Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm going on vacation and I'm bringing a........

Bundle of nerves
Fluttery stomach

Cold of known origin
A knitting project missing half the yarn

Remember that game? Where you start with that statement, or one like it, and everyone adds one thing and you have to remember them all? That's me right now, I have to remember all the things!

I'm going to Orlando for the second annual Trauma and Attachment Conference. I was all gung-ho (what does that really mean? Anyone?) about it but now I am starting to get a little nervous. 60 women I don't know and 4 that I do know. The '4' includes myself! While I am excited and have been looking forward to it for months, I am also feeling a bit flippy. But holy washcloths I need the break- whew do I need the break!

Here's the thing. Some of the other women going have read my blog. I am grateful for every single person who reads this blog. I love it! However, I am aware of a few posts I wrote that may have been just a smidge short sighted. The kind of posts a person writes when they are sure- sure!- that they will never meet the people who read them.

I wrote a whole post about the day I found a white one, in a place I never expected to see a white one.
I wrote about my undying love of granny panties.
I wrote about my "brushie" feet and I believe I may have posted a picture as well.
I wrote, in detail and more than once, about my hair- removal impairment issues.

Now, I am going to meet face to face with some of the people who know these things about me. BAH! What was I thinking!

I went out yesterday and bought a dress. Not a fancy dress, just a fun, light dress for good times in warm weather. Teena (love that little darling, mwah!) saw the bag on the floor and we had a conversation about it.

T: what's that bag?
M: it's a bag.
T: what's in it?
M: a dress.
T: for me?
M; no..... for me.
T: can I see it?
M: *sigh* sure.
T: *rustle rustle, yank, pull* oh this is a pretty dress Mama!
M: thank you
T: but, it not fit you Mama, I think you made a mistake.
M: ................., are you saying you think it's too small for me Teena?
T: Mama look, this dress not fit you, it fits me!
M: (I look over and she is holding the dress with the neckline under her chin and the dress against herself and it goes to the floor) Ugh. Teena don't worry about it, the dress will fit me! (I know, I tried it on in the store and I hate that).

Tonite I told the girls about my trip, and they had the usual, predictable reactions. Teena, she wanted to know when I would be done talking so she could go back to her movie. Genea, she cried. She moaned that 5 days was so long and she did not want me to go.
Teena told her, "we've been through this before Gee-ya, remember before? It's okay, she comes back".
Is that so cute or what?
Tonite when I went in to check on them, I found Genea sound asleep on the floor in a pile of blankets. Oh my Genea. She loves me, she really does. She sleeps on the floor when something is really bothering her. I think that one of the biggest misconceptions about Attachment Disorder is  the belief that the child has no feelings toward the parent. Genea loves me, I know that. She is attached, I know that as well. But it is insecure, fearful and untrusting. My dear friend Annie once described it like a baby strapped into a papoose with 6 cords. 5 of the cords are securely fastened and the baby is attached to the mother. But that one strap, it flaps all around and can really do some damage. That's us, I think. Maybe we have 4 secure cords, but 4 is good!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Behavior and Cortisol Levels in Children Part 1

There is a new research study from Concordia University that examines the effects of cortisol and the behavior patterns of children. This is an area of interest for me because when Genea first came to us she had been diagnosed with something similar to Addison's Disease. Her body was only minimally able to produce cortisol and we had a very strict medication schedule to follow. There were several pages of possible events where we were to increase her medications in detailed increments, and for such things as vomiting or a broken bone we were to inject her with the medicine. It is a disease that is manageable, but potentially fatal if you were to fail to administer the medication correctly.
No one knew what caused it. There was speculation that she may have been given steroids in the orphanage in Ukraine and overuse caused her cortisol production to shut down. Otherwise, it is extremely rare in children and without a family history no one could say for sure what the etiology was.
Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces when it is stressed. There are several functions to it and if you are interested, there is detailed information here, at Cortisol- from Wikipedia. The biological purpose seems to be to give the body an extra boost to blare through the stressful event whether physical, situational or emotional.
The article I read shows that children who show intense behavioral problems have unusually high levels of cortisol. However, as they get older the levels go down until the result is lower than normal levels of cortisol. Here is the press release:

Behavior Problems Linked to Cortisol Levels

Now, Concordia University did not perform this study with me in mind, and there are a lot of details I would have liked addressed. However, I think that for parents with children from trauma, neglect and abuse the results of this study can give us some ideas and direction.

