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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Closing our Home

We've been keeping our license open all this time JUST so we could provide respite for baby sis and her family.

Today, we got a call from the other families agency. It turns out they can't use our home study for that anyway. We have to get a background check and the normal stuff that baby sitters have to do for foster kids with them done.

So.....good news is we can close our home and no more social worker visits

bad news is background checks can take awhile, so they'll have to tough it out for awhile before we'll be much help.

Sorta looking forward to it, nervous, but excited too.

We got kiddo a new bed, it was delivered yesterday. Her and her crazy pup broke her other one. The new bed has room for baby sis.

We will attempt to put it together this weekend if all goes smoothly.  It's hard to get things done because kiddo can't spend a bunch of time outside playing and we'd be working around her, but I'm excited to get her room done.

Her and her pup wore out her saucer chair in the play room too, so I went and picked up the one I had set aside for her birthday (I knew it wasn't going to be long, I just was hoping it'd last a little longer)

and new bedding....

We got new curtains too, she's outgrown the pink, and blue is her favorite color now so we'll be taking down her pretty pink curtains and replacing it with turquoise ones (my favorite color too)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Home Schooling

Not in the traditional sense, but it is schooling at home.

We went today to talk with the school board about kiddo being taught at home for the next 8 weeks. We have a teacher lined up and she'll be coming in to teach kiddo until she's physically able to return to school.

They said her electives will drop and she'll only be taught the core classes.  That's okay though, we can take her on field trips this summer and get her some more education in a fun way.  We have plans for Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Cherokee, a train ride thru the Smoky Mountains.

What I find amazing is without the distractions of other kids, they feel that they can adequately teach her the core classes in only 8 hours a week.

If she were home schooled officially, she'd only be required 10 hours a week actually instruction.  That seems so far fetched to me, but with one on one attention, this is the projected time span.

It'll be interesting to see how this goes, what she learns, how she's does and whether she still triggers with schoolwork.

Through the end of this week, she'll do what she can at home on her own and next week, the teacher will start coming here in the afternoons to do official instruction.

I now understand why home schooling seems so easy when watching others do it.  I don't think she could handle that permanently, but it is a nice solution while she heals.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Attachment Therapy Homework

We had to cancel our attachment therapy due to kiddo's immobility, but the leader of our sessions sent us a copy of her outline that she uses and told us where she'd like to focus.

The categories are:

Structure: Safety, Organization, Regulation: Set Limits
Define boundaries, Keeps child safe, helps complete sequence of activities, relieve child of burden of being in control

Engagement: Connection, Attunement, Acceptance, Expand Positive Affect
Establish and maintain connection. Focus on child in intense way. Entice child into enjoying new experience.

Nurture: Regulation, Secure Base (safe haven), Worthiness
Reinforce message that child is worthy of care and that adult will provide care without child having to ask

Challenge:  Competence, Confidence, Support Exploration
Help child feel more competent and confident by encouraging to take slight risks and to accomplish activity with adult help

She said kiddo is doing very well with all the challenge activities and would like hubs and her to focus on some of the nurturing activities.

Some of the activities that promote nuturing are touching the child gently with a cotton ball while her eyes are closed and once she opens her eyes, she'll tell what she was touched at. Other is making jewelry out of play doh or other random items and placing them on the child; painting her face; applying lotion to her hands or feet; make a print on paper and shake powder on the paper to show the print; just applying lotion are powder in general, singing a lullaby that's tailed to your child, manicures and pedicures; painting hands and feet and making prints of them.

Our personal lullabys are:

soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur
sleepy kitty, pretty kitty, purr, purr, purr

soft puppy, warm puppy, little ball of fur
crazy puppy, cute puppy, grrr, grrr, grrr

one kitty verse for each cat, one puppy verse for each dog, and one of the puppy verses ends Lucifer, instead of grrr, grrr, grrr

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
what a special girl you are
beautiful red hair and soft, soft cheeks
big brown eyes from which you peek
twinkle, twinkle, little star,
what a special girl you are

I do one verse for each pet and then twinkle, twinkle little star, while rubbing her back at night to get her to sleep.

Every once in a while, when she's wound up or way silly I'll also sing:

soft monkey, crazy monkey, little girl of mine....

