Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Poem About Something I'd Like to Forget

I can't get the button to work, but this post is prompted by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop... join in the writing fun!
“Thirty Days Later”

If I loved you
I cried when you left
     If you loved me
     You would have turned back

If I loved you
I’d watch each day for something
     If you loved me
     You’d wonder why I hadn’t begged you

If I loved you
I’d fight the urge to beg you
     If you loved me    
     It would kill you not to hear it

If I loved you
I’d lie awake each night
     If you loved me
     You’d be sleepless too

If you loved me
You’d face me
     And not wonder why the tears 
     dropped from my chin.

One of us has love.
wants it
invited it in
and checked on it each night to
make sure it was sleeping peacefully
before turning in for the night.

     The other one 
     Walked out the door
     Without saying good-bye.
     Or I love you.

(I cheated on this assignment.  I wrote this last year, exactly 30 days after my daughter Dawn ran away the second time. And with Mama Kat's assignment, there are LOTS of things I'd like to forget, but the heartache that went with not knowing where she was AND knowing she didn't want to be with us was nearly unbearable.  So I dusted this one off to share.  Cheers!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tonight's Crazy Train, Part 3

We have a hard and fast rule in our house about not lying to our kids.  We may not tell them everything, but we never lie to them.  Even about stuff that we ought to at least sugar coat.  And that actually came up tonight in the midst of my rant--that Danae and Leigh can't trust anyone because of how people always treat them. 

I told her I understood--and even though I haven't walked in their shoes, I really do understand.  Because no matter what Hubby and I do, they don't trust us, and probably never will.  They've never been able to trust anyone.  Both us, frustrated beyond reason about trust, but on different sides of the issue.  And all of us trying to find a way to some common ground.

Much has been made on other blogs and by other bloggers about what it takes to be a good parent, and what it takes to parent special needs kids. And how one should cope with the specialness and craziness that is our lives. I have a friend who’s own mother stalks her blog to document what she thinks her daughter is doing wrong as a parent. There’s another blogger who writes about the kid she never gave up on, and after many years, is seeing the pay off. I have another blog friend who had to shut down her blog because crazy people went after her AND her daughter. What the hell kind of sense does that make?

Parenting special needs kids takes special people. Tonight, I had my own little very special moment. Maybe something will change in me or my kids or our actions. Maybe it won’t.  And realistically, probably it won't.

Do I really think I suck at being a parent? Sometimes. Have I tried EVERYTHING I know to do to help my kids be better than they are? I think so, but if and when something else pops up, I’ll look into that too. Do I still do the best I can with the ones I have? Every day.

Because that’s what being a parent it… it’s riding the crazy train,** and knowing that at some point, it will be better, even if that point is their 17th birthday when they walk out to do things their own way…Like Dawn did.  And loving her anyway.

Rant done. I feel better.


**listen to it.  it's not about what you think it is. trust me. it's my theme song.  one of them anyway.

Tonight's Crazy Train, Part 2

I stayed in my room alone for about a half an hour. Hubby had taken over the conversation, responding to their responses to my rant, and I just stayed in my bed, cuddling a big pillow, in my fetal position for about a half hour. Then hubby went back to the living room and it was quiet.

About fifteen minutes later, there was a timid knock at the door. “Who is it?” “Me.” (danae).

I told her to come in. She did.

She crawled in bed behind me and sort of spooned up on me and started playing with my hair. She started talking about all the things that had been frustrating her. I just stayed there. Then Leigh came in, still crying, and apologized. I laughed. "For what?" I asked.  "For being an asshole," she responded.

 I couldn’t help it. She apologizes like this at least twice a week, and then it’s back to the same-old same-old. She laughed too. I'm usually intrigued by what she's apologizing for, which is why I always ask. 

Leigh laid down in front of me, and held my hand.  I told them that no family was perfect, but that it really scared me sometimes how imperfect we were. Leigh asked why. Here’s what I said:

“When Dad and I are dead, I don’t want you guys in fist fights at the funeral. I’d like to be able to die someday knowing you guys will be okay, on your own and as sisters. And not feel like I’d wasted my time.” Leigh was laughing and crying at the same time. Danae was silent, but I think she laughed. I, of course, was still crying because that’s what I do when frustrated. (Actually I cry a lot--anger, frustration, joy, irritation, other people are crying, etc...  it's a ridiculous behavior, but I think it's bio-chemical because I have no control over it.)

We chit-chatted, they tried to convince me to get dressed again (when we came home, I put my comfies on) so Hubby and I could catch the end of the concert. By this time it was 8:30, there’d be no seats left, no way to get dinner or a drink, so I told them it was too late for tonight. They protested, saying Hubby and I needed a night out. I agreed but said, “clearly, we were needed here tonight.”

So now, I have a post-crying jag/hissy fit migraine, a tomato red nose, blood shot looks-like-I’ve- been-stoned-for-a-month eyes and lots of snot. I don’t understand the whole snot thing. But that’s gross, and totally not my point.

My point is this… even after all this, I still love my kids. Angry at them? Yep. Disappointed in them? Yep. Will I still try to have a night out in the future? Yep. Because you never give up hope that someday they’ll get it right.

Tonight's Crazy Train, Part 1

WARNING: This post will not be lovey-dovey. Nor will it contain language you’d be comfortable saying around a pastor or your great aunt Tillie. Unless she hangs around angry, drunk sailors. I’m not drunk, but I wish I was. And I am very, very angry.

Tonight, Hubby and I were supposed to go to a concert together. I won the tickets, Dawn was supposed to babysit, and Leigh and Danae were supposed to help with the babies, so Hubby and I could have a date.


Clearly, if I’m blogging, it didn’t happen. Fuck. I wish I had a time machine.

It started at about 3 PM with Dawn trying to bail so she could go to the movies with Marie. I complained, she realized that you don’t bail on parents when they’re asking for your help to go to a free concert of a top 40 band without their kids.

Then, as we’re leaving, Leigh asks us to unlock the TV. Unlocking the TV means giving them complete access to cable TV and all its variegated glory. No.

We’re pulling out of the driveway, and Danae comes sprinting out of the house, complaining that Leigh called her a fucking bitch and won’t give her the remote so they can turn the TV off. I told her that Leigh had every right to watch TV and to leave her alone.

We’re driving down the street, as I call the house phone. Leigh answers. “What?” Loudly and rudely.
“Since I pay for that phone, you will follow my phone rules. I’m hanging up now, and when I call back, follow them.”

I counted to 20. Dialed. Better answer.

As I’m talking to Leigh about what lead to her sister being a fucking bitch, I hear Danae yelling, “You’re the fucking bitch! Give me the goddamn remote!”

Leigh’s response, “No! Quit being so bossy!” I hear muffled scrapes and grunts, and then Leigh wailing, Dawn trying to separate them. I tell Hubby to turn around. We go home to find Leigh in her room sobbing, Danae cranking up the stereo and Dawn straightening the furniture.

Danae and Leigh had gotten into a fucking FISTFIGHT over the remote. I told Danae to go to her room. She then had the complete lack of sense to argue with me and tell me that it was no wonder Leigh had such fucking problems.

Really? Because for the last nine years, I didn’t know why Leigh was so fucking crazy, because it’s been just SO MUCH fun living with her. Leigh has nothing to take away, so her being in her room is her punishment. I go to Danae’s room and tell her to give me her phone. She told me no, that it’s hers. Okay fine. You paid for half. I’m not going to wrestle. I’ll just turn the damn thing off. If I don’t get to have fun tonight, no one does. I said that out loud as I was walking away. “That’s part of Leigh’s problem, you’re so fucking selfish!”

I go to the living room, call the phone company, shut her phone off, and start cleaning. It was either clean or hurt someone, and I try at all costs to avoid violence. (Keep reading. There’s more of that.)

While I’m on the phone with the phone company, Danae comes out and asks if she can talk to me outside. I said, “I need some time to calm down. Give me a little longer.” She stomps off, “Well at least I can say I tried.”

In my “not my proudest mommy moment”, I called after her, “I didn’t tell you to fuck off! I told you to give me a little bit of time!” As I was saying this, the operator came back on, and we had a very awkward parting conversation.

