause vision problems. The training is for being able to effectively work with all kinds of special needs children IF they have a vision problem that therapy can help. Our normal ways of working with kids do not apply in many of these cases.

  Take for instance, the non-verbal child. He knows sign language and can communicate quite well, but we have to know it too or we have no means of communicating with him. That leads to frustration and break downs. No bueno.

  I am so excited to continue this training. I have such a soft spot in my heart for special kids. I love helping them in any way I can.


In our house we have a young man who I will refer to as Mr. Bossypants. This young man seems to think he runs the show around here. He orders everyone around, corrects everyone else's mistakes, and let's everyone know how it's supposed to be. If you say anything, his first response is, 'No, it is such and such' even if he says the exact thing you just said.

Example: Driving along the road today we saw a house that obviously was hosting a small child's birthday party. I said, 'Oh look, they are having a birthday party'. Mr. Bossypants replied, "No, they are STILL having a birthday party".

Mr. Bossypants also feels it is his duty to tattle on everything he sees, hears, smells or imagines. All. Day. Long. Every tiny detail. Stupid stuff. Dumb things like 'he looked at the door' or 'he yawned, make him stop'. He sits directly across the table from a brother and I hear it at every meal, 'he is looking at me'. Well, now, Mr. Bossypants, maybe I should make him wear a blindfold, or better yet why don't I just get a stick and poke his eyes out so he cannot look anymore. I mean, how could he? Look straight ahead of him and see you? The nerve of that kid!!!!!

Mr. Bossypants also has a problem with me when I do not understand what he is talking about. He will tell me, 'You know that thing that I saw with the red on it? What is that?'  Now I have no earthly idea what thing he saw, and cannot answer his question. If I say I do not know, he just re-states the question LOUDER, as if I just am hard of hearing. If I again can't answer him, he will growl at me, tell me I do too know, and re-state the question over and over. He must think I am the Mommy edition of Google because he will NOT take 'I don't know' as an answer.

Mr. Bossypants is also a master of the obvious. He likes to get everyone's attention and then state some little factoid like he has just discovered a new planet. This morning it was that he knew what kind of knife I was using to butter his toast. 'It's a butter knife' he proudly told everyone. I swear he then sat back and waited for the applause to begin, or a parade or maybe a ray of sunshine to gild his bossy head. If he doesn't get immediate recognition of his superior observation skills, then he gets extremely grumpy and snarky. It must be so hard living in this ordinary family when you have such super-observation powers like his! I am just thankful that I have someone beside me 24/7 who can point out all the obvious things around me. I don't know how I survived without him! I might have had to resort to buttering toast with my toes.....

Friday, April 08, 2011

Awesome Special Needs Training

  I have spent the last day and a half training to do Vision Therapy with Special Needs kids. I had worked with some at my old job, but most of the kids were normal except for a vision issue. This training was in-depth and expansive. It was also EXHAUSTING!

  These two sessions were all about kids on the autism spectrum. How to test them, how to connect, how much to demand of them, what realistic goals to set, and much much more. We tested a 4 year old non-verbal autistic boy who also has sensory integration disorder. By the end of the testing I had him smiling at me and making some eye contact. Then we worked with a 7 year old who was a little higher on the spectrum, moderately verbal and a little more mature. I had him high-fiveing and laughing at my make-believe handling of a huge trophy to give him. (The mother was absolutely amazed at how well he did)

  We worked in teams of 2-3 adults per child. We did HOH (hand over hand) to teach therapies. We adapted therapies to work standing up or sitting down or whatever made the child most comfortable. We did NOT ask questions, but instead made observations that would lead a child to the right choices. I learned that we are building new neurological pathways for these kids where none existed before, so we intervene a l ot at first and then slowly withdraw our cues until their own brains make the connections.

  Next week I return to work with kids with CP and those in wheelchairs. A totally new area for me. I will also learn how to work with several other major issues. I am so excited! My brain needed this stimulation and I needed some new tools in my arsenal. Once I am done with all this training i will share it all with you. The case studies we went over were mind-blowing! The progress is slow and takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but I think we all understand those concepts.

