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I’m Nothing if Not Inconsistent

April 2, 2016

I’m tired.  So, so tired.  But some things need to be documented, so here I am, six months after my last post, posting again.

We spent the bulk of the day today in New Orleans.  It was . . . wow.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that much human congestion, for sure.  Wait.  That sounds like the city was full of people with head colds or allergies.  Not so.  Not that I know of, anyway, but I wasn’t really asking.  The people . . . it was like being at an amusement park that had no rides.  The people were everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  The streets were congested with people.  It made for tricky driving, especially since, you know, some of those people appeared to be drunk as they just walked out in front of moving vehicles, specifically our moving vehicle.  We almost took out one young woman twice.  Maybe it was three times.  Forget drinking and driving.  Some people shouldn’t drink and walk.  Just sayin’.

But I have more important stuff to talk about, really.

NOLA was just a stop on a trip to a less happening place called New Iberia, and during that stop we got to meet up with a favorite blogger and her family.  They adopted their son from Vietnam about the same time we adopted ours.  Even though we’ve all died down in the blogging department, we’ve kept in touch through Facebook, and today?  We got to meet for real!  It was totally a blast — me, the English-y introvert with my introverted family,  and her, the science-y extrovert with her extroverted family — eating beignets and watching some woman with a brain injury restraining her barking pit bull as it continued lunging at every passerby.  I know she had a brain injury because she brought a pit bull that wasn’t fond of strangers to NOLA.  And worse?  She brought it to Cafe Du Monde.  Everybody in NOLA plus a few others were eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I don’t think it is.

As fun as our lunch at Willie Mae’s and dessert at Cafe Du Monde were, I have something even more significant on my mind.  “How is that even possible,” you are wondering in dismay.  Well, I will tell you:

This is the second vacation we have gone on with Spuds.  The first was our trip west to take A~ to college.  That trip was . . . a trip.  It was hard on him.  When we met up with friends and spent the day in Salt Lake City, he tried to glom on to them and ignore us.  He wanted to hold hands with the other adults.  He wanted to walk with them.  He wanted to sit by them.  He behaved the exact same way with us as he behaved with his previous parents when we first met him.  The lack of attachment was obvious when we first met him, and the lack of attachment to us was obvious in SLC.  After a good bit of this behavior that day, we drew a line in the sand.  Specifically, the husband drew a line in the sand.  We told Spuds he had to stay with us and hold one of our hands.  This led to the first of a few major, public meltdowns.  I blogged about this before, no?  The husband handled them all.  He calmly sat, restraining our screaming, thrashing child, on a bench in Temple Square and, later, on the floor of a Bed Bath and Beyond.  It was all precipitated by our refusal to allow him to ignore us as the parents and seek approval/acceptance/belonging from people he had only just met.

That was last August.  Fast forward to today, and . . . he was ours.  The whole time.  I know he was nervous about being on a trip and meeting new people.  Meeting new families like that will probably be an issue for him for a long time to come, but we’d talked about it and reassured him, and he was ours.  He didn’t put on a show for our friends.  He didn’t try holding their hands (as far as the husband and I saw, anyway; and it’s NOLA, so we were trying to keep a watchful eye on everyone).  If anything, he clung to us more than he normally does.  We were his safe place.  I didn’t really think about it at the time, but when we were in the Suburban, heading west to New Iberia, it hit me.  NO MELTDOWNS occurred.  We didn’t have to pry him away from the friends and demand that he treat us, not them, as the parents.  He was ours.  He is ours.  In the 10ish months he has been with us, he has gotten to a level of attachment and trust that he didn’t have with his last family after 3-plus years.  I have to say, that is a good feeling.  It vindicates the hope I’ve chosen to have for this kid from the very beginning, and it gives me even more hope.

Now, I’m not going to claim everything went perfectly.  When we got into the city, but before we met up with the friends, he got grumpy about me taking pictures and tried to refuse to participate.  I stood my ground for a few snaps, but then we let that be enough.  He wasn’t happy, but there was no meltdown.  Some of his former food issues resurfaced at lunch time as he steadfastly refused to order something.  He said he didn’t want anything.  But when I suggested that I order something and share with him?  Well, he was all for that.  It actually wound up with the husband ordering something and sharing, but Spuds ate lunch.  We had a repeat of this scene at dinner, but, again, a shared meal did the trick.  Just order an extra side, and there is enough food for two anyway.  So Spuds ate dinner.

