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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

out of resolve

I'm all out of resolve.

the AC is not working. again.
it is too hot for this.
And now I'm broke.
More broke than the AC.
I'm all out of resolve.

The dog is dying.
She's suffering needlessly.
We'll say our goodbyes
Then let her rest.
I'm all out of resolve.

Sissy has escalated
Twice just this week
Third week of the school year
what's the point of all the therapy anyway
if she never uses those tools?
I'm all out of resolve.

All three kids
were sick yesterday
WG has a fever and an earache
and she's a hyper patient.
I'm all out of resolve.

I'm tired of looking
on the bright side of life
there really doesn't seem to be one
except for the blazing hot sun
that keeps heating my house
past 83 degrees
at 12 am midnight
so i can't even sleep
without sweating
or stewing
or fuming
or wanting to scream
in full Sissy fashion.

I'm all out of resolve.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life is precious

I assist in WG's sunday school class once a month and I've done VBS preschool music for the past three years.  Thus, I've had the privilege of getting to know many of the wonderful children at our church and their equally awesome parents.  It really is one of the best ways to get connected in a church body and I highly recommend it.

This past Sunday, one of the girls in WG's sunday school class passed away. It was one of those tragedies that befall children that even the most vigilant parents never suspect will happen to any child, let alone theirs.  I don't know that it was even an avoidable episode and so it makes one stop and pause.  If life can end so quickly at the tender age of 6, no warning, no way to predict the danger, just an unexpected tragedy altogether, it begs the question: to whom does our life belong anyway?

In the face of such overwhelming tragedy and loss, I can't imagine wanting to run to God. I'd probably shake my fist and cuss him out, then turn the other way and never look back. When I look in my own 6 year old's face, her life so precious to me because she is my only unimpaired child, I shudder. WG's life is just as tender and vulnerable and that reminder gives me great pause.

I don't know if I'll cry about it. I read the obituary today and had to catch my breath. Such a sweet girl, such a nice family, such a mystery as to why and how she died. I think I'll just ponder the mystery and frailty of life instead. The tenacity of the human spirit coupled with the gossamer ties that bind us to life over death will never be understood. We have challenged traumatized children that live a lifetime of turmoil wreaking havoc on all those that love them while the unsullied little ones pass away in tragic ways that defy understanding. The only peace we can find is in the reminder that all life is precious and should never be taken for granted; that God is sovereign to give and to take without our comprehension of it all.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Illness, not the child

In the morning, we go back to the pdoc and discuss Sissy's lab work from her resperidal and renew our discussion about whether or not she should stay on that medication. I don't think I'll sleep much tonight because I'm anticipating a difficult conversation with her physician. Unless her liver enzymes show that Sissy's body can't process the medication, I'm going to find it very difficult to agree to a med change that will take at the bare minimum, 6 months to get her stable again. I have fighting words from all her teachers that are marveling at the progress she made this summer, progress I know is due in large part to the increase in her anti-psychotic medication.

Last month, after we left the pdoc's office, Sissy and I discussed the reasons for his concern which were mainly her weight gain and her withholding. Sissy cried, squirmed and said flat out, "I don't want to talk about this. It's scary." But I made her talk about it. Low and behold, she's made some personal progress in eliminating with some regularity (accidents in her pants notwithstanding - at least she was pooping!). We also took some time to review her size. According to Sissy, she hadn't noticed that she'd gained so much weight. So I decided to scroll through old photos and stumbled upon this one that brought tears to my eyes. (excuse the stupid time stamp on the photo)

This picture was taken two years ago, exactly one month before the doctor diagnosed her with bipolar disorder [1]. She looks so ill, her eyes sunken with dark circles, her body so lean and frail. It doesn't even look like my child. This was at the height of her unmedicated manic episodes, a full year before suicidal and homicidal ideations that landed her in RTC. At the time, I only knew that my daughter was not well, was uncontrollable, that we needed help. I had no clue just how ill she was. Looking at this picture now, I marvel that I didn't know.

Sissy and I talked until she gave me her dumb-bunny look [2], her facial cue that lets me know I've said one word too many and that her brain is shutting down. We both decided that for what it's worth, her current size, although slightly rounder than the average 10 year old girl, is way healthier than her chemo-kid photo. Even Sissy remarked that it didn't look like her, citing the marked difference in her face. So I took a picture of her currently for comparison.

