On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lean on Faith

My emotions pendulum-swing from one extreme to another, gradually losing kinetic energy to friction so that I eventually come back to a neutral or centralized point that I can lay hold of, anchor my thoughts to, and propel myself forward in a positive, newly energized direction of hope and optimism. After the anguish and despair of yesterday's post, written directly after reading the email from the therapist, a culmination of ruminations of emotions for the last two weeks, I allowed the pendulum of my emotions to swing toward the polar opposite, taking my usual course toward eventual centrality.

Cognitively, I know that unless I purge myself of my extreme emotions, I am useless to my family and most poignantly, to helping Sissy. I'm not a self-centered beast of a mother that can't feel the reality of my child's pain, I'm simply realizing the depth of my own pain, allowing myself to feel the raw emotion now, before she returns, so I don't exact more harm on her when she's headlong in a fight-or-flight rage about brushing her teeth.

Recently, though, the arched swing of my pendulum is bumping into a road block that rebounds it prematurely, and with a dangerous wobble, right back into the raging emotional arc. My opposing emotional arc typically takes me to the healing I get from my faith so it is disconcerting to be continually diverted from this peace. But I think I've finally put a name to the roadblock my pendulum is hitting, it is the rogue and impossible man-made rhetoric of religious faith.

Previously, I've postulated on the meaning of faith and how that faith can be applied to the extreme challenges of life. There are many debilitating and destructive daily challenges people endure, besides raising RADishes. Every day, people live through harrowing, difficult things that go above and beyond normal life issues. Many of those people daily live that chaos for years on end without respite. But does admitting the pain of those events equate to not having faith that God will see us through them? Is being honest about those challenges and the mental and emotional toll they take ignoring God's deliverance from the wages of sin and death? Is asking for worldly assistance the same as denying God's ability to do something supernatural? Is accepting and verbally acknowledging a child's mental health illness and developmental delay and preparing for the long term prognosis equivalent to claiming that God isn't capable of miraculously healing those issues? Is admitting my fear and trepidation a sin because I'm not relying on faith to see me through?

What is "faith" anyway?

Today in Sunday School, another family was citing their current life challenges. My heart aches for them. It seems like an impossible road ahead of them as they prepare to sell a house in an inundated market so they can stay employed with the company that is relocating to another city. Not being "in the boat" with them as they traverse these murky waters of transplanting a family in an economic recession, I can look down the time line of life and see that they'll come out on the other end of it, one way or another. But I know that those words aren't helpful, the "God is in control" comments are hollow and empty, especially when fear is a factor. The leader got up and wrote on the white board, "Lean on Faith." He wasn't dismissing their concerns, in fact, he cited some of his own personal struggles as he sat down. He was simply redirecting us all to the truth, to the hope we have that is sure, that Christ is sufficient in all things, no matter what.

In the absence of a true definition of faith and how it applies to my religion, I decided to do some research. What is faith and do I have it or do I lack in it?

Merriam-Webster defines "faith" as this:
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs
synonyms see belief

— on faith : without question

Britanica says this:
Greek - Pistis, Latin - Fides

inner attitude, conviction, or trust relating man to a supreme God or ultimate salvation. In religious traditions stressing divine grace, it is the inner certainty or attitude of love granted by God himself. In Christian theology, faith is the divinely inspired human response to God’s historical revelation through Jesus Christ and, consequently, is of crucial significance.

No definition allows for identification of “faith” with “religion.” Some inner attitude has its part in all religious traditions, but it is not always of central significance

An excerpt from Wikipedia:
Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept or thing.[1][2] The English word is thought to date from 1200–50, from the Latin fidem or fidēs, meaning trust, derived from the verb fīdere, to trust.[1]

The term is employed in a religious or theological context to refer to a confident belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of scriptures, teachings or a Supreme Being. It may be used to refer to a particular religious tradition or to religion in general.

Since faith implies a trusting reliance upon future events or outcomes, it is often taken by its detractors as inevitably synonymous with a belief "not resting on logical proof or material evidence."[3][4]

Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true,[5] belief in and assent to the truth of what is declared by another, based on his or her supposed authority and truthfulness.[6] Informal usage can be quite broad, and the the word is often used as a mere substitute for trust or belief.

And finally, Hebrews 11:1 says:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6 describes the meaning and the practical role of faith: "Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."


By definition, I have faith! I LEAN on faith. I am a faithful person. I have faith in God. I don't have to strive for my mustard seed's worth, I have a Stone Mountain's worth! I can officially annihilate that road block in my emotional machinations. Faith is not an issue for me 'cause Baby, I got it!

And all that other ridiculous religious rhetoric? Garbage. I'm not sure why a mystical religious faith became an ideal we have to strive for when we meet challenges in our life that we struggle with. Or rather, that faith becomes something we lack in because we express that we have a challenge we're overwhelmed by. By definition, that's not what faith is. The substance of faith, is simply saying "God, help me through this hard thing, I can't do it on my own."

God never promises us a life without trial but He does promise to be by our side every minute of it, to never leave us nor forsake us. If anything, living a life that is filled with trial and tribulation gives us more cause to exhaust our own resources so that we find the only path to peace despite our trials, is to have faith that God is with us every second.

Today is the second Sunday of Lent, a 40 day season of personal reflection and sacrifice toward Jerusalem and the cross that saves us all. 40 is a number that shows up in scripture many times, it means "God at work." I challenge you to find the ways God is at work in your life in the midst of your struggles and trials and to live in the truth that by doing so, you are, in fact, leaning on faith.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Email transmission at 3:00 pm Friday: Sissy's discharge date is Friday, 3-5-10.

This is not a discharge from RTC that she has completed her therapy successfully. This is a discharge from insurance that says she no longer meets their criteria for in patient care (but they still haven't told me what that criteria is).

In phone conference on Thursday afternoon, the therapist admitted:
1. Sissy is not better
2. Sissy will reescalate
3. Sissy is still a threat to her siblings
4. We have not had enough time to recover from Sissy's trauma
5. Sissy is not safe in a home setting
6. Sissy will probably end up back at RTC

Our options:
1. CBAY waiver
2. Pay privately for group home or continued stay at RTC
3. Foster care (which goes on our criminal record and ruins any future plans we might have dallied with for adopting again. but right now? I'll scream it from the top of Stone Mountain, "NEVER AGAIN!")
4. IFI program

we've opted for CBAY and IFI (but I'm cringing about IFI because I'm really anxious that we'll get some fresh-out-of-college rookie that is still gung-ho about saving the world one psychotic kid at a time)

Plans in the works:
1. emergency IEP for EBD placement if and only if RTC cooperates and releases her records in time so we can avoid her going back to mainstream classroom on 3-8-10. but I'm not hopeful. Keeping her at home until appropriate placement can be arranged = me getting a criminal charge of truancy
2. calling the deputy that patrols our area, again, to let him know she's coming home and to anticipate dispatches to our house
3. getting back on the calendar for weekly therapy with the RAD therapist and monthly appointments with the psychiatrist
4. getting insurance to extend the waiver for her anti-psychotic med (she's not diagnosed as ASD on paper which is the only way resperidone is approved by FDA for children her age)
5. determining if a dual diagnosis on paper gets her MORE services or makes it harder for her to get them. (of course, it gets her resperidone - see #4)
6. stocking up on alcohol? OK. maybe not. but right now, altering my state of mind sounds like a really good idea

Things we need that we're not getting:
1. respite care
2. a safety plan for Aspie Boy and Wonder Girl
3. prevention from family chaos and crisis (because three one-hour weekly visits from IFI is not sufficient to prevent chaos and crisis if in 12 hours last weekend Sissy could completely upend three months of recovery)
4. financial assistance
5. hope

Things we're getting that we don't need:
1. chritian rhetoric and placating phrases like
- "god won't give you more than you can handle" or
- "God gave you these kids so he knew you could handle it" or
- "god can heal everything" or
- "we rebuke Sissy's illness in the name of Jesus" or
- "we bind all generational curses" or
- "this will all be behind you soon and Sissy will recover and be just fine" or
- "we're praying for Sissy's healing" or
- "god is in control so don't worry"

I know that people don't know what to say or how to respond and that they feel really inadequate to say or do anything that is helpful. I accept that. I know that for some people, God is their rock and hope and the first thing they run to and that I should probably do that too. I accept that as well. But it's like being slapped in the face with a cold cod fish when all of that rhetoric is spouted off, it feels dismissive of my pain. It doesn't acknowledge that Sissy's illness is progressive and that she is a sinking ship that robs us of joy, hope and a future.

If people could imagine their successful children and all of the joys they've had raising those children being turned upside-down, inside-out in a second and then being told that it's all broken, forever, it would begin to help them understand the pain we're enduring. Hearing about their child's school projects or their BFFs or they A+ they got on a math test or their academic trips they get to take as a select group of excelling students, or their missions trip plans for the summer to help inner-city kids, all of it is a sucker-punch to the gut.

My parenting experience has been a downward spiral of chaos, crisis, hopelessness and despair IN ADDITION TO knowing that I have one child that is not impaired, who is capable of doing all of those wonderful normal childhood things but who will continue to suffer because of Sissy, Sissy who will be sent home on Friday even though she's not better, Sissy, who has injured her sister in the past and without a 24/7 watchful eye (impossible!) will likely hurt her sister again.

If people, in their efforts to make me feel better with their feel-good christian rhetoric, could keep these thoughts in their back pocket before they said anything, it would prevent the cold cod fish slaps I keep getting.

And because I'm telling my readers, which includes non-virtual family and friends what I DON'T want and need, it requires that I tell you what I DO need. I can do this best with an analogy.

