Monday, September 29, 2008

Smart Move Mom, Finally!

I am very proud of myself tonight. Akila had a really good morning, no issues, no rages, no name-calling, it was a rare morning. Akila started playing with a few of her dolls yesterday and she really gets into this sometimes. The dolls are real and we all have to treat them accordingly or she will go nuts.

So, as she was leaving, she was handing me her doll to care for during the day. When she does this, I have to be very careful to handle the doll with care or I get yelled at to support her neck, etc. I was very loving to the doll. Akila told me where to set her down after she left. She asked if I was going anywhere and I said I was going grocery shopping. She asked me to take the doll with, but to be sure to use her car seat. I assured her that I would.

During the day, I came across a bib and brought it and put it on the doll. When Akila got home, she noticed immediately. I told her that when I was feeding her she was getting messy so I put a bib on her. She loved it. She was so proud of me and so thankful that I took good care of her baby. She then went in the basement, got the real high chair out, and played really nicely with dolls for quite awhile. I came into the kitchen and found her running the microwave. She had a bottle with water that she was warming up for the baby. She had even taken the nipple off.

Makes me think that she might be able to be a good mom some day. Well, that is until the child started to talk and assert their will. She would then explode and lose her temper. Worse than I do. But I didn't have to today. Today was a good day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Benefit for Bernard's Kids

Some of you may remember my post from April when my friend Bernard died. I went to a meeting at the NYLC where I use to work yesterday, to help plan a fundraiser for Bernard's four kids. I wanted to put a little bit of information here for those of you who are local and could possibly attend. Please attend, whether you knew him or not. I would love to see you all.

It will be on Saturday, October 25 from 5-10 pm in St. Paul by the State Fairgrounds. There is going to be various musical entertainment and a variety of food offered, mainly desserts and appetizers. The suggested donation for entry will be $10, and the food will be for sale as well. More info to come on the details.

Bernard's oldest child, Geoffrey is 20 years old and a sophomore at Augsburg College. He has moved back home and is taking guardianship of two of his sisters who are in 8th and 10th grade. His other sister is 18 and a freshman at the University of Minnesota. I met last night with Geoffrey, and am amazed at all that he has had to take on. We met at 9:30, after he had gotten home from his 10th grade sister's volleyball game. He is having to work with a lawyer to get the kids names on the title of the house, having to turn in his dad's vehicle next month which is leased, trying to buy a car this weekend, trying to provide healthy meals, and the list goes on. I can't imagine having to do all of this at the age of 20, he just turned 20.

I am organizing a group of people who will be delivering groceries/meals to the kids on a regular basis as well. If you're interested in helping with this, email me. If you'd like to attend the fundraiser, email me as well.

Journal Entry

I am still in a deep cleaning mode, have been for 4 weeks now, you would think my house would be spotless. I was cleaning out our family room where all the toys are yesterday. It took all day. I found a notebook with the above entry from Akila. I crossed out the boys name.
It makes me sad. You might think that it makes me sad because she wants to have a baby so much when she grows up and more than likely won't be able to due to her Turner Syndrome. No, I feel like this is a blessing, she should never have children. That does make me sad I guess, but I know it would not be good for her or for a child for her to be parenting.
Obviously it makes me sad how obsessed she is with sex. Many parents or professionals would say that it is normal to have an entry like this, that kids are curious at this age about sex and all that gobbley gook. It is not normal, I guarantee it. If this was an isolated incident, or something that rarely happens and I could use it as a spring board for a deep discussion, that would be more normal. No, trust me, Akila has a very unhealthy obsession with sex. And it is going to break my heart over and over for the rest of my life. This I know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working Together

On Saturday, Michael took Imani, Zeke and Hezekiah to the Farmer's Market and on a bunch of errands. Akila and I put together a dresser for her room that I bought at Ikea. It was so much fun, which is something I never thought I would say after putting something together from Ikea (what a pain!).

Akila loved putting it together, using the tools, reading the directions (which are all pictures), and working with mom. She was on a high and so was I. It probably took 2 hours to do, and she and I were both patient and pleasant. About half way through, as I was revelling in how well it was going, I realized that I was benefiting partly from her prime time after she has taken her meds, but hey, I'll take it.

