Thursday, June 30, 2011

Working on the Spectrum

  I have a secret to admit. I LOVE working with kids on the spectrum. Seriously, they never cease to amaze me. Each and every one is so precious and yet I feel their struggles, the challenges, the difficulties. Oh how I want to help them! Even though they are the most difficult patients for me to treat, they are my favorites, by far.
  I have been researching the immune system connection more. it appears that many, many kids on the spectrum also have immune issues. Most have an over-reactive immune system. Some trigger during early childhood sets them off and they are never the same again. In many cases it is a night and day difference. I can understand why immunizations were thought to be the cause since they are a big immune challenge. Other things that can set them off are allergic reactions to bug bites, medicines or food.
  In some cases the immune reaction is so totally overwhelming that the immune system actually shuts down and the child is left with little to none immunity to our world. In the scientific world we call that the dose-hook effect. These kids remain immuno-compromised and suffer from every infectious agent they encounter.
  A group of doctors has tested kids on the spectrum and found that the attenuated virus particles found in many immunizations can still be found in spinal fluid years later in these kids. That is NOT normal. Those particles should have been destroyed as the immune system built it's defenses against that disease. Instead, it is not destroyed, but stored away in vital fluids, still capable of making a mess of organic systems.
  Another recent theory is that base-down prism lenses will help a child on the spectrum focus on the task in front of them. The lenses are only used for 3-4 months, just long enough for them to learn the focusing skills they need. It helps them tune out all the other stuff happening all around them. I have seen it work and it was amazing. Attention to detail, attention span, focus, it all improved. Once we removed the glasses, gradually, the child retained the skills to focus. Amazing!
  I am brought so close to tears every day with these little ones. My heart is theirs, my soul is theirs, my love is theirs. I want to make a difference in their lives and I think I am. I just wish I could reach out to all the other kids out there and work a little magic.....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Are You Freakin Kidding me?

  I am having THAT kind of day. You know, the kind where it would actually be more fun if a big truck ran over your foot. And there is only one reason this day has been so not-fun, and his name rhymes with Beth.

  Ever since Christmas time we have been dealing with bodily-waste control issues. It has ebbed and flowed (pun totally intended!) but never totally gone away. Then one day a few weeks ago, not having any other options for helping our little man, we decided to just completely ignore the issue. We told him so, too. It doesn't hurt ME if he has poopy pants. I don't have to sit in it. I don't have to smell it. Heck, I don't even have to clean it up. If he wants to enjoy his own feces and urine, then more power to him.

  And it stopped. Not a drop of pee, not a squiggle of poo, not one extra pair of underwear that needed to be decontaminated before it could join the laundry.

  We rejoiced (not in his presence of course) and patted our smug selves on the back for our superior parenting of this challenged child. We raised our arms and hooted for ourselves!

  You can see where this is going.......

  Today i was cleaning out some old things from the bonus room off of our bedroom. Back behind my craft cabinet, tucked in between the giant safe and file cabinet, I stumbled upon a secret. A hoard of poo crusted underwear, most also with enough dried pee to make them crackle when bent, and a wad of yellow, crusty paper towels. I began to pull them out, one by one. Four, five, six, seven. I felt my blood pressure rising. I had to stop and breathe deeply for a few minutes before I could even leave the room.

  The problem is that I have no idea how old these are. Pre-'we don't care' phase, or post-'we don't care' phase. I did ask him about it, but as you might have guessed I got a lot of 'I don't know' and 'I can't remember'. I do know he pooped his pants last Friday while Kaytee was watching them and threw them in the trash to hide them.

  So we decided he is back in pullups and will have to start kindergarten as the only kid in pullups.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Amazing Girl, I mean woman

  Kaytee is heading off on a mission trip later this summer. This time it is to help out in a very poor town in The Dominican Republic. There they will do repairs on homes and paint a school, throw a kids carnival for the residents, and help to stock the school with supplies. This is a school that is run by a charitable group and serves the poorest of the poor. If anyone out there would like to make a donation, or say a prayer for the safety and health of the kids on this trip, I would so appreciate it!