Here comes my opinion, and lots of it. The authors state that where some children have abnormally high levels of cortisol and some have abnormally low levels even when they are externalizing the same forms of negative behavior, it is the length of time the negative behavior has been occurring that makes the difference. The research does not appear to have been done with any particular "class" of children, so whether the child shows signs of mental illness, has a spectrum disorder, or has experienced trauma they seem to have been evaluated all the same. Since there is no mention of excluding children from trauma I am going to go ahead and assume we can include them.

I am going to make a further assumption that children who have been adopted from situations of neglect, or abuse or trauma have experienced events long enough to have spiked the extremely high levels and  have the resulting reduced levels, lower than normal, of cortisol in their bodies. This may or may not apply to your child or all children, or any children for that matter. I am pulling bits of information from this article and pooling it together with the books and articles and other research I have done, as well as my own experience to make my own conclusions. This is my blog, not a scientific journal. Consider that your disclaimer.

Here are two important notes in the article:

  • "“It seems the body adapts to long-term stress, such as depression, by blunting its normal response,” says coauthor Lisa Serbin, a psychology professor who is Ruttle’s PhD supervisor and Concordia University Research Chair in Human Development."

  • "Individuals with a blunted response to stress may not respond to things that would – and should – make other people nervous. For example, children with long-term behaviour problems perform poorly in school. Because of their blunted stress response, these youngsters may not be worried about exams, so they don’t bother to prepare as much as their peers."

From here, I am going to make a few leaps again with my opinion. Children who have attachment disorders have experienced significant abuse, or neglect, or trauma or all of those. Therefore, children with attachment disorders can be assumed to have experienced long term high levels of stress and have had increased levels of cortisol for an unknown period of time as a result. Whether this manifests as externalized or internalized behaviors in the child is not particularily relevant, only that the events did occur and a physiological response did as well.

Children who are unconcerned about school performance are showing a blunted stress response, as the quote above says. I believe we can take that exponentially further. A child who does not feel worried or anxious about minor things is not going to respond to basic behavior modification techniques. The majority of the techniques involve minor rewards and mild consequences meant to shape a childs behavior over a period of time. Using a take away system, where the adult removes popular toys or privileges from the child will not work if the child does not have the physiological ability to worry about the result. That doesn't mean that the child won't be angry or upset about say for example, losing video games for the day. It means, I believe, that the child will not be able to worry that their behavior will cause that loss, therefore cannot curtail their behavior based on the potential of that loss.

More popular these days are systems where people in charge believe that they are rewarding only positive behaviors. An example might be, if you brush your teeth every night for three days you will earn this small toy. I think those systems are great, I really do. I think that emphasizing the good things a child does is motivating in the long term and the typical child will seek out more ways to feel good about themselves by doing things that are positive. However, inherent in that system is the threat of a loss for not completing the task. We may think that we are promoting only good behavior in a loving way, but I think the self talk a child engages probably goes like this, "oops, it's 7 o'clock I better go brush my teeth or I won't get my toy". Catch that "or I won't get"? That's the piece that is missing in an attachment disordered child and that is why such methods like using rewards or sticker charts are going to be useless. The child is not able to produce concern over not getting the reward. Therefore, is not going to perform the desired task per the program. Those dots will not connect.

