Monday, June 30, 2008

Happiness, Relief, Anxiety, Guilt

Those are my primary emotions today. I don't at all feel the need for an antidepressant, which I've felt like I needed for most of the time Max has been here. I was on Prozac for a few months, which made life tolerable, but also took away strong happiness and interest in life. Lately I'd been thinking I should go back on, but I just didn't want to lead a drugged life. If life (and it's not passing) is so horrible that you need drugs, it seems like there should be a change.

Ever sense the decision was made, I've felt like the need for an antidepressant is totally gone. Now, anxiety on the other hand...well, a lessening of the anxiety would be nice. But, I've also felt happy lately. I've enjoyed time with Davan and with Anthony and with both of them in a way I hadn't in quite a while.

I'm very anxious about the meeting tomorrow. I'm anxious about how our morning will go. Will we make it to swim lessons tomorrow? Max is supposed to have swim lessons all this week and next. Maybe we will or maybe he'll run off again. If he does, what will I do about it tomorrow? He's already going to SIL's house at 12:30 for the appointment, so, especially if swimming happens, there's not a lot of time that it's just me and the kids at home tomorrow. Whew.

And, of course, I feel guilt about what will happen to Max from here. Will he make it with another family? Will his life tank even more? Would it have tanked even if he'd stayed here? Will he bounce around foster care. I'm still also very anxious about telling him that we're not it for him.

Yeah. It's all the same questions. I hope he does okay. I hope he finds a home where he can feel like he fits in. Round and round.

This Morning's Adventures

Well. I think that Max moving out is going to happen sooner rather than later. My stomach is all in a knot again. I still think we're doing the right thing. I feel it more strongly, even, but I don't like the turmoil and grief. I feel very guilty toward Max - ambushing him with the news he'll be moving on. And, it sounds like, probably soon.

This morning I went to pick Max up from my SIL's house. We got home and I was doing some chores while he unpacked and tidied up his room a bit before taking him over for swim lessons. He became belligerent and started blocking my path, then swatted at the laundry basket I was carrying. I sent him to his room to play for a while, telling him that being agressive with me wasn't okay (calmly over the top of him going, "blah, blah, blah").

He started yelling in the doorway, so I said to shut the door. He yelled, "You can't trust me!" I said, "Fine. Run away, then."

"Who, me?"


Then there were noises of him kicking out the screen. Then he opened the door and said, "The thing is out and I'm running now!"

I didn't reply. I opted not to run after him. He returned in less than 10 minutes. I decided that the best thing was probably for him to spend the day elsewhere because he doesn't run off when Anthony is home. At least, not yet.

After calling around, my friend, Stephanie (wonderful person extraordinare) said that her family could take him for the day. Max was delighted at the news that he'd get to spend the day at their house. He really seems to love Parker, their college age son.

I called over to Barbara (case worker) to leave a message (she's not in the office today) telling her what happened and saying that I wasn't sure he'd be able to stay while another family is recruited after all because he's just not safe here.

I also called his therapist, which I was dreading because I know that she thinks we're ruining him and it brings up all my guilt to even think about talking to her. When I told her what was going on, she said some interesting things. I don't know if CPS will agree with her or not, but when I said that we'd planned on trying to be his resource family until an adoptive family was found, she said that she couldn't (even before today) see how that would work. She doesn't believe that he can just go from me being his mom to someone else being his mom. She thinks he should go to foster care so that he can be prepared for a new family. Strange. I was thinking that fewer moves were generally thought to be better.

At any rate, it's really looking like we're looking at days or weeks not months before he moves out. I don't know what that will look like. An immediate move? Some sort of transition? Waiting until there's a suitable bed available for him?

I guess we'll have some of those questions answered at tomorrow's meeting.

It'll be strange to have an empty bedroom. It'll be strange not to have a Sponge Bob Squarepants place mat at our table. It'll be strange to erase his name from our family's schedule board. I wish things were different.

It'll be good to have a break from the constant yelling. It'll be good not to worry about him running off. It'll be good not to worry about him hurting me or Davan or Anthony, but, frankly, I worry a lot less about that.

I wonder if his foster family will have room for all of his things. What will we do with his toys if they don't want them?

I think about the empty room and surplus toys and I wonder, strangely, about trying to do foster care. And then I think I'm crazy because we're not going to do that and why would I think about it before it's even over? I think because that's what I wish we'd done in the first place. It'd be easier to give up someone we loved to a marginal birth family than it has been to try to be a forever parent to Max. And then we'd have had the chance to sort of test ride with no real pressure because it wasn't expected to be permanent. But, how could we take it on again? Maybe after some healing, but I don't think Anthony would allow it.

I feel like I've done a lot of my pre-grieving. Like when a loved one is sick for a long time, by the time they pass away, while it's sad, you're kind of ready to move on. I feel like my adoption dream has been sick and I've grieved it. I'm mostly just sick about implementing the disruption now.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Spining Right Round

Okay. So. I'm definitely not blase about this whole disrupting situation, although I'm sure we're making the right decision. I'm very tired all day because I can't fall asleep easily. And, when I wake up, such as to go to the bathroom, my mind is going around and around again.

I'm thinking about telling Max. I'm thinking about calling him Judea again. I'm thinking about the meeting on Tuesday. I'm wondering what will happen next. I'm wondering how long it'll take to find another family for him, if he doesn't go directly to foster care. I'm wondering how Max will take the news. Will he be mad and acting like, "Fine. I didn't want to be a part of this stupid family anyway," or will he be really hurt and sad? Probably both.

I'm thinking about what if he runs again. How will I handle that? I'd like to just ignore it, but he is seven and I worry about getting in trouble for "letting" him run free. Although, I had been thinking about letting him go over to the park by himself some over the how different is that? But, I also don't want him running off every time I need a break and send him to play outside or in his room. 'Cause, yeah. That's my main discipline technique with him - getting a break by having him play elsewhere. Harsh, eh? Although, for a kid with attachment and abandonment issues, I guess it is. But I can't let him just needle me until I break down when he's in a mood. And, there in lies some of our issues.

And, yeah. This whole abandonment issue thing? That'll only get better after we send him away, doncha think?

Still. I really think it's the right thing. I have hopes for him with a more compatible family. Or he might just not ever be okay. And maybe some of that will be because we gave up on him. But, it's the right thing for us. And possibly him, as well.

Off to try to sleep again.

A Preview

Max spent last night and is spending tonight again at my SIL's house. I know it's awful, but I don't miss him. I wish it were permanent. I guess that points toward disrupting being the right decision.

Max had a nice birthday party Saturday. His bio half-sister was able to come, which was good for him, even though it's always awkward for the rest of us. Three friends were no-shows (out of 8 invitees), so Anthony, myself and another dad filled out the team for laser tag. Honestly? I was glad it turned out that way. It was a lot of fun playing.

Max had such an anxious, needling us day before the party and after that we were very glad to see him go spend the night elsewhere. He does much better at other people's houses, so everyone is probably okay over there. We haven't actually heard, even though Anthony called over to check in earlier this evening and left a message.

Anthony told his sister when he dropped Max and Conor off after the party. SIL told him that her kids had been saying I'd turned mean, but I used to be nice. This was supposed to be a supportive about disrupting comment, as it indicated the effect he's had on us, but, sadly, it's hard for me to take that way. I do know I've been a lot harsher with those kids sense Max moved in, especially the middle one, who has a lot of behaviors in common with Max.

I pick him up early tomorrow before both he and the cousin's have swim lessons (at different pools). And then it's on with our week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Max's Birthday

In spite of everything, Max had a good birthday today. He had a special breakfast of an egg/sausage sandwich and apple sauce with cinnamon. He went off to camp with a lunch of a turkey sandwich, Peanut Butter Cups, Teddy Grahams, and Doritos. Not a fruit or veggie in the bunch, much to his delight.