It’s been about 25 days since his last meltdown.  I’ll have to write about that another time.  We’d been averaging about one meltdown a month, but then there was a bit of an uptick (which I think was brought on by all of the Easter goods hitting the store shelves — the first time he met us was Easter weekend last year), but now it’s been 25 days, and during those 25 days I’ve seen him teeter on the edge and then look at his paper chain on the mantle and settle himself down.  He is choosing to not have tantrums.  Again, a post for another time.  Let’s just say this kid is super motivated by the opportunity to earn extra birthday presents.

So here is where I should come up with some clever way to end the post and tie everything together and maybe be a bit funny, but did I mention I’m so, so tired?  Yeah.   It was a great day, but even great days can be exhausting.

Tewt the Newt is hoping the rest of vacation goes so well.






Of Tantrums and Police Officers and Other Fun Stuff

October 26, 2015

It’s not that there hasn’t been anything about which to write.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write it.  But homeschooling, and Relief Society President-ing, and normal parenting, and increased migraine activity, and . . . you know how it goes.  The blog takes a big ol’ back seat.

However, there are things I never want to forget.

We have our last post-placement visit in two weeks.  A couple (few) weeks after that we will finalize Spuds’ adoption.  We’ve been talking with him about that most evenings at bedtime for a few weeks now.  Bedtime is the only time he’ll even remotely open up, even just a little bit.  Mostly when we talk about it he just wants to talk about what restaurant he wants to go to for dinner afterwards.  His last family ate out.  A lot.  We’ve taken him out to eat a couple of times in the past five-and-a-half months (not counting the big trip out west), so he’s really excited about the idea of restaurant food.  Ribs.  He wants ribs.  So be it.

He has also asked if his previous family will come to his adoption.  Stab me through the heart.  It’s not that it hurts my feelings that he wants them to be there, it’s that I hurt for him because I know they won’t be there.  Even if they lived two towns over, they probably wouldn’t come.  On the one hand, I don’t blame them.  Just rip off that Band Aid and be done with it, right?  On the other hand?  They are still important to him.  These people who were convinced that he was not bonded with them at all are important to him.  So, while they are done with him, he is not done with them.  That hurts me for him.  He doesn’t really get it right now.  I just tell him that they live too far away and won’t be able to make it (which is true).  I don’t think now is the time to tell him that they just are done with him.  Someday he’ll figure that out, I supposed.  I don’t look forward to that day.

I worry about the finalization.  Things have been so unbelievably good.  He’s only had one meltdown since the Utah trip, and, though I had to restrain him, it wasn’t as bad as the meltdowns he had on the trip.  Yeah, he tried to scratch me.  I think he tried to bite me once when I wasn’t paying too much attention because I was answering another kid’s schoolwork question.  But overall?  It wasn’t horrible.  I mean, I could answer a kids’ schoolwork question, after all. There wasn’t the yelling and screaming.  He called me a liar and told me to shut up several times.  He tried to kick me.  A lot.  My kids are going to have some great childhood memories:  “Hey, Tank Boy, could you come over here and hold your brother’s feet for a few minutes?”  Tank Boy is a trooper.  And?  He’s very strong.  After Spuds calmed down and bit, and I told the Tank to let go, the kicking eventually started back up.  At that point I made a game out of it.

“Are you playing footsie with me?  Really?  Most boys don’t play footsie with their mom.  But hey, if that’s what you want to do . . . ” and I started chasing his feet with my feet as I dodged the kicks.  There might have been a few rounds of “Spuds and [high school girl he has a crush on] sitting in a tree . . . ” followed by the explanation that it really would be more appropriate to play footsie with that girl.  But, you know, whatever . . .

By the time that tantrum was done, he not only conceded defeat and went back to the school work he’d decided he didn’t want to do, he was laughing.  That counts firmly as a trauma mamma win, right?

