Wednesday, March 24, 2010

He's got the look . . .

Dustin has the look of disregulation. I could see it this morning as he refused to brush his teeth. It starts with his left eye. It gets saggy. Then, they both begin to look empty.

Why? I am not sure. We are leaving for vacation soon. Dustin usually flips out when we leave the house for anything more than a few hours. He will not listen to Robert. Typically he is the one that controls him best. He clings to me. He is defiant and grouchy. He turns off and is glazed and almost groggy. I think it stresses him out to leave the house and all he knows is stable. He also freaks out about leaving the animals behind. We are having someone stay and watch them, but it is not us. I am almost certain that he was left alone when he was a child on many occasions.

I know these are his triggers, but it does not make things any easier to deal with. I just hope he doesn't do something stupid before we leave. I hope he enjoys himself while we are gone, and I hope he can let the rest of us enjoy ourselves as well. I think it will help that my mom and step-dad are already in Florida and the condo is a familiar place since we were there a couple years ago. He is all about consistency. The condo we rented is in the same complex and is a similar floor plan to my mom's place. He has already said, "I want to stay in the hotel we stayed at before. They miss us." No dear, the nasty, cheap hotel does not miss us.

I just hope I survive the car ride. We traveled to Florida long ago to visit Robert's dying father (who is still around!) when Dustin was just placed with us. He had only been with us for about 3 weeks and we stuck him in a car and traveled to Florida. Holy Lord! This was when he was in six years old and 5 medications, 22 pills daily and FREAKIN' bonkers all. the. time. We were stupid. On the way home, I truly almost left him at a gas station in Georgia. I literally got in the car and thought about driving away with him in the bathroom at like 3 in the morning. It was not my most motherly moment! It cannot be that bad again . . . can it? (don't answer that!)

This time we will stop in Georgia and see Lisa and travel to the top of Stone Mountain. I am looking forward to both. The last time I was on top of Stone Mountain was on our honeymoon. The kids really better be good on the trip there . . . or don't get too close to the edge.

(Hold your horses . . . I am joking!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Success . . .

The talk to the pregnant girls went well. They were kind and attentive. I kept feeling like I was doing a scared straight program. I talked A LOT about Dustin and his issues. We talked about offering your baby the best possible start by making healthy choices. I think they heard me. I was honest and told them I harbored anger for Dustin's mother. I told them I knew it wasn't healthy, but I felt like I needed to be honest with them. One girl said, "I understand. You are angry because he could've had a better life. I bet she is angry with herself too." Whoa. The insight from a 16 year old pregnant teen. . .

I have also found out about a program that will give some services to Dustin. I am looking into it today. It is a newly funded program that offers respite (!!!!) and some in home services. It also deals with some transitional and independent living skills which is strongly needed. The goal is keeping kids out of residential treatment. We definitely qualify based on their requirements, I just hope it is a good fit for him. I am fearful about bringing in another team to deal with all this, but I have to have some semblance of trust in order to see if it will work. I am reaching past my limits with this one, but hopefully it will be a blessing. I am praying it meets our needs.

The littles are doing well in school. Harrison has a fabulous teacher this year and he adores her. McCartney has the kindergarten teacher that Harrison has and she is very kind. I am looking forward to Spring Break in a couple weeks. I am just looking forward to green grass and warmer temperatures and playing outside!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Are you kidding me . . .

I came home today and Dustin was all excited. "Mom! I have something to tell you. I had a soldier visit me today at school. He came and talked to my table at lunch today and he says I should talk to you about joining the army!"


This recruiter went up and talked to a group of moderately mentally handicapped kids and told them they could join the army. This is a group of children who have IQs under 70 and who will likely never read more than functional words. Not only did he talk to them, have gave them a DVD to show to their parents and a mousepad. Dustin said, "Mom he said I can aim good". Nice.

Dustin is now convinced he wants to join the military. He is obsessed.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome blows . . .

