Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Elf

So, this Elf on a Shelf seemed like a fun idea. You have this little stuffed elf -looking thing that comes with a story. The story is all about how the elf is Santa's biggest tattletale, he flies off every night to the North Pole and rats out the children who were giant butt heads all day. There are all kinds of rules, you have to name him before he can work, then he cannot be touched by a child or it could set off a hurricane in Minnesota or something. The elf mysteriously appears someplace different every morning  (courtesy of parents grunting in the night to each other half asleep "did you remember to move that effing elf?") The idea being,  the parent can prevent an epic wango tango just by referencing said elf. "Look there, raging child on the ceiling, maybe you shouldn't be throwing things and shrieking in front of the elf!"

I dunno, maybe our elf is broken.

I had some concern about my children naming their elf. My daughters have been known to select odd names for their dolls and multiplying multiples of stuffed animals. Genea, she is a practical little girl and she gives her things names that are easy to remember. Dolphie, for example, is her dolphin pillow pet. Zeebie, her stuffed zebra. Her favorite doll is named  Alissa, and that is about as wildly creative as she gets. She has a bear named Bearie.  Everyone else gets dumped on the floor, unidentified.

Teena, she has some more creative names for her non ambulatory fuzzy things. However, they are not exactly typical names. Well, and I think there is really no great way to put this, they are not typical unless you are a stripper. Then, the names are great. She has a raccoon named Cherry. Her two favorite dolls are named Jasmine Kiley and Ella Star. There is a stuffed little pet that she insisted had a name on the tag but she couldn't read it. I told her at least 72 times that there was no name on the label, it just said what the fabrics were. She INSISTED the name was on there and I must just not be reading it right. I really thought about it, should I or shouldn't I? I really do consider these things before I do them. May not seem that way, but it's true. Fine, I told her, it says polyester. So there you have it folks, we have a purple puppie Little Pet named Polyester.

Other popular names from her zoo include, Sparkle, Glitter, and Butterfly Rainbow. Maybe they are hippie strippers. 

So you can see where I might be a smidge apprehensive about what they would call this elf. Of course despite all evidence they decided it is a girl. In order to save my sanity from them shouting out names for 3 hours and then asking me, what was that name I said before? I gave them some paper and told them to write up lists of the names they would like to give this elf. I was worried about how we would pick one over the other without involving the National Guard but then had the brilliant idea to give the elf 2 names, one from each kid .  Duh to me.

The lists came up typical. Tallie, because the elf has a tall hat. Sparkle, because someone loves things that sparkle. Elfie, Elfa, and Elfine were options given (ick to all! I mean, I know it's not MY elf but seriously!). I finally got over myself and my desire to have an elf with some sort of normal name and told them to each pick their favorite name off their lists and that would be it.

So, I introduce to you, Ms Brave Tiara.

Seriously. That's the name they picked!

It doesn't tell you exactly in the book how to use the elf to your best advantage, so I had to improvise. Sometimes I holler " You better hope Brave Tiara didn't hear you yelling about putting away your damn laundry, that would totally get you on the wrong list!" (I like to think our elf has a robust vocabulary). Otherwise, I address the elf directly. Also, loudly. "Did you see that Brave Tiara? That kid just whined about her dinner and stomped her feet what with all the starving children Santa goes to visit".

Did I mention the girls really love this elf? They are so excited by it that every morning they get up at least one full hour early to search for it. Then they find it in about 3 minutes. Now they are all amped up,  have 57 minutes to kill, and their parents are trying desperately to hold on to those last minutes of sleep. Lazy ass adults.

So, sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. A few times a kid has gone running off to be out of the line of Brave Tiara's sight while simultaneously flipping their fit. That's right, she will go around the corner where Brave Tiara can't see her and throw down with the wango tango.

Yes children, if Santa and Brave Tiara can SEE you, they can also HEAR you.

And by the way girls, if Santa comes here and sees this mess of your toys he is going to turn right back around and leave. He will think you have too much and can't take care of what you have. Just sayin'.

So, I did a Christmas card this year. I won a free set from Shutterfly courtesy of Kingdom of Chaos. I can't put up the whole thing because I used the girls real names (no point sending a card with their stage names to my relatives!). But here are some outtakes.

And here is the final picture that I used. I was honestly just happy to have a clear picture where both girls are looking in the general vicinity of the camera. I gave up any hope for happy expressions after about a minute. Also I will admit to much photographer error. Whatever.

Peace and Laughter
Wishing you Happy Holidays
Blah blah blah
Genea (8) and Teena (6)

I really loved that I found a card that said "Peace and Laughter" on it. That's my perfect message. I just want to have some peace and a little laughter in this life. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gimme-an "I", gimme-an "E", gimme-a "P"!!!

Still seeking an IEP for Genea.

We had her Parent- Teacher Conference this week, and it seemed to go well. The school psychologist sat in and even still, it lasted less than an hour.

Funny side note- my friend Sarah calls it the "Conference Walk of Shame", when the discussion of your child annihilates the time slots for 3 more kids, thereby throwing every single parent off track at least 45 minutes for the rest of the night. You slink out of the classroom, eyes to the floor, knowing that the other parents are wishing long forms of ill- will towards you. Ahem.

Anyway, Genea is not currently receiving extra support in school. She has an unofficial accomodation plan, which is essentially notes from last years teacher to this one. Otherwise, she has always skated the line and landed in "low average" in testing. She is not disruptive, she gets enough work done to grade. She was tested in 1st grade for speech and language, and it turned out she was faking a fluency disorder. The standard in our schools is the childs disability has to interfere with learning to be considered for an IEP and Genea's disabilities have not.

Mrs Teacher shyly brings up the mess of Genea's homework, like she wishes she didn't have to. This is what I said. I check her school folder every day whether she says she has homework or not. We make Genea and her sister go to their room for an hour every day to do schoolwork. The lights are dim and the room is quiet.  No talking, no radio, etc.  My husband and I then remind her on average 3-5 times an evening to put it in her backpack. She has a little book on a ring that I made her with detailed lists of the few things she needs to get done. We refer her to check her book another 2-3 times an evening. There are only 2 choices left at that point. We actually do it for her (umm, NOPE) or we beat the crap out of her when she "forgets" (also, NOPE). So, we let her suffer the consequences at school. That's going to have to suffice.

In comes Mr. Psych saying (20 minutes late), ok, lets start at the beginning! I must have audibly groaned, instead of groaning in my head like I planned, because right away he took it back by asking Mrs Teacher, what are some of Genea's strengths. Ok, great! Let's start there!

Mrs Teacher rambled through a few things about how Genea likes school, and she tries very hard, blah blah blah. I nodded frequently and tried to look supportive. Meanwhile, I am trying to shift my balance in a way that does not involve one ass cheek hanging off a chair meant for an 8 year old. There is just no dignity to be had on those little chairs. I didn't chime in. First of all, I have learned to not jabber on, making these things go longer than they need to. Secondly, I appreciate the effort to Be! Positive!, but the fact is I am well aware of my daughters fantastic strengths, of which there are many. Now, we NEED to work on other area's so lets please just get to the point.

Mr Psych asks if Genea has any mental health diagnosis. Umm, SURE, which ones do you want? Because we have Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD and PTSD. Maybe a few others I forget. But I pointed out, you may as well call it LMNOP Disorder, because with all that overlap none of it really answers anything. Messed Up by Orphange Life Disorder. FUBAR'd by Adults Disorder. Don't Ask Me to Finish My Homework, I'll Show You! Disorder. I explain Genea's background of extreme neglect, instability, abandonment and of course the fucktardmoron family. Moving on.

Mr Psych then wants to know is Genea in any therapy. Yes! I can say! We just saw a new psychologist last week! He spent an hour with Genea, then suggested putting together a "team" of professionals to work out a true diagnosis and intervention. She sees her new child psychiatrist next week! (Incidentally, Teena also had an intake appointment that day for possible ADHD. They do several appointments with testing and evaluations across a couple of months before they will come to a conclusion, however at the end of Teena's time, the New Guy says..... "quite frankly, she is really hyperactive". I KNOW THAT!)