As part of the trip, each participant is required to write a personal testimony. These will be shared with the residents and at a church service. Kaytee read me hers and I cried like a baby. I really have the most amazing children, each and every one of them.

Personal Testimony
Kaytee Nelson

Growing up, I had always believed in God, as my family had a Christian upbringing. I believed that heaven and hell were real but didn’t really think much them. My parents divorced when I was four, and throughout most of my life that brought me a lot of confusion about where I belonged. As I grew older it felt as if I were just going through the motions of life. I still believed in God, but I did not know Jesus. Although I was very happy, at times I felt miserable and a sense of emptiness within.
            By the time I was in 8th grade, my mom had been remarried for almost four years and her and my step-dad were starting the process of adopting a baby boy from Guatemala. This brought my family and I so much joy and excitement. I went to Guatemala several times with my mom to visit my new brother, Ahren. At the time, adoptions were taking about 6 to 9 months to complete, but not Ahren’s. It seemed as if everything that could possibly go wrong with an adoption, went wrong. This tore my family apart, and my relationship with God. I blamed God for putting my family through all the heartbreak that came with his adoption. While other families were bringing home their babies within 7 months, our adoption was taking years to complete and we were never really sure if we were every going to bring this little boy home. In my eyes this was my little brother, so when I got the news that we may never get him home I shut down. From that moment on I ignored God and the emptiness in my heart.
            As that summer rolled around I started going to church occasionally. Although I was still numb inside and ignoring God, I decided to go to church camp. By this time we had been in the process to adopt Ahren for 2 ½ years, and I had lost all hope in it going through. While at church camp we did an exercise where we were told to take a rock from this jar and throw it into the ocean. This was to symbolize something that we could not handle alone, and by throwing it into the ocean we were just giving it God and letting him handle it. So that’s exactly what I did, I prayed to God about Ahren’s adoption, that I would no longer think about it or doubt God on his decision. The rest of camp went great. I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and the sense of emptiness was starting to disappear. When we got back from camp my mom was waiting for me outside the bus like all the other parents. As I stepped off she told me that Ahren’s adoption had gone through and in 2 weeks were going to get him and bring him home. That was some of the greatest news I have ever received in my life. All because I stopped doubting God and started trusting him, the greatest miracle had happened. Ahren has lived with us for almost 3 years now and he is a blessing that saved my life.
            Since accepting Jesus Christ into my heart my life has changed drastically. I learned that I needed to start running to Him, instead of from Him when times get tough. I still serve the Lord to this day and no longer regret or question any decision he makes for my life. He’s opening doors and giving me a desire to encourage others in their walk of faith. He fills me with peace and happiness and in Him I find purpose.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Levi loves animals and they love him. Look at that killer pit bull. Scary huh?

 I never get good pictures of Ahren smiling. Every time he sees the camera he puts on the cheesiest smile. I guess a big plate of food is the key to a great smile!
 Another rescued turtle, found on the road. This time it is a box turtle. We are keeping him inside for now since the severe drought is very dangerous to this type of turtle. He seems to have adapted beautifully and is eating well, very active and beautiful.  He has a log to hide under, fresh water, and a pool to float in to keep hydrated. We also get him out every day for exercise.
 Here he is taking a snooze in the pool. He was lying like this, head and legs on the edge and eyes shut. That is one happy turtle!
 Buster, the lap dog.  LOL!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I speak in a foreign tongue

  I am cleaning house today. This is especially interesting with three small boys and one of their friends here for a play date, but I am getting it done. I get ready to mop the kitchen tile and announce to the boys 'Do Not come in the kitchen, I am mopping the floors'.

  One small boy, instead, hears "Come in the kitchen because i am doing something really cool and you do NOT want to miss this."

  I begin mopping, get about halfway done, turn to rinse out the mop and hear SPLAT behind me. The kind of loud splat that bare skin hitting wet tile makes. I turn to find small boy flat on his back on the floor.I do not help him up.

