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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A welcome Return

I had the privilege of spending 16 days throughout the last month with my youngest sister as she passed in and out of town. I love her very much and wish she would stay but she's a free-agent, a traveler and has other things to do than make her big sister feel loved and at peace.

However, she did leave me a few treasures, including Tibetan meditation music, fresh sage for burning, a macaw feather,a medicine bag and the strength to keep on keeping on. With the addition of new skills learned in Orlando like hooping and practicing my own henna art (with paper and pen for now until my hand is steady), I feel like an energized woman. Incense, meditation, relaxation, mandalas all of it have given me hope.

Being back in the classroom has helped me spend my days productively. The teenagers are still teenagers but I don't mind. It gives me something else to think about during the day. My own kids think it's too cool that I'm back in the classroom and AB and Sissy are begging to be enrolled at my school next year as rising middle schoolers instead of the public school they're zoned for. Oh how I wish I could make that happen. The tuition bill alone doubles what I'd make teaching for the year. WG likes to come to my classroom and pretend she's a teacher. Sissy likes that we have a library. AB likes all the science stuff I have every where. It's really neat to see them interested in ME and what makes MOM happy.

We are even doing our own home experiments. The girls caught tent caterpillars and one has already gone to chrysalis. I think the other will die because Sissy keeps handling him. I purchased painted lady butterfly caterpillars and in one week they went from being one centimeter long to this!

The kids can't wait until they're all in chrysalis. I'm a little panicked that the tent caterpillars in the butterfly tent won't have hatched yet and as future moths, may pose a threat to the survival of the butterflies. Time will tell. But as luck would have it, cleaning out my classroom from the previous instructor, I found a certificate to order more butterfly larvae so I can repeat the experiment with my biology students. I don't know why but that just makes me so happy. Literally, I squealed with excitement when I found the certificate. I showed my students the postcard sized piece of paper and gushed and gushed about it but 14-15 year old teens don't much care about such things. So I guess that makes me the nerdy science teacher? Oh well!

AB has had some changes recently. He's walking so much better that he's not been wearing his AFO's for several months. It's a lot less hassle in the morning getting him dressed, I assure you. His growth has slowed some and he is steady at 85% height and weight. His voice is DEEP, it changed so fast and he's convinced he's part werewolf because his body hair has grown in so much. He's still not ready to shave his mustache and I teased him that it looked like one of the caterpillars we're growing. He thought that was hysterical. He's back in glasses, this time for near-sighted vision. He was so happy to put them on that he actually smiled! (If you know my son, you know that expressing outward emotion in a public place is HUGE.) Alas, in addition to getting glasses, he has failed the initial hearing test too so we're off to a specialist to rule out or confirm hearing loss. C'est la vie. We've been down this road with him before. We'll see what the tests reveal and go from there.

WG is doing much better at managing her anger and anxiety but the PTSD still affects her sleeping. She has nightmares frequently and despite my best efforts, I've not been able to convince her that sleeping alone or with a sibling will be just as good as being with mom. Thus, she is putting up royal fusses at bedtime, sleeping in the recliner, on the sofa, on the floor, in the hallway ... it's a mess. I really need to have my bed at night or I'd just let her sleep with me every night. But as tiny as she is, she can fill up a bed all by herself which makes her a lousy bed fellow. For now, we've tentatively agreed to her sleeping on a palate on my bedroom floor. *sigh* I keep telling myself this will pass. I remind myself that in no time at all she won't need me and I'll be the bane of her existence so I should revel in this time. But those admonitions are always usurped by my desperate need for alone time.

Sissy fussed and hollered at me this evening when I cut her outdoor time short for bedtime routines. Our county is doing state standardized testing and she needs proper sleep. She insisted that it didn't matter: she has already repeated fifth grade, doesn't need to pass the standardized test to move on to sixth grade and please, please PUHLEASE, she'd do anything, ANYTHING if I just let her have a few more minutes of scooter time. And anyway, she begged, she thinks she got all of the reading questions correct today. My can she wail and holler. In the long, narrow hallway her shrill screeches really echo.

When she gets like that, you can't reason with her. So I just stone-faced wait until her mouth is closed and there's no sound coming out of her being. When I open my mouth to speak, she usually starts in again with her wailing so she can't hear me. That's when I hold up my hand and count down from five with my fingers, her queue that if she's not silent to hear mom, she's getting a time-out consequence (and close to bedtime that means just going straight to bed.) My ears were still ringing when she stopped begging, just one finger still standing. "Sissy, if you hurry and do your routines you can read quietly until 8:30."


It's so hard not to laugh! She dashed up lickety split and then when all was said and done, opted to just go straight to sleep. OK then. So all that screaming was for nothing. Fun times, fun times.

I'll never get used to seeing a 12 year old behave like a two year old but at least it doesn't ruffle my feathers anymore. I let her use up that negative energy but I don't reflect it back. Instead she gets a hug and love as a welcome return.

A quilt I made for my friend's baby who will be here no later than next Friday. I have two others like it just about finished and ready to put up on the etsy site.

My sister sporting a leather skirt she made by hand. It, along with many other items is for sale on my etsy site as well. Go check it out. The link is at the top of the right sidebar.


Ilsa said...

Beautiful, beautiful quilt! Almost makes me wish I wasn't done having babies so I could buy one...almost ;-) Maybe one of my siblings will provide me with a niece or nephew that needs one, one of these days :-)

Ranger said...

The quilt is SO pretty. Love the leaves and the different shades of green.