Anyway, so there was that.  I think *that* was triggered by some cards he got from former teachers back in his home state.  I appreciate that they sent him cards.  He needs to know that he was cared about back there, that he is missed now.  About a week after *that*, he wrote back to the teachers.  We’ll see how things go if they write again.

But I worry about the finalization.  I worry that maybe it will hit him that his previous family is really, truly out of the picture.  I worry that the stark reality, the fact that he was given away, will hit him.  I worry that he will lose his . . . sh . . . well, you know.  It’s a legitimate worry.

So we’ve been talking about it most evenings.  He’s never had much to say beyond choosing a restaurant and asking if his other parents would be there.  He has expressed some worry about meeting the judge.  Tonight he said he is worried that the judge might yell at him.  Knowing that he can remember his previous adoption proceedings, I asked him if a judge has ever yelled at him before.

“No, but a police has.”

“When has a police officer yelled at you?” I asked.  “At school?”

“No, at [the other parents’] house.”

“Really?  What happened?”

“He yelled at me to sit down and said he was going to put kid-sized handcuffs on me.”

“Why?  Why was he there?”

“[The other parents] called the police.”

“Your parents called the police on you?  Why???”

“Because I didn’t want to sweep the floor.”

“So you had a fit?”


Through further questioning and cajoling, he admitted he had been yelling and screaming, had tried opening a window to get out, had had a really royal tantrum.  I don’t know if he was physically violent.  Probably.  Also?  He was seven.  The dude is little for his age.  LITTLE.  And they called the cops.  And the cop came in and yelled at him to sit down.  Safe to assume, I think, that cops don’t have any training on how to deal with a traumatized child.

“So you didn’t want to sweep the floor and you overreacted?” I said.

“Yes,” he sighed, looking somewhat crestfallen.

“And then they called the cops which means they overreacted” I said.

He sat up a bit, eyes wide.  “I don’t know.  Did they?”

“Yes, buddy.  They did.  You overreacted and they overreacted.  It doesn’t make them bad people, it just means they didn’t handle that situation the best they could have.”

He looked like a little weight had been taken off his shoulders.  I think he’s still a bit trepidatious about meeting the judge, and I’m sure there are still all kinds of unresolved feelings about being readopted, but some blame got spread around, off his shoulders and on to someone else’s, and he looked relieved.  Maybe a bit bewildered, too.

As the husband and I walked out of his bedroom, we were yelling at each other with our eyes, “Who in the hell calls the police on a seven-year-old having a tantrum???”  I mean, if he had been threatening them with a knife or something, maayyybeee.  But we know that didn’t happen because they told us themselves the knives were always locked up.  I want to believe there is another side to this story in which calling the police on an angry, traumatized seven-year-old makes sense.  I don’t want to judge them or demonize them.  I especially don’t want to lessen them in Spuds’ eyes, because they matter to him, and they did do a lot to help him while he was in their care.  But I’m still baffled and bewildered.  I haven’t walked in their shoes.  I don’t know the day-in-day-out, nitty-gritty details and emotional toil they experienced over the course of their years with him.  I worry that, with finalization, I will start to find out.

Right now, though, I’m choosing to let my hope be greater than my worry.  Based on what we’ve seen and experienced so far, I have fantabulous amounts of hope for Spuds and for his and our future.  We are at that point where it feels like he was never not a part of our family.  Did we really go to Orlando last winter without him?  How can that be?  Wait, he doesn’t know about our traditional Christmas Day Nerf war?  Doesn’t seem possible.  He is ours.  He has always been ours, even before we knew him.

Tewt the Newt is going to get a Kleenex

PS — my other kids?  All fine.  All troopers.  Quinn volunteered to take a turn holding Spuds’ feet so he couldn’t kick me.  Sweet, sweet Quinn.  He would have gotten the stuffing kicked out of him.  A~ is loving college.  L~ is loving sideline cheer and is looking forward to competitive season, especially now that she can do back handsprings.  Tank Boy has come so, so far over the years, you have no idea (because I never blogged all the nitty-gritty details of just how hard things were with him), and Midge?  Good, constant, steady Midge.  She brings sunshine to my soul when I want string the boys up by their toes. (I wouldn’t actually do that, obviously).🙂

It’s Been Over a Month

October 4, 2015

The other day while we were eating lunch, out of the blue, Spuds said, “My morning pill used to make my hands shaky.”

