Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hope's First Playdate

Hope went on her first play date today. It wasn't that she has made enough progress to try it, but rather that GB had made a friend during Challengers softball. Her friend has a younger brother who is eight and developmentally delayed and their house is set up so it is easy to provide constant supervision. GB and her friend, Jordan, did crafts while Hope and Tyler played with the doll house, swung on the indoor swing, and watched Scoobie Doo. There were the expected rough spots, but with two adults there to intervene, nothing got out of hand. Hope had a great time and didn't want to leave. Hope's first social success! I am hoping to give her another opportunity soon.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Other Blog: An Adoptive Mom

I have posted a bit on the other blog. If you would like to read it and you don't have permission. you can email me at (Miz Kizzle, this invite was provided partly because of you.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Change Isn't Necessarily Good

Some people welcome change. Some people fight change. Change itself is neither good nor bad. It is unavoidable. Nothing stays the same.

This is more philosophical than I am prepared to deal with at this point in time. I find myself with no choice. Hope's behavior is changing. She has always had a tendency to touch everything. She has always been destructive. Now it is constant. She takes everything that catches her eye. She breaks everything she touches. If she is out of eyesight for a moment, she is found in the middle of a mess.

My dilemma? I am not sure if she has made progress and is now working through her terrible twos or if everything has her so overloaded that she has regressed to that age. I guess it is not necessary to know whether it is progress or regression to get through it. I will say that it very hard to baby proof your house against a six year old. It is also very hard to convince people in the outside world that this very normal looking six year old needs to be supervised as if she was a toddler.

Since I am not sure, I am going to choose to see this as a sign of progress.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It is Wednesday

My sister and her family left this morning. Organizing and cleaning are the order of the day. I loved having my sister here, even when we agree to disagree. My 19 year old autistic nephew did well. He only needed to be separated from everyone a couple of times. MK did well. My 14 year old nephew with ADHD and a mood disorder really struggled. He clashes with GB always, but this visit he had difficulty self-regulating most of the visit. Hope continued to struggle, no surprise, but GB spent the last four days at the edge of tears. Lots of little things, all out of her control. She just can't go with the flow. It might not have mattered what we did this year... I think this holiday was destined to be a struggle.

The guys' pajamas had pockets. I think we might all get guy pajamas next year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

May the joy and peace of Christmas visit us all today... even if only briefly. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season's Greetings! Love is universal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Borrowed Ralphie

Hope has been doing her best to get us to cancel Christmas. In an uncannily timed post, Christine at Welcome to My Brain, wrote about her family rule that nothing a child can do can cancel Christmas. Hope hasn't healed enough yet that she could hear this. However, The Dad and I can benefit from the reminder. The passing thought that Hope might be the first child to drive us to canceling Christmas is a waste of emotion, time, and energy. Christmas will come no matter what big behaviors Hope can come up with, so the Dad and I need to focus on the moments that will keep us going. Sometimes the obvious needs to be said.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Hope is having a tough time. She is angry and lashing out at everybody. My best guess is the holidays are exacerbating our normal, difficult life with RAD. There are minutes when I want skip Christmas completely. It is not reasonable and I never take any action to abolish Christmas in our family. Sometimes, though, it is so tempting.

Hope is just starting to talk about the trauma she experienced in her previous adoptive family. That is a sign she is experiencing some feeling of security with us. I don't think she wants to feel any security with us. I think she would rather stay in LalaLand and pretend life in Texas was good and she didn't have behavior problems until we kidnapped her. Hope knows this isn't true, but is much more comfortable in the alternate universe where it is true. I can't imagine living through the trauma she lived through and still having the will to  fight the world. I keep reminding myself that Hope's strong will is ultimately one of her greatest strengths. It just makes the now so hard.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fun With Friends

We spent two nights taking a mini vacation with friends of ours, from mommyneedstherapy. We went to an all included dude ranch, which happened to be half price this week. There was an indoor water park, good food and great company. The Dads took GB and Noah horseback riding. They all enjoyed snow tubing and ice cream at every meal. My friend and I got mommy time (and a drink or two). 

Hope was too young to go horseback riding. We spent the time drinking Shirley Temples and at a Christmas Carol sing-a-long. It may be the best time Hope and ever spent together. Hope did OK, except for Sunday night. She poked from 8 pm until 2 am in the morning. Overall, it worked out really well and we have already booked a return trip just before Christmas 2012.


 They are back in schools for two days. I pray Hope can hold it together.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm at One Tiny Starfish Today

I did a guest post yesterday over at Nikki's    Nikki does some great humanitarian work with special needs orphans. Check her out.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Seeing Santa

Hope spent the last three days within touching distance. However, I made an exception for our visit to Santa. I let Hope visit Santa by herself. It was interesting watching her trying to convince Santa how good she has been. 