There has always been the question in my mind, how is is that my child does not run into the street every time the door is opened. If she is able to learn that, than she should be able to learn other, less extreme things. It proves she can learn, and it proves I can teach her. The point that always followed logically was that she was choosing not to learn the other things I tried to teach her, or show her or provide her with knowledge of for her own self preservation. Further evidence to that is if I ask her about stealing cookies for example, or why did she not come inside from playing when I told her to, she is able to comprehensively describe to me all the correct answers. Maybe I should say, she is able to parrot back to me the reasons I have given her. She knows what things are wrong to do and why because she can tell me. Having a blunted physiological response to stress however, would mean that she does not have the ability to be concerned about it. Putting it simply, she is not feeling it.  That's a hard place to go and is difficult to accept, though it would explain a lot.

Then what, you may wonder, as I did, is there to do about it? The authors of the study believe that early intervention in children showing strongly negative behaviors is the key. However, when you are the adoptive parent of an older child where the experiences happened long ago, you are going to be fighting an uphill battle with both hands tied behind your back. The damage has been done and for the record, I do believe that neglect and trauma cause brain damage. The question is, can that damage be reversed or repaired. My answer is, God I hope so.

I do believe that the burned out cortisol can return to more normal levels. With Genea, she was on the medication for about a year and a half before she came to us, and for another year with us. Then, her little 5 year old body regained it's ability and began to produce cortisol on its own again. That is my one and only experience and so whether or not it is typical or unusual I do not know. I do know that it does not seem to have reduced much in the way of her own personal issues and behavioral reactions so in our case, I believe there are many factors. I think this is where we have to "parent outside the box". Our children can and will learn, it will not be by the usual methods.

If you made it to the bottom of this lengthy post, reward yourself! Now, what do you think? Opinions? Reactions? Disagreement?

Coming soon: Part 2

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Flip of a Neurological Switch

Genea was diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder a few years back. The psychiatrist who did the diagnosing was an expert on that particular disorder and a brilliant, fantastic doctor who was willing to do everything in his power to help a hurting child. As with most kids who get to the point of requiring psychiatric intervention, she meets the standard diagnostic requirements for several disorders. And it could well be that she does have a few more pegs in her bucket but the fact is that we treat to the symptoms and not the label. Some days I think it's the RAD that is dominant, other days it is "the age of seven" that is where things stem from. Today, the past several days, it's the Bipolar shining through.

Genea has become manic. It happens every few months that she really spikes up high on the scale for a few days like this. She starts to move as if she has cerebral palsy, or another movement disorder. She becomes stiff when she walks and her movements almost look stabbing. Jerky, abrupt, she overshoots her target most often but undershoots as well. She sounds like she weighs 200 pounds when she walks. Boom, boom, boom. She cannot sit still. It's not just that she cannot sit still, her body moves, it just goes. She can be sitting down and her arm will jut to the side, her leg will go into the air or her knee clunks on the ground. She knows it is going on, she can stop some of it, and she can minimize it if we help her but she also forgets and then it starts all over.

She doesn't walk, she races. She zooms. She moves so fast we don't have time to tell her to "walk when you're in the house", she is already where she was going and has returned before we can say a full sentence.

Her voice becomes loud. She laughs when it's not funny. When I say something to her, she bounces her 200  pound self immediately over to me at the speed of light and sticks her face an inch from mine, opening her features wide. Her reactions look like those of a bad soap opera actress, pitifully insincere and overblown.

I would think her focus would suffer mightily but it isn't too bad. She manages to play with her sister, in fact, this is really strange to me, she is pleasant to play with and refrains from the negative instigating that usually makes up her play skills. She can sit and watch a movie or a few cartoons. 

Impulse control? Not a shred. Three things happen simultaneously...... see/want/do.... there is no time between the thought and the action. 

She is not irritable or easily frustrated. Oddly. She is happy and agreeable. It's nice to be around her. Is that strange? It is, I know. I don't know how she gets here any more than I know how she gets into the deep sadness and hairtrigger anger of other times.

