Saturday, July 28, 2007

My cameras and some pictures too

In my hot (literally, it is above 31C here or 87.8F for those of you in the US) little hands is my newest camera - a Canon Rebel EOS XTI.

It was bought for me by my husband, mostly because I kept getting frustrated that my Canon Powershot S2 was unable to take the pictures of the quality I wanted, in low light and that the shutter speed was just too slow for many of the shots I was trying to take.

Don't get me wrong. I loved and still love that S2 and recommend it highly as a fabulous higher end camera for most people who would like something more than a point and shoot. And it takes up to ten minutes of DVD quality video! It still rides along with me in my purse, just in case.

The Rebel is fast, no more kids walking out of a shot before the shutter snaps and with the right lens it takes very good pictures in low light without the harsh glare of a flash.

That is important to me because I like taking pictures of people and usually you can get the best shots when they don't know that they are being photographed.

Some samples from my S2:

Rainbow with clouds.

Rain spotted rocks.

Wild rose.

All recently taken, this July with the Powershot S2.

Now for the Rebel:

Inquisitive deer in campground.

Much too early in the morning but pretty.

Gorgeous dog at the park.

In some ways it is hard to see the difference between the cameras, especially in these kinds of shots but in the ones that I can't post - of peoples' faces, I can see the difference.

Oooooh. I also have this lens.
Brand new as of a day ago.
Love it.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming of me angsting over, well just about everything and making tomato, basil and bocconcino cheese salad with my youngest son.
With pictures, natch.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Stretching my brain

I have a new camera and now I have a new lens for it. Here is my gratuitous pretty picture of a dragon fly.

On our homeschooling camping trip , nearly two weeks ago now, something happened to me.

I had an "exchange of words" with another parent.

(Picture taken by me of lake in the early morning.)

And, it has set me to thinking.

The Dad, lets call him Dkhd, is someone newer to our circle, had never been camping with us before. I didn't know him that well, mostly just from hanging out at the park and some of our homeschool meetings, that kind of thing.

He is the kind of guy who likes to tease and joke, which is good because that sort of fits in with the rest of us and the give and take that we do.

It was after the group breakfast, when I walked into the cook shack to get a drink and he backed hastily away from me, I lamely joked that he reacted like that in fear of me, because he was using the water from "my" jug.

The next thing I know, Dkhd is leaning into my face and in low but clear tones, telling me that I am extremely passive aggressive and have been needling him all morning and he wants me to stop it.

I am so freaking embarrassed and horrified and shocked.

With my face burning with shame, my words came spilling out.
I offer him a heartfelt apology, I had never intended to upset him and had no idea I was and then sincerely promised that I would make every effort to never do so again.

I could barely breathe. I felt so bad that my actions had upset someone else so much and I was quickly slipping into that whirling vortex of ohmygod-i'msostupid-howmanyotherpeoplehaveibeentreatingsobadlywithoutknowingit -everyonemusthateme!

Which is when Dkhd says:
"So, you agree that I'm right, you are passive aggressive?"

I don't get what is going on. So, I repeat my stil heartfelt apology, but this time I tell him "don't label me" ask him, not snarkily, but because I really I want to know, if by calling me names when I am saying I'm sorry, isn't he being passive aggressive?

He doesn't answer me.
Instead, he just waves his hand around to indicate the cook shack and all the people milling about in it, who oddly enough don't seem to realize that anything momentous is happening - and says:
"Well anyway, I'm just sorry that I had to address this issue in such a public place."

I ended up sitting in the woods, crying and crying.
I was a mess.
Depression was yawning in a big, black hole at my feet, I swear.

It took me a while to really put it all together and not want to hide from everyone.
I found my husband first and he helped me calm down.
He wanted to know who had upset me so much but I wouldn't tell him. It was his thing it was mine to deal with.

Spent the rest of the day with my sunglasses on and hat pulled down low over my face and avoided Dkhd as much as possible.

It was beautiful and sunny.
Saw a bear during my first paddle on the lake. Really enjoyed the company of my friends.
A momma and a baby moose swam through and I had my camera nearby!

Oh and my dog ratted out Dkhd to my husband.
It turns out that she kept creeping up behind Dkhd and grabbing a mouthful of the flesh from right behind his knee. Not biting him or piercing the skin or anything like that. Just....holding on. She did this FIVE times before she had to be shut up in the trailer.