After school he had some chocolate milk, by his request. Then we were off to dinner at Red Robin where he chowed down on mac and cheese, steak fries, and a chocolate shake before having a few bites of his birthday Sunday and being too stuffed to continue. Lots of eating today. That makes it special for him.

Then he got to open presents - basketball shoes, a basketball drawstring backpack and a basketball headband from us. Davan added to her Spiderman lunch stuff with these cool popper things:

He also got gifts from my parents and my MIL. Tomorrow is his party.

Meanwhile, we're getting the usual behavior of delaying, nonsense questions, non-stop talking/singing/noise making, etc, etc. All the usual without any of the extra-ordinary (like running away).

He has no idea that things are going to be changing drastically for him. That's how it should be on his birthday.

Well, That's a Surprise

We had a brief meeting with our case worker today. Barbara was amazingly supportive and validating. She said that she felt we'd done everything we could possibly do for Max. That she felt like we'd worked as well as we could with her and as well as we could with his therapist.

Wow. I didn't expect that. It felt good. And what I needed to hear. I hope she really meant it.

I've been feeling a mixture of relief/anxiety/guilt today.

We have a meeting between our case worker and Max's therapist Tuesday. Possibly Max's therapist will come or attend via phone. I'll know more about what will happen next after that. At this point, what I think will happen is that he'll continue to live here while a new adoptive family is recruited. However, I'm not willing for him to stay for an indefinite amount of time and I don't know how much time they'll need to get together new families. So, we'll see if that works out or not.

The Ball is Rolling

I told Max's therapist today that we can't be his growing up family. I know she was very, very disappointed. It was very hard. I cried big time for the first time sense deciding to disrupt. It'll be worse telling Max. Someday. Not today. It's his birthday.

We'll have a meeting with therapist and case worker next week and see where we go from there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Max Ran Away Today

He's back now, but it was pretty ugly. He ran away. I found him. He declined to come home. Then he came home, but just to get something. He was going right back out. I told him that wasn't going to happen and he flipped out. I had our case worker on the phone and Max threatened to smash my face with a chair he was brandishing at me. Kept making dashes for the door, enjoying the chase thing. We ended up in his room with me sitting at the door and him throwing stuff at me - blankets and trading cards, but then threatening me with his football (real - not Nerf). I removed the football and myself and parked myself outside his window because that's how he left last time - two weeks ago today.

He attempted to come out the window, but rather half-heartedly. In fact, most of what he did was half-hearted. He ran away to our near-by park - exactly where I expected him to go. He never really left again when I told him to stay. He didn't actually attack me with any of the heavy items he threatened. So, yeah. I could take that as a good thing.

Anthony came home and the situation immediately de-escalated.

I know that some people can handle kids with attachment issues, but I have to admit that I'm just not one of them. I don't feel comfortable with the issues Max is presenting. I don't feel comfortable with how these issues are affecting my family and me. I don't want to have to take an anti-depressant just to be able to muddle through an unhappy life. I am done. Yes. Done. I know. Yes, we'll be judged for not sticking by him. When we said we'd adopt him, we were making a life time commitment. It's awful that we said it would be forever and it won't be. It'll make things that much harder for his next family.

But. I feel like we'd be choosing him over our family's mental health and possible physical health. Regardless of what his therapist says, a lot of kids don't get better when they have attachment issues. I've been doing a lot of reading. I know I won't be a happy person to have to limp along like this. It's not the family I want for Davan. Or me. Or Anthony. Or Max, for that matter. I don't think he'll get better in a family where he's not liked. And the truth is, I don't like him and really haven't sense he moved in, other than a few spots here and there.

He's not out the door tomorrow. For one, that would be cruel, as it's his birthday. However, we will start the ball rolling. We might foster him until an adoptive family can be found. Maybe he'll move to a therapeutic foster home. Maybe it'll be decided that he should just go to a regular foster family for a while. Maybe he'll blow out of here and have to go to an emergency placement. I don't know. But, I do know that this will not be his growing up home.

I feel mostly relief to be finally moving in that direction. However, I also have a ball of worry about telling him. I'm, frankly, not happy about facing his therapist with this choice. She'll be very disappointed. I worry that he'll bounce around foster care until he ages out. But, I won't let him take us with him. And that's that.

More About Day Camp

I pick Max up Tuesday afternoon and he has with him....his towel. In the morning I'd sent him with a sack lunch (Getting the sack back would be great, Max! We're getting low.), a swim suit, goggles and a towel. Plus, ya know, he was dressed. He was still dressed when he came home, in addition to having the towel, so there's that, I guess.

He told me he'd lost his swim suit and goggles because there was a hole in his bag. He was using a plastic Target shopping bag after having left his backpack in the front yard in a fit on the last day of school. Apparently, on the way to lunch, they'd fallen out of his bag. Now. I can actually see goggles falling out of the hole, but it's a bit of a stretch to imagine the swim trunks falling out. Any-who. He was all pissed that I made him wear his swim trunks to camp the next day. I told him he could change into dry shorts when he got home. They swim at the very end of the day.

We get to camp Wednesday morning and the councilor says that he knew he'd lost his swim trunks, but he'd let her believe he'd lost them after swimming. He even went back into the locker room to try to find them. Funny, that. After all, he'd lost them well before swimming and had swum in his shorts. Finding his swim trunks in the locker room seems like it might not quite work, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday was field trip day. They went to a park where they ate lunch and played then went to Skate World to, you guessed it, ride motorcycles. No, really, it was to skate. Max met me after camp with swim trunks from the day before in tow and the orange slices from his lunch (which he attempted to leave behind on the ground) that he'd made a nice juice out of. Oh, yeah, and his towel. The councilor had found his swim trunks in lost and found for him. She seems like a nice girl.

Max told me excitedly that he'd eaten all of his lunch except for the oranges. He hungrily scarfed down a banana in the car on the way to the park where the kids and I were having a picnic dinner (Anthony came home late last night due to a retirement party at work). He then proceeded to work his way through his share of dinner (minuses the corn on the cob and salad) and complain mightily about not having any more to eat.

Now, this morning, it all makes sense. His councilor greeted him this morning with, "Is that your lunch, Max? Don't loose it today!"

Max admitted to loosing his lunch. "My backpack was open and I didn't know how to close it!" he angrily accused me. He said that a friend had shared lunch with him. I told him, in front of the councilor, who nodded along, that his lunch was his responsibility. It isn't okay to eat someone else's lunch and, if he looses it again, he'll just have to wait until he gets home to eat more.

A couple of loose ends about it all, though, are that he found those orange slices, which were his, in the van. How did those end up out of the lunch sack I'm wondering? And, this morning, he thanked me for the Sun Chips I put in his bag. So, did he eat all the "good stuff" out of his lunch and then "loose" it? I don't know.

I'm also worried for Davan's sake. She got him, with her own money, a Spiderman reusable lunch sack with two Spiderman containers, a set of Spiderman sandwich baggies and a Spiderman water bottle for his birthday tomorrow. She's so excited to give them to him in the morning so he can have his lunch packed in them for his birthday. I have fears that he won't bring them home, either, and she'll be disappointed. I did warn her that could happen.

She's been excitedly planning how she'll present them for days now. Yesterday after messing with them a little and talking about how fun it'll be, she said to me, "I do hope he at least brings them home on his birthday. Although, I suppose it shouldn't matter to me."

What great opportunities Max provides for learning about disappointment. Yeah. That's why I wanted a second child in the family.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day Camp This Week

Max is off to day camp every day this week from 9am-4pm. I'm happy to have the break. Davan is happy to have the break. Max is happy to be at camp, but unpleasant at home. More than usual.

Yesterday I went to pick him up and he tried to climb onto the tandem even though I wasn't holding on to it. Even after I told him we weren't ready for that yet, he tried still until I pulled him back. Great start to the afternoon/evening.

