did you know you can start your Christmas cards in October, and never get them in the mail?
praise GOD in heaven we. are. HOME.
i’m caffeinated to an unhealthy level, to make up for earlier involuntary withdrawals.
happy new year! (that’s it. no card, of course. because it’s so much cooler to write them and then never SEND them. excellent move, kels.)
I’m blogging from the mountains of New Mexico, where my family and I are snowed in. The roads are closed. Neither the snow or the sense of claustrophobia will let up. Hoping to be able to go home on Sunday.
I’m greatly encouraged and warmed by the outpouring of sweetness from you guys. Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.
There was a flurry (ha ha. snow humor. indulge me.) of traffic from Pink Truth. For those of you Pink Truthers, welcome. Since you are interested, here’s the lowdown on my Mary Kay Pink Past: I was a consultant. A very very BAD mary kay consultant. Money was tight, I thought it was a good idea to spend a whole bunch on inventory. It wasn’t, as it goes, but oh well. I learned a lot through my experiences, and became a more confident individual during that time – whether it was Mary Kay related or not is unclear to me now.
Once I gave my sister and mom ‘facials’ at the dining room table. After one product – perhaps the concealer – her face broke out in bright red spots. My mouth gaped. Mom said, "Washitoff,washitoff,washitoff, WASH IT OFF!" And she did. But her face burned and hurt and she did not look especially her best after that experience, and that is putting it very nicely. I quit a little while later.
Soooo. Um. I’m down to my last two Diet Cokes. We have diapers and milk and food, and a guy brought us toilet paper earlier. But TWO diet cokes is clearly inadequate.
Deliveries of 12 packs by any means at all greatly appreciated. Thank you.
(It’s long. Don’t feel obligated.)
I have four kids, three of which I mention often. The fourth one, not so much. Kim-12yr is a topic i tend to leave off-blog. You may have noticed i don’t put much effort into pretending things are rosier than they are. That isn’t it. It’s more that I thought her privacy should be given more consideration than my blogging might provide. And I did think that.
Why? She could read all of this one day, years from now. Yes. She could. And still, I don’t mind sharing details of our lives I haven’t before shared. The main reason for this is that parents are coming from all over the internet to find this blog because just once – ages ago – I mentioned the Total Transformation Program by Dr. James Lehman. Parents are troubled by their kids, looking for answers, and then looking to me for a second opinion on the program before shelling out the big bucks. This post gets a minimum of 150 hits a DAY from those searching “Total Transformation.” My heart goes out to those parents, because I’ve been there. It stinks. It especially stinks when the kids are out of school, and the web search hits multiply exponentially then.
So here is a little of my experience. This is for those who wonder why i only talk about 3 of my kids. It’s for me. It’s for those other parents, performing search after search for answers and for help. (Hang in there, you guys.)
Ten years ago, I married a wonderful man with a two year old. He had sole custody. His first wife had made some unfortunate parenting choices, including neglect. Mike was working lots of hours, trying to keep up with his wife’s out of control spending. He took his daughter and left, taking only her belongings. I met the two of them when Kim was almost 2. We married right away. She stole my heart before he did. Her big brown eyes and easygoing nature won me over completely. She laughed often. Her smile was sweet, and frequent, and she was charming and endearing in ways I can recall but am having trouble naming. When I married her dad, she walked me down the aisle. I was the only Mom she ever remembered. I adopted her as soon as we could afford it.
Before I came along there should have been some critical mom-baby developmental milestones. Basic bonding. In the absence of that, attachment issues can develop. Without a strong mom-baby bond, the child can become developmentally stunted in ways that don’t necessarily show up right away. This was the case with Kim. She’s so smart, and a quick study. She had no trouble developing the skills to appear just as the other kids her age. And yet, she wasn’t. There was a total lack of empathy. Later, there was stealing, defiance, lying, and a delight in other people’s (and animals’) pain. Her fantasies were graphic, numerous, and violent. She convinced herself that if I were not in her life, her ‘real’ mom would miraculously return. She had somehow decided she was Mike’s true – first – love, since I came along later… and wanted to take over my role. She tried to get me to leave. Lots of energy and thought went into the best way to ‘eliminate’ me. When I didn’t leave, those thoughts and fantasies went to a more violent nature. I needed to be gone. In her mind, there was nothing wrong with this. She’d been so mistreated by the world, and life was so unfair, that it was all right for her to be so extreme. Killing me would solve a lot of problems.