It used to be that I could tell a manic episode was coming because her pupils would be dilated. Other signs would start to come on and always, she had her big round eyes which were almost all black. That hasn't happened in a while and this weekend there was no warning. I've said before, it's like a freight train coming. There is no way I can stop it. On Friday I had noticed her voice was loud and her cheeks were red, flushed. But by then it had already started. She was wild, all over everywhere. Talking fast, losing her thoughts. Wide awake. Normally she needs 10 or so hours of sleep. During a mania she can't fall asleep. She barely becomes drowsy. On Friday night she was up. She goes to bed at 8 and when I went up at 10:30 she was still awake. Her new psychiatrist has told us that it is okay to give her an anti histamine or some melatonin. The Husband had already given her the anti histamine. It had no effect. None. I laid down with her for a bit, usually that will make her sleepy and she will say, "you can go now, Mama". Not this time. I went to bed at 11:30 and she was still flopping around. I fell asleep after midnight and she was still awake. I asked her the next morning and she said the last time she remembers looking at her clock it said 12:50. Wow. Do you think she slept later the next day? She did not. She was up by 7 am.

The other physical reaction she has is that she will get the hic-coughs all day long. For an hour at a time, then off for an hour, then they are back.

It's like a switch has been flipped in her little body and everything changes, is different for a few days. She loses a lot of control over her body but it doesn't seem to bother her. She is giggly, fun, funny. Silly. There isn't anything to do other than wait it out. Just as with the other, at it's worst there is little to do other than be with her through it and wait for it to dissipate.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's a Laundry Miracle!

I am don't mind laundry. However, it falls into the category of "housework", wherein all the people living here get to make disgusting pigs of themselves and think there is a Spectacular Cleaning Fairy who will be coming in to make everything sparkle. Right. Somehow my life has taken several unexpected hairpin turns in a blizzard on black ice and it turns out that Spectacular Cleaning Fairy is me. Guh.

In my other life, the one where I had a bathroom all to myself, I did my own laundry and that was all. My motto was "you wear it, you wash it". That has actually continued for all people over 5 feet tall, however I now have these two other people here who are under 5 feet tall.

I don't despise laundry as much as say...... sink cleaning (those sink traps, *uh -uh -uh -shudder -puke*. Sink traps are the invention of Satan I tell you).  I kind of enjoy seeing dirty clothes go clean and then drying them with a nice smelling dryer sheet. Having said that, it's cute laundry that I don't mind. Little pants, t-shirts advertising the Packers or pretty sundresses. Anything with a bodily fluid or smear is in another category. Anything that has been marinating in a plastic bag in someones locker at school that The Husband happened to find the other day- exempt from the enjoyment.

So I don't mind washing it and I don't mind drying it. I don't even mind folding it. However I  dread putting the stuff away but I really get annoyed with straightening clothes that are inside out. I procrastinate that like a dentist appointment. Teena tends to leave her dirty clothes right- side out, except for her jammies,(what IS that?) but Genea tends to turn all her clothes inside out when she removes them from herself. Many many times I have gone over with her how easy it is to pull things off so they stay righted. Many times I find them inside out anyway.

Recently Genea has earned herself some extra chores. So in a stroke of brilliance (hide your eyes from the shimmer of this one) I started giving her all her clothes in a basket to turn right. Since I was on a roll I put her sisters in there too. *Freak out!* You would have thought I was asking her to trim the lawn with a nail scissors. But Genea is really a cooperative little person when you get past all her fits and arguments. She might leave one item unturned just to show me who is in charge, but if she is going to do a chore she will do it and do it right. And I think the inside out business is a kid thing. Not a Bipolar thing or a RAD thing. A regular 7 year old thing.

So I had her do that as her restitution chore a few times. And wouldn't you know, Sweet Mother of Bounce Sheets it's a laundry miracle! Without any further instruction or reminders, I pulled her laundry out of the dryer the other day and not a single item was inside out! Love it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

kids with the manners of a construction cone

Oh no, not mine!

Well, okay. Mine.