He then greeted me with complaints about not having a snack. He did have snacks. He'd decided not to bring the food he had left home, which left him out in the cold when everyone else broke out snacks while waiting to be picked up. We went to look for the food, but, apparently, he'd left it in the boys locker room, where I couldn't go and he couldn't find it. He did, though, throw rocks at a post and into the grass at the pool while we were looking around and had to undo that, causing lots of stomping, huffing and defiance.

We got back home later than I'd told Davan we'd be back, causing her to worry. I sent Max outside with his soccer ball to burn off the antsy feeling he had from working so hard to be good all day while I played a game with Davan.

When I told Max he could come in, he kicked the ball over the fence and then came in. My MIL was over for dinner. Max came in and bellowed from the entry way, "The ball went over the fence!!!" then whispered, "Can I go get it?"

I ignored this, as he's supposed to come to where I am to talk to me, causing MIL to say, "Didn't you hear him?" I explained that I was waiting for Max to come to me rather than bellow and she rolled her eyes at me. Rolled her freaking eyes. Yeah. Like I need censure, too.

I said to Max, "If you want to talk to me, I'm in the kitchen and if you're going right back out, you can leave your shoes on."

He came in after a bit, no shoes, to ask if he could go get the ball. I told him, "Sure!"

When he came back in and meandered into the kitchen, I gave him a big hug before reminding him to unpack his bag from camp. He partially did it. Then yelled at me for insisting he do the rest. Then didn't do it. Then yelled some more. Then screamed, causing him to be put outside. He fought me. Even though he can come right back in if he's done being loud.

He came back in and still didn't take care of the rest of the bag, getting all out of sorts and huffy when, again, told to do it rather than answering a question he'd come up with. And on and on.

I went grocery shopping with Davan after dinner. She was anxious to get away, as well because he was "invading her personal space even though she asked him not to."

This morning's highlights include banging on the wall to wake Davan, lot so fun passive agressive behavior, yelled, defiance and, to top things off, hitting me. Yeah. We seem to be going way backward on the whole hitting thing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Weekend

I fluctuated back and forth this weekend about to disrupt or not to disrupt. Yeah, I know, I'm always having this crisis. Well, the fact is that Max is always here and always causing me to question what's best. Even if he did leave, I'd be wondering if it were the right choice. So live with it. Or don't read. You're choice entirely. :)

Anyway, we went off on a spontaneous camping trip. We up and decided to go after a leisurely breakfast and sleeping in on Saturday. Max wanted to go camping. Just so you know.

We're getting ready to go and he goes by and grabs a left over pancake. No big deal. Fine, in fact. But, when I walk into his room to help him pack for camping, he throws it down in the corner and tries to hide it. It's amazing how that little act really pushed my buttons. We seem to have started a down hill slide there.

I finally sent him outside to play until we were ready to go. He called from there to ask if he could to go church with the cousins tomorrow. Yeah, sure, we'll just get up before dawn to hike out and drive back so you can go to church. I mean, really, we were going camping - backpacking even!

I just don't feel warmly toward the kid. I spent most of the hike in mulling over how much less pleasant family life has become sense he moved in. We had a whole confrontation over him not staying on the trail. It lasted a very long time. It was stupid. It seems like all our confrontations are about stupid stuff.

Before we got into the tent last night, we had a little affirmation circle (me trying to turn things around). Each family member stood in the circle of the other family members in turn and got to hear nice things about themselves. It went pretty well. It was hard for everyone, it seemed to come up with stuff for Max and his stuff for us was...well, non-inventive, but it went well overall.

We all got into the tent feeling loving. Anthony mentioned that if anyone (one of the kids he meant) had to go to the bathroom during the night, they should wake him up. Max was loud and moving around, but we just let it naturally come to an end, which seemed to come faster than if we'd made a big deal out of him not being loud. All was well.

This morning, Anthony went to cuddle Max when he woke up - Davan and I already having left the tent for the morning bladder dump - and found Max soaking wet. He'd peed in his sleeping bag. Now, he says that he did it in his sleep. But, let's face it. That's very likely not true. He has only peed once in his sleep sense he arrived and that was at the very beginning and I'm not even totally convinced that was in his sleep. We've camped before - several times - with no peeing during the night. It seemed rather purposeful.

So, with nerves on edge, we went into the day. Max passive aggressively refused to help patrol up the camping areas for trash or belongings that might have been left behind, causing him and Anthony to have a big blow up.

Yeah. All isn't well. If he does stay in our family, we need more therapy. Or something. I don't know. The book I'm currently reading says that if we react aggressively toward him, it means that we're dealing with baggage from our own childhoods. But neither Anthony nor I had abusive or even rough childhoods. That doesn't make sense to me. And our aggression wasn't triggered by Davan's early childhood issues. It seems like it's something else.

Not that we're hitting him or anything like that. I just consider loud-in-your-face yelling and grabbing to get his attention/move him to be agressive. That we do. It's not pleasant for anybody.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It Came to Me in a Rush this Evening

Okay. So, part of the reason why, even though Davan is/was a challenging kid but I still love her and am willing to work with/around her is reciprocating love. Absolutely. This I knew.

What I knew subconsciously, but hadn't really put into words about why it's different, though, is that Davan wants what she wants the way she wants it because it (whatever it may be) is important to her for some reason. I may not agree with the reason, but it's there and big for her. This is hard, but I can live with it and even respect it.

Max, on the other hand, wants what he wants because it makes life more difficult for us. For example. He has both gel and lotion to apply for dry skin. The gel is for after his bath, as it's supposed to be good to put on when slightly damp. The lotion is for non-bath nights. Max started making a big deal out of wanting to put gel on all the time because the lotion is cold/makes him itch/hurts/whatever. So, we decided that he could just use the gel. No big deal. This was after sticking with the lotion for a while.

This evening, we announce to him that he should feel free to go ahead and use the gel even though he hasn't showered. "But will you still buy lotion for me?"

"Not if you're only using gel."

"But what if I want to use lotion?"

"Max. Use the lotion or the gel. If you run out, we'll get more. We don't care which one you use."

He used the lotion. So. Was the issue really the lotion? No. It was control. Max wants what he wants because he wants control.

Why was it okay for Davan's bedroom to be messy when she was younger (She keeps it quite neat now.) but not okay for Max to have a messy bedroom? Because for Davan, it was about playing and not wanting to put a set up away because she wanted to go back to it later. The messy bedroom still bothered me, but there were reasons. But for Max, it's because he wants the control. He doesn't even go in there to play - unless it's to shoot hoops (he has an indoor hoop). But, he'll go in and mess it up. Because he wants the control.

Same-o, Same-o

We're just chugging along here, dealing with the same old stuff.

It seemed like we had a period of time - December through about mid February - that was a little better. Max seemed a little more at ease. And then it all blew up again, culminating in the week from hell last week.

This week has been better than last week, but still feels many steps back. Max is getting violent again. He has tried to hurt me more than once. No hitting, but elbowing, squeezing my hand as hard as he can, twisting my arm. He seems to be acting very, very young again. Today he was playing with a 3 year old at indoor play park at Davan's gym. They seemed pretty on par.

We were at Target yesterday. He told me, "I really want to steal a candy bar. I want to pick it up, put it in my pocket where no one can see and then run out the door." I said, "Well, thinking about it and doing it are two different things and, as you haven't done it, I'd say you're on the right track."

But, then he went on and on about wanting to steal stuff. So, we left without looking at toys because, well. I'm not going to take a kid who really, really wants to shoplift through any more of the store than necessary.

We had to go back to pick up a prescription a while later and I kept him with me, even though Davan got to go off and look at a couple of things close by that she wanted to see. He was very angry about that. Yeah. Again, I'm going to let a kid who wants to shoplift out of my sight at the store?

A (therapist) thinks that his inhibitions are still somewhat missing, and thus the running commentary about stealing at the store, as well as other things., is this a permanent thing? The drugs are out of his system now. If it was drug related, then why are the inhibitions still not in place?


