Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It is easy to demonize the original adopting couple and I have been tempted to join many times, but you know, they did the best they could with the ball they were handed. Their intentions were not to spend years of their lives dedicated to the care of a child and then pass her off.
So when these milestones come around, like the first day of school or Christmas or Genea's birthday I think of 3 moms. Myself of course, and I like to take lots of pictures and set aside sentimental notes or things for Genea to save, but also things that she can show others. She got her first note from a boy at school recently and I not only saved it, I took photo's of it. The second mom I think of is the original adopting mom. I try to remember little parts of our day to day lives and email her an update every few months. I also post pictures for her to follow along on a photo site that is also open to my extended family. I don't have to do this, and no one asked me to. When we were still in the process of finalizing, before their termination hearing, she was a rigid and unrelenting pain in my ass. We had all agreed to weekly phone calls until the term hearing. To me that meant at some point between Monday and Friday, I would call her and let her know how things were going. To her this meant, since we made the first call on a Tuesday at 6:00, bring on your hell and your high water but you better darn well have that call made with your lips flapping before 6:01 strikes.
The third mom is the birth mom. I wonder if she has other kids now, if she is married or not, if her circumstances have changed since she let Genea be adopted. I wonder if she has any way of knowing Genea was adopted to the United States and how she would feel about that. When I save things for Genea I think sometimes, is this something her birth mom might want to see someday? I am interested in knowing about her, but I see that as exclusively Genea's information to obtain or disregard. The birth mom is for her alone.
For all the moms, I think of these things much more around the holidays because that is when I imagine them both struggling with memories and hopes for this child.
The first adopting mom and I have kept up contact and she has been admirably respectful of us since her rights were terminated. The annoying demanding behavior on her part is gone entirely and she tells me she is grateful for the news I send. In turn, she sends cards with a little short note on big days, usually with a gift. I keep these for Genea but I do not show her the cards and do not tell her who the gift is from. I emailed her about a month ago to ask what things she would like Genea to know when Genea starts asking about them and why she does not live with them anymore. For the first time I got dead silence. She sent a card with a note for Christmas but did not answer the question. I guess it was too much for her or she was not ready for it.
The first moms parents, Genea's original adoptive grandparents, put on a huge show for everyone. The court, the agency, the therapists, us, their own psychologist, everyone. They were determined to get their grandparent rights (which do not exist). It was like being in a Broadway production. I had a lot of empathy for them, this was their granddaughter! They had lived every day of the adoption process with the parents, and had helped significantly with fundraising and planning and support and were now being shut out. They had memories and dreams for Genea too. I tried to put myself in their place and I understood they were not coming from a place of aggression and hatefulness, they were worried about their granddaughter. They managed to interfere with just about everything, costing us thousands of extra dollars. They even had their lawyer send us a letter begging to be able to give both girls Christmas gifts last year, and family heirlooms they wanted Genea to have, and dozens of photos from her first few weeks of time here, letters and cards from extended family, all of it. I was suspicious that for all their caring, these grandparents did not ask about Genea and when I introduced the subject of how she was doing, they said oh! yes! How is she? Oh! uh huh! Now back to US.....We spoke, and The Husband and I agreed that we would be happy to accept all of it, and would introduce it to Genea when she was ready. This was last Christmas by the way. Do you know it was August (AUGUST!!!) before they contacted the agency again to deliver these precious gifts. I told them, keep it. And if you insist on delivering this stuff to the agency you should know I intend to give it all to charity. They left the stuff anyway and they had waaaaaaaaaaay overblown the sentiment and value of the whole lot of it. Cards and letters? 2 cards with nothing written on them. One letter, from an aunt that was 7 pages long, handwritten, that was 100% about herself. Not a single 'hope you are well' or the like. 3 photo's. With themselves prominent. I would not have shared further with them anyway but after that, well, they shut their own door. Because I feel firmly that this is the first moms loss and she should be in full control of all information she has and who she shares what with. She lost her motherhood and she has felt it, the agonizing hurt, more than anyone else in her family, including the first dad who seemed to be along for the ride and not much else.
Genea does not ask about them, any of them. She used to for about the first 3 months. Her therapist made her a beautiful memory book that she looks at, oh, every few months probably for about 10 minutes. She has no questions, just asks me to put it back for her. It is where she can see it but where she and her mangling little sister cannot get to it. I intend to be as honest as I can be when the questions start to come, but I don't know many answers. I guess people will have to speak for themselves, and that won't be until much later.
From my perspective as Genea's mom, I see her sadness every day. I see the results of orphanage care in her, and the results of a failed adoption in her. She struggles every single day just barely hanging on sometimes. The chaotic care has annihilated the child she would have been. Who she will become will have to wait. It is as possible that she will be a better person for it, as it is she will become a damaged person.
Wow, I really had no intention of going so deep into all of this. Genea has been taking a rest, and Teena has been watching Thomas so I had the holy grail of momhood- a short period of time to think and focus!
Well, now it is over. Genea just came out to tell me she flooded the bed. Ah, oceanfront property.
Next post - the after effect of a sibling hospitalization on your attachment disordered child who needs to be in control control control! (sigh, my attempt at seeing the humor. sigh.)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Anyway, she is drinking and eating and doing ok. She is becoming irritable and demanding, which says to me, she is just fine.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Back to Teena, she kept puking this morning so we called the Doctor and took her in. He pushed and poked and thought he felt a swollen gland somewhere and ordered some X- Rays. That showed she had swallowed something that was not food. (Can I please pause and just say WTF? This kid won't eat hardly anything that IS food, how the heck did she eat NON food???) They said it looks like beads or small pebbles but probably is incidental to all the puking and fever. However, she has also had on and off UTI's since early October and that could have turned into a kidney infection that could be causing all the puking and fever. Regardless, she is dehydrated and has high white blood cells and anemia. So they are pumping her back up overnight. The doctor wants to do an ultrasound in the morning and I am thinking they will discharge her tomorrow.
Teena is definitely a little trooper. She looked so sad and sick and little lying there in the bed with tubes and stuff coming out. I think she is the only child on the unit tonight. They put her in some blue jammies that looked boy-ish, not that it matters. She was groggy and out of it, but had more clarity when Genea and I left for the night. Genea was great to her, we came home to get them stuff for the night and Genea made sure to go around and find Teena's favorite books and sent Teena her favorite teddy bear to sleep with.
And, might I add, that not yet has a dribble of puke gone beyond its designated receptacle while on my watch. However, that did not apply to all the adults in this house not that I am naming any names but we do not have guests.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
About 9am, I heard The Sound. I am pretty sure the mom's of the world who might read this know The Sound. It is actually almost imperceptible when it begins, it is more a difference of breath. Ordinary civilians are not able to detect it. The breath goes into a mild guttural noise that progressively gains volume until it becomes a gag. And then....puke. My poor little Teena was sick today. Whether it is stomach flu or food poisoning, this kid is sick. She probably threw up 7-8 times. She could not keep anything down. Not water, not gatorade, not the peanut butter and jelly sandwich The Husband gave her because he could not stand to hear her be so sad because she wanted to eat (he corralled that particular incident per my instructions of don't be an idiot but if you are going to you better make sure she has somewhere for that sandwich to go when it returns). She puked when her stomach was empty and, most memorably, puked her pepto bismol.
I discovered something today about myself. Some people can play the guitar. Some folks are great with numbers. I am really good, freakishly good, at catching puke on its way out of its victims mouth. I was never any good at catching a ball for sports, or catching food in my mouth. But when it comes to puke, well, Not ONE drop of vomit went anywhere but its designated bowl. Not. One. Drop. And believe me, the opportunities were prevalent. And Teena? She is a good little puker herself. About half the incidents she gave us an early warning saying, I'm gonna explode! I'm exploding! For the other half, I would hear The Sound and I swear my feet grew wings and never even hit the floor. Flying in the air to get a bowl to puke in and then racing back to the victim. It was magical. Magical.