“No,” I reminded him, “your morning pill was to stop your hands from shaking.  The shaking was caused by one of the pills you took before bed.”

“My hands used to shake.  And those pills made me sick.”

“Yeah, I remember you said they made your stomach hurt.”

“Yeah.  They made me feel sick.  Why did I have to take them?”

“They thought the pills helped you behave better.  Do you feel better now that you don’t take them?”

“Yeah, I don’t feel sick.”

“You also don’t shake anymore.”

“I didn’t want to take them, but they made me.  Am I different now that I don’t take them?”

“I haven’t noticed any real difference in your behavior.  Do you feel like you behave differently.”

“No, but my stomach doesn’t hurt.”

He’s been off of all of his meds for just over a month now.  If anything, his behavior is better, but that has nothing to do with the medications as far as I can tell.  I mean, maybe it has a little to do with his brain not being in the fog of big pharma, but mostly?  I think it has to do with a healthy dose of childhood freedom mixed with a heaping dose of daily life that doesn’t include (what was to him) the over-stimulating environment of public schools.  Basically, he’s settling in nicely.  Seeing this happen makes me want to scream even more about the pharmaceuticals he was on.

You know those shaking hands and aching stomach side effects?  I’ve found more than one reputable website that says a person who experiences those side effects from that drug should seek medical help immediately.  Yeah, they took him to a doctor about the shaking, all right, and that doctor put him on a Parkinson’s medication.  Did I mention I want to scream?

I have no idea what the long-term side effects of the years he spent medicated might have on him.  I hope there are none.

In the meantime, we’ve started our homeschool year back up, and?  He’s doing great.  I was worried that this might be some kind of trigger, some kind of RAD power struggle.  RAD my arse.  Bonding issues?  Sure.  But RAD?  Good lord.  I just want to text his previous parents and say, “He’s academically behind in a few areas, but he’s doing GREAT!  He does his work without argument, even when he’s frustrated and spent.  Easily distracted?  Hell yeah, but also easily re-directed back to the task at hand without argument.  Sure, I may have to redirect him ten times in ten minutes (or more) (what is so interesting about the ceiling, anyway?), but he does it.  He gets it done.  It takes him longer, but he gets it done.  Actually, he gets it done to the point that he spent about a week and a half memorizing a fairly long poem — MEMORIZING IT — and he did it.  I have video I could text you.”  But I don’t text them this because I know they don’t want to hear this right now.  They were pretty specific about when they wanted to hear from us, and early October isn’t one of those times.

Ha!  He just came into my room and started to ask me if he could watch and episo . . .

Then he remembered.

Last night, when the movie the kids had been watching ended, I told him to turn off the TV and then I disappeared into my bathroom (ok, maybe I was already in the bathroom, and he came knocking at the door to ask to watch something else, and I told him no, it was time to turn off the TV, but it sounds much less uncouth to say our conversation didn’t happen on two sides of a bathroom door).  After emerging from that room to which mothers disappear in a vain attempt to gain a little peace and quiet and . . . umm . . . do other stuff, I found Spuds lounging on the sofa watching . . . I don’t know what, because I immediately turned the TV off.  I told him he wasn’t allowed to watch anything tomorrow (which is now today), and if he even asked to watch anything he would have to sit on the stool (this is what happens when he gets in trouble — sitting upon The Stool).

So he just wandered in here ands said, “Can I watch an episo . . . oh, wait.  No.  Never mind.”  It was awesome and hilarious to see the realization of what he was doing click in his brain.

So I think we have a list now that looks something like this:

ADD/ADHD (the jury is still out on this one) (yes, he’s easily distracted, but I’m not convinced he can’t overcome that)
Attachment Issues
Bipolar Disorder / Schizophrenia

Oppositional Defiance Disorder

So glad we took Goethe’s advice in our approach to this kid (though I think in this case it would be more like, “Treat a child like his hyped-up diagnosis and you’ll create the behavior to confirm it.  Treat him like a kid, and he’ll be one).