Not that Cabana Boy did anything, that isn't really his style but he lost all friendly feeling he'd had previously.

I admit that I'm not quite over it all yet.
It shook me too hard.
The feeling of being emotionally attacked in a place that I thought of as safe.

Such a small thing in some ways and yet with such deep reverberations.

I have since been reminded that Dkhd had done the same kind of thing to another woman I know.

When she tried to tell me about it, I kind of brushed it off.
I didn't know what it was like. What she had meant.
And because I felt like I kind of knew him, I couldn't imagine it was as bad as all that.

I also found out that my youngest son had seen Dkhd 'be really mean" to my woman friend.
Those are his words. Buddy says that my woman friend kept apologising about having offended Dkhd and that Dkhd kept telling her that she was admitting that she had offended him.

Buddy was witness to it at homeschool swimming lessons and he never mentioned to me until I was telling him and his siblings why I wanted them to be careful around Dkhd. That he can seem nice but that I don't feel comfortable with them getting too close to him.

The guy is spooky and has problems, especially it seems, with women and not in particular with me.

I have to see him more than a few times a week.
He is usually at the swimming pool, the park and a couple of other places that my kids and I like to go to.
I'm not going to change our routine just to try and avoid him.
Still I have been finding it uncomfortable and I want that to stop, so I'm writing it all out here.

There are things I want to remember from it all.

Just because someone says I am the problem, it doesn't mean I am.
That I am stronger than I ever thought I was.
I want to listen better when a friend is telling me about something that upset them and to take them seriously.
I need to talk even more wiht all my kids about not keeping upsetting stuff to themselves.

Living with my youngest kids for the last year has been really great for training me when it comes to knowing the difference between real communication and manipulation.

Monday, July 23, 2007

One Week Legal

I have a new camera.

It is very hot here, hotter than it has been in my imperfect memory.
We are thinking about buying something like this today. They are called evaporative coolers are swamp coolers and should work fairly well in our changing climate because it is very dry here and extra moisture is always welcome.

A week without my oldest daughter has been at least five days longer than I thought it would be. While she has been gone, her dog has attached herself to me. Now I have some concern that the dog might not swing her affections quickly enough back over to Bunny. As insurance, I have bought a small, foil bag of doggie num nums for Bunny to feed her dog and we are taking the dog to the airport to meet the flight with us.
The rest of the kids have been out of sorts about her being away. The youngest ones in particular. Buddy said something the other day that really sums that up - “IF Bunny comes back she’ll......”.
IF she comes back? Kid, the plan is for her to come back, she is just visiting Nan, not moving out! But for them, brothers and sisters have come and gone, they have not been permanent fixtures. How hard is that?

A week has also passed since we have found out that we are legal and it has been an interesting one.
Monkey and Buddy have both had slight behavioural side effects, some of which I blogged about - Monkey dancing outside my bathroom and singing etc. Often she ends up saying “I’m adopted! You can’t send me back! You are stuck with me!”.
This is no where near as annoying as it might sound and has a lot to do with a story I have told all my kids about my beloved husband.
Shortly after we were married, actually during our honeymoon - which was the two of us in a borrowed truck and camper unit - my new husband climbed into the driver seat of the truck with a grimy, “found” ball cap on his head (advertising agricultural equipment), started driving and once on the highway, lifted his butt up off the seat and filled the compartment with a boisterous letting of gas, then he burped, loudly and finally he grinned at me, shrinking my body against my door and said, “Yup, yyou married me and now you’re stuck with me!”.
The kids find this, HILARIOUS.
Yesterday, Buddy was grumpy about waking up and that makes him less than pleasant to deal with during breakfast. Very quickly we were in a situation where he was telling me to f off, after I called him an ass - he thought I was calling him an a hole, I wasn’t I was referring to ass as in donkey - although name calling is wrong and I shouldn’t have started it. Then there was the period where I grabbed him by his shoulders and I am not proud of that but oddly enough it was all over and resolved in less than five minutes. Even the part where we manage to talk out how we ended up off of the rails and apologies were made.

What else?

There was raspberry picking for 2 1/2 hours yesterday, just youngest kids and parents.