  Instead, I ask him, 'Why do you think I ask you not to come in here while I am mopping?' He says he didn't know the floor was wet. I ask again, he talks about what he saw on TV. I ask again, he hems and haws. Finally he says it's because he will fall down. Ya Think? I tell him that I am the Mom and here to take care of him and keep him from being hurt. I say these things to protect him, not to be mean. He looks like a deer in the headlights.  I hope his backside stings for a little bit so maybe it will sink in, but i doubt it.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1......

5 min to take a shower
4 shedding dogs
3 rambunctious boys
2 teenage girls
1 full time job
and not enough Mama to get it all done!

  I am looking for ideas to save time and energy and make more time to enjoy my family. The things I already do are cook all the meals on Sunday for the whole week, all boys laundry goes into one big communal closet sorted by size, pack my lunch the night before, run kids through showers like an army drill (seriously, I can get three boys clean in under ten minutes).

  I also do the ordinary stuff like pick up a little each night, do an extra chore every morning, etc, but it is getting away from me. The biggest problem is the sitter we are using for the summer is less than ideal. The boys love her but the house is absolutely wrecked every day. I have tried to find another sitter but no luck so for now I leave her notes every day and have to pick up the slack.

  Oh, and two of the dogs will be leaving. Kaytee's tiny pom will go back to school with her and the pit bull we inherited is being re-homed.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Never Believe the RAD Kid

  Those of you with RAD experience already know this. RAD kids do not tell the truth. They don't tell the truth when they are in trouble (understandable), they don't tell the truth when they are NOT in trouble, they don't tell the truth when asked a simple question, they don't tell the truth when asked ANY question.

  Knowing this makes parenting different and challenging, but easier in the long run. Just never believe what they say and don't freak out about it. It is what it is.

  But........other people do NOT know this about them, so anyone who is put in a position of being in charge of a RAD child needs to know this. Really know this.

  Enter babysitter, a 19 year old girl who thinks she has TONS of experience. Said 19 year old has also confessed to being terrified of water and not able to swim.

  Yesterday, I set up an excursion out of the house for the boys. We put all of their fishing gear together and told the sitter to take them to the lake in our subdivision and let them fish off the dock. Blocks from our house, well known to them, and lots of catfish that bite. A good time was in store for all.

  Babysitter could not figure out how to get to nearby lake. So instead she takes them to large lake in nearby county. (First mistake - do NOT take my kids where I have not approved)

  Kids try and fish, no fish. No surprise since we had only catfish bait and they are now in non-catfish waters.

  Seth is hot. He begs to go swimming. Babysitter asks him if he can swim and he says a definitive yes. He then proceeds to tell her about the swimming lessons he has had (Non existent) and show her the strokes he knows. (Picture flailing arms and head movements) She is convinced and allows him to jump off of the dock into the lake.

  He immediately sinks, resurfaces, paddles a little doggy-style and then goes under again. When he surfaces he is clearly panicking. Arms flailing, gasping for air, water splashing everywhere.

  At this point the sitter pulls him out of the water by his shirt (remember she cannot swim) since he is close to the dock.

  I did not learn about this until a day later and I was NOT happy.  Then I began to think about it and I realized that maybe he learned from a natural consequence. I asked him about it and it did scare him. Wahoo! Maybe he learned a lesson! Oh those natural consequences. They are golden.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peri Brynn (aka PBJ)

  I know a lot of you are anxiously waiting for an update about what is happening with Peri Brynn's case. I had talked to the coordinator of Guat adoption information several months ago and she was going to find out specifics on our case and let me know.

  Also, about 8 weeks ago Senator Landreau led a delegation to Guatemala to touch base and get updates on the progress of the cases still in progress. She had meetings set up with all the key players and hopes ran high.

Quick aside: For those of you not well versed in the intricacies of the current Guat adoption climate, here is a quick primer on the who's who.

PGN: National organization that oversees the welfare of children. Previously the only government body who oversaw adoptions. Once you had PGN approval the adoption was complete on the Guat side. PGN has always been notoriously unpredictable.