We were trying to find a neighbor who could come and take a picture of us working together, but had no luck. So I took several pictures of her and she took some of me (which I will not post), and it was a pretty good day. We had a pretty good weekend, which ended with her getting her hair braided by an old student of mine. She loves to get her hair done, and is usually pretty good on these days, thank goodness.

I can't handle 5 minutes

Wow, the entire morning is going fine, and then the last 5 minutes as we get ready to go to the bus stop, everything melts down and I am completely annoyed. Akila was pretty good all morning, then as the kids are putting on shoes and coats, we had an issue.

She wanted to wear a pair of high heel shoes that the girls use to play with dress up. They are real shoes, not the little girl fake high heels. I tell her that she needs to wear her tennis shoes and she immediately looses it. Starts kicking and name calling. I tell her that she can wear them to dance class tonight, but can't wear shoes like this to school. Well no matter, she is totally gone and replaced with a manic Akila.

I manage to get her tennis shoes on her, but it wasn't pretty. She called me every name in the book and as she was going out the door, she slammed the screen door intentionally against the railing, kicked the door quite hard, while calling names. I followed her (in a non-intimidating manner) out the door and she threw her book bag at me. I picked it up and followed her to the bus stop, all the while being called names. I calmly told her she would have a consequence when she got home for this poor behavior, which made her spew more hateful language.

The bus came, I almost kissed the bus driver. I am now going to spend some time in the Word and pray for peace and that the Lord would help me to not let 5 minutes ruin my day. I don't think it will.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Background

Hey, I'm getting fancy, don't you think!!! Thanks to Linda who inspired me!

After school fun

Well, I should have knocked on wood or something from my post earlier today. Akila did not come home on the bus today. I wonder why I get migraines.

The 3 kids came running off the bus to tell me that Akila did not ride it home. My kids go to a school in downtown Minneapolis which buses kids from all over Minneapolis, and 10 west metro suburbs. Fun. I went inside and called the school to see if they could help me track her down. While on hold as they were calling the bus company, my other line rang and it was a cell phone number. I answered it and it was Akila at a girls house over in South Mpls, we live North. Her mom got on the phone and told me her address.

We were going to dance after school today, but Michael was home early so I left the other three with him, went and got Akila and went straight to dance. I can't tell you how mad I was. I couldn't even talk to her about it as we were driving to dance I was so mad. She knew it too. After dance, Michael talked with her, gave her the punishment that she cannot leave our yard for the next week, and if she does, we will take away her beloved bear for two days so she can understand how sad and scared we were without her when she did not come home after school. Way to go dad, a pretty good consequence I thought. With one of my other kids, I think they might make the connection, not sure Akila will, but still a good one.

The challenge to it, is that she is obsessed with this bear and has a horrific time winding down and going to bed without it. And I can practically guarantee that she will leave our yard in the next week, not intentionally, but will forget that this is her punishment. I will work really hard to remind her of this rule for the next week, I don't want her to lose the bear.

A funny note, as I was eating some crackers tonight, I couldn't figure out why my tongue seemed like I had burned it on coffee or soup. I was trying to think of what I had consumed in the last day or so that would have burnt my tongue. Then I started laughing when I remembered the cayenne pepper I consumed this morning in an attempt to get rid of my migraine. I am feeling better, but am really praying that it will be totally gone tomorrow, just in time for my dentist appt. I am glad this day is almost over.

Turned Down the Perfect Job

I forgot to write about a job that I still can't believe I turned down. I use to work with a guy named Peter who I have remained friends with and loved working with. We worked together in the Bloomington Schools and also when he directed Camp Icaghowan, a YMCA camp that I use to use for some of my youth programs. He now works at a charter high school in Coon Rapids as a teacher.

He called me the first week of school wondering if I might want to work there 4 afternoons a week doing youth development kind of stuff with the students. I went last week and met with the Director, Peter's friend whom I have met before and like. I told him I didn't want to work 4 days a week as I am trying to re-energize, get organized and do a million other things now that all 4 of my kids are in school. He said two days a week would be fine, he would be totally flexible, it sounded perfect. I love the school, I know and like at least 4 staff already, it is a school year schedule, everything I needed. I would have plenty of time to get home in time for the kids, it would just be 11:30-2 twice a week, more if I wanted.

