Monday, April 30, 2007

Right Now

This weekend has been a busy one, which is not unusual for our family but I am beginning to think I would like to try and make it that way.

My husband arrived home from his business trip at 2 in the morning and as a result both adults were moving s-l-o-w-l-y on Saturday morning. This was not improved by me being headachey and not feeling so good.

This was okay because the usual pottery class that is set to start, across the city from us, at 9 am was not happening.

Still there was a pottery open house that the three youngest wanted to attend at some point and I was supposed to do a really long run (35.5k).

Breakfast was interesting.
Our eight year old, being fully aware that Mom was still ticked at her for illicit use of hand held electronic game in bed, under the covers, after lights out - set her sights on Daddy as being her new best friend.

Bambi eyes, tilted head, little tosses of curls and dragged out syllables:
"Daddeeeeeee, may I pleeeeeeeeeese have some more cereal?!"
Also insert giggles and less clear vocal definition.

Daddeeeee, did not really pick up on it at first, the morning is not his most astute time - but I alerted him to it and he was very careful not to respond by becoming all drippy about her cuteness.

She was not treating me like that at all.
All though she did try to hug me from behind while I was sitting down. I have been gently trying to steer her away from that kind of thing. It feels manipulative.
That may sound weird but it really is always on her own terms and there is very little sense of it being a reciprocal thing. I can not hug back and sometimes I think that is part of the point.

The parents sat her down after breakfast, on her own and talked to her about trying to play one parent off of the other.

She vigourously denied trying to do that.
Except that her shifting eyes and facial expression gave her away.

How wrong is it that a kid who has just turned 8 is this versed in the art of manipulation?

It turned out to be a good talk anyway.
I think.

Never sure when we are making headway and when we are playing headgames.

She didn't want to come here.
She didn't want to be adopted by us.
She kept waiting for her foster Mom to come and get her and she never did.
She is mad at her foster Mom for failing her.

Most of this is stuff we knew, had figured out or that she has made tentative tries at verbalizing before but Saturday was the first time she really was able to put it all together.

I never, ever dreamed that it would be the youngest kid that would have so many troubles.

The other three kids are having their own ups and downs too.
We deal with it and we worry about it and I think about it and think about it and think about it.

Right now though, it is my smallest girl who I am scared for the most.

Can she really learn to trust in us?
Will she be able to have relationships where she doesn't have to be in constant control?

It's only been nine months and there are lots of positive things going on with and for her too - the balance just seems to shift back and forth with dizzying speed.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Without TV

A Wrung Sponge
is just too interesting. She talks about many of my favourite things, gardens, kids and kids' books.

I will nominate her as a Thinking Blogger.

This week she has been writing about doing the TV Turnoff Week and she wanted to know about other experiences with TV or the lack thereof.

Here is a bit about ours:

There is a tv in our livingroom. In a cabinet.
There is also a dvd player (actually 2 if you count the one that our English relative gave us so that we could watch european dvds that she gives us) and a video player.

We don't have cable and the machinations that we have to go through to get a decent peasant vision signal have proven to be more than we want to do.

Yes, we watch dvds and videos from the library, some that we have purchased and some that we rent.

We also have a game system that attaches to the tv, so I think that should count, it isn't allowed to be played when I am in the house. Except in rare instances of flu outbreak among the children.

It has made a difference in 0ur lives.

Sometimes it is hard socially when someone asks "Did you see....?" and looks at you like you are crazy when you explain that you don't really "get" television.

Our kids aren't as aware of all of the products being marketed at their age groups, they get some of it through the viral nature of having friends who are in the know, but it still cuts down on the demands and pleas for certain things.

Fast food for instance.
Yes, my kids do like having treats like that once in a while - by no means are they begging for Mom's Special Lentil and Beet Patties (okay I don't do a recipe for that) but neither are they pleading with me to stop and have a "fun" meal when we are driving in the car.

Maybe because their isn't a jingle running through their heads for each sign we see, or they are not feeling pulled in by the idea that there is a happy experience waiting for them in a bag of fries.
Or the promise of an exclusive toy item.
Especially since we often find toys like that by the bag full at Goodwill stores.