I think you'll agree with me, she is much healthier now and I have the pictures to prove it. Really, it's going to be a hard sell for the pdoc to convince me that we need to take her off the resperidal. My child's illnesses and the medications she needs for them should not be determined solely by her weight gain and her psychosomatic toileting issues. As far as I'm concerned, this is the closest to "healthy" she's ever been in her entire life and that includes the 10 pounds she should lose.  It's certainly not worth the emotional trauma of six months of rages and crises while we titrate her onto another anti-psychotic.

If you don't see a post from me tomorrow, you'll know I didn't win the fight with the pdoc and I was too overwhelmed to blog about it.

[1]as for bipolar diagnoses: in children this age, most doctors are reluctant to put that label in a chart because it sticks with them for life even if the diagnosis is proven false later.  That said, Sissy has a genetic proclivity for the disorder and after 15 months of daily charting on moodchart dot org, it became clear to both me and her pdoc that she has a rapid cycling form of mania with only brief bouts of depression in addition to a possible schizoid affect

[2] the dumb-bunny look is our coined name for Sissy's and now I will pretend I'm mentally retarded expression.  Her tongue protrudes and lays lifeless on her bottom lip, her mouth open and her eyes rolled upward to the left, her head slightly tilted in that direction.  Sometimes she rocks.  Don't be fooled, she's hearing everything people say and is processing the information just fine in addition to strategizing ways in which she will get you to shut the *bleep* up and leave her the *bleep* alone.  Classic RADs stuff.  She just doesn't want to hear it, own it, accept it or deal with it.  It's always easier to pretend you're too gosh darn stupid to understand.

gluten free

Well, if you follow Christine you know that she is all about eating right. She has fun recipes and great tips for better living through healthy eating. For that matter, so does Corey. Huh. Maybe it's names that begin with a 'C' that makes posts about food so exciting? I digress.

I'm not going to post recipes or such in like kind because that's not really my thing. Quilting? yes. Food posts? not so much. But, I will tell you about my gluten-free journey.

No, AB isn't my gluten-free kid. Fact of the matter is, AB's diet is so limited due in large part to his overwhelming sensory issues over food [1], that making him gluten-free would limit his diet too much. Besides, his developmental delay doc says that when it comes to sensory issues, stimming and other typical autism spectral disorders, there's no long-term clinical proof that gluten-free diets are as effective or better than medications, OT, PT and modifications.

Gluten-free then, is for me. I was having the following symptoms:
1. migraines complete with auras and vomiting, losing up to 4 days a month in bed
2. traveling joint pain with no rhyme or reason; I thought I had early fibromyalgia
3. hypoglycemia
4. vertigo
5. severe irritability without reasonable cause; it would just come on suddenly and not be related to my cycle
6. irritable bowel syndrome

Of course, I also have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's Disease. I was diagnosed at age 22 but suffered from the symptoms since age 19. I take daily medication and have stabilized my weight but have never lost weight and kept it off after the initial gain from my wonky metabolism. In addition, I have all of these ridiculous issues with my "girlie parts". All told, my body has not enjoyed life on this sphere.

So my sister suggested I try a gluten-free diet. It's been rough, it's been tough. It's expensive and sometimes irritating when you try to eat out (usually I end up just eating a salad but there have been times I've had to request to see the ingredients on house dressings which is troublesome). At first, the cravings were horrible and just about everyone told me I had to stick it for at least a month before I noticed any benefit because it took that long for my body to detox from the gluten already in my system.

I did it. I survived. I am one very happy woman.

ALL of my symptoms have gone away. Every time I had one of the symptoms, i could trace it back to something I ate that had gluten in it. (really, salad dressings are tricky. Maltodextrin and caramel color usually get me because I miss them on ingredient lists [2]) As for the thyroid, weight and girlie parts, well, jury's still out. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to take longer than eight weeks for those issues to abate. But I'm on the right path.

Once in awhile I get brave and I try a little gluten just to make sure I'm not imagining things, that the gluten really is the culprit for my ailments. Yesterday I had a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun. Whole wheat, can't go wrong with that, right? Wrong.

