Friday, December 31, 2010

Ok, Who Pushed Fast Forward to New Years?

No seriously, how did this happen? Do other people know about this? Was I the only person not in on the trick? Or is it a surprise to you too?

It's NEW YEARS EVE.  RIGHT NOW!

When I find out who is responsible for this, heads are going to roll. Roll I tell you!

Okay, well since the damage has been done I'm going to move on. Happy New Year, y'all!

2010 was...... unusual. We had the arrival of the Fucktard Moron, the previous adoptive father of my daughter, when he moved in with the skank across the street. He stalked our daughter and we were granted an Order of Protection against him, but he was legally allowed to stay in the house.

However, 2010 also saw the relocation of the Fucktard Moron. So although we endured his presence for much of the year, the skank eventually tired of him once she discovered we refused to play in the Drama of her Life and she kicked him out. He came back several times over several months but finally seems to have left forever in September-ish. For the curious, Skankenho had Fucktard Moron babysitting her two children while she was out. When she returned home, she arrived with The Thing in the Red Truck who was moving in. HA! Seriously! She moved in the new boyfriend while the previous one was babysitting her children! In her house! LOL!  Ah, it's a lot funnier now that it's been a few months. *snort* lol.

2010 brought me my new friends, fellow Knitting Ninjas and Mothers of the Wango Tango, courtesy of Corey Watching the Waters. Love them, love her, MWAH to all!

2010 saw my little baby begin Kindergarten and my return to the..... hmmmm, no jobs out there...... my return to the living room from the bus stop.

I could go on and on, but really it would be very boring and the fact is our year is documented fairly well right here. I'm not a big resolution maker except for the one resolution- not to bother with resolutions anymore. Kept that one. I do believe however, that one can always benefit from acknowledging a few goals and dreams. In no particular order.....

  1. Get to the Oprah show audience. This one is time sensitive, actually urgent. Ideally an appearance on the show with a makeover.
  2. Fix it or forget it. I have been "meaning to" do a much better job of responding to comments, reciprocating, and answering questions. I got to either shit or get off the blog.
  3. Get out more. With Husband. And others.
  4. Seek job. Said job must provide killer health insurance with an affordable employee contribution that does not exceed paycheck. Yeah. 
  5. Finish blog posts in a timely fashion. For example, this post. Finish it before New Years Day. LOL!
Now I am off to put on my fabulous lbd made by a fabulous, expensive designer. I have already spent an hour doing my hair and make up. We are going out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant where there are no children allowed. Then we are going to drink ourselves silly and vomit our way to 2011 the way nature intended.

Yeah, no, actually I have not changed out of my pajamas yet, being as there was no reason to, and there will not be. I put deodorant on though. Going to go watch some un-great TV and then go to bed where I will kiss my cat if I am still awake at midnight.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Santa Does NOT Come Early!

    Christmas is over and now we just have to plod through that stretch of dead-air time where we are on "Winter Break" until school starts again. One week. I can live through a week right? I mean in my life I have lived through, like, a really *unspecified number* lot of weeks so surely I can do another one. Right?

    Our Christmas went well! The girls opened the gifts from us on Thursday and Santa came on Friday, Christmas Eve. We are slightly unsure as to how he accomplished it but The Husband had taken the girls out to run some errands that afternoon and possibly that is when he came. Alternately while we were eating dinner I thought I heard something outside on the roof. So we don't exactly know. However Teena is sure of one thing and that is that it was all wrong. Genea is the type of child who knows what she knows, and so if she believes in Santa and Santa is magic, then the man can come whenever he wants. Teena is the type of child who wants to know how. She has done her research (watched all the claymation movies), consulted the experts (her kindergarten teacher) and developed her hypothesis. Santa does his thing on Christmas Day and when you wake up he has been there and gone. And, fyi, she better darn tootin' be the most right because she does not take well to being wrong. The Husband and I did our best to come up with answers on the fly to Teena's most logical questions but I am afraid that we pushed our luck a little too far having Santa come early. Regardless, the whole point of doing it that was to avoid the Christmas morning Puke- a- la- Palooza of the previous two years and so by that measure we were successful. No one enjoys a holiday when there is vomit on the gifts. Words to live by.

    On the actual day of Christmas we packed up and went to my sisters house in The South of Wisconsin where she has a lovely, large home with long, roomy stretches of track that just beg to be run. Beg, I tell you, those hallways beg for children to run hysterically through. Laughing, shrieking and running like a herd of four happy buffalo.

    I had a few irksome moments. Weigh in with opinions if you want. When The Time Came on the big day, to open gifts, we started telling the kids to pass them out. That's the tradition in my extended family. My sister and I were the only kids for like, 28 years straight, and had to pass out gifts that whole time so we have been waiting for someone to be old enough to read and take over the job. Finally, three kids started reading at the same time. So there are gifts to the ceiling in front of the tree and the kids start diving in. Only of the three who could read, they disregarded all names but their own. The fourth knew enough to find his own name and did the same.

    Chaos hit the floor and flew through the air. The roar of paper ripping matched by screams and wordless excitement.

    And I was irked off.

    Before I had time to sit down, the whole thing was over. (I was wearing a new pair of "jeggings" and I have to say, I do not recommend it. Who thought it would be a good idea to make leggings out of super stretchy denim? They are rough and stiff and bunch up miserably in every body part that bends. Incidentally, the things also apparently shrink once they leave the store, making your legs resemble burst sausage casings). Anyway, as I tried to sit down without lacerating myself with my own pants, I also tried uselessly to redirect my children to open their gifts calmly, pass out gifts to other people and to take their time. No go. It was a free for all of manic tearing. My two girls whipped open boxes and shoved and jammed new toys in my face and up my nose all the while shrieking in the strident voice of little girls everywhere, "LOOK MAMA LOOK!", then throwing the thing aside to grab something new.

    Now, I remember being a kid. Really! My parents let us blaze through wrapping paper only to glance at the concealed present and move onto the next. I have to admit it was fun. Then, once we saw everything we went back and examined things more closely. We were never a family growing up that opened one gift at a time. But this was nuts. I barely registered what was received let alone who it was from and you can be sure my kids did not notice who things were from! Then there are little pieces and instructions to stuff and it is all flying out of the packaging. A relative quickly scooted around picking up boxes and wrapping paper and miscellaneous trash, and I am serious, within minutes it was all over.

    I want my children to be gracious and polite and to always use good manners. Now how the heck I am going to get that to happen in this situation? I want them to open something, look the giver in the eye, say something polite and after it is all done approach the person and say thank you. I guess I felt embarrassed, having to ask people, was this doll from you? Was this shirt from you? So, the discomfort and irksome feelings were definitely about me. No one else seemed to mind and no one else was worried about it. No one else seemed to think my children were rude. So, I leave it go and move on.

    In other news, Teena is staying with my parents for a few days while Genea came home with us. I will write a different post about it, but I have to say, this has turned out far differently than I expected. One of my top 5 rules of parenting........ Never ever let yourself think that you know what you are doing.

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Have a Merry Christmas

    Yep, that's my whole post.

    Merry Christmas!

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    FWIW, it's my opinion. Keeping holiday meltdowns to a minimum!

    Over the past 3 and 1/2 years, I have learned a few things. Some of these things have worked to help  Genea remain on the planet during times of stress and I thought I would pass them on. With holidays coming up the kids can easily go haywire and stay off track for weeks, even months. I try to knock as much of The Crazy out ahead of time as is possible. In no way does this mean I know what I am doing. I actually debated with myself..... should I put this up? Will I seem pushy? Know- it- all- ish? And I thought, Self, after all this time you have a few hints to pass on. People can take them or leave them. Okay.

    First and foremost, be mindful that your RADish will probably not emerge from the other side of the holidays in good condition. Work from the position that expects problems and makes the effort to contain them before they blow. Anticipate. Think to previous years and plan.

    RADishes do not like change!
    My RADish (affectionate term for a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder) does not like change. She thinks there should be a law against all change and the rest of us should have to comply. So you might think that a holiday like Thanksgiving where my little food hoarder/sneaker can eat all she wants would be a positive. It is. However, the overriding feeling will be anxiety due to change in schedules, locations, people and rules.

    Anxiety always comes out.

    When your child starts up with provoking behavior, constant demands and does bizarre things it may mean she is feeling unsure and unsafe.

    So what do you do? You talk it through at every opportunity. I would describe every single thing I could think of to Genea ahead of time. We are going to Grandma's house.We are taking my car. It will be a long car ride and I want you to bring a few books. We will try to drive straight there without stopping. When we get to Grandma's, remember her 2 dogs will bark at you at first. We will not eat right away, it will be about 2 hours after we get there. These are the foods she will have. These are the people who will be there.

    But wait! Do Not tell her too far ahead of time because then she will freak out anticipating the day. For Genea, usually the night before a big event is good. Sometimes, the day of. Seriously, rarely more notice than that. Where you have anticipatory anxiety you have your  Wango Tango. Simple.