I thought about it for a week, went back and forth, thought I was going to accept and then realized the timing just is not right. I have been too excited about having some time to get organized, time to clean, time to cook, time to try to be more creative in my approaches to Akila, etc. I think if this opportunity came up next school year, or even in January, after I have had some time, the decision would have been much easier.

I just can't believe I turned it down. It was a perfect fit. Just not the perfect time.

Migraine Mania

I am on day two of a migraine. Ugh. I have gotten these stinkers for years, and a little over a year ago they started to sometimes last over a day. It use to be that I would wake up with a migraine, a few hours later start vomiting, empty my stomach out, sleep an hour or two and then it would be gone, usually by dinner (sometimes if they started in the afternoon, they would be gone by bedtime). Now, they sometimes last more than a day.

I have not been able to get rid of this one, I am getting close and it is gone enough that I can use the computer. After the kids left for school, which was not fun, I drank some water with a couple teaspoons full of cayenne pepper and laid down. I read on the Internet that this can trick your brain into sending something or other for the pain, or something like that. It actually seemed to help and the majority of the pain went away, it is just kind of in the back of my head now. I then went to the health club, sat in the hot tub and took a shower. That helped as well.

Thankfully, last night is when Angie was taking Akila out for their bi-weekly outing. My other three went to my friend DeDe's and I was very relieved.

Then there was this morning. What is amazing to me, is that the majority of the morning can go very well, and then the last 10 minutes are when we hit meltdown phase. When it was time to go to the bus, Akila comes downstairs with her old backpack full of stuff. When I asked her what was in it, she said with great attitude, "none of your beeswax." My first instinct was to smack her across the face, which I of course did not do, but the migraine was making it harder to resist, honestly. As I was trying to check out what was in her backpack, she ran to the family room door and kicked it. This is a french door like we have on our bedroom door, the one that she kicked and broke the glass on when we were on vacation. Thankfully, it did not break, but it made me break. I started yelling and lost it.

Long story short, I finally got her off to the bus stop. I followed slowly behind and when I rounded the corner, I witnessed her kicking her sister Imani a couple of times. She was in a bad mode. She also told me she was going home with Abbey to live with her. I wanted to say that would be fine by me. But I did not.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Running Away

Today was the tenth day of school, not that I'm counting down to summer! But Akila has a new thing this year she is trying out. She comes home every day wanting to know where we are going. And most of the time the answer is no where, and she does not like this answer. She especially did not like this answer today, so she decided she was going to run away. I have a hard time knowing how to respond to this one. She doesn't do it too often, I would say every few months, usually.

She packed up her bag, got her dolls, needed a target bag for her winter coat in case she got cold (who said FASD kids can't plan ahead?) and was ready to go. I told her I didn't want her to go and that I would miss her too much. She left. I watched her from a hidden window, as she rounded the corner into North Mpls. I sighed. I followed her to the corner behind our block, which is not a place she should be alone. She did not want to come back home, or so she said. I actually did have a hard time getting her home.

The entire way home, which we had to stop many times to talk and fuss, I heard about how she hated our family, didn't want to be in our family any more, because I always say no. And she never gets to go anywhere (so not true). As we were getting close to our house, she decided she wanted to live with someone else on our block. I said good luck finding someone. She came in the house and wanted to change her name. I asked her what name she would choose. She said Kiera. I said that was a pretty name and asked her if she would write it down for me so I could see how it was spelled. Then I asked her if she would write it on her homework sheet and turn it into a creative writing assignment. I asked her to write what type of a family she would like to live in and how she was feeling. It worked for a few minutes of distraction, then she came right back to wanting to leave.

And she wanted to change her name officially. I told her it was too expensive and she would have to wait until she was an adult and could pay for it on her own. She decided she wanted to move in with the family next door, and started to perseverate on this fact. She couldn't wait until Ms. Pat would return home so we could ask if Akila could move in. It was fun. When Ms. Pat did come home, I called and explained Akila's new idea (Ms. Pat is a single mom of 4 adopted kids, one with FAS), she said that Akila could come over and play with Maria, her daughter who is about Akila's age. God bless her. This helped and got Akila out of her goofy mood.