I'm in a hole I was forced to dig because of my child's needs, a hole that may or may not eventually lead to a brighter future and potential success for my child but because I love her, I have to try. I've been digging the hole by myself and with my spouse, 24/7 for 9 years. As I've dug the hole, I've been isolated from the things my peers have done: going out with their spouses, going to their children's events, enjoying the financial rewards of a career, going to sleep without worry, etc. As i've dug the hole, I've had only God to talk to for comfort and hope. God and I have a very intimate relationship because we've spent a lot of time in this hole together.

My hole is now too deep for me to get out of without help. I can see the top of the hole and some sunlight but that's it. I'm covered in dirt, mud and muck. Scraped knuckles and aching muscles from endless digging, I have no fresh water, a worn out shovel and only a rope/pulley system to haul up buckets full of earth debris at a time.

People stand at the top of my hole and look in on me and my progress. They inadvertently kick dirt and rocks back in as they stand there, shouting at me, "hey jennie, good job! nice hole you got there! you'll be finished soon!" then they walk away and I'm alone again. I can see nothing but walls of earth, rock, bugs and hours of toil.

Then, a ladder comes down the hole. A bright happy face and rested body shimmies down the ladder. This person is laden with canteens of water, protein bars, an mp3 player synced with my favorite tunes and a cache of fresh batteries to keep it working, head lamps, wash cloths to wipe myself clean, a belt loaded with useful gadgets, and two fresh shovels.

"wow!" says the unexpected helper. "you've gotten a lot done! Did you do this all by yourself?"

I nod my head like a bobble head on a dashboard.

"Phew, girl! that's impressive!" then my helper hugs my filthy, stinking body. "you're amazing!"

we pause for a minute and take a swig of water, surveying the progress. "So," says my helper. "mind if I help?"

I hand my helper a shovel and we keep digging but my helper takes my shovel from my hand and says, "go up for a little while," nodding toward the ladder. "take a breather. I've got this. Come back down when you're ready."


This is what I need.
This is what I seem completely unable to find.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

wacky words wedensdays

It's Wacky Words Wednesday again! Did you miss it last week? Did you forget to pass along the fun? Click the label for this post to find out all about it.

This Week's Wacky Words Wednesday Post
These are actually wacky words from my friend's RADish

C~ came for a visit. It had just been The Dad's birthday. In our house, a birthday tradition is to get that person his/her favorite candy bar. The Dad's candy bar was on his dresser and C~ saw it.

"Mrs. S. What's this?"

"A candy bar."

"oh." long pause. "why?"

"The Dad got it as a birthday gift."

"why didn't he eat it?"

"He just hasn't yet." long pause. "C~? Don't eat the candy bar."

"oh. I won't" but of course, she'd yet to take her eyes off the thing. I attempted to distract her with some laundry and I thought the episode was over. Later, as I was driving C~ home The Dad called my cell phone.

"Ask C~ if she knows where my candy bar is."

So i asked C~ who was sitting beside me in the van, "C~, where's the candy bar?"

Her response? "Tell him not to look under the bed."

LOL! It still makes me giggle and it's been almost a year. When I remind C~ about it she says, "Mrs. S. we're not going there." Which makes me laugh harder!

Of course, C~ ate the candy bar. And no, there was nothing under the bed. Not even the empty wrapper.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recommendations from the Psychologist

Aspie Boy's psychologist finished the annual evaluation that was prompted by his recent outburst at school in which he protested bullying by declaring it was the President's fault and that since the President hadn't prevented the bullying, the President should be *censored*[1]

The staff recommended this text on social stories and and Mandala coloring pages to have children color while discussing social stories.

Just thought I'd pass on the resources!

[1] he said he wanted to harm the president, well, kill him, actually, but I'm nervous typing that on the internet because even though a 9 year old kid with special needs isn't really going to act out that aggressive thought, that doesn't mean the feds aren't looking for rogue terrorists by screening the internet and blogosphere for suggestive comments!

Monday, February 22, 2010


oh my, I am exhausted. Emotionally, mentally and physically. I know I've said it a gajillion times but good god almighty, that road trip to and from Atlanta is a brute. It is God's grace and favor alone that got me home safely. I walked into the house and flopped in the bed. No tooth brushing, no hair brushing, no change of clothes (gracious me, I slept in my bra. THAT is miserable.)

Sissy's weekend went poorly. She didn't waste time. She went straight back to her behaviors. Lying, sneaking, stealing, manipulating, crying jags, unwillingness to own up to her poor choices when we attempted to talk through them with her, anger, unwillingness to use her coping skills, lots of glowers-of-death directed at The Dad and I...

Did I say I was exhausted?

I think the biggest "tell" for me was when The Dad asked me to rub his back (he has degenerative disks) and my attempt to meet his needs was immediately thwarted by one more issue to fend off with Sissy so that 45 minutes later, exasperated, I got up to do something and The Dad said, "but you never rubbed my back" and I nearly cried. Because here was one more thing proving that Sissy steals ALL OF MY ENERGY so that I can't take care of the people the reciprocate in relationship, the most significant being the loving relationship I actively chose, my spouse! Then at the end of the day, Wonder Girl and Aspie Boy had practically put themselves to bed when they said, "mom? can you read to us?" and I realized, with the same level of frustration and exasperation that Sissy's antics had stolen my time and energy with them as well. I succeeded but with effort to read to them without crying because I felt so bad, because I felt so powerless to avoid Sissy's energy drain traps and that 24 hours in, Sissy had returned us all to exactly the same pitiful family dynamics we suffered from before her placement.

90 days. 90 DAYS! she's been at RTC for her very first weekend home to experience ALL of her old behaviors without any change. I give her 3 weeks home after discharge before it is fully escalated back to the same level of crisis she was at before placement. If that long.

Right now, other than exhausted, I feel so powerless and even more inadequate to help her than I did before the weekend. She is a black hole that sucks the life out of everything that comes in her path. She does not give ANYTHING back. I kept looking for something, any sense of her giving back, even in a minuscule way. But I couldn't find anything. Aspie Boy, for all of his issues, gives back. Heck, I've talked to parents of adult non-verbal autistic children that still report the positive affirmations they receive in that parent/child relationship.

And all of her crying jags? every single episode was a manipulation. She was able to produce tears in one second and then in the very next second be perfectly fine, requesting that we do one more thing for her. Talk therapy? Pbft. She just tuned us out. Like a switch.

I don't know what to do. She's 10. I've lived this hell for 9 years with no change in her behavior, no DESIRE to seek that change, no effort to form relationship, nothing at all despite the enormous efforts and lengths we've gone through to help her, to change ourselves, to learn how to meet her needs. Her future? Right now, if it stays exactly the same, Sissy has no meaningful future. And neither do we.

As I typed this, insurance called. "Mrs.S, how did it go?" I told her everything I just typed in this post. She said, "well, I'll call you in 10 days."

So I guess I just bought us 10 more days from insurance?

I feel so trapped. 10 days will not exact change. 10 days is just a prolonging of the inevitable. Sissy will come home and our brief respite from hell will be just that, a mere glimpse of how happy and healthy our family life can be in the absence of hell and terror.

I doesn't get any more real than this, folks.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

13 hours in

13 hours in to Sissy's weekend TL at home, 9 of which she was sleeping and she's lied three times, been given a consequence, slammed a door in her anger and had three crying outbursts. And that's not including all the self-centeredness and somewhere in there I keep trying to find the love I have for my child. I've got to find it. I WILL find it.

She's agreed to a haircut. Thank God because her hair is a mess. And the jacket she got form her grandmother for Christmas that she's not taken off since 12-28-09 is probably ruined but I had her put it in the washer in hopes it might be salvaged. The dang thing could probably walk away, it was so filthy. (because she refuses to obey RTC rules about laundry duties...)


OK, be positive, mom. Find something good...

I think this med mix is actually working for her. She's a little spacey but the psychoses I could see in her eyes before she went to RTC is gone. All hail risperdone, lamictal and immipramine!

RTC nurse did not pack enough Colace, but Aspie Boy has Miralax so I can supplement.

Unsupervised playtime with her siblings is baned. Wonder Girl came to us at 5 am, the fifth night in a row she's had a nightmare that someone or something was trying to kill her. Last night she dreamed a dinosaur was tearing down our house and a mirror fell on her head and cracked her skull open. The Dad said to me, "yeah, the dinosaur tearing down the house? metaphorical symbol for Sissy?" I nodded in agreement.

later peeps. She said she wanted to play with Wonder Girl outside so I'm on the porch supervising but her "play with wonder girl" equates to lay on the trampoline playing her recorder while shouting at Wonder Girl who is in the sand box what she thinks Wonder Girl should be doing, some of which includes instructions of what Wonder Girl should do for Sissy. Nipped THAT in the butt real quick. I keep telling myself it's not self-centeredness, it's self-preservation, the mind of the RAD child is self-preservation at all cost, THIS is what needs to be healed. focus mom, focus. Don't let her get your goat!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

we need more time

it all comes down to money

but we really need more time.
Sissy needs more time.

The RTC therapist believes that a weekend TL will buy us that time. The objective is to bring Sissy home for the weekend, see how she does (which will be poor, duh) so we can report her progress to the therapist who will report it to insurance who will decide if it's enough to put Sissy in the "meets criteria for in patient care" category.

