Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO flippin' funny that I nearly feel dizzy by the end of it from laughing so hard.

I am pleading the fifth when it comes to disclosing how many of those side effects I have personally experienced.

However, if Geralyn shares, maybe I will too ;)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Because I'll be durned to let 84 days go to waste. . .

I am still majorly pissed that a stupid ear infection and tonsillitis sidelined me at the Madison Mini-Marathon earlier this month.

I trained hard for 12 weeks. That's 84 days. I can't count how many of those days were mornings when I was so tired and wanted to curl up under the covers, but instead I hauled my ass out of bed and hit the pavement.

So I'm not gonna let that go to waste. I'm channeling my anger/negative-I-missed-the-Madison-Mini-Marathon energy and putting it towards 4 more weeks of training.

I will attempt the half-marathon at the Fox Cities Marathon on August 19th.

I'll be running alongside of (okay, waaaayyy behind in reality, but alongside of in spirit) my wonderful friend Angie.

To completely optimize the experience, my Mister and my kidlets will be there at the finish line.

And I will finish.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reality Check

In the past four days, this has been my reality:

* a child hissed at me

* a child bit me

* a child hit me

* a child punched me

* children refused to be potty trained, thus needing a diaper

* a child peed on my deck

* a child peed on my couch

* a child peed on their bedroom carpet

* a child knowingly led our dog outside the fenced-in backyard and shooed the dog into running away. The child then lied to me about it, but did tell the truth when the next door neighbor told us what she witnessed.

* a child constantly told other children lies about "what mom said." Whether they were trying to get the other children in trouble, or whether they were trying to make me look "mean," is anyone's guess

* a child told the adult family member who was watching them for the day, "My mom told me I can't eat any food at your house," and then "cried" about it. When asked why on God's green earth did the child say such a thing, their response was: "I was mad at you that I didn't get to go to ride roller coasters with the Hattie and Atticus."

* an adult family member BELIEVED that I told a child of mine that they could not eat food at that person's house and became really, REALLY upset with me

* an adult family member who reamed me out because it is not fair for me to ask that the rules and restrictions that I put on my children at home be followed at someone else's house, even though those rules & restrictions my children live within keep everyone safe and allow my children to operate at a healthy emotional level (* more on this later)

* a spouse who I was not "connecting with" on how to handle certain behaviors

* a child who is having anxiety issues due to the crazy and unsafe behaviors of another child in our home

* * * * * * * * * *
It seems to me that for most families parenting PTSD/RAD/ODD/whatever the diagnosis kids, there comes a time when you have to grow a set of steel balls and set boundaries and perimeters within extended family and friends outside your own four walls.

I, not an overly confrontational person and one who likes to avoid drama, was kind of hoping we could sneak by this.

Clearly, I can't.

I have two kids, one quite in particular, who need to operate within a set series of boundaries and restrictions because it is best for them.

Because the reality is, I have a child who is frightened to his very core that he will not be able to boss of his own life and if he hands over control to an adult, that adult is going to hurt him (because when he was little and in Haiti, the bosses of his life at that time did hurt him.)

If you have this child of mine in your presence, and he is overly charming, indiscriminately affectionate, playing your emotions, and acts exuberantly "happy," then

Which is something that most adults don't want to realize, because it sucks to think that this adorable young Haitian child is smart enough and manipulative enough to actually be able to play you.

But he can. Please know that I am not trying to vilify my little boy here. It's not because he's some evil villain or heinous child.

He is doing this because it is exactly what he thinks
he needs to do to survive in this big unsafe world.

That fact, that statement causes me much heartache and grief. Because it tears at me every time I think about this tiny little boy who has endured so much and who feels so absolutely unsafe in this world.

It's not a healthy emotional state for my boy to live in. And as his mom, I am doing EVERYTHING I possibly can do, trying everything I can possibly try, and am trying to learn everything I can to help my child not feel that he is constantly unsafe.

So when he is around adults who eat up that affection and literally ooze over him and jump to his every request and just love, love, love on him, in reality, they are feeding the "I and Only I am Boss of Myself" beast that is living within my little guy.