Sunny was happy to stay home with his brand new Wii. Except that it is broken and we are now having to wait for a replacement one from Nintendo.
Quite the success story to have gotten one anyway though.
No not because they are hard to find, but because in order to get one, my socially challenged son had to call the stores in town that get them in occasionally, every morning for a week to find one available. That is a big deal.

I am knitting and taking pictures. One of the things I’m trying out is self portraits, I want to see if by taking lots of pictures of myself I will become more comfortable with what I look like.
And thinking.
Lots and lots of thinking. Seems this year is a big year for that for me. There is so much that I want to put to rest. Things that I agonize about otherwise, mostly about being a daughter and a sister and functioning in my social communities.

Cabana Boy and I are looking at our retirement plans, sort of. More where do we want to go from here, how do we wan to get there?
I know I would like more kids.
Not now of course but some day.
There are other things I would like to do too, I’m just trying to weed out the wheat from the chaff.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Flood Gates

Yesterday, I told my son Buddy that a friend of his from church had died.

Jake was in his eighties and had a number of health problems.
During the past year he had lost the ability to speak, so Buddy and he have never had a spoken conversation.

That doesn't mean that they didn't communicate though.

Buddy was drawn to Jake from the first time he saw him.
Leaping to help get him a chair, a straw so that he could drink his juice more easily during coffee time, a small table to set up the small electronic device that Jake used to communicate with.

Other adults would murmur admiringly to me over how thoughtful and kind my boy was.

There was more than that for Buddy though, he wasn't just doing nice things for Jake, he wanted to connect with him - he would sit and talk to him and read what Jake had to say.
There was something there.

Buddy cried a little when I told him.
Climbed into my lap for a little while and then back out when we had to have lunch and do all the other things that were on the list for the day.

He was a little disconnected and I would forget why and be irritated.
It was hot too.

A few times he mentioned he was sad.
I was sympathetic and he would seem to perk up.

Then, just after he had changed into his pajamas for bed, he stumbled into my room, into my arms and chest, sobbing.

I pulled him onto my bed and sat for over an hour with him, crying, literally keening out the pain inside him.

All the loss my little boy has suffered.
So much.

And all I could do was hold him, stroke his sweaty head, and softly say helpless little things into his hair.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Okay, so she is at least a teeny bit emotionally healthy

I am literally sitting in one of the smallest rooms of the house and why yes, I do have my laptop with me (what can I say? I'm a multi tasking woman...)
and it is a good thing too,
because then I can post to the world at large about my 8 year old who is singing at the top of her lungs and jigging energetically outside the now closed and locked door about:

Every once in a while she stops and takes a breath and starts again!
Oh now she is rattling the handle and pressing her face against the frosted glass.

I am, honest and for true, now hiding under a towel so that she can't stare at me.
Oh oh.
The laughing has stopped.


For the love of all that is holy....what will happen next?

is she trying to pick the lock now?


Monday, July 16, 2007

Today I Cried In Front of the Mail Carrier

I ripped open the registered letter and there it was - our adoption decree!

All of our children are now officially ours, in the eyes of the government and anyone else who cares to look.

There was no court date or meeting with a judge for us, no dressing up and no family pictures.
Just some innocuous looking 8x10 pieces of paper handed to me on my stoop, stuck in amongst my electric bill and a handbill for a golf club.

Still it was one of the most wonderful moments of my life.


It has been an eventful week already and we feel a bit at loose ends, all of us, because Bunny, our 13 year old was whisked off by her Nan and Grandad this morning to spend a week with them far away. Over eight hours by car.

There is panic and fear and feelings of loss and loneliness mixed in for the youngest children and maybe for some of us adults too.

Still and all we are happy, a very small celebration with a grocery store ice cream cake and sparkling juice in a fancy bottle, we will wait till Bunny comes home and we are all here to do more of the big celebrating.


Ours, says Cabana Boy, dryly but firmly.

Yeah. Okay.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Gone Camping

....or to jail, depending on whether or not we attempt to harm or otherwise maim each other before we get out of the driveway...
have a lovely week!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Vacation itself will be fine...

...but the getting ready for it makes me a basket case!

I hate it.
I make lists and piles and menus and try and force all the laundry through the machine so that we can have a good selection of clean clothes to make filthy...