We had a birthday party for Teena this weekend. We went to a local (indoor of course!) water park. It was a reasonable deal that included the water park for the day, a ton of arcade tokens, and a private room for pizza, soda and a birthday cake at the end. It was the sort of thing that makes you go ahhhhhhhhhh, it's so nice to let someone else do all the work......... except it turns out to be a ton of work anyway. But fun? Sweet mother of Ritalin, they had fun. FUN! It was the kind of thing where your kids are having so much fun it is a joy to just sit and watch them. It makes you happy to do nothing but see the pure delight they express. Genea and 2 of Teena's friends from school came and the four of them exploded into soggy, dripping, energy grenades and kept it going for 4 hours.

Yes, 4 hours. Yikes! Originally I had planned for 2 hours in the water park and 1 hour to eat, then leave. However, after I procrastinated for like, 15 minutes, the slot I wanted was gone and we had to take a later slot in the party room to eat. By then I had sent the invitations and it seemed awfully rude to tell everyone..... we will be eating later so good crap don't bring your kid until later. Besides I figured, why not. We would need extra time for changing in and out and that would probably take a half hour, so lets go for it.

When we arrived, we waited for a bit before the first girl came. Then we waited some more for the second girl. Not to feed mercilessly into a stereotype or anything, but the first girl was dropped off by her dad. No coat, no socks and she had her bathing suit on under her clothes. Which was fine except for when it was time to change back..... and she had no, *er*, foundation garment. So I convinced her to go c*mando in just her pants, rather than sit for the next hour in a cold wet suit that incidentally was like a Bermuda-short style. Yeesh. The other girl was dropped off by her mother. She was dressed for February in Green Bay with a coat and you know, socks etc. She had a backpack with her that had swim goggles, her swim suit, towel and a full extra set of clothes just in case and the backpack was a waterproof type that could contain a soaking wet suit without leaking everywhere. Really it wasn't a big deal, it just struck me as funny.

As we waited for the second girl, the first girl and my two blew up the lobby with frenzy. Racing, running, racing, checking stuff out and running some more. Exhausted after about 10 minutes of that ( my brain was already convulsing knowing I had 3 hours and 50 minutes to go) the girls flopped for a minute by me and chatted in that silly way little girls do. Teena starts by saying, "do you know, my eyes are blue- gray but they changed cuz when I was a baby they were blue but they changed to blue- gray cuz I'm a white girl".

ACK! It seems my educational discussion with my children about genetics, dna, and the development of eye color in infants sort of boiled down in Teena's mind where she summarized it all into one quick sentence. I know she didn't say anything inappropriate, it just came out sounding..... wrong. I had tried to explain blue eyes that stay blue, brown eyes that stay brown and blue eyes that change to brown or green or gray......

The little girl who arrived first appeared to have possibly had surgery on her upper lip. Maybe it is something she was born with, I really don't know. But she had significant scarring there for some reason. As the girls are resting for a minute with me I see Genea coming around and suddenly she has her finger within a centimeter of the girls face and she says...... "what's wrong with your lip here?".

ACK! Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeee-IT. I am trying to redirect the conversation (Look girls, there's Barney!), the girl is trying to answer, and here comes Teena saying importantly, "I asked her about that before!". Oh well. My brain was swirling trying to come up with a way to un-rude the question that was not available. We privately discussed good manners and polite behavior later.

Thankfully, and I mean THANKFULLY that sketchy start did not carry over. At least as far as I know. The kids all had SO much fun there was an actual danger of them shattering from exhilaration. They didn't walk, they didn't run, they ricocheted back and forth. My girls, when we were home later, Were Not Tired as their eyes glazed and they could not finish a sentence. After they went to sleep I found them both curled into tight little knots in their separate beds, twisted up in themselves exactly the same way. Both of them crooked and half off the  mattress with blankets everywhere but on them. Tired, yeah they were tired. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It Seemed Like a Good Idea

The Packers won the Super Bowl! You may have noticed that already, but I could not be sure. Since I live in Green Bay there is no escaping it. I did not grow up watching football with my Dad (and for sure not my Mom!) but after having moved here about ten years ago I have found that it is mandatory. Something in the water maybe, besides all the chemicals and used prescription drugs, infuses Football Love into your cells.  So I have become a Packer fan over the years! You will never see me with cheese on my head but I did wonder Tuesday if those cheesehead hats things were warm.