  Now I am going to find my jammies, eat a bite of dinner, and do a face plant in my pillow.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Top Five Annoyances from RAD

  Yesterday I mentioned that the therapist wanted me to list the top five behavioral issues we wanted to work on with the boys. Oh boy was that hard, because 1) there are way more than five, and 2) it changes by the day/hour. I was able to make my list and here it is:

1) Boundaries. They lack any sense of boundaries. My space is invaded continually all day, every day.  No privacy, no moment to think, no phone conversations, no personal space.  The pic above is what I see when I take a shower. Is it any wonder I prefer to go stinky some days?

2) Constant non-sense chatter. Talking just to be making noise, not holding a conversation or even asking a question, just jabbering. Unless you have actually dealt with this you would never understand how they can manage to talk for hours at a time about nothing. I think water boarding is kinder.

3) Lies. All kids lie, usually to stay out of trouble. These kiddos lie for no apparent reason and with no incentive to it. If I ask them anything they glaze over, eyes begin to roll, stammering starts and out comes a lie. It's incomprehensible to me. It takes way more energy to lie than to just answer the question truthfully. Definitely some sort of short circuit in their lil brains.

4) Voice modulation/baby talk. These go hand-n-hand at our house. One child had no idea how loud or quiet his voice was and would also scream out baby talk at random moments. I would have him 6 inches from my face and screaming his words at me (not mad, just loud talking) and then when he would be in the back seat of the van he would whisper trying to tell me something. We used a visual system to help him learn and modeled the right tones. He is 95% better now, but we still have to remind him at times.

5) Rages over absolutely nothing. It's zero to fifty in a split second. I say something perceived as negative and WHAMMO their head spins around and they levitate off the bed. Ahren rarely ever has a rage anymore. He is so so so much better. Seth's have decreased immensely in both number and severity.  I see lots and lots of progress here, but we still have a ways to go.

So while I was typing this one child chattered at me the entire time, climbed on and off my lap several times, kissed my arm, my back and my cheek and said Mommy at least 25 times. (No exaggeration) Sometimes I have to remind myself how far they have come and try and focus on the positives before I lose my mind!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Could this work?

  The use of imagination and thinking outside of the box is the best tool I have for parenting this motley crew. I take what I learn from others, then spin it to fit my boys. it is trial and error most of the time, but I feel so happy when I stumble across something that really works.

  Today, I think I stumbled into a real genius move. (That is definitely tempting the fates so I figure by tomorrow I will be eyeball deep in bodily waste and begging the Reality Fairy for forgiveness)

  One small boy has many nervous habits. Shredding his food, picking his nose until it bleeds, putting his hands in his pants, just to name a few. This child will be heading off to kindergarten in the fall, and I know that a child walking around with both hands stuffed into his underwear all the time is not going to fly. I have reminded him constantly (he seems completely unaware that he is doing it) told him I would tape his pants to his shirt (never did, but did seriously consider it) put a diaper on under his underwear so his hands didn't just slip in there, and talked, talked, talked to him about how it will affect him outside of our home. None of this made any difference. None at all. I was bracing myself for daily calls from the school and my child getting labeled by his peers as a pervert.

  And then, as I was cleaning out the winter clothes, I saw it. Lightbulb moment. Overalls. I almost let out a little hysterical giggle. Overalls, he can't get his hands into his underwear without some serious contortions. No mindless hands-in-pants nervous habit. He can still get them on and off for pottying. Unfortunately I only have one pair so if they work, I will be heading to the Osh Kosh outlet store and stocking up. Once we break the habit he should be fine from then on. Today is Day 1 of the great overalls experiment.

 Ugh, I just looked over and although he is so adorable in the overalls, he has a bloody nose. One step at a time.

  That reminds me of something the therapist asked me. He wanted me to make a list of the top 5 things I wanted to work on for this child. Then we would systematically address one at a time. That list was incredibly hard. There were so many annoying, poor behaviors to choose from! On any given day, it could be any of a large number of behaviors that might be the most annoying. Can you pick the top 5 things you would want to fix? Let  me know what they are. I am interested to see......