In five minutes flat, I had vertigo, a dull headache and ringing ears. In half an hour I had IBS. And today, I'm still feeling the affects with some pretty nasty moodiness as that bun breaks down in my large intestine. Last time I had gluten it took a full SIX days for all of the intestinal issues to abate. Yep. I think it's safe to say, gluten is no friend of mine. What's more, wheat products actually taste kind of nasty when you haven't had them for awhile!

Here's the unexpected benefits I have already gotten from going gluten-free:
1. ENERGY! Holy cow do I have energy. I feel like I'm 19 again
2. increased libido - I was feeling pretty sluggish in that department before and figured it was hormone related. nope. just diet.
3. Clear mind - I can think and problem solve so easily now
4. cravings - they are ALL gone. No more "omg, I have to have chocolate" with my cycle or "i just have to have a mcdonald's burger"
5. 10 lbs. smaller - i didn't go gluten-free to lose weight and at my size, 10 lbs. isn't even noticeable but I'll take it.
6. blood pressure is normalized
7. heart flutters are gone

I'm not going to pretend like making such a drastic change in my diet is easy. It's not. Just yesterday I had supper at a friend's house and had to bring my own gluten-fee bun for the burgers she was serving. And everyone ate chocolate cake while I watched.

I'm not going to get on a podium and tell you that gluten-free is the answer to all that ails you. At best, my results are subjective qualitative analysis.

I'm not going to ask that you even try it. I'm just going to say:

Gluten-free works for me

[1] AB's GI tract is completely affected by his developmental issues, some of it is the asperger's some of it is her chromosome 19 duplications. He has a geographic tongue, chronic acid reflux and very irritable bowels with chronic constipation followed by bouts of diarrhea. Going "science teacher" on my readers, the blastula stage of development, just prior to zygote and then embryo, develops the rudimentary cellular structure of the alimentary canal first. This would be 3-7 days after fertilization of an egg. Thus, it is safe to assume that AB's development was impaired very early in gestation due in large part to chromosomal anomalies and possibly but not conclusively, to exposure to environmental toxins in the womb (anything his BM consumed or ingested before she knew she was pregnant)

[2] gluten is in: wheat, barley and malt products. Tricky things to watch out for that have gluten: modified food starch (holy cow, gatorade has a carbohydrate drink that has modified food starch in it - GLUTEN in a drink!!!), maltodextrin, caramel flavorings and caramel color (watch out for those processed instant oatmeal packages they have caramel color), soy sauce (if it doesn't say gluten free on the label, it's not) even corn flakes, doritos and roasted peanuts have barley or wheat flavorings, powders or starches. Slim Jim, meatloaf, gravies, sauces, anything that has a thickener that isn't a corn starch product has gluten. When in doubt, don't eat it! Need something sweet? dried fruit or better yet, FRESH fruit with a dollop of lite cool whip. Yum.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

the smallest of blessings are usually the biggest

It's been a long, hot, hard week both during the day when I'm washing the windows and then in the mornings and afternoons with the kids, nonworking AC notwithstanding. (The house is cool, finally, FYI). And every single morning this week started with some crisis with the kids. Manageable episodes but regrettably unavoidable, loud and bordering on abuse of parents. Yes, I've said it, sometimes AB and Sissy are abusive to us.

So yesterday when I came home with the kids after school, after an impromptu meeting with AB's therapist and his resource teacher at the 3:30 bell, and still wearing my nasty, sweaty, dirty clothes from work, my body yet to be bathed, I was spent. It felt like my head was a blazing fire, I was so hot and I could smell my own stink. That's just plain nasty.

But at the meeting, the resource teacher told AB's therapist that she has no idea how I do what I do every day, that even as a special needs parent herself, she uses my life as her pH meter, her my life could always be as bad as her moment. Then she looked me square in the eye and said, "You do so much for your kids, you're amazing and I just don't know how you do it every day. I think of you every night." I was marveling at her words, a much needed balm after such a long weary week when I stood at the kitchen counter and browsed through the mail. A slow smile crept across my face when I saw Corey's name on the return address of a small card. Sweet. Mail from Corey. Inside was one of those gummy hands that you can slap people with, one of those silly little toys kids pull apart in ten seconds because they yank so hard. WG wanted it, I said no, she was screaming but I didn't care. It was mine.