It's a crap shoot at best but the therapist said based on Sissy's behaviors in the RTC this past week alone, her report to insurance will get us more time. This overnight TL will just be the icing on the cake, so to speak. But since insurance, when asked flat out, "what are the criteria for in patient care?" has this response, "I can't give you the answer to that question ma'am, but I can find out the answer for you when she's discharged" i think it's safe to assume that no matter what I do, the giant machine called state budget for mental health will win. Because let's face it, it's all about that bottom line and my low-income kid on state insurance is costing taxpayers money. $8,500 a month's worth.

Some days I want to march up to the type of people on this planet that spend $500,000 to clone their dead dogs and punch them square in the face. Not, "hi, how are you, *SMACK*" just


and then casually walk away, whistling with my hands in my pockets like I didn't do nothing at all. You know, like a RAD kid would.

Here's to 12 hours of driving, spending $100 for gas instead of groceries and 36 hours with Sissy in my house again, sleeping in the living room behind a curtain made of bed sheets and screaming at me when I tell her it's time to bathe and brush her teeth. Then throwing away the food I prepare for her because of course, I feed my family poison, Wonder Girl's been on chelation since birth, her kidneys are shot, don't you know because I'm such a hideous parent. Oh, and the growling and glaring and tossing of hairbrushes at my face because I asked her to brush her hair. Heh, i just had a thought. Maybe this weekend she'll need a haircut. (Staff at the RTC has complained of Sissy's annoying tendencies to disregard her Personal Hygiene, especially managing her mane) Well, I think a haircut can be managed, by golly. Fussing at Aspie Boy, petting and baby talking to Wonder Girl, whining about playing outside, on the trampoline of all things. Really, I should be imprisoned.

I'm not looking forward to this. It's too soon. We were just getting better at home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wacky Words Wednesdays

OK, so Christine has her magic-milk pictures and her sexperiment and Essie has her too-true tuesdays so I thought

what about wacky words wednesdays?

becasue our RADishes have all kinds of strange, silly, insane, absurd, irritating, nauseating and down right laugh-your-butt-off things they say, that they absolutely need to be put on the page!

So pass it along!
Wacky Words Wednesdays
Rules: in 300 words or less, paraphrase any back history needed to understand the context of the conversation with your RADish and then make us laugh with the crazy, insane, obnoxious, weird or wild things your RADish has said

The First Wacky Words Wednesday Post
We like to play car word games to prevent outbursts while driving. On our recent TL with Sissy, we were driving to the park so we asked the question, "Can anyone guess how many McDonald's there are in the world?" because the day before, The Dad and I had watched a documentary about it. Aspie Boy guesses, "22,000?" Wonder Girl says, "100!" and then it was Sissy's turn.


"Come on, Sissy, guess, it's just a game."

*more grunting followed by a whiny, "I don't know"

"Whatever, don't play our game, we don't care."


"Oh? you have a guess?"


"well, how many McDonald's do you think there are in the world?"

"65 billion."


The Dad and I lost it, we couldn't keep a lid on our hysteria. We laughed so hard The Dad almost had to pull over. Sissy groaned and Aspie Boy begged, "well, who wins?"

The Dad and I composed ourselves and said, "you're closest Aspie Boy, there are 31,000" at which point Sissy lets out a huge complaining groan of exasperation.

65 billion?!? i don't think McDonald's makes that much money a year! LOL I know she said it just to tick us off. It didn't work.

OK, your turn!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

getting it done

Disclaimer: after I wrote the post and thought about this insane day, it occurred to me that it may come across as though this day was annoying and aggravating. But that's just it. I LOVED it. Every minute of this insanity! Plus, I willing offered to help D with L and C, I agreed to tutor when asked and I offered to drive Wonder girl's friend home from Daisy's because I love these people and I like having them in my life. Added bonus, it makes for good blogging material when you roll it all into one zany day.

INSANELY crazy day. I have NO IDEA what possessed me to do what I did today but I did it and gosh was it ever fun! At some point in the day, someone asked me why I had my day listed out by times of the events on the green board in the kitchen. well, let me tell you, if it hadn't been for that list today, I surely would have lost my mind.

7:12 am the alarm goes off (why 7:12? so I can hit the snooze twice and wake up at 7:30) Only I couldn't hit the snooze today. I had to jump in the shower but not before calling my friend D~ "I'm jumping in the shower but the front door's unlocked, just come in!"

7:45 I am throwing on my shirt and muttering, "oh damn!" because my clothes closet is in the hallway by the front door (I surrendered my bedroom closet 18 months ago so The Dad could turn it into his office. Now Mommy gets dressed in the hallway which means Mommy is streaking alot which means if you have guests pulling into your driveway while you're dressing, you have to mutter "Oh Damn!" from time to time as you shove your arms into holes in shirts)

7:45:30 D~ and her girls, L and C are stumbling through the door just as I yank my shirt over my waist, my hair uncombed and drippy wet. D is aggravated with L and C is fake coughing. D hands me a bag of cough drops. "If C decides she needs to fake cough, you hand her a losenge. The.first.time" I nod in acknowledgement. C is 19 and RADs. She can fake any bodily function she wants. No joke. The girl could be a magician (if people liked bodily function type of humor/magic)

wonder girl and Aspie boy stumble out of bed after our long day the day before and are greeted by the raucous L and C create. D waves good bye and mouths a "good luck" to me as she drives away.

I hand C and broom and say, "since you're here, be useful!" and I usher Aspie Boy and Wonder Girl to their rooms to get dressed.

8:15 we are a screaming, jumbled, bumbling mess of arms, legs and running mouths as we pile into the van to take L to work. L is severely impaired but has a day job. With my address in hand, she confidently proclaims that she can direct "the short bus" to my house. I tell her, "no worries, L, the driver knows my neighborhood, he drives my neighbor too and from every day." My neighbor has Down Syndrome, she lives at home with her parents but spends her days at the senior center.

The drive to L's work was the longest 15 minute drive of my life. L screaming at C, C screaming at Aspie Boy, wonder girl smuggly sitting in the back seat. I finally said, "OK L, tell me something about your weekend" because L and C had spent last Thursday with us and then enjoyed the weekend at Myrtle Beach. At that point, C decides to fake cough and I thrust my hand into my purse and tossed one at her in the back seat. "You have such an awesome mom C, she tells me how to take care of you even when she's not here!" I ask L again to share something and thus we began a round-robin discussion of highlights of our weekend and every time it was Aspie Boy's turn there was a chorus of four women shouting at him, "ASPIE BOY! STOP TALKING!" because you can't ask my son to paraphrase. LMAO!

8:40 we drive past L and C's house to get L's clothes since she left them in their rush to get to my house the hour beforehand.

8:45 we make it to the board of education's office to sign consent of release of records so the county can get records from the RTC and just as we get to the door of the building, Aspie Boy stubs his toe on the door jamb and literally dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes right there, on the threshold of the door, screaming at the top of his lungs and I just stood there with the door hanging open and the entire vestibule of people staring at the four of us - a sight to see, I'm sure. one frazzled mom, one 19 year old RADish, one 9 year old Asperger kid and one 5 year old priss. We literally drag Aspie Boy, screaming, to a chair so I can ask the receptionist where we go to sign releases. She directs me to floor three and to "judy"

we file into the elevator and press 3. Aspie boy doesn't care for elevators and proceeds to throw himself on the floor... again. This after C and I dragged him still screaming into the dang thing. Aspie Boy is screaming as the door of the elevator opens to one smiling Judy who says so kindly, "I'm Judy, follow me." and I wanted to kiss her.

The four of us file into Judy's office which Aspie Boy proceeds to inspect, followed by Wonder Girl that instinctively replaces everything Aspie boy touches and moves (OMG!!!! can I pour a cocktail at 8:50 am?!?) and Judy so kindly asks for my info while making small talk about all the nuances of our clan and Sissy and... Judy stopped. "C?" she asks. "C.F.?" I nod. C is clueless that she's being inquired about even though she was STANDING IN FRONT OF JUDY (gotta love RADs) and Judy smiles. "C? Do you remember the time you came into my office and locked all of my cabinets, the cabinets I didn't have a key for so the janitor had to drill them all out? I haven't forgotten YOU C..." and I wanted to run away and hide! At which point, Wonder Girl hands Judy all of the things Aspie Boy moved and I say, "OK! we're done here, thanks Judy!" which was followed by Aspie Boy running and humming/thumping/stimming in the wrong direction but confident that he would find the elevator and thus the way out of the building which was followed by RADical C shouting, nay screaming after him (did I mention we were in an OFFICE of about 20 employees in cubicles?) "Aspie Boy! The elevator is this way!" and Wonder Girl was already there, buttons pushed, she's in the thing and prepared to leave us all behind (can you blame her?)

9:10 am we were back at home (THANK GOD!) and C decides to cough again. hand her another cough drop. she gets miffed. "I was only clearing my throat" which I chased with "mom said" so she glared and huffed into the house. I think "dear God in heaven, we have to take the dog to the vet at 10:30!"