My older kids don't know that they are supposed to be devastated by pimples or dandruff or body odour.

A long time ago, years even, we did have cable for a while.
That stopped soon after a grocery trip we were all on, we needed to stop in the toiletries aisle and pick up some kids shampoo and my kids started pitching this brand at me.
They had to have it, they needed it!
It was so cool and fun! It was the best!

Since when has shampoo been "fun"?

Then I watched the ads that surrounded one of their favourite shows at the time an there it was, shampoo touted as fun and cool.

After that, we have been, except for one experiment for a month last year, been without cable.

My oldest daughter had told me that the first thing she was going to do when she turned 18, was move out so that she could get cable.

So we got cable and we got heartily sick of repeated shows, ads that increased in intensity and loudness and repetition during a show and the weird focus on what people should look and smell like.

Don't I sound holier than thou though?

I'm not.
There are many times that I am tempted by the lure of Tivo or whatever it is called - but here where I live it would cost $700 bucks to start up and then we would have to pay $40 bucks a month for cable on top of that to get the selection and the reception to make the gadget at all worthwhile.

And you know, I haven't even watched all the dvds that I have bought so maybe I would end up with all these shows backed up on digital recorder and never watch them either - but I would know they were there and that I was adding more to the virtual stack and then I would start to feel like I needed to get to watching them and I would add it to my list of things to do.

Which would defeat the whole purpose of the idea of it as entertainment.

There my disjointed thoughts on tv.
sort of.

What we don't watch are commercials.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wherein I'm a Bitch

With a capital B.

Snarly and growly and no patience at all with my youngests.

Damn I hate that.
I hate it when I hear the sarcastic pseudo patient voice coming out of my own mouth.
Cringing but still harping all at the same time.


Yet when my youngest daughter manages to drop her food on the floor for the millionth time instead of actually get it in her mouth, loses her frigging wallet again, says "OH" as her first sound of choice to any question or comment directed at her....

My oldest daughter caught up in the tidal wave of emotions that is being 13, clings to me like a shipwreck survivor and sharpens her claws on anyone else who happens to bob by...

My oldest son is being plagued by allergy symptoms and severe ones for the first time in his life and seems incapable of going outside because of snow mould or INTO THE BASEMENT WHICH WE ARE RENOVATING TO THE TUNE OF TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS SO IT WILL BE DRY AND HE CAN HAVE QUIET BEDROOM without wheezing and snorfing and and sounding very asthmatic...

My youngest son is, while doing fairly well on his reduced dosage of meds, is floaty, goofy and unfocused enough to make almost any otherwise mundane activity somewhat interesting and exciting in a really random way and at the same time is feeling much less repressed about expressing irritation and resentment over almost everything his younger sister does and he has been lobbying to be taken off of meds completely-
this, the child who helped me learn the mantra "Better living through chemistry"...

And I have to figure out just exactly how we are going to pay for the tearing down of and the rebuilding of the garage that is 8 inches below grade and has it's own rather ineffective sump pump and currently is rotting from the ground up and while we are at it we might as well regrade the mildew pit that is our backyard -

all so that we will hopefully never again have to contend with a watery, mouldy basement.

And homeschool the children.
and figure out which of my damn dogs (I say that with love) is still tinkling in the house, on the wood floor...

Still I should hold it together better than I am doing.

I did not rip the head off of the woman, who under most circumstances is a beloved friend, who referred to my oldest son, in front of my youngest son as being my "natural child".

Yes, I admit I thought about it but I didn't do it, that should count for something.
How can someone I love be that stupid.
Neither of my kids picked up on it - so I was worried I would make it something they would feel hurt by if they had missed it the first time.


Just caught youngest playing with her GameBoy toy in bed under her covers.
Think I scared the absolute crap out of her.
No yelling just the horror of me standing over her and saying "Oh this is not right!" in that disappointed shocked tone I do so well.

She, quick thinking in attempt to throw me off the scent of fresh blood (hers) happily turns her brother in the next room over to the wolves (that would be me) - "He's doing it too!".