GB, on the other hand just wanted to get it the visit over. 

Everybody enjoyed the beautiful lights in Santa's park.

Friday, December 16, 2011


It's Friday and Hope's horrendous week ended with a bang. Hope had to stay in her classroom and work while her class went ice skating because of her poor school behavior this week. One of the aides stayed with her. When the class returned, Hope's work was nowhere to be found. Ms. V.Y. Teacher looked for it in her desk. It wasn't there, but the desk was filled with items Hope had stolen from teachers, aides, classmates and GB over a period of time. The school is now begging requesting our input on how to deal with Hope. They are no longer looking at us as if we are crazy. I hope this is just Christmas RADness and Hope will settle some in the new year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birth Mother

GB's Birth Mother is homeless. Again. GB is struggling with a lot of feeling she doesn't understand and can't find words for. Again.

She was suppose to go to her grandparents to bake Christmas cookies and enjoy a spaghetti dinner on Monday. Her grandmother called shortly before the girls came home to tell me BM had been evicted for non-payment of rent. She was at her father's house, along with GB's half-sibling and her brother. I could hear the ruckus in the background. There was no way GB was going into the middle of that.

As I waited for the bus to come, I searched for words. Again. There were none. Nothing was going to change how GB felt about this long anticipated visit being cancelled.

As the girls got off the bus, GB was bouncing with excitement. "Where's Grandma?" I told her Grandma wouldn't be coming. Instantly her eyes filled with tears. "Why not?" I mentally ran through possibilities. BM was spending her rent money for drugs. BM was caught stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from a family member. Social Services denied her any assistance for a one year period because of fraud.

When I spoke, all that came out was BM was homeless and a lot of people were upset. GB's face showed nothing. "I hate BM. I don't know why everybody gets upset. BM is always homeless."

I hate to see my child in pain. There is nothing I can do but be there and listen if she wants to talk.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yes! I am Psychic!

 I am psychic and yesterday proved it.

 Hope had an awful time getting to school yesterday. I knew she could not hold it together in school, but The Dad overruled me. After I finally got her on the bus, I sent this email to her teacher:

Dear Ms. V.Y. Teacher

 Hope had a very difficult morning. She was extremely physical, kicking and throwing things. I thought of keeping her home, on her mat, but her father chose to send her.

GB's Mom

At 9:40 AM, I received the following reply:

Dear GB's Mom,

Hope walked in crying this morning.  She said that she had a hard morning due to GB.  She said that GB hit her and when I asked where she pointed to her face.  Then I asked if she hit her back and she told me no.  She mentioned GB saying that her backpack was "right there" and she didn't see it.  I am not sure if her rough morning was due to issues with GB, I just wanted to inform you of what she reported to us.  She says she was crying because her dad didn't give her a hug and kiss goodbye before she got on the bus.  She is fine now.

Ms. V.Y. Teacher

Upon reading this email and further reflection, I decided it was necessary to get the Director of Special Education involved. I sent her an email, too.

Dear Dir

Hope is putting a lot of effort into getting GB into trouble. Last week, she bit herself and told Ms. V.Y. Teacher that GB bit her.  This morning Hope was kicking and throwing things and told Ms V.Y. Teacher that GB hit her in the face. I realize you have no control over what Hope says, but I do request that she get as little attention as possible as a response. Also, when Hope bit herself and blamed it on GB, she was walking from the bus to the classroom. I feel it is necessary at this point for Hope to be closely supervised at all times, especially during the transitions to and from the bus.

GB's Mom

When I went to get the girls off the bus yesterday afternoon, only GB was on it. Hope had spit at and hit the bus aide and thrown her book bag at the bus driver. Reasonably, she had been removed from the bus and needed to be picked up at school. The Dad was not happy. Hope's day didn't get any better.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the Warpath

Hope is on the warpath again. Kicking, biting, and throwing things, multiple times a day. And she put GB in the middle again. After being physically aggressive all morning, she turned on the tears and told her teacher that GB had smacked her in the face.

I know regression is common during the holidays, but this is more than I am currently willing to deal with.  I am going back to the days when Hope first came. She will stay within my reach at all times. Until she is able to get her physical aggression under control again, her and I will be staying home. It is not safe to have her out in public.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Petite Fours

Hope finished her dinner extraordinarily quickly last night. The Dad took her upstairs to bath her and once she was in the tub, threw the dress she had been wearing downstairs to the laundry room. He never checked Hope's pockets. Ellie (GB's dog) went gaga and tore the dress apart. Hope had put her steak from dinner in the dress pocket so she could have dessert. 
Up until that point, it had been a reasonably  quiet day. The girls had wanted to make Petite Fours, like the ones served at High Tea. I cut a pound cake into 21 little cakes. I frosted 5 sides of each little cake. The girls gathered all the sprinkles, colored sugars and candies they could find. They decorated each little cake and were very proud of the results.
I would have included a picture of them admiring their work, but by the time I  got around to it, Ellie had eaten the meat out of Hope's pocket and Hope was already in bed. Maybe next time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Highlights of GB's Week

Life has been tough for GB. When Hope bounces, she goes after GB. In spite of that, GB's week had some highlights.

