Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Normalcy . . .

It's odd how many things I read on a daily basis in the blog-o-sphere leaves me shaking my head in agreement each and every day. Some many of us parents of special needs kids experience the same stressors, trauma, fears and experiences, sometimes during the same evening, month or grade level. I love feeling so very un-alone in this process. Thanks ladies . . .

Recently Jo posted about Little Man and having a scare about his bone marrow suppression due to some of his psychotropic meds and that very day we received the same call. Doc, "We need you to come in and talk to you about Dustin's WBC and neutrophil counts. I'm concerned about their low numbers". We were told that they were on the low end of normal and to keep an eye out for infection, fever or sore throat over the weekend. Much like us Jo freaked out knowing this information could be the bearer of a medication change and would "jack up" all progress made recently just before school starts. She received word that his counts from the bloodwork Monday were normal. Dustin had bloodwork Monday as well and are definitely on the rise. Amazing news for both boys!

I have been reading recently on Yondalla's blog and on Foster A and E's blog (which is private for hopefully only a while longer) about experiencing first even with older children that are in our homes as fosters or adoptees in my case. Yondalla's foster son rode a plane alone for the first time and FA's child also accomplished something alone for the first time. Last night I got a call from Marla inviting Dustin to go to a movie with her and Maizie. I cried. My boy got to do something NORMAL. And better yet it was with a child who WANTED his company and CHOSE him as a friend not a child of a friend who was being "forced" to accept him. How nice! How special! How normal! Our children's firsts are amazing whether hey happen at 6 months, 12 months or 13 years!

When Dustin came home last night we received a piece of mail that Marla had warned me about. I scanned it because it was so darn cute. I feel a little guilty though because since Dustin cannot read he asked me what it said, and I lied (bad mommy). I thought I could bring myself to tell him what it said, but when push came to shove I didn't. I said something like "Hey Dustin, thanks for being a good friend". I'm not sure why I felt the need to lie, it really doesn't bother me that she had a crush on him, I found it sweet and adorable, but I got a lump in my throat and just couldn't say it! LOL I think maybe too much normalcy at a time is bad for the heart of a mom! Tee Hee. I think I may have to come clean with him soon as she is visiting our house this weekend. I can just see him now, he will wrinkle his nose and say "huh?" and then blush incredibly badly! That just might be worth fighting the lump in the throat!

Cuteness . . .

McCartney drew this adorable bear picture. I usually toss most things the kids draw(bad mommy). I'm not really very good at keeping things, but I do get attached to some and this was one of the few . . .

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Insane week . . .

I had a crazy schedule this week. I did my usual field trips, but usually it is only one place 4 times and then a pool trip 4 times. This week we had the opportunity to go to the Allen County 4-H fair one day for free so I mixed it up. We also visited a local play-place hat had moved into a bookstore and I was pleasantly surprised at how well liked it (except for one nasty girl I had to take down a notch), but that was too young for my oldest group so we headed to Black Pine Animal Park for their trip. I love Black Pine and blogged about it after our trip last year. If you live in the area and have not been there, you really should go. I was sad to learn that many animals passed since last season, ones that had been around for a long time, but was thrilled to see old favorites. . .

I also worked long days since one of our supervisors was on vacation, fixed a window Dustin broke (myself, thank you), went to the dermatologist because my lumps are still not gone, went to the doctor because I now have MRSA* (thanks Dustin), shopped for school clothes and supplies (ugh), and, my favorite part of the week, found 2 kids in the same family with REALLY BAD cases of head lice. Ahhhh, the joys of daycare . . .

It has seemed like a stressful and disjointed week, but it wasn't really all that bad. I just hope this week is easier . . .

* by the way, Dustin complained about how badly the boils hurt, and I thought he was being overly dramatic because usually he doesn't feel much pain. Yeah, he wasn't exaggerating, they hurt like a mother! Sorry dude!

My babies are growing up . . .

We have been waiting for tonight for ages in our house . . . It is the night that Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers have a 3-D concert on the Disney channel. The DVR has been set up for close to a month, Nanny got McCartney a new T-shirt the other day and we bought a Hannah Montana wig today . . . of course she has on her Hannah earrings and shoes . . .