This poor little girl just had a rotten time all day. Since we were supposed to go to family out of town for the next couple days, we did not have much food in the house. Whatever Teena has, she is still hungry and she is still thirsty. But she cannot eat or drink, even a teaspoon of water made her blow. She was miserable. Genea and I had frozen hamburgers for dinner, we shoved them down as fast as we could because Teena just sobbed and sobbed she was so hungry! She would have little bursts of energy all day where she would hop up and start to play with her new toys and then... splat...another puke.
So on the bright side, we all avoided our yearly obligation to Cousin Uni- Bitch. We did several days of gifts with the girls, so they would not get overwhelmed with everything at one time and then go play with some old crayons (ya' know how kids do that? funny). So we opened from out of town relatives on Tuesday, then Christmas Eve we did our family gifts, then today was Santa. It would also have been my family, but we got to most of it and Teena got to be all excited and crazy for the first few days there. A last bright spot, Genea was nervous and flaky all day what with all the changes and such, which I expected. But she was a great big sister to Teena and really tried to be nice to her and make things easier for her.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Here in Wisconsin, we get snow. So far this December we have gotten about 33 inches of snow which is a really really lot of snow. In my opinion, hell is not hot, hell is a cold icy place and it is starting to resemble my front yard.
Today we got another load. I decided I would shovel the walk and a path to my car in the driveway for the girls. It makes me cringe to see them trying to walk through this mess and the snow is higher than their boots and falls right in- oooga! So against my better judgement, which was telling me to stay safe and warm inside the house, I went out to shovel with the girls. Shoveling does kind of suck but I did the walk, and then went and did the driveway which took about 20 minutes. Fortunately we don't have a sidewalk or I would have been legally obligated to do that too.
ANYway, I finally finished the drive and I told the girls it was time to go back in the house. I turned and walked past the garage and around the corner and what did I see? SOMEone, TWO SOMEones, had pushed and scooped all the snow back onto the walkway.
You know, sometimes I wonder if people think I exaggerate, or make this stuff up. I do not.
Today, people in the next state over heard what my children did.
Monday, December 22, 2008
At Thanksgiving this year, Cousin Payola, his 2 kids and wife attended. This is significant because you have to pick, either him or his sister, big time choosing to be done on all these holidays, and for Thanksgiving he got the nod. Being as he is a crazy person, he thought it would be appropriate to tell Viagra jokes. At dinner. At dinner and to my grandmother. My 87 year old grandmother who just got remarried 3 years ago (to a Mexican man, relevance to come later). Who, I can only assume, are NOT in a position to think Viagra jokes are funny (although my brain is contracting into violent seizures with the thoughts trying to break free into my consciousness right now so I cannot take this any further). Cousin Payola also thought it might be charming of him to tell some racist jokes about the White House. Sigh. Then started in with some horrifying jokes about himself and a rabbit at which point I started screaming " FILTERRRRR!!!! FILLLLTERRRR!!!" The Husband started hollering something about "Watership Down" and things just sort of went blank after that.
ANYway, so his sister, Cousin Uni-Bitch, got the nod for Christmas. She and I used to be close, until one day she turned on me in a fit of jealous, passive, rage, and was actually successful in taking me out. As the gentle reader might imagine, terms like subtle or quietly reflective or shy and delicate are not used to describe me. So you have to know, that for her to take me out, what she said had to be really really bad. Now she and her brother, Cousin Payola do not speak. There are 3 siblings on that particular stick on our family tree, and none of them speak to each other for a variety of reasons (some of which are amazing and bizarre, but must save some stories for later). Blessedly, the 3rd sibling has the sense to live far far away. So I manage to avoid Cousin Uni-Bitch most of the year but seem to keep getting stuck with her at Christmas. And what is extra funny, is that I don't think she even realizes how vicious I find her. If you asked her what she said, she would be surprised that she even said anything, let alone remember it (which sort of screams borderline personality disorder freak show to me, but I am not an expert).
***PETTY CRAP CoMING***PETTY AND IMMATURE OF ME*** PETTY AND MEAN**** READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
(snort snort, she gained so much weight last year, that I thought she was pregnant I honestly did, it was only because I try not to talk to her at all that I didn't say congratulations or something how would that have been snort snort) AND I will deny saying any of this if cornered!!!!
But anyway, I try to keep my thoughts happy and pure and positive at this time of year, to celebrate the season and all. My little girls are going to spend the next few days in hyper- overdrive manners training using my favorite Bribe and Threaten Parenting method here at home, then we go to my sisters for the day. This sister (HI probably reading)is married to the Only Human to Come Close to Outlasting My Children when playing. So we are happy to see HIM! The girls will get to play with their little cousins who they loooooove. Hmmm, I have been asked not to bring anything, which is just occurring to me, seems strange. Ah well.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
So I have been flipping and I have been flopping as to what I would write and when. I don't need to give any more material to the Grande PooBahs of Unnecessary Fits, Tantrums and Meltdowns . Anyway.
A little over a month ago I wrote about Genea being able to walk into her room when she felt a big cry coming on. She was able to shut the door, had a fit for a few minutes, then came back out. For her, this is walking up Mount Everest without any shoes. The first time it happened I actually went after her to ask her what the heck she was doing. We have spent more than a year living with this cry, telling her over and over to go ahead and let it out! Just let it out behind a closed door so the rest of us can function and come out when you are done. And she did it. And now she has done it several more times. And there are some other changes too. And even though there is a huge risk of angering the Grande Poo Bahs I more strongly feel like I should write this down, so that when there is a regression I will have my own written proof that we were at this point, therefore will get to it again. We are finally to the point of taking only 1 step back for every 2 steps forward.
The controlling and manipulating are less. The incessant demands for constant unwavering immediate attention are much less. The crying is way down and the duration is less. Disproportionate meltdowns are less. Hyper behavior is way down. Hypervigilance is the same. Coughing and drinking are the same but much better than in the past. Knockdown tantrums are less than once a day.
Genea fell apart yesterday crying. Her teacher had the kids make little gingerbread houses out of old milk cartons and graham crackers. Clearly not meant to withstand a tornado, she was carrying it and it started to come undone and she tried to save it and crushed it in the process. And she was sad, and she cried. She came to me and I met her in the kitchen and hugged. I patted her head and told her I know how much she loved that little gingerbread house. We will miss it but we will also have many more fun things to make tomorrow. And she was ok. I think, and I would be crossing my fingers but cannot type that way, we just may have turned a corner.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I don't really care about cooking. IMO, if it makes those nice people at Wendy's so happy to make me a salad or some chicken things, well then who am I to pass on by, denying them of their bliss.
So here is what I don't get. What really makes a meal a 'home cooked meal'? Because I can open a can and a box and turn the dial on my oven and have some kind of chicken entree ala pasta cheese-o but I do not consider that a home cooked meal. I think that is more like a home- opened meal. And this is what I tell people who oddly think it is their business to ask me if I cook or not (and why people obsess about that I don't know but I think they think they will get a great story out of my answer to tell their friends and be properly horrified). Sure, I open dinner. Or, drive thru and acquire dinner. But did I slay those baked beans out of my garden and do whatever makes them so tasty? Uh, no. And by the way, does anyone know what baked beans actually are and what makes them so tasty?