And that beast is not healthy. Not healthy for him. Not healthy for Me the Mom. And until we can teach him to his very core that he IS safe here, that it is OKAY for Mom to be boss of him because Mom really does LOVE him and Mom will keep him SAFE, he can't attach to me.

This boundary setting and enforcing is hard.

It is hard when you see that what you are doing hurts and upsets others.
Even if what you are doing is the best thing for your child.
And even when you see how their intentions are good.

But good intentions are not always healthy.

This whole situation doesn't feel good.

It doesn't feel good when you have to avoid others.

It doesn't feel good when others avoid you because
the boundaries that you set don't 'feel good' to them
or are easy for them to handle
(and they aren't easy!
by no means are they easy!
but the boundaries are healthy,
and that's what is most important)

But it's what we have to do.

This attachment work is hard.

Really, really, REALLY hard.

And, for now, that is the reality of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why you don't ask Why

While I never recall having read this little nugget of information in a single adoption-related book, any seasoned therapeutic adoptive parent can tell you one of their top 3 mantras:

Don't Ask Why!

Fortunately for a newbie in this therapeutic parenting world, there is a large slew of experienced parents with awesome blogs who share this kind of stuff.

Why should you not ask why, you ask?

Here's a snippet:

Mom: Miles, I see you have a very unhappy face. What's going on?

Miles: I not happy.

Mom: I'm sorry to hear that. Any reason for being so unhappy?

Miles: Yes, because I have no fun.

Mom: Hmmmm. That's not cool. Why aren't you having fun?

Miles: Because I make bad choices and can't use credits.

Mom: Oooooh. I see. Well, do you know what you should do to be able to use your credits?

Miles: Yes. I need to make good choices.

Mom: Right. You need to make good choices. Are you ready to make some? Mom can help you, you know.

Miles: No.

Mom: Why don't you want to make good choices?

Miles: Because I have no fun.

The above conversation has been on auto-replay for the past 11 months. I spent MANY of those months pulling my hair out and banging my head against the wall.

It's like Groundhog Day.

But the good thing is that at least now I know that I shouldn't ask why. And typically I wouldn't have asked him at all, but today I wanted to see if just maybe we had made any advancements in this particular arena.


Here's why I also shouldn't ask why. Because beyond being an exercise of complete futility, I, as the parent, know the answer. And the answer is: trauma. Why doesn't Miles want to make good choices? Trauma. He's feeling bad and worthless and the negative self-dialogue that is at his very core clicked the auto-pilot switch to "on" which started today's bumpy ride.

There is no logic with trauma. When trauma is embedded in someone, no matter how little that someone is, the damage is always immense.

Before when I had these 'why' conversations, I would look at my son and just see an angry, oppositional kid who I know is a very bright kid so surely he was being a little snot and pretending that he didn't understand cause and effect consequences.

Now I'm growing. Little by little, day by day. Now I can look at him and I see the trauma. I see the hurt and anger and pain and the constant state of flight or fight that he is in. A state that doesn't allow him to process things the way a normal brain does. A state that doesn't allow him to make the logical connections that I would expect my other kids to make. Sure, he may be able to articulate that good choices = fun and bad choices = no fun, but it doesn't mean that he is actually able to do so on his own.

(Although the kid is bright, and many, many times I'm pretty sure that he does things just to drive me batty. But those I'm-trying-to-drive-Mom-batty times are when he is regulated. Here I'm specifically referring to those flight-or-fight moments)

I wish that I would have somehow innately known all of this 12 months ago when we brought him home. But I didn't. So I'm trying my best to do the best with my son, and day by day, maybe we can grow a little together.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Proof that not everyone you meet online is psychotic

My girls

(from left to right:
Stephanie from The Salzwedel Adventures,
Essie The Accidental Mommy,
Corey Waters--we're watching you!,
and the infamous & blogless Angie)

How I got lucky enough to count these women among my group of friends, teachers, mentors and confidantes is beyond me.