I checked he wasn't.
Told her that tattle taling wasn't nice and in this case she was wrong.
"Last night!" she squealed, "He was doing it last night!".

Confiscated both of them and left them to stew or not, perchance to sleep.

All this after I was so freaking brilliant and started a notebook for her where I write down her fears and hopes etc. whatever she dictates to me before bedtime, so that we can keep her important thoughts in a safe place.

She told me that it worked after we tried it out last night, that she slept well and didn't have bad dreams.

That at least is good.

Lots is.
Except that my husband is out of town and will be again for over ten days and I,
imperfect, sarcastic, mouthy, loud me will be left with four children who need someone whose mercies are a lot more tender.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Early Bird

5 am is not the time I was planning on doing anything other than sleeping but in the last few weeks sleep is becoming a rather precious commodity for me and I am not sure how I am going to fix it.

My youngest daughter was just in to tell me about her bad dream where a "creature came in our house and none of the dogs noticed and you got killed".

This is the first time that she has articulated a fear of me dying.

Don't know where this will take us or for how long it will last.
I am hoping like Hell that this is a good sign, that she is processing stuff that she hasn't ever really had a chance to process and it will ultimately be for the good but it is just too hard to predict.

A lot of this is triggered by seeing their brother.
We had a good visit with him on Tuesday night - he is in a mental health facility being evaluated before his next court date and he looks good. He gets enough food and he is back on some medication that helps him even out impulse control and he gets to go outside and he gets to do other things like that.

It's hard though.
Knowing that we can't take him home and make it all better for all three of them.

It is a very clear pattern for him to crash and burn or cut and run from his past placements and if that happened with us it could be disastrous for their relationship.

I talk about it with my two, so at least it is out there and not hidden away festering in the back of their minds. At least I hope it isn't.

So we will do what we can.
Keep up the visits, try and work through and support the feelings of loss and abandonment and lack of control and help him in everyway we can.

Trying to always be aware and prepared that it can all go sideways at the drop of a hat.

I wish we had a magic wand and a crystal ball.

Barring that, I would like to get some seriously good sleep.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Which is harder?

I had an absolutely dismal run on Saturday.

So what? I can hear you saying - yeah, I know only crazy people run but that is okay because it means I qualify.

Anyway, as I was struggling along I got to thinking that maybe it is harder for me to function after a crisis has passed.

See, when things are going haywire, like my youngest daughter having trauma and behavioural acting out for weeks around her birthday - I am generally in the right mode.
Grumpy, unhappy and bewildered and tired but keeping it together just enough because there isn't an alternative.

After it has passed (or at least seemed too) then I become somewhat useless - maybe it is a recovery thing.

So about the running - no really I have a family/parent/possibly even adoption point and I am not just blathering on about it -
it has been a struggle to do.

Not because of the actual physical and time demands of the running itself but because I have been struggling with guilt.

The HOW-CAN-I-BE-SO-SELFISH kind of thing as to take the time away from my family just so I can do something for myself.

It is amazing how hard I have been on myself about it.

And I do know that it is intelligent to take care of myself and give myself some time outs from being immersed in my kids' lives and to let their Dad have some one on one time with them -
intellectually I know all that - but emotionally?
Not so much.

My kids seem to feel differently though.

The training I am doing is pretty time consuming.
I run everyday except for Monday and Friday and it is long distances which take me a long time and my kids are so supportive.

Even in the midst of their worst teenage angst/birthmother/origin etc. issues they don't bat an eye to cheer me on.

My youngest daughter even said to me last week:
When I'm a grown up woman, I'm going to be strong like you!"

Still getting goosebumps from that one.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Today I took the four kids to a mini film festival.

My eight year old, sat through two feature length movies, Mongolian Ping Pong in the morning that was two hours long and in chinese and Heda Hoda in the afternoon that was also two hours long and in hindi!

Now all the other kids got through them too, but I was quite startled that my youngest daughter could and did! She also followed along with the stories (there was a fair amount of hoarsley whispered subtitle reading by me) just fine.