This is the scene from my living room . . .

Dustin is a beuatiful child and he makes a lovely girl . . . (I nearly peed myself taking these pictures)

They sure are having fun and I love that Miley/Hannah doesn't dress like a tramp . . .

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where are you eating? . . .

Yesterday I took the kids at daycare to the 4-H fair. We walked into the barn that had the goats in it and one of the girls says . . .

"Mmmmm, smells like chinese food in here!"

And I'm thinking, what chinese restaurant are you eating at that smells like goat poo?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It makes me wanna wag my tail . . . .

. . . MAIL! I read a while back on Jo's blog about Weekly Freebie . They put out posts twice a week that have links to free product samples and just fun stuff. I started filling out forms for the free stuff and I have been having fun this summer checking the mail when I get home. I was concerned that I would have a TON of crap mail in my in-box, but I never check the box that says they can contact me and I have not received anything other than the normal crap.

I do have some of the samples sent in my kid's names. Dustin loves body wash, so he gets those in his name. And I even got cat food for Ozzy and dog food and flea and tick for 3 months for Cayenne. Those came in their names, it made me laugh to get mail for Ozzy Rouse!

Anyhoo, check it out and get some free junk! We've gotten granola, magazines, cereal, trashbags, papertowels, gel, body wash, deodorant, Excederin, and all kinds of good stuff!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cutie Pies . . .

So I shamelessly stole this great picture of Dustin and Maizie from Marla. I'll ask for her blessing later . . .

I know I have been talking alot about Marla and Maizie lately, but it truly is a remarkable thing in our household that Dustin has a buddy. It amazing and just what the doctor ordered. I better stop posting about it or Marla may think I'm obsessing over her child! LOL Robert and Dustin met the two ladies at the zoo yesterday, and other than expressing a little discomfort about people he may run into thinking he was cheating on me with Marla, they enjoyed their time with the animals.

What I think is happening is that I have been enjoying Dustin so much lately. His annoying habits have ceased a little bit the last couple weeks and he has morphed into this adorable, pleasant and happy child. That child hasn't been seen much around these parts lately, and it's nice to be able to share his joys and his accomplishments with you all as we travel this journey. Maizie came into his life in the middle of this transformation, so he is crediting having a buddy with the other good stuff, he talks about her almost constantly (if only he could stop asking me "that girl's" name 100 times a night) . So, you'll be getting a bunch of adorable Dustin posts . . . sure beats the heck out of the "I could strangle him" posts.

The other kids have been doing well. Harrison is busy enjoying his summer full of field trips and tons of visits to the zoo. McCarntey is doing so well in physical therapy and I have noticed a HUGE decrease in her complaints of pain since we started water therapy. What a blessing!

All in all it's a much better week than last!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Seriously, how could you not find this boy sweet, charming and totally wonderful! This is our dear Dustin, and something about him always pulls at your heartstrings. Marla wrote about how he has touched her heart and feels a connection to him. He truly is a special little boy.

For as much as he can annoy, irritate and bother, he is truly a neat, caring and loving boy. You can always tell that it is impulsive and unintentional behavior. Thankfully for now, the Lithium and other medication cocktail he is on is allowing him to have some VERY successful days! It is a blessing not only to us, but to him that he can feel a sense of pride in his behavior. I love that he seems calm and happy, you can see it in his eyes. He had a wonderful time playing with Maizie and her family Saturday, he was kind, calm and appropriate. he was great with the dog and even held their "therapy" guinea pigs without being agressive or frustrated. That NEVER could've happened 3 months ago. We have made so much progress, I have to keep everything in perspective, it's hard when you live it daily.

Thank God for families that understand.

Thank God for blogs.

Thank God for wonderful steak rubs! Mmmmmm! * go read Marla's post.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oopsy Daisy . . .

So today I decide I'm gonna take the kids to the zoo. We had a really nice time, except for the fact that Harrison lost his sunglasses 4 times and we had to retrace our steps 4 times! The weather was beautiful and the kids were really well behaved.