Sissy got mad that we didn't forget that she had sentences to write for lying that morning (ugh, that was a knock-down-drag-out scream fest at 7 am again) and AB was pacing and talking and I didn't care. I had a gummy hand and words of praise to float me over the cacophony. And then Sissy said, "Oh mom, I have my lunch money. They gave it back to me."

*sound of needle scratching on a vinyl record as every thing else stops immediately*

The Dad looks at me and I look at him. We were both thinking mm hmm. RAD moment. She's stolen the lunch money But we wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt so I said, "Ok, I'll just email your teacher about it" thinking I'd call her bluff. Usually a comment like that rats out her lies. Not this time. She stood her ground so I thought hey, maybe she's actually doing right?

Then WG hands me her school folder and I looked through it. Stapled to the envelope with her returned lunch money was a letter, from the county. We had been approved for free lunches for all three kids for the entire school year.

yep. I cried. This is an incredible, amazing, overwhelming relief. It doesn't just save us money, it saves me time. It means I have a solid 10 extra minutes every morning for AB's oopses and Sissy's screaming and putting on AFO's and all of the other nonsense that pops up on school mornings. That's a lot of hassle-free time. It's a small blessing, but to me, it's one of the biggest. Wow.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

another rousing morning

I think I shouted something to the effect of "Can't I just have ONE normal morning?" as I pulled out of the driveway to get the girls to school on time, leaving AB on the toilet. (The Dad was still home, don't go all DFACS on me)

Because yesterday was, well, not fun. Sissy started it at 7 am with a bold faced lie followed by screaming and shouting that she was telling the truth which was followed by a 2 year old tantrum of more screaming and shouting, kicking and gnashing of teeth but into her pillow so at least it was muffled some. And that's how the morning started. You can imagine the rest of the day. I was asleep in the recliner by 8:30, woke up at 12:30 to crawl into bed, setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual so I could do the household chores I didn't get to.

Thus I woke up this morning and went outside to take care of some yard work on the back porch, process a load of dishes and two loads of laundry, wake up AB so he could take a bath because he wet the bed, get up the girls, wash AB's soiled linens, sort dry laundry, make breakfast, get kids their meds, decide to buy lunch for them with the tip money I earned the day before washing windows (hey, I bought time and sanity with that money, thank you very much), fill water bottles and pack them snacks, put on AB's AFOs, feed the dogs, fuss at Sissy and announce it was time to go.

But wait. Where was AB? Oh no! He was on the toilet!!!

Bang on bathroom door. "Son? we have to go!"


*peer through the door quickly and discover a mess*

*big exasperated sigh*

Thankfully the school is only a mile. The girls were on time. Rush home to clean up AB and decide NOT to bathe him again because he used the equivalent of half a roll of toilet paper on his butt so I figured, eh, good enough. But I just have to say, changing a soiled 9 year old is tough when he is still wearing his AFOs and your bathroom is only 6x7,including the tub, toilet and sink.

I was crying, AB was crying. I was apologizing. AB was apologizing.

UGH. Some days it would be nice to not have to ... to not always have to find the rosy side of life, to not have to look for the good despite the bad, to not have to take care of a soiled nine your old twice in 90 minutes*, to not have to worry about the chance the $1800 dollar AFOs and shoes could be destroyed by feces. to not have to think ugh, how do I get at least some of the kids to school on time? while still appropriately tending to the child that needs the extra attention all without losing your cool. It would be nice to not have to think 10 moves ahead of Sissy every.single.minute.of.every.single.day. It would be nice if my youngest child actually had OLDER siblings, you know, the kind that take care of HER, not the other way around. It would be nice to not have to nod my head and smile and listen and be patient and understanding of other people because some days, I just want to scream at the world, "ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?!?! DO MY LIFE, JUST DO IT FOR ONE DAY. ONE. THEN COME TALK TO ME."

I want to pretend that I'm all patient, non-judgemental, Mother Theresa-ish.

I'm not.

In my head? I go psycho on people. Postal. Bananas. I put Sissy's worst tantrums to shame.