Two minutes later, Danae storms into the living room. “DID YOU REALLY SHUT OFF MY PHONE?” yes. OHMYGOD THAT’S THE ONLY THING I CARE ABOUT SO YOU TAKE IT AWAY NO MATTER NO ONE WANTS TO LIVE HERE.She stomps to her room. I follow. i’m sorry you feel that way. Is there somewhere else you’d like to be? ANYWHERE BUT HERE! fine. I’ll help you pack.

She spins around and finds me in the doorway, and tries to move me using the door. I told her that it would be a very good idea for her to take two steps backward because going toe to toe with me was not a smart choice. She leaned in and started yelling in my face that we were stupid, that we never punish leigh, that we can’t control her, and generally going over all of our parenting failures. I turned around and walked away.

Why did I walk away?

It was either that, or I was going to hit her. Not just push her backward. I wanted to punch. Fingers curled in, nails digging into my palms, thumbs crossed over my fingers, pointer and middle fingers held as a flat surface… I wanted to punch. I know how to. I've taken karate, but I wasn't passionate about it enough to stick with it.

I joke about wanting to punch people a lot. But I have never actually done it. In my head, though, I could see my fist connecting with her face, and knew I had to turn away.

She slammed and locked her door. I went to clean some more. As I cleaned, I came to this conclusion: As parents, we cannot control our children. All we can do is distract them if they’re young, and guide them as they grow.

And in Danae’s case, she LOVES control. She wants to be the boss. Always. And if she’s not, she gets mean about it.

I went to her room, tried the handle, knocked. When she opened it, I told her that there was no reason to lock her door. I asked her if she was ready to talk, and she rolled over on her bed. Okay, fine, I said. But here’s something you need to think about: ….. then I told her what my conclusion was.

She lit into me. She’s tired of Leigh always getting to do what she wants. She’s tired of never getting to do what she wants. She hates that her stress caused her to fail her classes and lose the one thing she’s always loved: school. She’s tired of me and Hubby not doing anything with Leigh and her behavior.

And I lost it. Nine years of frustrated parenting came spilling out. Among other things I told her are the following (and we were standing outside Leigh’s door, and since I was yelling at the top of my lungs I’m sure the people on the next block heard everything):

I tried this in all caps to emphasize that it was all at the top of my lungs, but it was too hard to read. So I put in reminders....

1. We have tried everything we know to do. Therapy, counseling, meds, absolute control, spankings, more therapy, threats of jail. Everything.

2. And when those didn’t work, we called caseworkers and experts and we were told to hospitalize her. We can’t because she’s not homicidal or suicidal.

3. And when we asked caseworkers for help, we were told to give her back, that we’d done all we could, that they’d put her in a group home and we could get on with our lives.

4. And when we asked the probation officers and the court to lock her up, we were told THAT her crimes (a broken razor blade used for cutting at school and one pot-smoking incident) weren’t enough to lock her up.

5. (and I’m still yelling) And when we adopted Dawn, and then again you(Danae), people told us we were stupid, fucking crazy, out of our minds and out right dumb. And those same people, when they have seen the issues you guys have, they have told us to take your asses back to social services and give you back.

6. (still yelling) but we didn’t. Because real families don’t ever give up on their kids. No matter how crazy, no matter how fucked up, no matter how mean, controlling, bitchy, scary, or just plain bad.

7. And you know why i walked away from you earlier? It’s because I wanted to hit you, but I walked away because I’m not that kind of person. I’ve never hit Leigh or Dawn in anger, and I’ve only actually “hit” dawn in self-defense. Do you have any idea what kind of self control it has taken for nine years not to beat the living shit out of you guys? You drive me batshit crazy and I swallow it and hold it back because I know it won’t do any good.

8. And I’m 38 years old and all I’ve ever really wanted to be was a mom and I fucking suck at it, which is one of the reasons we don’t think we want to keep the babies because if you look at our track record we fucking suck at being parents and we don’t want to set these babies up for failure because they deserve better than this. (Still yelling, now gesticulating like the crazed ranting Italian mama I am.)

9. So Danae, if you think you’re frustrated at being in this family, imagine how it feels to be us, knowing there’s not a fucking thing we can do to make it better. (Done yelling.)

At that point I turned around, and went in my room, and put my head into my pillow and cried. I didn’t lock my door, but I did slam the hell out of it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up June 27

Here's my life. All summed up with neat little captions. Too bad the real thing isn't the same way!!

Playing with Dolls: So I’m in Barnes and Noble Thursday night and end up having the following text conversation with my hubby:

HIM: How much can I bid on a Steve Austin doll?
ME: Are you serious?
HIM: Yes. A man has needs. Steve Austin doll is one of those needs. How much?
ME: No more than $50.
HIM: Does that include shipping?
       (((ME, in my head, OMG, he’s serious.)))
ME: Yes.
       (((Ten minutes pass)))
HIM: I won. It only took me 34 years to get one.
It ended up costing $33 with shipping. Now I’m not picking on my hubby’s Ebaying while sick. And I will never. Because the last time I had surgery I played on the internet under the influence of serious painkillers and anesthesia, and he almost had to change his phone number and my email account still hasn’t forgiven me.
But a doll?
We have SIX daughters.
And never have we purchased a doll.
That just feels wrong, but I love him anyway.
Plus, I’m wondering if the Steve Austin Doll has the cool removable skin flaps that show the bionic stuff underneath like my Jamie Sommers Doll did.
Oh, and when I told Danae, who was stalking me at the bookstore, what Hubby had done, she asked, “Who’s Steve Austin?”
Worst Problem Solving Skills:  I think I've written about this before, but here goes anyway.  When Danae has a bad day, or disagrees with me about something I’ve said or done, she rants and bitches. By text. She quits talking out loud and starts texting. She had some doozies this week, and then got upset because I just stopped responding to them. “Fine then, I just won’t ever respond when you text me. See you you like that.” When I reminded her of the basic “If I pay for it you damn well better answer it rule” she pouted, but quit complaining.
And speaking of texting…
       HUBBY: I just birthed a brown submarine.
       ME: I’ll be sure to blog that.
And so I have.

Housework Hell: I realize I’m not the first person to rant about housework, but damn. We live in a small house (less than 1100 square feet). There are six of us here. We share one bathroom, a small kitchen, and a living room that doubles as a dining room, because the babies have the dining room.
I do not know where all this damn clutter comes from, but I keep trying to kill it, and it’s like someone’s feeding it Miracle Grow behind my back.
One thing I am grateful for is that I don’t have carpet. As much crap as I sweep up three times a day, I can’t imagine how bad that would suck if I had to vacuum that often.
And why does it seem like my room is the only room in the house that never gets fully clean? And when the rest of the house is clean, our bedroom is a pithole? Ugh. I suck at organization.
Another Reason People Think I’m Crazy: Being a bad weather junkie, I love hearing that we’re under severe weather alerts. That, and we need a new roof and have old trees in the yard. Bit I digress. What really irks my nerves is that every time I get excited about the clouds brewing in the distance, and I hear the rumble, and smell the rain, it always blows just north or just south, or peters out before we get it. Happened again recently. We even moved vehicles under the car port to avoid the quarter-sized hail we were supposed to get. Had my camera and umbrella ready….. and no storm. Sigh. Such a letdown. Not even good lightning. Not even rain. Crap.
More Bad Timing: So Hubby is sick. Like had an xray, now has to have a CAT scan, double the antibiotics and steroids sick. At first it was bronchitis. Now they don’t know what it is because his lymph nodes made an appearance at his Xray. Thanks to the specialness that is our family, he has no sick days left, and no personal days. On a happier note, his vacation was approved from July 9th through July 20th. A week of that is paid, so we were sweating it a bit, but not a ton. Now that he is on a physician-ordered leave of absence, we’re looking at two weeks of unpaid time in July, instead of just one. Ugh. That’ll make back to school shopping in August so much fun.
MoMo on the Move: The toddler has discovered two new talents this week. Nudity and mockery. Sometimes at the same time. I was sitting on the sofa, typing and started laughing because the dog started licking my ear. MoMo climbed up next to me, titled her head like mine was, and wiggled until the dog licked her ear too. We’ve also discovered that if we don’t keep pants on over her diaper, she takes the diaper off.
NaNa in the News: She is also sick. Coughing. Mid-level fever. Very, very cranky. She had shots Thursday, and had the same reaction then. Poor kid. Shots suck. Oh and she is actively rolling over now.
Miracle of Minor Proportions: Dawn has finally scraped enough money together to pay her $250 fine from two years ago and attempt to get a driver’s license. She asked me today if I would take her Monday to handle it. I agreed. I’m such a loser mom, and chauffeur. But then realized later that the DMV is closed on Mondays. And she has to have an appointment to handle her license. HAHAHAHAHA!
Most Interesting Cultural Experience of the Week: Danae, being mixed, identifies herself more as black or Hispanic than white. So most of her friends and her current girlfriend are black. Current girlfriend, along with two aunts, a great aunt, a sister, and seven cousins all came over to our house Saturday night for a cookout. All of them black. In our very (mostly) white neighborhood. I came out with a bag of ice to find them all doing the “bus stop” in front of the bonfire. I’m pretty sure no one has ever done the bus stop in our neighborhood. But after some drinks, burnt hotdogs and conversation, a good time was had by all, and theories and ideas were traded and dissected.
Things I’ve learned this week:
  1. When the poo is the same color as the baby, there will always be more, and will always end up on your hand.
  2. When you are running up against a deadline, things will always take longer than you want.
  3. Toddlers will, no matter what, pee in the water. At least twice.
  4. Anti-viral meds are AMAZING against cold sores. I will never suffer again.  And the meds were cheaper than the Abreva!!
  5. Making car salesmen wait can have advantageous results.
Add a Stanza Saturday, and other questions: Should I keep it or ditch it? How do you get more people to read your blog? Any suggestions for better blogging?