I am having a rough week. I am sick and tired of dealing with the fall out of my son's prenatal exposure to alcohol. He is running again people! Those of you new here, my son tends to fall more on the flight side than the fight side. His impulse control is ZERO and when he gets frustrated with us, he takes off. The nicer spring-ish days has allowed him to take off twice now. Saturday he took off for about a half an hour and yesterday he left, but Robert caught him before he hit the corner. Saturday he was out of sight for about half the time. The other 15 minutes were spent running away from Robert, back and forth in front of our house and down to the very busy bridge just south of our block and nearly being hit by a truck. Seriously. He spent the rest of the weekend in his underwear. It is the only way I know to keep him in the house.

I get so frustrated that his life could've been so different. I know that his Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is made more difficult by the fact that he is also moderately mentally handicapped and schizophrenic, but I am just so sad that the FAS portion of his issues was 100% preventable had his mother refrained from drinking while he was in utero. I know that I can only deal with what is given to us, but I mourn the life he could've had.

I am spending Thursday afternoon speaking to pregnant high school students in an alternative learning program. I am going to have a hard time because I have been told that some of these girls are currently in drug treatment and some have admitted to drinking while they are pregnant. I know some of their children already have some deficits due to their choices while their children are supposed to be in safe in their womb. I harbor much anger for Dustin's mother and I hope I can convey kindness to these girls while still explaining that their choices are effecting their child. I am not sure I will be asked back. It should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Slacker . . .

I am a super blog slacker.

I was sick for about 2/3 of February and I am trying to catch up with my life. How about some bullet points:

- McCartney got the most adorable haircut. It is stacked in the back and tapered down to the front. I was so tired of scraggly hair that looked fabulous if it was brushed, but about 3 minutes later it looked like poo. She loves it and that is a good thing.

- I spent hours Sunday cleaning up 3 months worth of winter dog poop. yum.

- Dustin is doing okay. He is still not able to be more than 3 feet from us, but for now he is not throwing too many fits. I am afraid of spring and that it will bring back the running away. I am going to have to get over this and just deal.

- We are going to Florida. Woot. I am afraid Dustin will run while we are there. I am going to have to get over this as well. I am not going to spend my vacation fretting over this. Our condo is about 20 feet from the intercoastal waterway. He loves water. I truly hope the thought of sharks in the water will keep him from running out and to the water every 5 minutes.

- Dustin turned 15. 15. How did that happen? I wished for no more whining when he blew out the candles, but I got nothin'.

- I really hate teenage-text-type. I hatee the doublee letterss on the endss of wordss. I hate plz instead of please. And I really like the hide feature in facebook for those who do this! I am guilty of letting my son have a facebook profile (the 7 year old) so he can play games. But I really don't like teenagers (or preteens for that matter) invading facebook and having to look at their nonsense. (Man I sound old! *Shaking fist and telling the hooligans to get off my lawn*)

- I am selling the jewelry that McCartney and I make at a conference this weekend. We shall see how that goes. I am nervous no one will buy anything and I will look stupid. I will take a picture one I get all set up. Truly I am just happy to have a few hours wihout children!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Information . . .

I was reading a post over on another blog and began thinking about sharing "too much" about our kids. I have been kind of "chewing" on it ever since.

This parent is the adoptive parent of a pretty difficult kid. They fought a removal notice and successfully adopted their daughter. During the process, the child began displaying some rough behaviors to deal with. The writer opined more than once that she should not adopt this child. She didn't really want to adopt her. She was pretty honest. She knew that it would be a hard road, but her spouse insisted. She acquiesced and did the deed. She regrets it. She is constantly writing about how long it is to her birthday. To be perfectly honest, I don't read that often because it really is a drag. It makes me sad, sad for them, sad for the child and sad in general. I will not link to her because I don't want to draw negative attention her way. She is hurting and I respect that (and to some extent respect her), but I struggle with it to be quite honest. . . and well, this is my blog so I can say so.

What got me chewing is that she is always talking about telling this person and that person about her child's negative behaviors. The neighbors, the school, friend's mothers, a friend who is a social worker(not the child's), the teachers, friends, old friends she just reconnected with, etc. Some of these people are even brought in to give the child "the business" about her behavior.