This is the child who in August of 2006 informed me, after I paid for the tickets and we were inside the movie theatre that she had real trouble sitting still long enough for a movie!

Of the two, we liked Heda Hoda the best. It was quite vivacious and funny.
Mongolian Ping Pong was lovely but very low key and slow moving.

Family life seems to be settling a bit again.
The last birthday is over for a while, I don't count my husband's in June because I don't think it will bring up a lot of emotions and unresolved memories but I could be wrong - still I am grateful the being seeing the last of the kid birthdays until November.

Our biggest dog seems to now be incapable of maintaining his house training.
Although his tests have come back clear I am wondering if he is having physical trouble holding his bladder.
It is annoying and worrying and sad and expensive.

Just got off the phone with Mysterio (the 14yr old bio sib of my youngests).
He is currently in a mental health facility being assessed before his next court date.

It has more liberal visiting hours than the Juvenile lockup does, so we might see him a bit more right now, which I think would be a good thing for him.

Need to go and make dinner.

How is this for scraping by:

Perogies for three of the kids and instant mashed potatoes with grated soy cheese for the fourth.
If I am really feeling amazing, I think I will also chop up and microwave the packet of weinies in the fridge to really glitz it up!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Talking Points

Or not.

-We think the main source of dog pee IN the house is the Malamutt. This after sending one dog in for wildly expensive geriatric panel and then the 2nd dog. There was nothing that would indicate problems but the idea that the Malamutt may have reacted badly to some pesticide spray that we put on him to try and combat his terrible case of sucking dog lice is one that we are running with now.
So we bathed him last night to get any residue off of him and are watching and waiting and very likely mopping.

-My youngest daughter seems to be coming around again, as in her head is not spinning wildly and she is not spewing vileness with quite the same regularity that she was a few days ago. I am liking her more again and that gives the whole world a new and shiny look. Not liking a child (loving them mind you but not liking them) is HARD.

-Don't want to and almost can't bear to think about the latest school shooting tragedy. My youngest son was waiting for me near the grocery checkout yesterday and turned from a newspaper stand with his face white and stricken. "I just saw something awful!" So I had to talk to him about it for a bit. It makes me want to cry. The very worse part is that I don't think this will be the last one or the worst one. I have always wanted to go to Virginia, for the very silly reason that I love a certain kind of crockery and it is made in that state. It is hard to reconcile the two things.

-Got a book out of the library about crafting, not going to put the title up here because I thought it was laughably awful but would feel bad if one of the authors or someone who just LOVES the book happened by after googling the name and found out that I had nearly nothing lauditory to say other than made me giggle from the sheer horribleness of it.
Let us just say that I do not see me making legwarmers (from a sweater) for any of my dogs anytime soon. Or for that matter, I can't imagine making any of them a cape from an old nylon yarn placemat with a plastic pig head and dominoes stuck to it.
Okay, maybe I can, but there would be copious amounts of drugs involved too.

-My youngest son is in a hurry to grow up in some ways. I need to talk to him about being allowed to take his time. He wants to watch movies and listen to music that I generally think of as being more suited to older kids. I just want him to have some childhood because it is so fleeting.
He is currently quite enamoured of the idea of becoming a chef. He and I watched an old Jamie Oliver show that I have on tape, about school dinners in England. He was entranced. Must admit that he is quite the foodie, his only qualms about food coming from the fish variety. He doesn't like it but is always game to try it and find out if that has changed.

-My time is being taken up by training for a 50k race at the end of May. Well that and trying to figure out my four children and what they need and where they need to be etc. etc.
Youngests are in swimming lessons for the first time ever. It is like they are in heaven. Their eyes are wide with the wonder of it all.

-My thirteen year old daughter seems to be doing well enough, although it always concerns me when they seem to recede ever further into the depths of the house and not want to go out much. I know that was a phase, a long one for her older brother, but still and all I find it hard.