Mrs. Teacher has a few concerns. Number one is Genea's inability to focus. I explain 'hypervigilance" as opposed to ADHD, and while she still carries that diagnosis I am now certain it is not accurate in the sense that she has no attention span at all but it's not due to the same region of the brain that causes ADHD. She goes on about how Genea plays with her hair, monitors everything but her paper,and needs constant teacher attention to get back on track. Hmmm, I think in my brain, I bet she's manufacturing a lot of that to suck in teacher time. Ahem. I let them know that Genea is the same at home. In fact at home she paces. Back and forth, back and forth, for hours at a time. She is never actually doing anything, but she tries to make it look like she has very important business on the other side of the room. The side she just left 7 seconds ago. And back again.

Next, Mrs Teacher shows us an assignment. The writing is large and off- lines. She has written 3 sentences about a "recent event in her life that she enjoyed". She has been telling Mrs Teacher that she just can't remember anything else. So those 3 sentences is what Genea has completed after a WEEK. Mmm. Now I am sure Genea is jacking her around. I explain a little about RAD to her. It's a hard thing to explain to a bright- eyed teacher in her 20's, who is incidentally pregnant, that this sweet, adorable, little 8 year old girl is lying her ass off in order to suck you in, but I tried. I let her know that of all the things in this world that Genea knows, FOOD is one of her favorite things. There is just no way she went to The Nasty Buffet and can't remember anything about it. She always eats the same thing, mac and cheese with a side pile of broccolli. She lives for that ice cream machine with all the germ infested toppings next to it. I gently tried to explain to Mrs Teacher that  she was getting played. I tried to soften it a little by letting her know that if Genea is playing you, it means she likes you! Really! She doesn't waste her time, otherwise she would dedicate her school time to sucking someone else in!

Not sure if that helped or not.

Anyway, it's about this time that I realize I have a booger growing in my left nostril. It feels as if it may have dislodged itself and is precariously balanced in there with the potential to vacate the premises, if you know what I mean. Mr Psych and Mrs Teacher continue their meeting while I try to figure out what to do about this growing emergency. A few discrete wipes does nothing, but also does not make it worse. I try to focus on breathing out the right side nostril so as not to cause any turbulance on the left. Sigh. The things I have to deal with.

Anyway, Mrs Teacher has a few more points to make. Genea is at a "Level J" in reading, which is a starting 2nd grade level, and has made no progress since starting 3rd. (I really think all of 2nd grade was a useless disaster). She hates to write and tries to get out of it. She seems to understand math, but has not come near mastery of the concepts.  She is behind, and falling further behind. Mrs Teacher has a few ideas that she wants to try which sound good. Specialized reading help, stuff like that.

(Just a note that this is what I have worried about all along. I could see this coming, the day Genea started school 3 years ago. The gap between what kids in 3rd grade are capable of and what she is capable of is getting wider and wider. I have said this over and over, and expressed that I have been trying to avoid it getting to this point every year for 4 grades now. So can we please fucking do something this time?)

Mr Psych then makes a comment that has me wanting to shove his non-dangling ass cheek off of his 3rd grader- chair. He says, "well, I'm on the fence. Mrs Teacher is going to start some exciting new strategies, and since Genea is starting with counseling I think we should wait and see how it goes".

Here's is what I am thinking:


 As my eyelids levitated, I tried asking the teacher if she felt that all these extra unofficial accommodations were really sustainable in her grade and in future years. You know, like, I know there are other kids in the class and while I appreciate you wanting to be almost a 1:1 with my daughter, the other kids really do deserve an education as well. OF COURSE! She rushes to assure me, SURE! She is smiling and defending herself and teachers everywhere. We can do it!

My brain groaned again.

But then I am also thinking, what if they are worried I might be upset if my child has special needs? Maybe they want to soft-pedal the point in time where they say, your kid isn't making it and probably can't. Most parents will take that hard. However, I adopted Genea knowing ahead of time that this time would come so, no devastation here. I decide to get to the point, not to mention I can hear at least 2 families shuffling around in the hall waiting for their turns.

I turn and look directly at Mr. Psych.
"I want Genea on an IEP. She has significant delays, she is not getting better. She needs extra help."

"well," he says, "we have all these things we want to try......"

I cut him off. I said, "Look, Genea is doing better right now than she ever has. In the past 6 months she has significantly improved. And she is still falling behind. She needs the extra help."

Then I employed one of my favorite strategies to get the other person to show their hand. Silence. And Staring. Mr Psych bends his head over his notepad and I catch him giving Mrs Teacher the side eye. Mrs Teacher is giving him the side eye back. Finally he says, okay, I will write up a referral for her and start testing for learning disablities. We will have a meeting to discuss the results in 6 weeks or so.

Great! That's all I wanted!

Friday, September 23, 2011

So, how're the kids doing with school?

My friend asked me that question last week and my immediate reply was..... "good!".

I paused. "Well, good for us, I think".

I paused again.

"Hmmm, maybe my standards have been lowered".

Because seriously, my goals for each day are:
1. Get kids out of house
2. Kids stay at school
3. No teacher calls, emails or other sneaky types of contact
4. Kids return home when they are supposed to and not before.

It's been about 3 weeks and so far it's been..... sketchy. Teena is forgetting her homework and trying to be friends with some vile brat who does not want to be friends with her. It's making me sick to hear about this wretched child being mean to my daughter and she keeps trying anyway to be friends anyway. Her teacher called yesterday to tell me Teena did not want hot lunch, and did not bring cold lunch. Ummm, ok.... thanks? Teena has a long history of being uninterested in food. Nothing they can do about it.

Genea has hit the skids. She no likey change in! any! way!!! She has the rest of her life scheduled to be exactly the same as yesterday. So school starting and a new grade/ room/ teacher/ kids/ schedule etc. are all factors consipiring against her stability. Since stability would now be a change, I'm thinking we are scuuuuh- rewed.

She is having a grand old time manipulating her teacher and in general being a high-preforming radlet. Skills and talent people. Sadly for Genea, her mother has a big mouth with fast clickie fingers and is keeping the teacher updated and informed of attempted manipulation. Email. I love it.

From: Mrs. Accident
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 5:28 PM
Hi Mrs Teacher, this is Mrs Accident, Genea's mom. Genea told me that she forgot her homework and her snack box at school today. Please feel free to keep her in from recess to do her work. She is the sort of child who is very linear in her thinking. So, if she gets away with something one time, that's all she needs to keep trying again and again. She does not learn from second chances. A second chance will always be in her mind as a possibility and she will continue to try for a very long time. However, if she has a quick logical consequence she is much more likely to do it right next time. Same thing with her snack. She has many food issues resulting from early life in an orphanage in eastern Europe and she can be very persistent in her attempts to get more, get better, get bigger, etc. She already forgot it once this year and I believe she is seeking out the classroom supplies. I know you have a generous policy to give a back up snack to students, and I don't want her to get upset but I don't want her to make this a habit either. Maybe she could have a smaller portion? Or a less popular one? 

From: Mrs Teacher
To: Mrs Accident
Subject: RE: Genea
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 00:58:21 +0000

Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate the background information very much. I will plan to keep her in at recess tomorrow to get her caught up. I have not yet been doing that with other students, but do start incorporating that policy before too long when work is missing. I have no problem having her make up the work at recess time. I will keep in my the snack situation if she forgets again.
On another note, I've noticed Genea has a very difficult time focusing. She is easily distracted by even the smallest movements or noises. I do have her seated right in the front. I'm just concerned about the number of times she needs refocusing/redirection during a single class period. I understand there have been concerns in the past, but I wanted to check with you and see if this seems typical or if her attention span seem to be sliding.
(why did that highlight? NO friggin idea)

From: Mrs. Accident
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 11:01 PM
To: Mrs Teacher
Subject: Genea

Thanks for your help!
  Genea had a rough afternoon. She did her reading when she got home, but then fell asleep for 2 hours. We had dinner, and then she did 2 of the 3 assignments by 8 but then had to go to bed. School drains her quite a bit and she usually takes a 1-2 hour nap. I'm concerned that she is already falling behind, and it looks like the work is going to be harder for her this year. Hopefully she just needs some time to settle in.