    Do what you have to do to keep the chances for failure at a minimum.

    My child cannot control her urine when she is stressed. Even though she is 7 and fully capable, unfortunately her continence is one of the first things to go. We use night time underwear style diapers at the homes of other people. Nancy Thomas can come and get me, and bash me over the head with a diaper genie. If Genea doesn't need the back up, she doesn't need it but if she does it will not ruin the whole day, her clothes, or the furniture of others.

    Know your child's signs of stress and look for them.

    Genea can look perfectly calm, even happy, on the outside. I know she is feeling anxious because her pupils dilate. That may well be the only sign at all that she is internally dysregulated. And where does all that go if left to fester? After all, she looks good on the outside, why not take that for the truth? Here is why. Because the Wango Tango will always come out somehow. Maybe not at Grandma's for Christmas, but the next day? The next 7 unstructured days at home without school? Oh yeah, you will feel it!

    Check in with your child often with physical contact.

    I am always amazed when I casually hug Genea and I can feel her heart beating out of the chest cavity. Another cue she is feeling stress! I make her sit  next to me and I firmly hold her. Not forcefully but as the adult in charge. We might discreetly work on breathing or counting. I will have her place her hand on her chest to feel her heart beat and work on slowing it down (I call that biofeedback for the poor, lol). We might escape to a bedroom and close the door and do some strong sitting in quiet.  We can do quick brain shifts now that she is getting older and can do some academics. I might ask her to spell "frog" or do basic addition. The answer doesn't matter in the slightest- it will shift the brain out of panic and fear and away from fight/ flight/ freeze. Other ideas- ask her favorite color, favorite tv show, etc. Think of it as driving a car with a manual transmission (good God, why do those things still exist). If the car is in 1st gear going 45 miles an hour you are going to wind up with a messed up car. You have to shift to bring it into safety.

    Other things that have helped Genea and I survive:
    • Keep visits to other homes short. Short short short.  Short as you can.
    • Plate your child's food for her. A buffet style or family style meal is going to overwhelm and freak out your little loved one.
    • Keep as many rules from home as possible. Example- we have a rule that you have to try everything on your plate with one bite, then you can decide not to eat it. Awkward and annoying to keep that rule at another persons home, but rules are reminders that someone is in charge and the child is safe.
    • Try not to "let it go because it is a holiday". I have wound up with 2 ungrateful overstimulated brats on many occasions thinking I was giving the gift of fun and freedom from structure. Not. Good.
    Get over the idea that this is your holiday too and you should be able to have some fun. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. Yes this will all be a lot of work. No, it probably isn't fair.

    What about pushy relatives?

    Those that are sure your RADish needs a fistful of crackers and you are just being too strict, you know them? They spend half the holiday trying to convince you that you are too hard on the child, you need to loosen up. Or the other where your child runs off totally out of control and just needs a good spanking. I have two lines that I have found will stop all opinions, second guessing, and unwanted "help".

    1. Say this with your head tilted to the side and try to look tragic.
    "You know, she will just never be totally sure that we won't leave her somewhere. No matter how long it has been she still doesn't quite fully believe we will bring her back home. Our rules may seem odd but she functions so much better with them".
    Without fail, the "helpful" relative will make sad clucking noises, quickly look off into the distance, and wander away. I think the comment helps kick open the door that reminds people, we are not working from a regular box of chocolates.

    2. Looking helpless or a little doubtful, shift the focus (blame) off of yourself.
    "Mmmm hmmmm, her therapist (insert whatever professional you want) says we have to 'blank' for her to be emotionally healthy you know, after all she's been through". Around my relatives that will move immediately into a discussion about all this feelings crap in society these days, psychiatrists are nothing but drug pushers and the Big Pharmaceutical Companies are running the world.  Clears the room. Get out with everyone else.

    note- I realize the above idea may turn you off completely. Do what works for you. This is what has worked for me. 

    Now, on to gifts!

    Around here, my kids get a lot of gifts. What a problem, right? No, it's not something I complain about. However with my children, too many new things at one time overwhelms them. Then they wind up playing with a box or an old cat toy from way under the couch. Spread it out.

    We will do our family gifts on Thursday, 2 days before Christmas. That will give the kids most of Friday to play with their new stuff. Santa will come early the night before Christmas because.......

    For the past 2 years my little neurotypical child has become so excited about Santa Claus that she vomits. She works herself so far up into a tizzy that she gets a fever going and cannot keep food down. We have had to reschedule the extended family party both years. So, Santa will come early the night before, like 7pm,  instead of Christmas morning. Does that just seem not right? Kids are supposed to wake up Christmas morning at 4 am all excited and flipping out about Santa! Well, that may be how it is in all the stories but if the excitement is too much for your kids than how much fun is it going to be? Do what works for your family.

    note- I had a recent epiphany about this. I wonder if Teena gets all worked up because she is wondering if Santa will leave her gifts or a lump of coal. Not quite sure if she has made the naughty or the nice list.

    Anyway, like I said, these are the things that have worked for us. You may have already tried every single thing on the list and none of it worked. For me, it's about maximizing the fun and helping my RADish be successful and that may mean my day sucks. But I would feel worse if she managed to ruin the day for a bunch of other people.  We will absolutely still have fallout but if we try to work at the problems ahead of time and have a plan for the other stuff, it helps.

    So, opinions? Suggestions? What has worked for you and your family that is not typical? Fill me in, I will take all the help I can get!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    And the winner is........

    Genea and Teena were kind enough to help pick the name of the person to win the book "Mamalita- An Adoption Memoir" by Jessica O'Dwyer. So here it goes.......


    In a brief moment of cooperation, Genea holds the "peacock" color Fiesta vegetable bowl while Teena picks a paper slip....... (ps, I cut Teena's bangs right after this, lol)................


    Teena has selected a name.......... (Genea's expression is due to her wanting to have a turn and pick another name)..... (I explained the uber importance of the bowl holder, that is kind of heavy, that her sister would probably drop).....


    And the winner is..................



    Annehueser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So I will email you, Ms Annehueser, to get your address and send the book off to you on Monday!

    I just have one other thing to mention as a sort of public service message to anyone still reading after seeing the winner was not yourself. Okay, it's not along the lines of "reading is cool, stay in school!", or "how do you treat a disabled person----    like a person!" but it has value. In my opinion. 

    I spent this afternoon cleaning out 2 cabinets in the bathroom. Having 2 daughters, I am finding myself swimming in bad habits and an excess of stuff. In my other life, that bathroom was mine, all mine. I did not even let  The Husband keep a toothbrush in there. Now we all share it. We have another bathroom downstairs but the potty broke a few years back and it has never been fixed (*sigh*). So all of us use one bathroom. I guess it is amazing that I held out this long refusing to give up cabinets but the truth is, as I discovered,  the contents of these particular 2 cabinets was mostly garbage. 10 year old free samples, old toothbrushes, etc.  Lots of bottles of shampoo, hairspray, nice soap and stuff with a half inch of product left that one day I was going to scrape out and use..... collect into one bottle..... never happened, never will.

    Okay, so I cleared them out and decided to clean while I was in there. Ick. I decided to wipe down the outsides as well. Lots of scrubbing there what with all the built up hair spray, dust, dirt and other junk that defines filth.

    My mistake.

    Here is the public service message: Dirt is magic. It hides scrapes in the wood finish. It masks chips. It holds things together, things that when scrubbed too much, fall off.

    Also, if you clean the visible exterior of 2 cabinets they will suddenly glow. Your other cabinets will not.

    Learn from me, learn!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    If Santa Filled Your Stocking......

    On that goober site Facebook I belong to a group called "Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid" (click! you can join too!). It is two women, sisters I believe, who wrote a book with that title. Both have children who are atypical and imperfect and much like myself, try to tackle the Wango Tango and all of it's teachers and therapists with humor and sarcasm. I may have mentioned in the past that I feel sarcasm is a gift that should be nurtured so you can imagine how I banged on the door demanding to be let into the group.

    Anysnot, they put up prompts daily to encourage little stories or comments on the daily lives of parents and children. A day or so ago they put up the prompt "If Santa were to fill your imperfect stocking, what would you like in it?" My immediate thought was the usual...... a Xanax floated in a Bloody Mary and a new Coach handbag. Then I read the comments of people after me and they had a *ummmm* different tone. Like all altruistic and lovely. So, I would like to add to my stocking. Make no mistake, I still want my drink and my handbag but now there is more:

    1. A treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I mean something that will work. I don't care how long it takes or what the requirements are, I just want something, any ONE path to take that will effectively and permanently treat the disorder.

    2. Some of those super tasty chocolate covered espresso beans.

    3. Children's hair that brushes itself.

    4. A neurological system for my daughter that does not sabotage her at every turn (okay, tricky to get that in a stocking but we all know Santa is magic).

