Sunday, April 29, 2012

She Waited For So Long...

 She got the hair done...
 she got the nails done...
and then she got to wear the dress!  They danced, went bowling, played games, and won prizes. Lauren was up at 7:30 this morning with a smile on her face, now that is not typical teenage behavior after being out until 4:00 am. Prom 2012 was a success all around.

When I spoke with this young man`s mom at midnight she was still worrying about how late they were going to be out. I told her the PCA could handle this and I was going to bed. I suggested she do the same since she needed to be at work at 6:00 am this morning. I do remember the first time we had a kid going to Prom. We stayed up all night, too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Papers, Kids, And The Weather

I am doing paperwork today, only because I cannot put off paying the bills any longer. I have organized about 3 months worth medical and school reports, PCA assessments, legal stuff for conservator/guardianships, and payroll info. It is now neatly piled on the corner of the desk ready to go into the kids binders. Once that is done this office will actually look presentable.

Paul is on a field trip today. It includes a little more then an hour of bus riding, a theater production, pizza party, and going to the history center. It seems like an awful lot for first graders. They were pre-warned that he may not be able to handle all of this. He told me this morning that he is glued to Mrs. B. for the day and he will tell her if he needs to be a little crazy sometimes. Mrs. B. is generally very good with him, but this is completely out of his routine. There is a plan in place for him along with some other students who have special needs to return to school early if needed.  So far I have gotten no calls about that.

Hanna had to call me because she ditched her papers again. We are going to just let this slide for a few days to see if she can calm herself down. She is very upset that the older kids in her classroom are going to Prom this weekend. We will get her back on track and then, guess what, there will be graduation so she will be a mess about that too. Hanna, you will get your turn, lets hope that you will not sabotage it when the time comes.

I need to get something warm in the crock pot for dinner. It is cold and wet today. Lets hope the weatherman is a little off about tomorrows forecast of 48 degrees, bur, Lauren is going to freeze in her dress. She is going to have to wear a coat.

I had better file these papers and get out of here before they all come home.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Little Girls

Okay, they are not really little any more, but in our family Lauren and Hanna will always be the little girls. They are about as opposite as it gets.

Lauren is tall, has blonde hair, and light blue eyes. She is all about being a girl. This weekend is about her having fun. Karre has volunteered to take her to have her nails done. She has had every PCA, school paras, her sisters, and friends paint them whenever she gets a chance, but this is entirely new and she has let everyone know how excited she is about that. Karre is also taking her to get her hair done Saturday morning before the Prom. She gets to dress up, wear real dress shoes, earrings, bracelets, and carry a purse too. She is one happy little girl these days.

Hanna is short, has dark hair, and eyes and wants nothing to do with this girl stuff. Maybe the girl stuff would be a little bit okay with her if she were older and was getting to go to the Prom too. I am not even sure if it would be okay then because she does not like to dress up at all and she does not like to be at events where there are lots of people. It is just that she sees other kids happy and she can`t handle that. She is in sabotage mode now, not at all liking that her sister is doing something that she will not get to do. Her attitude has been pretty awful the last few days.  She has threatened to destroy Lauren`s stuff. She informed me this morning that she is not talking to me, but she sure is yelling at me.  Explaining to her that she will get a chance to do the same things Lauren is doing now when she gets older is getting no where. She doesn`t really understand what later means and when she wants something she wants it right now. That is so 2 year old, but that is where she is at socially.

I think we are going to have to get Hanna out of here, at least for a few hours this weekend or we will have a little girl fiasco to deal with.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Cute Mom

Saturday when it was raining I was heading out the door to pick out a new refrigerator to replace the side-by-side, no room for anything, been annoying me for 15 years model that we have in our kitchen. Paul begged and pleaded to go with me. Finally I gave in, helped him get his shoes on and out the door we went.

When we got to the appliance store he was bouncing, sort of skipping, and clapping, and he very loudly hollers "mom you are the cutest mom ever, ever, ever, you bringed me to the bestest store".

The sales lady sort of chuckles and asks him what he and his cute mom are shopping for. He says "the biggerest fridge in the whole world cuz we got lots of stuffs".

Well, we didn`t get the biggest one on the market, but we did get one that should fit our needs much better. Today the fridge from our kitchen is going over to Karre`s house because she wants more freezer room and she is okay with the smaller fridge section. The fridge from her house is going in our basement because we always have more stuff then one fridge can hold, and the old one that is down there now is coming out of there to be sold. 