9:15 am C is complaining about cough drop
9:20 am C is complaining about cough drop
9:25 am C is complaining about her good for nothing mother
9:30 am C is complaining about me loving her good for nothing mother
9:35 am C is worrying about the vet
9:40 am C is worrying about the dog
9:45 am C is fake coughing again (because the dog is sick so she should be too)
9:45:10 am C is being handed another cough drop
9:46 am C is complaining about cough drop
9:50 am C is complaining about her good for nothing mother
9:55 am C is asking about vet
10:00 am C is yelling at me that it's time to go to the vet
10:00:01 am I direct C to the green board so she can tell me what time it says we go to the vet
10:00:02 am C says, "10:30" and then complains about the cough drop
10:05 am C is telling me it's time to go
10:10 am C is telling me it's time to go
10:15 am C is telling me it's time to go
10:20 am C is telling me it's time to go (the vet is literally 2 minutes away)
10:25 am C is getting into the van and says, "*cough* the dog must really be sick" I hand her another cough drop
10:30 am we get to the vet

now... between 9:15 and 10:30 while C did all of her gyrations, Aspie Boy buzzed about me like a humming bird and said 15,000 times "can I watch it? I want to watch it. when can I watch it?" he was asking to watch Star Wars III

10:31 am we bring the dog into the vet. all four of us. into the tiny office. O.M.G. What the *bleep* was I thinking?!?!?!?!?!?!?
10:32 am vet gives dog cortizone injection
10:32:10 am a very frazzled me says, "all of you, get in the van. no. go. get.in.the.van. just.... go. no, i've got the dog. i have to pay. i'm right here. van.now.go.thankyou."
10:32:25 am vet's receptionist is laughing. not giggling. side splitting laughing. at me. and my crew. I hand her credit card, nonplussed. She wishes me luck and continues to laugh.
10:34 am we return home. C and wonder girl turn on TV. and Aspie watches his movie in his room (i broke all of my TV/movie rules today and I don't friggin' care!) i declare, "mom time!"
11:45 am the short bus drops off L and I'm relieved. Someone smiley and kind! lol
12:00 pm (hey, they were starved) Wonder Girl and I rest on Sissy's living room bed while I wait for my tutoring student to show up - hey, I'm an opportunist. there's a bed in my living room, you think I'm not going to take a nap on it?!?
12:45 pm tutoring student shows up

thankfully C and L and Wonder Girl can play pretty well together. lots of games and trampoline jumping and fun was had by all. There were lots of noisy interruptions and L likes to sing (but she doesn't sing well) so my student and I had lots of giggles

3:45 student leaves
3:46 C asks when Mom is coming
3:47 C asks when mom is coming
3:48 C asks when mom is coming and L shouts "4 o'clock!!! Now shut up already!" (here's to big sisters, can I get an, "Amen"?)
4:10 D returns to get the girls
5:10 The Dad and I decide Pancake Palooza at church isn't happening for us today. I promise to make pancakes tomorrow and we eat sandwiches and chips instead
6:15 Wonder Girl and I leave to take her to her first Daisy's meeting (k-1st grade girl scouts stuff)
7:45 i leave daisy's with Wonder Girl and her Friend to take friend home - it was on the way and I gladly offered. She's a super cute kid!
8:00 get home
8:30 Aspie Boy and Wonder Girl are in bed


oh and some where in all of that I rehung all of the living room pictures we took down when we rearranged the living room, I straightened up the kids' bedrooms, I swept, I wiped tables and counters and fielded about five phone calls for Sissy's crap, er, I mean, school stuff and Aspie Boy's psych eval after his near miss with suspension three weeks back because he threatened to kill the president (UGH!) and email from RTC - they need us to do weekend TL (which means we might be getting more time from insurance? don't know) and it was Call Sissy night and and and

the next five days are going to be just as hellish.
go me.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Oh, I am extremely grateful for my recliner. After 6 hours of driving, it is lovely to sit here with my feet up. My living room may now be half the size it was two days ago, but there's still room to fully recline (admittedly, this wasn't possible without first moving the coffee table to the garage for storage). Here's to 1200 square foot houses that are made smaller by fashioning bedrooms out of living rooms.

The road trip is always uneventful, with the exception of Aspie Boy's incessant chatter and toileting issues. It's just insanely boring. I'm not kidding when I tell you I'd rather drive from here to Pennsylvania, 12 hours on the road, than drive from here to Atlanta. That stretch of Interstate 20 is mind-numbing. Oh, and then when you drive it at night and there is literally 30-40 mile stretches of road of NOTHING, absolutely nothing and it is pitch black and you have to be ever-vigilant for deer and Aspie Boy is asking every 5 minutes when we'll be home, water torture would be less painful.

Therapy at the RTC? The staff filled me in on a few things about Sissy's hygiene battles, all the same as we've had at home minus the melt downs. They report that she gets whiny and aggravated but when put to the task, she acquiesces without much ado. I told them how she behaves at home when asked to do the same tasks and they just nodded knowingly. Then we filed all five of us, me, Sissy, Aspie Boy, Wonder Girl and the therapist into that tiny room and attempted to play Chutes and Ladders so the therapist could observe family dynamics. Aspie Boy was crawling out of his skin as I predicted, Sissy got mildly annoyed a few times and Wonder Girl was just giddy and glad to be out of the van. No major meltdowns except for me.

The therapist asked me how things were going and I caved. I just blurted out all of my fears and worries, every last issue I could think of all while sobbing, sniffling and making a royal fuss. Sissy feigned concern and the therapist called her on it. Aspie Boy soiled himself because non-residents aren't allowed to use any of the residents' toilets and Wonder Girl played in the sand. All in all I think it went well, don't you?

The therapist can't do much for us other than make notes in her biweekly eval that our resources here are pitiful, that I can' possibly replicate the therapies that Sissy is currently getting when she returns and that if nothing else, we need more time to get an appropriate school placement for Sissy before she comes home. She'll send her report some time this week and we cross our fingers. If we can buy more time, we'll try to do a weekend TL this weekend and if not, then we'll use this weekend as our last time of respite before Sissy returns. When asked when insurance might give her the boot, the therapist just shrugged her shoulders.


So we had supper at tudusamom's house and that was crazy fun. On the 12 minute drive back to the RTC, Sissy and Wonder Girl had it out in the backseat so that by the time we pulled into the parking lot, Sissy was quite relieved to be done with us and didn't give me a second glance when it was time to say good bye. Typically she trumps up a huge crying jag for show. Not today. Whatever! I told the staff that Sissy had a few issues and left.

I should be in bed. Like, right now. My friend's bringing her SpEd and RAD kids tomorrow at 7:45 am because it's furlough days for our county which means the kids are out but teachers are in (she's an EBD teacher). I have a very full day of miscellaneous whozits and whatzits which at this point, is a welcome reprieve to the last six days of fretting and figuring over Sissy. The Dad says, respite? what respite? we've spent the last three months doing nothing but think about Sissy - when to call her, what to say, when is therapy, when do we drive back, TLs and her return, blah, blah, blah and we've yet to feel safe after all those months of chaos

what he said.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Faith, again

I'm still pondering my faith question in my last post. I still don't have an answer. I'm just hanging on for dear life.

We rearranged our living room to accommodate a bed and a night table for Sissy's "space". We don't want to call it her "room" because the ideology is that she will work toward relationship with us and toward feeling safe and eventually return to room-sharing with Wonder Girl. But we also want to acknowledge that the transition from RTC to home will be challenging for all and a quiet space to herself may be very beneficial. A quiet space, I might add, that is very close to me. I don't miss the fact that as Mom, I play the largest roll in Sissy's healing.

We've got king size flat sheets for curtains that will represent the walls of her space and a motion sensor so we'll know when she's wandering at night. Previously we used the baby monitor in the girls' room which works but isn't perfect for alerting me to night time habits, in part because I'm a hard sleeper. Luckily, the girls' bunk beds were actually stackable twin beds with nearly a foot clearance from the floor, allowing ample space for storage. A quick trip to the dollar store netted me three bins, two with locking lids. It looks quite cozy, actually and although when all was said and done, I had a quiet cry to myself in the bathroom (the only place a woman can get 10 minutes to herself) because it still feels so underhanded and mean, I know it is the right thing to do. The bottom line is safety and ease in transition for her and us.

Sissy cried bitterly on the phone when The Dad told her what some of the plans at home would be upon her return, although he did not breathe a word of her projected discharge date. Tonight's the night she's supposed to call us, let's see if she pulls it off. Tomorrow i brave the 6 hour round trip with Wonder Girl and Aspie Boy in tow for a family therapy session in that tiny, sensory-nightmarish space of a therapist's office. I'm really crossing my fingers that Aspie Boy, who is pretty high-strung lately, will be off his rocker after the trip and extremely excitable by the tiny room (small spaces make him unnerved) thereby causing the type of reaction Sissy typically gives us at home, which is highly combative. I want the therapist to witness this. I want her to know what I'll have going on when Sissy returns. I want it in writing. I want insurance to know.

Attending church today, the children learned about the four friends that lowered their fifth, paralyzed friend, through the roof of the building Jesus was in, believing without question, that Christ would heal their friend. And of course, Jesus cites their faith as the impetus for the healing he did in fact, provide. The paralyzed man being told to get up and walk, to take his mat and go home. Faith. It comes to faith, again. Faith that God is capable, that nothing is impossible for him. Nothing.

Just when I think I've hoed the hardest road in my life, I get to the next row and it always proves to be harder. Maybe faith is sustaining me even now as I mentally prepare my aching muscles to raise the hoe again and strike the rocky, hard soil. Maybe I need to imagine myself as one of those four friends, tearing out the tile of a roof for their paralyzed friend. Maybe preparing the room for Sissy is my physical effort in faith.

I'm going to look back on this time in my life and be amazed. That's the faith I'm clinging to. That in the future, I'll see how Christ ordered my steps and paved a path for me and my family. But right now, in the middle of it, staring at this fallow field and the acres of untilled, unyielding earth feeling alone and uncared for, I want to chuck my hoe after breaking it in two and run away.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is it really all about faith?

Is it really all about our faith, or is there an element I'm missing, some piece to the puzzle of life that didn't come in my box so that I have a complete picture, minus one piece?