    5. Peace.

    Okay, easy right? Santa should be able to handle my stocking without a problem. I just hope there is no hole in the toe. And, maybe I should hang up Shaq's sock just in case. FYI the above group on Facebook is a lot of fun and they are helpful too so if my link works I would recommend joining up! I know I am full of the linkies lately, I just happen to find several good ones at the same time and I like to share.

    So, what would/will you want in your holiday stocking?

     ps Giveaway will be announced tomorrow! I hope!

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    The Anti- Me

    The style of my home is what might be called, "garage sale chic". The word "chic" is French, it means "cheap".  So here is my take on holiday decorating....... we have enough chic shit laying around this house without adding stuff that has an expiration date! Holiday decorating adds up to just one thing, and that is more work. It is a well known fact that I am violently opposed to such.

    By the way, anyone who is reading this who has a big holiday display or who even enjoys it is exempt from any comments I may make with terms such as gaudy, tacky or useless. By virtue of being a blog reader you are obviously intelligent and with unimpeachable taste and so clearly this does not apply to you. Also, I do not wish to alienate everyone in one fell post. If you love it, I love it. I am talking about other people. Mwah!

    I digress.

    It seems that I have given birth to The Anti- Me. On a dark, drunken night long ago in a land far away known as Chicago, a stray sperm showed off to the others and actually hit the target but with one massive error. The DNA possessed in that little sperm contained The Decorating Gene!  It so happens that I can trace the biological responsibility for that crap directly up the family twig. However, marriage vows prevent me from getting any more specific. What I can discuss is my own spawn. My pink- loving, doll- playing, holiday- decoration- coveting, even- though- I- gave- up- caffeine- for- you- ya'- little- ingrate daughter Teena. 

    Safe to say I do not care for holiday decorating. I find I get more than enough at other people's houses, not to mention they usually do a far greater job of it than I could ever dream of. Stepping into any retail store after Halloween fills in stray gaps that might lead me to decorate anything myself. Honestly though, it is the outrageous overkill that bothers me. The shameless overindulgence that Christmas has become.

    It was only after Genea arrived that we even bought a tree to put up, and I think there is a good chance there is nothing in nature that quite resembles it. But see for Teena, her greatest distress has been how we do not decorate outside. Look, she points out whenever we go somewhere, those people have decorations and we don't! Her other complaint on a repeating loop is, look at our house, no one could even tell we are having a holiday, there are no decorations!
     

    Unfortunately, I love my little girls and my little girls wish desperately for a decorated holiday home. (By wish desperately, I mean they have commenced with such elephantine whining that I would like to remove my hearing mechanism with a wine corkscrew). (Get it? Whine/ wine? HA!).

    If she had her way, this would be our house:







    This is how it might look at night. From an airplane:




    I found the above pictures on the most hilarious website:
    Ugly Christmas Lights


    This is my ideal decoration:







    Right, you don't see anything there, do you.


    To really clinch evidence of the profound DNA error that occurred, I present to you the following.

    The child likes Christmas music. 

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I mean, come on! We were painting picture frames for their school pictures to send as gifts and I had put on some music. Teena crabbed and grumbled that "they should really be playing Christmas music right now". During a Prince song.  Seems she must have thought I had the radio on, when in fact it was my ipod.  My child, fruit of my soul and stretch marks, fussed and complained during "Let's Go Crazy"! 

    I did not mention that I had control over any of it. Serves her right for whining while Prince was in the house.

    So. 

    Ugh.

    I let Christmas music come into the house. With the echo of whining still vibrating my brain, I bought up a bunch of cheap ornaments and bows to put outside. Then, I put them outside. Discreetly. In a non- tacky fashion. Yo ho ho!



    PS Don't forget to enter the book giveaway below- I'm drawing a winner in 2 more days!

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Mamalita- An Adoption Memoir, and Giveaway!

    So, you all have to know how excited this made me..... I was contacted recently by a publicist from Perseus/ Seal press to do a book review for a blog tour. EXCITED is putting it mildly- I was thrilled to combine two of my favorite things. That is, reading and giving opinions!

    MAMALITA- An Adoption Memoir
    By Jessica O'Dwyer
    Available at all the usual outlets
    Here is a promotional trailer on YouTube.

    "Mamalita- An Adoption Memoir" describes the journey of Jessica O'Dwyer in her efforts to become a mother. Adoptive parents will immediately recognize this book as real. Real descriptions of real experiences telling the real truth about a process that can be so gratifying and simultaneously frustrating. As most do, Jessica and her husband start with the purest of intentions. Hopeful and excited, she rapidly finds herself struggling to walk an increasingly curved and twisted line, eventually forcing her onto a tightrope with corruption on one side and dissonance on the other. Yet Jessica is blessed with the resources to eventually break through the heavily tainted process. Despite passive incompetence and open hostility, Jessica makes the hard decision to agitate Guatemalan bureaucracy to advocate for her daughter. 
    The author takes care to describe realities of adoption and loss, as well as rejoicing in the exhilaration of connecting with a child for the first time. Convincing a confused child to trust is a process, and Jessica's unflinching exploration of building a relationship will only help others understand it is not always a given. Creating a family through adoption is complex. Jessica's dedication and determination, love and loyalty take the reader from the optimistic beginning to the joyful end.

    Half the fun of doing a review is of course then doing a giveaway of said book. Assuming no one minds a slightly used book. Here is how you enter- leave me a comment with your email. That's all. Like this: "Hey I want to enter the giveaway- this is my email address blah @ blahbittyblah.com". I tried to think of something fun and clever to leave with your entry, but I got nothing. It's been that kind of week. So, if you have something cute or clever to say go on. Likewise if you have a good joke, share! I could use it! I'll pick a name out of a pot in about a week.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    They Get to Go Home

    I admit that I am a fan of reality TV. I realize that might put me in a category of folks with a presumption of IQ lower than a snails. I don't care. I love that crap, all of it. Well, except for the recent onslaught of bizarreness on MTV. It's the regular stuff I am addicted to. The Amazing Race, Big Brother, Project Runway, The Apprentice, The Bachelor, Hoarders and Intervention. Supernanny, Worlds Strictest Parents etc. Even Survivor, despite my suspicion that the winner is already decided by demographic and half the "contestants" are actors. Fun, fun, fun! FUN!

    My daughters like to watch some of them too, especially shows where there are competitions. They always root for the "girls" and become pseudo upset when a "boy" wins. We encourage Girl Power in this house!

    However, for a long time I struggled with getting them to understand the point of the games. The goal of winning. The way they saw it, both of them, was that the great prize the 'winner' received was to go home. That ultimately all that physical exertion was for one purpose and the victorious contender was the one who got to leave. The losers had to stay wherever they were at the time. No no, I would try to explain, the contestants want to stay there! They want to stay in that house or on that island or keep going in a race around the world. 

    Nope. They were insistent. The winner of the competition each week was the person who was voted out or came in last, because that person got to go home. Home, back to their families, their house, their life. Home!

    They get it now of course. After I explained to them a little over 500 times that the purpose is to stay in the game, to stay on the show and compete in the next race and try to be first. The winner each week is the person who does not go home in fact what they want is to be away from home. But I think it is funny how kids see things, especially my kids. Whether it is a reaction to Genea being moved out of her first home and into ours I don't know. Maybe Teena has internalized Genea's circumstances into a file in her brain that says, that's the worst thing in the world, to be unable to return to your home. And Genea's file says, oh hell no. To be moved away from your home with all those people you don't know, that's the worst. Then there is the possibility that all kids view the competition results on reality shows the same way, and it's my personal file that has been rewritten after feeling Genea's pain these few years. That I see their thoughts as based in what they must have viewed as terrifying, tragic. Or is that merely my perception of reality, based on my own experiences?

    I speculate endlessly sometimes. It is quite likely they just enjoy the TV shows and got confused as to the outcome.

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    It's the Hard Place Calling

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU THAAAAAAAAAAAANK YOOOOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So many people left fantastic, thought-provoking, intelligent and on-target comments from my last post asking for help with my daughter and a school issue. It was great to pull up my blog every few hours to find a new suggestion,  a perspective I hadn't thought of, or just a "dude, that's a rough one, good luck"! Again, THANK YOU!!!!!

    Ultimately I am still weighing what frame to work from to make a decision. I have to decide if her academics should be the primary focus, or if I can accept, and if Genea can still be moderately successful if social interaction becomes a factor. Then there is the aspect of a child with Attachment Disorder being allowed to control the show, as it were, and I will get into that again in a minute, as well as the proximity to the teacher providing a safety net, which I had not even considered.