Recently we were all at a relatives home and this relative made a big deal about making us a home made dinner. She was gonna COOK us dinner people, leaving little wisps of insinuation that the mom in this family is too royal of a selfish beast to do the cooking as she (I?) should. There were baked beans that she cooked, by opening the can and putting them in the oven. There were hot dogs that she cooked by heating them in a pan and putting them in buns from the bakery section of the grocery store. Needless to say, no tomato's were assaulted into ketchup, that was already in a bottle. Rolls from the Pillsbury can, also cooked in the oven. This all took about a half hour to "cook". Oh yeah, and desert was a cake ala Betty.
What I want to know is, how is this so superior? Cuz all I see here is a lot of opening food already cooked. Is the difference in the heating? I put my baked beans in the microwave, hot dogs and buns too and it is all ready in about 5 minutes.
If I make chicken noodle soup by adding the flavor package to the ramen noodles to a pot on the stove, has it lost value? Am I to believe that my chicken noodle soup is inferior? Ok, I will grant that ramen noodles are actually inferior. But that leads to my last point which is, that in my house, living with my people, it does not matter if I spend the day cooking dinner or if I warm up dinner in the microwave because unless it has a clown next to it or a dancing rat, the kids are not going to want to try it anyway. The Husband does not so much eat, he more snorts sharply and then the food on his plate has vanished and I would bet a box of little debbies that he never tasted it at all.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
In the interest of helping, of bonding, of generously assisting a tired child in getting on jammies, of caring and care taking, The Husband and I have sprouted 2 little buttheads, where our children should be.
There are plenty of things both Teena and Genea can do for themselves and many, many things they can mostly do for themselves. The occasional inside- out shirt or lost sock, those things they need help with and we take those opportunities to nurture our children. To demonstrate, to model, the reward of working with a person, helping the person learn to help themselves. Feel the love flowing from my righting of your twisted sock and let the love wash your brain in happiness, contentedness and security knowing you are not on this journey called life alone.
This works for people. I have seen it happen, and it can actually work. So I don't know if it is my particular children, or if I am just doing it all wrong. Because what I have as a result is two entitled complaining whiners.
In the average day, Teena probably spends about an hour getting dressed in the morning and putting on jammies on at night. She does not want to be alone in her room. But if you go in there to help her, she then wants to play. If you threaten to leave, then she whines and cries. And my split second reaction is OH MY UNHOLY HELL MAKE THAT NOISE STOP and I get irritated and shove jammies over her head. Because she is still a little kid, and she does need help. HUH! But you know what? An amazing transformation takes place IF you happen to be dangling a Tinkerbell costume in her line of sight. Then Teena becomes a clothes- changing savant. Like Rain Man counting toothpicks, her abilities and fine motor control escalate to the proficiency of a teenager and Teena rips and whips through her required duties of changing her stinky underwear and other gross things to become the Tinkerbell Fairy Butterfly Princess With a Wand.
Now Genea, she has a habit of letting loose with all her muscles when she sleeps resulting in the um, dampening, of all fabric around her. Whether she has full control of this or not, I really cannot say. But, part of her responsibility in this is to take off her bedding and put it downstairs. I recently started having her help me make her bed up again. And, I have even started having her try to do the sheets on her own. They don't have to be perfect, I don't have to sleep on them, so as long as they are close, that works. But of course, she is not strong enough to do the fitted sheet herself. I hate that stupid fitted sheet. I tell ya, if you want to see me tortured into giving up spy secrets, just stick me in a room with a small fitted sheet to deal with. In particular for some reason the sheets we have for Genea's bed are extra tight and the bed is extra inflexible so the damn thing really takes two big people.
Unless all you have is one small five year old who is missing out on freshly delivered pizza. Then Genea can put her own fitted sheet on. Herself. Alone. The whole thing. And the rest of the bed too. And, by the way, we have not had an oceanfront bed since this discovery was made and tested.
"Just say 'no' to" Supermoms! Generally Adequate Mom's Rule!
Friday, December 12, 2008
"Mommaaaaaaaaaaa, you are not all beautiful yet!"
Well who knew there would be a dress requirement at the store? And who guessed it would be my 3 year old who pointed it out? I normally would make a tiny effort. Unwrinkled clean clothes, hair up in a clip, a little make up. But this time I decided not to bother.
I am starting to get it, how women get into a pattern of doing the minimum necessary to be presentable and in-offensive. I am saving so much money on make up and hair supplies since I stopped working! Of course, I try to swab at the teeth and get a comb through most of my hair these days. And, I do make the effort to not smell funky. But for the rest of it? If I didn't have to get Genea from the bus stop, I might not get dressed for days! How much could I save on laundry soap that way?
Seriously though, I am saving boatloads of money on little things I would not have thought of. The obvious, lunches out, gas for the car, those things I knew. I wear a dumpy sweatshirt most days, comfortable pants and my beloved Birkenstocks. I have not bought new make up since I stopped working. I have not needed it because I have not run out of anything. I have purchased a few new clothing items but again, not near as much as I used to. I don't have anywhere to be where I must look presentable. Since I don't have to, why should I?
Ugh. This is an easy, easy rut to get into. Why should I take the time to look decent. No one is looking and no one cares anyway. My standards of presentableness have plummeted like the stock market. My eyebrows have grown to where they are obstructing my vision. Forget my legs, the hair there could be braided. I have not quite taken to calling my gray hairs "highlights" but I am close. I have 3 layers of chipped nail polish on my toes. I think it is only 3. I wore jewelry on Thanksgiving, but before that? Dunno.
I feel like I am in one of those experiments like on the Tyra Banks Show. Where they make you look as shitty as possible then send you out in public and watch people recoil, catch it on tape, then broadcast it all to the world. OF course people should not be judged by their appearance. OF course a persons appearance is not a measure of their value as a human. But truth is, people like the pretty and people like the sparkly. Whether it is rational or not.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I think a snow day is about my favorite thing in the world. An unexpected day off! Nothing planned! Free time! Now that I am staying at home and not working or in school, the snow day might have lost its charm except for the fact that this was a perfect snow day. What had landed was light and fluffy, and had stopped by the afternoon. On the side of our house you could not feel the wind blowing and though it was cold, well, as a kid in Alaska once told us there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear!
In between our house and the neighbors house is a decline. Not quite enough to call it a ditch but definitely not level either. I built the girls a sled hill from our yard into the ditch and they absolutely loved it! Despite the fact that I by no means have a degree in luge track construction it worked out pretty well. I piled snow up to about 3 feet tall. I tried to build in some stairs or foot holds but they kept collapsing. But the hill held and I curved it around a bit and the whole track went about 20 feet. What a blast!
We all had snow pants and boots and all the other stuff to sled but Teena managed to get her hands and feet wet and icy anyway. I don't know if it is the Ukrainian blood or what but when Genea came in her hands and feet were room temp. Crazy! My ass had completely frozen off (ha, wouldn't that be great if that actually worked) but I stayed dry somehow. The kids had so much fun it was hilarious and a great time!
Monday, December 8, 2008
I always thought some of the nastier traits were learned. The ability to tap dance on another persons nerves for example. I understand that the response to the persons reactions is learned, but the drive to harass, the desire to reach out and torment another human as a way to occupy and enjoy yourself, that I always understood was inate. You are born with a mean gene that you can act on, or not. But you learn the ways to maximize the other persons discomfort.
Come to find out, a certain level of obnoxious-ness comes from within. And oddly, some children appear to have the natural ability to get right in there. Things I was positive had to be learned, may not! My world order is all smashed up!
How does one child know, KNOW, that to copy her sister, will drive her crazy. To repeat word for word, inflection for inflection, what the other has said, will allow the first child the opportunity to watch the second child blow up her own head. It is something I always thought was passed down through the generations on school playgrounds wherein the mean kids huddled together discussing the best torments and filling in the newbies. Or learned by watching bad tv shows. Or reading about it. Or hearing their evil cousins do it. Thousand of years worth of one sibling repeating what the other has said, thousands of years of the other saying 'stop copying me', thousands of years of the first child refusing to quit, and thousands of years of parents yelling out, "STOP COPYING YOUR SISTER".