I cannot even begin to describe how much they have changed my life for the better.

And if I were to even try, I would have a big ol' grateful ugly cry.

Love you, girls.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Three Bad Mother Runners

We are back from Madison.

Mother Runners Corey and Angie kicked that hilly half-marathon's ass.

I ran the 5K without rupturing an ear drum or barfing.

The weekend rocked.

On Friday night, being super nice high-maintenance vegetarians totally paid off for Angie and I as the chef at the Marriott made us amazing dishes of pasta with veggies and a white wine/olive oil sauce.

On Saturday after the race, we ate damn good Peruvian food.

And on Saturday morning, Corey Waters asked moi if I wanted to snuggle in bed.

Of course, I said yes.

Bet y'all are super j-e-a-l-o-u-s.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Taking the good with the bad

Just waiting on the Angie and Corey Party Van to take us down to Madison! Here's the latest out of Green Bay.

The Bad: I have a bad ear infection with a half-healed blister on my eardrum (o-u-c-h), and my left tonsil is now infected.
The Good: My eardrum is intact.

The Bad: The doc said NO WAY to the half-marathon.
The Good: I can run (okay, she said walk, or slow running, and I only run one speed: slow) the 5-K if I feel better.

The Bad: I'm not feeling better.
The Good: I'm not feeling worse.

The Bad: I'm missing out on having Corey Waters' individual attention for 13.1 miles.
The Good: I get to hang out with Corey and Angie and some other awesome women in Madtown. Doesn't get better than that!

The Bad: I trained for TWELVE FREAKING WEEKS to run this gd half-marathon. TWELVE WEEKS. And I'm not running in a half-marathon.
The Good: My weekly base mileage went from 9 to 18.5. I ran further than I ever have in my life. I lost weight.

The Bad: Truly, there really isn't any more bad.
The Good: I'm blessed with an awesome Mister who takes on 5 kids without flinching and says, GO AND HAVE A BLAST!!! I have an incredible group of friends who get what I go through each and every day, and who teach me an invaluable amount of information. So I don't get to run 13.1 miles tomorrow. I still have an eardrum that works! And this isn't the last half marathon in the world. There will be others.

So really, it's all good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Winding Down Summer

While summer's not over just yet, it nearly seems so because those "Big" events on our calendars that have been "at the end of summer" all summer long, are now at the forefront of our days.

We're in the final stretch before the big Half-Marathon Day this upcoming Saturday. Sadly, my training has been somewhat lacking in the past week because I have some sort of flu bug that I can't shake and I have been feeling punkish most of the time. My race time is unimportant to me; I just look forward to my trip to Madison with the girls! The thought of running/walking 13.1 miles just isn't all that intimidating when you know you're going to be laughing and goofing around all the way.

My garden is ripe for the picking, and 'harvest time' is always one of my favorite parts of the year. I spend a good deal of time each day in the gardens, picking, freezing and canning. I have salsa on the slate for this evening. The tomatoes grew like weeds this year and I think I eat around 3-4 per day. A tomato, an ear of corn and a hunk of watermelon is a pretty darn good meal that will leave me humming with happiness.

School's just around the corner, and that fact alone seems to be nailing summer's coffin shut. The boys had Teddy Bear Kindergarten Camp all last week. By day 2, I was pretty sure that Miles would be the first child removed from the camp program, but by the last day, he hit a stride of compliance, and we ended the whole thing on a good note.

Thank God! While I'm not overly fond of dealing with school systems and teachers, I truly like this school and I really think the boys can grow and do great things there. And besides, I really, really, REALLY need the daily break.

And I don't feel even the least bit guilty of saying that.

And I'm not being sarcastic there. (I know it's hard to tell sometimes. Just ask the Mister.)

Because, seriously, I need the break. The other kids need a break. And the boys need a daily break from us so they can see and learn that the "not fun" rules Mama has at home here are the same everywhere.