    Genea is not on an IEP, and that is not by my choice! I have fully laid out Genea's delayed development, background of neglect, institutionalization, that English is not the language she used her first year of life, that she is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and Early Onset Bipolar Disorder, and that there has been massive trauma in her life up to and including events earlier this year. In this state, they have what they call an "Educational Diagnosis" versus a "Medical Diagnosis", essentially for example a child can be diagnosed by a neurologist with Autism Spectrum Disorder but if the school decides that the symptoms do not interfere with learning, you get no IEP. They do not have to provide the BEST possible education, just an appropriate one. So last year I banged and hollered and they finally did a bunch of testing on her to try to qualify her but she hit just above the cutoff line in a few area's, and average in others. This year the teacher went around to everyone for miles evidently to discuss how poorly Genea is doing and they will now try to qualify her under "OHI" which stands for "Other Health Impairment".

    I hold not my breath.

    Back to the issue of Genea's desk being bumped into the teachers desk and the effects on attachment in a child with Attachment Disorder. A few people pointed out that if Genea is misdirecting attachment with the teacher, than she will likely progress into testing the teacher out in unpleasant ways and move onto controlling and disruptive behavior.

    Sigh. SIGH!!!!!! Because I vaguely thought something like that might be happening but did not have all the information. What I have is about a month ago Genea started peaing on herself like a fiend. Like she never met a toilet before and thought they were for growing tomatoes. I mean it has been bad. So bad, the school had to call me when she wet herself twice in one day. Then she decided that was not enough and pooing herself would also be a good idea. So she is peeing herself at school, which is new, and pooing herself at home which is rare. Why, why do these children express themselves out the butt, why???? This is what leads me to decide that Genea is going to have to go back to sitting at a regular desk like everyone else. I worry that it is too late and she will never recover from her dysregulated behavior. And pray tell, how would I go about requesting Genea move to a different class where she does not feel the need to test the teacher out by peeing on all her stuff????? I am currently sending her to school in diapers. I wonder if that would be considered an "OHI".

    Genea does have serious problems with her ability to focus and concentrate. She is "hyper vigilant" and feels compelled to constantly check her environment for changes.  I would prefer she lay down on the floor to do work under her own desk with the other kids, if that would help her. Or whatever would work. I think I am going to tell the teacher that I want Genea moved back into a "cluster" a few days before winter break and then stay there following the break. I'll reference social development as my reasoning. Last year with a different teacher she was allowed to get up and sit at a desk in the front of the room up against the chalkboard when she was unable to concentrate. Do you know that Genea initiated moving on her own when she felt the need! Then, she went back to her regular desk when the focused work was done. I think that would be optimal again.

    I have mild concerns that this teacher has a case of "poor orphan syndrome" but she definitely likes Genea and wants her to succeed. So do I.

    Any other input will be appreciated again!!!

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Hello Rock?

    Hello rock? This is the Hard  Place calling!

    I stopped in to Genea's classroom today and went with her to her desk. Here is my problem (let's just get to it shall we?). I found her desk has been moved and she is now parked at the side of the teachers desk, and she faces the teacher when she is sitting. The other kids all sit at desks that are arranged in clusters of 4-6. It is not a large room, so Genea's desk is very close to a "cluster" but there is no denying that she is separated from the other students.

    Why has she been separated from the other kids? The teacher gave me several reasons. First of all, Genea likes it there. She has an open invitation to return to a cluster at any time, but prefers to sit with the teacher. It improves her ability to focus and pay attention to her work and if she has questions, obviously the teacher is right there to answer.

    So, what is my problem? Here are my logical, intellectual problems. I don't believe Genea needs that level of attention to be successful. I am concerned that once the door to that sort of one to one special treatment is opened, we will never be able to shut it. I think that isolating her from other students is the wrong thing to do. She does prefer isolation, she has had a lot of it in particular as part of the neglect she experienced with the first family that adopted her. I also do not believe we should be asking the emotionally disturbed 7 year old what she wants and accommodating it.

    I understand the teacher has a distinct job to do and that is to teach my child to achieve the norms for second grade children in this country, and if specialized seating is helping her to learn than that's how it should be. I see my job as more global and I have to be concerned with her social development as well, which quite frankly is poor. She will be able to observe other children interacting from that spot but not practice participating.

    What kind of parent objects to their child getting extra educational help? A boost directly from the teacher? (And really, if she were on an IEP, proximal seating would probably be checked off as a needed accommodation).

    Me, I object because they did that to me.

    For two years in elementary school I was isolated from the other students in my classes for 3rd and 4th
    grade. My desk was in the back of the room and sort of barricaded by portable walls and shelving. One hundred years ago when I was in school, kids were not diagnosed with ADHD and for sure not girls. I don't have fond memories of the time period but I don't have bad memories either. Looking back however, I am horrified that it was allowed. You can believe that the deficit in my attention was massive (though I had not a molecule of hyperactivity  ), and continues in much more muted ways today. But I swore no kid of mine would ever be put in that sort of situation.

    Then there are my vague feelings that this is not the right thing to do for Genea. Setting her up to attach, maybe developing a bond with a teacher she will leave at the end of the year, I can't pinpoint why really. Is this something minor that I am amplifying?

    I don't know. Shouldn't I be happy that there is one more person looking out for my daughter? Someone else who adores her and gives her special attention? Would I be as bothered by this if it were Teena?

    The Husband does not like it either, his reasoning is that the separation is stigmatizing which I absolutely agree with. Genea does not need another stamp on her flashing *different*.

    So please, what do you all think? Am I missing something? I know my perspective is skewed off into all kinds of wonky directions because of my emotional reaction. I believe I may have actually turned purple while speaking to the teacher and I could feel my blood pressure going up! I've been shaky even writing this post.

    Thoughts? Perspectives? Help?

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Crazy Funny

    I found a photo blog a few days ago that had me literally laughing my ass off. It's called "Sh*t My Kids Ruined" and it is killer funny. And Oh My Stink I would have pee'd myself sitting on the sofa if that were not specifically forbidden in this house.

    So here, for your After Holiday Crazy reading pleasure, is the link. However, I cannot stress this strongly enough, put down your coffee and for the love of indoor plumbing go potty first!

     Sh*t My Kids Ruined

    The Huffington Post calls it "The Best Birth Control Ever", which I am a strong proponent of. Anyone who could come up with the line "glitter is the herpes of craft supplies" wins my heart and mind forever! Also I can feel really great about myself knowing my kids have only pulled about a quarter of the stunts on the site (or should I feel worried that they still have so much to accomplish?).

    From my own archive, with no photo's sadly, we have the day Teena's Daddy was in charge. I had gone to work and he was working from home and watching "the baby", who I believe was about 18 months old at the time. I came home to find my make up decoratively used as artistic medium all over the bathroom. Everyone denied responsibility of course but I did note that most of the damage was below the height of 2 feet. Eyeliner, lipstick, anything you could spread with a brush or a finger, was smeared into cabinetry and the counter. Of note, Teena was clean. Despite her experiment with abstract art she had no signs of evidence on her. When I went into the bathroom to clean it all up (no, no, no one had cleaned it up yet) I noticed there was a teddy bear pacifier at the bottom of the sink. Uh huh.

    Got a funny one? If you have pictures you should send them to the site, but if what you have left is a story feel free to tell it in the comments or link up and tell it on your blog!

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Freedom From Turkey

    This is going to be the third Thanksgiving that I have had this blog! I would love to write up a great post about the holiday and make a gravy- boatload full of hysterically funny comments and observations about the holiday, and especially about how much I don't like  turkey.

    Unfortunately, I have done that already. (last year)

    Twice. (the first year)
     
    And I consider myself a thorough person. I may procrastinate the snot out of everything in my path but by jingo, when I do it, I do it right. Or so I like to think. Anyway. I now have this problem wherein I have used up all my good lines about turkey and now I find myself with nothing interesting left.

    Okay, its a very narrow topic! Gimme a break!

    Possibly part of the reason is because we are staying home this year for the holiday and I don't actually have the anticipation of eating a turkey looming up. I'm funnier when backed into a corner with dread. This year, we are eating pizza. I asked the girls what they would want and the answer was both easy and clear. Pizza. I actually have worried that they might get negative feedback from friends or people at school. I imagine the conversations going like this:

    Teacher in my Imagination "Are you excited about having turkey on Thursday?"

    My kid in my Imagination "no, turkey sucks lady, we are having pizza"

    Teacher "What? No turkey? You have to have turkey on Thanksgiving!"

    My kid "we have to have turkey, my teacher said so". Cue Wango Tango.

    I also worried that they might realize later that everyone else had turkey and they did not. Therefore they might feel bad about their holiday and family. This is that conversation:

    My kid in the future in my Imagination "My parents never let us have turkey on Thanksgiving. They never let us participate in anything that was socially standard. Or fun. We never fit in at school or anywhere else for it".

    Kids psychiatrist in the future in my Imagination  "And how did THAT make you feel?"

    My kid "Well, I can only assume it was part of their general pattern of laziness and self indulgence and I resented it".

    Kids psychiatrist "mmm HMMMM", (scribble scribble). 