Last Friday he took a giraffe from A's when we were there. I'd taken it back from him and put it in my in-box to return. He stole it back from there earlier this week. When I told him he had to give it back, he dragged his feet. So, I gave him a time limit, after which we'd have to search his room, which involves dumping things out and he has to reassemble. Actually, the first time we did that, Anthony and I helped. This ended up being the second time.

He continued to drag his feet, stringing things out until the very last bit of his time. Then it turned out that the giraffe wasn't where he'd thought it was, so he ran out of time. We still searched his room, even though the giraffe turned out to be in the wash. If he'd gotten in and looked for it and then realized it was in the laundry without the time limit, we wouldn't have done the search.

The search turned out to be pretty easy to undo because his shelves were in such good order from the last time (meaning he hadn't played with any of that stuff) that we just visually inspected them and only dumped containers. He, of course, was still quite mad while putting his room back together - banging around and crying.

The search happened today. Afterward, as it's Friday, he got the black box back. I wasn't home for this, but at one point, because he was mad about Anthony asking him to not yell so loudly in the kitchen and Anthony backing it up when he wouldn't stop by taking a minute off the time Max had to take care of the black box, he told Anthony that he was all done with the black box. Anthony verified, "So, all the stuff that's still on the floor you don't want and is going to Goodwill?"


There was a lot of stuff, including, but not limited to, two light sabers, a bunch of Sports Illustrated for Kids magazines, a pair of boots (that he doesn't like), some clothes, some Playmobile stuff, a sports headband he'd bought with his allowance, and, sadly, both his cleats and his baseball glove. The cleats I think he is close to outgrowing, so I'm not overly worried about them. We replace things when they are outgrown.

The glove, though, was a present from my step-dad, probably Max's favorite person in our family. And it's a very nice glove. I'm heartsick about it. We can't give it back to him, but I hate to let it go.

Max was very angry when he realized what he'd done. For a little while - like 5 minutes. Now he's just fine. No big deal. Whatever.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Step Back in Time With Me...

Contrary to what Max's therapist, A, thinks, Davan has not always been a model child. She still isn't, really, but she is a great kid and does listen to reason a lot of the time. Of course, she is also very anxious and doesn't like to be away from me at all, really. She is highly sensitive and will inevitably be the one with hurt feelings if playing in a group. Still, I agree that she's a great kid.

However. That wasn't always so. In fact, she was a challenging baby, toddler, preschooler, right up to about 7 years old. I remember the feeling coming over me when she was 7 of, "Wow. I really like this kid. I'm glad to have her around and share my day with her." It was a new feeling.

Based on what a rough time we'd had pre-7, we had planned on adopting an older child. Why didn't we stick with that plan? What in the heck was I thinking agreeing to look at younger children? Well, I do know, but I was clearly out of my mind. We thought, "Young kids get older and if they are with us from younger, we'll probably like them better when they're older." I'm not sure this is sound logic, though, considering that I'm having a heck of a time being around Max and I'm sure he must not feel very loved and, therefore, not necessarily getting what he needs to turn into an older kid that I like. I digress, though. Really, I was posting about Davan's early childhood.

She was colicky as a baby. She started with separation anxiety at about 2 months and it went until...well, she is still often anxious about being separated - case in point, the fact that she cries when I drop her off at gymnastics. She wanted Mommy all the time. She hated to be set down. She preferred to nurse pretty much the whole time she slept. (Yeah - we didn't do that one, but it's what she wanted.) Even just holding her was usually not enough. She wanted to be jiggled, walked, rocked, nursed.

As she moved into toddler-hood and into play, it was necessary for her to have an engaged play companion at all times. We read a lot because she enjoyed that and I didn't have to play "little people" all the time. She hated videos or TV, so using the electronic baby sitter was not an option. She loved to swing, so we spent a lot of time at the park. I did get her involved in chores - dishes and cooking. She rode in a carrier for things like vacuuming. I didn't totally just play with her, but we were always engaged, even if we weren't playing.

The preschool years were much the same. She was so demanding of my time and attention that, even though we were quite poor, we made room in our budget for a mother's helper. At first, I had to play with them, but eventually, she'd play with her mother's helper while I was just around. Finally, she was able to be left on occasion, but it was necessity that brought that around. We were in a car accident - I was the only seriously injured one. I had regular doctor's appointments for a while. Davan had a doctor phobia. It was a tough call for her, but staying with her mother's helper was somewhat better than going to a doctor's office. By preschool age, though, she'd occasionally watch a video, which helped, although I'm not big on the electronic baby sitter.

Speaking of the doctor phobia, her pediatrician when she was 2 remarked that she'd never seen a child so unable to calm down for a physical and finally just did stuff while she screamed.

That aside, outsiders mostly though that Davan was a happy child. And she was. Because I played with her all the time more or less. When other kids wanted to play with other kids, Davan still wanted me, Anthony or my mom to play with her. Or her mother's helper. That was about it.

One time, when she was 3, we went to visit my best friend who was living in Colorado at the time. Davan was so miserable to be around that Chris didn't really like her and I cried a lot because it was so stressful. Of course, she was away from home, away from her Dad, and I was trying to spend time with Chris instead of tending to her full time.

When she was 3 1/2, I took her camping by myself for a few days. That was a hard trip. The constant talking got to me big time. One time when we were showing, I set her up in the shower next to mine so I could get a little break, but she sang loudly the whole time.

She went through a stage where she stole stuff. It was always little - one small ball out of hundreds at the local science museum, an extra game peg off of a game at a restaurant we went to - that sort of thing. It passed, though.

She went through a stage where she lied. It also passed.

What I was thinking was this: she was no easier to live with than Max is. I can even remember telling my mom once that if I knew for a fact that she'd be happy elsewhere, I'd consider sending her away. She was so hard. But, I also knew that she wouldn't be happy elsewhere. I knew in my heart that we were doing the right things for her.

It's different with Max. I don't have the love that I always felt for Davan no matter what. Even in her hard stages, if she was gone, I missed her and worried about her. I don't feel that way with Max. Even in her hard stages, I got warm fuzzies from her. Even when Max tries to give warm fuzzies, I don't feel it. I don't know that we are doing the right things. I can't get myself to play with him the way that I did with Davan when she was little and needed it. Even when we do play, he will still find ways to push me away, although he loves the play and attention.

Well, and, it's also different because his lying is different - it's pervasive and is lasting a long time. His stealing is different. It's also little token type stuff, but it's so much more than Davan ever did. His bids for attention are so often negative instead of looking (constantly!) for positive attention.

Maybe truly all that is needed here is time. Maybe when he is 10, I'll think he's a great kid, too. However, I'm not sure he'll get to 10 unscathed. I think that Davan always knew that I loved her and wanted good things for her no matter what. I don't think Max feels that unconditional love. I know for a fact that I don't feel it to offer him.

So, again, I'm back to: Where do we go from here? What is best for Max? What is best for the rest of us? If I'd had another bio kid and he/she was just like Davan, would we be having the same time of it that we're having with Max? Should I be doing things differently? If so, what?

Okay, I know some stuff I should do differently. I do put him down sometimes, for example....

Yet again, I've rambled on. If you've made it this far, you're a trooper!


Max is off spending the night at Stephanie's house. I wish I could say I miss him. Really, though? I'm thinking what a quiet morning and kind of dreading tomorrow morning. I don't think it should feel this way.

When Davan was littler and we didn't get along so well - yes, it happened regardless of Max's therapist thinking we have the perfect child in her and that's why we're having a hard time with Max - when she'd spend the night at my mom's house, I did miss her and waited for her return. I worried about how she was doing while she was gone.

I am a little worried about Max, but I'm worried that he's getting away with manipulation (Stephanie's family is all very nice and accommodating - which is why there was the offer of respite!) and will be harder to deal with when he comes home, not that he's having a rough time of it.