That means there is a lot of cleaning out and rearranging for this cute mom to get done this morning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

How Do You Do That?

The other day while having a conversation about the usual, Hanna, I was asked "how did you guys parent this kid without support"? It was not pretty, in fact for nearly 3 years every single day, it seemed was a battle. Mom and Dad were trying to keep things consistent, realistic, creating boundaries, and trying to keep everyone safe. The people who were supposed to be helping us to do this were being manipulated, ripped off, lied to, conned, and used. The kid was totally out of control, getting to do whatever she wanted to do, regressing significantly, attempting to destroy our family, and mainly in full blown RAD mode all the time.

During that time it felt as if no matter what we did or how we did it it was not going to work and it wasn`t because as soon as she left the house the kid was free to undo whatever had been done. We banged our heads on so many brick walls and maneuvered our way through so many obstacle courses it was ridiculous. This is when families give up on these kids because they are neither getting anywhere with the kid or the establishment. The parents are seen as the problem and you know there is only so much of that a person can take before they really do become what they are perceived to be, the problem. This is when moms and dads begin to disagree, when siblings get hurt (both physically and emotionally), this is when you go to bed exhausted, yet you can`t sleep because your brain is rethinking the events of yesterday while trying to figure out what to do about tomorrow. Living like this is just plain awful and I never want to go there again!!

Now we have the school, including teachers, paras, and social worker working with us. We have PCAs who are well trained and consistent. We have older siblings in agreement with Mom and Dad. We have a Grandma who gets it. We have friends who really do understand. We have a team that works together. There are times when the kid still tries to manipulate, lie, etc, but most of the time she gets caught and is held responsible for her behavior. There are times when the best plans do not work. There are times when we run out of ideas. The behaviors will never go away. The kid will always have an attachment disorder, but with a team working together we do have consistent boundaries, simple expectations, and a lot less behavior craziness.

Of course not everyone is on board. We just keep working on that. Of course there is a need for more PCA/respite staff (since this is a 24/7 job). They are out there somewhere and we will find them, too. Being seen as a part of the solution rather then the crazy mom makes my life doable. This is still very hard work, but it can be done if we all do it together. I don`t really know how we survived without our support system, but we did. We will still find ourselves frustrated at times in this journey, but as long as we communicate (that is a must), keep things simple and consistent, create appropriate boundaries and continue to care about the kid whatever happens will be okay. Even though the kid will not agree now, we can hope that she will some day  appreciate the stable community, friends, and family she has. It takes an incredible amount of effort from the entire team to provide that for her. I just keep reminding myself that she is worth it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

So, Hanna

Hanna came home with a paper that said "read Hunger Games". I asked her what that was all about. She said that her teacher was reading that to her and she was supposed to read it. Hanna has heard this and that and the other thing from kids at school and she likes to be part of the action so even when she has no idea what is going on she will do whatever she thinks the crowd is doing. She also has heard about the movie and she wants to see it.

I was pretty sure her teacher had more sense then to read that to her and I knew she was not able to read it herself. We have to stop to explain what is going on every paragraph or so when reading  Ramona books to her so The Hunger Games is clearly beyond her. As for her reading it herself, it is not going to happen because she can not read even the simplest material on her own. I emailed the teacher and about thirty seconds after I pushed the send button I got a call from her. No, she was NOT reading that book to Hanna and Hanna was not reading it either. They had read an article about it in their current events paper, that is as far as this subject matter will be covered.

When I told Hanna that I had talked to her teacher about this and I knew what was really going on she says "it mean I not go to the movie either".

Um---you got that right, kid.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wild Start To The Day

It was a pretty wild morning trying to get Paul off to school, and just when we were getting him to calm down a bit the bus had to be ten minutes early. He was back in loud mode in about a half second so I am sure that is going to be a LOUD ride.

I have to take Hanna to the foot doc first thing this morning and then get her to school. The foot is looking fine and she is pretty much back to normal. After that I need to get payroll done and then get groceries. I have 2 freezers that I am trying to get completely empty so that I can clean them so stashing meals to bring out and finish up is not happening for another few days. I miss doing that so I am motivated to get this job done soon. Then I will have a cooking day and get things back on track.

After school I have to go to bowling to see what Miss Attitude will be up to. We have talked several times this week about being a team member so we will see if any of that sunk in.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Take A Hike!!!