I am coming to realize that for some, seeing a behavior is not necessary. It is inherent. The question, ''where did she learn to do that?" has no answer. She didn't learn it. She just knows. And since I have contributed to the genetics of one of my children, and I know what she has been exposed to, I can officially say I haved resolved the issue that has tangled through the brains of some of the most brilliant minds in history.
Nature vs Nurture solved.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Everyone knows where this is going right? I wound up with 4 bowls without lid, 8 containers that had a matching lid that fit, and 37 lids to nothing.
So I was laughing at myself, good crap, the amount of time I spent over the years looking for matched up food containers and I never even had a chance!!! So I was still laughing, thinking this would make for a funny blog entry, what could I compare it to? Impulse control? Organization? Focus? 37 solutions for problems that don't fit/ work/ apply? Whoa!
Man, I tell you, this explains a LOT.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Why is it that Rachael Ray looks SO different on the bazillion products she markets? On her show she is attractive, really quite pretty (mind you, I only see her on the way to something else because I cannot handle her level of perkiness at any time of the day but especially in the morning!!!) On the boxes and packaging, her cheeks have been removed. I don't know where they went, if it is heavy make up, or if it is computer technology or what. But that is not how she looks.
Lastly, the answer has been revealed. YES! Yes you CAN over-whiten your teeth! What is going on with this? When it looks like you drank a bottle of white out, and your teeth are whiter than your toilet paper, time to quit!
Now, stop it people!
Ok, now here are 2 tips for general information. I better not find out later that everyone already knew this.
When your kitchen sink gets a few layers of gunk and needs a good abrasive scrubbing with some smelly Comet on the sides and in the drain and such, and you have to put on those funky smelling vinyl gloves try this. Spray it with a generic bleach spray. Sit and take a rest. Rinse. Done!!! You have no idea how huge this is ! I hate hate hate the sink. We don't have a garbage disposal so instead we have those disgusting strainers. Ugh. VILE. Ever since those uncooperative Scrubbing Bubbles turned out to be such a bitter disappointment sitting there, just sitting STILL and not cleaning or dancing or singing, ever since then, I have held back on cleaning products. Just stopped feeling the love. So this is great news! Because I am fond of things that can take care of themselves!
My other great tip is a gross one so read at your own risk. Last night, both Genea and Teena had a vomit party. And once we cleaned up after this little event, I had an epiphany. Once in a while I save larger plastic containers for random stuff like crayons, or for paint or whatever. The kind that big yogurt comes in for example. You know where I am going here don't you? Right, give the girls re-used puke bowls. And this is so 'green' I can call it a 'green offset' and practically even buy water in a plastic bottle! I am not just recycling the container for a second use, but now I can put the lid back on to cover the puke and toss it! So I don't waste water washing a puke bowl! And won't flood the world with carcinogenic toxins from cleaning out a puke bowl!
(The above is meant to be sarcastic and funny. My humor is not for everyone, this is a known fact. But the idea worked great!)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The girls have been at my mothers house for the past few days. They were not kicked out early this time! The Husband went to pick them up and bring them home. Once inside the door, Genea began hollering- MAMA WHERE ARE YOU, I'm home!!! She barreled up the stairs, throwing off coat and shoes and whipping around the corner walking so fast only her toes were touching the ground to hug me and tell me how she missed me. The smile on her face was as big as I have ever seen it and she glowed with happiness. She stayed that way for about a half hour, just happy, so happy to be home.
Teena slowly walked up the stairs, more worried about her cup of ice than anything else. She approached Genea and I, and told me she had a cup of ice that she wanted to eat. I told her to go have it at the table and she did. No hug or nothin'!!!
Teena is a child who has never gone without attention. She has always been secure, and has always been safe. She has never had to wait for a need to be resolved. She has never cried hungry and not been fed. She has never had a wet diaper that she had to sit in for more than 15 minutes. She never had to fight for someone to hug her. She has never been cold without a coat or mittens or hat, or big warm jammies and a fluffy blanket. And when she came back home, her biggest priority was eating her ice.
A side note, my mom baked cookies with the girls. When she told them what they would be doing, Genea was confused, and Teena told her we go to the store and cookies come out of a bag.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I don't even know where to start.
The main focus of the program was the Mulligan family, who adopted 2 girls from Russia, then went back rather quickly and adopted a boy. They showed pictures of the parents at their wedding and they were quite striking as a pair, very attractive. 3 or 4 years later, they are both a wreck. Overweight, visibly saddened and with rigid expressionless faces, they seem to realize that what they have done out of altruism has taken them to a path few would choose, and it is permanent. The oldest girl and little boy were diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)as well as other mental health issues. One of the 3 children does well.
My problem with this show, is that they aired footage from the oldest girls first week home. They showed her pacing around the house, crying and sort of wailing, and at one point had to pull her out from under the bed. They showed another incident of her sitting on their couch crying as they filmed her during a 54 minute meltdown. THAT IS NOT A DISORDER THAT IS A CHILD WHO IS SCARED AND OVERWHELMED.
Then they showed the little boy having a tantrum of sorts. Having had immediate problems with their first adoption, I have no idea why they would go back for another child. And I really have no idea who would have let them do this. Anyway, he was about 4 or 5 and they showed him crying and sitting at a wall and giving the dad dirty looks while the dad was filming him. The boy turned to face the wall, and the dad insisted he turn around and started to count to 3 but the boy turned around on 2. Again, this is the action of a child who is probably angry, probably scared, and probably overwhelmed. This does not a disorder make. That is my most significant problem with this show that was otherwise ok. They made it look like parents who could not handle a child crying and not listening constituted an attachment disorder. Those kids may very well have had a long list of problems but that is not what they showed, those behaviors are not, repeat NOT what drives parents to disrupt an adoption.
When Genea first got here, she ran away from me in the store. She would not hold my hand, I had to drag her to the car and if she got free she would try to run through a parking lot in traffic. She pee'd on herself, on the couch, on the floor, wherever. She picked the paint off the wall and I suspect she ate it because I never found the chips. She took off her seat belt in the car, and took off Teena's too. I had to buy a special mirror for my car to be able to watch her in the back seat. At home, I walked away for 1 second and caught her hitting Teena. Just hitting her. No tantrum, no reason, just hitting her. Every great parenting idea I had was quickly stomped over and useless. Say 5 positives for every 1 negative. Tell the child what TO do, not what NOT to do. Ignore the bad praise the good. Please.