Max's therapist, A, mentioned that when we dropped him off with her on Friday that it was a good sign that he was concerned about us walking out the door without him. I really and truly think he was concerned that we were going to go out to lunch without him (which we actually did do) while he had to answer difficult questions (which, apparently, he didn't because with him working so hard at home, A thinks he needs therapy as a chance to just dump his feelings rather than do more work).

My feeling that he cared more about what we were doing rather than that we were going was backed up by the easy way in which he went off to respite care yesterday. He wouldn't have hugged me if I hadn't initialized. He went off with nary a backward glance.

When I told him that he was going to go a couple of days before, he thanked me.

Now, do I think he has some feelings for us and some worry about being away? Yeah. Some. I know he was thinking about it yesterday. There was some anxious behavior. Although, I also think he was maybe a little anxious that it wouldn't happen for some reason.

Anthony says that when I'm out of town visiting my best friend, Max does genuinely seem to miss me.

Here's the thing. I think he used to be more anxious about being separated from us. I think he's less anxious about it now. I think his attachment is lessening. A thinks he mirrors my feelings about the adoption. This could be true. I've felt more hopeful at times. Now I feel very ambivalent. I really think I'd be okay if he left. Guilty, yes, but okay. I'd feel really okay if he went to another family and it really worked out.

A tells me, though, that this can't and won't happen. She says that he won't be able to attach again, even as much as he did here, if he moves. She says he wouldn't have attached anywhere better than he's doing here. I just don't believe her. Why? If he had a more harmonious home life - watched sports on TV, video games okay, parents expecting kids to act like kids (talk back, fuss about chores, etc), ate foods that he likes - he'd have attached better. Maybe not. But maybe.

Also, I've joined a list serve for families thinking about disruption. There are a lot of families on there who have disrupted, as well. There's a thread right now about kids doing so much better in their next family. If there are families that have disrupted who's kids aren't doing better, they aren't speaking up.

It's a lot of food for thought.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another Morning

The kids are fighting. Max is being nearly constantly loud and obnoxious. I'm constantly deciding if I'm going to intervene in his behavior. Most of the time it's no, but it's draining none-the-less because I'd like to intervene more. Most of the time ignoring seems to be the way to go, though.

We have a busy day, which I'm glad for. It should mean less head butting between Max and I and between Max and Davan. We're off to Girl Scouts shortly, then we'll have swimming directly after. Each child has two friend coming over after swimming and the play dates will continue until our Girl Scout end of the year event this evening, after which it will be time for Max to go to bed. Whew.

Tomorrow is quieter, but still somewhat busy with book group in the afternoon (Davan is almost done with the book, but Max is no where near and needs it read out loud. Thus, if he wants to be able to discuss it, he'll have to have a lot of reading time tomorrow morning.) followed by gymnastics for Davan and a respite night at a friend's house for Max. We need it. Thanks so much to Stephanie, friend extrodinare.

This morning I went in to get Max up and he appeared to be asleep, but fully dressed. Meaning he'd gotten up and dressed sometime in the night. Morning? Night? Don't know. Why does it matter? Well, Max has rules about getting up at night. If it were morning and then he went back to bed, so be it. However, if he got up and got dressed last night because he was unhappy that his pj top is missing, well, then that's a different story. Sigh. And then I feel like a total control freak. Which I don't want to do. What does it really matter? But it does if he's defying us by getting up when he's not supposed to. So, either he needs to not go back to bed once he's gotten up so we can tell what has happened in the morning and what during the night or it needs to not matter.

I know which is easier, but easier isn't necessarily better. Sometimes it needs to be hard. Easier is to just let him not do chores, for example. Easier is to ignore it when he is nasty to me...maybe that is better. I don't know. I wish I had the answers.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Anthony! I'm a lucky woman. Anthony is a good man. He is a very involved father and an amazingly patient and supportive husband.

It's Father's Day and we are celebrating him....he is choosing the food to eat all day and we are having quite a bit more junk food than usual today, which everyone is enjoying. Although, we did still have fruit with our (whole spelt flour, low sugar vegan) cinnamon roll breakfast and salads before our "chicken" nugget and tator tot lunch. We're going out for pizza tonight. Davan and I will get a veggie with no cheese, but the boys are having a couple of meets with their cheese.

Davan made a present for Anthony at Girl Scouts and did a custom card for him. Max scrounged up a picture he'd draw the other day to give to Anthony. From the family, he got some bike parts.

However, after coming off of our seriously stressful week with Max's various abuses of me, Anthony is the parent in charge this weekend. I'm around. But, I've taken some major steps back from parenting Max in particular this weekend. Anthony is off on a one on one bike ride with Davan right now. He'll do something with Max when he gets back. He does need time with Davan, too. She needs her dad.

Anthony still has to call his sister to ask about Max having regular sleepovers (respite care), but I've already talked to a friend and Max is spending the night at her house on Tuesday. We're still waiting to hear from Barbara about some more long term (a week, please) of respite through foster parents.

And life goes on.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Worst Week We've Had in a Long, Long Time

Max regressed big time this week. He ramped up last week, but this week was one thing after another all week. A few highlights:

-non-stop noise - he even hummed while he was eating

-nasty back talk to 90% of what was said to him (by me, at least)

-eating other kids' lunches at school (last day of school was Wednesday)

-blatant cheating at games

-just deciding he didn't want to hold his penis while he was peeing, resulting in pee all over his undies and the bathroom, then just going back to bed

-sticking a walnut up his nose

-physically intimidating peers

-elbowing me when passing by

and my personal favorite:

-popping out his screen and going out the window in the middle of my last game day because I'd told him he couldn't go to the park in his socks

Today, I have to say, was better. More back to the normal unpleasantness with some okayness in between. Why? Well, we tried Zoloft.

Apparently, Zoloft sometimes has an adverse reaction in boys with fetal alcohol stuff. It makes them lose all of their inhibitions. He didn't take it today. And he was better. Interestingly, Max told fewer lies this week. He pretty much came clean about stuff when asked about it. There were some lies, don't get me wrong, but often he'd just say what had happened.

It's been enough that I called out case worker and said that I do not want to finalize the adoption. I was actually worried that we were too far along, but we haven't had the ceremony yet and, apparently, that means we're okay.

I'm willing to try to make it a go with him still. However, I don't want to be stuck holding the ball if he turns out to need residential care. Or if he turns out to really not be able to be a member of our family.

I also want respite care. I want a week or two this summer. I want, in addition to that, him to spend the night with family or friends once a week.

It's been a long, hard year and a half. This week brought home to me how much we're living from crisis to crisis with Max. I don't want to be solely responsible for him. I want the state to still have a vested interest in him. We'll do long term foster care, but I don't know that I'll ever want to finalize the adoption. I want options. If that means that the state wants to find a new home for him, so be it.

On the flip side, I've done a lot of talking with his therapist over the last couple of days, as well. She continues to say that I'm the best mom for him. She says that he can't attach again if we kick him out. The stickee on his sticker is about gone. No pressure, though. (Not really on the no pressure part - there's lots of pressure to keep him.) She recommends that we get respite (I'd come up with that on my own, too) and that Anthony be the parent in charge of him whenever he's home. I'm trying hard to let that happen.

We continue to ride this roller coaster.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Set Your Minds at Ease

I feel compelled to write, after mulling over my last post, that Max is safe, uninjured and fed. In fact, I have not even raised my voice to him today.

Just to be clear.

Letting Go of Game Day

This is not the main thing on my mind, but I don't know how to blog about the main thing. I don't know if I will ever be able to. It's just too hard. So, right now, I'm keeping it as a rotten egg in the middle of my mind with other thoughts running around the outside.