  Genea has what is called "hyper-vigilance". It presents just like ADHD but the origin is post-traumatic stress. Typical ADHD meds have made her violent. She does take a non-stimulant medication to address the attention related symptoms but is maxed out on the dose already. Hyper-vigilance is based in the need to constantly monitor her environment for changes, to keep herself safe. From what you wrote, I wonder if she would do better in the back of the room, where she could see everyone and would know they were all safe. That way she wouldn't have to turn around and check all the time. The tiniest little noise will break her focus and she has a hard time regaining it, I'm sure you noticed! That's a thought I just had, I have no idea what the result would be. I'm guessing this will fade as she gets used to the class but it has been an on-going issue and might not get much better.

Ideally, I believe she needs a place like the old "resource rooms", where kids could go and get extra time  in a quiet place with just a few other kids. So far she has not met the criteria for an IEP however like I said, I am very concerned that the gap is getting wider from what she is able to do vs what is expected of 3rd grade children. Genea is a perceptive little girl and will realize this, which will then cause her stress and make it all worse. She has had a variety of mental health diagnosis which seem to be affecting her ability to learn. Could she possibly be eligible to be evaluated by the district?

The good news is she remembered that snack cup! She announced it to me first thing off the bus- didn't say hi or anything, lol! 

From: Mrs. Teacher
To: Mrs Accident
Subject: RE: Genea
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 16:06:24 +0000

I checked into something as far as getting her evaluated. If I have consent from you in writing that you would like her tested for special education services, that could get things started quickly. Let me know what you think about that.

Thank you!
From: Mrs. Accident
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 3:43 PM
To:Mrs TEacher
Subject: RE:Genea

No problem. Is there a form or should I just write something up?

About her snack time at school, she told me today that she lied to you and said she did not have a snack with her. She did. I figured it out because her snack cup had the same crackers in it that I put in there last night. Yesterday, she swiped a cup of oranges out of our cabinet instead of taking what she should have. Just fyi. I wonder if we can circumvent this problem by having a stash of something for her at school. Would you be able to keep a box of crackers or something for her there (I mean, I would provide it) that she could take from at snack time? I'm afraid she will continue to try to "work the system" here. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal but she will keep trying if she thinks there is a chance she can get more.
To: Mrs. Accident
From: Mrs. Teacher

I think having a snack stash for her at school might be a good idea. Let’s try that.

So, that summarizes our school year so far!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Time I Thought Would Never Come, Did. Or, The End.

AAAaaand, it's a wrap folks. Not the chicken kind, the kind where I am done writing this here blog. I finally ran out of things to say.

I have loved writing here, and sharing my stories. I really love all the people I have met, in real life and the "people of the air", those folks who I have never laid eyes on but who have become friends in almost every bit the same way as those I have met. It has been so fantastic to write this and have people read it- what a rush! Winning a few awards here and there- so cool! People who have read and read quietly, and people who have read and supported and helped with their own words, and lived this all with me, it's been wonderful. I've never even attracted a troll, though I can't imagine why not (am I not troll worthy?). Some amazing people have shared really personal things on this blog and I am extra grateful for that. You never know who might be reading that will connect with what you have written and it will help them somehow to make their way through.

It's not so much that I am out of things to say, it's more that I am out of new ways to write about the same stuff. I have written about my disgust with turkey on Thanksgiving 3 times now. First day of school, last day of school for the kids, also 3 times (or is that considered 6? Or even like, 11 for both kids?). My children continue to think of new and inventive ways to have tantrums and freak out, but even a clever tantrum is still a tantrum and dang if I haven't typed my fingers to death about tantrums. They still do cute and funny and delightful things, but again, when I try to start a post about it, I keep getting a "been there done that" feeling.

I've spent the past several years sort of living in my head. I found myself a stay- at- home- mom of 2, one of whom was not happy about any of it. My brain would spin like one of those centrifugal force rides at the amusement park. Constant, constant queries ran through my head. How can I make this better, how can I help this, fix it, change it. What is causing this, where does it come from, why why why. Writing helped me immensely in so many ways. Laying it all out, thinking it through, forcing an end point to the thoughts that would otherwise whirl around indefinitely. It also made me reframe so many things because often I would be in the middle of some kind of crazy Wango Tango and have a humorous thought, and I would then think- I can blog that!  It pushed me to see things in a much different light than the one of bitterness I was holding otherwise.

Anyway, I've been thinking about wrapping up my blog for a while now.

Genea has taken a dramatic turn for the better, after the worst 6 month span of them all this past winter and spring. I made a huge mistake in judgment last fall, went against my instincts, and allowed her to be medicated for ADHD. Though to be fair, at the time I would have danced naked in the yard during mosquito mating season if someone had hinted it might help. She became out of control. She became violent, verbally aggressive and her hair trigger emotions became even more labile. She could learn nothing, I mean nothing. Unable to even try to use a coping strategy. Somehow I missed the connection, partly because she was better able to focus at school and they stopped complaining about her distractibility, and partly because it was not a 1:1 give/take sort of thing. Finally after about 6 months I put the pieces together and stopped the med. There was no detectable difference in her focus that I could see and The Husband agreed. We let it go a few more days, and her multiple daily rabid explosions all but ceased to just one a day. Or even none.

Around the same time, I started giving her Omega 3 supplements. I have done this in the past with success, but the results always faded and I stopped giving it to her. This time, I gave her a full dose and stuck with it even when she hit a patch of regression. The regression was short lived and minimal, especially in comparison to the past. It really helped that she is able to swallow the capsules as intended, instead of my trying to sneak the liquid I would squirt out onto her peanut butter sandwich.

Last thing I attribute to her abrupt turnaround, which incidentally has lasted far beyond any previous period of "remission", is the oxytocin I started giving her (look it up, not the same as Oxycontin!). I do not exaggerate when I say that has had a dramatic effect. The first day I gave it to her she had been going on for hours about her homework, doing all the little RAD things with it, and the supplement arrived in the mail. I gave it to her and she went back to re-do the same math problems she had re-done 45 times already. She came out again a few minutes later yelling, I am SO MAD I CAN'T do this I HATE it but she was smiling and laughing. I was like I could see the supplement taking effect right there. The anger dissipated and was replaced with smiles and real (real!) happiness. No day since then has been such an immense testimonial but we give it to her when we think she needs it. It seems to have jump- started something in her brain that had gone horribly awry.

Genea's attachment to me has evolved some with the positive changes in her neurology. She has always been partially attached, but in that ambivalent and insecure way. Push- pull on steroids. She would beg me to hug her then grunt and shove me away when I did, then she'd shriek in a primal, infant way, that I moved away after the shove/kick/whatever, for example. We are getting stronger finally. Finally! 

She is far from "cured", and probably even far from "better". But for us, it's big. It's do-able, livable. We can breathe.

Teena is still Teena. My child who has never had an un-met need is as secure as a child can be, I believe. I'm a little worried that she will never learn the real word for "pea finger". I have had a few opportunities to correct her terminology, and she says, uh huh, uh huh, you mean the pea finger?

I'm nervous to pull the trigger here. I don't want to click publish! But I am not the sort of person to fade into oblivion. I'm more of a put a stamp on it and be done sort of person.

I would be more than happy- excited even!- to do the following:

Guest post for any blog
Write for an adoption publication
Write for any publication that pays
Answer any questions a person might have by email
Help prop up, coach, or support any person who needs it going through any part of the adoption process including the "after"
Any other interesting thing you might be able to think of that I might be interested in!

I'll keep my domain open for a while and will probably shoot out a few posts here and there just to keep it alive. So please keep me in your reader- it won't cost you a thing! People seem to enjoy the archives. Currently, someone is going through and reading old posts a lot. I will get 40-50 hits on one single post from like, December 2009 out of nowhere! I still fully plan to keep up with blogs I read so I'm not going to disappear.  I'm just retired from blogging as a regular part of my life.

The End.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be

Leave it to that stupid ass crust Skankenho to suck all my fun out of her moving day.

A few weeks ago the horrible skank who lives across the street and her New Fiancee Ickman (click there for part of the history if you have not read it before) were formally evicted in court and they had a certain time frame to get out.  The past few days I have seen much coming and going, boxes packed up and that large storage container dropped off.

Back in the days when that Fucktardmoron (previous New Fiancee) was living there I had dreams. Dreams of hauling a lawn chair to the edge of my yard and drinking a few beers while watching him move out. He managed to move out in the night without my noticing, thereby ruining my dream of waving middle fingers, shouting obscenities and taunting that jackass while he crawled off.