She woke up 2-3 times a night yelling NO NO NO over and over. Woke up in the morning around 5 am give or take an hour and would wail on and on, crying and screaming to make sure everyone was up with her. She looked like a kid with the most raging ADHD ever, she moved constantly. She would asked to be picked up and within 3 seconds would be squirming and kicking at me to be put down. She would reach to hug me and went rigid when I hugged back. She body slammed into me all day. She crawled on me or jumped on me or lurched at me with elbows and knees digging and jabbing painfully and had no response when I tried to tell her that hurt. .She did not stop talking and asking nonsense questions. Is that my lunch? Are you making my lunch? Are you using bread for my lunch? What are you putting on my bread? You are using a knife right? You need a plate right? Is that my lunch? Are you going to make me my lunch? Are you getting out the bread now? I want 2 pieces of bread, make sure I get 2 pieces ok? This went on with everything, not just food. If I did not give the answer she wanted, meltdown. And she binged on liquids. She would drink water and keep chugging it and chugging it until she started to choke and turn red and she would keep chugging it until she could not breathe anymore and was gagging and spraying water everywhere and still kept trying to get more. She stole things and broke them and hid them. She lied, and would tell a lie with the truth in front of her. It was maddening to ask her what is the truth. And I would spend 20 minutes assuring her I was not angry, I just need the truth. And you are not in trouble, nothing bad is going to happen, I promise. Just please tell me what really happened. And without flinching, without breaking eye contact, without a change in expression, she was adamant that she was telling the truth. She wasn't. I would catch her trying to hurt our cats, in minor ways. Her meltdowns went on every day. 5 or 10 or more, for 6 months there was not a day free of meltdowns. If she did not get what she wanted, meltdown. And she would ask for things she knew she could not have, like a glass vase, and when I said no, the wailing began. Meltdown. And there was no middle ground. She went from 0 to 120 in a second. There was no warning, she would perceive a trigger and then BAM you have a full blown meltdown. And I almost forget the dissociative episodes. Every once in a while, she left the building completely. Her eyes were open and she was sitting up but she had no reaction at all. I could pick up her arm and it would flop back down. Conscious, but unresponsive. And let me say this, Genea's behavior, as challenging as it was- is- can be, is probably moderate in severity. She probably meets the criteria for RAD. For some kids, it absolutely gets worse. She will not approach strangers and sit on strangers laps. She will not walk away with anybody who smiles at her. She does not poop on herself or smear it on walls. She does not use weapons. She has never actually used threats towards us. She is typically not aggressive to people or things. She doesn't hoard food or hide it. And I don't know if Genea has RAD, or Bipolar or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Conduct Disorder, or what. Doctors tell me, there is no precedence for her. Her physiology and neurology are so scrambled that there isn't a name for it. There is no one good answer for her. And that is why, while I think the concept of the program on 20/20 was great, it did not even touch the tip of the iceberg. If they wanted to do a show on this issue, they should have gone balls to the wall and done it right. The children that were shown, those are not the children that get disrupted from their adoptive families and that behavior is not what destroys their families. There IS help, and there IS hope. Sometimes it works. Not always. And the disorder is not limited to international adoptions either, in any adoption preceded by abuse and/ or neglect and the child is going to an unknown family, there WILL be challenges.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Heathers blog is hysterically funny, tears rolling down my face funny. She has a daughter who is the focus of many of her entries and she has the same view as I do in a lot of ways which is this parenting thing is great but can also be strange and crazy and sometimes even sucks.
So anyway, she is pregnant and Leta will be getting a sibling. CONGRATULATIONS to the Dooce family!
I wonder what names they are considering? I have 2 ideas, here they are:
Monday, November 24, 2008
Genea pees on herself. She does it deliberately. The way I handle it, is you get one free. Anyone can have the occasional little squirt surprise them. After that, you are on your own. I hand her the cleaning supplies, and clean pants, and she is responsible for all the work she created. After a few more "accidents", I have her clean the toilet. I tell her, she obviously needs to spend her time closer to the potty because she is not making it there in time. So, while you are in there you may as well clean something. This has 2 effects. First of course, we all get a reasonably clean potty. I only let her use non-toxic cleansers, so it is only that clean. The other effect is it generally works to stop her in her tracks so to speak. Corks her back up. Stops the leak.
She has done this since she came to us. Peeing that is. It goes in cycles and if left unchecked a cycle can be 4-6 weeks long. If I use the natural consequences it will stop after about one week. The thing is all of this becomes quite the scene. There is much crying and howling and wailing. Teena cannot stand that she is not part of the action. So when Genea goes to school, once in awhile Teena will ask to clean the toilet. I try to tell her no, you are too little, you don't have to cuz you use the potty, stuff like that. But then she gets upset. And I am thinking, what the hell. Why would I try to stop someone who wants to clean the toilet. Why.
I think I feel a little guilty. I don't want to make my little girls do a nasty chore like that! But on the other hand, if it is good enough for her sister to do, as a consequence, why shouldn't she? And for crying-out-loud, she actually WANTS to do it!
I believe that the idea of a care-free childhood is doing no favors for any kid. I hear people say, our children should not have responsibilities, our children should be children! That's their job, to be kids! And I feel that pull. I want my kids to be happy and content. But to think that we should be raising our children to believe the sun rises and sets with their mere existence, I cannot get there. That they should get an award just for showing up, I think takes away the significance of all awards. I firmly believe that whole concept is resulting in a group of people coming in to adulthood with no life skills whatsoever. They learned about life skills in school. They have never had to use them. So who does that help and who does it hurt?
Back to my original point, is this unintended result really awful? Or is it really effing brilliant that now I have a child who asks to clean the toilet? Somewhere in the middle, that is what I hope for.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
There. I said it. And now the whole world can see this bit of scandalous information about me. I am sure there is good turkey in this world, it has just never been on a plate in front of me. There is this holiday, Thanksgiving, coming up which for some reason demands a turkey be cooked and eaten by all Americans. Something about pilgrims, I don't really remember the details. Anyway, I have spent the past 15 years or so advocating against the bird with virtually no success whatsoever. I am not accustomed to putting out that much of an effort with no return!
Before I was married with children, I usually managed to skip out on this particular holiday. The Husband and I would eat pizza and watch movies. I got that idea from an Indian friend in high school (India Indian, not Native American). I have no problem with the concept behind the holiday, of sharing and gratitude, I just would like to share and be grateful for a pizza or some kind of food I do like.
Throughout my childhood, as a family we would go to my Aunt's house for dinner. Nothing stands out there, I just remember everyone making a HUGE fuss about the great turkey and thinking, what the hell is wrong with these people. The next day we always went to my grandparents for leftovers. Again, everyone would say oooh ahhh what a great turkey only this time I knew some of those people were lying because I asked them in the car on the way home. Not that I am naming any names. My Grandma is of the generation that believes a few things about food that cannot be changed or argued. #1: all food can be boiled #2: all food should be cooked until all consistency is gone and the texture is pureed #3: all food and all parts of food shall be eaten.
Nowadays, my mother has Thanksgiving. Here is where it gets tricky. I technically could have a holiday at my house. Rarely is this ever mentioned in my hearing and I pretend I do not think those thoughts. So, I should not complain unless I am willing to step up and do something about it. However, no one wants to come to my house. Sure, once in awhile it might come up, but no one follows through. I don't know if it is because they are afraid of what I might cook, or if they are afraid a cat might get them or what the deal is, but every time it gets to where it looks like a holiday celebration might convene at my house, nervous looks start passing around the room and then somebody remembers to mention the dogs. Oh! Phew! We can't go to her house, we cannot take the dogs because of her cats! Hmmm, and this is just occurring to me as I write, maybe they are afraid I will forget the whole thing and everyone will show up at my house and I will be like oh hi, what are you doing here? Or cancel it at the last minute because I just don't like the holidays that much anyway, so lets just drop the whole thing. Or pretend none of us are home. Hmm.
So, over the past 10 or so years, my mother and I have had the same conversation all year long. She and I discuss all year how we don't like turkey that much. Eh, it's ok if that is all you have, but now ham, that is good stuff. I spend the year reminding her of these facts and yet, every year come November she suddenly forgets her own mind and goes and buys a bird. Last year it was an Amish turkey. Why a religious group would have better turkey I do not know. Year before my uncle brought a fryer and fried the turkey. To the bone. Yup, lost most of it in the cooker thingy while shooting arrows and drinking martini's out in the yard with my Dad. Year before that, we were going to have a turkey and a ham, but that fell through when it turned out my mom had lied about the ham. Year before that was the year my cousin had the holiday in Chicago. He made 4 different turkeys, marinated and injected and whatever, until he settled on the one he put out which, you guessed it, was dry and blehch. However that particular Thanksgiving was memorable in that he had moved his new girlfriend into his house and his ex-wife had moved in to the house next door, so he pushed all the table right up next to the windows and I was freaked out thinking a bullet was going to come through at any moment. That, and the 8 courses of alcohol for 7 courses of food specially concocted to blend and accent each dish but by then obviously, who cared.