Monday, April 04, 2011


  Lately time has been flying by at an incredible rate. I just finish breakfast and it's time to start dinner. I lay down to sleep and it's already the next afternoon in a blink. I (hopefully) have a few min to throw up this post and get back to my project I started yesterday. (For the record, cleaning out all the toys, sorting, donating and discarding as needed equals No Fun!)

Aspen, the dog who was so bruised and beat up after being spayed, bounced back in a few days. The vet who did the surgery finally talked to me. Apparently she hadn't been back to that clinic that week, so when the 'vet' wouldn't come out, it was because they were a substitute and didn't have a clue what to tell me. Anyway, the talk I had with the real vet went really well. Apparently the bleeding happened when Aspen woke up and began to thrash about wildly, causing the bleeding and bruising. The bulge under the surface was the line of internal sutures. The vet triple stitched it since Aspen is a very, very active dog and very muscular. That made it much more prominent. All in all, not the best experience but I am comfortable with it now. We had a heck of a time keeping the stupid e-collar on her. She chewed on it, pulled it off, figured out how to bend it over so she could reach her stitches and just caused mayhem all the time. I had bruises on my legs where she would come charging up to me and ram me with it. She got stuck in many places trying to force the thing on her down the path she was determined to go. She's a sweet girl but not the brightest bulb in the fixture!

We have about 10 days left before we can expect the genetic testing results for Ahren. It sounds odd, but I really hope we get an answer and know exactly what we are dealing with. He has lots of symptoms that all add up to some sort of syndrome, most likely originating from a genetic source. The ataxia (loss of balance) hypotonia (weak muscles) extreme flexibility, lack of reflexes/diminished reflexes, ocular motor apraxia (inability to move his eyes without moving his body) abouli (lack of motivation) colored marks in the whites of his eyes, ears are low set and slightly rotated, delayed motor skills, no loss of cognitive skills, and a bunch of minor things that may or may not be related.

Go check out our other blog, Boyz in the Kitchen where we explore food and cooking, taking it one adventure at a time.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Time to lighten things up

Isn't that just the most pathetic looking face you have ever seen?

For some reason, all the Trauma Mama's I know have been struggling lately with regressions, increased poor behaviors and lots of kid's poor choices. I know it has been true for us and not just limited to the RAD kids. Even my 7 year old totally 'normal' son has been a handful! So instead of hashing through yet another one of our 'issues' I am choosing to ignore the bad stuff and focus on the funnies. Here are a few lighter moments from recent past......

Ahren, sitting in the backseat of the car, playing his DS while we wait for Levi in the car rider line. Suddenly he bursts out, 'Now that was really mature you guys!'  Then he asked me what 'mature' meant.

Levi got a book at the book fair at school on Thursday. By Friday morning he was on Chapter 9, by the end of school he was on Chapter 15, and he finished the book before dinner. All 21 chapters. He is a first grader. Wow! Chris went and bought him an e-book and I will be loading it up with good books for him to read. We also made a reading nook in his room. A bookshelf, bean bag chair and lamp.

The dogs dug a huge hole in the backyard, so Chris bought bags of dirt, filled in the hole and then put a fence around it. Two minutes after he walked inside, Aspen was inside the fence digging like crazy at the fresh dirt. It's a good thing I was outside because I was laughing watching Chris flail his arms and yell at the dog as she sent dirt flying.

I cut the two younger boys hair the other day then rinsed them off and plopped them in the big garden tub to play and soak off the stinkies. I told them absolutely NO standing up in the tub or they would fall down and get hurt, then I went to vacuum up the hair and clean up. Several minutes later, as I walk back to the bathroom I hear loud giggling and hear a huge splash. Uh oh. As I round the corner I catch Ahren standing on the ledge/pot shelf above the tub ready to do a cannon ball. My heart skipped a beat and I screamed at him to get down. The bathroom had water all over it, up to the ceiling. Guess that wasn't the first cannonball. I reminded them that I told them not to stand up, but they told me they didn't stand up IN the tub....