I'm thinking tomorrow might be my last game day. I've done it for, I'm thinking, nearly 5 years now. I've loved it and I really enjoy all the people who come. However, attendance is dropping. Davan's gymnastics schedule is increasing. Several of the "kids" are now adults and moving on. I think it might be time to let it go.

I'm sad about this. I will miss it, but I think it's probably what should happen.

Now back to sitting on my egg.


Max is off for his last day of first grade. Let's hope he lasts the day. I don't think anyone is really trying anymore to make it work.

I'm in tears off and on. He's regressed so much the last day or two. He squeezed my hand in an effort to hurt me this morning after elbowing me as he passed out the front door this morning. His attitude has been one of defiance and non-compliance basically 24/7 for the last few days, where as, usually, it comes and goes throughout the day. And, starting tomorrow he'll be doing 24/7 at home. For a week and a half. Until his first day camp starts.

And we'll be lucky if the day camp is a go. I got an email a couple of days ago that there were not enough kids, at this point, for the camp to go. I sent out word on my homeschooling lists, hoping for more people to sign up, but we'll see.

We can't afford to put him in all day daycare. And he probably really needs the home life. But. But, it's awful to have a child that rubs on you like sandpaper home all day. And, when he's like he's been the last couple of days, it's more like a cheese grater rubbing on me all day. So, what do I do?

Sending him to his room at the first infraction and having him stay there until Anthony comes home is sounding more and more appealing. Yeah. This is a great home life for us all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Approach Tomorrow

I'll just send Max to his room as soon as we get home from swimming after school. No waiting to be dumped on - just to his room. He can come out when Anthony gets home. Does that sound cruel?

Not Really, Of Course

Max is alive. And unharmed. And, frankly, lucky to be that way.

In spite of the fact that he had field day today at school, he ran out of the classroom for the first time in months. The school called. It was right at the end of the day, so they wanted to know if they should just put him on the bus like usual. Yeah. Do that. Sigh.

In spite of the fact that I greeted him cordially and then took him over the the park to run after the aerobe a bit, then read to him and Davan, then played with Playdough with him, then wrestled with him, then read him a book alone, then started a game of Mancala (which we had to end due to blatant cheating), he's been a shit all day.

Even when I try hard. I do stuff with him, he's a shit. I don't because he's a shit and he's a shit. Excuse the language, please. I'm off to plan my escape.

Sad, Sad Day

I regret to report that at 5:14, just minutes before relief was due home, our intrepid blogger lost it and slayed young Max.

The only comment the raving mother was able to make was, "Just constant! All day!" before breaking into giggles at the idea of some down time in jail.

Learning to Say Goodbye

Max is having a rough time of it. The last week or so - pretty much from when he asked about if he'd be going to his school again next year - has been more rocky than usual. He's having a hard time at school, coming home with poor reports for the day. He's having a hard time at home. Man. Yesterday was really bad. I even took him to the park for 45 minutes to run around, playing Aerobe with me (just me - so it was one on one time in addition to exercise) and he was still all in a dither.

Any-who. The point here is that there are some people, kids who've been in foster care especially, who don't know how to say goodbye. Lots of people suffer from this not knowing how to say goodbye thing. An aunt of mine was like that for years. My best friend's brother does that when they visit home and it's time to leave.

What does this not knowing how to say goodbye thing look like? Well, rather than enjoy the last of the time you have, you spend the last bit of time (days, weeks, hours, minutes - depending on the length of visit and attachment) picking fights. You get angry and try to make the person/people you have to say goodbye to angry, as well. It's not sad to say goodbye if you're really mad at the person you're saying goodbye to.

This is so what Max is doing with his teacher as school. I brought it up to him this morning. He was very much in agreement that that was what has been going on. Of course, he likes any good excuse for acting out, so it's hard to know for sure.

We got to school and he asked if I was going to go in and talk to his teacher. "No, hadn't planned on it," I say.

"Aren't you going to tell her why I'm acting like this?"

"No, being mad and picking fights or not is up to you. You have to decide how you want your last couple of days to be."

We'll see how things are when he comes home today.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

When I Fall...

I fall hard. I did eat more of those cookies yesterday. Then, when I went shopping today, I got myself another cookie at the bakery and ate it on the way home. Yeah. Good modeling. Or it would be if anybody had seen...still good modeling. Hiding stuff.

In other news, it was the last day of flag football today. Max's team did not win. And, yes, they keep score - or, at least, the coaches do. They aren't really supposed to for the kindergarteners and first graders, but the coaches take it much to seriously. Max asked to play dodge ball rather than flag football or soccer in the fall. Fancy that.

Max had an on-edge day. He was just out to annoy people most of the day. In little ways. All day. Like Chinese water torture. I don't think the drugs are helping. It's been two and a half weeks. He's still very anxious. Or, at least, still very much acting so. Perhaps all this time he hasn't been anxious and acting out because of it. Perhaps he just likes to annoy people.

I talked with Davan about trying out a new gym. She's not against it, so I'll probably call our other near by gym this week and see about setting up a time for her to go in and practice with them to see how she likes it.

Anthony got a new bike computer today. Well, he ordered it a while ago and he actually picked it up yesterday. He got it all installed today, though. He's very excited about his new toy. It logs his miles on the desktop computer for him when he plugs it in with all sorts of analysis. That's what he spent his portion of his kicker money on. Just like 'ol George wants - bolstering the economy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I Fell Off the Wagon

After so long of avoiding all sweets (except the dark chocolate), I broke down this afternoon. I took chocolate chip cookies to Max's class today for his adoption party. There were some left over. I've had 5 now. It's not that they are that good, either. But, I'll probably have more. Sigh.

Gymnastics Update

Last night was better. It was still hard for Davan, though. It was a harder workout, as they did a whole bunch of conditioning.

Chelsea was there, which helped. With two of them that were new, there seemed to be a lot more explaining than when it had just been Davan.

The girls seemed friendlier, reaching out more.

I heard more positive remarks from the coaches. I did hear a lot of correcting, too. I had to point out the positive to Davan, as she'd only really processed the correcting.

On floor, at the very beginning of the workout, Davan went to one of the coaches and said, "I don't know what you're asking me to do. I don't know what any of this is." I was glad she'd stood up for herself. She and Chelsea got called over to the head coach then, who explained that they weren't supposed to know yet. It's all new for them.

That was a great relief for Davan, but it was the attitude before that which made her think that she was supposed to know it all. The coaches said what to do and made haste to correct anything she did wrong, making her think she was supposed to know what to do.

So, it was better, but it's still a mixed bag. I asked Davan if she felt like she was going to still love gymnastics at this level and she had to think about it for quite a while before she finally said, "I think so."

My Turn to Act Like a Little Kid

Last night, at bedtime, Max was in the bathroom "brushing his teeth" when I came down the hall for a whole different purpose, but ended up standing there, just by the open bathroom door, listening to him not brushing his teeth.

I came around the door and said to him, "Whacha doing, Max?"

"Brushing my teeth!"

"Hmm....seems like not, as I didn't hear any brushing."

"Do you have to hear me brush all the time?!?!?!"

"Well, no, but when I'm standing about 3 feet away and all is quiet, then, yes, I should be able to hear you brush. Go ahead and try again."

"No!" very defiant, digging in for a fight.

"Okay, then," I steered him off to bed said, "Good night. See you in the morning," and left without reading.

The next "incident" was at 6:45, 15 minutes before I have to get up. The family rule is that, if you have to go to the bathroom while others are sleeping, then you don't flush if you've only peed.

A couple of weekends ago, Davan woke up early in the morning and did more than pee. Max, hearing this, got up and "didn't pee" himself. I've been treated to 6:30 or 6:45 flushing every morning since then that he hasn't been sleeping when I go in to get him up. This was one of those mornings. He, most of the time, is actually peeing. Ever since the time that I pointed out that he hadn't even been in the bathroom long enough to pee, though, he does make sure to spend time in there before he flushes.