    See, these are the things I worry about. So I asked them again, just to be sure. I mean no, I don't want to have a turkey. I sure the hell don't know how to even cook one but I'm guessing I could buy one of those Banquet family dinners with the reconstituted avian product and the gravy substance and I know I can cook that. I can open a can of that solid cranberry gel stuff.  But no, pizza is what they picked.

    Yay!

    So, that's what we're having. I am going to get some pumpkin pies and other desert things. The good stuff. But first, they will have to eat their pizza.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Genea gets lost

    Genea has the most gorgeous, thick curly brown hair you ever did see. I call it her "rock star" hair because it tends to go wild at a moments notice regardless of any stabilizers used that day. It has the kind of loopy curls that I have coveted all my life, the sproingy kind that you can gently tug and will ping right back up into curl again. I love-love-love to play in there. And Genea, she does not like it so much but, she says, she lets me do it because I love it!


    Genea last fall doing homework, hair is at it's most wild



    Hair is slightly more contained on this day, loopy curls are evident


    I've also been known to joke that things have gotten lost in there. It really is dense hair. At times I have found birds, pencils, homework, dvd's or even last nights dinner. I have gone as far as to claim that her bad mood has become stuck in her hair and that is what is making her cranky. You know, instead of the Bipolar Disorder. I rub around on her head with a little drama, flinging curls left and right and muttering to myself hmmmm, what's this... noooo that's a quarter.... maybe--- noooo, that's the cats toy..... AHA! Here it is! Yikes, it's a big one! Then I walk with her to the door, careful to hold on to the bad mood without pulling her hair out. I add a bit more drama with one hand opening the door and one hand trying desperately not to let loose with the bad mood in the house. We open the door and swoosh, I foof her hair up and throw the bad mood out the door and superfastshutthedoor again so it doesn't sneak back in. Which has been known to happen.

    Last night I went to check on her and she had pulled her flower quilt up over her head. I could see the tips of some of her curls sticking out over the green edging of the quilt and I began to slowly move her hair from her face so I could kiss her goodnight. Only her face never showed up. I kept moving pile after pile of curls from the side I thought her face should have been on and...... nothing! Of course I tried moving the curls the other direction to see if her face was over there, and even tried pushing them away from the middle. Still! No face! By now I am giggling because you know, I always thought this might happen. I've been worried for years. I did eventually find some face back on the side I started from and the face had some eyes that were opening what with all the curl flopping and giggling on my part and I told Genea, "I thought I lost you! I couldn't find you under your hair!" which she in turn thought was pretty funny and she began giggling too. We smiled and giggled another minute and I was able to give her that kiss goodnight. It was the best moment of our day.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    I am not taking down my blog

    I am not going to hide my blog. Recently, several moms have had charges filed against them with Child Protective Services and their blogs came up as an issue. No, but the problems are serious, profound. One blogger had children removed from her home. Another blogger has had severe legal problems linked to her blog. Several other bloggers have abruptly stopped writing.

    I will not.

    Corey does her usual great job of explaining the issues while also providing ideas and solutions so folks can help right here

    I started this blog with the idea that I would talk about the many unexpected issues brought into my family with the adoption of an older child with special needs. We have had success beyond the highest expectations of anyone. We have resolved a massive, fatal medical condition because of my own research and problem solving. We have uncovered several new root problems in the process, that we tackle every day.

    Our daily shit is hard people, it is really fucking hard. But it can be done and by bloody jingo I am going to write about it and post it. What I desperately want to accomplish with my blog is to be a link, a lifeline, a bad example, a good example, dare I hope an inspiration. My goal is for a mom, any mom, to read my blog and say to herself, oh thank heaven I am not alone in this.

    When I started reading other people's blog, three stood out as life rafts to me. Lisa at Life at the Grateful House, Stephanie at Parenting the Hoovers and Kids Special Needs, I don't know her first name! Being able to read the words of these women surviving similar chaotic daily lives made all the difference in the world. I would link, but none of the three is currently blogging.

    This is a first amendment issue. I'm trying to avoid a "Donna Martin graduates" mentality and I don't want to play into some Journalism 101 thing either. But it is a fact that I have to ability to speak freely as a citizen of this country.

    I can tell you that without the cognizance of other people in similar situations, we might not have made it. We would have returned to being a family of three about six months into the placement, before the finalization. There was a time, a long stretch of time, where I was convinced there could be no worse parent for Genea than myself. None. I have said once or twice that I would imagine going down to the prison out-yard and throwing a rock. Whoever that rock hit would be a better parent for Genea than me. I used to make a sick game out of it in my mind. I could throw a rock at the line outside the illegal shelter for people rejected from the usual homeless shelters in town and find Genea a better parent. I could stand outside the only methadone clinic, 45 minutes away, and throw my rock. Until I found out about the different manifestations of Reactive Attachment Disorders from a book another parent recommended, and I read that book and for the love of shit there was Genea on every page of "her" section. And I realized, Dear God I did not cause this.

    People who have shut down their blogs are doing what they have to do to save their families. They'll get no judgment from me. I see it in a way as shooting a big fat middle finger to the powers that be. (Blog? What blog? Yes, that IS a coincidence)! It's not enough that these are people who have taken on some of the most difficult, traumatized, hurt children in the country. We have had no one to talk to, no one who understands the truth and now the outlet, the community of blogging is being knocked down? Bullshit, that's what it is. Bull. Shit.


    Is there any consideration, and I have no facts, just an instinct, to the idea that with public blogging suddenly the freewheeling policy "interpretations" in various social services are coming to light? I wonder if someone, high in authority somewhere, has not issued one big memo with the subject line "Cover Your Ass".

    So I am not going to hide. I will be right here, where I have always been blogging about the same shit (literally!). I will not tone it down. I might even take it up a notch to try to help cover the void.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Kids in the City Part 1

    We went to Chicago last weekend for the baptism of my new niece. Poor little girl, she thought she was there to audition to the chorus and so she er.....vocalized.... for about an hour. The Greek Orthodox folks do things slightly differently than the typical Catholic way (my only other comparison) of a very brief christening of a baby where it is like, dunk- and- done- and you are protected from Purgatory and Other Stuff. The Greeks don't care that their pews are like rocks with no cushions, besides they expect you to stand most of the time (although I sort of felt the minister was on a power trip with all his stand- up sit-down gesturing). What they like to do is get things all done in one swoop. So while it is most inefficient in the moment, they load the child with everything at one time. The Baptism, the essence of the First Communion, and the Confirmation are all rolled up together in a ceremony that takes approximately 17 hours. Okay I "enhanced", but it really is at least one full hour although there is some comfort in knowing that this completes the officiating until the child gets married. Oh yeah and it is mostly in Greek. Of which I speak the one word, "baklava".  The church is beautiful. I entertained Genea (*ahem* and myself) by taking pictures and showing her the digital images.  I sicced Teena on my parents.


     This picture is of part of the ceremony. There are several Clergymen attending to the baptismal water. They are praying over the urn and there is a man in the corner who sings and chants throughout. On the left is the Godmother trying to jiggle the sobbing baby who I believe is trying to say, but I already had a bath today! Next is the Godfather, the rest are churchly men. It is a glorious, complex ceremony and I described it to the girls as a party for the baby to say, "welcome to our family and the world". I just wish I understood some Greek!


     A picture of the ceiling which is heavily decorated and painted. I love the beautiful detail and how much light comes in the windows. This is about 30 feet up.

     Ah yes, Genea close up. She loves to have pictures taken and then look at them on the back of the camera. Fortunately this provided *her* with some distraction when *she* got squirmy or inattentive.


    Here my girls are after the lunch reception. Aren't they gorgeous?

     My mom bought these fabulous dresses for them. This is one of those pictures that is in no way perfect, but I believe captures them well.


     Incidentally this is a picture of them in the same restaurant about 3 years ago when the last baptism happened. I thought it would be cute to add it to show how much they have grown. I believe this also captures their personalities well!



    (My mom likes to dress them alike. Since she purchases the most beautiful dresses I let her get away with it. Also, there is no denying how adorable they are here).


    My children sat through the entire service with very little bribery and minimal threatening. I had discovered something the night before at dinner. We went to the restaurant affiliated with our hotel and it was NOT a family sort of place. It was a dark, formal, dating your mistress kind of place. The sort where the food is beautiful and there is no glob of gluey mashed potatoes to be found and no loaf of bread is hurled at you to keep you quiet while they cook.  Certainly no kids menu! Typically in a situation like this I will review with the girls what they should and should not do. You know, keep your voice down, don't kick your sister, stay in your chair and do not crawl under the table. You are 5 and 7, act like big girls.

    It is rare that I can cover everything ahead of time that they can think of to be disruptive. Teena will be sure to lick the underside of her plate and take the cover off the salt. She will have the opportunity to do this as we are admonishing Genea not to tell the waiter how to do his job, or that no one wants to hear her howl when she realizes they have no macaroni and cheese dish.