And that's it.
More summer heat and beach fun, along with doctor's appointments and hopefully a WORKING minivan will be a part of the next week.

Be nice, and stay cool!

(Gotta run... TrueBlood is on!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Add a Stanza Saturday

Add a stanza to the verse below, and see what happens.  I only had one participant last time I did this, so I'm going for 100% improvement in blog involvment....which means only TWO of you need to respond.... 

I wish I could get paid to write,
it never would get old;
But life and kids and bills to pay
just seem to stop me cold.

In the comment section, add your stanza.  

The more the merrier! If I keep doing it, maybe I can get a nifty button to share.... 

Happy weekend!

Things that Do Not Go Together

Root beer floats and margaritas.

Babies and colds.

100 degree heat and yardwork.

Night owl parents and early morning babies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Head Butting and Herpes

Yes, I have mouth herpes.  Fever blisters. Cold sores. Whatever you call them, it's all herpes.  And I have it.  Have had it, in fact, for as long as I can remember.  (Go on with the teasing, I've heard it all.  Go on. I'll wait.)

Are you done?  Good. 

Anyhoo.  I have one coming in on the bottom left lip.  I put Abreva on it this morning, and went on my merry way.

That was, however, before MoMo didn't get a nap today.  A 20 month old should never have a nap withheld. For any reason. Especially one so lame as "social services couldn't get their heads out of their asses long enough to schedule bio-mom's supervised visits around naptime." 

When I got to day care to pick up the babies, MoMo saw me, burst into tears, and ran across the room into my arms.  She cried herself to sleep in the car.

When we got home, I tried to rock her, and she didn't want any of that, letting me know by rearing back her head and clocking me square in the mouth.  My teeth still hurt.

And now, both my lips, top and bottom, all over, have that tingly "you're gonna get a fever blister" feeling.  Sores on both lips in late June in summer heat. NO. FREAKIN. FAIR.  And nothing really prevents them or makes them go away. They are just flat miserable. 

And all because some caseworker did not take my "DO NOT MESS WITH NAPTIME" admonition seriously. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When you make the therapist cry...

When you make the therapist cry, is it a good thing or a bad thing? 

As my hoardes of readers know, Leigh is a bit of a pistol, and we've been put in court-ordered family therapy.

Today was our second session, and she left in tears. 

We'd played a therapy game where we had to make a bunch of popsicle sticks stay in a stack on top of  a cup, without talking or communicating.  Leigh purposely made it hard by placing her sticks awkwardly when it was her turn to put a stick on the stack. 

In the processing, it was noted by Hubby, me, and Danae that Leigh often does things to intentionally make things harder or worse. 

Then, we all had to write on a piece of paper how we saw Leigh.  Then we had to share what we wrote. 

After everyone read, the therapist was out the door in less than two minutes, tears in her eyes.  The statements we read were the standard "we love you no matter what wish you wouldn't make it so hard" kinds of things....

I don't  know if I'm proud of the fact that we made her cry, or ashamed, or worried... or a fun combination of all three.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up, June 20

Here's the week.  Nothing spectacular.  Just us and general crazies...

Funniest Moment at our Children’s Expense: I get random emails from, a website that helps market magazines to specific target audiences, based on the professions of the readers. Occasionally, they’ll throw a free subscription at you for something totally not related to your job… Like me as an English teacher with an offer for a year of Auto World or Opera Today.  Or Maxim. On a whim, I agreed to the most recent Maxim sales pitch, thinking Hubby might like it. When it arrived, he was a little perplexed and said, “Do you really want me reading this?” I said, well, if you don’t like it, Danae might.” He stopped, looked puzzled, had an AHA! Moment, and laughed. “Sometimes I forget that whole ‘she’s gay’ thing.” I related the conversation to Danae later, and she laughed, saying, “I’m glad me coming out has freed up so many jokes for you and Dad.”

New Favorite Website: Have you see this? I laughed until I cried, and then laughed some more. Some of them depress me a little, but to think that A. People do that stuff, B. They tell other people they do that stuff C. Then they post it to share with others, is just astonishing. It’s like watching a bad break up argument at the mall—you want to stop watching, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

Boot Camp Mom Update: Leigh is still not happy with her new life this summer. She has to read everyday, do her chores and keep her room clean or she gets no freedom. We tried to make a bargain with her last week, putting off a chore on the promise she’d do it as soon as we got home. It’s still undone as we speak, and she’s still pouting about having to do it with a sunburn.

But sweetie, I explained, you managed to do work detail yesterday with a sunburn.

Her: I had to, or I’d go to jail.

Me: Hmmmm, maybe I’ll talk to PO about that Monday, to see if we can add chores to that list.

Leigh was not happy.

Catching up with old friends… I talked to two of my best friends from my youth—my best friend from HS and my best friend from college, all in the same night this week. I guess Karma decided since I was feeling all sentimental and emotional (see graduation discussion next), that it was time to reconnect with some of my youth. NK, my bestie from HS, has a beautiful three-year old daughter, and a full head of hair after battling cancer for the last two years. She has the sweetest, most gentle spirit of anyone I have ever known, and I remember being irate and pissed and furious when I heard that she had cancer. This is a woman who has battled the odds her whole life, and just when she’s finally getting what she deserves in life—a good marriage, a daughter (she’d been told it would be unlikely that she’d be able to have a child), cancer showed up. That just flat drove me nuts. But then my own craziness interfered, and I wasn’t able to “be there” for her at all during her fight. But, NK, if you’re reading this, I thought of you every day, and prayed for you and your family. You amaze me.

JS, my bestie from college is doing what he always wanted to do: decorate and play piano. He has a partner and an amazing home and is just fabulous.

I miss both of them. Especially after…

Graduation of the Class of 2010     Of the 243 young adults we graduated, I taught 147 of them. Some of them are astonishing simply because of their tenacity. I’m going to tell you some of their stories.
  • DP lived in a car with his dad for three years after his mom took off with her crack dealer.
  • CJ lost her dad and grandma when she was 12, and her mom two weeks before prom. Her brother, now her guardian, is deployed in Afghanistan.  
  • KL has never met her dad, and her mom died her tenth grade year in an industrial explosion.
  • CB and AB, two of a set of triplets walked with their dad, mom and two other brothers, from Central America when they were about 7. Walked. Say what you will about illegal immigration, but how do you turn your back on that. Plus, AB is legally deaf.
  • AW, profoundly deaf since birth, is on her way to art school.

My school has about five public housing project that feed into it, so we're overcoming all kinds of socioeconomic issues to get these kids through HS. 
Of that 143, I can only count about ten that I know for sure have been raised by both mom and dad in their home.