It is one of those days when I would just like to tell all those "I know how to deal with your kid" know it alls, to take a hike and leave us in peace. No, actually you have no idea how to deal with my  kid, but I can not tell you to take that hike because you control the $$$$ that my kid will need for the rest of her life in order to keep her safe from herself and keep society safe from her.

She is who she is and that is okay with us. There is no therapy to fix her. The alcohol and trauma make her who she is. Maybe instead of trying to fix her you could just support the family that is out there working every day to give her structure, keeping her safe, caring about her even though she does not care about herself, along with all the other things a family provides.  We love her just the way she is, but she needs to be supervised 24/7 and we do need to sleep and we do need to cook and clean and take care of our other kids and work and go to meetings and appointments and maybe once in a while we need to take a break from all of this because we are human after all and we get tired of all this. We especially get tired of people who HAVE NO IDEA what our kid is all about, yet they seem to have LOTS of advice.

Have you ever had one of those people say "she is so sweet. I could take her home and she would do so well. I know she is mature enough to take care of herself if only you would let her". AAUUURRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!

Blah, blah, blah,yadda, yadda, yadda, and on and on and on. That went in one ear and out the other. I have got to get dinner on the table.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Soggy Morning

It is a soggy morning. I just brought in my to soggy to read Sunday paper. It was to wet to read the comics at the breakfast table as I usually do on Sunday mornings.  I will let it dry and get to it later. We needed the rain so I will not complain to much, but looking out the window at the uneven, rather shaggy lawn which is strongly suggesting that I get Dad out their to clear out the garage so the mover can come out of hibernation, which means I have to mow soon.

While Paul ate his eatmeal (oatmeat) he chattered, bounced, clapped, and banged away as he always does before his medication kicks in. Some how the racket is less bothersome when we don`t have to attend to a strict schedule. He was telling me that we have to play inside today because the radio says it might funda (thunder) and he does not like funda because it is to noisy.

I think we are in for a soggy day and maybe there will be a little funda later.
I have enough paperwork to keep me busy in my office for most of the day. Meanwhile Paul will be driving his cars and trucks around and then he will line them up and rearrange there order many,many times. He seems to think the space under the desk makes the perfect garage and I am sure he will want to use his garage to keep his vehicles out of the rain today.

I might just have to order Hanna to build him garages with the Duplo blocks for awhile in order to get him out of my way. She WILL NOT play with him (or anyone else) unless someone in authority tells her she has to, but she isn`t doing anything else except sitting on the couch pouting and complaining about how terrible her life is so I might as well give her something to pout about.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Am Trying To Understand

I an trying to understand, really I am, but sometimes I just do not get it. Why is it that the kid who tells me every single day that she wants to be like the other kids works sssssoooooo hard to do just the oposite?

Yesterday they had bowling and Hanna has the ability to do very well, but no way is she going to do what she is able to do. Instead she stands there looking up at the ceiling and plops the ball down, walks back to her seat, has to be told to throw to ball again, is told many times to pay attention to what she is doing and just does not give a rip at all so she does it all over again and again and again. Then she is pouting because both Allen and Lauren had higher scores then she did. Lets just say that if she would even half try she could beat both of them every single time. After the pouting did not fly she said that she was just letting H. win. I explained that they were bowling as a team against another team who was bowling at their town. (She did not get that concept at all) and she should be doing her best to help her team win. She was mumbling that she did not like her team and so she was not going to do it right.

There is a lock-in for 7th and 8th graders so last night I went through the rules explaining them at her level, having her sign the contract,and then signing it as well. I also scheduled a PCA to accompany her to the event. I know there will be adults there, since I have done that in the past, but there is absolutely no way for her to attend without direct supervision. I had her put the paperwork in her folder, in her backpack, in the closet. It took lots of prompts to get that done. This morning the folder with the lock-in paperwork and the check to pay for it have disappeared. Is this just her way of saying I know I can`t handle this? Is she going to tell her friends that Mom lost her stuff so she can`t go? Did she even want to go in the first place and if she did not then why not just say so?

Whatever it is that makes a person do their best, whatever that may be, and be okay with what they have achieved and who they are that is what we are working towards. It is so hard to understand the trauma this kid lives every day. There is always the hope that some day she will wake up accepting who she is and all that there is out there for her to be part of. The beginning was rough but is that reason enough to destroy what you have now? I am trying to understand, really I am!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dress Shopping

Dad had to go fix something at work, We had Hanna with a PCA from sun up to past her usual bedtime, and we left Rene` and Paul in charge of coloring some Easter eggs while Karre, Trevor, and I took Lauren Prom dress shopping last Saturday.