  • All of her Jordan's wish packages got completed. Jordan thanked her for her help on TV.
  • She made ornaments for all her teachers and specialists, who loved them.
  • When she crumbled on a round-off, all the NT kids in her class surrounded her to make sure she was all right.
  • She did her first unspotted back bend and realized it was easy. The NT kids recognized what an achievement it was for her and celebrated with her.
  • When a NT girl she has been friends with since she was three made fun of her watching Barney, GB was able to shrug and tell her that is what she enjoys.
  • GB was awarded an Effort Certificate for the first marking period.
  • Throughout Hope's tough week, GB continually tried to make things easier for Hope... not her job, but a sign of growing attachment and a big heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Need a RAD Sheild

Listening to music is one of the ways GB self-regulates. I recently bought her new headphones and she loves them. She used them tonight, with some success.

I had a tough morning physically. GB fed both girls cereal, took care of Ellie, made sure their backpacks were together and walked out to the bus on time. A success all around. Right up to the 9:40 email from Hope's teacher, Ms. VY Teacher. In the email, Ms VY Teacher told me Hope got off the bus, went straight to her classroom and told her that GB had bit her this morning. Hope had a bite mark on her arm.

To get to my to my point, after exchanging six emails, the real story was that Hope had bit herself and told her teacher that GB had done it to get GB in trouble. She said she was tired of GB always being good.

How do you protect  an autistic, FASD, 8 year old from her  RAD sibling?

Monday, December 5, 2011


Not all trolls post comments. I have several trolls that send nastygrams, disguised as emails. I cut back on my posting while trying to figure out what to do with my private trolls. None of them are interested in dialogue. All of them make judgements, projecting me into their life experiences. Some of them seem to be good people who are in a hard place. Some of them are bitter and angry at everybody. None of them know me. Most of them don't even want to know me.

It took me over a week, but I have decided how I want to deal with them. I have a spam filter of my email, and I added my trolls sending addresses to my list of spam. Since I never go rooting through my spam folder, in thirty days, when it automatically empties, my trolls will be gone. Best of all, I will never even know they have been here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Giving Part of Christmas

Today we worked on Jordan's wishes. Jordan is an autistic boy who played baseball with GB. He has spent a lot of time in hospitals. Several years ago, he decided to make gift bags and distribute them at local hospitals. The first year he gathered enough donations to give out 80 gift bags. Each year he received more donations and needed help. This year Jordan has enough for 620 bags!

The girls and I picked up enough things to make 50 bags. We got to do the bags for the babies. Each girl took a gift bag and put a baby hat, an ornament, a bookmark, and a deck of cards (for the babies' parents) in it. They used shiny, pink twist ties to close each bag and taped a "Jordan's Wish" tag on each of them. Mali made three bags with MK's help. He was very good at putting in things in the bag- he wasn't as good at leaving them there! Everybody had a good time, although GB struggled a bit with control issues. This tradition is a keeper!

We sang Christmas carols and the girls kept track of how many bags they had done. All 50 bags are done and it is time for homemade hot chocolate.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A New Twist

The Dad's mother is 86 years year old, has Alzheimer's, and lives in an assisted living facility about an hour from here. When The Dad went into the attic last night to get our advent calender, he came down with the advent calender this picture. It was handmade, out of felt and sequins, over twenty years ago by my mother-in-law. We already had one and no one was interested in switching.  I had forgotten about it. When he found it, The Dad wanted to use it. It had little and sequin ornaments that fit into the pockets. 

Today I  cut 1" x 3" rectangles out of card stock. I put GB, Hope's, and Mali's names  across the top, easily visible. I wrote something under the name on each rectangle. Some were suggestions for seasonal activities such as wrap a present, some were for treats such as have an extra Christmas cookie, and some were suggestions for encouraged behavior such  help someone with a smile today.

Today was December 1st. The card had GB's name on it. She choose an ornament, pulled out the card, and read it. It said "Hug someone you love today". She smiled and gave Hope a really nice hug. Then she put the ornament in the pocket with the number 1.

A new twist on our old traditions. GB isn't feeling displaced (previously, she was doing the old advent calender every day) and Hope and Mali are part of our new tradition.