Of that 143, I know two who have had abortions, and three who have children.

Of that 143, most have worked part time, and lots have done so to help parents pay bills.

Most don’t read on grade level, but they have managed to survive high school and all the drama that goes with it, along with personal obstacles I can’t even begin to fathom.

Parenting Question of the Week: Is it wrong to have different expectations for our kids? How do you get the RAD kid, and the mostly normal kid, to understand that they have to meet different expectations because of their differing levels of sanity? Is this wrong? How is should be? Should we give up on dealing with the RAD and just normal her to death? Ugh. I hate existential conversations when I’m supposed to be on vacation.

Weight loss—YAY ME!!! The capris I bought yesterday were two sizes smaller than the ones I bought at the beginning of the school year.

Last Minute Planning Grump Why is it that even when I try to plan ahead, no one is with me, but when I don’t try, everyone else has?? Hubby and I have been planning a 2000 mile road trip since January, scheduled to depart July 8. We still don’t know if his vacation time has been approved. I’m starting to get a bit pissy about that. And, I want to hang with my blog buddy while she’s traveling this summer, but I can’t find a place to stay near her for less than $100 that still has hot water and AC. Ugh.

Snarky Me Moment:  I emailed my dad a Happy Father's Day wish. I haven't spoken to him since August, at his dad's funeral (my favorite grandpa.) Prior to that, it had been almost two years.  I enclosed updated pics of the two daughters he's met, and picks of the four he hasn't, including the babies, who have a much, much better tans than I do.  I didn't warn him that his newest grandchildren are black.  I wish I could see his face when he sees the pictures, but I'll just have to imagine it, which might be more fun...
Recess!! It’s officially summer, and the smut reading and spring cleaning has begun! If you know a teacher, you know that as the year drags on, the cleanliness and organization of the house slowly tanks, and that the first few weeks of summer, everything gets caught up on and done. That starts Monday!

And in honor of summer, I am now reading total brain candy: Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruisie.

The coming week:  WIC, foster care paper work AGAIN (they lost several months' worth of invoices during all the caseworker shuffles), eye doc and dentist. Finalizing summer travel plans.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Natural consequences or a subsitute for cutting?

Today was blissful. It almost makes up for tonight. I took the teenagers to the beach, and as much as they are capable, they behaved. We saw dolphins and pelicans, a cute baby in a shark suit, and floated in the light waves chit-chattin about not much of anything. Danae held her sharp tongue in check most of the afternoon, and Leigh worked at being appropriate. Except where sunscreen is concerned. It was 96 degrees today. In the shade of my carport, with a light breeze. You can imagine what the temp was in the unrelenting sunniness of the beach. It was hot. I, being of Italian and Cherokee descent, could feel my skin baking through my SPF 60. Danae, who is 25% black, 50% Hispanic and 25% other, just got browner. Leigh, who's dark side only accounts for 25% of her genetic background, is not so lucky as to turn brown right away. She turns magenta. Painfully, painfully deep pink. Then peels. Then turns brown. I used my suncreen. Danae doesn't ever need it, and Leigh, who knows she needs it, refused it... despite the motherly warnings and reminders about the last time she didn't use it. And when one refuses to wear sunscreen, one must pay the inevitable consequence: Painful sunburn all over her chest, arms and face. Then tonight, as I was doing my chores and nagging at the whiningly red Leigh to do hers, these thoughts crossed my mind:
  1. Leigh is on probation.
  2. Leigh's probation is through juvenile mental health court.
  3. Mental health court has ruled that self-harm is not allowed.
  4. Leigh hasn't cut since being on probation, but she has done other things that "hurt," but that don't constitute cutting.
  5. Could this be one of them?
Let's look at the evidence. In the past six months, since the entrance of the court in our lives, Leigh (who tests borderline gifted) has:
  1. Cut off all her hair and some of her eyebrows (and "accidentally" some skin) with an eyebrow shaper razer stolen from my room
  2. Pierced her lip, nose and both ears--with pins and earrings she had in her bedroom
  3. When those piercings got infected after we made her take them out, she had lots to pick at.
  4. Purposely worn too small shoes to the point of blisters.
Hmmmm.... I guess I'll add this to the ever expanding list of behaviors to discuss with the therapist, and practice my aim with the spray sunscreen. Because let's face it, finding a babysitter for a 15 year old RAD kid is impossible on the very best of days.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a day, or why I have a lumpy forehead

From 4 PM until about 9:30, I had a really crappy day. At 4, we had a caseworker visit. This was our first of what are supposed to be monthly visits with our new caseworker. This is caseworker number 9 since January, and while we've never met in person, we've talked on the phone. She remembers me from Dawn's adoption, but I don't remember her. (And since January, she's only the second caseworker to do the home visit.) Caseworker visits are to make sure that A. the kids are alive and well. B. the home is reasonably safe. C. the home is reasonable clean and D. the chaos is at least contained. We chit-chat. It was going well. Then she asks to see the babies' room. We walk in, I yoink the cord to turn the light on, and the soccer ball-sized, thick glass globe from the light fixture falls off, bounces off my forehead, and lands in the laundry basket. While I'm holding NaNa. A friend of mine who dropped by, trying to be helpful said, "It knew you just finished the school year and that it was time to be dusted!" Yeah, that went well. There's an imprint of the globe's striped pattern on my forehead and a large lump. And it's 11:08 PM and I still have a headache. Ugh. So then, there was in-home therapy at 6:15 PM--our first home visit with our third therapist since October. Today, I asked Danae to keep the babies in her room, while I worked with the therapist and Leigh, since this is court ordered for Leigh. Five minutes into our session, my phone starts ringing. I kill the sound and ignore it. Then the house phone rings, so I kill the phone again. We're in therapy here, people! Stop calling. And the only people who would do that would be one of my children, my husband or my brother. It was Danae, calling from her bedroom. She wants me to bring her a drink. But I don't know this until she stomps into the kitchen, slings open the the fridge and grabs a drink, pausing only to say in that level of sarcasm that only teens can exude, "Thanks so much for answering the phone, Mom." We're. In. Therapy. DUH!! One does NOT answer the phone while in THERAPY! After the therapist leaves, I ask Danae what her malfunction is. Her: She'd only been there five minutes, and it's not therapy for you anyway. Besides, the baby could have been choking and died and you wouldn't know it because you didn't answer the phone. Me: I'm pretty sure you'd have been yelling. Her: Whatever mom. Wait! Is that a win for me? I think it is!!! YYYYYEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!! Point for me! Lumpy forehead and all!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Odd How We Measure Progress

Once upon a time, 2002 to be exact, our daughter Leigh was crazy. She still is but in different ways, or in differently manifested ways. Here's a look at past and present, in order to measure progress: Then, we had to take all her furniture, including her mattress out of her room. (She had a blanket and a pillow.) This because everything became objects to use to hurt us with, or had been destroyed. I didn't know a seven year old could dismantle a dresser, and by dismantle, I mean destroy. All drawers in pieces, the frame literally shredded. In just a day. Now, she has furniture. It's grubby, but it's there and functional. And she's had it for more than a year. Then, we had to board over her windows and closet door. This because she was trying to punch her way through the glass of the windows, and had climbed to the top shelf of her closet and was playing with the light bulb socket. She had also ripped out the chair rails out of the walls with her bare hands and was using them to beat holes in the drywall, and we were afraid she'd do the same to the windows or the wall of her closet...behind which lie the plumbing to our home's only bathroom. Now, she has windows and a closet. The windows are bolted shut and the closet has no door, but it does have *some* clothing hanging appropriately in it. Then, she had no toys in her room because: A.) She'd destroyed most of them. B.) She'd use them to throw at us C.) She'd use them to destroy other things D.) She used them for a form of stress relief that starts with M and rhymes with perturbation. E.) All of the above. The answer is E. Now, she has some "stuff." A few books. A beat up stereo. Lots of pens, pencils and paper. Makeup and perfume. Lotions. A few decorations picked up at yard sales and Goodwill. Still beaten pretty hard, but most of it used appropriately. Then, she'd rage for hours until she passed out from exhaustion. Now, she just sleeps or eats when she's bothered or upset. Then, she'd pee, poop and vomit in her room ON PURPOSE and hide it. (Nasty story: The worst was when she managed to shove some under her boarded up closet door. We couldn't find the smell for weeks. It was gross. Just gross.) Now, she only has what we euphemistically call "hygeine issues." (Based on her refusal to make friends with this stuff we call "soap" at our house. However, this summer on Mom Bootcamp, we are addressing them. Then we had attachment therapy, play therapy, bi-weekly lunch sessions with a school counseling, a therapist, lots of family friends, a psychiatrist and meds. Now, we have two probation officers, in home and at school therapy, special school placement, a psychiatrist and meds. Very few family friends have survived our adoption, but the ones we have we know are the real deal. Then, she'd eat things she found on the sidewalk, attempt to smoke dropped cigarette butts off the street, and sampled drywall, carpet, rocks and most of her toys. Now, she eats any food she can find, and smokes anything she can find. Then, we attended church, and thought we had a good support system. Then, we also thought we had a good grasp on what we needed to do as parents. Now, we don't go to church, because having that support system means having to tell too many people too many stories and being judged way too much. Then, she had no friends. Now, she has no friends. ____________________________________ It's a really strange concept for normal families to grasp that an appropriate goal for an adopted child with issues could be "Leigh will not use her bedroom for a toilet in anger." For an adoptive family of a kid with issues, it's just another day at home. It's name is RAD, or mental illness, or, as one therapist explained it 'holes in her heart.' Either way, it's no fun, and all you can do is hope that, in the end, the progress you've seen is worth it. ___________________________________________ Inspired by today's post at This Work Stinks... Hang in there Mom! You're doing a great job!