Dress shopping for Lauren is a bit tricky. She seldom wears a dress because her CP, AFO`s, and wheelchair are not very well suited for dresses. Lauren is our princess and if she had her way she would dress up all the time. I have found that we can generally dress her very nicely in slacks and a nice top or sweater, but for the Prom she will get to wear a dress. She gets to go without the AFO`s, too.  However, the wheelchair goes to Prom. Paul says he is going to give it a car wash. (He remembers helping Karre clean the car before Prom last year). The only requirement for the dress according to Lauren was that she wanted it to be purple. Mom had a few other things on the list. 1. It could not be floor length since she could not stand or walk at all in that and it would get messed up in the wheels of her chair. The best option would be a tea length dress.  2. It needed to have straps or sleeves or something to keep it where it belonged on top. 3. It needed to be in the budget.

There are lots and lots of dresses at the Mall of America. We looked at hundreds of them. There were dresses that weighted 20 pounds with all the rhinestones and beads on them. Most of them were floor length so they were quickly eliminated.  We had found six that we thought would work, lucky for us 3 of them were at one store so we went back there and had her try them on.The first one she tried on was the one Trevor picked out. She tried on the other two there as well, but the first one was going to be the one.

Now just for a little suspense I am not going to post photos until the big day. I will say that Lauren did not get purple and Mom did not exactly get what she had in mind either, but she will look gorgeous anyway.  She is so excited just knowing that she gets to go that I don`t think she really cares what she wears.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It`s A Date

The Prom date is set. He asked Lauren to go and you know what she said "I have to ask my mom".

That is predictable Lauren. Even though we have been talking about what to do when a boy asks you to Prom, even though she knew who was going to ask her, and even though we had already given her permission to go she thought she should ask her mom.

I have got to give the girl credit, she does have boundaries. She needed a little coaching, but she did say "yes" so it`s a date.

Prom Plans

It`s that time of year when things really get busy for the teenagers. The school year will be winding down in a couple of months, but before we get to that there has to be a Prom, right. Lauren is going, and she is sssoooooo excited about that! I don`t know if the boy asked her yet, but he was so sweet last night demonstrating how he was going to do that. He said that he was going to get his hair cut and wear a suit and Lauren was not going to wear a red dress.   
This year all the juniors and seniors in their special education classroom are going except for Allen (we will do this next year with him) and maybe one other kid. This is a great opportunity for all of them to practice social skills both in the classroom and out. They will practice doing the Grand March during the school day in the gym. We will have pizza at our house before Prom since going out to eat at a nice restaurant would likely send some of them over the top before the big event even started.

We have 2 PCAs who will tag team (since one of them turns into a pumpkin after midnight). One will go to the Prom and the other will go to the After Prom Party.

Last evening the moms and the teacher who has been communicating with the school personal and the committee chair of the After Prom Party, got together to go over the logistics of this. It takes a whole lot of planning to do things like this with teenagers like Lauren. My neuro-typical kids would be the ones telling me who they were going with and what they were doing, instead we need to make the plans for them.

Now all we have to do is get the dress figured out and decide what to do with her hair.Lauren will be on top of those details for sure.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Going To Celebrate!

We are going to have a party for Lauren since she does get to take part in commencement with her class! Okay, we had already decided that we were going to party no matter what happened with that because she deserves to have a party just as much as all the rest of the high school seniors do.

This does not mean that the drama of this affair is over though. It simply means that the school district has agreed to let her participate and we do have a transition plan that I think will work for her. We may need to make some adjustments along the way, but that is okay. We have a place to begin.

It has taken 10 months to get where we are now, that is far to long and she has missed out on things. When we decided to take on this issue it was not only for Lauren, it was for all of the students and families who will be in this place down the road. I do not want other students and their families to be stuck in limbo or having to choose between inclusion and transition services. I do not have anything in writing to help families, all I got was "we will have to look at this individually". That is not going to work here. This will all happen again so I guess I am going to have to look into getting the law changed in this state to deal with this. Getting that done is a long process so I guess I will have plenty to do for quite some time and then maybe we will have to have another party when we succeed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sven and Ole

These are Karre`s cats Sven and Ole. I gave them those great Norwegian names. They are very friendly cats. Paul who does not usually like animals at all has even gotten used to playing with them. He told his class that Ole is his friend and Sven has short, soft fur and scratchy feet.

Ole and Sven