Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Day of Fun . . .

Today my mom and I took the kids to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. We had an awesome day. What a great place! It is fun, interesting, interactive and very well maintained. The kids were totally enthralled the whole day and we had very few episodes from Dustin. He enjoyed his day and even with all the comotion and crowds, he did VERY well.

The museum has done a very good job at peeking the children's interests and sparing no cost at making nearly everything interactive. I didn't see any exhibit or manipulative that didn't work properly and everything was clean and organized. At the end of the day they even led a parade down the 4 story ramp that runs throught the middle of the museum. The kids got to follow "Rex" the dinosaur as they waved flags, chanted and marched to the exits. There was no crying that the museum was closing, they even made leaving fun! It was FANTASTIC!

Here are some pictures of our journey. . .

Monday, July 24, 2006


I mentioned in my last post that Harrison took a while to learn how to pedal. Since he's figured it out about 2 months ago he has been riding non-stop. Today he had his first big wipe-out. Luckily he is pretty good when he gets hurt, he doesn't whine and moan for too long. Here's his battle wounds . . .

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Weekend Bliss . . .

What a nice weekend. We had a wonderful family weekend. It was fun and yet relaxing. Saturday Robert and I filmed a television show for a firend who has a cable access show. It was interesting and a lot of fun. We talked about adopting out of the foster system and the challenges and rewards of adopting a child with special needs. I know it’s only cable access, but maybe someone will come to a better understanding of special needs kids after seeing this show.

Robert had volunteered to walk in a parade Saturday afternoon with our choice for candidate for sheriff. . . Tina Taviano. . . at the local 4H Fair. The kids and I decided to go, and since he had to be there an hour early, we got to walk around the fair and see all the sights and eat some grease-soaked junk food. . . Mmmmm. The kids LOVED the animals and they were all terrifically well behaved for me. Having all three myself is usually a daunting task, but it was a great afternoon. We came home and took a walk with Cayenne, our hurricane dog, and the "littles" rode their bikes. (which is great because Harrison FINALLY learned how to pedal a couple weeks ago) Dustin and I did a whole bunch of work in the yard and it looks awesome.

Sunday we had a restful day and went to our association picnic and swim party at a local pool that has a FANTASTIC kiddie area. I would post pictures, but SOMEONE forgot to put the memory stick back in the camera. . . Hmmmm . . . who could that be Robert?

All in all, it was an wonderful weekend with my three blessings! Robert and I deserved a good weekend after all the turmoil our family has been through in the last few weeks with behaviors and such.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What a week . . .

What a week. It is so busy at work during the summer for me. This month I have 9 field trips a week! I know, I know, field trips don't seem like hard work, but they are. Not only am I responsible for 80 children that belong to other people, but I am responsible for making sure they don't get lost, injured or dead. It is quite unnerving most of the time. I am always on alert, always vigilant and always disciplining. It is not just sun tanning at poolside. It is making sure someone else's kid doesn't drown.

I am also in charge of training and orientation at work. I have people how need their CPR and First Aid renewed, and new staff coming in who need their orientation. . . it's a little crazy! I enjoy being busy though since it makes the day go quickly.

I work with 50 women. I have worked there for 16 years. It is a place I care about and have a vested interest in. I also have the strange predicament to be in that I work in the office and in the "field" so to speak. I get to see how the office works and how hard the supervisory staff works to make certain that regulations are followed, parents are happy, questions are answered, ratios are followed, staff are doing what they are supposed to be doing and when they are supposed to be doing it. It is a DIFFICULT job. I get frustrated when I am in the classrooms and hear complaints about the office. These complaints are unfounded and foolish. The staff have no idea what goes on minute to minute in the office. It's a bunch of women talking about something they don't understand, feeding off each other and creating their own reality. I know there are issues, there are issues in every job you work. People are people, you won;t get along with everyone. You won't always get hard workers. Do your job and do it well. Yes, other people's performance will affect your duties. Sorry,, that's how life is. You can do more to change it by taking it honestly to someone above you than you can do complaining about it . . to anyone who will listen. . . and changing the "facts" each time.