So, it's that time of year again. My mom insists this year she is having a good turkey. It is a smaller bird so it will cook better and it is smoked so it will have flavor. She says. Whatever. My sisters in-laws have started coming the past few years, and they bring a lamb (My Big Fat Greek Wedding was based on their part of Chicago) and a few of their own dishes that they all eat. It is annoying that all the good restaurants are closed on Thanksgiving, like Wendy's and Burger King and Pizza Hut. Anyway, the good news, the really really good news, is that the girls will be staying with my parents for a few days while The Husband and I rest in our seperate comas. Fabulous!
Friday, November 21, 2008
So the report rates with a 1-2-3-4 code, 4 being exceeds end of year expectations, and a 1 is minimal does not meet end of year expectation. Genea, my little failure to thrive, cortisol deficient, anaclymic depression, dissociative and autism spectrum disordered child, scored 2's and 3's on her entire report. So, she either knows what she is supposed to know in the category, or she knows more than the category. She is average. !!!! And, to put icing on my happy cake here, she got a 4 rating in: listening attentively, cleans up work, and courtesy to others!!!!! ADVANCED!!!!! A GOOD ROLE MODEL!!!!
Ahhhhh. It makes me happy just to look at the report paper.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A blog mate and Manic Mommie (www.manicmommies.com )member (Paula)is going to court tomorrow for the obligatory termination of parental rights hearing. She has a beautiful little girl as a foster child who she intends to adopt. Things are a little different in Taiwan, but so far as I can understand, she has to bail out the biological mother from prison for the day to go to court and terminate. Then, the judge will decided if Paula can be the adoptive parent, and it is a scary judge. And I would guess if it was me I would be freaking out about now, not the least of my worries being this is all in another language and has to be translated!
So tomorrow is a big day for them. I think it is tomorrow, it is the 19th but with the time changes which I can barely grasp in America, I don't know the other side of the globe. But anyway, really soon! Imminently! So get your good wishes fired up and shoot them out to Taiwan!!!
(note to Paula: please feel free to put your blog link and stuff if you want, I just did not want to do it in case you do not want it out there)Good Luck!! I hope your judge is in a good mood! I was totally intimidated when I had to go for this, just try to relax and KNOW that you are the BEST Mom for this little girl!!!!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Other people are happy about snow. At the Walgreens, the little boy at the register (who looked 9 or 10 years old but had the special key so might have been older) said- all excited- did you see that snow coming down? I said, hmm, when you own your own driveway it is just not as exciting.
Now Teena, somehow she missed the snow blizzard coming down and only noticed it later. She was beside herself. She could not have been more delighted and enthused. There is snow out there!!! Look, see the snow? There is snow!! It is snow Mama, snow!! It's here, it's here! THE SNOW!!!
She has been waiting for the snow since the early summer. Why? Because her sister had a birthday early this summer and their grandma got her a special cake. A Barbie cake. And she got presents. Lots of good presents. And ever since that day, at least 4-5 times a week, Teena has asked, is it my birthday today? No? When is it my birthday?. Since she is only 3, she can neither tell time nor can she read a calendar. She is a toddler with limited experiences and I had to find a way to explain time to her that she would comprehend. Or throw myself off a bridge trying (and trying to get away from the question). So starting when the trees were green and it was hot and steamy, I began my attempts to get across to her that it was gonna' be a really, really looooong time until her birthday came again. After many failed tries, I was able to convey to her that after Genea started school, then after the snow comes, after Santa Claus, then after Daddy's birthday, THEN is Teena's birthday. When the leaves started to turn colors and come down she was happy, how she understood that was a sign of fall and that meant winter was next, I have no idea, but that is what she told me. So she is thrilled, so happy for herself!!! Her birthday is coming, it really is, and today there was another sign it is on it's way (although I think that birthday should really be about me, because I am the one who did all the work and it was horribly painful and took 30 hours, but whatever).
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Yeah, the first public photo's of this hairy faced and armpitted man -looking person with an obvious pregnant belly were startling. From my mind and uterus I wondered, how. How the heck is a baby gonna get cooked up on a grill when it is supposed to be in an oven? The answer was it's not. The man here has all the parts on the inside for a baby, he has just changed the cover.
There has been plenty of publicity about this little family. There have been paid-for articles and photos in magazines. He even wrote a book. And when asked by BW if they chose to make money from this, they said OH NO we just wanted to tell our story before someone else did. Now, come on. Of course you wanted the money. If anyone gave a shit what my pregnant belly looked like, you better believe I'd build a studio in my garage for the photographers to take a picture. So just admit it. Hell yeah if I could make a boatload of cash to give my baby the best of everything I sure as shittin' would.
Ya' know, the initial reports caused some clamoring. And the photos were certainly startling. But once people realized what biology was taking place, I know I sure did not care anymore. Once I understood that all the female parts were in there cooking this baby, so what. Now the parents are complaining they get hateful phone calls and letters. Um, get a new number. Move. And then keep yourself out of People magazine and tell BW no next time. Cuz you had to know that would happen. If you have enough brains to figure out how to get yourself pregnant by ordering yourself some sperm off the Internet and defrosting it, then plopping it in with the female parts of your man-looking body cover, you HAVE to be smart enough to realize some people are going to freak out. And some would not care.
It looks to me like they are trying to get people to care, and they are trying too hard. I guess I can understand that some people can get hooked on publicity. Some folks want "their money for nuthin' and their chics for free" as the song goes. But I think, in MY opinion, that it is just like it is for all the birth-giving people everywhere, once you have a baby it is not just about you anymore.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I have blogged about this before, but the short version is that this child has the capacity to let out one of the most brain crushing ear begging heart twisting cries that I have ever heard. It is impossible to fully describe what this sounds like. If you imagine 100 hands dragging 500 fingernails down chalkboards next to a microphone in a box full of 300 hungry kittens, for hours and hours without letting up, you have an idea. It is different from a frustrated kid cry or a tantrum cry, it is a cry without reason that feeds off of itself and rarely does it end with intervention. Most attempts at any kind of help make it worse, Genea herself has to beat it back.
Early on, I was told, and had learned from reading that we should never leave our adopted child alone as a consequence. If she was having a meltdown, or if she needed a time out, it should be in the room with us and she should always be able to see us. This makes absolute perfect sense. Of course you never would want to isolate a child you are trying to attach to! Common sense! All the books said so! But it is obvious anyway!
Lawdhy, I tell you, it became quickly obvious that none of my fancy books had ears. It also became unpleasantly obvious that if this child was going to make that sound on a regular basis she was going to be able to hold our family hostage with it. You couldn't talk, or hear or do anything else. You could hear it in the driveway it was so loud. We, and especially I, tried to sit with her in a time out. Tried to put her where she could see us. Tried all of the above. Holy hell there was no way this was going to work out and this is serious, there was no way this was going to work out. So the past year and a half have been dedicated to managing that unholy sound by a series of steps and chances and choices that end in Genea being sent to her room to shut the door until she is done. All along we have told her if she feels this coming on, don't instigate or pick a fight, don't break a rule and ask us if we saw you, if you feel you need to cry (and she rarely knows why, this is much different from a regular cry) just go to your room, let it out behind the door and then you are done.
Today, she did it.
I find myself hesitent to post this. I don't want people to think that I just let this poor kid cry and sob from sadness. That is not what this cry is. It is not the kind of thing you can hug or convince things are ok. It is like its own entity. It comes for no apparent reason, and leaves the same way. No external efforts have helped, she has to handle it herself. Mostly she instigates or picks a fight to have a reason to hang the cry on, then we are stuck with it.