I had to explain to Akila that Ms. Pat said she couldn't move in, but could come and play for a little. She was fine with it. We will see what she does tomorrow, I have a feeling she may try to be on the run a lot. I think we may need to install some kind of alarm notification system for the doors soon, I can't be watching the doors at all times. But the kids come and go out of the doors on nice days. Oh what fun lies ahead, I hate to think about it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

3:15, 3:30, 3:45, etc.

Akila got up at 3:15 this morning, and never went back to bed. I'm tired. The kids are tired. Michael is tired. It is amazing how one child can affect the entire family. She has been sleeping pretty well since we switched her off of the Dexedrine to Ritalin. This was happening fairly regularly last spring before the switch.

I knew this was coming. Out of the blue, last night at bedtime, she announced that if she woke up in the middle of the night, she was going to come down to the family room to play. I said no, that would not work, and that if she woke up, to lay in bed until she fell back asleep. She argued with me and started to rage, and that was that. So 3:15, she comes sauntering into my room wide awake. There is no putting her back to bed when this happens, believe me, I have tried.

If I make her go to her room, I am guaranteed to have all 4 kids awake in less than 30 minutes. I have even tried during several of these occasions, to lie down with her in her room, or have her come into our bed (which I hate doing). Doesn't work. So, she came to the family room, and woke me up all night, or should I say morning?, about every 15 minutes with things like this:
  • There is a giant centipede with a pointy back
  • Will you make me some pancakes
  • Is it a school day?
  • Do you know where the DVD remote is?
  • It is raining (she woke up before the rain and thunder started)
  • Is it a school day? (again)
  • Can you come help me?
  • I need a band-aid ( which she can get herself at anytime)

I think around 6:30, is when she woke up the other 3 kids for sure. It sounds like she had tried a few times before that. When I got up, they were all 4 in Akila's room watching a movie on the mini DVD player (which Akila had gotten out of our room while we slept). She also had my cell phone, and had been in my purse and gotten gum. Lovely.

It was not a very fun morning, and I tried to be patient. Hezekiah spilled his juice all over in the dining room and I didn't react very well. I didn't yell psychotically like I wanted to do, I just chastised him for not telling me right away. This is my pet peeve, when they spill, and don't react quickly to turn the glass back over, run for a towel, or at the very least yell for mom.

I am going to school this morning to meet with Akila's new teacher to give her some more info about Akila. She has been really good so far which is typical. She is taking it all in, the newness of a new classroom. Thankfully, she has never been her worst at school though, she saves the rages and really out of control behavior for home, which is how I should want it to be, but I really don't. Obviously, I don't want her to be out of control at all. Afterschool has been challenging already, I'm counting down until the afterschool brochure comes out; I may have to ask about that today (and then come home and take a nap).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homework Blues

So, after 5 days of school, I am fed up with homework- and we hardly have any. I am of course talking about homework with Akila. In her first homework packet, which came home on Friday, there is just a list of spelling words, and a reading log in which she has to write about her reading twice a week. I sat down with her to do this on Sunday, and it was not fun.

Monday night was even worse. During dinner, I told her we were going to do homework after we finished cleaning up dinner, and told her she could have some time to play first. Michael did homework with Imani and Hezekiah first, as it does not work to have Akila working on homework at the same time as the other kids.

I came down to get her when it was her turn, and she started to rage. We went round and round awhile. I explained to her that if she didn't sit down to do homework with me, that she would have to go to her room for the rest of the night. This enraged her even more. I told her she could choose a book to read, she could read it to me, or not, I would sit with her, I would read my own book, etc. Nothing was appealing to her. She just sat or stood there and threw stuff and called me names. I remained really calm, on the outside.

After much monkey business, she finally sat down with a book, at least 30 minutes after this fiasco started. Then, she wasn't really reading, but just flipping through the pages. We also have issues over where she would like to do her homework. Our dining room table is not the most ideal, the table is a bit shaky, no matter how much we have tried to stabilize it. I have been begging for a new table for awhile now, maybe for my 40th birthday coming up next month. Or not. Akila has a desk in her bedroom, she doesn't like doing it in there either. I sometimes make a homemade desk with a stool and a little chair we have, and put it in whatever room is interesting to her. The things I do for her, sometimes drive me nuts. I fell like I'm always having to bend over backwards, because I guess I am. Ridiculous.