Random Poem--Wanna add a stanza?

This popped in my head this morning whilst showering (Not that kind of thought. Bad you!) Apples and trees, acorns and oaks, Who we are is due to our folks. Nature or nurture doesn't matter-- If Mama's crazy, you'll be mad as the Hatter. Now you try. Seriously. Add a stanza.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Panel Review

Panel review was today. Definition: Group of citizens who volunteer to work along with a judge to evaluate placements and progress of kids and their bioparents in the foster care system. They also look at how the foster parents and foster families are holding up under the stress of fostering. Three people, bio-mom, the judge, two caseworkers, Hubby, the babies and my very observant Danae, sitting around a large conference table. Talking about progress. Or in this case, lack thereof. Mom says that she's finished rehab, but has no proof, and after the panel, tested positive for pot. She has a place to live-- in section 8 housing, illegally with a friend of a friend. When asked about a support system, and if the lady she is living with could be one, she replied, "I don't know her like that." She started looking for a job Friday. Five months after she lost her kids. One of the panel members asked her if she's dating. She said she has a boyfriend. The judge asked if she's sexually active. She said yes. On birth control? No. Do you want to have another baby? Not until I get my first two back. The judge very firmly told her she'd better not come back to panel review in October pregnant. The civil rights part of me wonders if that's even legal, but the practical foster mom side of me wonders if I could sneak up behind her and accidently give her a Depo shot. I'm moving my mark from "feels sorry for mom" to "what the hell?"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up-- June 13

Hello everyone. It's been kind of quiet, but still full of some interesting blips on the radar. Here they are... Biggest TMI moment: Both my teenage daughters spontaneously sharing that that they rarely wear underwear. I feel like a total mom failure. Danae: Mom, you never free-ball it? Me: Um, no. One, I have no balls. Two, that's just nasty. Danae: How is it nasty? Sometimes you have to just air it out. Me: Not every day, and certainly not out of the house. Danae: Man I hardly ever wear underwear. Me: Again, nasty. And TMI. Danae: How is that nasty? I'm being serious! Me: I am too! Your body produces natural moisture down there, and to not have some protection between that and your clothes is just gross. I totally lost that argument. I looked like an uncool fuddy-duddy. Which I am, but still. Ew.

HALELUJAH Moment: Dawn is NOT prego!! Thank GodAllahBuddha. That's a huge problem we don't need or want. Ugh. I don't want her to be permanently infertile, but a ten year moratorium on egg release in her uterus would go a long way toward making me happy.

Nail-biter Moment: Leigh might go to juvie jail, or "detention" as they call it here, for her role in the "I'm-going-to-buy-and-smoke-weed-with-some-total-strangers-in-a-car-with-a-baby" caper.

Mom Dilemma: We let Danae spend the weekend with a friend, and she came home bruised--neck, arm, leg. I asked her about them, and apparently, she got into at least two physical fights with her girlfriend. "We both have anger problems and we don't know when to stop or how to control it."

She made comments about having provoked it, and not stopping the fight when her girlfriend tried to stop it. That it was her fault. And that she'd rather her girlfriend get violent with her than to start cutting again.

I was beyond shocked. I used to volunteer for a crisis line, and I flat told her she sounded like a battered woman, which technically given her and her girlfriend's pasts, they are. If they are BOTH equally domestically violent to each other, how do you convince them that they are BOTH wrong?

And what does it say about me that if she were dating a guy I'd freaking kill him for bruising my kid, but that because she's dating a girl, I'm less angry about it? Am I wrong in this? In size they're about evenly matched, which I know doesn't matter in domestic violence, but at least one of them isn't completely dominating the other.

This is something new for me--straight couple, parenting an adopted lesbian daughter-- navigating the differences is a little odd.

MoMo Brag: She now can use bless you, please, thank you and your're welcome correctly. She's learning to tell us when she needs a new diaper. We go to court for panel review tomorrow for both babies. I have such mixed feelings. Ugh.

NaNa Brag: She is just a little bundle of smiles and happy screechy sounds that sort of sound like what a billy goat would do if at least partially cracked out.

Political/Confession: I really love the TV show Whale Wars. If I ever become a gazillionaire, I'm so buying them cool toys. I may have to buy some promo merchandise just cuz I think it's cool.

TGIF of the Week: Our school district FINALLY had its last day with students. We actually had a quiet closing, which considering the last few months was a blessing. I pondered teaching summer school, but after the past two years of my life, I need a break. So I'm taking one.

The Big Store That Sells Everything. Doesn't: I know that last summer, there was a lotion that slowed down hair growth. I combed the HBA section and couldn't find it. Grrrrrrr. I am such a hairy person that I have to shave everyday. You probably didn't want to know that, but that lotion (it was Aveeno last year) helped. A lot. And since it has been nearly 100 degrees for the last few days, I am definitely NOT wearing long pants.

Moment of Personal Realization: I am getting addicted to blogging. I find myself checking my email and logging into my blog several times a day to see if anyone has commented my blogs. I have become a comment whore. And does it make sense that a post I was really proud of that didn't get commented by anyone kind of hurt my feelings? How lame-o is that? I'm such a wuss!!

Book I'm Reading Right Now: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now by Gordon Livingston. The four I've read so far are dead on right... It's not preachy, but not dumbed down. "There are only three things you need for happiness: something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to."

Anyhoo.... it's getting late, and I have the joys of post-planning to look forward to. Yay!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Must. Win. This.