I can’t begin to express how happy I am that this kid is part of our family.  And?  Yes.  The family still consists of more than just this one kid.  You wouldn’t know it based on this post, but we are all still here, and everyone else is doing fine as well (and A~ is LOVING college).  The adjustment for everyone has existed but been pretty minimal.  My kids rock that way.  The homeschool effort is a little bit more labor intensive for me right now what with all the re-directing going on, so that leaves little time for blogging.  But we’re all here, and life is good.

Tewt the Newt couldn’t agree more.

My Smoothie Is Ruined

September 1, 2015

After a week-and-a-half of total food debauchery, I thought it prudent to start stuffing fruits and vegetables into my body again.  I was so good about the eating stuff yesterday, and yet?  By the time I went to bed I could feel a migraine coming on.  So today?  I’m still trying to be super good.  It makes no sense.  If I’m going to suffer, I might as well stuff my face with cake (more on the cake later).  I really want cake.  Seriously.

Anyway, I made myself a smoothie in my fantabulous Blendtec blender which I won as a door prize a few years ago at a Green Smoothie Girl event.  But?  In the midst of it whirring around and masticating my beet greens, peach, cranberries, and banana, it started making an unusual and somewhat horrible noise.  I don’t like it when appliances, whether large or small, start making unusual and somewhat horrible noises.  I also don’t like it when the unusual and somewhat horrible noise is accompanied by a positively horrible smell.  This happened today with my Blendtec.

So I poured the smoothie out into my special smoothie cup, washed out the blender, and did a little experimenting.  What I have discovered is that the blender base/motor unit is fine.  The big Wildside pitcher, however, is having issues.  I don’t know exactly what the issues are, only that they make an unusual and somewhat horrible noise and create a positively horrible smell.  It’s kind of like the smell of heating rubber.  I know this smell well since I spent a great deal of my childhood visiting Akron, Ohio.

After determining that the whole blender hasn’t gone toes up, I decided to not stress it too much (though those pitcher things ain’t exactly cheap) and just enjoy my smoothie.  But, people?  It tastes BAAAADDDDD.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Beet greens?  Cranberries?  Of course it tastes BAAAADDDD you crazy woman.”  Well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that point.  I rather enjoy beet greens and cranberries in a smoothie, just not in a smoothie that smells and tastes like it was manufactured in a Goodyear factory.  So now I’ve got a bit of a conundrum.  I don’t want to throw the smoothie out because organic peaches and beet greens and bananas and cranberries just aren’t super cheap these days.  On the other hand, I don’t want to drink something that smells and tastes like Akron circa 1977.  My smoothie is currently in the fridge, lid open, in the hopes that it will breathe (maybe I should have put grapes in it . . . ) and lose that warm rubber smell/taste.

If that doesn’t manage to happen, I’m going to make a cake.  For reals.  Just because.  I’ve been wanting cake all day.  I’ve been wanting cake frosting since the moment we walked in the door from our trip west.  Today, as I was commenting on another blog, the whole reason behind the cake craving hit me:  I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole “dropping the kid off at college” thing, and I’ve been thinking of it in terms of “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.”  Because I can’t have done a good job raising my kid and expect her to live in my house for the rest of her life.  Don’t misunderstand:  I’m not saying that I did a perfect job raising her.  I’m just saying that, at some point, if we’ve done a halfway decent mothering job, kids spread their wings and fly the coop.  It’s all part of the circle of life (cue music).  Like I said in my comment on that other blog: It’s one of the great injustices of motherhood, isn’t it? If we do our job well, they stretch their wings and fly, and we die a little on the inside. If we do our job poorly, they live in the basement until they inherit the rest of the house, and then . . . well, we’re just dead (end music).