Then I do some deep breathing and I say nice, kind, considerate things with a sweet smile.

On the upside, the school has decided to have me file a medical alert for AB that will waive his tardies that are due to his bowel issues. That's a huge relief, you have no idea how relieving that is. Because today was his second tardy for this issue and it's only the second week of school and I learned today that after 6 tardies, the school computer automatically alerts the county which in turn alerts DFACS.

yeah, because I want DFACS at my door because AB has chronic bowel issues? That would be fun to explain. not.

Here's hoping tomorrow will go well. If it doesn't and you talk to me and I'm smiling sweetly and saying understanding things to you, just know that in my head, I'm probably flipping out over poop on AFOs all while I plan the next 10 moves so I can stay ahead of Sissy.

Yeah baby. I take multitasking to a whole new level.

*sissy soiled herself just last thursday. said she "didn't know she had to go until it was coming out"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When you're not even looking ...

Most of the time, when stuff happens in life, you might immediately think huh.  God's not watching this little episode.  Then when those "little episodes" in life just keep happening and you just keep thinking God's not watching, it can get you down in the mouth quickly.  But every now and then, God lets you know, "Uh.  Yeah.  I've seen every second of it and you didn't even know I was watching your back."  Of course, He has a way of saying it with a little snicker and glimmer in His eye so you have no choice but to laugh with Him instead of kick yourself in the pants.

For the record, I think I have permanent shoe prints on my back end.

Yes, the AC went out and it was blazing hot.  No, we didn't really have money to fix it, that is to say, we had available credit on the plastic, credit that has to be paid off with interest.  Yes, we dodged the compressor bullet narrowly and I did think to thank God for that.  But last night, when the house was creeping past 82 degrees at 9 o'clock again, I felt a little, well, cooked.

So this morning, our HVAC man came back, bright and early. I was at the dentist with the three kids. Sissy had a mild anxiety attack, AB kicked, hit, pulled my hair, punched and tried to bite me and WG skipped out knowing the x-ray showed four teeth are loose. The Dad stayed at the house. Lucky man.

HVAC man took a look at the pipe that leads the freon into the unit in the house. Bent. Smashed. Banged up. None of those words really do that above picture any justice. And this damage? Most likely happened at the time of installation 28 years ago.

The question is, not who banged it up, not how it got banged up but rather, how in blue blazes did that machine ever run for one single day?!? You can't even look through the pipe it's so mangled and yet the freon just kept flowing through it somehow, the compressor never frying in the process for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS. HVAC guy is just as befuddled as we are, he's taking this 6 inch piece of pipe and framing it at the shop as proof that the techs just never know what they're up against when they service a machine ... or just how amazing the older units are at doing the job they were built to do.

A 28 year old Rheem that doesn't just take a licking, it is beat to crap and it is still pumping cool air. It defies the odds, boggles the mind and over all, makes me super glad I've got the Big Guy on my side, even through all of life's little episodes. It's never easy living on this celestial sphere that rotates and orbits and moves within the galaxy that moves within the universe. It can be argued that raising challenged kids makes it harder. Overall, as long as you make an effort to live a life that honors God, somehow, in some strange, obscure way, He's going to let you know that He's got His eye on your life, that he's helping you stay cool through all of life's mishaps. Sometimes literally.

Today I got a bent up piece of copper tube to remind me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

calling my followers

It's been fun to track my readers using sitemeter. Some of you live close by. VERY close. Some of you live quite far. VERY far. Still, it's fun! I only have an average daily readership of 126 people but I'm very glad to have all of you.  Some of you have become very special to me and I lament that we are so far apart by mileage.  One day.  One day we'll hug each other and drink coffee into the wee hours. Maybe in March one year, headed on the RAD mom weekend getaway that Corey lovingly orchestrates for us?  (BTW Corey, how you gonna manage that when you're in NH this year?)