Oh. My. GodAllahBuddha. I must win this. I love those bags. Holy crap. I.m just learning the joys of giveaways and the like, and I may or may not do one or some in the future. But if I win one these bags, I will want for nothing the rest of summer... except for fewer court dates, my daughter to stay out of jail, and a for a working minivan. Okay, clearly, that whole not wanting anything else the rest of the summer was a lie. But the lust I feel for those bags is not. *sigh* And seriously, anyone who wants a working minivan needs fabulous bags. Pick me! Pick me! Okay. I'm done. (please?)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The (new) Plan for Summer

Well, before this past week, I had a very different plan for this summer. The previous plan was to do as little as possible, excepting a few home improvement projects and lots of time at the beach. Leigh and I had a short "meeting" tonight. In it we established that if she does not go to jail Tuesday she will be very lucky. And that what we've been doing clearly has not been working, so we're trying something new. Given that Leigh has officially admitted that she might have a (gigantic) problem with chemical entertainment, we are instituting a sort of home-grown intervention. First, since I will be spending a lot of time monitoring Leigh and her new summer reading list (which I am busily compiling tonight), I'm going to take the plunge and start, one class at a time, my doctorate. I'm starting with Human Growth and Development this summer, July 1 to be exact. It's the start of an Ed.S. in school counseling, leading to a doctorate in counseling psychology. But I figure that it's all information I can use to attempt to help my own kids fix themselves. Leigh's summer reading list will be a combination of fiction and non, focused on teens who screwed up and fixed it (Speak, by Lori Anderson) and those who just flat screwed it up (Go Ask Alice, Anonymous.) We're also going to AA. There aren't any groups locally that I can find that that address what I'm calling "global" addicitions, so we're going with AA. She told me she'd just go to sleep. And I told her that was fine. They had a meeting going on every hour within a 30 minute radius of where we lived, and eventually she'd have to learn something through osmosis. I know that AA by force sort of defeats the purpose, but I need for her to see that there are TONS of people out there working hard every day to beat the problems they have. I need her to see that yes, it sucks to have to work at something other people find easy. But that it can be done, and it can have positive results. I'm also going to take her to random activities to help her find something that interests her. She's got to find something to give a damn about... something to connect with. We start tomorrow exploring salt marshes and sea critters. I should say "she starts" because I'm not going. I'm dropping her off at the program and will pick her up when its over. My theory is that she needs to start meeting "normal" people. She goes to a school for "special" people, and the only people she meets there are either autisitic or criminal or crazy. Autistic, not so bad, but we have enough crazy and criminal going on. Her chances of meeting people without issues, or even spending time around them has decreased remarkably over the years. Given that, I told her that this summer, if I said she had 20 minutes to be ready, she had to be in the car ready to go in 20 minutes, ready for action. I want her to get practice interacting with people who are passionate about something other than drugs, alcohol, and sex, or aren't so lost in mental illness that they can't function. So, we're hitting the book store before we go to the marshes tomorrow. Here's my list so far:
  • Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
  • Chinese Handcuffs, Chris Crutcher
  • Notes for Another Life, Suellen Bridgers
  • Wesley the Owl, by Stacey O'Brien

Any ideas for more or better ones? Activities that won't break the bank? Margarita fixin's? (No, the AA is not secretly for me. I just love margaritas in the summer time... cool, refreshing and relaxing.....)

And I think I'm going need all three. (And maybe some guidance or ideas or feedback on this plan 'o mine...)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A New First. Not a Good One.

I've never smoked pot. Neither has my husband. Yeah, we're kind of square. In fact, the extent of my law-breaking is limited to speeding tickets. I'm actually so scared of getting in trouble that the time I accidentally stole a pack of batteries in WalMart, I took them back inside to pay for them. I'm all about the law-abiding. Except for speed limits. Those I break. And often. So when Leigh came home from her first taste of freedom in a long time (yesterday at 8:10 PM. she was out for exactly 1:40 minutes, completely BAKED out of her mind, I was at a loss. I called, in this order: Hubby, at work. Probation Officer. Two of my friends. The Hospital, about drug tests. PO again. The police. Hubby was where I was emotionally: Done. The PO did not answer her phone. However the last time we had problems with Leigh (a bit of crazy aggressive violent type threats), PO told us to call the police to come take her to Juvie Jail. I called the hospital about having her drug tested. Get this: As her mom, I cannot take her to the ER and request a drug test because IT VIOLATES HER PRIVACY and they will not test her unless she's acting up. Hellooooo? She's stoned, of course she's not acting up. She wants to snack and go to bed!! I called the PO again to say I was calling the police. Still no answer or response. I called the police. It must have been a slow night in my town because all five cars on duty showed up at my house. The neighbors all stood in their driveways, watching to see what happened. Because let's face it... we've put on a few interesting shows in the past. Lucky for me (and good for local TV advertisors) it was a quiet call. According to the local police, they cannot simply arrest a juvenile offender, even one who is on probation, without a court order and lots of paperwork. I was not pleased. Then the officer told me that even had my darling Leigh been destroying my house and started attacking the officers that they couldn't arrest her and take her to juvie. At most, they could detain her until she calmed down. Do I need to point out the obvious flaws here, or shall I assume that you are at least a tiny bit righteously indignant on my behalf? So this morning, we took Leigh to the courthouse and met with her PO. PO was not thrilled with Leigh. And the longer we were there, the more Leigh's attitude got under her skin. PO asked if she could keep Leigh for the day. Yes ma'am. We wanted her in jail last night. So at the very least, she should spend a day with you. So we left her. Turns out, Leigh has been lying about some of the events of last night. Not only did they go buy the pot from some random guy someone told them was a dealer (dangerous much?), they smoked, in a car, WITH A BABY IN THE CAR. I don't know who the baby belonged to, but Leigh admitted there was one there. Now, I'm a foster mom of two babies. Two babies who were taken away from their mom because she's a pothead with a lot of other issues. And for Leigh to not only buy and use drugs, but to do so with a baby in the car... Well, I still can't look at her without having to sit on my hands to keep from choking her. And now, it is possible that Leigh will face additional criminal charges for the situation, if they can track down the two girls and the baby's parents. Felony child endangerment, probation violation. I'm not sure what this means for our foster babies, but I can say that I will lose sleep over it tonight. E0ven sadder: Leigh did not know the names of the girls she was getting high with. (And in my parental defense, I dropped her off at a friend's house, under the guise of her eating dinner with her friend, her friend's boyfriend, and her friend's mom. I got played.) And having cried off and on all day, I am so ready for bed. Tomorrow is the last day of school, and my students will be crazed, and I get to come home and deal with my own Crazed. That is, if she doesn't get arrested at school. The PO was really irritated with the lying and was still trying to decide what to do when I picked Leigh up at 4. So here's my question: How does a parent punish a child who cares about nothing? She doesn't really experience pain, plus she's a cutter with a severe abuse history, so spanking or (as the nice police man suggested) "just kicking her ass" is out of the question. She doesn't care about anything she owns, so taking her belongings has no impact. She has no friends, and doesn't get invited anywhere, so grounding isn't an option. I'm at a loss, and my eyes are burning from crying. And I have no idea what to do. I have dealt with crazy, violent, nasty, gross, hateful, loud, smelly, painful, pinching, biting, public masterbation, inappropriate toileting, hairpulling, name calling, throwing things and all out mental illness, but the patently illegal? No way. So now what?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life Soundtrack--Writer's Workshop

Soundtrack of your life: Pick 10 songs that you would have on a soundtrack for your life, pick a line from each that you most identify with and write a short statement of why this song made it. This is written as part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop... 1. It Had to Be You, Harry Connick, Jr—“For nobody else gave me the thrill/With all your faults I love you still/ It had to be you” My husband and I danced to this song at our wedding. We are almost nearly total opposites, but after nearly 17 years, we are still like newlyweds. He’s just pure awesomeness, and I totally don’t deserve him, but I’m glad he settled on me. I definitely married up!! 2. On the Turning Away, Pink Floyd—“We could find that we're all alone/ In the dream of the proud” This song has just always made me slow down and stop and think. Now I just ponder how different my reality is from the dreams and expectations I had before I became a parent. 3. With Arms Wide Open, Creed-- "Well I don't know if I'm ready/ To be the man I have to be/ I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side/ We stand in awe, we've created life…" When my husband and I drove across the state to pick up our daughter Leigh to bring her home with us, this was the first song that came on the radio after about an hour of silence. Perfect timing. We cried. Still do, but for totally different reasons. 4. In My Daughter’s Eyes, Martina McBride—“But the truth is plain to see/ She was sent to rescue me…” This song is my challenge to myself, a constant reminder that everything I say and do and think and feel will impact my daughters. I sang it several years ago in church, and ended up crying my way through the end. It still makes me cry. But I cry easily and often, much to my chagrin. 5. Leader of the Band, Dan Fogelberg—“Papa, I don’t think I said ‘I love you’ near enough” From the first time I heard this song until now, it makes me cry every time. I don’t talk to my dad, and he doesn’t talk to me. Me by choice, and him by circumstance, and I wish every day, every moment, that it was different. 6. Goodbye My Lover, James Blount—“It may be over but it won't stop there,/ I am here for you if you'd only care.” This is quite possibly the saddest break up song ever. My daughter Dawn (we had her for five years) has run away several times and made it clear through her actions that she doesn’t want to be a part of our family. (And this was after ODing and getting expelled from the school where she attended and I was a department chair.) It has nearly destroyed me in more ways than I care to remember over the past two years. But I have learned from it, and moved on to … 7. Candle (Sick and Tired), The White Tie Affair—“ All this darkness will surround you,/ Cuz I'm burning for you, Burning like a candle” I have learned that I can love my daughter without liking her a single tiny bit. And that it’s okay. 8. Say, John Mayer—“Say what you need to say” …because sometimes you may not have another chance to say what needs to be said. So say it. Say what you need to say. Now. 9. Crazy Train, Ozzy Osbourne—“Mental wounds not healing/ Life's a bitter shame/I'm going off the rails on a crazy train” This is one of my personal theme songs. It describes parenting a RAD/OCD/PTSD/BPD child to a perfection. I often start humming this as I am plodding through a problem spot. 10. Roll With the Changes, REO Speedwagon—“So if you're tired of the same old story/ Oh, turn some pages” I love me some REO. And this song is true. If you don’t like it, change it. Or if it changes without your input or consent, roll with it. You can. It might suck or it might be okay, but you’ll survive. My family… well, we are living proof that one can roll with the changes. It may not be fabulous or Lives of the Rich and Famous. But it can almost always be good. Honorable mentions… **Your Love is My Drug, Kesha—“like a lovesick crackhead” **Thank U, Alanis Morisette—“Thank you disillusionment/ Thank you frailty/ Thank you consequence/ Thank you thank you silence " **F*ck was I Thinking, Jenny Owen Youngs—“Skillet on the stove is such a temptation,/ maybe I'll be the special one that doesn’t get burned./What the f*ck was I thinking?” Broken, Seether, with Amy Lee—“I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away/I keep your photograph; I know it serves me well”