So this week their time was up. I think they got confused about the day they would be required to leave. Skankenho's two daughters have been at my house daily since Tuesday saying it was their last day in the house. We let them play together late into the evening to say goodbye.  On Wednesday one of them was here at 6:11 AM looking to play with my girls. I have to imagine that none of the FOUR adults in that house knew she was up and out. Anyway. Thursday they came over again to officially say goodbye and I believe that is when if finally hit Genea that her friend was moving away. It was not pretty, oh geez it was not pretty. My poor little girl who has been so battered by rejection and abandonment could barely come to the door and had to be pushed to hug them through her sobs. Then Friday they were still around, the girls came over to ask if one of my girls wanted some raggedy old bleached out sweatshirt. Of course they did! And they are fighting over who gets to wear it! Ick!

Friday, still there. Saturday, still there. Sunday, still there. However, finally on Sunday now I have somewhat of a confirmation that they will leave.

Ickman (New Fiancee Du Jour)was out on the lawn with his dogs throwing stuff into the storage lockers.

(Incidentally, why does a grown adult man have 2 medium sized super fluffy white dogs? I can only imagine ugliness as to his reasons)

Anyway, a woman was walking her dog past their house and his dogs started barking. Of course they were not restrained at all. Ickman loudly apologized to the woman several times, which she ignored. Shockingly, he became as belligerent as a 12 year old boy, yelling "Okay, fine, you don't have to talk to me! I'm just saying I'm sorry about that! Don't worry today's our last day!". Skankenho comes out to see what the fuss is about and he repeats himself. Loudly. Then, he did it. He yelled THE C WORD down the street at the woman who was only walking her dog.


Just because she did not wish to stop and chit chat with his flabby butt. Dang. But, that was the confirmation I have been waiting for. Sunday, their last day.

Seriously though, I really thought I would enjoy this and I have not. I mean, I did giggle at a few things like skulking about in the bushes trying to take the above photo, but overall this moving has sucked for me. Genea is a mess. I knew she would be sad but I thought she would be okay with seeing her friends at school. I should have realized nothing is that simple for her and those abandonment issues would fire right back up. Although, she is coming to me to talk about it, so that part is great. Teena on the other hand, a child who has never had an unmet need, is ambivalent. She cares, but is not choked up.

Then, Skankenho has had her daughters at the house while the police are there with the landlord to photograph the damages. The kids had no idea when they would lose their home. They have no place else to go so for now are moving into a hotel. That just plain sucks. It's not their fault their mother is a lunatic freak.

It'll be nice though, to be able to shake off that shitty reminder of such a rough part of our lives and get it out of here. 

So that's it. They are gone. Oh wait--- seems I CAN muster up some happiness! Yipee!

Huh, there's more.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Hell comes to Green Bay

It's hot y'all, bloody hot. Evaporate your blood hot. Fry the skin off your body hot. Melt your eyeballs hot. The temp today is 93, which is probably laughable to all the southerners, but way up here in the frozen tundra 93 is waaaaaaay hot. I think the heat here is hotter than in the south.

My friend Sarah says you are allowed to complain about one season. That's it, one season. The rest of the year well, suck it up and shut up (I'm summarizing, Sarah puts it much more nicely). She's right of course, no one wants to hear another person constantly whining about the weather. I quickly and easily picked winter. I mean, sheesh, what with all the dang snow and snow days and ice and freezing your nose hairs, winter is an easy pick for complaining.

But its really super hot. Heat index at 108 HOT!

What to do..... what to do......

I decided Sarah must mean other people. All those folks who complain and whine constantly about everything. Me, I am merely being observant when I note that steam coming off one's eyeballs is not normal and this heat sucks. When I become disgusted realizing that the heat and humidity is causing a marinating effect in my carpet and the stench from years of an errant cat and two un-potty trained children is rising from the fibers again, I am objectively noting a fact. Is there anyone who would find that pleasant? No? See? There you go. Fact.

(Actually, I have been told a *few* times in my life that I complain a lot. I don't understand that at all. I make informative observations in order to show others seeking clarity the light of my opinions. Altruistic y'all, not complain-y, helpful! Maybe those people ought to shut their pie holes and pay closer attention.) 

Satan is looking for ice cubes. Seriously, that is too hot.

Kids won't go outside because it is so hot so they are stuck inside with me, who also won't go outside because of the heat. For lunch they are going to boil hot dogs in their little pool outside. I might just stick my head in the oven where surely it has got to be cooler. It's so not fair that we get buried under snow for six months and now we can't breathe without searing our lungs. Sheesh.

See how just a few months ago the snow was up to the top of the slide on the kids playset!

We are under a "heat advisory" until Thursday. Thursday! I mean, that should be against the law! Who is in charge of all this I ask you, hmmm? My dad would say Al Gore made it hot. He invented global warming and now look what's happened. My dad never misses an opportunity to slam Al Gore. He lives for it like I live to smash grocery carts. Al Gore and his fancy internet and inconvenient inferno b.s.. Personally I am more likely to blame republicans- all of 'em but especially that prick of a governor we now have in Wisconsin. Here we have a new governor and the very same summer the heat gets so bad that opening your front door is something out of the movie Backdraft. Seems like an obvious link to me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hope in a Comment

When I posted the link to an article about the long term effects of sexual abuse on children, one person left a striking comment which I decided to share up front. It's the sort of thing I really appreciate and commentors who came after her did as well. I know a lot of people don't necessarily read all the comments or come back to read them and yet this one is important I think. It is both gracious and inspiring and above all, hopeful.  It is from a woman named Kristina (who has almost nothing on her profile!). So, here it is.

Hopefully I can help some of you feel a little better. I had an awful childhood. I was born with mild CP to a teenage mother, who dropped me off with a neighbor and didn't look back. The neighbor got ahold of my grandparents, who raised me. My grandfather began abusing me shortly after I moved in. This went on until I was 14, and I didn't tell a soul. I definitely had my share of mental issues as a result of this, but I am now a healthy, self confident adult. I'm raising well adjusted daughters. I also volunteer at a group home, where I teach creative writing and self esteem to teenage girls. It took me several years to take ownership of my body and sexuality. I think the biggest risk is that they may be victimized again, which I was. My daughter is the result of an assault at 19. I have not let it define me. I refuse to be a victim. Make sure your girls know that their body is theirs, and they get to decide who touches their body. This includes you. Make sure they know it isn't their fault. Have a healthy attitude about sex. If you think it's wrong or dirty, then they feel wrong or dirty. Be open when they have questions about sex, as they have not learned about healthy sexuality. Lastly, help them come to a place where they can forgive their abuser. This is not for him, but for them. Healing cannot happen with hate inside your heart. They will never forget, but they must bury the past in order to have a future. Their abuser does not deserve forgiveness, but do any of us deserve Gods mercy? My most healing moment was when I sang at my grandfathers funeral. I of course sang Amazing Grace, and I truly felt Gods grace at that moment. I was 16, and felt that I had closure. I also chose to be baptized. I felt that this was a final way to cleanse myself. Many victims feel dirty or ashamed, and i wanted to wash my shame away. Do whatever you need to do to get there. If the perp is still alive, you could have a symbolic funeral(he's dead to you) where you burn or bury a picture or letter. A friend of mine had a forgiveness and letting go ceremony, where they burned items representing the abuse, and herself as a victim. They were not religious, but they also poured water over her to "wash away the past" and it seems to have helped her daughter move on. Good luck, and blessings to your girls. They are strong.

Friday, July 8, 2011

You know what I really love?

There is this one little thing that I really love to do. I love it so much I almost look forward to it. It is a little strange though. But I'm guessing if you read here you are getting used to the strange. Possibly you even expect it. You are no stranger to strange.

This might be a little more strange than the normal strange.

It might even be unhealthy. But I'm not exactly known for my consciousness on that subject. I eat cheetos and even go without sunscreen.

I love, I would even say I LIVE, to smash grocery carts.

Okay! I warned you!

I mean, the satisfaction I get from shoving that fucker across the lot to crash into the cart carrel, wow, I'm getting worked up just thinking about it.

There might be a chance I have a touch o' The Crazy myself.