    What magic did I spin upon them? Was it magic from the Kingdom of Benadryl and Sedatives? Magic from the Philosophy of Bribe and Threaten Parenting? It was so simple it will make you spit your kids Halloween candy all over the keyboard (you know you are still eating it!). I told them to act like adults. So simple. Unbelievable. Suddenly they are telling me how to behave and stopping themselves mid-impulse. Teena briefly kicked at the booth, then declared "adults don't kick". And that was it. Adults don't squirm around in their seats or get up every 3 seconds. Adults remember to be polite and keep their pea and other assorted products in the toilet (ha ha, I just made that last one up, wishful thinking).(HA, no I mean adults do that but it didn't stick with the kids!).

    I have more, and will continue Part 2 of the post in the next few days!

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Crazy is Catching

    I'm going off on a little family trip this weekend and all four of us will be staying in a hotel in Chicago. Which is going to be a ton of fun. I have a few "Chicago" touristy things planned for the girls, who have never been, in their memories. American Girl Place of course, and hopefully the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Genea and I will sit in a nice warm restaurant and watch Teena and her Daddy ride it. Maybe a boat ride on the river. There is just so much to do and see and I am excited to start showing it to the kids. We might go see the Bean sculpture too, if we have time.

    Sooooo..... the hotel is going to be a little bit cramped. I used Priceline and here is the deal. I have used Priceline for years and have never been disappointed. They are a booking service on the internet, where you can blindly bid on a hotel room for example, and you may or may not get something for that price. Well, since I have used them for years I never had a need to re-read their contract.

    Oops.

    I bid a low number on a top rated class of hotels in the Michigan Avenue area of Chicago. And I got it! And, it's really a great deal for a fabulous "boutique" hotel.

    However.

    Turns out that Priceline only guarantees there will be a room to accommodate 2 adults. That's it. And..... I have 2 adults and 2 children. Mmmmm. It also appears that "boutique hotel" is code for microscopically small rooms with one tiny bed and no bathtub. So I contact the hotel to request my 2 double beds like it says in the handy little contract on the site. They are "sold out" of rooms with 2 double beds I'm told, but can offer me one king bed for an additional fee.

    Ohhhhh hell no you don't!

    I called Priceline and spoke with a customer relations woman who was very nearly crying when I was done with her but who refused to cancel the room. She tried to suggest that I book another room. And mentioned several times that she thought I should read the contract again. Turns out Priceline is not for families! I know for a fact William Shatner never once warned me in his commercials about this. I mean, I've never booked a hotel with the kids before, I  never imagined they would be unable to accommodate my family.

    So, there's that.

    Then, there is the crazy family I was born into, as opposed to the one I created. See, we are going to a family event for a child. Only, here is what happened. Cousin Payola was invited and is attending with his wife and children. Cousin Payola's parents found out he is attending and have decided they will have to stay home. Cousin Payola's sister, Cousin Unabitch found out he is attending and announced that she too is now unable to attend.

    (Cousin Unabitch gets her name courtesy of The Unabomber. She is prone to sudden illogical attacks on a person).

    (Cousin Payola gets his name from the fact that he has a lot of payola. He would like all of us to know and appreciate it. Here is a little history).

    Here is the story. Cousin Payola and my Uncle G (his father) are involved in a lawsuit over..... take a guess..... money. Rumor has it that Cousin Payola has said some ugly things to my uncle, whatever. My uncle actually phones the mother of the child having the celebration to explain to her, things have become so unbearable that he could not guarantee he and Cousin Payola would not "come to blows" if they were at the same event.

    No really.

    I'm like dude, you are seventy years old! SEVENTY FUCKING YEARS OLD! Time to grow up has come and gone mister, come! and! gone! Oh yeah and by the way this event has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! It's about a young child.

    Then, Cousin Unabitch, who incidentally has not spoken to Cousin Payola for several years now, has decided she cannot attend and she based that decision on the reported "ugly comments" he made to her father, my Uncle G.

    ....... tha' fu   ?

    THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU YOU STINKING BIMBO! Seriously! That is a fight between two other people neither of which is you! Oh and by the way, this event has nothing to do with you either! It's about a young child.

    Now actually, I have had my own issues with Cousin Unabitch and for my interests, I'm just as glad she is not going to be around. Truth is I have several vivid memories from my own childhood of these crazy people and the vicious things they can say and do and so, honestly I don't want my own daughters around their brand of crazy, the crazy that comes out when they are all together. I do love them as my family and I should also say I have fantastic crazy memories of super great times with them all while I was growing up. They have always been the fun part of the family. It's that protective mother's instinct that makes me wary of having them all in a room at the same time as my children.

    And then, there is this.

    Genea is on a tear. We have been reducing one of her medications at my strong and persistent request but I'm not entirely sure that is what is causing the relapse. She has started pea-ing on herself again, daily. Sometimes a few times a day. Could urinary incontinence in a mentally ill child be connected to her medication? I don't remember if she became continent when we started this med and that seems like something I would have remembered. It wasn't an anti- pea med. The behavior I am seeing is the minutia controlling variety as opposed to the screaming tantrum wango tango variety. Where she is picking her fingers bloody, pea- ing on herself, sneaking around, stealing, trying to get away with constant (and I mean constant) little things. She seems to be struggling a bit more in school this year and I suspect that her need to be hypervigilant is conflicting with her need to get work and classroom responsibilities done. With all that, it will sound odd, but she is really doing well overall. She is finally to a point where she can listen and process the things we tell her and sometimes remember, and act on it too.

    Anyway, she is usually Miss Perfectly Perfect in front of other people so I'm sure she'll be fine. I packed a bunch of extra diapers just in case. Sheesh.

    Then of course there is my Ritalin girl, who does not actually have any. Teena, who puts the H in ADHD. She has a ton of Halloween candy and is allowed a few pieces daily. I discovered that she has been opening the packaging sideways and down the middle. She pushes out half the candy and eats it. Then, she puts the whole mess back in her bowl of candy, disguised. I'm actually impressed while simultaneously ready to kick her butt.

    Hmm, kind of a rambling post here. Anyway. I'll be out of town for a bit, so I will be able to read blogs but probably not comment or whatever.

    Crazy really does seem to be catching.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Men can't pick candy

    I married a man. A man who, for all intents and purposes, is male. Now, it just so happens that the maleness is a good part of the reason he was selected by me. Back in the single days, I had somewhat of a list of requirements that I loosely held to when seeking a partner. Male. Employed. Self- managing. Long hair. Smart. Cute. The last five of the six qualities could be negotiable if the sixth quality were exceptional (yes, I was flaky). However, the first quality was firm. Never to be digressed from.

    Saying all of that is my little way of attempting to excuse The Husband from being a male. It is not his fault. In fact, it is one of the many reasons he became The Chosen One. He can't help the fact that his gender was pre-selected for him and I have to admit, it was part of the appeal.

    But sometimes, he just doesn't get it. And he is known to do things that I feel the world in general would find strange.  So I decided that even though I have been so sick I could sleep on a rock, that I had better be the person who went to buy the Halloween candy. If I were to suggest that he, The Husband, do it I had a couple ideas of what could go wrong and no ideas of what might work out exactly right. I figured that he would buy one small package of Crunch bars and eat 15 of the 20 in the bag and then announce just prior to 4 on Sunday that he was going to replace them and that was his intention all along. The other scenario I imagined was The Husband buying a big bag of that candy the geriatric crowd likes so much. That stripey stuff, white hard candies with multiple colored stripes in a variety of widths. Or anise. Uck, I remember getting anise flavored candies from the older folks on my block, always wrapped in red or black cellophane. I'm not sure where that can even be purchased anymore but I feel assured that The Husband would figure it out. Smart man that he is.


    I just knew he would do something goofy in obtaining our Halloween candy. Something male- ish that would require my having to go and do it over anyway, so let's just skip the goofy decision part and get straight to the candy- in- the- dang- bowl part.

    So, I went to Target. It is notable that I would have found the candy aisles right away by inner radar even if the entire north- west segment of the store had not been lit up in flashing construction cone orange. Anyway, I stared at the immense candy selection. And stared, and stared. What the ? Bags by the thousands. Multiple choice bags. Single choice bags. Weird combination bags. Starting at $6.99! When did it get so freaking expensive?

    I began the completely logical and efficient process of making my decision. My first move was to grab a bag of Reece's peanut butter cups, because those are my favorite. I almost walked away when the thought occurred to me..... I don't want to have to give away these peanut butter cups! These are my favorite! I better get another bag of something. Hmmm, maybe I'll get something The Husband likes. That way I'll look like a nice, considerate person, but really, I'll put his Kit Kats on top of the bowl and hand those out first. Excellent. Perfect!

    No, okay that's really selfish. But quite frankly I'm just being honest. I'm not the only one. I'm just the only one who will admit it.

    Then I had another thought. A deep, ugly thought. What if I give out all the 65 Kit Kats and my 50 Reece's are left and he eats all my Reece's because that's what there is? Fully and completely likely to happen. Crapola. Now what. I already have 2 huge bags of candy just in case there has been an extreme baby boom in our area or, the Sister Wives and their 92 kids moved into the neighborhood. I had plenty. Probably.