Levi has learned how to text with my phone. He likes to send really silly and weird messages to his sisters. They love it and always write back. That is so sweet!

We have been cleaning out flower beds and getting spring plants in the ground. The boys love to help, although their help is sometimes less than helpful. I had them pulling weeds in one bed and before I knew it two bushes got yanked out and chopped up. Doh!

I know there has been more funny stuff but I just can't remember any more. Can raising RAD kids give the parents PTSD? I am voting YES!!!!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

So Sweet....and yet

  I had the most wonderful conversation with another Mom of children with issues. I first wrote 'adopted children' but since I know first hand not all children with issues or even RAD are adopted, I figured I would be more general/correct. Crystal, it was AWESOME talking to you. Her son and my son seem to be two peas in a pod, with many, many of the same behaviors, hang-ups and quirks.

  One thing we both have dealt with is the overwhelming, suffocating 'love' these kids dish out. I don't want to seem ungrateful in any way. I am so very very glad that my son shows me affection. He might be in-securely attached but he does not hesitate to show his love. But.....sigh....he uses it as a way to manipulate. For instance, if another child says he loves me or stops for a hug, this child immediately is all over me, kissing my arms, back, shoulder, and declaring his love. If we are out anywhere, he will look up at me adoringly and loudly tell me, 'Mom, I love you', eliciting many awes from the people nearby. No matter what I am doing, and believe me there are very few boundaries he does not cross, if any, he will lay on me, rolling around and petting me, grab my face in his hands and tell me how much he loves me. The more involved I am with what I am doing, the more demanding of my attention he gets.

  The most recent expression of this tenuous attachment is the use of Ma'am that the martial arts school teaches. They told the kids that they show respect by saying ma'am and sir and that they should always respect their parents. I thought that was an awesome idea, until it was put into hyper-drive. Do you know how annoying it gets to hear ma'am 200 times a day? And then to have the child also point out that they said ma'am and requires positive affirmation of their uber-awesome respect? How can something so respectful make my skin crawl? I am to the point I wish he went back to saying he hates me! (Not really......well, maybe slightly true)

  I feel so guilty for letting this behavior bother me so much. I read about all these parents who would give their kidney to hear those words, even just once, and here I am COMPLAINING! What an un-grateful slug I am!!!! (Note: he just came over while I am typing to squeeze my face in his hands, kiss me and let me know he loves me) Please feel free to hurl rotten fruit in my direction......


Today's post has nothing to do with poo. 
No poo. 

Instead, I bring you the story of a water heater gone over to the dark side.

Our home is only 3 1/2 years old. Way too soon to have major appliances and systems breaking down. Unfortunately, no one told one of our water heaters that. Over the past year one of them has given us many problems. The builder still covers the unit under warranty but we have to pay labor every time they send the plumber out. After several visits and months of sometimes working/sometimes leaking and making messes, we finally just turned it off and got by with just one water heater. (Hey, sometimes when you ignore a problem, it goes away. Right? Yeah, not so much.) 

So earlier this week I was a laundry tackling fool, cranking through load after load of dirty clothes, towels and bedding. I was kicking laundries buttox. That's when I noticed that there was water seeping through the ceiling in the kitchen. Oh craptastic! I dashed upstairs and ran into the attic to see that there was water all over the floor right in front of the water heaters. I looked everywhere but couldn't find the source of the water. No water was leaking form the heaters, none from the pipes, the roof, nothing. All I could do was go back downstairs, turn off the water to the whole house and call Chris. When he got home he checked too and could not tell where it came from, so he turned the water back on and when he did, a huge wad of snot-looking stuff shot out of the emergency release valve on the bad heater. 

The next day Chris called the builder who made arrangements to replace the defective water heater. Apparently turning off a defective heater full of water is not such a good thing. When they began to unhook it, all the nasty stagnant rusty water in the heater drained down into our pipes. No one told me this could or would happen. I found out the hard way. I turned on the tap and something looking like root beer began to flow out. I flushed all the taps for 30 minutes before the water was completely clear again. 

I took this picture after 15 minutes of flushing. Anyone want a glass of water????