Yes your job is difficult. Yes you are underpaid, if you don't like it get out. It's not a job that you should be in if you hate it. Good bye and good riddance. In my 16 years I have seen staff hang on for WAY too long and other leave too early when I think they show a true talent and love for the job. I have heard ALL of the gossip, sometimes even about me. Every time I listen to one staff's "information" I would love to say, "interesting that the person you think is on your side was just giving me a different explanation 10 minutes earlier." I rarely comment on this "information" usually I direct them to tell someone who can help, as opposed to simply complaining. I am a fixer, not much gets fixed unless you deal with it. It is always so interesting to me how someone can be so trusting of people who you know are talking about others as though they aren't talking about you too. It's like marrying the man who cheated on his wife to be with you. DUH! But that person always swears these employees are loyal to you . . . yeah right! And best of all . . . after doing this job for 16 years and working with hundreds of petty women you do really think I don't know what's going on anyway?? Uh . . . yeah.


We need more men who do their job and do it well and don't play these games. Oh. . . and who will work for mere pennies.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sacrifices . . .

Sacrifice. People talk about sacrifices. They talk about sacrificing new cars so their children can attend private schools. They talk about sacrificing while they finish college. We have a whole different kind of sacrifice in our daily lives. Not a worse sacrifice or a greater sacrifice, just different. . .

Our family has sacrificed friendships and "normal" family life in order to adopt a child with special needs. Our child's special need happens not to be an outward need. Sometimes I think it would be easier if Dustin was in a wheelchair, or had an obvious physical disability, but our child has a hidden disability. Our child has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Our sacrifice has been friendships.

Robert and I have no one to "hang out" with as a family. No matter what we say to try to explain to others about Dustin and his disability, we are looked at as horrible and mean parents. People don't understand what we go through behind closed doors. People have no idea how a little ignoring of a behavior in public will affect our entire family life at home for days. We discipline Dusitn in public. We are firm and strict, we have to be. People give us a chance for awhile, they understand a little, then they avoid us like the plague. We are looked at like unbending and deliberately mean. New neighbors question how we can be so harsh and seemingly cruel. We try to explain his disorder, they say they understand, but you can tell they don't. Old neighbors understand sometimes. You explain what the therapists say, what new techniques you are using, but they just don't get it . . .they don't live it. I feel so terribly alone.

Heres an example . . . Dustin happens to be very fixated on animals at the time. He WILL hurt and animal if given the opportunity. He won't mean it . . . it will begin with kindness, the animal will try to get away, and the cruelty begins. He is very capable of killing an animal. He will feel no remorse. There will be a very good reason in his head as to why he choked that animal. Due to this latest fixation, he is not allowed to touch ANY animal. We have completely taken away that privelege so that maybe that fixation will disapate, AND maybe we can spare that trauma from happening. People don't understand that, people see us as heartless. They see US being cruel. I know what he is capable of, I want to spare everyone that possibilty, especially him.

Our sacrifice? We have a very difficult time going out to eat. We cannot go to the grocery as a family. We haven't been in a church service as a family in MONTHS. We don't have a babysitter to watch the kids with the exception of my mother. We don't get invited to cook-outs, walks, hikes, bike rides, or family outtings with others. We have NO friends, everyone has abandoned us. We are looked at as the problem when we are simply dealing with what we have been dealt as best as we know how.

What about positivity Sheri? I have been trying to be positive lately. It is my hope that my positivity can further help our family deal with our daily issues. Why am I then whining about my trials and issues here. Because I can, because I need to, because I am sad, because this is the only palce I can say it. I hope that I can release it here, maybe make others aware of what families with special needs children deal with, and maybe, just maybe, I can get over it. Maybe I can no longer care about the looks, the questions and all the explanations that I feel I am obligated to give. Maybe I can overlook that fact that people leave when our family joins in on something. Maybe I can avoid the stigma that I feel when I discipline my child in public or in my own yard because I, and I alone, know what's best for him. You dont walk in my shoes, you can't possibly know what I deal with. I have to understand that I don't walk in other's shoes as well, and I have to be more tolerant and less demanding as well.

