Apologies and Big Sisters

The very first thing I would like to discuss is the fact that I was absent for a couple of months from the blog. Please accept my sincerest of apologies. It was never my intent to stay away from the blog for so long! I want to stay up to date and current with this blog…but for some reason it slipped by the wayside. Bummer! Every day passed and here and again I’d think of the blog and I wasn’t going to start a post, such as I am this morning…gosh is it REALLY 4 AM?? I’d get a post in my head, and I’d head towards the computer and as fast as I’d get the idea….something would happen to divert my attention and “poof”……the moment was gone. Anyways….I am saying please forgive me for being away for so long and I hope some of you are still “with me” holding onto hope that I’d be back….while there are sure to be others that have given up hope and abandoned ship altogether. I sure hope those who did so, have a moment of clarity and at least once, decide to check back and see that I’m back to blogging! Thanks to those of you who stuck it out and have been patiently waiting for my return. Well….to that I say…..”I’m back , and hope to keep going strong!”

I’m Back!! So sorry to have been gone so long foks!

Now onto more exciting things going on in our corner of the world. We are on a sort of vacation. I am not sure I’d call it “vacation” per se….but we are out of town to visit my older daughters, who happen to be MM’s older sisters. MM doesn’t know his big sisters very well…but he loves them so much nonetheless and they him. These are my daughters from a previous marriage. They live with their dad in a different state, many many miles from us. I HATE that they live so far away from us, from me. I cry so much because I miss them terribly. But I have accepted this as the way it is and am moving forward to be the best mama I can be for MM’s sake. As I write these words in a dimly lit room in the middle of the night (very early wee early morning), my guys are snoring in the background. It is peaceful to me….to hear them sleeping so soundly. And to be honest…..I’m a wee bit jealous wishing that I could sleep that easily! MM is in the opposite bed…..I keep looking over at him……and I can’t help but smile at his curled up body….gently curled underneath the warmth of the blankets that keep him warm. And then there’s myself…wow, what can I say about an over-tired soul anxiously awaiting her daughters arrival this afternoon!?

Come on girls…I can’t hold out for much longer…it’s been WAY too long since our last REAL ((HUG))!!!

I want to catch up on what MM has been doing for the past few months. We have been working very hard on a few things. One such thing is “impulse control” or really the lack thereof. I, too, have noticed a BIG difference in him when it comes to handeling getting upset over small things. He will quickly get upset, knock down the blocks and then builds again. Munchkin man (MM) got his hair cut on Friday and I must mention that he was incredibly MUCH MORE sensitive to those things around him. The scissors were bothering him each time they cut into his hair. The loose hair after his hair cut was ALL over the place. I grabbed a tissue from the opened box and wiped off as much of the hair that was all over his face, chest, etc. MM’s skin is extremely sensitive…hence the issues with his diagnosis of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder. I remember all too well when MM first came home to us (from another Country), and when we took him to get his hair cut. After I see she was trying to let it grow out for a reason….lol. Getting MM a hair cut early on was truly a nightmare for all of us….especially MM  but ..it was a “necessary ‘evil'” one might say!” I cried every single time I had to hold him down in order to get his hair cut. It was horrible! Dh and I actually had to physically “restrain” him in order to get his hair cut. At the time, we had NO IDEA he suffered with the SPD diagnosis. If we had. We’d of certainly done much better in the encourgement department! As it is right now….MM is MUCH better about getting his hair cut, that is…..until this past week. Every time the hairdresser touched  him…it tickled more than a “normal” tickle, and the loose hairs that were falling off his head were driving him crazy…yep…too tickely!!! The hairdresser had an idea……she took her blowdryer and tried to “blow” the loose hairs off! And, any of you reading this who have kiddos with SPD KNOW that will never work because the SPD kiddos cannot tolerate the blowdryer. For one, it’s too noisy, and another reason is the sensation is just “too much”. The hairdresser apologized and said that she does so many ppl’s hair that it’s hard to remember everyone’s likes and dislikes….but she tries and is wonderful with MM. I really do appreciate her!!

Hey there Mr. Hairdryer…..I will not let you win this time! Oh no! Think again!

Well….I’m going to go try to get some shut-eye for a little bit anyways. Thanks again for hanging in there with me!

Blessings to you and your children

~Mama249

 

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Do I Listen to My Dr’s Orders? NOPE!