I know what some of you are thinking. She wasn’t raised ‘right.’ She wasn’t raised with enough God, or enough church, or enough scripture in her. And you’d be wrong. She can probably quote circles around you, and yet it didn’t matter. Kim got her school to believe WE were the problem. She’s really good at that, as are a lot of attachment disordered kids.
We’ve prayed. We’ve done counseling with lots of professionals of who didn’t have a clue what was wrong. And a few did. And it didn’t matter. There’s a spiritual side to what is going on with her, a side that must be approached from a spiritual perspective. And then there’s the psychological, and emotional sides that can be approached from professionals who know how to do that best. (that last part is a quote from my pastor – nicely put, huh?)
There isn’t a whole lot that can be done – spiritually or otherwise – as long as HER attitude is ‘i’m fine this way and you’re wrong for asking me to change.’ She very much believes she is entitled to lie, to steal, to kill, to do whatever to whomever as long as it suits her. She is ‘above’ rules and laws.
We placed her in residential treatment six months ago. The staff there are wonderful people who specialize in this particular disorder. They are the best at what they do, and I am forever grateful to these professionals for even understanding my child, and for caring about her anyway. For understanding me, and the utter hell that was our family life before she went away. Their experience and training lends them an ability to see our family for how it is – and not how she pretends it is. I’m most grateful for them, for they are truly God-sent.
It’s an 18 month program. No progress.
All of this to say that ours is an extreme case. Total Transformation wasn’t going to ‘work’ for us, and for this one child. I still believe in it wholly, though. Dr Lehman shows you how and why your kids misbehave. He tells you quite specifically why it works on you, and how your kid uses different methods with you and with your spouse. The program is the Parenting Instruction Manual that all parents should get when they leave the hospital with their newborn. Yes. Really. It helped us understand Kim’s manipulations greatly, and see them more clearly. It was eye opening. It will be invaluable as we parent our three other children. You should buy it. One drawback: It takes time and commitment to do the workbook, watch the dvds, and listen to the cds. Quite a bit of time, really. Don’t buy it if you aren’t willing to put in the time.
It will NOT touch the big issues – if any – beneath the behavior. You can treat the symptoms of your kid with this program VERY effectively. However, if your kid has deep problems that are the root of the problems, have those addressed by someone else AND try the program. Does your kid have ADHD, ODD, or other stuff? Give it a try.
I’m talking about this now, because it’s apparently not a shortlived phase one of our kids is going through. It’s a huge part of our life. And this is my blog, and I talk about my life. We go visit her once a month, stay a few days or a week and have big, stressful therapy. We spent a week there for Thanksgiving, and will again for Christmas.
Life is better now. My mom has noticed that Ethan-6yr is much calmer than he’s ever been. He isn’t constantly wondering where his sister is, what she’s doing, and how to behave accordingly. Neither am I. We’re learning how to be safe in our home, and all that that means. How to have fun, be spontaneous, and relate to each other without all of the unhealthy undercurrents.
We’re trying to be a normal family, and enjoying it.
If you’re one of the parents who found this blog by searching for information, i hope you’ll bookmark and stay awhile. (I’m normally much more fun. Swear.) It can be rare to find people who understand what it’s like to have your family and home terrorized by a child who appears perfect to the rest of the world. If you’re one of those, I’m especially glad of your perspective on this and other posts, so feel free to comment. No – not one of those blogs where everyone has to ‘agree’ or be super nice in the comments section.
(Merry Christmas. Sorry so… um. not merry.)
you know who is really on top of her game? (right. not me.) Anessa. WAY TO GO!!
Anessa commented on the poo post that she had already checked, and it was done. yea!!! still don’t know what I mean?