ANYWAY  (I ramble, sorry) because sitemeter only provides IP addresses, I can't contact my readers that are not commenters and/or blogspot members. So here's a great big,


to all of you that don't comment but read regularly. And lastly, one quickie to the reader in Waynesboro, click my profile and email me direct if you please. We are in the VERY close category! :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Hope

The variables:
a - Hope, our 10 year old lab mix has heat exhaustion, almost died on Friday. She's recuperating slowly but needs cool air because she can't pant

b - The Dad's truck is old and barely running. He has no AC, the windows don't roll down without assistance because the motors are shot, it's got over 230K miles on it. We've been trying to pay down bills and be very frugal so we could afford another car payment

c - the AC is shot. Dead. Won't ever run again. It quit for good today. We've tacked up curtains to keep the cool air in the living room from the window unit. We're all sleeping in there. The rest of the house is 86 and it's 9 at night. I can't imagine what it will be like tomorrow when it gets back up to 100 outside during the day.

we can have an AC but no new truck because we can't finance both and hopefully we can do something about all of this AND keep our dog cool while she recovers.

I could try to come up with ideas of how this circumstance might have been avoided. The only one I get is if I was working full time at a different job or if The Dad was working at a different job. Or both. But in this economy and with special needs kids ...

there's an answer. There always is. We'll muddle through this one more trial. We'll do our best to keep smiling. We'll try very hard not to envy people that don't endure these things in their lifetimes. We'll remind ourselves that at least we have our wits about us and thought to pin up sheets to keep at least one room of our house cool. And thankfully our living room is large enough to sleep five and a dog. Or maybe not because The Dad's allergies are really bad when Hope sleeps near him ...

I can't solve all the variables. The answer to the algebraic equations do not have a rational solutions. The quadratic formula is not crunching these factors with real numbers.

x = [ -b ± sqrt(b^2 - 4ac) ] / 2a

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I don't know

My daughter's epitaph will read as such:
Here lies Sissy
She doesn't know

Any question we ask that requires thought before the answer can be given, as in any question that isn't a yes or no response (we'll come back to that in a second) has one response from Sissy


At this point, she's done it so much that The Dad and I will preempt her whine by shouting it out in unison for her, complete with tone, inflection and harrumphing glare. Which of course, she hates. Especially if all three of us are shouting "I don't know!" in unison. (fyi - it's a lot of fun, I highly recommend it - it's like a bunch of howling hound dogs, sounds about the same too)

Go ahead. Think of a question you'd like to ask Sissy. Any question. Got it? OK, ask the computer screen your question ....



just like that.

Most poignant question we asked Sissy today after she'd exhausted our reserve with her back to school defiance, disrespect, attitude and two-year-old tantrums:

"Sissy, why are you so good for your teachers that they send us emails telling us how wonderful you are but you continue to make such lousy choices when you're at home?"

Ready? All together now ...


Very good! You did that perfectly, just like Sissy! Did you remember to cross your arms, screw up your face and stamp your feet? you did?!? Excellent! You're hired for Sissy stand-ins anytime. We have 24/7 openings available immediately. The pay isn't great (as in, you get food, clothing and shelter) but you'll have your own bedroom in the living room complete with closing curtains!

OK, as promised. The Yes/No questions usually go like this:

"Sissy, did you wash your hands?"

"Last week I used soap."

"No. Sissy, this question needs a yes or no answer. Did you wash your hands?"

"The towel is wet, you can check it for yourself."

"One more time. Answer only yes or no. Sissy. Did you wash your hands two minutes ago after you used the toilet?"


see? that wasn't a yes or no answer. Somehow there's a blip in her brain that can't translate the words yes and no. There's not a diagnosable syndrome for this condition, however, so we just get to deal. Apparently medications don't address this yes/no brain gap either. As I told the therapist today, "it's like there's a gap in her head and in the gap is the Mississippi river. Some days, when the river is low, she can cross the gap in her brain without any trouble. But watch out, the river is prone to flash floods and then guess what? It ain't safe for anybody to cross and Sissy? She just shuts down because building a bridge to get across safely is too.much.damn.effort"

can you tell I'm a little annoyed?


What gave it away?

And this is the voice of a woman that has had 5 hours of respite this week!!!! It's been that kind of week with Sissy. i love her but man, she can burn me up in a skinny minute some days.


Don't do it. Just don't do the crazy. I know it's hard but resist. (I'm speaking to myself.)

Crazy is popping out all over in my life and I want to whack it all down pretty hard, you know, crazy-style. Just because crazy is as crazy does doesn't mean I have to partake in the insanity.