Tuesday, the Packers put on a "Welcome Home" party for the Lombardi Trophy and the team at Lambeau Field. Tickets were $5.00 a person and since I am now a Die Hard Fan I was super excited at the chance to go and take the girls.

We (and by "we" I mean  The Husband) were online at 9 on the dot to get our tickets and we got really good ones, row nine on the 40th yard line. Bar winning the lottery, we will never be that close again.

Even though it was forecasted to be approximately 10 degrees with a -10 wind chill. Die Hard Packer Fans go out in the cold. Love the cold, laugh at the cold. And we had excellent seats.

Even though I have a mild case of the flu, Die Hard Packer Fans will wake up from a coma, or cart an IV, or haul a dialysis machine etc. Flu Schmoo, we were going.

Even though ESPN reported that seats to the event were going for $140 bucks on the secondary market. Well actually I was willing at that point to be a Die Hard Packer Fan With an Extra $560 Dollars but we called a local ticket broker and it was too close to the thing to sell them that way.

So we went! I swaddled the girls in every warm clothing item they had. They were wearing their snow pants, layers of shirts, hats and hoods, scarves, coats, mittens, all of it. Myself I was wearing regular clothes with long undies, extra long socks with another pair on top, long coat, awesome boots, my hand knit hair hat, hood and scarf with doubled up gloves.

Even though it was a weekday, and a work day, and scheduled for 4 o'clock, about a billion people showed up. Some people, those with spaghetti for brains, had shown up at 9 am! Lambeau Field is a real stadium, no wienie- dome for us Die Hard Fans! So when it snows it snows in the stadium as well and they solicit local people to come and shovel it out for like, 8 bucks an hour. I would just like to point out that the crew in charge of row 9 was full of slackers and suckasses and we had snow and ice covering our bench. That's right, no sissy- seats here at Lambeau either. You get an aluminum bench to sit on and thank goodness for all those extra clothes because you get rather intimate with your neighbor. Mmmm hmmmm. Since you are a Die Hard Fan you are grateful to be on the hallowed grounds at all and you cozy right on up to your neighbor and everyone in the row lifts their beer simultaneously to avoid spillage.

Our politicians got up there and spoke a few words. Our mayor, who is up for re-election against an ever increasing cluster of competition declared that a street would now be renamed McCarthy's Way (after the coach). He even held up an oversized sample of the sign. Sadly for him, his attempt to gain positive publicity failed as it appears renaming a street is not one of the powers available to the mayor. Oops! Then The Prick, who is our new governor, got up there. Much booing commenced. I guess you don't get a free pass from being The Prick even if you are standing in the middle of Lambeau Field. Then, a bunch of other stuff happened. Players, the trophy, interviews and other talking. Since no one was talking about My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, or How to Keep your Polly Pocket Pieces out of the Vacuum, Genea started to notice she was cold and Teena started to notice she couldn't see anything. I also noticed I was cold and could not see anything. Plus, no one was talking about knitting or sunny vacations.

There is something I sort of forgot to consider. Genea is a sensitive little girl when it comes to her head and all things on her head. So I had her dressed for a job on Ice Road Truckers, thinking just of the coldness. And let me say, it was freaking cold. Cold, holy shit it was cold. Arctic Circle of Hell cold.

Here is a bizarre phenomenon, something I have never heard of. It was so ever-lovin' cold that large chunks of my eye makeup seem to have frozen and fallen off onto my face. Once on my face, it melted and made a big racoonish mess. Now what is that?  This country wastes all kinds of money studying air pollution and other pointless garbage and here I am with mascara icicles and no answers.