-We are talking summer day camps around here. Trying to convince older reluctant ones to consider it because they don't actually want to leave the house and trying to convince younger ones that it isn't all some kind of incredibly elaborate plan to actually abandon them and never come back for them. I think the engineering based camps offered by a local educational place will be the best fit for all of them.

-Have not yet taken the last step to make the adoption final. I am ready to, have everything ready to do but need my social worker to get back to me about the address of her new office. So until I have that, I cannot mail the last piece in.

-Older brother of our two youngests is still in the juvenile pokey, he is bored and unhappy and every visit we have with him (once a weekend for 40 minutes) means he must endure a strip search after it. But he still phones and begs us to come. Desperately hoping that this will help him refocus on his life and move forward in a positive way. Desperately trying not to get too attached to the idea either. Did mention on the phone to me yesterday, that he would not mind staying in custody for a little while longer because it means that he is focusing on his school work!!!!!

Must run.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now

Have felt much like my head is stuffed up my own butt for the last long while.
Haven't posted because of it.
The house is horrible, one of our dogs is ill with something that causes her to pee lakes all over the house at all times of day. (We are waiting for tests to come back from the vet about it, but the waiting and the messes are hard to deal with and so is worry about the wee beasty in question.)

Don't even get me started about the dachshund who ate a full big bag of jelly beans and a whole hard boiled egg, shell and all when my back was turned. Sigh.

Or the fluish thing that 2 1/2 kids have seemed to have. (Let's just say that my youngest child's penchant for mimicry can be very confusing when trying to figure out if she is really sick or simply copying the behavior of others for attention.)

Easter and AL's 8th birthday jumped out at me at the last minute but they are now both done.

I have gotta change my two youngest kids nicknames on this blog I can't even keep them straight in my own head - should ask them what they want to be called here.

Did talk to them about it and they are okay with blog, totally. Of course they may not remember it exists.

I have no idea right now if some of what is going on with my youngest is honest to gawd developmental delays or if it is just behavioural. Should read up on it in my adoption books but there is NO FREAKING TIME!

-each bedtime something that should be done isn't. Last night it was her new and expensive electronic gameboy thingy being stuffed under her bed on the floor instead of being put away in the drawer.
-today while waiting in the front yard for me to come out and take them to the park, she managed to throw and strand our frisbee ring toy twenty feet up in a tree. Yeah, yeah, big deal right? Except that the rule is really clear about that toy, it only gets thrown at the park. I'm annoyed and she bats her big blues at me and says but I WASN'T throwing it, I was rolling it on the ground and it accidently went up in the tree!"
-at night if I think she is upset or worried about something (but don't know what it is) she will assure me over and over again that she is fine and then wait for an hour or so until my light goes off and I am almost asleep to come and tell me that she can't sleep because of something that is bothering her.

Little stuff like that happens with her all the frigging time.
Yeah she is only a little kid.
Yeah she has been through stuff and it is normal to test me (over and over and over)...
and Yeah, I'm allowed to get worn down from time to time.

Today wasn't even a particularly bad day at all, I am just worn down.

Tonight though...tonight my husband is taking me OUT to dinner at a nice restaurant and then I have to go to a meeting but even that will be okay because damn it I will be out of the house and with adults.

This is a very good thing.
Except that as I was writing this it turns out that I have to go to Helnback outside of town to pick him up and I think this doesn't bode well for my dinner plans.

So - no nothing seriously wrong, even a little bit, just feeling tired and worn.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I would make it easier if I could.

I am galloping to try and keep up and feel like I am running in one place.

Birth Grandma called almost a week and a half ago to say that she wanted to come up for Easter/AL 8th birthday and called today to say she wasn't coming.

Heartbroken little girl.
Upset rest of family.

"All I really wanted for my birthday was to have my family here." She manages to choke out between sobs.

God Damn.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

White Out

Yesterday morning I was kind of a bad Mom, the rest of the day, I was a pretty good one and then right before supper - I took the plunge from mediocrity into suckness and then crawled back out and up and braved a blizzard to get a present for the upcoming birthday this weekend.