I suppose I need to say that I understand it is her blog and she can vent how she chooses just as I do. I understand that some of these people do need to know what the child is capable of so they can stop some sort of manipulation that may be happening. I get that sometimes "it takes a village" to raise a child. I also understand that I air all my dirty laundry on here as well. I suppose that is why I am asking, for myself as well, "How much is too much?"

I want to educate the world that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a "hidden" disability. I want to spread the word that drinking during pregnancy can and will cause organic brain damage. I offer my child as a prime example of a child who has lost the chance of a "typical" life because of the selfish choices his mother made. I want to shoot that from the rooftops. He knows what he "has". He knows what his mother did. I say it in front of him. I have heard him more than once say, "I am special needs." I am okay with that. This hidden disability makes it hard for people to understand he is different. Is that too much to share?

I share that he has schizophrenia with close friends so that they can support us in the hard day to day work it takes raising this child. It explains why we cannot let him out of our sight at gatherings and why he is a danger to other children if left alone with them. We share that he is moderately mentally handicapped and that means he has a low IQ. We share that he is more like a 5 year old than the 15 year he appears to be. Is that too much to share?

We share with family that he was severely physically abused and sexually molested in his past. They need to know that he could and has made false allegations against people. They need to know that neighbors have made allegations after hearing some severe flashbacks he has had. They need to support us and act as a back up in the vent that we need a break. No one else can watch him. Is it too much to share?

I am by far anonymous on here. I was turned into city code enforcement after a post I made on here late last year about a door lock. I was unaware it was against code. Someone decided to turn me in instead of telling me that I was in violation. It was a turning point for me. I have struggled to blog since. I was in a store not too long ago and Dustin was with me. He was being quite rude and really pushing the limits. Those of us who deal with this know there is a short window of time to reign that in before it becomes a full blown, wallowing on the floor, ugly screaming, running fit. I was in his face and adamant that he straighten up. A lovely woman approached me and told she was a blog reader and was happy to meet us. I was mortified. I was embarrassed that she had witnessed that and I was honestly frightened it would look bad. Then I realized, if she reads here she probably understands. But did she? Was it too much?

I worry that the good (allowing people to better understand our kiddos) I am doing putting it out here, is not outweighed by the bad. I struggle to make sense of whether what I am doing is good for my son or not.

I do know that if I had not found the blogging community I am not sure Dustin would be with us today. I am fairly certain he would be in a residential or institutional setting. Had Kari not found me and commented here, I would've taken a lot longer to realize there are so many of you out there. While our children are very different, we all have similar struggles. Jo's dear son is very much like Dustin. We share similar experiences. We commiserate on facebook quite a bit. Lisa has the best ideas and is willing to try anything with her girls, and has one miracle and one more in the making. I cannot wait to meet her face to face in 30 short days. Linda and Mary never give up. In the face of great challenges, they plug away day by day and still find joy in small things. Linda, Theresa, Claudia and Cindy have large size families that have many behaviors we deal with and I am amazed at what they go through. Essie and Mom in the Trench have kiddos who don't always choose to control their bodily functions. Essie has a wicked sense of humor and Mom has a great faith. Reighnie, who struggles with her adopted nieces and nephew while dealing with her quadriplegic husband, boggles my mind with her strength and her grit. Barb and her great struggles with her oldest send me screaming for the hills and yet she endures. Torina is dealing with a transitional plan for a very tough daughter and has great taste in music. Yondalla raises much older boys, but always has a kernel of knowledge for everyone. Atlasien is looking to add another child into her home and I applaud her patience. And of course the lovely Christine who has a wonderful outlook and great hair! I am sure there are more of you out there I have forgotten.

I would be remiss not to mention the ones that has disappeared and I still miss, Antigone Lost, Bumpy Road to Motherhood, Baggage and Bug, Princess Shine Pages, and Journey to the Heart. I learned something from all of you.

I would not be where I am without you all. So I suppose I share more than most, but not as much as others. I guess I can be the only judge of what to share and what not to share with those in our lives. I will try make those decisions for our family the best I can.

New addiction . . .