I spend my time and my money in the store. I lope out to the parking lot with my kids jumping and whining, after having dragged them through the store jumping and whining and being demanding. I tell them to get in the car while I put our crap in the trunk and without fail there is an argument. I mean, what? the? hell? How do 2 such short people manage to fight with each other about something so fucking simple as getting in the damn car? Just get! in! the! car! There is nothing to talk about! Simple process, open door, sit your ass down, mouth closed! Squabbles always ensue and I want nothing more than to smash something.

(Though I have to admit, even when the kids are nowhere near me I still smash carts). (I must have leftover frustrations). (Keep your sassy comments to yourself there, lol!).

I slam the trunk of the car shut. There is minor satisfaction in that, however I drive a Pontiac. There is no heft to the trunk and so very little sense of release. In high school I drove my parents old 1970 Chevy Caprice. Now that's a car with some heft, a car that could sleep 6. You had to  put some muscle into pulling the doors closed or slamming the trunk. Anyway. I digressed.

So I drag my cart away from my car, having already scoped out the nearest return carrel. My pupils start to dilate and I can feel a surge of blood pressure rising. The corners of my mouth twitch but I try hard to resist smiling. I don't want all the other customers to see me. It would look weird.

(I resent places that have plastic shopping carts. You know who I am talking about *Target*).

Ideally I would find a carrel with several carts already in it. Empty ones are still noisy but less disruptive. There is no domino effect of watching the other carts scurry and lurch forward. I line that fucker up from about 5 feet back and tense my muscles with all the strength afforded to me by having a 6 year old child who still loves to be carried. Then BAM! I send that cart flying across the parking lot! SMASH! It bangs and crashes into the carts already returned and hurls them forward as well, the noise sounding like a repeating echo. Banging into the sides of the carrel, metal shrieking on metal. Yikes! People are startled and look over, surprised at all the noise I have made. Some even look disapproving. Oops, heh heh heh. My daughter Teena calls out from the car "Wow Mama! That was coooooooool"! I think so too. Ahhh.

Okay, I can't be the only one. Right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rationally irritated or illogically sensitive?

So a few months ago I finally found a therapist for Genea. She is about 25 miles away, and takes our insurance. I have been a little apprehensive about her and her lack of experience but willing to give her a shot, since it took us 3 years to find her. Genea loves to go there and do whatever she wants, make a huge mess, and have someones undivided attention for an hour.

This past week when we arrived, she wanted to speak with me privately at first. This is never a good sign. It never occurs that a person is requesting your attention privately to say "wow, you are the greatest parent ever!". Right. So she tells me that Genea see's being sent to her room as a punishment. That I am using a "fear based, punitive, punishment" with her, and that if I continue to do it, we are going to "clash".

Um, okaaaaaaaaay.

I always thought of fear based, punitive, punishments more like if I broke Genea's arm. Or locked her in a closet for 6 hours. Not sending her to her soft cushy room with her toys and stuffed animals. But sure.

I told her that our main purpose of sending Genea to her room is so that she cannot take our entire household hostage with her screaming. The level of sound this child is capable of would shock you. It is actually physically painful to be around, and I refuse to allow her to force us all to sit and listen to it, unable to do anything else because of the volume. Think I am exaggerating? You are welcome to come over. Any time. I was unsure as to where this was coming from, and I realized that the previous week Genea came home from school having pea'd herself just prior to our appointment and I told the therapist that's what I did about it. Sent her to her room (more on that later).

Therapist launches into her favorite topic, "Conscious Discipline". Reminds me again she is certified to teach it, does home visits etc. This is the parenting class they recommended to me during the intake. I let her know I would be happy to do something different with Genea. Sending her to her room does not stop her from doing whatever it is again. She will still pea herself, throw things, hit, have raging tantrums and all of it again the next day, or hour or whatever. It helps her calm down and it makes her world smaller and more contained, but it does not prevent another occurrence. While I believe it does not hurt her, it also does not help her really. If she had any suggestions that would allow the rest of us to function and help Genea at the same time, well, bring it on and what are you waiting for! She tells me she is going to lend me the book about this Conscious Discipline and so I go into the waiting room and start to read it.

Your mileage may vary. This is my opinion. Whoa crap, the author is condescending. One of those that is like, my way is the only way and you are so dumb to be doing all that stuff like a regular inferior parent. Just do as I say and your children will glow from the halos that emerge. She proceeds to tell various stories about herself coming upon unsuspecting parents in public and sorting out their children right! then! and! there! She is a hero! Thank God for her and her fairy magic wand of words! Now the parents of the world can finish their errands with all problems solved! Okay, I am really sensitive to this kind of crap. Arrogant, child-free, and with a Messiah complex.  Anyone who starts off having elevated themselves over me, without their own children, pisses me off. But I proceed, determined to give this (shit) a fair shake.

After a few chapters I pull out the Ulta flyer that came in my mail and read about pretty make up and hair stuff instead.

On our way home, I am thinking this all through and trying to figure out where it came from. I realized that when I told her that Genea was sent to her room after peaing, that was all I said. Because I did not want to stand in front of Genea and nit pick the crap out of her running down the long list of things she had done. After discovering the pea, she came in the house and started licking syrup off her breakfast plate, which was still sitting there from the morning. She was high strung, hyper and argumentative, trying her best to instigate with me. I was trying to make her lunch and realized it was a time when she needed 100% line of sight supervision and I could not give that and get us ready too. She would next start bumping into things by accident, stepping on the cat by accident, kicking her sister by accident and sneezing huge gobs of snot and forgetting to use a tissue. By accident. Trying to be proactive, I sent her to her room to keep her world small and keep her away from hurting people, things and pets. And still get her lunch done so we could go.

There are a few other things about This Therapist that have bugged me. She wants to see Genea on her own, which would be fine except how are we going to work on attachment and her history if I am not there? I have always read no matter what you are working on, the child with Reactive Attachment Disorder should never be seen alone. They lie and they manipulate. Genea has a memory like swiss cheese and thinks nothing of filling in the blanks with whatever her imagination conjures up. She lets Genea hug her over and over- again, if we are addressing her attachment to me, should she be letting Genea do that? I don't mind once, but not repeatedly. 

At the end of our last session, This Therapist wanted Genea to tell me something and Genea said no, she didn't want to. Therapist said.... oh no, not that, tell her what you are worried about at school, and  Genea did. But what the hell was it that she didn't want to say? Ugh, I can just see through to some massive triangulation coming up.

Then to top it all off, when I got home I read through some more of that book. Halfway through the book the author recommends sending a child to their room if they are hitting or doing whatever and will not stop, to keep everyone safe. Wtf?

I'm wondering if This Therapist is too inexperienced to help us. She has older kids of her own but they are "regular" and we all know how dramatically different things have to be with Attachment Disordered children. Genea has never successfully triangulated me against anyone. (Yes, I am on that child like corn on a cob). She keeps trying though, and I am worried with this woman she might be able to force the wedge. I could insist on being in the room I suppose.  I can just ask her to quit allowing Genea to hug her more than once, and I can let her know that "telling" me to stop sending Genea to her room was overstepping, especially in light of her own book suggestion. Genea likes her, and is in fact doing well these days. Whether the positive change is due to the therapy I don't know. It might be a small part, and Lord knows, we need every part we can get! My concern is though, that with that list of errors having already occurred, maybe this is just not going to work. Genea and I need to be led through our issues by someone who knows what they are doing without me having to point out significant process errors. . Not forcing us into this boxed up theory because it's the one she knows.

Ah well, I think I am answering my own questions here, but what do you all think?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not a fun topic

This is an article I read on MSNBC today, about the long term effects of sexual abuse on young girls. I'm sure the effects are similar for boys, but that's not who was studied. It's alarming, to say the least, and confirms what has been suspected. Abuse of children changes them forever from who they were. It alters their brain chemistry sometimes for decades. I am so grateful that of Genea's many issues, this is not one we have. But I know that a lot of people who read here have children who have survived abuse in many forms so I thought I would pass it on.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So long, sweet Skank, so long

Rumor has it, and the evidence suggests, that my dreams have come true and the Skankenho across the street is moving away.

Don't let the door hit ya' where the Good Lord split ya'!
Ya' useless sack of rotted trash.