Anyway, she sometimes likes to do it on the couch or on my bed with a clip board. Last night we were on the couch with a clip board. When it was time to write the name and author of the book on her sheet, she flipped out, saying that the paper hurts her arm.?? What?? I tried to have her explain this to me, and she just got furious, name calling and yelling. I suggested we sit at the table, desk or something else. This made her mad. Then I suggested that she wear her sweatshirt so the paper would not touch her arm, and she yelled, "Duh, that's what I was saying". She said nothing close to that, but OK, now we're getting somewhere. She gets her coat on and starts to write with a serious attitude.

She now needs to flip the paper over, to write about what she just read. I tell her, "Turn the sheet over please.", and she starts to freak out. She begins to yell and goes nuts, saying that she is going to get a paper cut, and she is genuinely freaked out to get a paper cut. I then tell her to rethink how she could politely ask for help. She does so, with an attitude. I eventually flip the sheet over, the paper is maybe within 6 inches of her as I flip it over, and she practically falls off of the couch while angrily yelling at me that I almost gave her a paper cut. It was not even close. I was trying really hard not to laugh, and she could see that and got really mad at me.

It was not fun, I don't think we are going to be able to do homework very much this year. Michael and I were talking about it later that night, and she definitely is not capable of doing very much of it on a school night. Last year, I was about to talk with her teacher to say that we wouldn't be able to do homework anymore, and that is when we started her on medication. We were able to do the homework for the most part, but only on the weekends right after she had taken her meds. We would do her entire homework packet on Saturdays.

The other challenge with it, is that her comprehension skills are low and writing about something she has just read, is difficult. When they do the neuro-psychological testing with her, one of the tests is reading a short paragraph to her and then having her answer questions about it. She always would do very poorly at this. She could only answer the questions when prodded and given verbal clues. This from the girl who can remember the exact spot that she had an owie when she was 2 years old.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nice Message for Mom

I guess I'm going to do 3 posts a day now, trying to catch up. This is a quick one. I have spent the last few days deep cleaning the kids bedrooms. I did Akila's room on Tuesday, the boys yesterday and Imani's today. Imani has a chalk board in her room that all the kids like to write on from time to time. Today, I found this message from Akila:

If you can't read it, it says " I want to go to stay at my birth mom's. Akila". I know that I will probably be hearing a lot of these kind of lines from her in the upcoming years. I'm sure she wrote it last week one day when she was furious with me and was saying that over and over. Then she came downstairs and wanted to do enough chores to earn $600. I had told her a long while ago that plane tickets cost at least $600. Pretty sure she had some plans. She of course didn't do enough chores to earn fifty cents, but she got a little bit done.

Zeke's First Day of Kindergarten

Last night, while we were eating supper, Zeke asked if they could go to bed right after dinner so kindergarten day would get here sooner. I thought it was a great idea, but none of the other kids did. He was super excited for school to start today. I forgot to give the boys their asthma meds and I went in their room to give it to them, less than 5 minutes after I tucked them in, and he was sleeping already. What a cutie.

He got up this morning, and was ready to go in 5 minutes. I drove the kids to school so I could see Zeke and wow, I can't explain how adorable he was. He by far was my most excited kid to start kindergarten. None of my 4 kids were nervous, scared or apprehensive on their first day (or any others). None of them clung to me or cried. But none of them were as excited as Zeke. What a doll!!! That is what I always call him, he doesn't like it. Here are a few pictures of him.

Did I mention that I think this was the most excited I was to have a kid start kindergarten? I got my first ever pedicure, and a haircut today, and I didn't have to pay a babysitter. Wahoo!!

Daily Shots

Last week, we started giving Akila the daily injection of a growth hormone (to help her grow due to her Turner Syndrome). It is going really well. It helps that she is a goofball and absolutely loves shots. We have a difficult time getting her to brush her teeth each night but it has been going well this last week. I am bribing her. She can't get her shot until she brushes her teeth. She flies up the stairs to brush her teeth. I know, that sounds really weird, I think so also. Here are some pictures of her getting her shot, she wanted us to take pictures last night.