Oh yeah, Genea. Right, so she could keep her hood on for only a few minutes at a time. Her scarf to cover her face, less than that. So she got cold fast. Teena is jumping around like a flea, on the icy bench trying to see stuff. It was so cold my vision had begun to blur. And though I had really covered most of myself successfully, there was an area from my knee's to my, well, to my hoo hoo, that was only double- covered which was as useful as naked which is to say, Not At All. So I felt the cold. However, I was trying my damnedest to suck it up and be positive and set a great example. I tried really hard.

It turns out I am not a Die Hard Packer Fan. I guess I am a sit on the couch in my nice heated house fan. With a blanket.

So are my children.

Even though we wanted the girls to have the experience of going to Lambeau Field and have the "we were there" memories I am afraid that is not exactly going to be the dominant memory they hold. We decided to blow that Popsicle stand and head home.

Only by now Genea has started to get upset. And once Genea gets upset a person has to help her calm down and fix the situation. Here was the situation. We were leaving. But. It appears someone had moved our car about 17 miles from where we were. This was not good and she knew it. Barely out of the stadium, she started to cry. Walking through the parking lot towards the residential area we had parked in, she started to wail. I tried to distract. It held her a few minutes. I moved into bribery, (hot chocolate when we get home!) again, it bought me about a minute. I commenced with questionable logic- when your face is wet it will feel more cold! Moved into outright lies- your open mouth is letting all the cold air in and that's why you are so cold! By now, she has lost all control and is howling and shrieking so loud I thought she would set off someones car alarm. I began to tell made up stories about things we had done that day that had not actually happened. She usually hates that and has to correct it. She ignored me. Possibly by now she could not hear me over herself. I held her as we walked, I tried to keep her as covered as I could but the fact was there was nothing any of us could do but keep walking and try to get to the car fast. Reallyfuckinfast.

Fact was, I was really freaking cold too and wanted to shriek and really did not want to walk to the car either. Being the adult sucks. Teena did better than us. The Husband was also fine.

We got home and it probably took Genea about an hour to re-set from hysteria to her normal calm/ hypervigilant pacing and talking. It was about 3 hours before the area from my knee's up thawed.

Go Pack Go!

Above are all the people who did not go to work past 3:00 on Tuesday. Plus all the school kids who were off. It's a sea of yellow!

See what great seats we had! Count heads..... we were in row 9! I don't think anything had started yet here.

Teena and Genea and their Daddy. See how almost everyone has their heads covered!

The End.

Friday, February 4, 2011

School Cancelled

I mean.....
I just mean.....

I received this email from the school today.  I thought it might entertain other people besides myself.

School District Parents and Guardians,

UPDATE #1 Due To Packer’s Change of Plans - Possible Tuesday Cancellations / Early Dismissals Due to Packer Event

This is an update to the original email we sent early Thursday (2/3) afternoon. Our plans have changed due to the Packers now opening the Lambeau Field parking lot at 10:00 a.m. instead of 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8th as originally planned.

If the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl, a celebration will be held at Lambeau Field beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8. The Packers expect up to 50,000 people to attend this event so they and Public Safety will treat it like a typical Packer game. If this celebration does occur, in order to get students home in a safe and timely manner, we will:

Dismiss Elementary  students at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
Dismiss  Middle and  High School students at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Not serve Lunch to any students on Tuesday.

Cancel both Morning and Afternoon 4K classes on Tuesday.
In addition, if the celebration occurs, we will adjust co-curricular activities, sports and practices as follows:
Cancel grade 4K - 5 after school activities on Tuesday.
Cancel grade 6 - 8 after school activities on Tuesday (sporting events will be rescheduled). 
Keep grade 9 - 12 WIAA events as scheduled on Tuesday (practices for sports and other activities will be completed by 3:00 p.m.).
If the Packers lose the Super Bowl, Tuesday, February 8 will be a normal school day since there will be no celebration event at Lambeau Field.
If you have questions, contact your school’s Principal. Thank you for being flexible in this once in a while situation.  Go Pack! 
(I removed some minor identifying information).