After the zoo we went over toMeijer to get some various groceries. I got about half way through the store and I suddenly got really dizzy. I began to feel very weird and I decided we better hurry with the groceries so I could get some air. By the time I checked out I was sweaty, my heart was beating fast and I would shaking like crazy. When I got out to the car, I knew I could not drive home. By this time, my face was numb and I was having these involuntary muscle contractions in my legs. I was scared. My mom was luckily close and she came over the drove me and the kids home.

When I got home we began looking up side effects of my medication. Oddly enough one of my meds looks VERY similar to Dustin's Lithium capsule. We looked up the side effects of Lithium and I had nearly everyone. Ooops! I called the pharmacist and she said it may take 9 hours or so to get out of my system. My mom thought it was freakin' hysterical. Me, not so much. I felt drunk, high and stupid. I have slept for about 4 hours and I feel a little better, but still a little loopy.

Go see more really cute zoo pictures over at our family blog . . .

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How to have a bad day . . . or 2 . . .

Get up 45 minutes late

Get held up in traffic

Realize you lost only bus key that daycare has

Start out for a field trip (late) and realize you have no gas

Drop gas cap under bus while gassing buses - crawl under to get it for fear you will run over it

Take kids to pool thinking storm will hold off

Get caught in a tornado warning with 17 kids who do not belong to you

Walk into a apostolic church (that has women wear skirts past their knees, do not cut their hair and do not wear make-up) in bathing suits to wait out tornado

Go home and bicker with husband becuase you had a bad day

Realize at 11:00 pm you did not take you son to get bloodwork, thus you have not one pill to give him that is the only thing that makes him sleep

Go register at the local ER for outpatient blooddraw . . . wait 1 hour for a phlebotomist

Go to pharmacy since hospital says it will have results in 15 minutes to pharmacy

Wait at pharmacy for 1 hour for results that were supposed to take 15 minutes because someone at the lab dropped the ball . . . feed child pringles and grape soda to keep him quiet

Realize you left your phone charger at work, ran out of juice and can't even charge it to call and bitch at husband because you are tired, cranky and BORED

Get paged at the pharmacy while going to the bathroom because you 13 year old thought you left him . . . at the pharmacy . . . at 1:45 am. . . when you told him you had to pee

Get home at 2:15, bicker with husband some more because you are a wretched mess after having a bad day and you choose to take it out on him

Wake up thinking a new day has dawned that will be brighter and better . . . roll over and realize you overslept and have to be at physical therapy with daughter in 10 minutes . . .

Take son with you to physical therapy and entertain him the whole time in a sweaty, humid therapy pool area so not to disturb therapy sessions . . .

Get to work . . . get hollered at by a stressed boss (who is also your mother) . . . which is probably karma for taking your stress out on your husband last night

Get a call from the husband telling you that your sons returning boils are MRSA and you have to have cream squirted up your nose and your children's nose for 3 days . . . Mmmmmm fun . . and clean and sanitize your whole home

Now, you have to leave to go get a physical for work from the same doctor at an occupational clinic that called you obese the last time


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It really is a hard job . . .

I blogged recently about how I do a billion field trips in the summer. Four afternoons a week I get to take the kids to a pool. Some of my co-workers,my friends and even my husband always remark about how it is such a koosh job. "Oh, I'll go the pool in your place. I'd love to get paid to swim" is what a hear almost daily. It is not relaxing since I am responsible for 12-20 children that BELONG TO OTHER PEOPLE. It is scary, sobering and stressful.

I hate having to call parents and tell them that their child had to be rescued by a lifeguard because they were struggling, or have the child tell the parent they went too far out and got scared. I am responsible for all these little lives.

Today, I knew a storm was heading our way. All the radar looked good, it looked like the storm would hold off until 3:00 or so. Wrong! We went to the pool and about 45 minutes later the black clouds began rolling in. I cleared the kids out of the pool and loaded them into the vans. By the time we got about 8 miles away the wind was crazy and there was a tornado warning. I had to pull into a church and ask to come in. Wierd thing? It was the church building we sold and moved out of last fall. The kids had to go in and get into tornado positions, wet in bathing suits, freaking out. They handled it pretty well. We were there about 45 minutes. When the warning lifted we headed back.