It's hard to resist. Crazy, it seems, is like gravity. The larger objects of mass pull the smaller objects toward them. And crazy? It's heavy. REALLY heavy.

Today every time crazy wants to pop out, I'm going to chant it away. "go away, crazy, just go away. shoo, shoo!"

Instead of crazy, I'm going to dwell on peaceful, lovely things that bring sanity. Like this old grist mill we saw on vacation last week. Nice, eh? It's my wallpaper, currently.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fear of the Lord

I read an article in today's sports page about a 55 year old veteran drag boat racer who died when his boat disintegrated shortly after crossing the finish line. At 214 mph and after 30 years of racing, it might be argued that he had a good run, a great life, wealth, riches and honor. Just reading the article though, not knowing the man personally, all I can think is, "putz." His loved ones mourn his loss because he had to ride life high and hard, pushing the limits every time he climbed into his boat pushing it to insane speeds. I don't think that is the way God intends us to live our lives, a life that was bought by the blood of Christ.

This past weekend, our Sunday School class discussed the Fear of the Lord and what it means. Deut. 6:2, directly after the 10 commandments are listed mentions that fear of the Lord will ensure a long life. Proverbs 22:4 says that humility and fear of the Lord will lead to riches, honor and a long life. But the scripture that really sunk in for me, as it pertains to understanding our RADishes, is Proverbs 1:7 that says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, that only fools despise wisdom and discipline. It was a HUZZAH! moment. Yes! Our RADishes foolishly despise wisdom and discipline!

One of Sissy's many diagnoses includes oppositional defiance disorder, which I think is really just a symptom of RADs. Every now and then Sissy's ODD rears it's ugly head and I feel like I have to play whack a mole to beat it out of her. Then the ODD will subside and one of her other diagnoses will rise up to be beat down. But the undercurrent of all of Sissy's behaviors lies in the root of Proverbs 1:7 and the principle of fear of the Lord.

The intent of the scriptures is not to cause Christ's followers to be physically and emotionally afraid of God, but to choose to know what he desires and to make every effort to meet those requests both with love and respect. The goal isn't to obtain the riches, honor and long life we are promised, but to do it because we want to, because we fear Him with a sense or honor. We owe Him the air we breathe, can we at least try to obey the 10 commandments so we have the opportunities to live long lives that might include riches and honor in return? It's not such a big thing of him to ask of us, is it?

As parents, we ask the same of our children, that they love and respect us, honor us and choose to cherish the instruction we give them because we have their best interests in mind. The other night when Sissy was hollering, stamping her feet and pitching her best 2 year old tantrum I said to her, "Sissy. Do you think your little fit hurts me? Because it doesn't. I tell you the things you need to know not to make you angry but because it is my job to teach you. You only hurt yourself when you refuse to accept my instruction. And you can pitch all the fits you want but I won't stop doing my job as your mom."

I know the words were lost on her, but I keep hoping the seeds I'm planting will eventually take root and cause a change in her. We've spent so much of this summer discussing good versus bad choices, that every single opportunity we have in life we are given the chance to choose correctly. But, as I always point out to my RADling, she has a yen to choose the bad choice. Every single time. It breaks my heart, it frustrates me, it exasperates me, it exhausts me and I feel so helpless to come up with a way that will encourage Sissy to steer straight not because she is afraid of the consequence but because she WANTS to.

How do we teach our RADishes, this fear of the Lord? How do we teach them to WANT to do what is right every chance they get? How do we help them embrace the desire to respect and honor not only their parents and God, but themselves? This is the missing piece in healing RADs that I have not been able to reconcile. There is no inherent drive in Sissy that makes her WANT what is right for the simple fact that it is right, even if she gains nothing. She is driven by selfish desire at the risk of her health, safety and well being across the board. Despite all the therapy and medication, this gap remains. Outside of praying Proverbs 1:7 over Sissy and modeling it, I don't know any other way to help Sissy embrace the truth that she'll get back in life that which she invests.

For now, Sissy keeps spending her invest money at 214 mph before she ever makes it to the bank, and her drag boat keeps disintegrating with her in it. I hope she won't do this for another 30 years when it will eventually take her life.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

faulty memory wires due to exposure to RADling psychoses

Tomorrow is the kids' first day. Huzzah! I survived another summer with them!