We did not live here the last time the Packers were in the Super Bowl but I had heard that the districts had cancelled school. I think it is kind of cool but kind of strange too. I don't think any other town cancels school if their NFL team wins the Super Bowl. The Husband didn't believe me.

That's all I'm going to say on that. People take their football, bowling and bubblers very seriously around here and I have to live with whatever I write. So.
The last time The Pack was in The Bowl, The Husband and I had jaunted off to a tiny little coastal town in Mexico for a few days. Just packed up and went. La la la, no one cared where we were and we had a blast.  It was "real" Mexico, not "tourist" Mexico. We watched the game on some 13 inch TV in a bar with no walls and no floor. It was a great time!
 I will say this though......
The Bears still suck!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This is Your 3rd Reminder

Guess what time it is? It's time for teacher- parent conferences!

I'm trying to avoid mine. I just do not want to go. I'm an adult and so I can make these decisions for myself right? I do not have to do anything I don't want to do anymore, that's the deal.

I just don't want to hear it. I know Genea is doing poorly. I am well aware that she has taken some of her RAD fun out into the public now and her work is showing it. I know she is peeing herself all over town. I don't know what the heck to do about it anymore.

For our first conference, the teacher and I sat down and she started with this, "So! Do you have any questions or concerns you want to bring up first!".

Internally sighing out the entire tidal volume of my lungs and briefly closing my eyes so she would not see them roll back in my head I said, "yeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss......................... I guess................ there are a few things................... ".

I was not informed that she had blocked out a 45 minute slot for me.

We are at an ugly point here at home where we cannot help Genea with her homework. Somehow she took the help that we gave and ran with it. It started taking her longer and longer to do her assignments. She began to have more and more "questions" about things she either just did, or we just explained to her, or she did all day at school just fine. When she realized we would not give her the answers it became a jumping off point for the wango tango and then for sure it would not get done. More wango tango. One night recently she came out of her homework spot to The Husband, getting the same math problem wrong over and over. She had a few incorrect but got fixated on this one. It got to where I thought, she should have gotten the right answer by accident by now! She did not. Probably eight to ten times over an hour she came out with that problem done incorrectly. I was ready to give. Also I was ready to scream and throw myself off a bridge. It came time for our evening routine when we wind down to bedtime with a small snack. Like a cookie. The Husband told Genea, this is your last chance, fix these 3 problems correctly or you will have missed the snack time.

Like Rainman staring at a box of toothpicks, my child ran to her homework spot and returned in under 2 minutes with the whole page done correctly.

How do you explain that kind of crazy to a regular person? It makes no sense and so the regular person will search the files in their brain for a slot that fits. Take your pick of the slots available. Mom is nuts. Dad is dumb. Kids do not do that so what are they doing to that kid?

So yes indeed, I DID happen to notice that this is my 3rd reminder. And by the way, since the system is set up to accommodate the entire district, I happen to have not signed up for my other daughters conference either. Call off your dogs, I will do it, I just don't want to. I mean I really don't.

That's where we are right now. We are stuck. I haven't felt like writing much because I am so tired of how we are living that I almost cannot stand to relive it long enough to write it down. Oh my unholy hell we are so stuck.

Unreasonable. Irritable. Escalated. Labile. Defiant. Argumentative. Explosive. Having fun yet? Me neither.

I have decided we need to get back into regular therapy. I have decided this periodically over the years and it has always ended in failure. You know how all the books say you should interview a therapist first to find out how much adoption experience they have, then their attachment experience, then their style and personal beliefs? I have never gotten that far. Seriously. I get to this........ Do you take our insurance? Usually NO. If YES, I continue to...... Does this therapist see children? Usually NO. If YES I move on to...... does the therapist have current openings? Then, NO. I have never been able to get past that one. I have been offered wait lists. I don't need a wait list. What does your wait list know about adoption and attachment? Right.  Nothing.

Stuck. We are stuck and this is your 3rd reminder.


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