    But what if it wasn't enough? What if I didn't have enough candy to pass out to the sudden surge of hundreds of children and have enough Reece's for myself and enough Kit Kats that would satisfy The Husband and keep him away from my stash? Plus, you know, it would almost be the worst thing in the world to run out of candy on Halloween! Embarrassing! I mean, we are already that family. Do we have to be THAT family?

    Only one thing to do. Buy one more bag of something. So, in order to protect my Reece's, I purchased an additional bag of candy to pass out. This bag was intended to go out for distribution. Starbursts and Skittles. Both are things I like okay but if I am needing candy in a bad way, chocolate is what I want. I can give away sour- fruity stuff. I've thought of everything. Every contingency has been considered and planned for in a way that should result in some leftover candy for me.

    So. One super large bag of Reece's for trick or treaters, or possibly myself if there were not several hundred kids this year. One super large bag of Kit Kat's for the trick or treaters, or possibly The Husband if there were a few less kids than I anticipated. Or even me if luck turned my direction. One super large bag of 55 Skittles and Starbursts for anyone who came to the door to go on top of the bowl cuz no one likes those in my house.

    If you are wondering, we did get a lot of trick or treaters. Like about 20.  We never even opened the bag of Reece's.

    There you go. Logical and efficient, task completed.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    La Eye of Pink

    I think Eye of Pink sounds so much more elegant and pleasant than Pink Eye, which sounds like something a person would get after questionable interaction with a rabbit. 

    Turns out there was a reason it felt like someone was kicking my eyes out from the inside. It was actually happening. I got some sort of virus apparently, that made me sick. The sick stuff then traveled into my eye, pushing it partly shut and turning it bloody red. There did not seem to be any cause for alarm (I am Mutha'!) until several days went by and my eye started to swell up, along with that half of my face. It felt like someone was holding a butane torch to it. Still, you know, I thought it would probably just go away but alas, no. It was when I realized 5 days had gone by and I was too tired and shakey even to knit, that I better go see a professional.

    I went to a local walk in clinic where I was seen by Doogie Howsers younger brother, who kept asking the same questions. Do you have a cough? Are you congested? Do you have a cough? (*haaaack* no cough *haaaack*). He constantly referenced his computer where I imagine he had hidden crib notes. Step one- take temperature, over 98.5 is bad. Step two- ask if patient has a cough. Anyway, he poked at the things that looked like they would hurt and they did.

    So I have La Eye of Pink, Le Virus, and sinusitits (sounds exotic enough on it's own) with a 60% blockage. Now, I'm not sure what a 60% blockage means exactly, but I'm guessing the ideal is NO blockage, so that can't be good. Plus it's more than half, if I am doing the math correctly and I know that more than half is worse than less than half. Well, I think. Going off my base assumption that 0% is the goal anyway. Also, I have gangrene in my leg. Ha ha, no just kidding. Just seems like I have everything else but that! Did I mention the total exhaustion? I am wiped out. Wrecked. I feel like I have a raging hangover but got to have exactly zero of the fun.

    Okay, that's my status update. The End.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Being Sick Sucks

    I'm sick. And I'm not sure who to blame for it, unless it is that O'Donnell woman who swears she is not a witch (isn't that sort of like the person who mentions the fart first and blames it on someone else, that's the person who did it? The one who says it? ). Some of this may not make any sense, because of the fact that I am disintegrating as I write.

    Things are bad when your eyeballs hurt. When it hurts to move them. Eyeballs want to be free, they want to be independent and wander at their leisure. I normally let my eyes set their own pace but it feels like someone is inside my eye socket trying to kick out my eyeball with a farm boot and throwing down those snap firecrackers. Or is trying to use them as a slingshot from the inside. Never let someone use your eyes as the artillery in a slingshot. I tried to search out this symptom in order to diagnose myself with something but would you believe there is no such symptom? I actually invented a new disease! I will think that is a lot more cool when it's over with. I'm going to have to come up with a name. Accidentalopathy maybe.

    I would say the girls have been pretty good during my bout with the plague, but that would bring on the blog curse so I am not going to mention it.

    Last night I actually had 8 Pepto Bismols for dinner. Let me tell you something, if you need 8 of those things, your life truly sucks. I mean, you take your first 2 according to the directions, then you experience failure. You take 2 more and fail again. Fail some more just for fun. Do it twice more before you can sit somewhere other than the potty. The good news is I think I freed up a lot of time since I should have no need for a toilet for the next month or so. Also, I'm sure I weigh 3 pounds less than I did yesterday.  Rock on.

     Okay, then I have a headache and all my muscles hurt like I used them for something. My throat feels like it has road rash and I am so very very tired. Like Dorothy in the poppy field tired. blegh.

    So feel free to leave your considerate and caring comments. I don't want to be pushy, but when I am sick I count my comments and make a note of who has written what. Not that you have to or anything. Just sayin'.  Because I'm sick. Really super sick.

    It's possible not all of this makes sense. I hope some of it does. Going into a coma now.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    You Know You Love Your Kids When.......

    I've been reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" series lately. It's a trilogy that I started on back in August. This is not light reading, there is no fluff to be found in these books. The books are intense, they require the reader to learn quite a lot of Swedish geography, some business law, European history and so on.  Complicated reading that required my hard to find concentration, but paid off with unique story lines and startling twists. Each book is about 500 pages. However, here is the bad part: the author wrote these three fascinating novels centered around "The Girl", and then he died. So there will be no more!

    Anyway, you know you love your kids when you have roughly 75 pages left in the final book of the trilogy, the last book ever, and the characters are in the middle of the trial and you are trying to interpret Swedish courtroom decorum, just about to find out what happens, the resolution of 2 months of reading 1500 pages, when you stop and put the book down because your 7 year old just reminded you that you said you would play a game with her, and it's time.

    So you play.

    And you lose.

    Twice.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    The end of the week report

    I was sitting on the couch with Genea, she loves to sit right up close with me and hold my hand while I put my arm around her. Usually we just talk, sometimes she even falls asleep. It sure wasn't always this way, it was about a year and a half before I could even touch her. We worked on it a lot, and now she does so much better with it. Sometimes she plays with my rings as she did on this day, and we had a chat about one of them.

    Genea- is this your married ring?
    Me- yes.
    Genea- no fair, I want one too!  (everything is no fair these days).
    Me- you have to get married to get one.
    Genea- NO, I don't want to.
    Me- well you have to if you want a married ring. Are there any boys you like?
    Genea- NOOOOOOOOO!
    Me- (*ahem good!*) Hmmm, I don't think this is going to work for you.
    Genea- I'll marry Daddy and he'll give me a ring.
    Me- that would be a good idea except Daddy is already married.
    Genea- that's okay, I'll just wait until you are dead.
    Me- ummm, okay then, that should work.


    There is a house at the end of the block that puts on a really cool Halloween display, and this year they have really outdone themselves. Teena and Genea and I were getting ready to walk down to the house to see it at night, with the spooky lights on and all the blow- up figures going. We were standing in the foyer putting on shoes and coats and I had opened the door in overly optimistic hope that we could get out of the house in a reasonable amount of time. But really, that never happens.

    Anyway, Teena was standing at the screen door looking out as Genea struggled with her shoes and I nagged at them both to get moving. Suddenly Teena exclaims----

    Look Mama, there's a new jackass across the street and this one has a different color truck!

    Aha, for sure she was right. There appears to be a new jackass "visiting" across the street. He looks perfect, now we just need to lull him into the tangle of the Skankenho's web.


    Things That Suck

    My coffee pot broke this week. I had to practically milk it like a cow to produce a pot the day it happened. Tragic!

    My dryer seems to have also broken this week. It just says mmmmmmmmm mmmmmm when I turn it on. No spinning and no heat. Sigh. Double sigh.
    (Updated.... I wonder if I can turn this into an excuse to buy a bunch of new, presumably clean clothes?)

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Cleaning Triage

    There comes a time in every person's life when they are going to have to clean the house. No one, with the possible exception of my Polish grandmother, no one likes to do it. In my case I really super hate it. It wastes my valuable time to be washing a floor that A. I just washed six months ago and B. I'm going to have to wash again in six more months. There is so much I could be doing with that time instead such as cooking and spending great quality time with my family. I could even be solving the Navier- Stokes equations for a million dollars, but instead I am stuck chipping crusted cereal off the legs of the dining table. The final nail in the coffin however, is that I am stuck cleaning for guests that are not even mine. People with perfectly good homes of their own far far away, relatives of the other half of this parenting team. It's the kids I tell you, kids. No one cared about The Husband and I when we were a little "dink" family and for sure no one cared about visiting us, and we were fine with that.