Skankenho did not bother me when she first moved in with her two daughters. She was clearly a mess and an idiot but not bothersome. My problems started later, about a year and a half ago when she approached me to let me know that her New Fiancee Du Jour was someone I knew. He had been living there for several months at the time. He wasn't just someone I knew, Genea knew him as well.

Work with me a minute, this is tricky. Genea was originally adopted from Ukraine by a married couple. She lived with them for about 3 years, then they disrupted the adoption, and Genea came to us. That couple divorced. That's who Skankenho's new live-in was, Genea's first adoptive father. I call him the Fucktardmoron.

My anger with him is something I have had to bury deep. First of all, I didn't have time to be angry. I had a severely disturbed young child on my hands which occupied most of my free minutes. Second of all, and even typing this I can feel it, I might have just killed him. The agony and pain he caused my daughter was immeasurable and unforgivable. Likewise, the rest of my family. I don't care about the logic against vigilante justice. I wanted him gone and if he wasn't going to have the sense to do it on his own by God, I would have no problem helping him.

So, along with the obvious issues there with Fucktardmoron, I was instantly handed a set of issues with Skankenho too. When you adopt a child, especially an older child, the agencies caution you against telling your child's story. They emphasize it is the child's story, not yours, and letting others know details will often backfire later. Use extreme discretion when deciding who to tell, and hold back whatever is unnecessary. Suddenly this unbalanced faux tanning skank knew everything about my daughter. Everything. And what's worse than her knowing everything is she obviously had access to even more information than I had. More than Genea would ever remember.

You might think that is bad, and it is, but it actually got worse. I didn't go into it much at the time, but Skankenho's 2 daughters are friends with my daughters. They live right across the street and are close in age. Her youngest and Genea were in the same class at school and bff's. Genea, well, she doesn't make friends easily and this little girl was also a bit on the unskilled side socially. So they got on well and together were forgiving of each others flaws. Or maybe they didn't even notice, whatever, it worked. I can tell you the day those little girls found out about my daughters history. They came over to play one day and it was all over them. Their posture, their tone of voice and the expression on their faces told me without question that they knew it all. It was one of the last afternoons the kids would all play together for a long time. We had let Fucktardmoron know that the girls could not be friends, except at school, with him acting as their step-father du jour. That was okay with him, and Skankenho agreed. Neither had a whiff of a problem setting their own screwed up ideas and wants above anyone elses.

Skankenho allowed all of this, and enabled it, under her roof. She sheltered and fed it. They could have moved, but she didn't want to. He could have maintained his own residence, but she "needed" him. There are a thousand ways it all could have been different, ways she could have maintained her status in the Skank of the Month Club without hurting Genea. She chose differently.

I chose not to forgive and not to forget.

We managed to get rid of Fucktardmoron after about 6 months, but he resurfaced and began staying there all day every day for another 4 months. One glorious day he was babysitting for the girls when Skankenho moved her New Fiancee Du Jour into the house. Ah, I saw it happen and it was fabulous. I have not seen Fucktardmoron since. Though I still maintain an active restraining order against him on behalf of Genea, until next spring.

SO! The new fiancee, Yuckman, is stellar. He is a puffy, flabby, middle aged and tattoo'd man with apparently sketchy access to employment. He drives a jacked up pick up truck (surprise!) with the word "Nymphomaniac" on a sticker across the passenger side door. Class and sophistication for all those who ride. A few months ago his parents moved in to the house also. It seems they were kicked out of their residence, had no place to go, and so are now living in Skankenho's basement. I can't say for sure, but I'm just guessing that 4 able bodied adults living in one Housing Subsidized duplex was more than the Department of Economic  Security was willing to pay for. Forcing Miss Psychogenic Seizures Wisconsin to leave. Finally.

Hopefully, I'm not counting cigarettes before she smokes 'em. There are boxes everywhere, and trips back and forth often.  She herself told me they were moving. I actually managed to spit out words of sympathy for like, two seconds, before I gave up.

BUH- bye,  orange skinned, drug sick, crusted ass, useless, scum licking, shit sucking, parasite infested, tramp stamped, loser skank. Go ahead, let the door hit ya'.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Big Fat MWAH

Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who voted for The Accidental Mommy, we did it! My blog made it into the Top 25 Adoption Blogs at Circle of Moms and will be listed with them. There is an interview coming up and then the official notice will be posted. I'll put up the link when it's all ready.

So, anyone I promised a kiss to, line up. LOL!

In other news, The Husband and I have been layed out by some mystery virus/ flu thing that is unholy. 2 sick parents and 2 NOT sick kids is probably a recipe for some social service involvement.

Mmmm, you really want that kiss now don't you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

peace signs are silly

Teena wants to know....... why do you need a sign to tell you to pee? That's silly, right Mama? People don't need a sign to tell them to pee, people already know to go pee. Right? Right Mama? Why is there a whole sign just for pee? That's just silly, right Mama? Silly.

Right Teena.

Get it? PEACE ! PEE- ce! Pee! It's a PEE SIGN!

Did you get a little snort out of that? A tiny giggle?

I am in this contest for the Top 25 Adoption Blogs and I was holding a place in the top 10, which was great. But now, I am getting a little upset because I have dropped to place number 11. Yes, that means I will still win in the contest, however I had hopes of doing better. See, I know that about 800-900 people have been here daily since the contest began and yet only about 50 people are taking less than 5 seconds to vote for me (to the 50.... MWAH! LUV U!!!). If that means I suck and I just don't know it, then by all means keep your clicky fingers still. Am I really William Hung and clueless?  I could really use the encouragement of votes in these last 2 days of the contest. It's over Tuesday at 5:00

Is this me?????

Click here, scroll down and click the thumbs up next to The Accidental Mommy. It will take you probably 5 seconds and only 3 clicks to get in, vote and get out.

AND I PROMISE I WON'T SING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What I don't think about

I've been thinking lately, what is it that I think about adoption these days? It's been four years since Genea first came into our home, that's half her life. Same home, same family. Same country, same food, same car. The reason I was thinking about it is because I realized, I don't think about it much anymore. I received this nomination as an adoption blogger (Circle of Moms Top 25 Adoption Blogs Click to vote!) and I thought to myself at first..... really? (I mean, it's way cool obviously, I think though that it jump started my thoughts). I'm happy to be an adoption blogger or a family blogger or a house of the wango tango blogger.

That is to say, I don't think of Genea as the child we adopted. She is my child. With brown bouncy curls and huge brown eyes. She is from Ukraine. She was adopted. She loves to listen to Disney music. I stopped thinking about myself as an adoption blogger, and more of a "Mommy blogger".  I talk about adoption here and there, but I rarely think of us as an "adoptive family" anymore. The adoption is something we did and now it is done. Now, we are just a regular boring family.

In the beginning, it's hard to think about anything else. You spend month's (years sometimes!) gathering and filling out papers. Every day there is something, even if it is just sending in the $3.00 for the local background check. Talking talking talking- oh the talking! Once you get through the process of telling your friends and family what you are doing, they are curious for updates and check in regularly. There is always some stupid little bit messing things up and so you are talking to adoption workers and whoever else you need to talk to to straighten things out. Everyone you know who ever knew someone who was adopted wants to tell you about it. There is a delay. Then another. And you panic and obsess and dream of the day of arrival. No matter how sweet or wonderful your adoption worker is, you also dream of the day they are out of your hair. For good. Mine were neither sweet nor wonderful so I had that dream a lot.

Then your child arrives! And woo hoo! That was the day our passive little withdrawn shell of a child turned into a raging ball of terror. Whoa! Now what! And people, friends and family are still calling and checking in all the time and so you are still absorbed in this whole thing as The Adoption. And I think, that's how it should be. It was a huge life altering event for us. For our immediate family, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Obviously for Genea, as well as the child who was already here.

Genea has issues around her adoption, to be sure, and those are subjects I think about a lot. But I see those more as things that have happened to her, that were caused by others. I wish desperately life had been different for her. Maybe that we had been to Ukraine and adopted her first. Or that she was never in an orphanage at all. I look at her when she is anxious or having a fit, and no matter what reason she gives, I can usually link her actions back to a fear related to her early life.

There are a lot of issues ahead of us as well. I have tried to think through how we will handle questions about birth moms and first moms and that question without answer.... "why?".  I will worry about those as they come up. Today, I have today to deal with.