We're seeing improvement in our daily lives with the help of therapy and the Credit System. The day immediately after therapy is a rough one, because quite often it brings up so many un-processed feelings. The Credit System really helps reinforce house rules and expectations in an unemotional setting.

I've been talking with a lot of people lately on the wisdom, or lack thereof, of bringing home two children at the same time. Generally, I feel that in the pre-placement world, there is a large push to keep sibling sets together. Once they are home, however, I seem to run into more and more people (professionals and families), who do not think it's in the best interest of each child.

I'm not of an opinion either way on that topic. I hold fairly strong opinions on displacing birth order, or adopting within the age group of children already living in the home (which I'll share at a later time), but as to siblings or the number of children entering the home, I dunno.

I will say that my two boys will sometimes mirror each other. Well, Miles does what he wants. But quite often Keenan will mirror Miles' behaviors. Like on Monday morning, around 4:30 am, Miles decided to start yawning. Loudly. I mean like SCREAM YAWNING. I was startled awake, because I thought someone was murdering a child. But no, it was just him yawning.

I'm not a peach at 4:30 in the morning, and I think somewhere in there, once I realized no one was murdering anyone, I suggested that if the child had so much energy to yawn like that, the child probably had the energy to sweep the garage. Imagine when the child went immediately back to (pretending) he was sleeping.

Damn, I'm good.

Either way, once we were all awake (which included me assuring the then-awake Atticus and Paloma that a mass murderer was not in our home and getting them back to sleep), Miles had to pay me credits for using up my energy and waking me up. Miles does NOT like doing that. No one does.

This morning, he slept peacefully. But for some reason unknown to me, Keenan, at 4:45 this morning, decided to clap, snap and sing. Loudly.

Lord help me.

You would think that having watch his brother have to pay me, become upset over it, and then not have enough credit to purchase movie time, would be enough for this fairly attached and rather smart kid to learn.


He just paid me his credits and then melted down, all over the kitchen floor.

Does any of it make sense? Nope. Nor do I even try to make sense of it anymore, which at the very least, saves me some mental frustration. Somethings I just have to chalk up to the "Shit I Can't Make Sense Of" category. Funny, that category has quadrupled in size in the past year.

Sigh. Summer winding down--sad at moments, but at the same time, I'll be perfectly content to let Fall and it's accompanying set schedule in.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paloma is FIVE

Our mighty Miss Paloma turns 5 today.

I began my blog shortly before her first birthday. How the years have flown by:





and FIVE

In true Paloma style, every time she opens a gift, Po gasps dramatically and exclaims, "Ohhh! I've ALWAYS wanted this!" When she opened the gift pictured above, the box was upside down, and she gasped dramatically and exclaimed, "Ohhh! I've ALWAYS wanted an upside-down baby head!"

Happy Birthday, Po. We love you!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Blast from the Past. . .Literally

So much for a hiatus, huh? Blogging is cheap therapy.

Hatfield and I took the boys school supply shopping (5 bottles of Elmer's glue + 6 gluesticks per child?!?! Seriously, what are they gonna do with that much glue--stick the desks to the ceiling? Drink it? Sniff it? Sheesh!)

While shopping, we saw many a soup thermos, which had Hatfield and I howling with laughter about this experience:

Warning: Contents Under Pressure
Reposted from January 15, 2007

It's just about impossible to buy any product without it bearing some sort of warning label. While some definitely deserve merit (do not place rear-facing infant safety seat in a seat with an air bag), some are completely absurd: Tide: not a good food source; paint-removing heat gun: do not use gun as a hair dryer; sleeping pills: may cause drowsiness.

Yesterday we discovered a well-deserved warning label for our daughter's lunch thermos that the thermos company neglected to issue:

Warning: If soup is left in Thermos for 3 or more days, insert earplugs, place rubber gloves on hands, remove yourself from all other living beings. Then carefully remove cover.

Laugh all you want, but we're serious here! Last week Wednesday I gave Hatfield hot alphabet vegetable soup in this thermos for her school lunch. She came home from school that day, and in an effort to help me, placed the lunch box, still containing the thermos of leftover soup, in the lunch box cupboard. On Thursday and Friday I then used a different lunch box for Hatfield.

