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

Friday, September 3, 2010

Post 200!

When I hit my 100 mark, I thought I'd write something poignant.  Powerful.  Praise worthy.  Nah.  I vented.

Now It's post 200 (geez, I'm verbose!) and I'd still rather vent than come up with something flowery, fun or fanciful. (Although I will indulge in the occasional alliteration.)

First Up:
Many huge thanks to all of you that responded SO quickly to my plea for info about fostering a newborn exposed to methamphetamines. As it often goes with fostering, the child was placed with a family member last minute, bypassing the system ... and the waiting, capable arms of a foster family. BUT, it really is best if these children stay with their families. Really. It is. I think...

Anyway, you ladies amazed me once again with your generosity, words of support and kindness. I can't wait to hug you all in Orlando.

Yep! I said it! ORLANDO! I'm going. Are you? I want to hug you so you better be there. I have 200 posts worth of love saved up to pour all over you amazing gals so be there. Or else. Oh, and bring your quilting. And FYI, if we end up in a quad together, I fart in my sleep. Fair warning.

Sissy's a yo-yo with her moods. I think she's trying very hard to keep it glued together during the school day and then it just blows up at home. I really do think it's messing with her head, trying so hard to keep a lid on her crap all day. Psychoses is up, so is rage, and every other behavior. And all of it we get at home. As said in today's school meeting, we really wish she WOULD show her behaviors at school it would make it a world of a difference in getting her the support she needs academically.

A commenter asked about her IEP. That's just it. Sissy doesn't have an IEP. She has and RTI and 504, that's it. So today's meeting was about finding ways to document a medical need for and IEP. In the classroom, Sissy is already getting as many interventions and support as the school can legally provide. But it's still grade school. Next year in middle school it's a whole other can of worms. Our goal is to document the crud out of Sissy's issues so that she has a well written IEP before she walks through the doors of the middle school next year.

And in the meantime, her Dad and I pray very hard that
#1 - she shows her behaviors at school
#2 - she doesn't escalate to suicidal and homicidal again because really? This is feeling a bit like deja vu from last year and I don't think I can do another round at RTC with Sissy. I'm feeling fairly kitschy.

I'm not holding up so well. I think it's delayed grief from all of last year's nonsense and the potential for Sissy to come unraveled again so easily. I read other blogging moms that run circles around these issues, it just doesn't seem to bother you that you have psychotic children or impaired kids. Sometimes when I read your blogs I think Wow. I wish I could be like her. But the truth is, parenting such challenged children is seriously challenging me. I'm spent. I'm overwhelmed. I'm wincing at the years ahead of me as AB and Sissy embark on puberty and I want to curl up in a ball when I think of the level of exactitude, planning and preparation I have to do every single day just to keep it altogether for my kids. And that I have to keep it up for that many more years.

I really wanted 5 children. But I'm not managing well with just these three. I feel robbed and cheated. At the same time I feel weak and foolish. Some of you spin circles around me in what you do every day and I feel like a 25 year old ox pulling a plow through rocky soil; I just can't do it. I rationalize my inner struggle by telling myself that I have other irons in my fire and other issues to contend with personally that prevent me from being a super mom; from soaring over and above my children's needs instead of making it an albatross.

My blog is my venting place, my way of saying how I feel in the moment when I don't feel safe to say it in real life or real time. These thoughts don't belong in the moments when Sissy or AB are in crisis. At those times, I have to be a cool, calm and collected therapist and address their needs immediately and appropriately. When it's been crazy all day long and I finally have a moment to steal away with WG, I want to be happy and joyful for HER sake. When I get them all in bed at night, I want to joke and cut up with The Dad or just sit in the same room with him breathing the same air.

I don't want to rehash it all, play it all out wondering if I could have managed the crisis better or how I could be better or what I could have done differently. I just want it to vaporize. I want to pretend for the hour before I fall asleep in the recliner that I live a "normal" life. I want to ignore the fact that therapists are in my home nearly every day. I want to pretend that Sissy and AB don't have 9 doctors and 15 medications between them. I want to imagine that they'll grow up to have meaningful jobs, relationships and fulfilling adult lives. And then a commercial will come on the TV and it will be some endearing family thing and I'll discover tears rolling down my cheek because it's one more reminder that I live in a ridiculously tiny house with a bedroom in my living room because my 10 year old isn't safe ...

When I think that Sissy is still only in elementary school and that she is already so challenged I stop breathing for a second or two. Good God Almighty. It's a blow to the heart every time. When I pick Sissy up from sunday school and she has the same protruding tongue, blank stare and flat affect as the down syndrome child she's sitting next to, I want to walk away and leave her there, pretending I'm not really her mom, that I'm not really the one responsible to help this child navigate life, that because of her impairments, my life and my future are indelibly altered. I want to imagine that she's just fine, that she'll recover and lead a normal adult life but in reality, she'll probably make me a grandmother before I'm 45. And I'll have to make the choice to either raise my grandchild who will likely be impaired like Sissy is, or find an adoptive couple to endure this same hell ...

I want to be confident in my abilities as Sissy's mother no matter what she chooses to do. I want to think I could help other impaired children too. I want to be OK with this life I'm leading. I want to embrace this challenge without breaking my own psyche. I want to feel whole again. Mental health illness steals too much. I worry that it will take it all.

And that, my friends, is my 200th post.


GB's Mom said...

Friend- Most of us have these feelings and thoughts at times. You have a strong faith and it will get you through.{{{{Hugs}}}}

Ashley said...

I'm going! And so is my better half. I would like nothing better than to hug you :)

wilisons said...

I totally understand the back to school anxiety you are having. We have it here too. My daughter keeps it together at school, most of the time, and falls apart as soon as she gets home. The stress is just overwhelming and home is safer. It is mildly better now that she is adjusting to her new school, LD, self-contained class with 9 kids, 2 teachers and an SLP. Less stress and more strategies does a mind good.

I know you are in the same state as I am. My daughter has a bi-polar diagnosis and was able to qualify for an IEP in public school just from this diagnosis. It IS a medical need. I was told once she had a medical need, we could place her in interventions. So call that school and DEMAND it. I know that, at least around here, parents who acknowledge a problem (which you do) and show some force, throw in some knowledge of the law or get an advocate's advice will get more out of the system. I know your tired, it is a VERY tiring battle but keep the faith and keep on fighting.

Best of luck!
Shanna mom to 2

J. said...

Congrats on 200, a venting place is a good thing!

I so want to go to orlando, if we do not have more kids by then I will so be there.

Debora said...

Thank you for laying it all out, I.S.! It is hard, hard, hard. And we all love you and are pulling for you. Have FUN in Orlando. I'll be with you in spirit. Even though my daughter doesn't do the RAD behaviors all the time, every day, she sure has her days and makes me wonder if she would be bestowed all those acronyms in her medical file. Maybe on her raging days, just maybe. Hugs to you, my friend!