What activities do you all do with your kids to promote nurturing.  That's by far the area we have the most work to do in, although huge strides have been made.  

Engagement could stand some practice too, in my opinion, although she really hasn't made note of that.  She did say she's seen significant progress in kiddo over the time she's been with us and that we should be very proud of her (we are)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Play Therapy

no, not structured, real play therapy, but just playing with your kid

When kiddo first moved in in 2012, I didn't blog as much, we were in our bonding time and she was glued to me every waking moment almost.  Also, I had a tendency to just share random things and not get too deep. I had a journal for that at the time of things to update the sw on.

I was thinking about how we used to play with her dolls together.

It started playing as orphanage alot. Her first doll she bought while she was here was because she wanted to provide her with a home. Her box in the store was dusty and she'd been there for awhile, so she knew it was time she had a home.

We'd play with the dolls and she'd be an orphanage worker and we'd adopt the kids that we were playing with because we couldn't just leave them without a family.

Then we graduated to playing something along the lines of NCIS, where we were protecting somebody, trying to find the criminal and in the process finding the kids and saving them.

Later on, one of the teenagers would come in and say they were pregnant because somebody had raped them and we'd have to find the rapist.  The teen of course, was shown unconditional love and we constantly told her it wasn't her fault it happened.

We moved on to playing in the pool and the teen would end up raising her babies in the pool.  Once a sw came to get one of the babies because of a report of abuse and she started to drown the doll and said "If I can't have you, nobody can".  That was a moment of tears, because when kiddo was removed, her birth mom said she should just kill the girls because then she could visit them at the cemetary at least.

I had no idea her brain had heard any of that.

She worked through a ton of things with her baby dolls. I'm so proud of how far she came.  I'm also so proud that she's so protective of the babies and is good at demonstrating good, unconditional love. She took better care of those baby dolls than some parents do their real kids.

Our attachment therapist told us before she got to what happened in the pool with drowning the doll, that if she played out this the whole healing way, she eventually would have to abuse one of the dolls and not to be alarmed, that it was actually her finally dealing with it.

After that point, she was nothing but sweet with the dolls, but she also rarely had a need to really "play" dolls.  They're just there now.

I let her take the lead and she did a great job.

While I don't always realize how far she's come, sometimes something will happen and I'll realize she really has come a long way.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pet Names

The last post was a very emotionally draining experience and dwelling on the negative is not a good thing, so I'm going to fake it til I make it by creating a fun, happy post.

One blogger I follow said if she'd had her baby her whole life, she'd have never learned her name because of all the pet names she has for her.  I thought that was funny, but then thought....yeah, I can see that with our baby too.

Here's some of the more used pet names we have for the monster, I mean kiddo:

  • monster (obviously)
  • Princess (hubs uses this one alot)
  • first name ANGELROSE last name (angelrose is the middle name I wanted to change her name too)
  • first name HAMMERTOE last name (the name we pretended we'd change her name to)
  • Punkin
  • Angel
  • babygirl
  • babycakes (from me)
  • munchkin
  • monkey (primarily hubs, but lately I've adopted that some too)
  • cutie or cutie patootie
  • beautiful
  • sweetheart
  • kiddo
you know how most people said using full name = being in trouble.  Here just the first name, real first name, is when you're in trouble. Otherwise is a combination or pet name.  first name combined with other names is "I'm saying you're in trouble, but maybe not really"

Trauma, Drama and Tears, oh my!!

That’s what yesterday was made of.

kiddo’s surgery was yesterday and while she was in very good spirits pre-op, post-op was a nightmare. She completely shut down and was trying to refuse to leave the hospital. She had an anxiety attack so bad and was crying so bad, she had a hard time catching her breath. 

In the recovery room, she was pushing us away, one minute claiming she needed her space, the next claiming somebody needed to fix her, that she couldn’t breathe.  All her vital signs were as close to perfect as it gets. The surgery was claimed a success. But her trauma brain was so upset that we didn’t go into the operating room with her (she didn’t understand it wasn’t allowed and they phrased it to make it seem like we would be).