I'm tired of feeling as though I am on high alert and I have to have explanations ready for anyone that asks. I'm tired of being the pariah. I'm sad we don't get asked to do things with other families, it breaks my heart, not just for me, but for my children as well. We as parents are the ones that struggle dailywith this we could use support and encouragemwnt instead we are met with "knowing" looks and fake understanding. I'm tired of always being scrutinized. I am a family dealing with someone elses mistake. . . embrace me. Welcome me. Love me AND my child. I cannot force you to deal with my child. I have to find those who want to do it.

All of that being said. . . do I regret adopting this child and taking on the responsibilty? NO. Do I wish this world held something better for him and all of us. Absolutelty, but I will deal with the path I chose and make it the best path I can give him.

Apparently we will do it alone, we have made our choice.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Firsts . . .

My baby went to the dentist for the first time today. He did great. I, however, was a nervous wreck because I had to work, so daddy got to take him. Unfortunately he is a gagger like mommy, but daddy said he did so well and he didn't gag at all! He couldn't be more excited about his new Lightning McQueen toothbrush he got from the dentist . . . who in Harrison's words is "Bigger than God" because he is incredibly tall.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Things you hear at daycare . . . part 4 . . .

Friday, a co-worker came into the office and wanted to tell me about what a child said the day before. I laughed so hard I nearly pee'd myself.

This co-worker "V" was watching kids wash their hands after coming in from outside and was also washing their faces as they finished. One child was talking to her while she washed and this sweet child said, "Miss "V" I like your sparkly earrings."

"V" says, "Why thank you! What a nice thing to say"

The next child in line hears this and takes this oppotunity to say "Miss"V" I like your pretty blue eyes"

Once again "V" thanks the child for the compliment and fawns all over her.

The next child in line is a little boy. Cute as pie, ornery as dirt. Of course not wanting to be outdone or to miss a "Thank you" and a little attention of his own., this boy jumps right in and says "Miss "V" I like your boobies."

The really funny part is . . . Miss "V" had the humor and the guts to tell the boy's daddy this story the next day becuase she thought he would find it very funny. . . he did.

Monday, July 03, 2006

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night . . . .

I spent Saturday at my mom's house with my step-siblings and their families. We had fun and the kids had more fun. Mom said she would watch the kids so Robert and I could go to an old friend's house. Well, good 'ole "C" was throwing a "Totally 80's" party and it was kinda surreal walking into the house seeing a bunch of my old friends dressed in various states of 80's attire and hearing the same 80's songs from back then. Talk about flashback. Throw into the mix that we were in SUBURBIA and "C" had a little 2 year old spitting image of him running around and you can imagine my crazy swirl of reality.

You see "C" and I dated for quite some time and this is the guy that I caught in my garage "smokin" with my dad! "C" is the guy that you knew would never grow up and really truly hasn't even though he lives in suburbia. "C" is the guy that used to dress like Billy Idol and dyed his hair fuschia for my family reunion. Anyhoo, the little one is beautiful and I'm thrilled that he is happy he deserves it. . . but it was a picture I never thought I would see.

Oddly enough there were about 4 or 5 children there that belonged to old friends. Kinda weird seeing my old friend's likeness on little ones. Very weird. But, we had a good time. I even went to mom's to get my kids and let them play awhile. They had a good time too. It was nice to see "A" this weekend and reconnect with some long lost friends who I thought I'd never see again. It does however make me feel quite old.

By the way, Laura, you would've died laughing when I was standing with all my old "punk-rock" friends talking and my cell phone rings . . . ringtone? When the Sun Goes Down. You would've cracked up to see the look on a couple of their faces. It was priceless!

I also wanted all of you to check out my friend's art here. She is pretty amazing, and a Fort Wayne native who is now out of Indianapolis. It was nice to see her this weekend as well.