I do have friends here that have kids with needs, in fact, most of the people I hang out with have kids with needs. It's just easier. Strength in numbers kind of thing. Only one of my friends is an adoptive mom and only one of her kids has RADs. Her daughter suffered trauma by both her biological and foster families. She's now 19 and better, but will never achieve full functionality. She is still very RADical.

Last night we went to a benefit concert, Winter Jam Tony Nolan was hosting the concert, drumming support for the charity he's partnered with, Holt International. Holt helps families adopt internationally as well as running a sponsor-a-child program. Nolan of course, has adopted a child from China, assuming custody this past summer, their daughter now three having spent the first few years of her life in an orphanage. They brought the cutie pie on stage and put the microphone in her hand so she could say thank you for people helping the children.

Nolan's own story is wrought with RAD-worthy trauma. You can read the whole story on his web page but the summary is he was severely traumatized by his biological and adoptive families, became a troubled teen and suicidal. His story changes when he made a commitment to Christ instead of killing himself. According to the website, he was instantly changed and healed. At the concert, I looked at my friend, our adopted kids with us, in all their special needs glory, including RADical fun-ness and I said to her, "I don't get it. How is he functional? How is his daughter not traumatized? How is his life not ruined by RADs?" She just shrugged his shoulders.

So I lay awake last night thinking about it. How does God choose whom will be miraculously healed of RADs? Tony Nolan's mother was severely emotionally disturbed. How did he not get mental illness too? If God can heal RADs, why doesn't Cindy have an amazing healing story for all 39 of her kids? Why are so many of us scrambling to find the best plan to help our RADishes but never a magic cure even when we actively pursue God for the answers? How the heck does a RADish that won't receive grace accept the grace of God's forgiveness? Is Tony Nolan exaggerating about his story?

I woke up to these thoughts running through my head, scrambling to put things in place in an attempt to trigger Sissy so we can buy another 30 days from insurance. Processing all the phone calls I made to the county and school yesterday to figure out how to get a more appropriate placement for Sissy when she returns, alerting them to our truncated time frame. Tutoring a math student, running to banks, grocery shopping, it's now snowing, tudusamom and I just getting off the phone with each other, laughing about the insanity of 3" of the white stuff in Georgia, of all places.

I read his hands his feet's post today and I thought, here it is, more faith that I'm lacking in. or maybe God just isn't choosing to bless our family that way. Where is that missing piece in my life and how the heck do I find it?!? As my debit card was denied at the grocery store earlier and I had to put the food I purchased for our weekend long snow-in on credit so I could reimburse the card on Monday when my checking account posts the deposit I made this morning. Fielding a phone call from the Homeless Veterans and the soliciting caller was not sympathetic when I said, "now is not the time in my life for me to be donating to others' causes. now is the time for MY family to be getting much needed help" and all he said was, "Yes ma'am, times are tough for everyone now." (I can't wait for the time technology advances to the level that I can put my hand through the phone and strangle the caller on the other end)

And I read corey's email and I ponder the question she posed, Is the best place for Sissy at RTC; irrespective of insurance, is that where Sissy should be right now and if so, is she really at the best place to meet her needs and yours? and I can't honestly answer that question, because I don't know. I know nothing, apparently, if Tony Nolan can be miraculously healed in an instant and then adopt a daughter that doesnt' have RADs. Or what about some of the other amazing families I know that have adopted kids and none of them have RADs? How did that happen? How did I end up in this place in my life, loving a child but hating the thought of her return because she hates that I love her? Knowing that she will be impaired for life and like it or not, I'm the advocate God appointed for her?

Will Sissy be miraculously healed of RADs and mental illness because I pray hard enough? will the bills be paid and my pantry fill up because I pray hard enough? will God choose to call us to adopt more kids because I pray hard enough? Am I even HEARING God?

Am I?

Is the missing piece my lack of faith? There are too many unanswered questions in my life, past, present and future for me to believe it could really all be balled up in our faith. But what if I take that tiny step toward faith alone and discover that's been my missing piece all along?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Insurance says Sissy "no longer meets the criteria for inpatient care" and intends to give her a discharge before the end of February.

The RTC therapist informed me of this last night via email. Not during our therapy session that morning. And her email was only in response to mine, letting her know that the public school here wants to make their recommendations. So... if I hadn't contacted the therapist, I suppose I would still be living in blissful ignorance this morning? What? Was the RTC going to call me and say, "come get her today?" and I'd have had no idea?

The therapist says Sissy still isn't showing her anger so when they evaluate her biweekly, that's why she has fallen out of "meeting criteria". The therapist, (all in this email that I got at 7 pm last night, mind you, the email that was solicited, read: I only know this because I asked about something else) wants us to take Sissy overnight in the hopes she'll demonstrate her anger while with us so they can tell insurance she needs another 30 days.

Why hasn't Sissy shown her anger before now? Oh, could it be because she's 3 hours away and the only way we can spend our TLs is on campus (which got nixed five weeks ago because other residents' parents weren't observing patient confidentiality) or off campus to some public venue like McDonald's or to parks. Point of fact, this past weekend was the first time we went to a park because after 5 weeks of asking where else could we go for our TL, they finally mentioned the park. So no, public environments where we eat or play on playgrounds is NOT going to trigger Sissy. DUH! BIG HUGE O.M.G. DUH DUH DUH!!!!!

And why haven't we taken Sissy home for overnights before this? Because the therapist only tossed it out to me three weeks ago as an aside at the tail end of a session, 'Oh, insurance says you are approved for 48 hour overnight TL" and I was left standing there with my mouth hanging open. but, but, but.... I have ANOTHER impaired child. I have a 5 year old that has suffered at Sissy's hand. I'm supposed to put Sissy back in that bedroom with Wonder Girl in the hopes something will escalate?!?! HELLO!?!?!? I'm supposed to drive 12 hours in one weekend with Aspie Boy in tow?!?!? HELLO?!?!?! How am I not making myself clear?!?

And what about how much all of these trips cost us in lost wages, gas, wear and tear on the vehicle, eating out (because you can't have a picnic in a van in winter weather and even if you could, HELLO?!? I have ASPIE BOY!!!!)

The therapist said in the email Sissy needs to go to alternative school and continue her neurofeedback. HELLO?!?!? Are those even options for us in Augusta? I've been EXCEEDINGLY CLEAR that our area is horrendous for mental health resources and support. I even asked insurance about it last week. They said nothing. Atlanta where Sissy is at right now is overwhelmed with resources. We have nothing. I can't even get our RAD therapist to return my calls about starting a support group and we've been talking about it since October!!!!

Therapist says all of these things will be taken care of by intensive family intervention services. Uh.. ok. What are the credentials of these folks? Social workers? LPCs? Interns from the medical college (god help us!) That whoever/whatzit is going to walk into my house and I'm going to greet them at the door and to say "let's discuss triangulation." before s/he can say another word.

and The Dad makes a good point, as my fridge is bare and so is my bank account and the weather is STILL not cooperating so we can do a full week's worth of work AND the kids are out because of furlough days until Wednesday so that means I'm not working either, he says, "I know God says he won't give you more than you can handle, that He will meet all of our needs. OK. So God gave us these kids knowing they would have needs. But guess what? Their needs are still being unmet. And we still scrape by in this tiny house with no money and no help. Who can babysit for us so WE can have some sanity once in awhile? There is NO ONE. How do I make money when the weather won't cooperate? How do I protect Wonder Girl when our house is too small to create a fourth bedroom to put Sissy in when she returns in TWO WEEKS!? How is God meeting our needs? How is God also not giving us more than we can handle? Because so far, these needs aren't being met and this is way more than I can handle."

And I cried with my poor husband and he thought my non response meant I didn't agree with what he said but that wasn't the case at all because all I've got it, "What he said."

So today I'm putting all the bookshelves in the hallway and rearranging the living room, pulling the sofa forward and moving the other furniture into the vacancies from the bookshelves. This would be our 14x16 living room, ya'll. This weekend we'll disassemble the bunk bed and put Sissy's top-bunk portion behind the sofa, hang some curtains, add her dresser and try to figure out some kind of alarm something-or-other. We're not sure what. That's as far as we got last night in our discussion that ended at 10:30, both of us angry, weepy, nauseated and unable to think anymore.

Ask me if I slept. Nah, you already know the answer. My head is splitting. I feel like I'm going to throw up. I've called the school's principal to ask if we even have an alternative school in our area for girls Sissy's age and if there are openings and if we can get her in based on the criteria from the RTC. I know for a fact that there isn't one in our county. then I'll call our local RAD therapist again, begging for her to get the support group started.

I'll pay S&H, please send me any RAD books on your shelves you think I'll benefit from that you don't currently need. They will be returned when I've read them. Lisa can vouch for me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Work cut out

ugh, ugh, ugh.

and more ugh, ugh, ugh!!!!!

stupid, annoying, pain in the royal arse, RADs is.

Conference with Wonder Girl's teacher this morning. Her school behaviors are greatly improved and her teacher wants to remain contact with her throughout the summer so Wonder Girl feels safe about school, connected and confident. Her teacher has seen much of the anger and fear and knows that school is a safe place for Wonder Girl to not only learn but to talk about what really troubles her. Then, her teacher offered to write a letter to the RTC to let them know how greatly Wonder Girl was affected by her sister's issues and that is would be in Wonder Girl's best interest if Sissy did not come home until everyone in the family was better. She will also put details in the letter that marks Wonder Girl's improvements. I want to jump up and kiss her! awesome teacher.