I realize that our adoption of Genea was in fact another trauma in her life. So in a way, we caused that one. Fact is though, I may feel guilt about that later in my life but I cannot raise her and be a good mother to her and focus on that guilt. I have to keep that aside for another day.

I have a lot of opinions about adoption as an industry and most of those opinions are ugly. That's not really the point of this post anyway. I think that it surprised me when I thought about it, to realize that I really don't think about adoption anymore. I talk about it when I need to and that's that. Often, it doesn't occur to me to bring it up, even when it might help us navigate a situation. This is my little family, and we are quirky (to put a cute word on it, *ahem*) and we really are just us.

Now please, please please, go VOTE for The Accidental Mommy. It will take you just 3 clicks, and less than 10 seconds and I will be SO happy for WAY more than 10 seconds! Every day until next Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Techno- Fail


I had a brilliant moment a few months back. My daughters share a bedroom and of course they irritate the snot out of each other. I have them do a "quiet time" every day for an hour. Genea does her homework and Teena plays around, singing and hooting quietly to her toys. Since neither of them has any tolerance for the other, I picked up 2 really cheap CD players with headphones for them. That way, Teena doesn't disturb Genea when she is trying to work and Genea has hers too and listens to it when she is done. She loves having music around her. It makes her so happy and by bloody jingo, when she is happy I am happy!

Brilliant. Usually I race to brag about my one- in -a -million bright ideas. Hey, figure if I get everything wrong, eventually by accident I have to get something right! The CD players have been awesome. I bring them in the car, we have them all over the house. I never have to hear another Disney princess or singing Barbie as long as I live. Wonder of amazing wonders, the headphones fit in their leapster game players, and so now I don't have to listen to the incessant beeping and electronic voices going off either. Ahhhh............. hear that? It's the sound of nothing. Ahh.

So I decided recently to get Genea an MP3 player, since the CD players annihilate batteries like they are on an all you can eat buffet. Genea takes slightly better care of her stuff compared to Teena and even though she is clearly a "pre-hoarder", if it is something important to her she will be cautious and careful. The Husband and I both have a few i-toys and use that incredibly proprietary software with them. I really had no idea how this non-i product would work but I had confidence that if I just plugged it in the right things would eventually happen.

Key word..... eventually.


Lots of fiddling, cursing, and yelling "what does that mean?" later I had the new player loaded using a different music system on the computer. Not exactly sure how any of it worked. It would tell me  this or that couldn't be loaded, or sync'd or whatever and then when I clicked ok, it happened anyway. It told me that all I had to do was drag and drop songs onto a side section, and so I did that. I put a bunch of great music on there such as Greatest Choral Hits, and Classical Composer compilation CD's. Some ABBA and Norah Jones. A variety. Nothing sassy or violent. Nothing with overtones or undertones of Things Of Which We Shall Not Speak. Anything that might have had backwards messages coded in subliminally did not make the cut.

When Genea got home from school and we gave it to her, I thought her eyes might bounce right out of her head and roll across the floor. She was so excited I swear she was levitating. I showed her how to use it, sort of. Gave it to her, and there was a problem. I took it back and it was just the headphone cord loose. I went back to find her another song right quick and I noticed something.....

A whole load of my music collection has made it onto this new little non-i MP3 player. Shit. Shit!

Not only do I not know how that could have happened, I really don't know how I will get it off of there. I guess most of the music that transferred isn't so bad. I mean, it really does sound like Prince is singing about a Little Red Corvette and chances are good Genea won't even realize what a Corvette is.

It's that catchy little Cee- Lo song I am worried about. My version does not say "forget you". Yikes.

I ALMOST FORGOT TO ADD...............



1. Click link to go to Circle of Moms

2. Scroll down until you see "The Accidental Mommy" button

3. In the upper right corner of the box you will see a number and a thumbs up. Click the thumbs up to vote. If it turns gray your vote has registered.

4. Check out other blogs on the site too!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hope You're Not Hungry

Seriously y'all, if you're hungry you're just gunna' have to find something else.

Thank your lucky stars that we have folks who care, like those considerate workers at the Scunci factory, who can warn us about these things. You can dream, you can imagine and you can create but you cannot cook a souffle out of these.

Other brands would just let us sit there, munching away on a plastic alligator clip, wondering why we feel so unfulfilled.

So if you are hungry, I guess you will just have to eat some other form of hair tie. If you get thirsty you can chase it down with lemonade made from your lemon scented dish soap. Might I suggest you add some tequila. And refrain from hallucinogens.

Who's looking out for you? Hmmmm? I think that's worth a vote, don't you?

Here is the quick and simple link:
You can vote one time a day RIGHT HERE. No signing up or tricky business. Just, click click click and you are done and I am  SO grateful and happy! Thanks again to Circle of Moms for the nomination!
1. Click link to go to Circle of Moms
2. Scroll down until you see "The Accidental Mommy" button
3. In the upper right corner of the box you will see a number and a thumbs up. Click the thumbs up to vote. If it turns gray your vote has registered.
4. Check out other blogs on the site too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WHAT special needs?

I don't think there is any secret that Genea has special needs. Well, maybe it's a secret from her school since they don't want her on an IEP (Individual Education Plan, key to getting special education funding and services). My daughter has special needs, just as if she had dyslexia or Down's syndrome. You can't see her needs and it is difficult to test for her needs but rest assured they are there.

I have had several meetings with her school these past few years. Mostly we all talk and all agree that she needs extra, extra help. Her fantastic teachers have accommodated her so far, but since she is "unofficial", there is a limit to what they can do. We end the meetings with testing suggestions and I give them my lengthy list of diagnosis du jour, fully expecting that somewhere along the line we will hit on something that qualifies her.

We have  not. Yet.

I have given my child "mental health" excuse notes. Such as, she was wiped out from an hour of tantrums when The Crazy in her head exploded and could not finish her homework. She will get the work done, oh yes she will, but it may not be on time and she may be docked points and that's okay, we will live with it. Sometimes she goes manic, and there will be days where she is like a ping pong ball with hair and there is no way she will get homework done. She will try and we will set her up for it, but it is not going to be right and no one can read it. Just as if she had cystic fibrosis and needed time for her breathing treatments, she has times where her mental instability holds her back from the standard curriculum. One time this year, during a particularly rough patch I pulled her out of school when the teacher called to let me know how much she was struggling. It is notable that this was the only day she missed all year- seriously. She has not missed a single day this year being physically sick!

It's tricky- whoa is it tricky, and I'm sure I mess it up plenty. There are typical childhood brat moments, Reactive Attachment Disorder moments, and Bipolar moments. It's the Bipolar moments when I take control and try to wipe out the world for her. She needs a small safe place to work through it all. The RAD moments just have to blow over and the brat moments are ignored.

So anyway, I was talking to my mom a few days ago and she mentioned something about "and of course Genea has special needs". And my response was...... WHAT special needs HMMM? Okay, that response was in my head but I bristled up and felt, not offended, but more like, hey!

Why, when I have spent 3 years trying to convince the school system that she has special needs, why would I feel that Mommy Protection thing fire up? It's even more strange because I have spent 4 years trying to convince my mother that Genea has a very hard time. My mom has come from the angle of "all kids do that" for a long time, it surely helps that idea when you are 150 miles away from your granddaughter. If you rarely see it, it's easy to imagine that "all kids do that". I should be relieved, even happy, that she finally see's it. I guess I am. Sort of. Maybe because she spent so much time rallying for the normal, I felt like maybe we could still get there. Now, if she sees the special needs too, they've become obvious.

(ps, vote)!

Updated    I don't usually post things I have written late at night, I hold off until the morning when I can read thru and be sure I am making sense to myself!
I feel conflicted on the issue of Genea's disabilities. Sometimes I feel like I have to bonk people on the head to make them understand what is going on that can't be seen. Since there is nothing obvious looking at her, often I find myself laying it all out there in the hopes that someone will get it. When they don't, it's frustrating. However, I also don't like the idea that someone might look at her and think.... wow, what's wrong with her? With that often comes pity that we do not need. Also, she is very much the type of child that rises to the occasion. If the bar is set high, she will reach it. If it is set lower, and expectations are lowered because she is "special", there is no doubt she will react. I know (for a fact!) that if she thinks she has an "out" she will use it, needed or not. She can learn and indeed she learns well. It amazes me sometimes, all that she takes in. It was sort of alarming and kind of depressing to realize that her issues may be more apparent than I thought. I am way to close to see these things clearly anymore. I want people to know, and she needs people to understand, that her abilities are affected by her history and mental health. I don't wish her to be treated differently because of it.