Come Sunday night, I take out the lunchbox and lo and behold, find her Thermos. Ewwww. I tried with all my might to open the darn thing, but the top wouldn't budge. I attributed this to dried out soup around the top of the thermos, and asked my husband to help me open it.

So here we are in the kitchen; me, innocently washing dishes, Cliff standing to my immediate left, being a good husband and opening the thermos, which is about 2 feet away from my left ear. .

Cliff and I are shell shocked for a moment. Through the intense ringing in my left ear, I suddenly hear Atticus. "HOLY COW!!! DO THAT AGAIN, DAD!!!"

Apparently, when a thermos holds leftover vegetable soup over a period of several days, the soup releases gas as it begins to decompose. The gas then builds up in the thermos until the unfortunate person chooses to open it. If this happens to you, please heed our warning: Proceed with caution.

Better still, if you can afford it and/or have bad health insurance, avoid the risk altogether and buy a new one.

* * * *

Needless to say, but Miles and Keenan will not be bringing soup to school in a thermos this year.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

It doesn't take a therapist to figure this one out. . .

So last night I had a dream where I was attending a large marathon (full, half, 5K.) I was, surprise surprise, signed up for the half. I remember nothing of the race. Suddenly it was post-race, and I was in a large, fancy ballroom that had red velvet bleachers set up in it. Fancy gold medals were being passed out to those who ran in the race.

I did not get one.

To add insult to injury, the emcee of the evening then asked Kristin Chenoweth to stand (she was holding a 1-year old blond boy) and sing for everyone. So she got up and sang, I Wish I Was an Oscar Meyer Weiner.

End of dream.

(Many thanks to my spoiled Po, who woke me from this dream at 2:15 a.m. to request cold water and chocolate. In a fog, I went downstairs, got the water and chocolate. Halfway up the stairs I thought, am I seriously about to give my kid chocolate in the middle of the night because she woke me up and asked for it? Hell to the no! In the name of good principled parenthood, I ate the chocolate before returning to my room, only to find a fast asleep Po. So I washed down the chocolate with the cold water and went to sleep in Po's bed.)

* * * * * *

I'm kinda stressing about this half-marathon.

The Mister ran his 8-miler on Sunday morning after Hatfield's soccer game. Since I'm not one to run mid-day when it's hotter than Haiti outside with nary a cloud in site, my plan was to run that evening.

7.75 miles into his run, the Mister felt a distinct feeling of a grape bursting in his foot. With each step, he felt like he was running on a squishy grape. By the time he hobbled in the door, he could barely move and his complexion was grey-green.

Not good.

Yesterday was spent in a blur of doctor's appointments, therapy appointment, pharmacy runs, dance class and a search for crutches. The diagnosis is still murky (probably gout? possible tendonitis? possible stress fracture on an unclear x-ray), mainly because sometimes, those pompous drug reps think they know more than doctors. Yet in the end it was agreed upon that the Mister needs to be on crutches with as much rest as possible for his foot for "the time being."

Needless to say, I never went for my long run, and after trying to help my Mister through yesterday, by then end of last night I was an anxiety-ridden wreck who was wondering what the heck she was doing signing up for a half-marathon.

How do Mom's with kids and kids with issues and life in general actually get a chance to run in these things? Because right now, I am SO tired that I don't know how to get both the training in and have the ability to get through the rest of these days.

Those who can have my ultimate respect.

This morning, I ran my 5-miler, as slow as a long, painful death, but it's D.O.N.E. at least. I'm purposely ignoring the chipper "18 Days to Marathon Day!" email sent to me by the run organizers.

Mantra for the moment:
One Day at a Time
One Day at a Time
One Day at a Time

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Here they come!!!

After a totally tense game & 3 overtime periods with a tied score of 0-0, Hatfield's team dominated that shootout and won the game!!!

They head to the Championship Match this afternoon!

Go, Girls!!!