The food is always interesting, considering that I have one kid that doesn't/can eat gluten or cow dairy... so I have to bake things for her today to bring with...

We are taking the four kids and three of the dogs, boarding one and it was only yesterday that I realized that we have made no arrangements for the care and feeding of our elderly guinea pig yet!

Must do that today and check prescriptions for kids and run around and buy stuff that we don't have and may not need but you know, we might...

So hopefully by this time on Saturday morning we will be almost ready to put 6 people, three dogs and all the stuff needed to keep them fed, hydrated, medicated, warm, clean, entertained, safe, sheltered and make them float, impervious to mosquitoes, sun and rain ....into or onto our minivan and attached vintage

Boler trailer (the one pictured is not actually ours but is so similar it might as well be). Here is a picture of the inside.

Although in ours, the sofa converts to bunk beds for the two youngest children and we never set the table and benches up, that is constantly the bed space for the parents.

Fortunately, at 6 and 1/2 feet wide it is just big enough to accomodate my husband.

The oldest two will have their own small tents to sleep in with their dogs. They have done this for the last two years and love it.

Okay, enough stalling.
Laundry and baking and house cleaning and....


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A little good news

No, we haven't received our adoption papers yet but...

Yesterday there were....
-two extra kid friends with us all day which was great

-we spent most of a beautiful, sunny day at a public outdoor pool with plenty of friends and snacks

-not only did we get to have pizza but there was also ice cream!

-our oldest son's room, being built in the basement, is nearing completion - hopefully in the next few weeks we will be painting it a eye wateringly perfect (in his opinion) hue....

(picture is of current room on main floor he wishes to replicate colour in new room)

and he will be able to move in and we will be able to move much of the stuff out of the play room and therefore make it so it can be played in again

-This time next week we should be happily camping on a beautiful lake with good friends

-Bunny decided to "groom" our wire haired dachshunds herself and (unlike my attempt last year which resulted in bald patches and embarrasing questions on the street from strangers) they look adorable (and it saved us like $80 bucks)

-kind words have been filling the comments to my post yesterday and my email and knowing that I am not alone is worth everything - thank you all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


This morning, I refused to take Monkey to a playdate.
She cried and I felt bad but I also held firm.

She kept us up late, playing with her light, faking us out about being awake and I have had it.

I also talked to her, starting with my being angry and then cooling down about that, and many other instances where she does not take into account the effect that she has on the lives of others in our house and in other areas of our lives.

There is also now a rule that outside of her possesions, her room and her feelings, nobody and that means Buddy in particular, asks her permission about anything.

She is 8 years old and she is not in charge of most things or situations and that is the way it is going to be.

That also means that there are now going to be two different bed times for them, Monkey will be in bed a 1/2 to a full hour before Buddy. She may not fall asleep but she will be tucked in and her lights will be out.
Hopefully this will result in some positive changes for everyone.
Buddy will get to spend some extra time, either on his own or with his older siblings and Monkey will not be able to order him out of the bathroom and demand to be allowed access to it first.

Yes, it is something that she has been doing and getting away with for quite some time.

When Monkey was crying this morning, I also steeled myself and did not scoop her up to comfort her. I did stay with her and talk to her, but I let her come to me physically.
I also talked to her about her feelings, saying that I could understand it if she was disappointed and unhappy about not going on the playdate.
So then I asked her directly, are you unhappy about that?
She nodded.
I asked her if she could tell me that in words and....
she couldn't.

Not at all.
She struggled with it and finally shook her head and a fresh wave of sobbing erupted.

This morning I realized that she really can't use the words.
So I think we are going to be looking into signs that she could try to use and I need to get some of those "feelings" posters to put up.

How do you teach a kid empathy?
You take it back to the beginning and you do it just like with babies and toddlers.
That means a lot of supervision and a lot of intervention and a lot of modelling and a lot of repetition and positive re-inforcement.

I'm tired already.

Another telling thing was when she looked at me, with her real face and said, "But Mom, I don't KNOW when I am being cute."

I believe her.

The title of this post has to do with how another parent that I know referred to me today.
She didn't mean it in an unkind way, I think, she probably felt she was being accurate and helpful but...
can I just say that it hurt?