I want my kids to be independent and capable, but I want them to still be here, with me.  I want them to go off on their own and have the great growing experiences I had when I went off on my own, but I want them to still be here, with me.   I want them to be grown up (at the appropriate time), but I still want them to be my kids.  I want to have my cake and eat it, too.  But life doesn’t work that way.  A~ is gone, as she should be.  She is enjoying it so far.  She called yesterday to tell me that when her Intro to Greek and Roman Lit professor went over the entire semester’s worth of reading assignments she (A~) was fighting back tears of joy.  She is finally where she belongs, with her own kind.  I know that sounds snooty, but so be it.  She needed a more academic environment than what this small town was able to provide.  She needed to be with peers with an academic ilk the likes of which would have no reason to live here.  I’m not saying that’s what all of my kids are going to need, but it is what she needed. I made my cake, and now it’s gone.

And?  My smoothie is ruined.

I’m going to go make an actual cake.

Tewt the Newt thinks I should at least troll Pinterest for a healthy alternative.  Damn newt.

A Very Good Day

August 26, 2015

Today there was lots of hiking, some frisbee and football throwing, and some rolling down a hill on campus.  

There was a little necessary and unnecessary on-campus shopping (the football and frisbee throwing commenced with dad on the quad while the female contingent shopped), and a lunch which involved only one relative.  After all that, there was swimming.

“Hey mom, I was good today!” Spuds said proudly right before the boys went swimming while the girls did a little more shopping.

“Yes,” I responded enthusiastically, “you were great!”

Today was a good day.  Tomorrow is move-in day for A~.  I hope it isn’t another trigger for Spuds.  It sure will be for me.

Tewt the Newt is buying stock in Puffs.

Tripping on Triggers

August 25, 2015

We knew taking Spuds on a long trip this early could be a huge trigger.  We knew visiting with family and friends along the way could be a huge trigger.  Let’s face it, the last time his last family took him to a park to meet new “friends” he met us.  The last time they took him on a trip, it was to meet us.  Trips + new people = trigger.  We knew that was possible, even likely; but what could we do?  We couldn’t leave him behind.  And?  He’s been doing so, so well that I think we were overly optimistic about how the whole things would go.

So far, he’s had six major meltdowns.  Four of them were today.  Of the six meltdowns, I have held him through one of them and my saintly husband has held him through the rest.  Anybody who has a traumatized child understands that “holding” that child through a meltdown can feel more like a wrestling match.  It is exhausting both physically and emotionally.

McH is just plain beat after today.  He held Spuds through four very public meltdowns:  Temple Square in Salt Lake City, City Creek Mall (x2), and Bed Bath and Beyond.  He was so unbelievably calm and good with Spuds through all four episodes, even when the BB&B manager kept coming back to check on him and kept sending employees back to check on him.  I understand they want to make sure a child isn’t being abused in their store.  I understand they want to make sure their merchandise isn’t being destroyed.  I understand they don’t want other customers to be scared away.  But?  The husband and the kid were sitting on the floor, tucked away in a corner of the clearance bedding, and there weren’t that many customers in the store (we were shopping about 45 minutes away from the university to avoid the college crowds).  After a couple flybys with no evidence of child abuse, maybe just leave a man to restrain his child for everyone’s safety in peace, you know?  The comforters will be just fine.

Anyway, the husband is exhausted.  The now quite happy kid isn’t.  The surprising thing to me?  I am exhausted.  I am exhausted because we were with friends all day — friends we only get to see if we are visiting Utah — and so, while my husband was doing the hard work, I was pretending like everything was okay.  Just a normal day with a hurt child.  It’s okay, nothing to see here, I’m not embarrassed, everything will be fine, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty that we are doing things that are triggering him or that my husband is bearing the brunt of it all right now.  I didn’t know what else to do.

Just to be clear, I’m not exhausted because of the friends (oh how I wish we all still lived close together), I’m exhausted because of the acting.  I don’t know how actors can do what they do and not loose it.  Maybe that’s why so many of them wind up in rehab or Scientology.

Ha!  I joke.  I really know nothing about Scientology except the weird stuff I hear; but how many people know nothing about my church except for the weird stuff they hear, and how much of that weird stuff is just not true or taken totally out of context?  So I try to keep an open mind about other “weird” religions, but I digress.