What would it take to forgive you?--Writer's Workshop

OF the three Writer's Workshop prompts I tackled this week, this was the hardest. Probably because thinking about my dad makes me cry, and thinking about forgiving others makes us examine ourselves. Thanks MamaKat, for asking me, "What would it take? Write an imaginary scene where someone you are still angry with finally deserves to be forgiven." It's not a scene really, as much as it is a stream-of-consciousness view of my brain at work. What Would it Take to Finally Forgive You? __________________________________________ What would it take to finally forgive you? First, I’d have to forgive my body. My ovaries and fallopian tubes and endocrine system. And scar tissue. I’d have to forgive biology and chemistry and obstetrics and gynecology and And endometrial biopsies. And genetics. And probably God. Then I’d have to forgive a whole series of birth parents. And their extended families. And their dealers and pimps and boyfriends and girlfriends and acquaintances. And the few might-be-decent-had-they-not-stood-by-and-watched aunts. Social workers who tried. And the ones who lied. And the ones who didn’t care enough to do either. Before I could forgive you, I’d have to forgive my cousin’s wife who said she’d rather be childless than chance the drama we have. And the boss who told me my daughter would have to learn that we couldn’t always be there for her. And the shrink who told us she’d always needs meds. And the other one who falsely gave us hope. I’d have to forgive the tiny voice in my head for Not being loud enough when she screamed NO NO NO NO NO! at me at the top of her tiny lungs when we decided to give it another try and add to our family. She really should have at least tried to yell louder. Every time we tried again, she could have tried to find better ways to get my attention. That little voice’s failure will be hard to forgive. And before I could forgive you, I’d have to forgive your parents, for the ideas they planted in your head. And that would mean forgiving your siblings— the halves and the wholes. It would mean letting go of the subtle snubs about real grandkids. And I’d have to forgive her. Your wife. The one who wouldn’t and didn’t invite us to your wedding. The one who stood back and didn’t push you to tell us you’d married until months after, and only because I asked about the picture of you in a tie. I’d have to forgive her for not being grandma to my (adopted) daughters. And that’s all I really wanted from her. No it’s not. That’s not true. I really wanted her to just give me a chance and not see me as competition. But before I could forgive anyone or anything or you for being you, and her for being her, I’d have to forgive me for being me. It was me, after all, who walked away. I said goodbye. I told you that you knew where I lived. And told you that I wouldn’t play the same game you and Mom (pre-divorce) did with your parents and step-parents. That me and my kids, and you and your wife were a package deal. An all or nothing commitment. And you let me walk away. But I’d have to forgive myself for doing the walking. I don’t know if there is enough forgiveness for that. But I’m lying. And putting off the real honesty, which is this cold, hard truth: All it would take for me To forgive you Is for you to knock on my door and ask, “How’re my granddaughters?”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

30 Things I Vow to Do This Summer- Writer's Workshop!

This is in response to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop... Check it out and join the fun!!
Here are the 30 things I vow to do this summer... behold their funness. Or total lameness, depending on your perspective.
1. Get sunburned 2. Spend too much time on facebook, blogspot and the beach 3. Drink too much diet coke. 4. Drive to Michigan 5. Watch my mom play with my foster babies and work on connecting with my teenagers 6. Out-fish everyone. 7. Write lots of bad poetry 8. Read lots of brain-candy novels 9. Ponder a PhD. 10. Fantasize about being in better shape. 11. Read Othello and Merchant of Venice. 12. Sleep on the beach in NC. 13. Spend time with a HS acquaintance and my own personal Blog-Goddess. 14. Go to a water park 15. Live on my budget 16. Drink more water 17. Water the plants 18. Do my social services paper work on time. 19. Learn to use all the bells and whistles on my camera 20. Take more pictures 21. Delete a ton of old computer files 22. Watch less tv 23. Keep my car cleaner 24. Keep my laundry done-r 25. Make my children read no matter how much they complain 26. Paint at least one room in my house. Maybe two. 27. Have a personal date with each of my daughters at least four times each. 28. Kidnap my grandson for a while 29. Do something crazy in the middle of the night. 30. Scratch my husband’s back. Because he likes it. And I love him.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ten Seconds of a Fountain at Night

The fountain outside my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. Ten seconds. Hope you enjoyed that brief random glimpse into my life.

Weekly Wrap-up, June 6

I didn't do a wrapup last weekend because we were out of town, and I'm still planning to share the details, but Hubby's been on second shift all week, leaving me with solo teen and baby duty, which leaves me no time for blogging or anything else.

So here it is, for those of you overdue for your voyeurism fix... the Wrap-up!!

Ridiculous Waste of Taxpayer Money in Education We had another fire drill last week. We had one the last week of May, and again the first week of June. Federal law says we have to have one every month. We have one week of school left, and our kids are just crazy enough that we can’t do it the last week of school.

Worst Mommy Moment: My daughter Leigh has an abscess in her armpit. She is in desperate denial about how it got there…a complete lack of hygiene and using a dirty razor while dry shaving. And she is desperately seeking attention for it. And even after her probation officer made her do pushups for lying to the judge about her grades and it swelled up and burst again, I just can’t get that excited about fussing about the fact that she tried to tell the PO that she wasn’t supposed to be doing pushups. I have however, hidden the pain meds she got, because I caught her trying to take them just because she wanted to.

Best Mommy Moment: Um… Sad to say, I’m not sure I have one. Our weekend trip last weekend was nice, but very stressful, and not at all as relaxing as I needed it to be. So I made everyone stay home today and basically said that we weren’t doing anything because I needed some downtime. So I guess having a selfish mommy moment has worked out because we’ve had a quiet, drama-free weekend.

I’m Glad I Married My Husband because… he did all our laundry at the Laundromat, and I mean ALL of it the morning the bug guy came and gassed the house to kill the fleas. And $120 later, we are mostly flea free!! Thank GodAllahBuddha!!!

Budget Groans: We still need a van. We have two in our driveway, but can’t drive either of them. And since we don’t have the titles on them, we can’t sell them or trade them in. Ugh.

Dawn Moment: She still thinks she’s kind of pregnant, but doesn’t have the money for a test. And she officially has no health insurance now. Yay her!

NaNa Moment: She likes peaches, ranch dressing and ReddiWhip. No so much salsa and bananas. And she likes baths, which makes me happy.

Leigh Moment: It’s been all about the armpit this week. Lanced twice. Sliced and stuffed with “packing” once. Two antibiotics. She pulled the packing out herself today, even though she’s supposed to wait til Monday. Shocking, I know, right? Yeah. Not so much.