A couple of weeks ago, I was really tired (okay, when aren't I?) and getting all the kids and all the stuff to the park for our homeschool meet up had been a detailed exercise in frustration and we ended up bringing different stuff than we were supposed to for a water fight and ....
my oldest son started in on me about how it was my fault or something like that and I snapped.

I got louder and used an angry voice and was inappropriate(ish) for about a front of other parents and then I was embarrassed and toned it all down and took a deep breath and dealt with it all and then discovered that the other parents were ignoring me.
And they ignored me for a good twenty minutes and I felt really, really bad...
like killing myself bad (no this is not a plea for help and no I am not suicidal nor am I prone to indulging in suicidal ideation, I just know that if I were this would be how bad I would have to feel for a while).

One of them later told me that they were ignoring me on purpose, to give me some time to just cool down.

Today I tried to talk to one of the parents about how hard it is sometimes to do what I am doing and she made the comment that "you do seem harsh with the kids" and then tempered it with "but I don't know what the rest of your life is like" -
but that didn't temper it enough to make me feel better at all, instead that crack that you might be hearing is my heart...

is there any way that I can say how very much I don't want to be seen or thought of as Harsh?
can I just say that?
I love my kids, when things are bad and when things are good
I work really hard at it
I want so much to do it as right as I can
I owe them so much and
now I am having a pity party but that is one of the words that I think of when i think of my own father

And it feels Harsh.

Sometimes you need to get away

Yesterday morning, I started to cry.

At my husband.

I just couldn't face the prospect of dealing with my youngest children again.

They have been so mentally disconnected and goofy, but not in a funny or charming way.
There are so many clumsy self inflicted injuries, unsafe choices, and really constant, irritating behaviours.

Monkey is sporting a big bruise on her face, right under her eye from where she ran into the door last week.

Looks and sounds REAL good, lemme tell ya.

I can't let them out of my sight.

In May, shortly after Buddy did so well on his babysitting course, I started letting the two of them go off to the park (literally 1/2 block from our house) on their own, with him in charge.
It worked out well, they were allowed to go for an hour or less, I often joined up with them, it was really nice.

Then it all went sideways about halfway through June.
They came home and Buddy was really carrying on about having bumped his hand while they were playing and how much it hurt. It was swollen up and bothered him for days. It took a while but what it came down to is that they were running way too fast, way too close to the playground structures and he thunked himself on one while doing this.

I knew I couldn't leave him in charge anymore at least for a while.

Their "anxious" behaviours jacked right up.
They had to know where I was going, for how long and why, on any errand, even if they didn't want to come with me. Buddy would often take issue with how long I planned on going and if I really needed to go where I said I was going!

Monkey's princess routine is in high def and I can't stand it.
She is constantly following me or staring at me.

Neither of them speak to me like I am another human to interact with but more like I am some kind of nursemaid, constantly asking for things, outings, events, food - even in the middle of doing other things.

I am not Mom.
I am MOM? Can I/we have/do......?

So I ran away.

With my husband's blessing.

I took my two oldest children and we went out to an office supply store, a drug store ( and bought candy and dvds) then out for lunch together and finally to a bookstore.

We were gone for about three hours and it was good.
I enjoyed them so much and they were so honestly pleased and happy to spend time with just me and they didn't ask me for anything!

Sunny said, "Thanks so much for this Mom, it has been over a year since we could spend time with just you."

A year is too long to wait till we do it again.

There was an aftermath of course with Buddy and Monkey.
But at least with Buddy it was a much better one than I thought it might be.

Before I left yesterday morning, I took a few minutes to talk to the two of them about why I was leaving and that I was coming back.

I also mentioned that I though some of what was going on with them was because it was almost the year anniversary since they had moved in and that they might be feeling really sad and missing their foster parents and family.

That seemed to help Buddy a lot and he cried and talked about those things. I also realized that Canada Day was a bit of trigger for him, because he really enjoyed the small town celebrations with his foster family and it was different for him this year.

Monkey on the other hand, is a much tougher nut to crack.
She keeps score and she also keeps herself buttoned up very tightly when it comes to her emotions.
In a year, I have never heard her yell and never seen her lose her temper.
Sure I have seen her upset and angry but never out of control, not really.

Yesterday, we received a last minute invite to a summer party that a little girl she knows from church is having - and I don't think I feel like taking her most of the way across town to it.