Everything wasn’t okay.  It wasn’t a normal day with our hurt child.  I wasn’t okay.  There was a screaming, kicking, scratching, trying-to-bite child to see.  I actually wasn’t embarrassed, believe it or not.  I worry that everything won’t be fine, or that it will get much worse for a long time before it gets better.  I feel immensely guilty that we have put Spuds in this situation that is triggering him and that my husband has been dealing with it all while I pretend everything is ok.

But I don’t know what our options are or were.  We couldn’t leave Spuds at home with grandparents while we trekked west.  What message would that have sent?  We can’t not shop while we are here, because A~ needs stuff, and we couldn’t buy it all ahead of time and haul it across the country because, with six kids in the car, space is limited.  I suppose we could have been total hermits and not visited any family or friends while we are here . . . but?  I don’t know.  Maybe we should have just been hermits.  Maybe we have screwed up royally.  I hope we haven’t.  I hope that this will help him learn that he can trust us to not give him away to new people.  I mean, I know this one trip won’t do it, but hopefully it will be the beginning of a foundation of some kind.  Hopefully, somewhere in that scared and vulnerable psyche of his, he will remember all the conversations I’ve had with him about meeting new people and how we wouldn’t send him away with any of those people, and then he will see that we didn’t, and then, maybe, a little tiny corner of his subconscious will start to think, “Maybe these people will be trustworthy, maybe.”

So many maybes.

At one point, during the last tantrum, he yelled at McH, “You all hate me and you want to get rid of me!” or something like that.  Oh, how wrong he is.  He has no reason to think we aren’t shopping him around.  I know this.  It breaks my heart.  I hope someday he stops just hearing me say that we want him and love him and actually feels those words.  In the past he was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to stay with his family if his behavior didn’t improve.  I keep telling him we’ll love him no matter what.  I can’t wait until he believes me, deep down in his heart believes me.

This evening, since we’ve been back at the hotel, he’s been fine.  No more meltdowns.  I took him out in the hallway for a little chat away from the other kids and, once again, reassured him that he is going home with us and staying home with us.  He doesn’t like having these little chats where I ask him how he’s feeling and reassure him that we love him.  He doesn’t like to talk about anything that involves any kind of introspection or feeling.  On the up side, the chat did not lead to another meltdown (they never have before, so I felt pretty confident about chatting again).  It did lead to an apology to his dad.  Sure, I suggested it, but he agreed that he needed to do it.  The apology was semi-mumbled and delivered quickly, lest he should accidentally feel something in the process, but he did it.

I joked today about moving to Utah so that we could live closer to our good friends out here.  Spuds immediately piped up, “No!  No, I don’t want to live here.  I want to live in Canada South!”

Leaving A~ behind is going to come too soon, but getting Spuds home can’t come soon enough.

Tewt the Newt will not permit any more road trips for a long, long, very long time.

The Last Post Before She Goes

August 18, 2015

Today has been a day of lasts.  It is A~’s last day at home.  We had our last family dinner with her (I barely sat down).  She babysat the youngers for the last time while I ran errands.  And now, as I am throwing in the towel for the night and figuring we’ll get out the door in the morning whenever we manage to get out the door, as I am having one last cry in my bed before we take her away, I hear music slightly blaring from the basement as my three daughters have one last sisters’ “party” together.  That should make me happy.  I wish I had room in my heart to feel all of the positive emotions I should be feeling right now.

They are spending time together and enjoying it.
A~ is going to the university she has always wanted to attend, it is a competitive school, and she has a full-tuition academic scholarship.
She is getting out of the small town she loathes.
She will finally be among people like her.

What mother wouldn’t be thrilled over all of that?  I am thrilled for her, really I am.  But I am so steeped in grief that I can’t even feel it.  I know I’m being dramatic.  She’s alive, she’s healthy, she’s moving on as she should.  Yet my heart is exploding with the loss.

We leave tomorrow, but we still have a week and a day with her before we leave her.  I try to console myself with that, but if I’ve learned anything in the past seven days, it’s that a week goes by way too quickly.

My older friends who have been through this already tell me that, contrary to what one might think, it doesn’t get easier with each child.  Five more to go after this one.  I can’t even imagine going through this five more times.

There I am, being all dramatic again with my first world, successful kid problems.  I can’t help it.  It hurts.  I’m a mom.


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