See? Conflicted. I hope this makes sense, maybe I should pull this down. Maybe it won't make sense at all because I am saying 2 different things that don't match up and probably can't be achieved. That's what I mean. Maybe I am overthinking, maybe feelings aren't logical and it will never be clear.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

End of (Sane) Days

What is it about the end of school for my kids that makes me feel like I am actually the one attending..... oh yeah, it's all the crazy stuff they throw in at the end of the year for the parents to do, like a grand finale.

See, the problem I have is that I am not good at remembering stuff. Things I am good at are critiquing reality TV shows, eating brownies, and smiling at the nasty fast food employee even when I don't want to. 

On Friday, Teena had a trip to a local park. I was supposed to remember to put her in orange, because orange is the color for park attendance apparently.
Monday Teena had "camping day" at school. This means she is supposed to bring in a blanket, a stuffed animal and a bunch of books so they could fake camp and watch movies (?). Sure.
Tuesday is a field trip to a local museum. Gotta remember to pack a lunch, and a drink. Also, it is wear something yellow day. She doesn't have any yellow (or orange) clothes. She'll be sporting yellow hair bows instead.
Wednesday, Teena is supposed to wear something with zippers. Why zippers? It's the last day and it's a half day. Could not tell you what is up with the zippers.
Don't forget to turn in all the library books and by the way the teachers are sending home every bit of whatever- the- hell that she worked on all year.
Also, I need to be sure she is dressed and wearing shoes every day. For some reason she has decided that shoes are for growing smells, not wearing.

Genea is a little easier this time around. I have to remember to send her party invitations with her to school so kids will know it is coming. Summer birthdays are hard!
Tomorrow is Fun Day at her school. What is Fun Day? Surely I do not know but it does sound fun. Got an email about it today. Genea told me she is supposed to wear old clothes for Fun Day. Hmmmm. Well, at least that is something we have plenty of.
She finally quit getting homework though! I could not believe a child in second grade was still getting homework to finish this weekend. Dang. I love her teacher this year but she is a little hardcore on the homework thing.
The biggest thing with Genea is that she No. Likey. Change. and the end of school is a big HUGE enormous change. Did I mention about the change part? She doesn't like it. We'll have about 2 weeks free until summer school starts, I will be waiting anxiously. She is much better this year handling the changes to her beloved schedule, I have to say. She is doing well overall recently (braving the blog curse for even thinking it) so the biggest reaction going on is that her extremely low threshold for frustration is amping back up. She's feeling nervous, but is able to handle it better this year than the others, though she still is not interested in being a balloon. So, that's good!

Now, puh- LEASE don't forget to vote for The Accidental Mommy on the Top 25 Adoption Blogs! You can vote one time a day RIGHT HERE. No signing up or tricky business. Just, click click click and you are done and I am  SO grateful and happy! Thanks again to Circle of Moms for the nomination!

1. Click link to go to Circle of Moms
2. Scroll down until you see "The Accidental Mommy" button
3. In the upper right corner of the box you will see a number and a thumbs up. Click the thumbs up to vote. If it turns gray your vote has registered.
4. Check out other blogs on the site too!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Therapy- it has no idea what it is up against

Four years ago, Genea was placed in our home. At the time she was seeing a therapist, and we continued with the same person when she moved in. I think, I don't know, but I think that overlap was too much for Genea to handle. She had a visceral reaction to being in the building where her previous family had taken her for counseling. I am sure she had a clear association in her mind of being with them and coming to us, the terror of the transition  striking fear of it happening again. At any rate, she refused to cooperate with the therapist. She refused to go in without me (which was fine) but then she would not talk. Or make eye contact. Or sit on a chair. One memorable session she crawled under the table and would not come out. Eventually she fell asleep under there. It seemed like a good idea at the time, to carry on as much consistency as possible. I guess it wasn't.

Well anyway, put it on the list of things we did wrong.

We stopped going after several months. At various times I would get desperate and start calling around trying to find a new therapist for Genea which was a total bust. I started out with my list of questions, as recommended in the fancy adoption books. Are you experienced with children? Are you familiar with adoption? Are you experienced with older child adoption? How would you describe your treatment style?

Waste. It was always a big fat waste. Rarely did I get past the "do you see children" question. I discovered it was much quicker to start with this question.... "do you take our insurance". Then, "do you see children", then "do you have any openings". For three years I have not been able to get through those questions to ask anything further.

Finally I got a lead on a newly licenced psychologist about 25 miles south of here, who happened to see children AND take our insurance. You better believe after the winter of discontent and hell we had circling Dante's drain I was on the phone making an appointment!

She was on leave. For a month. FINE, I said, I'LL TAKE the first appointment she has.

I was hopeful, but a little pessimistic. A therapist who does not understand Reactive Attachment Disorder can cause devastating and long reaching damage to a child. But, the woman had come well recommended so I gave it a shot.

Our appointment came and she seemed nice. She ran through a lengthy list of possible issues and I was not happy to say, yes, we experience most of the list. Then, she asked me if I would be interested in taking a parenting class.

A parenting class?

I have spent the past 4 years beating my head against every book I could find. Watching every documentary, digging through obscure research looking for links, causes and treatments for my daughters lengthy list of problems. I have flown across the country -twice- to attend specialized training and to become a certified instructor for a parenting model for traumatized children. Sure, I think I can always use tips and suggestions. But, can we get going here first? Because I can pretty much tell you anything you want to know about the 77 things Genea has been diagnosed with and how to approach parenting her. We're not talking about a child here who won't go to time out.


Next appointment and our psychologist is unable to be there. I had pulled Genea out of school and disrupted her routine already. We had driven for a half hour to get there. When the other therapist in the office said she could see us instead I basically said, my child is going to see someone right here today and I don't care who even if it's that man changing the lightbulbs so that's fine. Let's go.

Omg. She is a student. An owner of the clinic and will have her licence in a few months, but not right now. Sigh. Whatever. Lets go do play doh for an hour since we drove all the way here. At least there are no puppets in this office. She and Genea talk and chit chat and then get to some tools to use when she gets angry. Such as, pretend you are a balloon and blow your air and it will help you calm down.

A balloon?

Then she turns to me and says, Mom, can you help  Genea with this and remind her to be a balloon?

Sure. When she goes 0 to 60 in the time it takes to clap my hands together and I have to peel her shrieking hitting kicking throwing self off the ceiling, I will most definitely remind her to "be a balloon". I have taught Genea how to regulate her own heartbeat by using what I call "biofeedback for the poor". We will try the balloon though.

The balloon fails. This is not a shock.

Next session, I talk fast for a few minutes while Genea goes to the bathroom. We've been passed off to the student therapist permanently. I describe our days. She looks unnerved. I tell her a small bit of things we have tried.

Fourth session, and we are off balloons. She recommends a two week intensive program in Colorado for Genea. It is several hours a day. And in Colorado. And, it costs upwards of $15,000. She tells me that she believes she can help Genea on a weekly basis but what she really needs is this full time treatment program with the whole family. Oh my.

Then to today. Believe it or not, I think this therapist is going to work out. She is definitely willing to learn. Genea likes her and loves to have the one on one adult attention. She saw the RAD pretty quick, which is good, and got off the "why don't you try a sticker chart" approach. Today was a good session and she interacts well with Genea.

Did I mention there is a masseuse who has an office down the hall? I have never had a massage, but they sound heavenly.

Now, don't forget to vote for The Accidental Mommy on the Top 25 Adoption Blogs! You can vote one time a day RIGHT HERE. No signing up or tricky business. Just, click click click and you are done and I am  SO grateful and happy! Thanks again to Circle of Moms for the nomination!

1. Click link to go to Circle of Moms
2. Scroll down until you see "The Accidental Mommy" button
3. In the upper right corner of the box you will see a number and a thumbs up. Click the thumbs up to vote. If it turns gray your vote has registered.
4. Check out other blogs on the site too!


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