I love music. My dad instilled the love of music in me at a young age. Something my husband and I share is our love of music. Unfortunately it doesn't always agree with one another. I like most of what he likes, he likes a fraction of what I choose. But, he is pretty patient with my music for the most part. Favorites? Janes Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, The Replacements, Stone Roses, Ministry, REM, The Cure, The Pixies, Indigo Girls, Elvis Costello, Lloyd Cole, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, The Gufs etc.

New favorite? The Heavy. Holy smokes they knocked my socks off! Love these guys.

I cannot stop listening to them. I knew I had cool kids, they like them too. Thankfully, because it has not been ejected ONe of my from the car CD player in three days. Seriously, if you have ears, check them out! facebook friends began posting their videos and the LOVE has spread like wildfire through my facebook friend base. We all are smitten!


Too True Tuesday 15 . . .

Today Essie wants us to divulge our "secret compulsions. Your obsessions. The private little things you do not because you want to but because something bad, possibly involving VooDoo and world decimation, could happen if you don't. Yes indeed, those little maneuvers you participate in to save yourself from a horror beyond the imagination of Steven King."

Not so hard for someone who is OCD. Huh? I have a few. *snicker*

I think the WORST one, and most irrational is bumpy things. I hate bumpy things. Just typing that makes my head get all tingly. Oh my gosh, that sounds weird. Do you ever get that creepy tingly feeling that starts at the top of your head and washes down your neck and shoulders and when it reaches your arms it makes you shudder and your head and neck itch? That's what bumpy things do to me. I know, seriously warped.


bumpy gourds - my co-workers think it is funny to buy them and put them on my desk, NOT amusing! :)

those creepy pores on the back of the leather leaf you get in flower bouquets (ugh, they have to be taken out andthrown away, but I won't touch them!

barnacles on docks and boats - our condo in Florida is on the intercoastel waterway, right by the pier. I am praying for high water so I don't have to see the barnacles.

warts - we had woman, sweet as could be, that worked at the daycare that was covered in these bumpy warts and I could hardy look at her.

ANYTHING that has creepy bumpy nubs on them!

I have to end this post now, my head it itchy! Argggggh!

Field trip from hell . . .

I have been incredibly sick. I got a bad case of strep the first week of February. I was miserable. Like praying for death miserable. The next week I went back to work and felt fine. The following Tuesday I ended up heading home again with a sore throat, no voice and a fever. I developed a wicked cough that led my doctor to putting me on a VERY strong antibiotic for pneumonia. It did not work. I spent the week in agony. I began getting all these blisters on the inside of my mouth. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the strep was back. The doc kept insisting I had pneumonia. I went back to the doc for the third time in 3 weeks and he announced I was pneumonia free (no kidding) and that I had a massive strep infection and thrush. He put my on another antibiotic because for some reason the super-antibiotic was not working at all. I finally began feeling better on Wednesday.

Enter Thursday.

I had promised to go on a field trip with Harrison's class. You must be cleared by the school corporation to volunteer with criminal checks and such. The teacher really needed my help. I really wanted to go becuase it was a trip I went on while I was in elementary school. We were going to the Yoder Sugar Bush farm to see how maple syrup is made. If I love anything it is sugar! And sugar from trees . . . nectar of the gods! I so wanted to go, but I knew it would be miserable. Harrison would not allow me to back out, and I am stubborn so I went.

4 and half hours.


In 25 degree weather awith a windchill of 10 degrees.

I am not sure I have ever been so cold and miserable in my whole life.

I cannot believe I went on that field trip. I am a fool. I came home and bawled in my hubby's arms. I was so sick. And I was so tired of feeling like poo. My mouth was incredibly painful and I had no voice. The syrup was good though!

Friday morning I woke feeling better. I think the outside air helped "blow the stink off" and maybe froze the germs to death! I also woke to 3 kids with fevers. ARGH! I was determined to get better! I didn't step foot outside all weekend. I layed around, did projects and got better. This week I am back at work but still have blisters in my mouth and on my tongue. I am slowly recovering. It has been hard.

I leave for Florida in 30 days! (with a short overnight stop in Stone Mountain to meet the incredible Lisa and J!) I must get completely healthy. I leave you with some really cool pictures from the maple syrup farm . . .