    So, tick tick tick, time goes by and all of us in this house know that these guests are on their way. For months in advance we know. Certain of us start to poke and prod others of us that a massive cleaning needs to be underway. Others of us are well know to complain they are too sick or too tired after working all day to clean or are reading something fascinating about an obscure religion from a billion years ago and cannot possibly get up off his butt to scrape bug guts off the walls.

    (A side note. My preferred method of dealing with insects in the house is to spray them mercilessly with toxic chemicals from a very safe distance until they fall off the wall and convulse into death. The Husband does not care for carcinogens being sprayed all over his air (fussy man) and so the compromise is that I will slap the bugs with a super long fly swatter (I love to slap stuff) and he has to clean the guts up off the wall. That's the deal.)

    The result is "we" wind up waiting until the expected guests are practically on their airplanes before we start to clean up. Suddenly, we have to winnow down a very long list to only the highest priorities. Take for example the blinds. With the dust and hair provided by 3 girls and 2 cats our window blinds usually have an extra layer of protection on them. Don't judge, it can look pretty in the right light. Kind of fuzzy and soft. It is assumed that cleaning blinds sucks. I have discovered though that with just the right precise tilt, they look fine without being cleaned. And if you do it right, the fact that the windows are not clean either will be obscured. Good enough.

    See? Pretty!


    Beware the tilt stick! How come the dust and stuff lands so evenly over the span of the blind louvers?  Why wouldn't it collect in some spots and be invisible in others? Mysterious. This is what we are obscuring.



    Then I take into account who my guests really are. On this non-occasion, they are a 65 year old woman and an almost- 90 year old woman, neither with great eyesight. Plan to pull all the curtains and put on no lights at all. The dimness hides a lot, even the streaks of spilled coffee on my kitchen cabinets! Even the stove hair collection is difficult to see with no lights on (why does so much hair and furry stuff get stuck on the stove? Anyone?). Forget it that I can't see either, I know where stuff is, I'm the one who hid it there.

    Need to dust and vacuum everything? No time. Dust the side that shows and vacuum the part people will see. I went to jam a bunch of random junk under my bed when I discovered to my horror that it was full under there from the last three guest visits. Close the door. Clean. As for the bathroom, well, it doesn't have to be clean, it just has to look clean. I think it counts if I run a rag over the toothpaste hills in the sink. The hill is clean right? The things my children can do to a single innocent towel are vile. Turn all towels around to the other side. Clean.

    I don't have time to pull out dishes from my open shelves in the kitchen to clean out the cabinets. My guests are short- both of them. I squatted myself down several inches and realized I only needed to wipe down the first visible shelf. Neither of them would be able to see the other shelves without a step stool, and I certainly would not be providing one. HA! Clean.

    Way- hay- hay too high for anyone to see. Ignore dust bunnies and dust giraffes. Clean-ish.



    Now here is something I don't mind cleaning- my antique Fiesta collection! It is fun to play in these dishes and move them around. Sadly the collection has not been added to since the first child put in her appearance. See how shiny and happy they are? Clean!




    I used to be a  person who felt like, if you have nice stuff you should use it! What a waste it is to have wonderful things you love only to have them hidden safely away, unseen for years. How terrible! So what if you have kids- whatever happened to teaching your kids not to touch? Teach your children NO. If they don't get it- slap their hands a few times, they'll get it. Sigh.  *pain, I am getting a pain* Seems that somehow while I only have 2 children, they have been blessed with eight arms and legs apiece and they do not coordinate. 

    This teapot is the Marlon filler. I just use it to heat water for Marlon Jackson the Hot Water Bottle. What is that gunk on it? I have no idea. All I know is that it does not respond to chemicals that promise to strip paint and clean the oil spill off your driveway. There is no hope here. Hide this teapot when guests come over.



    Okay, so what do you do to "tidy up" when company is coming? Share your tips and tricks with me!

    PS this is somewhat in sarcasm (but not totally *ahem*) but my house is safe if you were considering coming for a visit or letting your kids come to play!

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Where Did I Go Wrong?

    It's a serious question.

    I've raised my children the good old fashioned American way. On processed foods and chemically preserved food-stuff. That they eat in front of the TV. Which is babysitting them.

    (insert heavy sarcasm font above)

    I offered my children a popular brand of canned spaghetti where the noodles are produced in cute little circles with a discolored glue probably intended to be the sauce. Where the can label lists things like toxicobenzene, red sludge,  rubberizedwhiteifiedflour, and 435 separate preservatives. The sort of thing that is quite possibly keeping Joan Rivers' face from falling off. The sort of thing I loved as a kid. That all kids should love. They have commercials! They have an adorable character! They have cute noodles!

    They declined. Declined!!!

    Why? They wanted me to make MY spaghetti. With MY sauce that I make from tomatoes and spices with straight noodles and stuff. Bah. They wanted me to cook. Cook!!! Food!!!

    Where do they get these awful idea's? Where did I go wrong?

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Bullets

    Nightmare of nightmares, our internet indeed took a fall and could not get back up. So for the past week we have had super slow, spotty access and it has been horrible! Also, there has been a lot of other shit going on in my world so I'm going to bullet point a few things just to make it snappy.

    • My in-laws and my period arrived at the same time. The universe hates me.
    • Genea and Teena have both been sick
    • Now I am sick!
    • Skankenho passed out in her house with her kids locked out after school. They wound up at my house and after an hour and a half I had to report it to the police. The police were able to wake her and the kids went home. 
    • I don't like sentence-finishers. Especially when the finisher is prone to finishing my sentences in the most negative way possible. 
    • I have a guppy I need to have verified by the Guiness Book of World Records. It will not die. It also appears to be a cannibal as no other guppy has survived his companionship.
    • The Husband cleaned the toilet with bleach. Then he used a scrubbie to get all the "oogedy" stuff off. The scrubbie appears to have reacted with the bleach cleanser and turned our toilet bowl a pale blue color. With scrubbie marks everywhere. And splotches. The scrubbie was a coppery looking thing from Dollar Tree. Don't dis my Dollar Tree if you have a theory to explore on the cause of this oddity.
    • Oprah has not contacted me. I have written her 3 times and applied for the audience of 12 shows, including one of her "last minute reservation" shows. Yes, you have to fill out an application to be in the audience. And that's okay! But, I really need a makeover. My hair is too long, straight and straggly and I am waiting for an Oprah Makeover. Anyway, I never heard back on the shows I wrote in for but definitely got a NO THANKS LADY on my audience reservation requests.
    • I got the book "The Boy who was Raised as a Dog" by Bruce Perry and as recommended by Annie and kate and some others. I devoured it. It should be required reading for pre- adoptive families!
    • Where did everybody go? I used to read like, 60 blogs a day. Now I have about 15 to read on a good day. If you seem to notice you are gone, please make a note of it.
    So, that's all for now! 

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    The World I Want for my Daughters



    Country Fried Mama is hosting a blog carnival on the subject of "The World I Want for my Children".
    “The world I want for my children” is an effort to support The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault mend their minds, bodies and spirits and reclaim their lives.  Today, the foundation is at the forefront of an effort to end a disheartening backlog of tens of thousands of rape kits in labs across the country, a backlog that contributes to a rapist’s 80 percent chance of getting away with his crime.  The backlog and its detrimental effects will be the topic of an SVU episode on September 29th

     
     

    When I decided to participate in this I considered our immediate world. The part of the world we directly inhabit and what I wish for my daughters as the girls they are and the women they will become. Later I thought about the world surrounding them as well as who and what they will choose to surround themselves with. I want them to be healthy in mind, body and spirit and I want no one to try to take that away from them.


    In the world I want for my daughters they will be free to move about without fear.

    I want them to feel safe in their own home.  I want them to be safe in their own home.

    They will be able to have fun at large scale events without the worry of being attacked by someone feeling invincible by the size of the crowd or consumption of alcohol.

    I want them to never be degraded sexually by the words of others when they show strength or courage.

    I want them never to use the words "slut" or "whore" to universally describe another female.

    I want them to freely be confident without holding back.
    I want for them to never stay quiet for fear of confrontation.
    I want for them to want to be liked. I want them to never betray their true selves for popularity. I would love for them to live in a world where they do not see others around them doing so.

    I want them to know how to defend themselves. I want for them to never hold back in doing so.

    I want them to have empathy towards others, and their intentions to generally be good.

    I want them to apologize when they should. I want for them to never apologize for or minimize their strengths and abilities.

    In the world I want for my daughters, no newscaster will ever refer to the sexual assault of a child as "intercourse with" a child.
    No journalist will ever print words indicating a rapist "had sex with" a child.
    Any time an adult touches a child in a sexual manner it is an assault. An adult who physically harms a child in a sexual manner is a rapist.

    In the world I want for my daughters, rape and sexual assault will never be minimized. Such offenses will be fully and immediately prosecuted and the crime will be recognized as a heinous one with harsh long term penalties.

    I have no dream that sexual crime will be ever be eradicated in our world.





     

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