Since Sissy's 4th grade teacher is directly next door to Wonder Girl's classroom, I popped my head in there and 4th Grade teacher, having taught at an RTC for 10 years before this job was all head-nodding-agreement that a return for Sissy right now in the middle of the school year would not be prudent, especially since her classroom size has increased in Sissy's absence, citing the decreased classroom size at the RTC as being very helpful. She agreed that homeschooling may not be the best option for Sissy either (and then gave me a gentle nod, acknowledging that it wouldn't be good for me). She was very concerned that the standardized testing be completed while Sissy was at RTC and not back home and said she'd write a letter saying so. i said, "hold on, Wonder Girl's teacher is writing a letter too! Let's just send them together." We both smiled.

Yes, even at home, people are fighting not just for Sissy's success but for all of us. Do I want her home? Yes, I can honestly say now that I'm starting to miss her but she's not the only "patient" in this equation. There are four other people in this family that have not had 24/7 therapeutic and psychiatric assistance to recover the last 9 years of hell. We're on our own but thankfully, we have teachers in our corner fighting for our best interests as well.

Then a hurried drive home to do a teleconference with Sissy. Boy oh Boy did she pull out all the stops. What's worse is her therapist completely MISSED IT! and I wanted to shout, "Hey therapist, this, right now, what Sissy is doing? RADS!" And for one brief minute during Sissy's completely fake coughing fit, the therapist actually got up and got Sissy a cup of water (OMG! OMG!!! I was smiling and trying very hard not to laugh because ... wow. Sissy COMPLETELY played her) Anyway, as the therapist left the room I wanted to look into the webcam and say, "So Sissy, up to your old tricks, I see."

But I didn't. *pat self on back*

No, Sissy continued with her ho-hum-What?-you-said-something-mother-i'm-sorry-I-didn't-hear-you-wait-what?-I-don't-understand-what-you-said game and I just smiled and bit my tongue because I was like mom, don't do it. Don't let her get your goat. Stay calm. breathe. Don't you dare laugh. wait it out, Sissy will get bored and be honest about how she's really feeling

And then she changed the subject about 100x and she kept giving me the i-don't-care stare and I kept smiling sweetly back at her and held my hands in my lap and pinched myself so i'd behave correctly.


Sissy admitted that she was sad that both of her roommates would be leaving this week, getting their discharges for various reasons (not necessarily because they were better, mind you) and that she didn't get to go home yet. She asked, "Next week?" and the therapist (THANK GOD!) stepped in and said, "No, i don't think it's going to be next week."

"oh." was Sissy's reply.

And I watched her face and for just a millisecond, barely perceptible to anyone but my keen mother's watch, her eyes betrayed her and she showed true emotion! Then, like a flicker, gone and she returned to her death glare and fake affectations toward illness and verbal communications that she was worried that I might die (which she said with a smile). Immediately followed by a correction from the therapist that I was fine which Sissy chopped off midsentence and began a baby-talk, garbled attempt at redirected discussion to what was happening in her school day that she would be very excited about because it was going to be "the best day ever!"

I concluded the conference with a reminder, "when will you talk to me again?"

"um. Monday when you come for TL."

"no, Sissy, i don't know if I can do a TL on Monday. When will we talk on the phone again?"





Blank stare because she knows when she's supposed to call us as part of her therapy. Then mumbled after the therapist prompted her, "sunday" which was followed immediately by her high-pitched fast talking baby talk and a quickly swiveling chair movement, "I wanted to talk about that. it's too hard for me to remember to call them. I want to go back to mom calling me."

"No Sissy, you can do this," answered her therapist. "It needs to be important to you to call your family."

long, angry face. you know the one. When the eyes go dark and if it was a cartoon drawing, daggers would be coming out of her eyes? yeah. that one.

And I smiled sweetly and said, "Ok Sissy. Times up for today. I love you and I'll talk to you Sunday!"

and I termintated the teleconference.

PHEW! SAFE! I managed to get through that RAD moment without triggering her AND without losing my cool. Now, can I do that in person when she returns home? Good God Almighty, I'm terrified.

So, in case you wondered, this post should be proof. NO. RTC absolutely does NOT treat RAD. Period. Getting a good Rx plan? Yes. Neurofeedback? Yes. Teaching coping skills? Yes. Building confidence in academics? Yes, if the student is willing to learn. Reintegrating to home life? no. Helping the abused family at home recover? No. Recognizing RAD for what it is? No.

oh well. I can enjoy it for what it is, respite. Boy, do we have our work cut out for us when she comes home!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Figuring it out

For the longest time, the kids never talked about nor were interested in discussing their adoptions. I'd try to bring it up. I'd pull out pictures from time to time. Heck, their biological aunt is at the house every morning to work with us! But still, we just couldn't pry open their little minds and get them to talk about what being adopted meant to them.

And then Sissy went to RTC. For some reason, it has opened the floodgates and I am now finding it hard to answer all of their questions adequately. Last night, after reading Chapter One of "Peter Pan", Aspie Boy fired off so many questions I finally said in my exhaustion, "only one more!"

He thought for a long time and then asked, "is it sad for you that I didn't grow in your tummy?"

"yes, Aspie Boy, it makes me very sad but you're still my wonderful son." Satisfied, he flew off the sofa and skipped down the hall to his room, making sure to tap both walls of the hallway first. Then I heard him dive onto his bed.

I'd like to ask Aspie Boy some questions too, one day. I'll start with "Hey, son. Why do you have to skip, jump, fly, tap and dive instead of just walk?!? For cryin' out loud, you're gonna bring down the house!"

Today after homework, Wonder Girl sat at the table with me doing her own thing (matching up situation cards - problem/solution ABA/RDI kind of stuff - because she WANTED to. Seriously, that kid is a world-class wonder) She leaned over my shoulder and spied all of the amazing family pictures of all you RADical families. "HOLY COW! That's a lot of kids!" (because a lot of you have a lot of kids!!! lol) Then she said, "WOW! They all have different skin and faces and," she looked at the mommy and daddy pictures, "and the moms and dads look different!"

"What do you think of that?"

"So, the kids didn't grow in the Mommy's tummy?"


"Then they're adopted like me?"


"and Sissy and Aspie Boy, of course. because they're really my brother and sister." then a pause. "They're really my brother and sister, right?"


"mom? those families are cool."

"Yes they are. What do you think it would be like if we adopted more kids and had a big family like these families do?"

"you mean, kids with brown skin?" (She just finished watching a documentary about Martin Luther King - she picked out the video of her own volition from the library. Really, the kid is amazing. I'm not just making it up because I'm proud of her.)

"Sure. Or different faces, or different hair, or anything. We're all different."

She laughed then sighed with a smile. "That would be weird!"

"Weird in a good way or a bad way?"


We've had so many conversations like this since Sissy left, I'm tickled and pleased. Especially since some of my conversations with Aspie Boy have included discussing the fact that if we adopted a brother, he might look a lot different and Aspie Boy is finally admitting that it would be OK with him.

But all of these questions has confused me too. Why did it take Sissy leaving for them to be ready to talk about it? Is it because Sissy being gone is a disruption to their previous understanding of our family unit? Is it because they are afraid they'll be sent away too and they're actually questioning the limits of adoptive parental love? Is it because they're finally thinking about it on their own and the firestorm of questions is because as one talks, the other thinks of more things to ask?

Thoughts, anyone?


Here's some shots from our most recent visit with Sissy.
(click on all images to enlarge)
Where we went

I wasn't kidding when I said Georgia had gotten a lot of rain

And we're walking, we're walking ...

Ordinarily I wouldn't let the children torment park geese, but this was too funny to pass up

Hold the phone. What is Aspie Boy reading? Does that book say Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie? Why yes, it does! No, this wasn't from our outing with Sissy. This was last night. Aspie Boy scoured the shelves of books I have and snatched this one off. "MOM! You have "Peter Pan"?"


"WOW! Can I read it?"

What was I going to do, say no? This would be the same child that doesn't read anything voluntarily that isn't in comic book format. So yes, here is my proud mama moment for you to enjoy (I believe if I turned the camera on myself at this moment, I would have had a picture of my enormous toothy grin!!!)

Monday, February 8, 2010


Here's some "tools" Sissy has learned for coping skills and management of her anger that are extremely useful for everyone in the home. We've been actively employing them as Sissy learns them so we can all be on the same page when she comes home. Some are even printed and posted within eyesight in the kitchen. (I don't know about your family but 90% of the living in our home occurs in the 14x16 space that is our kitchen/dining room)

The Anger Rules
It's OK to fee angry BUT
- Don't hurt others
- Don't hurt yourself
- Don't hurt property
DO talk about it.

- stop the present action immediately
- think about what it is that made you feel anger/frustrated/sad/etc.
- assess the situation to find a solution that might work for you and for any others involved
- react to the situation with your problem solving plan and a better emotion

for managing tough situations
- engage in a completely different activity than the one that is making you feel bad
(ie) if trying to ride a bike is making the child frustrated, they can put the bike away and switch to jumping rope
- contribute to someone else's needs (ie) if the child is angry with a sibling, they can stay close to mom and help her fold laundry
- compare/contrast the negative emotion or situation to something or some event/activity that made you feel good, focus on the positive feelings
- try to change your emotion by doing something that will make you laugh or smile (ie) if you are angry about having to wash the dog, laugh when the dog splashes you and makes you sopping wet instead of getting angrier
Pushing Away
- conciously push away the negative thoughts and feelings and actively pursue the positive ones
- stop thinking about the negative things and concentrate on the positive things. (ie)instead of thinking I'm a bad person, I never do anything right think I have pretty hair, my friends think I'm nice, I feel good today etc.
- change the sensations you're feeling. (ie) rub your self or hug yourself if no one is available to comfort you with touch, bundle up under a soft blanket. Change into clothes that feel comfortable and not restrictive, take a hot, soothing bath or shower, swim, jump on a trampoline, etc.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Eye Smile

I get annoyed with myself when I can't cite my sources. I know only that I heard this information on a Nancy Thomas training CD. I'm sure she had sources for her info too. So excuse my ineptitude today. Perhaps the deluge just outside this kitchen window behind me has washed away my brain cells. (I do believe we Georgians will float away. I've plans to build an ark. RADishes need not have a buddy when they come on the ark as they will surely kick their buddy in the shins on the way up the plank)

I digress. It's this bloody rain!