But not today!
Monday, November 10, 2008
(In the background is part of my Fiesta and Harlequin collection. Sad little dishes had to be put out of reach of unruly, poorly behaved children.)
Sigh. I gave up coffee for nine months for this?
Genea is what I call a black and white kid. For her there is the right way, and everything else is the wrong way, and that is that. No gray, none. This gives her a way of looking at things that I am not used to, an objective, concrete style. In the car I was as usual saying some uh, questionable things, about the drivers in front of us and she asked me if I was talking to them. Yes, I told her, thinking she was going to comment on my um, creative use of language. Instead she said, but Mama, they can't hear you. So sincerely, as if she truly thought I might not know that. Trying to keep me from humiliating myself by talking to strangers who cannot hear me. Ah, kid, you're right. There hasn't been a logical brain in this family for a long time, we obviously needed one.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
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Just lovely, huh.
Friday, November 7, 2008
On both sides of our flight, the airline people (American Airlines) made every effort to put us all together, even when it meant bumping other people around who would not even find out about until they got to the gate (sorry!). When I was single, or with The Husband and child-free, no one gave a shit about us at all! After crawling onto the airplane and wedging into my pencil sized seat just reeking of cigarettes and alcohol so bad I could not stand the smell of myself, no one ever said hey lady, your eyes are more red than a John McCain state, and you look like you are going into a coma, here, have the whole seat. Or, here Miss, have the pencil-seat closest to the bathroom, so you won't have to run to vomit. On our flight home, our seats were together but oddly set, and right away a man offered to switch so we were lined up. He said, I raised 3 of my own, and that was that.
At our hotel, we had a reservation for a double bed room. I had gone on-line to check for amenities (hair dryer! wireless internet!) and noticed they had what they call a suite, where there is a main area separated from the bed area. The main area had a pull out sofa for the kids, as well as a microwave, fridge and sink. When we got there, it was only a few dollars more, but there weren't any available. The desk worker took an extra 20 minutes, with people in line, to switch rooms around (ahem, sorry) so we could be in the much bigger room. When it was just us adults, no one cared about our room at all. Of course, we didn't care either, being as we would be coming in to sleep or pass-out, take your pick. And using the coffee pot. And presumably the toilet for a variety of reasons. Anyway.
I know when I was child free, I did not care about people who had them. Mostly, they annoyed me shoving their stupid strollers through crowds, into my ankles, with their entitlement attitudes about bringing toddlers into a public restaurant where the regular people could hear them.
So I have to say, this is something that helped us out a LOT. It really made a difference for us, that I would not have guessed before experiencing it. It helped make the difficult (desperate!) task of travelling with small children go much easier. Go figure.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I was a little bit off on the story of its origin. No water involved (blame the FIL for the inaccuracy), it was a crucifix glowing under ground that was found and removed around the year 1810. 3 times it was removed from it's hole and brought to a church. 3 times it disappeared and was found back in the hole. So, folks decided there must be a good reason and built a small chapel on the site.
Monday, November 3, 2008
When we got here to visit with the girls grandparents, The Husbands parents, my MIL asked the girls right away if they wanted to spend the night at their house. Both girls said yes right away, Genea said it first. That was a shock to me! I knew the grandparents wanted the girls to stay over (and of course I thought that was a great idea) but I expected them to take a day or so to settle in. Especially Genea. Obviously.
My first thought was, oh shit! What's wrong with this picture? This cannot be good. Genea hates new everything. While I prepped up the girls something crazy for this trip, no one gets in with Genea that quickly. No amount of prep could have made her feel comfortable right away like this.
What if it was a RAD moment? RAD is Reactive Attachment Disorder, and many children who were adopted older or had multiple caregivers, are diagnosed with this. One of the points of this disorder is that the child will go to anyone, can be overly friendly, and will go to strangers as if they were family. The adopted family is shunned, pushed away by the child out of fear of abandonment and takes the brunt of the child's fear and anger. The childs behavior can be outrageous and extremely hard to manage. We have that.
What if all this time, when it looked like Genea had bonded to us all, she really only came to us out of her fear. Maybe she holds on to us because we are the only people available? Too scared of another new house, maybe she has been play acting the togetherness. When she hugs and kisses and says I love you, is it because that is what we expect and not what she is thinking or feeling? She knows her Grandma K from probably 3 separate week long visits over the past year and a half. That is not enough for Genea to go right to her and spend the night! I mean, I am happy she loves her Grandma but this is a strange behavior for Genea.
My only possible explanation is this--- we told the girls we were going to visit their grandparents house. Every turn of the trip they thought they would land on their doorstep. Instead we took a cab to the airport, took 2 separate airplanes, a bus and a van. We kept going places and none of them resulted in their grandparents house appearing. Grandma K met us at our hotel when we arrived. Not her house. And just maybe, Genea had in her head, Grandma K's house, and the events were not completed until she was at the actual house. Like, such concrete thinking that she would only be able to relax when she was at the house standing in the kitchen.
I hope that is it. That she just had to finish in her mind where we were supposed to go. One thing her therapists have said many times is they were always worried that Genea had such an ability to change herself into what was expected of her, or what she perceived other people wanted. A chameleon, is what they said.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The pressure to represent the neurotypical (or, regular folk) is unbearable.
I got my yarn. The Coach outlet was great. The Liz outlet, terrible. Where all the ugly clothes go to die.
Going to get my dirt tomorrow.
Must. Hang. On.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
And I have to give credit where it is due, the girls were absolutely great, both of them, with the travel. We left our house and took a cab to the airport. Then we flew to O'hare, had breakfast, and got on another plane. Then we took a bus to the car rental place and picked up our family minivan and drove a long way to our hotel. Except for refusing to sleep the entire time, the girls were wonderfully behaved. Through all the changes, and boring parts, they were great. It helped I think, that I put them both on those cutesy animal- backpack leads from Wal-mart. They kind of had no choice in the airports.
We had to wake up the girls early in the morning to make our flight. We had to wake them. I get a great pleasure out of that! Both kids are dreadfully early morning people and many a war has taken place over their morning behavior. Genea cannot stand to be alone and will go to extreme lengths to get someone to wake up with her. Now, mind you, she shares a room with Teena who is also a morning person. So she wakes up Teena if she is not already up then the two of them proceed to be pains in the butt and destroy the house if someone in charge does not get up with them to take names.
Never one to let an incidental learning opportunity pass by, I asked them all day how that felt. Was it fun to get up before you were ready? NO? Why not? Hmmm, how do you think other people feel when you wake them up.
So, was it fun when you had to get up early? Hmmm?
Where the in-laws live, is a place I like to call Aspergerburbia. It is a small town where everyone knows everyone and then some. There are a few places in the United States where the most scrambled of all the Egg-Heads gather and this is one. My fil is a nuclear physicist and mil teaches music here.
If you have ever heard of Tony Attwood, he is an expert in Aspergers Disorder, which can also be called high- functioning autism. He is a great researcher and educator, I have seen him speak. This quote is directly from his website to describe what makes an autistic person a person with Aspergers:
"The person usually has a strong desire to seek knowledge, truth and perfection with a different set of priorities than would be expected with other people. There is also a different perception of situations and sensory experiences. The overriding priority may be to solve a problem rather than satisfy the social or emotional needs of others."
When I went to his seminar in Milwaukee a few years ago, he started with a funny story. He said, he plays a little game of picking out the Aspie in a crowd, with ranking and points etc. Then he said, when he is with a group of scientists/ accountants/ engineers the challenge then becomes to pick out the person without Aspergers. It was really funny the way he told it anyway.