I had to have surgery a week or so ago and was given Dr’s orders to not lift anything over the weight of a milk jug (5lbs). Are you kidding me? I’m a mom of a 4 year old with RAD! One of the MOST healing things that the parent can do for their RAD child is the holding technique. I’ve been doing this technique for quite some time now…..and my Dr. wants me to just up and “quit” doing this for 6 weeks!? I think NOT! How can I un-do all the trust-building that we’ve been doing by not holding him?

This was very evident this week when at first I was taking my Dr’s orders and not holding MM. He was in a downspiral all week….each day progressively getting worse and worse. I would do my “best” and sit on the couch and have MM climb into my lap and “hold” him in my lap….gosh it wasn’t the same at all….it didn’t feel that way to me, and I KNOW it didn’t to MM either. I finally gave in one day, he was having a particularly hard day, I sat down with him and asked him, “are you upset because mommy cannot hold you since my surgery?” Yes, was his tearful reply. I knew in that very moment….my surgeon may have known what was best for “me”…..but he sure as heck didn’t know what was best for my lil man. MM was regressing. He was hurting and crying out…..his acting out was a cry for help….for me to hold him. I will tell you this, I held my suffering child in my arms, no matter my pain….I’m secondary to him in my eyes…..for over an hour!! I cannot convey in words how healing those 60+ minutes were for us. But I’ll be danged if I’m going to let this hinder his healing. Not for a second.

MM can throw ’em with the best of them. The rages are so intense that he kicks, hits, screams, pushes me…..and all the stuff you’re probably familiar with already. I, with the help of much reading and talking to friends of kiddos who also have RAD, started using the holding technique. Now, there are different ways to do this people believe as I’ve noticed. Some people will put their arms over the childs (so the child cannot use as a weapon) and wrap their legs around their child’s legs (also, weapons of kicking) fromthe backside (to not have them headbutt the parent) all the while trying to “calm” the child while talking calmly and telling the child they are “safe”, and other such things. Now, while this may work well for some (usually the older kiddos too), I know it won’t work for my Munchkin Man (who’s still only 4 and weighs 33 lbs). I feel he needs to be able to look into my loving eyes and see and feel the love I have for him.

I hold him just as I would hold him for anything else. I’m telling you, it works for us. MM will be throwing a major meltdown, and it’s a struggle to get him in my arms, which tells me that he needs it even moreso. The more they fight it, the more they need it. I can even begin to tell that he wants it sometimes. He’ll be having a meltdown and will put his body up against mine as if he’s “saying” ‘please hold me, mommy. I need to feel safe right now!’ Anyways, I pick MM up and hold him, letting him see the love I have for him in my eyes. I speak in the calmest voice I can, telling him, “Shhhhh, it’s ok, now. I’ve got you. Shhhhhh. It’s ok. I’ve got you. You’re safe with mommy.” He will struggle for a bit, hitting, kicking, pushing me away from him, grunting, screaming. And then it happens……it just happens in an instant. He melts into my arms. He lays his head softly on my shoulder and I can feel him wrap his arms around my neck and he starts to play with my hair. Then, I know. I know he feels it. Safe for the moment. But the moments are just that….moments.

MM doesn’t trust us. Why should he? He has lived the first 18 months of his life in trauma. Trauma that I wouldn’t wish upon any child. To tell you the truth, we don’t know it all…..we most likely never will. And that is ok, I don’t have to know the details, I just have to know that my (our) son had to live it. Sad, very sad. It’s painful to look into my child’s eyes and see distrust and fear in all things (Oh my the fear…..I can go on and on about the fears). It pains me to know that MY CHILD is so fear-filled. I cry just thinking about it. The fear has caused him so much grief that he can not trust anyone…..not us, not anyone. The person who gave birth to him, he found couldn’t be trusted. The family whom he spent the first 18 months of his life with, they couldn’t be trusted either….so why should he trust us, even though we continually show him we CAN be trusted? He can’t let go of that fear just yet. It is his survival. It is the only way he knows how. It will take a lot of HARD work on all of our parts….to get MM through this. It will not happen in a year, not two, and maybe not three…..no time limit is set upon this…..it will happen when it does…..when MM feels it, when he knows trust is worthy. That we are worthy.

And until that day happens……I will hold my son in my arms and look deeply into his soul……..and let him know….he’s worthy too.

This is how I see us now……I’m guiding him into the warm “waters” and letting him know that it is ok, safe and even though it is scary…..we’ll go slowly….just look at it first. Then dip your toe in and feel it’s warmth. Know that it is not going to hurt. I’m holding his hand…..letting him know that I’m always there….guiding him and keeping him safe. I will never let go of his hand…gently holding and guiding. You notice the boy in the picture is holding a bucket….I see that as he wants to go and “play”…..but needs all my love and guidance to know and feel that he won’t get hurt again. And if he does……I will show him that I’m there to pick up the pieces…..and move forward…..always moving forward….two steps back sometimes…..but always moving forward is our goal.