Any-who. I go to get him up and march him into the kitchen (rather then carrying him to the couch for a finger rhyme and story) and tell him to brush his teeth. He has some talk about that, but he does it. Then I explained that, as he hadn't brushed his teeth the night before when I told him to, he just spent reading time this morning doing it. I plan on having him brush his teeth after school today, for practice in doing it when told, as well.

He wasn't thrilled about that. Then he was getting dressed and I told him that he didn't have permission to flush the toilet when other people were sleeping anymore.

"Why?" he whines at me.

"Think about it, Max," I told him. Without sarcasm, I might add.

"I'm not flushing to wake people up!!!!"

No comment from me. We move one with our morning and I even go over and give him a nice long hug, saying, "Good morning, Max."

Then I discovered he hadn't unpacked his backpack from yesterday. And his lunch was still in there. Not just the bag, but the whole lunch. He just said, "I didn't eat it."

"So, what did you do at lunch time?"

"I can't say."

Apparently he was doing top secret spy stuff. I got us out the door before bringing it up again. As we're walking to school, I said, "So, what happened at lunch time yesterday?"

He still didn't want to say. He tried to get me to commit to what would happen if he didn't tell me, but I wouldn't say. His imagination is worse. He finally fessed up that he'd gotten a hot lunch. I was less than pleased, as he is well aware that he is to eat the packed lunch. The nutrition in the hot lunches is...well, awful. Plus, as we went over during the stealing breakfast phase, it's stealing to make up a number. Turns out, he gave his name and was cleared to eat.

Apparently, when he was paying back the breakfasts, instead of figuring out what number he'd used and paying that back, they'd put it in under his name. So, he had just enough in there for a hot lunch. I told him he still had to pay it back and he had to pay me for the food he'd wasted, as well, the same amount.

He was, of course, a shit about it all - pulling away from me, glaring, etc. I said to him (and pay attention because this is where I acted like the little kid), "Max, that's a smart way to treat the person who is supposed to bring treats for your whole class at 1:45. We'll see if that still happens. Good luck," and walked away.

I'm guessing he stressed about that all day - right up until I showed up. Real mature thing to do on my part.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stressing About Gymnastics

This time, it's me. Davan seems to be taking things more in stride and I'm trying to hide how much I'm stressing about it. It's just been such a big, important thing in her life and to see her struggle with it so much on Tuesday really was hard.

I'm considering checking out the other near-by gym. Partially, I think it'll get better. The first night was the roughest because she wasn't used to the fix everything approach and that'll become more every-day for her as time goes on. Plus, she'll make friends and that'll make it easier, too. And she'll get to know all the little things the coach is talking about and not feel like she's flying by the seat of her pants so much. But.

I don't like the "Good girl" that the coach coos at the girls when they do a trick right. I do think there should be some pointing out of what has been done right, specifically, in addition to pointing out the specific things that need fixing. Those things aren't going to change.

I really feel like her first night was mangled. Just the whole relay situation was a set up for misery. The coach let the girls pick their own pairs and the results were vastly unfair. One of the things they were supposed to do was actually not possible for Davan to do - hand stand walk across the entire floor. If they fell, they were to go back to the starting line and try again. Davan just kept going back and back until finally the coach held her ankles for her.

That plus not being greeted and welcomed at the beginning or getting any words of encouragement at the end and the whole attitude of just being thrown into the deep end to sink or swim....well. I was up last night until midnight, fuming about it. I feel like crying for her. How can they take the sport she loves and ruin it for her?

Davan, on the other hand, is somewhat less enthusiastic than normal and really, really wants me to stay all evening again today (which I'm able to do because Anthony will be home early due to a doctor's appointment), but isn't talking about quitting anymore. And, last night, she was doing her scale on the practice beam and it really did look so much better than before. I commented to her on how much it had improved in just one night of team practice and she just lit up.

Still, though. I'm thinking about the other gym. Where maybe she'll get the coaching and still be able to improve without the stuff that's bothering me about this gym.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Max and I had a therapy session this morning with his primary therapist. The person we've seen the last couple of times was only to deal with prescription stuff.

Max must be embarrassed by going because he told a kid in his class that he was going to Red Robin for lunch and that was why I was picking him up. Too bad he got back in time for lunch and may have to explain why he is still hungry after his Red Robin lunch.

Therapy itself was trying. Max didn't want to be there. He didn't want to answer the therapist's questions and, when he did, he wasn't truthful. He threw a couple of fits and then stole an extra sheet of stickers when he picked his out and, thus, lost both sheets.

In spite of all of this, his therapist doesn't want to see him for a month. She thinks he's making progress at home and doesn't need her. I guess. But it's still so hard.

In other news, I still haven't had sugary treats ever since I said I was quitting. I have had other treats (chips, fries - that sort of thing) as well as dark chocolate. Now, the dark chocolate thing was supposed to be an occasional piece, but it's getting a bit out of hand. Between the chocolate and sometimes overdoing other things because I feel deprived of dessert, I'm wondering if I need to have some sort of different mind set.

Anthony and I talked about having dessert on truly special occasions and listing out what those are - birthday, Christmas, adoption party - and then just not other times. And then live with it. And the dark chocolate either needs to fall into the same category or, perhaps, be somewhat more lenient about it - ie, one every camping trip or so - but still not have it available at any time.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh, it'll be Fine

That was my advice to Davan on starting workouts with team today - "Oh, it'll be fine." And it was. Sort of. And it was sort of awful. Poor kid. She cried at break and said she wanted to quit. By the end, though, she said it wasn't great, but it was okay.

What could possibly have happened that Davan, the girl who loves conditioning and is in great shape and would live in the gym if she could, would have such a rough time?

Well, she was the only one starting team today. I know (from watching the whole thing) that the coach didn't keep that in mind hardly at all. Davan was mostly expected to just know what to do. She just kind of followed along, looking semi-panicked. The coaches did not take it easy on her as far as the performing of her skills went at all. She was nit-picked from the very beginning. I know that's the whole point of team, but geez, couldn't they have said anything to make her feel like she was doing a good job for her first day rather than harp on all what was wrong?

She had one of the best front walk overs in the group, which she noticed and that perked her up. She thought, though, that she'd done very badly on vault until I pointed out to her that one of the girls never did make it over the table trainer by herself, but Davan did and she'd never used the table trainer before. Period. These girls had been doing it for four months and another parent told me that her daughter had only started going over it one month ago. Rather than say, "You made it on your second try ever!" (the first time she only got into a handstand instead of going over) she was corrected about her body position.

My sensitive girl was not having fun. However, she is going back again and knows the worst day is over. From here on out, she'll know more and another girl who got promoted will be there on Thursday, as well, making her not the only new girl in the bunch.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Half an Hour Home

Max has been home for half an hour now. It's not been a smooth half an hour. He ran up to me asking if he could go to the park. By himself? I think not. I got it out of him that he wanted to go because Brian, a boy who lives in the neighborhood, was going to be there. That would be fine, but Brian is at his baby sitters, not at the park. This I know as I saw him walk in there.

I'd be happy to still go to the park with or without Brian being there, but Davan and I had just gotten home from swimming and needed to unpack. Plus, Max always has a snack when he first gets home, without which, he gets grumpy.

Due to the delay, though, he threw a passive agressive fit by strewing the things he brought home out in the main through-fair of the house, plus sprawling out into it himself while making a half an effort to sort of take off his shoes. We have had to put a rule in place that he must stay totally in the entry way while taking off his shoes because otherwise he sprawls across the main through-fair every time. I reminded him of the rule and pointed out that acting that way wasn't going to help his cause in regards to the park. He shaped up a little.

He gave me the daily note from his teacher, which said it was an "OK Day." Usually, it's a good day, so I asked if he'd had a hard time. He denied it, but when I asked if he'd gone up to group as soon as he was called, sat right down and didn't move, he started to be evasive. I let it go. It was good enough for his teacher, so there it is.