Oh yeah, look at her hair, I did it!!! Our neighbor was suppose to do it on Sunday evening and she no-showed. This almost killed me as Akila was antsy all day and when she did not come home, I had to do it. And it was late by that time. This was my first attempt at extensions and it isn't too bad. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Last Day of Summer

On the last day of summer, otherwise known as Labor Day, I took the kids to swim at Lake Harriet. This is Imani's lake (my kids middle names are after Mpls. lakes) and the last one we needed to hit before summer is over. Zeke's buddy Jonah went with and we had a good time. Hezekiah found a baby turtle at some point and we put it in a bucket to play with for a bit. I told them this would be OK, but that we would not be taking it home. I'm sure it would have been dead within a day at our house.

Well, what fun it was. Akila couldn't stand it. She was completely out of whack as she thought we should release it immediately so it wouldn't die (can you tell we have unintentionally killed a few of God's creatures this summer?). The entire time it was in the bucket while the 5 kids watched it, she was losing it. I could not get her to calm down about it, she wanted it gone. I was in a bit of a quandary as I wanted her to settle down and I knew it would not happen until the turtle was free, but I couldn't do that to the other kids. Let me just say that time was going very slowly and I could not wait to free the turtle from it's misery (or should I say mine).

Here are a couple of pictures of the kiddos and the turtle, they named spikey.

Isn't my Hezekiah handsome!!

One last joyful thing I need to share. The kids were taking baths (did I mention that is what we all have been doing, since our bathroom with the shower is torn apart, I hate baths!) and Imani and Zeke were taking one together; until Zeke threw up in the bathtub. Poor Imani, I can't believe that didn't make her throw up. Did I mention that we had just returned from the Olive Garden? Anyway, sounds like he just choked on some water Imani poured over his head, but he was pretty freaked out. I don't think he has really ever thrown up. Here is a cute picture of him 30 minutes later, he was very upset.


I was in Willmar a few weeks ago and stopped by to see the Poss family. Dr. Poss had emailed me that he had found some stilts that we kids had played with in the neighborhood I grew up in and that I could have them. He and I had talked about them when we visited him on the Fourth of July. I stopped by to get them, and he had made two more pair so I came home with three pair of stilts.

What memories they bring back!!! Imani especially likes them, but Akila is getting pretty good on them as well. Hezekiah is the type who if he can't do something right away, he doesn't want to do it forever, and then he will finally learn. That is how he was with riding a bike. All the neighborhood kids have enjoyed them though, here is a picture of Imani on them. Thanks Dr. Poss, we love them!!

I'm Back, Hopefully!

School started today, I wish you could all see the smile on my face right now. Zeke, my youngest, will start kindergarten on Thursday, so I have one more day to spend with him and then I will be alone. Last night, we went out to the Olive Garden for dinner. Out of the blue, Zeke started talking about how lonely mom is going to be and how she hates being alone in the house. I kept having him repeat it as it seemed so ludicrous to me. I have never said that and I never would. Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that is always a bit sad to see them go off to kindergarten, but it is a very small part of me.

Most people know that I have been counting down the days til school started. Aaahhh. I made it, and we are all alive. The morning went really well, Akila in particular was quite excited to go to school, today at least. I pray that will continue as long as possible. Here is a picture of the three of them on their first day:

Zeke and I got a lot done today and went out for lunch. We got a new backpack for him which he is thoroughly excited about. I took advantage of the kids being gone and went through Akila's room which I have not really done all summer. I usually do this once a month or so, but I can't do it when she is home, it never works. We don't keep any toys in her room, but I found a lot!! And many other treasures. Ugh. Zeke helped me and he was adorable, wearing his new backpack while he vacuumed. What a cutie!!

Notice the walls in Akila's room? When we switched rooms last fall due to trying to give Akila her own room, she moved into the boys old room which had dark blue wall paper (from previous owners). I told her all year we would peal it in the summer. Here is how far we got:

Actually, we did one other wall which does not have much space, there are two doors on it. I have peeled wall paper in many rooms, and this junk is the hardest!!! I think they used super glue. I'm not sure what I was thinking that we could get a project done in the summer. It is my new fall project, for after I get the house caught up and organized from 3 months of terror.

I will end with this picture that Zeke took. Do you think he likes his new back pack?