Pieces of his heart……someday they will be whole again.

Blessings to you and your children…..

Mama249

What Did She Just Say?

A bit more than a year ago, dh, myself and MM went on vacation for our anniversary. We went to a lovely place….a place we try to go to at least once a year! A place we just adore. One evening, we all went to a pretty “well-known” establishment (I won’t say where to save face for the said establisment) and were walking around in amazement, having a wonderful time.

Dh and MM went off on their own while I window shopped around a bit. Now, I won’t mince words here…MM was being a bit loud in his excitement, but in no way was he being rude, or was he causing a problem and I’m not saying that because I’m his Mama….I’m the first to say if he’s causing a problem. I was in another section of the establishment and 2 lady workers were chatting it up while “working.” Then, to my amazement, one of the employees said to the other, while referring to my son and not realizing he belonged to me, “Now, THAT is why they have DayCares! Leave them there, ya know!”

I ALMOST went to her and said something. But no. I’m not usually one to cause a scene….mostly because I get lost in my words and want to say the right thing plus I HATE confrontations anyways. I immediately went to dh so she could see he was WITH ME…..maybe that would give her the hint that she misspoke. I told dh of her “opinion” of our son. He was furious, to say the least! “That’s it, we’re leaving right now! Put your stuff down. We will NOT purchase anything from them if that is the kind of ppl they hire!” I disagreed because the store, while being responsible, yes, for hiring ppl of quality to represent their establishment, cannot, CANNOT, be held responsible for what comes out of an employees mouth. Now….I do agree that it makes them look bad…yes. But responsible, no.

Dh was still furious and we left without our merchandise. I hate to say it….but it put a damper on the rest of the evening because dh couldn’t get it out of his head what was said about OUR son. Now, mind you, at the time, we were unaware of his RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) & his SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), but still, I assure you….he was just so excited….most likely sensory overload and couldn’t be quiet…..not screaming…..just loud. Saying things such as, “Wow, daddy, look at THAT!!”

When we got back home….a few days passed and it was nagging at me about what had happened back at the “well-known establishment.” I decided to give the manager a call…..now that my head was clear I could say the right things, calmly, ya know. She was so kind, and apologetic. She was going to get to the bottom of this, she stated. She sent us a gift card to use either online or next time we visit. Along with it a letter stating she spoke with the two women involved, reprimanded them, and used this story as an example of what NOT to do in her next meeting. No….they didn’t get fired…..or lose days without pay….just were told what is appropriate to say and not to say. That is all I wanted to happen….so another family wouldn’t go through this as we did.

Looking back after more than a year has passed, and I still have yet to use the gift card, I have had ppl say things about our son…..which I will post about at a later time…..things that have cut deeply, that hurt my heart….things that I hope and pray Munchkin Man didn’t hear…..and realized even moreso that I’m his advocate! I’M the one who has to step up to the plate for him while he’s so little yet….not necessarily to shield him….because the world is a cruel place and he’ll experience much, needing some thick skin……but rather to TEACH him that he’s ok. That ppl can and will be cruel to even the best of us…..and how to handle those moments. To not let those moments get him down on himself….or to let those ppl’s judgements shape who he is…..no way! To let him stand tall in the face of adversity and know deep in his heart of hearts, that he was made good by God….and that there’s a plan for him. My deepest want for MM is this……to have him be able to regulate himself and be able to healed of the RAD & SPD…..to live the life that God has laid out for him..and for him to be content and peace fulfilled with his life. Is that asking too much?

Blessings to you and your children….

Mama249

 

Why am I Saying “I’m Sorry?”

Hey there blogger ppl!! I have had a busy week and have neglected the blog. Sorry bout that. This week is full of “anniversary’s” for my family! First is my birthday, and then it’s the anniversary of MM’s Forever Family Day, then our wedding anniversary, which we spent that day in Guatemala in the Embassy swearing that we’d love our son forever and ever, etc….we took those words to heart, and then finally we have the anniversary of MM’s first steps on U.S. soil!! Personally, when we returned to the States, I wanted to literally kiss the ground we were standing upon.