Eye smiles, that's what I'm trying to talk about.

My degree is in Biology/vertebrate physiology with an emphasis on community health education. I taught Health, Anatomy, Biology, Physical Science and all maths grades 7-algebra 2. That is to say, I'm a bit nerdy. And I like scientific evidence of things, especially physiological proof. So much of RAD therapy feels loosey-goosey to me, which, with a severely left-brained POV, makes it hard for me to see and interpret the benefits. I think that's why this Eye Smile thing really got a hold of me, it's a more concrete concept that also has physiological evidence.

[aside] my right pointer finger is killing me, i sliced it working the other day and it is making typing this post extremely difficult

[aside to the aside]geez, maybe I should take some of Aspie Boy's ADHD meds today. lol

ANYWAY! *hit self in head*
Nancy Thomas talked about the nuances of smiles and the learned response infants in nurturing environments get from them. Thomas revealed the findings of a study in which infants, aged newborn to three months, were smiled at while the mother's eyes were covered. The infants, only seeing the mother's mouth, did not smile back at her toothy grin. Then the researchers covered the mothers' mouths, revealing the eyes only and had them smile at their infants again, being sure to make eye contact as they did. When the babies saw the smile in their mother's eyes, they smiled back, even though they never saw the expression of the mouth or cheeks.

What's more (and this is the part that makes me all tingly, being the science nerd), the researchers discovered that when an infant smiled at his mother, it caused a release of endorphins (oxytocin) that has the physiological affect of relaxing the mother, helping her feel bonded and loved. The response to her endorphin release would then cause a reciprocal response in the infant's release of oxytocin, enabling the child to feel safe and translate the abstract emotion of love, all from a smile exchange that occurred between eyes!

This just really gets me going!

This oxytocin release between bonding mother and infant is the same hormone released when you hug (Thomas recommends 12 hugs daily for therapeutic parents and traumatized children.) Oxytocin is also released from sexual intimacy between consenting adults. Not surprisingly, there is also a rise in this hormone when we eat the foods that make us feel loved and nurtured. Grandma's chicken dumplings when you've got a head cold? Can I get an "AMEN!"?

The opposite is true as well. Deficits in this hormone make it difficult to receive or give love. Guess what? Your RADish's hormone levels are low. Guess what else? If they missed this bonding time in infancy with a nurturing parent, they may even have a hard time translating facial expressions, similar to children on the autism spectrum. [1]

Do you know that the average annual weight gain for RAD moms is 20 lbs. per year because they subconsciously replace the nonreciprocating love from the RADish with food to get the same hormonal affect? It takes an extraordinary measure of discipline to keep those pounds off, doesn't it?!

And here's another twist for you awesome RAD moms. Are you feeling like your intimacy with your partner is out of whack? Could it be because your RADishes have drained your oxytocin levels by not reciprocating and as a result the diminished hormone has blocked your ability to connect sexually? [2] Christine mentions the 7-day sex challenge in this recent post on the sex-periment Striving to choose intimacy even when you don't feel like it will boost your oxytocin so that you'll want it more. (Try it. we did and it really works!!!)

Not ready to toss the cookies and cake, strip down to naked and hop in the sack? Then just start with the eye smile. Stand in front of the mirror and eye smile at yourself! Try it and see! I promise, you'll feel better right away. Then eye smile at your reciprocating children. Then eye smile at your RADishes (oh, it will annoy the crap out of them but you'll have been eye smiling all day so you won't care). By the end of the day you'll have avoided the Oreo Double Stuffs in the pantry and one eye smile at your partner and you'll be dashing to the room.

OK, so that's extreme but I promise. The Eye Smile works. There's physiological proof and clinical evidence. (And those facts alone make MY oxytocin levels go up!) lol

Here's proof of the eye smile. Look directly at the eyes of the images. What response do these images invoke for you? Do you automatically smile back at any of them? Can you tell which one is the Eye Smile without making eye contact with the image? I purposefully made one vague but I think it will still give you a positive reaction when you make direct eye contact.

[1]Sissy was working on understanding facial expression as part of her therapy at the RTC - she had to practice modeling her emotions in front of a mirror - call out the name of the emotion then make the appropriate expression She also had to connect the pictures of facial expressions of other people to the emotion she thought they were portraying. Kind of ABA/RDI stuff. Another reason the staff thinks she's on the spectrum and another reason I say it's just RADs

[2] this information is not from Thomas but from one of the episodes in the documentary this emotional life on PBS

Thursday, February 4, 2010


anyone got links, books, info, what have you on neurofeedback:
1. the success rate
2. the methodology
3. the scientific research
4. how it applies to treating RADs and other psychological and developmental disorders
5. the availability of the technique
6. who is certified to administer and diagnose
7. how it pertains to correctly diagnosing disorders beyond what psychologists and psychiatrists can do and how it potentially changes the outlook of diagnostic tools for disorders in the future
8. how to get certified
9. and any thing else I missed!

I'm going to be doing my own research on the subject of course but I thought I'd give a holler here to see how the RAD mommy RADar pans out on the subject

I talked to Sissy's neurofeedback technician today and he was about ready to diagnose her with four new issues based on the read outs from her therapy and I wanted to say, "whoa Nelly, hang on a sec!" because really, can't our RADishes be diagnosed with just about EVERY thing in the books?

Gosh, when you've sat down to answer all of those crazy psychometric testing questionnaires for your kids, haven't you answered them in your head for yourself and said, "holy crap, I have all of this stuff too!" just based on those questions? Maybe it's just me because I have! lol Just last week filling out all of Aspie Boy's annual stuff his analyst and I were giggling over the fact that she and I both test out as having generalized anxiety disorder because the questions are so vague they apply to everyone.

Anyway, talk to me.
Peace out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pulse point

I'm just me. This cool broad that married a cool dude and thought it would be cool to have a job and a family and do the boring American family thing. Those were my aspirations. I'm not a licensed professional counselor, a trauma therapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, or a pharmacologist. I'm just me and I made the selfish decision to be a parent.

Yes, I said selfish because with infertility, I could have chosen to invest my life in other equally productive ways but I wanted to be a Mom. I HAD to be a mom which meant I HAD to have some other woman's children. Doesn't matter that she wasn't capable of parenting them herself. It can be argued that my educational skills would have been best employed in a proactive way to benefit humanity by helping ill-prepared moms like my kids' first mom, parent their children. It can even be argued that given her mental health issues, she should have never been in an opportunity in which she could get pregnant with children she would never be able to parent. Which in turn begets the need for educated, unencumbered persons to invest in community health programs that redirect and assist challenged persons toward a meaningful adulthood that is functional and without the undue trauma of unwanted pregnancies and court-appointed revocations of parental rights. Which subsequently brings about the birth of equally impaired children that need adequate parenting.

Dizzy yet? What about all of the mentally capable parents out there that have made ill life choices that have resulted in trauma for their children? Who is being proactive on their behalf so that they can get their lives straight and be adequate parents? I could have spent my life investing in them, attempting to prevent children from being placed by repairing and rebuilding healthy families. What about all of the ill-educated, lower class persons that don't know there is another way to live their lives beyond sex, drugs, alcohol and birthing 5 children by age 22 to keep getting the welfare check? I could have spent my life helping them. I could have spent my days teaching and mentoring in an inner city school.

I'm not saying I chose the wrong path, I'm just taking my pulse to make sure I'm still alive and living my life the way I was supposed to be living it. Because what if I got it wrong taking the reactive approach to help manage humanity's chaos instead of the proactive road? What if no matter what road I take, I still muck it up? What if I blaze a trail on the road I'm on, full speed ahead, adopt another sibling group or two of impaired and/or traumatized kids and I crash and burn because for my life, that road was a one-way ticket to disaster and I missed the warning signs in my blindness to do what I thought was right?

My pulse says I'm just Jennie, a cool broad that married a cool dude who thought it would be cool to have a job and a family. I'm nothing special. I like to love and be loved. I like music and reading, sewing and laughing, being outdoors and being alone. I just want to embrace me and all the wonderfulness that is me and not feel guilty about it. I don't always want to be therapeutic RAD mom that has two bins in her cabinet full of some pretty strong pharmaceuticals that she has to dole out to her children every day, manages the five doctors for one child and four for the other and all the paperwork that goes with it, attends 504s and RTIs and IEPs and finds herself educating the educators, fills out reams of psychometric testing questionnaires semi-annually, drives to and from therapies ad nauseum, reads stacks of books to learn more but never gets a degree for what she learns even when she finds herself educating the multi-degreed professionals and does it all with grace and style and a smile on her face and a grateful heart because it could have been that I never got to parent at all.