CNA: The new government authority tasked to oversee adoptions so that they meet the international adoption guidelines. Started 3 years ago, the organization has had numerous staff turnovers, never established a clear adoption protocol and never (to my knowledge) actually completed ANY adoptions.

Legal system: Guatemala has a unique system of local legal jurisdiction. A local judge can over-rule other judges opinions. The local judges fight amongst themselves for control constantly. Most are corrupt and only look out for their own interests.

  Back to the story of Peri Brynn. Following my request for information I have received absolutely nothing. No information at all.

  Following Senator Landreau's visit we waited and waited to hear how it went. After many weeks we finally got a very carefully worded message. The message it conveyed was that 'We would not give up. We would keep trying'. The details showed that all of the promises made to the US in December had not happened. Not one single thing they promised. The Guat contacts argued amongst themselves about  how many cases there are, where they are stuck, who is responsible, how to fix it and about any other tiny detail they could use to blame someone else. There were many lies, much subterfuge, and lots and lots of finger pointing. The only thing NOT happening is any cooperation.

I knew I should never have begun top hope again. Hope is for fools......

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Crazy Busy

  Life here has been crazy busy and really, really good. Once the end-of-the-school year scramble settled down, the boys have all been having great days full of swimming, playing, wrestling and eating. Oh yeah, lots of eating! I think one main element to how well behaved and calm they have been is the increased level of physical activity. They have 3 hours of martial arts a week, swim for hours every day, and have been outside a ton (even though it is hitting 100 degrees every day)
  I have kept Ahren and Seth on the Neurobiologix supplements but took away the niacin from Seth. He is still not on any ADHD meds but he is doing OK. He still has episodes of spinning out of control but he can reel himself in if I tell him to. Most of the time he is high energy but not frenetic energy. Maybe the supplements are actually working. The doctor told me it would take 1-2 months but I got so excited when he showed results the first few I am really seeing the results. He may actually be able to start Kindergarten medication free.
  Ahren has started Neuro-sensory and Vision therapy. I take him to work with me every Saturday and he works with the other therapist for an hour. Afterwards he is exhausted and usually falls asleep in the car on the way home. It's too early to see results but I am very, very hopeful.
  Levi is his normal, sweet, comical self. This morning he turned on the TV, found a cooking show, and picked a recipe he wants to make today. So later we will have posts over on Cookin with the Boyz.
  There have been no potty episodes for almost two weeks. Ever since we began ignoring them and giving him more loving attention. Amazing. Completely opposite of what my insides felt and wanted to do, but oh so effective. I swear we live in the land of opposites. Now if that just worked on getting rid of Mr. Bossypants. He actually told a police officer they met the other day what to do in his job.  It might seem cute to people now, but when he is 13 it's not going to be anything like cute. More likely to get him a punch in the nose.

Friday, June 03, 2011

I Always Forget.....

  Seth has had a much better week. I agree with my commenters that he is getting too close to big feelings and is pushing me away in an attempt to save his heart from more breakage. (Thanks Ladies, you ROCK!) I think the biggest trigger for him was that I ordered all the legal forms to finalize his adoption. I didn't tell him about it, but I think he overheard his Dad and I discussing it. That is a HUGE milestone, one that brings him that much closer to forever with a family, and that scares the living daylights out of him. He has to push us away RIGHT NOW before we have the chance to hurt him.

  So what have I done differently this week? Well, for starters I dope slapped myself in the head for forgetting that the more un-loveable a hurt child is being, the more they actually NEED love. So I have kissed him, hugged him, looked him in the eyes, smiled my biggest smile every time I saw him, cuddled him, listened to him, and never, ever mentioned the potty issues. And not one single time this week have we had bodily waste in an inappropriate place.

  Is he fixed? Heck NO!!!! He will cycle back through his big feelings and pull out the same or new (and worse) behaviors. It is just NOT that simple. But for now, he is regulated and flourishing. Traumatized kids are like onions (and so are Ogres) You peel away layers but there is more underneath. Plus it doesn't smell so good and it might make you cry!