Danae Moment: Her girlfriend spent the weekend with us. They feel asleep on the sofa watching a movie, holding hands. Hubby took a picture, and Danae and her GF thought we were going to be mad. I thought it was typical teenager. Hubby thought it was cute that they were holding hands. I think she’s still surprised that we aren’t damning her to hell for being gay.

MoMo Moment: We bought her an inflatable pool and she tried to take the kittens swimming. They were not pleased. She’s also learned that if she steals NaNa’s pacifier it makes her cry. She has also started to tell us no when we say anything to her. She also likes it when you fill her her mouth with ReddiWhip.

Political Grouch Moment: I’m trying not to be a conspiracy theorist here, but after how many weeks we have oil STILL spilling into the Gulf? Really?

Moral Ambiguity Moment: The caseworker newly in charge of adoption assistance called to find out Dawn’s status. We told them that she’d moved out again about two months ago. Hubby got a tongue-lashing for not reporting the change. We were told by the previous caseworker that we’d get a form in the mail every four months to fill out and return, and if there were changes, to report them then. So we were expecting the form any day, and were planning to report the change. I’m trying hard to figure out if I should feel guilty about the two months of assistance that we got while Dawn wasn’t officially living with us.

Looking forward to... our students' last day of school is Friday June 11. Teachers' last day is the 18th, but the 17th is a furlough day. That's loads of fun. I'm looking forward to sauteed shrimp and wild rice tonight, and strawberry shortcake again. Fun with babies and ReddiWhip!!!

Sunday Confessional, June 6

Forgive me GodAllahBuddha, for what I am about to confess…

But I am secretly glad that BioMaMa and BioGranny look like they do (missing lots of teeth, bad skin, bad hair... as my mom used to say "rode hard and put away wet"), because it is a visual reminder of the life that my daughters can choose to avoid if they so desire.

Add your own confessions below, because getting it off your chest is really good for you!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kind of Pregnant

It's been a Dawn free week or so, so I should have known something was coming.

She stopped by today. DumbAssBoyfriend goes to cout tomorrow to see if he goes to prison (pleasepleasepleaseOHpleaselethimgo!!) and has been really stressed out and taking it out on her. They're fighting.

Oh, by the way, "the pregnancy test said I'm kind of pregnant."

I looked at her and asked how in the world someone is kind of pregnant.

"Well, the little 'you're pregnant' mark lit up, but only a little, so I guess I'm only kind of pregnant."

I told her that was the same thing as kind of dead. Kind of broken. Kind of on fire. You either were or you weren't.

"Well, I'm'a take one next week to see if I'm any more pregnant or if it was wrong."

Be proud of me. I wasn't snarky to her a bit.

And if you are the praying kind, please repeat after me:

Dear GodAllahBuddha, Please. If you a good and kind and merciful deity there is no way in hell Dawn will be pregnant. I have two kids in diapers. I do NOT need her to move home, knocked up and moodier than ever. If you aren't, please make other arrangements for me. I've just about had enough. Amen.

Nine Years Ago Today...

Nine years ago, we drove from one side of the state to the other and back in a day. On the way there, we were anxious, nervous, and suffering the adoptive parents' version of labor pains. We had painted all the second hand furniture the colors she picked out. Purchased bedding in her favorite PowerPuff Girl motif. Got some random toys and books. And packed som things to do in the car.

Would she like us? Would she be as bad as the kids we'd heard stories about? Did she really want to be adopted? How much did she remember about her life with her birth family? What did she think about the tall bald guy and the short fat lady? How much of her heart was left untouched?

On the way home, we were beyond anxious. Terror. Sheer, blinding, brain-numbing terror had set in. I couldn't think of a single open-ended question to ask the little brunette with the sad brown eyes watching me in the rearview mirror. So there was a lot of awkward silence.

Since then, I have learned the answers to these and so many other questions. She does not like us. She is worse. Ambivalent. Too much. Suckers! Not much at all.

Since then, we've gone from expecting high school graduation and some form of after high school education to hoping she at least gets to go to prom before she drops out or is kicked out. We've gone from looking forward to her getting married and having a family to making plans to take custody of a child from her should the unthinkable happen and birth control fails. We have given up mentioning our kids around people who have successful kids. It's hard to compare the happenings of probation and mental health court with academic decathalon, honor roll and soccer goals.

"Yay sweetie! You didn't cut yourself or anyone else this week! Good for you! Let's see if NEXT WEEK we can convince that soap is not the devil and make you not stink!"

As mentioned in a few posts, we met BioMama and BioGranny last weekend. One of the stories BioGranny told us was of a visit to a court ordered psychiatrist shortly before Leigh and her sisters were taken again. Apparently, Leigh was covered with bruises from head to toe, where BioMoms evil boyfriend kicked and beat Leigh for falling asleep when she was supposed to be standing in the corner. Leigh told the shrink that they didn't hurt because she liked it when he paid attention to her. BioMom chimed in, "Yeah, he used to beat and kick the hell out of her." (And she probably didn't feel the pain, or at least not for long. We got her when she was six. It wasn't until about age eleven that she started to actually experience physical pain.)

BioGranny then said, "You must be doing somethin right for her to be as normal as she is, because she's always been crazy."

Insert whatever your outrage statement and/or sound effect is. I used a lot of them over the weekend. Repeatedly. Then I just sort of began relying on old fashioned cussing.

But I digress. Today is the ninth anniversary of what we have tried to celebrate for nine years---- Gotcha Day. A kind of bonus birthday to celebrate the day we got her. Today, I paid to have a second set of holes pierced in her ears. This in an attempt to get her to stop poking random holes in her ears.

Happy Gotcha Day, Leigh. I love you. No matter what. Always and forever. My number one job is to keep you safe. I sure wish you'd help us out with that sometimes. Have we helped you fix any of those holes in your heart? Do you still need the angels to watch over you?

Still, so many questions to answer (and most of those are statements or ideas we've used over and over with her). Maybe this time next year, I'll have more answers.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So much to write...

... so little time.

So I shall sum up, until I can have a nooner or a quickie with my laptop and start telling some of stories I have from the last week.

1. Met Danae and Leigh's bio mom and grandma. Damn. Explains a lot, lemme tell you. No really. Let. Me. Tell. You. (Sadly, it will have to be later.)

2. GGA was a complete bitch to her own kid and mine at graduation. She needs to be punched in a kidney or two. Or in the nose. Or shanked mightily.

3. MoMo was a hit at the Braves game. Too bad The Beach Boys weren't. They sucked.

4. The Beach Boys sucked because Brian Wilson was totally lip synching, that is, when the old fart bothered to even move his lips.

5. The Georgia Aquarium was way too busy, but it was cool as hell. I love me some penguins, belugie whales and otters. And manta rays. I do not, however, like $4 bottled beverages.

6. If you are fascinated by the slightly macabre, anatomy or just bodies in general, definitely check out the Bodies Exhibit. It was really interesting and far too educational to be of any overt interest to the teens, but they still liked it.

7. Prepaying to park at a professional sporting event is a waste of money.

8. One should always carry sunscreen.

9. The Bodies Exhibit showed me once again that MoMo is WAY smart-- she noticed right away that the body in front of her had different parts than her own. And she kept grabbing herself ala Madonna 1987, dancing and pointing at the shrunken penis on the first body we saw. Then pointing at herself. "Yes MoMo. Boys have different parts than girls." She stopped. Pointed at herself and the man. I said, "Yep. He has an outie. You have an innie. That's how boys and girls are different."

10. A popular comedian says that you can't fix stupid. I'd argue that one can also not fix mean, jealous, sneaky or drug-addled. But I could be wrong.

11. I don't like Zima, but DAMN. The one I had was awesome on Monday at the baseball game. It's amazing how much heat changes your tast in things.

12. Fleas suck.

13. So do abscessed armpits and yeast infections.

14. I lost my list of random things to blog about that I was making on our trip in the hotel. I hope I find it. It had some neat things on it.


16. The worst thing about adoption is having to share your children.

I'll elaborate more later. Have lots to think about and be thankful for (Like my teeth. Again, more on that later).

Wish me sweet dreams. I haven't had much sleep. And I need it.