I really hated making those calls, but all the parents were fine and said, they knew we would do the right thing and that they trusted us and our judgement. They were happy that their kids were safe even though a small detour was made. It felt good knowing we are doing a good job and the parents trust us with their most precious possession.

Friday, July 04, 2008

New experiences, new friends, and new medication . . .

Last night we traveled out of our comfort zone and went to a party at a friends house. Angie and her (very talented) husband Scott invited us to their annual July 3rd party. We usually shy away from activities like this due to Dustin's difficulties in dealing with these unstructured social situations. We almost always politely decline and find other ways to occupy ourselves. Lately I have been trying to force myself to put him in those situations . . . it's hard work and constant supervision, but he needs to learn . . .

A couple weeks ago we went to a party at John's house for his birthday. His girls are great at telling Dustin what's acceptable and what's not and they do a great job of keeping him in line. He got a tad out of control there and I lost my cool, but all in all it was a good experience. We have also been going to our neighborhood-public pool on Monday nights for a special needs swim that they have. They open te pool on teir dinner hour for free for special needs kids and their families. It's awesome. Last week he made a friend. That may not be a big deal for most kids, but for Dustin that is AMAZING.

So, last night we walked into Angie's yard with much trepidation, and he did pretty darn good. He got a little inappropriate at times, and spit in a girl's face once, grabbed a child and tackled her and then had a angry face staredown with one boy, but all in all he did awesome! I was thrilled!

The best part of the night was getting to meet Marla and Maizie! I nearly did a backflip when I walked into the backyard and saw their family there! It was really nice to meet someone I read about everyday. Maizie was sweet and darling! It was a great night filled with old friends and new!

On the home front, Dustin had a psychiatrist appointment yesterday. The Doc and Robert chatted about the explosive temper we have been experiencing and the aggression. The doc thought it was time to try Lithium in addition to the other meds. I am interested in seeing how it works . . . I'm praying . . .

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mom, can I have a snack? . . .

When I came home yesterday I was treated to a wonderful report about Dustin's day. Robert told me he was fabulous and appropriate all day. Dustin was proud that he didn't steal or bother any of the animals. I praised him up and down!

The problem is when the other kids come home his competition for attention kicks into overdrive and we had blowouts and fits to get that attention. It started about a half hour after I got home. It was minimal a first, but when the kids sat down to eat, Dustin tried to stab Harrison in the back with the stick from his corndog. Stab is a harsh word, maybe I should say poke, but he was trying to inflict pain. I truly thinks he likes hearing the "littles" whine or cry. We called him into the living room to talk to him and he began a fit like we haven't seen in weeks. The stomping, the running, the screaming, the hollering of hateful things, the crying, the snot flying. It was not pretty. I began shutting windows, but I'm sure the neighbors got quite a show. We have had CPS called on us twice, I REALLY don't want to see them on my doorstep again.

He stormed away and began slamming doors upstairs. I let him cool down for a few minutes and went up to ask him to come down with us. He is rarely (read never) left alone unattended, so a few minutes can be very destructive. He began screeching and swinging at me. When I finally got him calmed down he began saying we wanted "to leave this family." I asked him what he thought he was going to do, he responded, "call the police, they will find me another home". How sad is it that that is my son's reality. You don't like what's happening in your family, just find a new one. I explained it doesn't work that way. We are a family, and you don't get to just choose to leave. He said, "Well, then I want to go to the hospital." Sorry dude, doesn't work that way either. Then he said something disturbing. "Well then, I'll just do something that will make you take me to the hospital." That really shocked me, the logic usually escapes him, but I hope that it was a fluke-y thing to say, and not really a well thought out plan. I will just trust in the latter, because within about 5 minutes he had calmed down and I was once again, "the best mom ever" according to the ranting raving lunatic turned crazy hugger that is Dustin, and he was asking for food as usual.

My life is never boring. . . or quiet . . . or easy, but always worth it. My poor boy thinks he can just throw me away when he gets mad because he has felt others have done that to him. He must worry that we will do that. I hate that.