  • At the hospital, she said she wasn’t going home with us
  • Told us to get away, we were crowding her, including in the car on the way home
  • Refused to get out of the car when we got home. We went inside. She finally honked horn to help her out.  When she finally got out, refused help and then yelled because we didn’t help
  • Yelled that she’s in pain and we don’t even care or love her
  • Off and on yelling for a couple hours
  • Went to bed? Got up for (snack?) fell, yelled at us that she was leaving and hitching a ride, claimed it wasn't for snack, but food is her #1 trigger, so I'm inclined to think it was more than that her hurting like she said.
  • Hubs offered to look at her leg (she refused) and us take her to ER. After dressing, she was screaming and trying to stand on it and when realized not a need for ER for leg, asked to look at it again  (still refused). She said didn’t need ER. Offered to help her back to bed, she refused and said needed ER. Told her to go to bed.
  • Then sheried to open the door and I was in the way
  • Then started to head to the garage, which would be very dangerous and is off limits anyway, much less with broken leg
  • Called hubs mf’er, leave her alone, don’t ever touch her, doesn’t want help
  • Even RTC was better than having to live with us MF’ers.
  • Yelled at dog, told her not to yell at my dog, she slapped me on the arm hard, I was ready to call police, hubs convinced her to go lay down instead and gave her a bell to ring if she needed us and put the crutches away so she wouldn’t be getting up
  • Yelled at us for taking the dogs in the other room, explained it was for safety reasons
  • she threw a chair across the room while sitting in the floor
  • she tried to start taking her cast/boot/thingie off
Yeah, my heart was broken. This morning she said she slapped me because I pinched her, however, I hadn’t.  She was completely dysregulated and oblivious to anything going on and didn’t see the reality.

Then she said wanted to move out, doesn’t want to live with us because her leg hurts.
She called later and said “I’m sorry for hitting you”.  I’m not satisfied with that. I told her I loved her, but that we’d talk about it tonight and she could be thinking of ways to make this right.

Is it bad I dreaded going home from work tonight? E came in to work this morning and asked what I was doing here instead of at home and I just started bawling, fortunately before work hours started. She’s about the only one that ½ gets the trauma situation (she’s the mom of bff) so she sorta gets that it’s not a normal style tantrum because her daughter has seen it.  I was glad to get to work and get away and not looking forward to the weekend.

I'm hurt by all she said. I'm furious about the slap. I'm so exhausted, We all showed our butts last night and reacted instead of staying in our calm brains.  I got so little sleep and I'm purely exhausted.

I know it was 1) because of the fear from having to go in alone and 2) from the morphine, which is known to trigger anger, but it's still not okay. I'm sad.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Surgery? What?

Kiddo's MRI results were ready today.

Totally surprised when we found out she has to have surgery.  I fully expected the MRI to have just been cursory to rule out stuff, not that something would be wrong.

Kiddo's anxiety is pretty high, needless to say.

When hubs called from the doctors office to tell me the news, kiddo was in the background yelling "Momma!! You have to get tomorrow off, I can't do this without you"

As if I wouldn't take the day off for my childs surgery.

She was so happy when I told her I was taking the whole day off and I'd be with her every step of the way.

She's seemed a little out of balance today and making me a nervous wreck, she can't put ANY pressure on her right foot at all now, not just semi-guiding herself and I've been right behind her freaking out and ready to catch her.  She thinks it's hilarious. I'm a wreck and ready for bed.

The biggest challenge though is the food issue.  As much as she struggles with food binging at night when she's stressed, she cannot eat anything after midnight and surgery is not until 11 am.

She's in the middle of a hefty meal size snack and we've promised to feed her before even leaving the hospital after surgery tomorrow and stressed how important following directions is on this.

She'll also be homebound for 8 weeks, no school in a school setting.  She'll be doing school at home.  Given her past triggers around schoolwork and homework, it'll be interesting to see how this goes.  I'm very hopeful though, that this is going to be very therapeutic.

All my friends are saying "I know you're really stressed" and I am stressed, but not to the degree that they seem to think I am.

I actually think this is a positive towards attachment.  She HAS to rely on us for everything, 24/7, even school stuff.

It'll be a challenge, but we'll be all healthier than ever as a family when we get thru this.

She gets to go back to school just in time to get out of school for the summer.  She'll have physical therapy later and a summer full of pool therapy in the back yard. So glad she'll be cast free by summer.