No. I don't want to be her every day. Just like I didn't want to be any of those other people that do amazing things for humans every day. I just want to be me and to feel like that is enough. I want to put my fingers on my wrist and feel my pulse. Count the number of heart beats in a minute and be glad I'm alive. I want to be happy, with a happy home, a happy husband and happy children. I want to fill our tummies with nurturing food and read wonderful stories at bedtime. I want to wake up and smile and go to bed still smiling. I want to get to the end of my life and say, "it was hard work most days, but it was fun and it was worth it. No regrets." I don't want to wonder if I should have adopted more children. I don't want to feel guilty if I never do. I don't want to be afraid that I'll parent my RADish incorrectly or miss some crucial turning point in her recovery. I don't need to beat myself up for getting annoyed with her therapist that doesn't have challenged children and unwittingly makes ill demands of moms that do. I don't want to feel bad that she's had to be at an RTC. I don't want to always think about their first mom because gosh golly, I'M the mom! I don't want to spend my energy feeling like I've let God down because I didn't "die to my self" enough, whatever that means. I don't want to worry that I'm letting down all of the family and friends in my life. I don't want to wear myself out always trying to be a better person. I don't even want to think all of these stupid questions in my head anymore!

I just want to be Jennie, the cool broad that married a cool dude and wanted to be selfish in life and have a cool family and a cool job. I really didn't want anything more than that. Regardless of how many hats I try to wear in this lifetime, how many hoops I try to jump through to be the best possible person I can be or how many coulda-shoulda-wouldas I run through my head, my heart will keep beating ... until it stops. Somehow, in the middle of the insanity that is my life, I must be allowed to just be Jennie or my heart will stop beating sooner than I'd like.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

hanging on to dross

It has taken weeks on end to unwind from the last 15 months of Sissy's ever-escalating behaviors that amounted to a whole lot of trauma and crisis for all of us. I really didn't know how severely her issues were impacting the rest of us, I was just muddling through day after day, puzzled by my unrelenting exhaustion and brainlessness. I kept telling my therapist that I would go to bed every night frustrated because I never felt like I accomplished anything in that day, all of my energies being sucked up to parent Sissy through the unending barrage of meltdowns. She assured me that mental and emotional investments in my child were nothing to scoff at, that I could go to bed with a pat on my back knowing that I hadn't destroyed myself or my family in the midst of that chaos. I always argued back that it didn't feel like my life was moving in a forward direction, that I'd reached a stalemate both personally and as a parent when it came to managing Sissy.

Like grains of sand running through my fingers, the anger, frustration and pain of managing Sissy's volatile behaviors for 15 straight months has ebbed away, leaving only the larger fragments of straw, driftwood, shells and beach debris to sort through. But still, my mind feels like white noise and my ears ring. My transmission is stuck in neutral, my body aches and my personal passions feel more like nagging goats than life-giving forces. Cognitively, I know that I'm still suffering PTSD despite the cessation of the rash of panic attacks I had in December. I know that if I'm not cautious, the dreary, rainy months of winter coupled by my PTSD symptoms and my slow thyroid could dip me into a depression. I know that I should give myself a license to rest and relax, to take advantage of my respite but I'm having a hard time accepting that freedom.

I've always been driven by an invisible internal mechanism of tightly wound cogs and gears. It's hard to let the tension in those springs loosen up. Parenting kids with needs has an opposite effect, forcing me to wind the springs ever tighter in an effort to maintain some semblance of sanity, continuity and functionality. In Sissy's absence, I've definitely unwound some but it is still difficult for me to be satisfied with a slower pace. Some of my racehorse attitude is inherent, most of it learned but all of it needs to be abandoned between now and Sissy's return or I will be on a one way street to mental breakdown after she returns. I'll be beating myself up for not taking the time to enjoy my peace.

So today, it is raining. Rain means no window washing. No window washing means no money earned. No money earned means we are that much further behind on our bills, bills which we still haven't caught up on from January due to The Dad's knee injury. My cogs and springs start to coil up and race when I think of it like this. It makes my heart race and my body ache, my mind go blank and my ears ring. But I'm forcing myself to rethink like this:

So today it is raining. Rain means no work. No work means I can be at home where it is quiet and enjoy a few hours without demands on me. No demands on me now means I can mentally, physically and emotionally rest for the months ahead when Sissy returns and will be demanding of me 24/7. I should be grateful for this respite, so many other moms would kill for this type of reprieve. I need to enjoy every ounce of this unfettered time and not feel the tiniest bit guilty

And seriously, i could absolutely wear this attitude if I knew the bills were paid! It's just so very hard to unwind, to be at peace, to thank God for this time knowing that Sissy's basic needs are being met so I can meet mine. I just don't know how to fully embrace it, I'm finding it darn near impossible and then angry with myself for looking this gift horse in the mouth.

I'm looking at all of these metaphorical rocks, shells, straw and driftwood left in my hands and I'm having a hard time tossing them in the trash without a second thought. I am having a hard time accepting that they don't have any real value beyond what I assign to them. They aren't treasures, they won't help me, they look nicer left on the beach, not in some jar on my shelf. Yet I feel the need to shove them into my sandy pocket and lug them around with me a little longer. Like grains of sand, my free time is running out and I haven't take full emotional advantage of it because I keep hanging on to the dross.

Somebody kick me in the butt please and save me from myself!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Missed you!

The past few days have been a blur that culminated in a whopping migraine yesterday. So I planted my fanny in the recliner and hunkered down under my softest blanket for the day. And I do mean, THE DAY. But hooray, I didn't toss my cookies and my aura never got so bad that I was seeing stars. *does a little happy dance*

Thus, I have missed being on blogspot, hanging out with all my RAD mommies! *begin round of hugging and loving to everyone* I've tried to catch up on everyone's blogs and yowza, ya'll have been busy!

We are past our halfway mark of Sissy's RTC stay. Insurance gives her the boot at 120 days so we are winding down now. It's been interesting sorting through the progression of my emotions for the first 60 days, most of which was relief and anger. And almost exactly at the 61 day mark, my emotions began to turn back toward missing Sissy and being anxious for how I will prepare for her return both with reading the literature and creating a support system here and in my heart. I told The Dad last night that if nothing else, Sissy's time away has put distance between our emotional connection to her behaviors and our connection to her. In other words (and I think this may be a key to successful RAD parenting): I am no longer feeling emotionally charged by her RAD behaviors so that I believe I can parent her without triggering her

yes, yes, I know. She's not home yet, and at the risk of eating crow two months after her return, I can honestly say that I have a tangible change in my heart toward Sissy that will hopefully benefit us both. Do I miss her? I'm not there yet. Let's say I have a hole in my heart because she's not here to give my love to and I don't feel like filling that hole with anything or anyone other than Sissy. She's going to do her worst and I know that whatever horrible behaviors I can conjure up in my imagination will pale in comparison to how she will be when she first gets home. The difference will be that I won't have already endured 9 straight years without respite. The difference will be that I will have done a lot of soul searching and personal redirection so that I'm more adequately prepared to parent Sissy toward attachment. The difference is that I've got a better handle on how to manage the other people in my family so that when Sissy escalates to crisis, we won't be shaken. The difference is Sissy will be less likely to escalate to crisis because I'll have a keener eye for her triggers and a more savvy ability to redirect.

Gosh. I really hope I'm not eating crow come May...

In other news:
1. Hooray! Sissy remembered to call us last night! In therapy last week we changed our phone call routine so that it forced Sissy to be more actively engaged. We now require that Sissy call US on Sunday nights. At 8:30 pm we were decidedly gloomy that she'd fogotten but we refused to be shaken. Afterall, we gave her the choice to opt out. At 8:38 pm, the phone rang and I flew across the room to pick it up. I think I squealed when I saw the RTC number on caller ID. She remembered! She remembered, she remembered, she remembered! I want to kiss something! Of course, the conversation was still a root canal procedure to get her to say anything or to answer our questions but wow. She called!

2. Wonder girl is having some night time issues. Nightmares, quasi fears, not wanting to be alone but wanting to be a brave big girl, climbing into bed with us on occassion and other such nonsense. I'm being patient and when she's feeling safe, we're talking it through. Her recovery from the trauma at home has probably been the slowest and hardest. Wonder Girl will get there. Yesterday as I bemoaned my throbbing head, she and The Dad played two games of Stratego and I have to say, for a 5 year old, she had a pretty good grasp on the game. She was also openly happy, confident and proud of herself with abandon. It was nice to see.

In therapy, the therapist and I tried to get Sissy to admit the harm she caused her sister. But Sissy faked a crying fit, said she was sorry (but wouldn't say what she was sorry for) and then instantly turned off the water works and began talking 100 mph about some pocket pet thing that costs $1000. As tudusamom told me that evening at dinner, if she can turn it off that fast and avoid going deeper, it wasn't genuine remorse.

So, the current plans (and God help us, in our tiny house) are to put Sissy in the living room behind a temporary wall with an alarm door when she returns. A bed, a dresser and a few items. No way in you-know-where am I putting her back in the room with Wonder Girl until I'm certain that a)Sissy can come clean about how she's hurt her sister and b)be safe to be with her again. I know that may mean months of an abbreviated living space and absolutely no unsupervised time for the girls but really, Wonder Girl is hurting pretty bad and since she doesn't have any diagnosed issues, I don't want to MAKE her have issues, can I get and amen?

3. Aspie Boy's meds got a jump-up last week after he told the small therapy group that he wanted to kill the president, shoot him and murder him. OYE!!!! *smacks self in the head with the butt of my palm* Rush off to the psychologist to do the annual eval and a call to the specialist the verdict is we up his Trazadone. the specialist thinks his moods are directly related to his ill sleep. So he's sleeping and isn't moody but gosh almighty, he's fast and stimming! yesterday he was thumping the kitchen table so hard while stimming that he nearly spilled my coffee and I was sitting at the other end! So... back to riding therapy ASAP. We get him on the horse next week. PHEW.

and that should catch you up for a day or two.
xxoo to everyone!