Now, onto my topic…..this was several weeks ago. Maybe even a few months ago. But I thought of it and thought it deserved blogworthyness, is that even a word? MM has serious sensory issues when it comes to going to the grocery store. It is too overwhelming for him. It ALWAYS ends up in a meltdown….ALWAYS. Makes for going grocery shopping a bit frustrating. Well, MM was at his finest….meltdown I mean….and I thought it best to just take him out of the situation and take him to the vehicle. Dh thinks differently….I “won” this time. As I was taking MM out of the grocery store….he was flinging arms and legs all over the place, kicking me, screaming bloody murder…you get the drill. ALL sorts of ppl were looking at us….geez…why wouldn’t they with the scene he was causing? AND I kept saying “I’m sorry.”

 

I look back at the moment….and ask myself…”WHY THE HECK was I apologizing to THEM!!??” They mean nothing in the immediate moment…my son does. I kept apologizing for a behavior that MM cannot “help” at the moment because of his Sensory Processing Disorder…..and those ppl don’t get it…..why the need to apologize to THEM? Was I embarrased? Not really, I think anyways. My son has a disorder that needs my attention…not my apologizing for it. If this ever happens again, and it will, I can forsee that, I will NEVER apologize for his behavior again to ppl that have nothing to do with the situation.

Who is important in this? Me, Dh and MM. But moreseo, MM. I’m sorry MM, I let you down….but just so you know…once we got into the vehicle, I was able to calm him down with kindness and love and some redirection, and we played “I Spy.” I’m proud of MM for being able to come out of “it” with my direction….I have to revel in the small steps…the baby steps. By the time dh got back to the vehicle, we were happily playing and laughing…..he was dumbfounded.

I beg each of you….don’t apologize for your child either. It shows him/her that there is something “wrong”…..we apologize for those things…..not our children!! I for one am ashamed I did it.

Blessings to you and your children….

Mama249

 

The ABC’s of Us…

I got a hair-brained idea that I’m praying will work…..like a charm as they say! LOL!

What is it you ask? Well, I saw a scrapbook of sorts that you make with index cards in a magazine I’m subscribed to. Their version is called “ABC’s of Summer.” Well, I put my own little twist on it and thought/hope this will help with attachment issues. So, my version will be the “ABC’s of Us”. It’s really simple actually…..You’ll need these items:

  • 5X8 package of blank index cards (no lines)
  • 5X8 A-Z Card Guides for index cards
  • Various photos of your family doing cool and not so cool stuff. Remember, this is about your life….not just the fluff. I added a few of MM making a mad face. I am doing this because this is OUR REALITY!!! The pictures are from Guatemala all the way to the present (spanning 3 years)
  • Scrapbook papers, stickers, ribbon, etc for decorating the index cards
  • Acid free glue sticks and/or double sided tape (whichever you prefer)
  • I haven’t decided whether or not my titles on the pages will be printed from the computer or will be circle dot stickers with colored edging I do myself, but you’ll need something for labeling each photo/index card by their alphabet title…..ex: “hugs” would be a picture of us hugging and being close, sharing the love he desperately needs.
  • Hole Punch
  • Large Ring to hold it all together when complete

I’ve been in the stage of printing pictures (which also allows me time to stroll down memory lane….who doesn’t love that?) to ready myself for the actual making of the ABC’s of Us booklet of index cards. Mind you…..this is for MM to hold, to look at and to see us growing over the years. This isn’t my “scrapbook” for the shelf…..this is an ongoing active one!!!! To be held, cherished and loved (at least that is my hope) by 10 lil fingers and a heart that needs healing.

ANYTHING I can do as MM’s mama to help him (us) heal, I’m willing to do! I don’t expect immediate results…..remember, this process takes time. Time that we must be willing to give…..freely. This scrapbook of sorts is intended for MM but is a tool that we can use to ellicit conversations that in turn bring togetherness, laughter, and sometimes a tear or two! You get my point?

I have 500 blank index cards and I hope to really do an amazing job on this one!! This is so important…..to let MM see we ARE a family and families stick together through thick and thin, and we are ALWAYS there for each other…even if it is just to sit quietly, give a hug, a kind word, and last but not least is to be an EXAMPLE of love for our children.

If anyone out there wants to join me on making one for your own family….let me know how it turns out and if it’s working for ya! I’d be so happy to hear it helped or is helping. I truly feel this will be a blessing for your families as well as my very own.

Peace and blessings to each of you and your children…..

Mama249

 

Sharing…..a Concept He’s Still Learning

Sharing isn’t a foreign concept to MM…..it’s just a concept he’s still learning and I had a proud mama moment yesterday.