Said to Sissy at supper, "you're not going to do like you did last year in the first week of school are you?"


"you know. You wrote down all the homework in pencil when the teacher was looking and then erased it when wrote 'none' when she looked away so I thought you didn't have any homework?"

"I don't remember that."

"you don't remember being sneaky so you didn't have to do your homework?"


I was thinking: in a pig's eye! Of course she remembers!!!!

"OK. For the record, should you choose to do that this week, there will be serious consequences."


"No computer for a month, extra chores and revoking of all extracurricular privileges."

"wow. that's alot." Said deadpan to the open refrigerator door.

"Yeah. It is. On purpose. I don't like the sneaking about homework. OK?"

"yes ma'am."

Really? Does she honestly NOT remember? I mean, I guess it's possible she doesn't remember being so dubious and underhanded in her efforts to avoid homework. It's possible the med cocktail she's on has dulled her memory. It's possible the psychoses she suffered from this time last year was so severe it blocked her ability to remember the events. But can I be honest? That just burns my britches because by golly, I remember!!!!! And it really caught the teacher and I off guard that a fourth grader would be so underhanded!!! She was SO deliberately sneaky it made me want to vomit! And she has had the privilege of forgetting the whole thing.


Maybe RAD moms should be blessed with faulty memory wires due to exposure to RADling psychoses - it certainly would make for less harrowing blog material!

I actually have some cool thoughts rumbling in my bumbling brain. You can read all about my prefrontal cortex machinations tomorrow. Nighty night! Don't let the back to school bedbugs bite your RADishes!

Sissy's new haircut. Super cute and no fuss!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home again

I'm TERRIBLE at remembering to take photos while we're away!  T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E.  I shall go down in history as the mother-that-never-photo-journaled-her-children's-lives.

It really is a horrible character flaw! lol

For now, all I've got for you is this:

To market, to market
to buy a fat hog.
Home again, home again,
jiggity jog!

Sissy gets her hair cut today - short, short, short PUH-LEASE! and then open house (ugh, anxiety attacks waiting to happen) and then a leisurely weekend with family until our big day on Monday.

Aside: we've never had our vacation the last week before school and really, it has been a brilliant accidental strategy that I fully intend to employ in the future. We had so much fun we didn't have time to dwell on the looming of a new school year. Highly recommended!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sweet, the resort finally got the wifi up and running! I wasn't really looking forward to another self-imposed or accidental unplugged experience.

For now, a few pictures.

1. Sissy wearing the crown she picked out on our mother/daughter outing last week. She's looking up how to spell a word while I was cooking.  My back was turned to her so I had no idea she was doing something when she began speaking to me.
"mom? I can't find it."
"find what?"
"ugh! How to spell it!"
"how to spell which word?"
"Well, you hadn't told me, so I didn't know."
"How are you looking it up?"
"UGH! B-U ... beautiful! That's how it's said."
"hmm. Sounds that way, doesn't it. Try b-e-a"
"That word has lots of sneaky silent vowels. Just try it."
"just look and see"
*looking it up* "Oh! Here it is! finally!"

I wish we didn't have these exact exchanges every time Sissy tries to communicate! It's exhausting to stay patient! lol  To diffuse my frustration, I decided to take pictures.

2. WG playing at the computer

3.  AB drawing one more castle on the magna doodle. He obsesses over a particular image and draws it incessantly until he feels like he's perfected the design.

Our trip to the Smokies wasn't bad. But Sissy had a huge meltdown before we left. *big exasperated sigh* After all was said and done (about two hours of her screaming, defiant, disrespectful nonsense) she admitted that much of her anxiety is about school starting. I explained that I understood and that was why we saved our vacation for the last week of summer vacation before school, so we could have fun instead of laying around the house fretting. She was fine after that. But UGH! I could have done without that episode before our 5 hour road trip.

4. The three amigos watching Sponge Bob while I type this

5. Sissy and AB's meds on the counter at the resort.  It's staggering that this is what the two of them need to be functional humans.  I try not to think about it much.  It scares me. 

6. What?  Did you ask me if I brought my quilting on vacation?  Clearly you haven't been following for very long.  I have one answer for you.