So to summarize, I am visiting with a pair of people who don't have 2 social skills to rub together to make a fire. And no one else here does either. And no one thinks anyone else is...off center. They live with their own kind here in what they call "academia".
Lest anyone think I am being mean, or making this up, or exaggerating I will give you an example. One mere hour into this visit, my fil brought up the future love making abilities of my daughters. Yes, yes he did. At dinner, the mil brought up her problem bladder infection, how she got it, and then discussed her subsequent yeast infection. At dinner.
But actually I enjoy brief visits with them. The mil is the type that scoots around telling you all day how she just wants to make everyone happy, which is code for I have to control every single facet and its possible outcomes or I will die. So, that can be fun. Did I mention the OCD yet? There are no strangers to pharmaceuticals here! So really, we fit right in.
There are a few things I want to do here. First, I must go yarn shopping. I must knit, knit, knit like the wind! Second, I must go to the Coach outlet and Liz Claiborne outlet. Third, I want to go to the church with the Holy Dirt.
I'm gonna assume the first 2 are self explanatory.
I am totally cranked up about the chance to take Genea to visit the Holy Dirt, and Teena too. There is a church where a miraculous event occurred a bazillion years ago. Water appeared as a stream or something, and then disappeared, leaving just the dirt. People who visit this spot have reported medical miracles, there are braces and crutches lining the walls with little stories about how people were healed. I am not trying to be disrespectful in my description, I just don't remember all the details, it has been more than 10 years. Anyway, I cannot wait to take Genea there. I am going to bring some dirt home too, just in case it doesn't take right away. And Teena, I think I will set her right into the hole (in the ground where the dirt is) and tell her to sprinkle it over herself. In the olden days when this was discovered people would eat the dirt, but I will save that for an emergency.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
I taught her to spell her name using the children's song about the little dog named Bingo. So we did it like this:
There was a family
that had a girl and
Genea is her name-o
AND Genea is her name-O.
Only, it turns out Genea had learned a few things along the way, and the right words to that song is something she had already learned. So, she merged the two in her iron fist brain.
AND Bingo is Genea's name- O!
So I have a strange feeling she will teach that song to her own children this way.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The crime itself is absolutely terrible. To describe it, to put words to the emotional aftermath, is impossible. The pure, scathing agony is unimaginable.
What I don't understand is where is that little boy and why is there not a big search going on? There has been an Amber Alert and the FBI is involved and.....so....what...? I live 3 hours from Chicago (by my driving) and I have seen only the exhibitionist type of news on the subject. Like, this doesn't concern us but isn't it tragic. It has been several days now and again...where is he and what has happened to the little boy? I don't understand how he is involved in the murders. Was he supposed to be at his grandmothers house that day? Or did he go missing from school? Why is there not a nationwide alert going on with photo's and information streaming?
I have to say it, I really do. And if you don't like it, then bite me.
That cute little blond white boy from Nevada was nationwide news when he went missing, what, 2 weeks ago. And I am thousands of miles from Nevada. It was all over the papers, the tv news and internet pages. Updates came several times a day, and even when there was nothing new to report, reporting happened.
So here is the link to the Amber Alert for Julian King:
I hope he is okay.
Friday, October 24, 2008
What the hell is so bad about smoking anyway. Cut a few years off my life? The gorky years in a crummy stinking nursing home wearing a diaper? Talking to my imaginary dog about my imaginary trip to Hawaii?
Settle in, this is a long one.
We have a lot going on and coming up. There is the trip to Chicago to the home of the Most Spoiled Children on the Planet, along with visiting children from out of state, and a Show. This involves 3 days of travel, 2 overnights at my parents house, and many, many deviations from our regularly scheduled weekend of staying home and trying to not kill each other. Aside from the traveling part, I was looking forward to seeing some of the family from another state and doing some fun things in the city. Genea does not like anything new. She has the rest of her life scheduled to be exactly the same as yesterday. I learned the hard way, the realllllly really hard way, that cuing Genea in to an impending schedule Change does only one thing, and that one thing is to freak her out from that moment until approximately 1 week and 2 days after the Change. (There actually is a pattern there for those of you with sharp eyes ....see she will include the Change in her repertoire of scheduled events for the following week assuming the Change is a permanent addition to her schedule no matter what I tell her different, therefore her last freak out will be 2 days after she realizes the Change will not be repeating. Which is another Change).
Then, 2 days after our return we are leaving for a week to visit the other grandparents. Big Change. With a scary new thing. Flying. On an airplane. And folks, I know this is strange but you probably would not be to this paragraph if you were not expecting some strange payoff. You would have changed the channel by now as it were. Check out this one--- Genea has spent the past year believing her previous parents are living on an airplane. Oh yeah, no typo's.
No one knows where she got this idea, but somehow when she officially came to our home to live she put them on an airplane that never landed. Evidently, this was all part of the Magical Thinking that young children will develop to explain something traumatic to themselves. Every time she noticed an airplane for a year, she told everyone in her range that her Non-Mom and Non-Dad were on it. Even Teena would say it. Now, I slowly and carefully landed the aircraft across about six weeks over the summer, and released the Nons.(I was going to call them the Others but I remembered that whole plot line has been used elsewhere.) Notice the word "I". "I", may have landed them, but I have no idea where Genea put them. And she is not telling.
So, not to change the subject or anything, but moving right along. We have a lot to cover.
About a week ago, I noticed Teena going potty more than usual. She usually waits until the last possible second and springs up from whatever fascinating life altering activity she was doing to ricochet off the walls getting to the potty and fyi, get out of her way. But I saw her going a few more times than is her normal one day, and then she had a peeing accident. So I called the Doctor and made an appointment for the same day and Teena proceeded to stay away from the potty for the next 4 hours. I was sure the office staff at the Doctor would be snorting at my overreaction as soon as we turned the corner with the nurse. But, I was right, she had a UTI. Well she was thrilled. And so excited to be taking medicine! She basically felt ok so she was just happy to get to go out. Notice that a change in routine makes Teena happy. Then she got to have special juice. What the hell is so special about her juice? It better be ef'in' special for $12.00!!! Regular store cranberry juice is from concentrate and all the brands had sugar and a bunch of other stuff in them. So I went to a health food store- why do these stores always smell icky? Anyway, REAL cranberry juice with an actual cranberry, is pricey and incidentally, disgusting. Turns out there is a great reason for adding all that other stuff.
Yesterday, Genea came home from school and said she felt sick. I felt her forehead and it was warm. I had The Husband look at her throat because she said it hurt. I will get strep if there is one single germ in a 20 mile radius. I even had Scarlet Fever this past spring. That's why I had him look. Throat was red. Call the Dr., because we have all these trips out of town coming up! Sure enough, strep. More medicine. Nothing gets my Mommy Gene fired up faster than one of MY babies in pain. I will kick any ass necessary to save my babies from pain including an invisible germ. That was yesterday.
Now today, the girls are so excited to be home together unexpectedly that they are behaving like the Mexican Jumping Beans they used to sell at gas stations in the 70's. So I hear. Teena is devastated that her medicine is all gone and Genea gets to take it now. I finally realized I should probably separate them or they will both be sick. Of course I am feeling run down and sickish but I can't tell if that is my normal feeling shitty or if it is sick-shitty. Unexpected bonus now, our trip to Chicago is cancelled. I was going take Teena and go by ourselves but it turns out no one wants us anyway. Since we could be carrying a Death Plague across state lines.
With all these great times, I have been thinking, what would really make this all even better, is to start smoking again. Ahhhhhhh.
Several hours into this post, the girls will not be separated. The best I can do is to make a pillow wall between them and hope the germs don't jump up and race over. Genea should not be toxic anymore anyhow.
Does either of them look sick?
Teena is starting to feel warm.