It’s tough when you’re the “only child”…..or at the very least, the only one in the house. MM’s sisters are grown and live away from here. How does one learn to share when there is no other children in the house to share with? Well, it’s a bit harder and takes more time, but it is possible. You must model sharing for your child/ren to learn the act. There are games you can play together to learn sharing techniques. MM went through early intervention with First Steps when we realized something was amiss and we could not do it on our own. Things were going downhill and we needed the help to learn how to help MM, and to have someone helping Munchkin Man. (MM came home from Guatemala at 18 months of age)

First Steps came to our home for their initial visit to evaluate MM to see if he qualified for First Steps. MM totally surpassed all their “tests” except one…..behavior. They kept telling us they couldn’t believe how smart he was for his age. I tend to agree but I work with him a lot, which helps, and some of it is pure genetics. During their visit, First Steps watched our interaction with each other and made a suggestion to me. Something I never even thought of and just did without hesitation…..what you ask? MM would want something that I was playing with and he’d take it out of my hand and I’d let him. I never thought of it as actually TEACHING MM to not share, but also was teaching him that it’s ok to take things from other ppl. WOW…..was that ever eye-opening to me and dh. I have consciously never done that any more…not once. MM saw First Steps on a once a week basis until he turned 3. We were then on our own again……

Behaviors were getting worse and while at preschool, there were a lot of tears on the part of MM and other children because of lack of sharing…..I know this is a trait all kiddos need to be taught…it doesn’t come naturally. BUT….something happened yesterday that made me sooo very proud of MM….and he was proud of himself, too.

We were at a birthday party for a 1 year old…..and MM does NOT do well with children younger than he or even if they are his age and not on his level…..not a good mix for him. He tends to get extremely frustrated and makes this grunting, aggravated noise if anyone comes near him. MM was getting very very antsy just sitting watching the baby and others mingle…..he needed to be active and NOW, not later. I took MM to the back of the room where there was an empty space and let him play with a balloon…kicking it, hitting it, throwing it up in the air…..he was having a great time. As the party wore on, more and more kiddos were showing up and MM didn’t like that at all and expressed his dislike of this…..too much chaos in his world is not good…..and something that you and I think is nothing at all, like more ppl showing up and it filling up, was simply too much for him.

There was a little girl who had just gotten to the party and she was the ONLY lil kiddo without a balloon. She was crying, naturally. I told MM that it would be very nice to let her play with the balloon he was playing with since he’d been playing with it for a LONG time and she didn’t have anything to play with. He expressed that he still wanted to play with it. I said, “How would you feel if you just got here and everyone else had one but you?” Sad, he said. Then he walked over to the little, crying girl and offered her his balloon. I was sooo proud of him!!!!

He had been learning bit by bit……but what I was honestly trying to teach him beyond the sharing was empathy. Children with RAD lack empathy. It’s a start but boy oh boy…….we’re making progress. I celebrate each and every step….however small it is!

God’s blessings to each of you….

Mama249

The Bend in the Road

A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown

 


With God, all things are possible, right?! That is what I’ve been telling myself for the last few days. Why, you ask?

At times, while dealing with the healing process of a child with RAD, and a few other things, I often find myself up against a road “block”…..of sorts. I saw this quote today and thought it was perfect for what I’m feeling at the moment. I WANT to do the right thing, but do I always, heck no. I WANT to know how to do the right things, but do I, no way Hosea.

I’m a clump of clay waiting to be molded…..I need to teach myself FIRST and foremost before any healing can be done. If I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, it’s all for naught. And I’m not for that at all. Not saying in any way shape or form that I have to have it all together all the time….no one is perfect…nor should I think that I have to be. I’m human, I’m a mom learning as I go, on this winding crazy ride called life.

I catch myself doing something that isn’t being the theraputic mom that I need to be…..ouch. I don’t want to do anything that would hinder MM’s healing. I don’t think I am…..but when I feel like I’ve hit this danged road block…..or bend in the road……I choose to keep going. And keep going I will!!!

I keep telling myself when MM’s raging, yelling at me, etc, that it is sadness behind all of this…..he’s not really MAD…..he’s sad and doesn’t know what to do with it. That is where I come in…..to help, to guide, to hug, to love. I need to STOP…..and think…..be-fore I even think of reacting!! And boy is that hard to do in the heat of the moment….when you have a RAD child kicking you, screaming at you, etc. But he’s worth every bit of this……I”m his mama and he’s the love of my life….we WILL get through this…together (his daddy too), this family we have together. FAMILY……brings a tear to my eyes and a smile to my mouth. What we longed for, hoped for, dreamed of. Reality…..we ARE a family…..just not the traditional kind. But we are US…..and I love us.

Peace and Blessings to each of you….

~Mama249