AL and I got into it yesterday morning when she was supposed to be picking up her room, a five minute job before breakfast. Instead she kept trying to come downstairs to get her toy box, because without it, she said, she couldn't clean up. Since her toy box has never been kept in her room, I know that she didn't need it and told her so. This annoyed her. A lot.

So a few minutes later when I was talking to her about how if she picks up her room for a few minutes before bedtime instead of waiting to do it till the morning - then I don't get grumpy from tripping over stuff and stepping on library books and we can have a nice friendly good night instead of the other kind.
She cut me off and was quite rude to me both with tone of voice and facial expression.
I didn't respond well. And we were into it for the next fifteen minutes.

When faced with the possibility of not having game cube time because of it all, she did come and ask me plaintively "I don't understand why you got so mad at me?".
We talked it out. It was good. I also apologised for telling her to get her "princess butt" downstairs (after she initially ignored me than refused to come) and praised her, in front of the other kids, for coming and working the problem out.

Then I hustled out of the house with TG, my oldest daughter, and over to the Medi centre to see the insta doctor and confirm my suspicions that she had yet another urinary tract infection which she does. That took over an hour.

Raced back, picked up rest of kids and took them to bowling, got prescription for TG filled and tried to buy a Nintendo DS Lite handheld game system.
This is the toy at the top of the birthday gift list.
There wasn't one in the entire mall I was in. One of the salespeople told me that there weren't any in the city. I felt concerned but not overly and took the kids home for lunch, then to park.

Alert husband to the lack of game system and ask him to phone around to find one.

On way home from park, driving through heavy traffic, I am thinking out loud about having sandwiches for supper (because if I have to figure out what to have for one more meal and then prepare it - I may just scream) when OK cuts me off in order to tell me that he doesn't like one of the sandwhich meats that would be on offer.

Now I'm already feeling a bit under siege from AL.
Ten minutes earlier she had asked if she could have three people sleepover on her birthday on Saturday.
Right away I knew I had to say NO and I knew she knew I had to say NO - I could see it on her face that she knew - and that upset me. The whole thing. Not only that it was last minute.

She knows that our basement is in the middle of renovations (and there really is no other place to fit four kids for a sleepover at one go) and even if that weren't happening that her birth grandma is supposed to come for a visit (this hasn't been confirmed yet but we are expecting it) and that AL has already committed to going and visiting her older bio brother in, ah, um, locked custody.

Another small piece of info? Yesterday was the first day that she actually knew all three girls names and could keep them straight.

So it played out like I knew it would.
She was upset and I was upset because she was upset etc. etc.
It didn't get any better when I found out that she had already asked the girls and their mothers before talking to me about it.

Pick up husband, find out that his search for the game system has been a bust.
Get home, phone one place he has not phoned. The Source by Circuit City.
They do not have one in the city - but wait!
There is ONE in small town 50km away, do I want a hold put on that.
YES! (I do happy dance! I may not let her have a sleep over and I may yell a lot but at least I can get her the bday present she wants!)

Decide parents will go together to pick it up. Should take an hour and a half, kids can make their own sandwiches and play game cube, they are all happy with it (oldest kids are in on WHY we are going, youngest just knows it is an errand).

We leave slightly before six pm.
We get home at ten pm.

In between we have:
- scary whiteout conditions on road (of course this is far enough away from home that it would be worse to turn around than to continue)-felt like we were driving inside an egg.
-been in a creepy shell of a mall that was deserted and looked like something out of a zombie movie (it had been killed by Malwart). Literally no one was there, most of the storefronts were vacant and dark, like empty eye sockets, there was grafitti on the glass entrance doors.
-were caught in an impromptu parking lot on the highway just outside our city as we waited for rescue crews to cleanup a long stretch of accidents including a tipped over tanker truck, two or three tractor trailer rigs jackknifed into the ditch on either side of the road and about ten munched up cars.

Fortunately we had our cell phone and could keep the kids up to date on our progress and to remind our youngest ones that just because we were late didn't mean we had run away.

I am almost afraid to ask what today will bring.

But....there is a white Nintendo DS lite hiding in my oldest son's closet and the collective, secret glee of five family members is quite heady.