I started my after school inspection of his person and his backpack. He had a king size Kit Kat wrapper. He said he'd gotten it from Brian. Brian gave it to you? A non-committal answer. I told him to get his shoes on so we could go talk to Brain. Brian's baby sitter is just across the street.

What the story ended up being was that Brian had the Kit Kat at lunch. Max coveted said Kit Kat. Brian ate the whole thing, but I think Max must have hoped that he hadn't because after school, while gathering up stuff to come home, Max got into Brian's lunch box and stole the wrapper. This from a boy who can't remember to bring home his plastic spoon from his apple sauce. Gee does anyone else thing he could probably remember that spoon?

I'd stepped just into the entry way of the baby sitter's house to talk to Brain while Max chose to stay just outside. When I came back out, he was hiding behind a tree. I explained that was unsafe. It's not safe to hide in public and he must come to me when I call in public. If he doesn't follow the rules, it's not safe to take him out, so we wouldn't be able to go to the park.

He, of course, was mad, and walked off fast in front of me. When we got in the yard, we finished the Kit Kat story and he tried to shred some leaves on the tree, pulling back toward the tree when I gently took his hands and pulled him away.

When we got back inside, he went to have the snack I'd left out for him while I finished checking his things. I came out to find him rocking on the two back legs of the high stool at the counter - a no-no.

I calmly removed the stool while he passive aggressively kept sitting on it until I pulled him off. Then I pulled him into a hug, him resisting and asking, "What are you doing?"

I held him for a while, until he pulled away. Then I asked him if he knew why he was having a hard day. He didn't. I said that it seemed to me that he had two choices at this point - he could stay mad that I'd found and dealt with the candy wrapper and subsequent acting out (in terms meant for him), thereby probably continuing to have a bad day or he could move on and have a good rest of the day. "Okay, Mom," he replied brightly, not looking me in the eye at all.

He moved on to annoying Davan in such a very obvious way that he got sent to his room until he could be not annoying, fingering all the water melon slices I'd put out while he tried to pick up a certain one (which he could suddenly pick up just fine when I went toward him - only to pick that slice up for him, but I guess he didn't know that) and making a little speech under his breath about "trying not to step on Davan's toes when he went outside to shoot hoops" after she'd already gone out. The last one got him restricted to the back yard when he went outside - away from Davan.

Things seem to be settling down now. The kids are out back together, playing. I love it when that happens. I've typed in this whole entry. It's only a little over an hour until I take Max to flag football, then turn around and let Anthony parent him for the short remainder of the evening before he goes to bed.

Another Middle of the Night Shower for Max

It seems to be becoming habit. This time, though, the issue wasn't pee...

Anthony and I are snoozing away at about 3:15 am when Max shows up in our room, crying. He said there was cat poop in his bed and he didn't want to sleep in it. Hey, I wouldn't want to sleep in cat poop, either.

However, as there was no cat poop in his bed when Anthony read to him at bed time and the door had been shut ever since (with no cat on the inside), the chances of cat poop being in his bed seemed rather slim.

Anthony went to investigate and I followed behind shortly. What seems to have happened was that Max threw up in his sleep and then rolled around in it for a while. Yuck. Yeah. But, also very strange. The food was almost totally undigested and non smelly. So much so that Anthony went to check the fridge to see if the leftovers were still there. They were.

Also strange because I've never heard of anyone throwing up in their sleep - unless they were very drunk.

But, we got the bed changed, Max showered and in new pjs and then all went back to bed. This morning, because I asked, Max did say his stomach was a little sore. I asked if he needed to stay home from school. No, he wanted to go. He ate a little breakfast (not abnormally little - sometimes he's just not very hungry in the morning) and went off to school. We'll see if I get a call from the nurse!

We've gotta run to Girl Scouts!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Attachment Disorder

Max is not RAD. According to his therapist, that is. She does say that he has attachment issues, but she only labels kids as RAD if they meet all of the requirements on the following list:

1. Superficially engaging and charming
2. Lack eye contact on parental terms
3. Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
4. Not affectionate on parents' terms (not cuddly)
5. Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone)
6. Cruel to animals
7. Lies about the obvious (crazy lying)
8. No impulse control (frequently acts hyperactive)
9. Learning lags
10. Lack of cause-and-effect thinking
11. Lack of conscience
12. Abnormal eating patterns
13. Poor peer relationships
14. Preoccupation with fire
15. Persistent with nonsense questions and incessant chatter
16. Inappropriately demanding and clingy
17. Abnormal speech patterns

Every time I read about RAD, though, I start crying. Why? Because Max displays 1, 2, 3 (less as he's been with us more, but still some), 4 (sometimes), 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, and sometimes 17.

It's so hard. It's hard because I feel judged about my mothering by friends and family who say I'm just too hard on him. This is very common for attachment disorder kids and their moms (moms particularly, but dads, too). When he does cuddle, he cuddles like a porcupine with sharp elbows, chins, and also just plan pushing with his body parts. We are constantly barraged by chatter and nonsense questions. Yes, folks, there is such a thing as a stupid question.

When he plays at a friend's house, the parents inevitably say, "Oh, he was such a good and polite guest." (superficially charming) Meanwhile, the child (his peer) doesn't want him to come back or they never even played together. We get similar peer reactions when he has friends over here.

And the lying - the crazy lying. This has been getting worse lately. It's astounding in it's frequency. And he's not as bad about it as some kids. Really, he's pretty mild as attachment disorders go especially as he's been here longer. It's still very, very hard.

Reading about it makes me feel less alone. Less crazy. And worse because it's not easy to heal.

Sporty Saturday and Lazy Sunday

We had a very sporty Saturday with a double header flag football game Saturday morning and a gymnastics fun meet Saturday afternoon.

Sadly, it rained on us at the football game, but then the day turned nice for pretty much the whole rest of the day. Max went off with my MIL and his cousin, Conor, after the football games for the afternoon/evening. He acted out about this before and briefly after the football game, but he seemed to enjoy his time there.

He wasn't invited to the meet because he and another sibling (same sibling from practice) ran wild all over the gym last meet. And he wasn't invited to dinner out because of the poor restaurant behavior on Friday. He'll get another chance for both now that he's sat them out. And he did have a good time doing what he was doing.

Davan had a good meet, which included her trying three more difficult skills than the other kids at her level. One was a great success - round off two back handsprings on floor - with no spot or anything. One was a close but not quite - cartwheel on beam by herself - she got two feet on, but wasn't able to stay on the beam. And the other was a success also with a very minimal (planned) spot - a quip on the bar. She was proud and happy about the meet with the exception of feeling disappointed about not getting her cartwheel. All three of those skills are level 5 skills and Davan is only going to level 4 team, so it's pretty great that she's got them down.

Anthony, Davan and I had a nice, quiet dinner out last night. It'll be okay when Max is with us again, but the break and ability to have a quiet, no arguing, no complaining, no thrashing about meal was nice.

I rode my bike quite a bit yesterday, as well. Well, quite a bit for me. Nothing for Anthony. We rode bikes over to the flag football game. I ended up doing it twice because I brought Davan back home when the rain started up in earnest. She was on her own bike, but we didn't want her to have to ride home alone. It's only 1.5 miles each way, but that means 6 miles total for me.

Then, after dinner, I rode to the library and then to Winco, getting in another 5 miles or so, pulling a load to the library and home from Winco, too. I feel good about using the bike. It's what I used to do all the time, but it's just so easy to get into the car and we've gotten into the habit. I feel a lot better about hopping on my bike, though, and when I'm in the habit, I hardly think about the car for the trips to Winco or the library (although I often walk that one).

Today brought us our usual Sunday morning pancakes and fruit breakfast. We're about to do some family fun before Davan's afternoon play date. Max was invited to make one, too, but he, so far, has struck out on inviting friends over for today. Poor kid.