Last night at 11pm she was playing with her beside lamp and then pretended to be asleep when Cabana Boy got up to check on what was going on and when I went in a moment later she was playing around again.

Now all I have to figure out is how to be aware of her behaviours, try and help modify them, all without giving her too much attention.

Easy peasy.

BTW I was also thinking about the "friendships" that she has and it is an eye opener to spend some time realizing that the little girls she plays with are far more like toys to be picked up and put down then people to phone and talk to and make playdates with and think about...sigh

Sunday, July 1, 2007

When keeping the door open means the bugs get in

Susan from My Life in a Foster Care Space Warp wrote -

"I want some written-by-an-expert dialog questions designed to give them insight into their inappropriate behavior. Why didn't anyone tell me that it would be like this?"

-about how hard open adoption can be sometimes.

(Go and check her out, if you haven't already.)

I thought I would take a whack at answering it.
Not because I fancy myself as an expert but because it is something that I think about fairly often and it also gives me something to post about.

Monkey and Buddy are now 8 and 11. They were 7 and 10 when they got to us.
During their two and 1/2 years at their foster home they had almost no contact with birth Mom, none with birth Dad, monthly dwindling to mostly none with Obie (then 11 and 12) and ongoing but not often, with Birth Grandma.

One day, shortly after they moved in, I made a short and awkward speech to the two of them about how if there was anything they wanted to know about the whys and paperwork of what happened to them and how they ended up here with us, to just ask and I would do my best to help them out with that.
They stared at me blankly, silently.

Plunging on, I somewhat weakly, added that if there was anyone they would want to see or know about, again I would do everything in my power to make that happen.
I swear they didn't blink or even breathe loudly.

I felt like a dork and cursed the dumb book I had been reading that had prompted me to do this obviously failed attempt at opening the lines of communication with them.

Until the next day when they both approached me, as serious as I had ever seen them.

"Did you mean it?" Buddy asked.
"Uh, mean what?" I asked warily.
"That stuff you said yesterday about telling us stuff we want to know?" Monkey's eyes not leaving my face.
"Yeah...yeah, of course I meant it."
"We want to see Obie." Monkey nods, briefly but vehemently.

That book, Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past ,is not so dumb.

So I found Obie for them and now they get to see him.
And despite all of the heartbreak that brings, they are happier and more secure because of it.

Yesterday Buddy told me that when he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he can see that his face is changing and he looks more and more like Obie. He was so happy to have that reference, to know that he looks like someone.
I didn't realize until then, how much that would matter to him.
How he hears other people saying all the time how much his (non bio) brother and sister look like their (bio) Dad and me.

We have made the decision to allow the two of them to spend a weekend with birth Grandma.
Not something I would have imagined us doing all that long ago.

Birth Grandma is a bit of a hard pill to swallow for some of us.
Okay, my husband and two older children and I all have a hard time with her.

She treats Monkey like a princess, Buddy gets a sort of second class version of her love and attention and Sunny and Bunny are treated more like aliens she doesn't understand and therefore she doesn't acknowledge much.

And there is more...
-the woman drives me crazy, if I let her.
-she takes credit (?) for putting all her grandchildren in foster care.
-despite being young and healthy, she has refused to take any of her grandchildren into kinship care, even temporarily,
-she would rather train for and go on a religious mission to an African country than take care of them

(Why yes, I am judgemental, why do you ask?)
But sometime this summer, my husband and I will drive our two youngests 4 1/2 hours up to where she lives, drop them off with her and stay in a nearby hotel for two nights, while our older kids stay home with the dogs.

Mostly we have decided that she isn't dangerous and right now this is what Monkey and Buddy want and need. Connection with blood family members.

Recognition that they are different and have come from a different place.

We have also talked about when and if they would ever be able to see their birth Mom and birth Dad.

What we have all decided is that if either of their birth parents is ever healthy enough to be safe to see, we will do that.

Until then, we will send pictures and letters to a file folder in a government office somewhere, that birth parents can access and can also send stuff to us.

I have gotten a hold of all the pictures of birth parents and my children, before they got to me, that I can (one of the good things about birth grandma) and made copies of them for the kids to keep in their rooms - and they do.

What I am really hoping, is that by keeping this as open as is safe and as I can handle and being honest about it all - I am heading off a lot of pain and trouble when my kids are teenagers.