Every 17th of the month, we meet here and say ‘hi. i did a breast self exam today, so yea for me!’ This way we remember to do it once a month like we’re supposed to (except today i almost forgot until it was late and i was away from the computer), and we create a small amount of accountability and positive support for developing this VERY important monthly habit. take care of yourselves, ladies. Go do it. Be cool like Anessa. Then come back and say ‘yea me!’ in comments, okay?!
Did you know that if you break apart dog poop, it smells really bad? Yeah. Ethan-6yr and Caden-2yr did some research, and this is the conclusion.
I’m so very proud.
J-Mom and i were in the parking lot of Ethan-6yr’s school yesterday. Something beautiful caught my eye.
A little girl in red suede and chocolate leather loafers. i knew them from 20 yards, easily. They could only be these Born beauties (pronounced ‘Byorn’):
As cute as they are, they’re even cuter on a 3rd grader.
I said to my mom, "Did you know that Born makes children’s shoes…?"
"What does she make them out of? Feathers?"
I have no idea what she’s talking about. What in the world just happened to a perfectly good shoe conversation?
A mental image popped up.
"Not Bjork!! BORN, Mom!"
To be fair, handbags are her thing. Shoes are mine, with very little overlap in these two interests.
I’ve been checking out the competition over here. I am the Lightweight. The Fluff. The People magazine mixed in with Time and Newsweek. The others are meat and potatoes, and this blog is pink and green swirled cotton candy. They can write analogies, probably, and I… I cannot.
what i CAN do, though, is cringe at the numbers that show just how badly I’m being beaten. Whose idea was THAT?!
I think this makes the fourth Lightbulb Incident this year. Two shattered for various kid-induced reasons, one shmeared with toothpaste until it burned to a poo color. And then this one.
I’m thinking that is just too many.
Yesterday we had one of those days that made me think, ‘if the kids survive childhood, i’ve done really, really well.’ By lunchtime, I was not showered or dressed or in any way presentable, but I had cleaned up ninety million pieces of glass from a single lightbulb and scrubbed the blood of one of my children off the wall. Yes. It was that kind of day.
Ethan-6yr and Caden-2yr needed to prove AGAIN that eletricity and water can by a good mix after all, and hmmm…. what happens when you splash hot lightbulbs with cold water…? i mean, we did it already, twice i think, but… what… ? oh yeah. massive mess and glass exploding everywhere raining down on our cute little heads.
The last time this happened there were Big Safety Talks, disciplinary measures taken, and Unhappy Parents. So this time, Ethan-6yr decided it was best to hide the evidence and make sure I didn’t find out. He broke the pieces of glass into tiny pieces and rinsed them down the sink. (Because? We’ve had the talk recently about not flushing objects down the toilet. Particularly, the innards of a flashlight, for who knows what reason. In any case, he decided the sink was an excellent choice.)
Somehow he managed to only cut his fingers a few times, and they were quite minor. (note: i never ever want to see blood smeared on a wall again. it is creepy. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will take it off, though.) Caden-2yr miraculously avoided injury. It’s a wonder they both weren’t cut to ribbons, by the looks of all the tiny crunched up glass pieces everywhere.
Caden-2yr was the helpful whistleblower on the case, and then my mom and i took turns giving Safety Talks. Mike was off hunting, somewhere with big guns, although not with the mafia at least. whoever he was with, he was toting firearms and not present to discuss safety. which is just as well, because the kids would have seen the Wrath of Mike, which is always memorable. They would know, because that’s what happened the last time they did this same. exact. thing.
And don’t you know it? You’re in your pjs, you smell bad, and you’re in the middle of a Massive Incident and a dear relative shows up at the door. You’d KNOW this of course, if you hadn’t lost your cell phone – or bothered to look for it – because he left messages saying he was coming… and when… but i never heard them.
the house was a mess. besides the blood and glass. i was a complete mess. the kids were thrilled for the timely diversion. they instinctively knew the arrival of a guest was very much in their favor. it’s really, really hard to be the stern DON’T EVER DO IT AGAIN Crazy Mommy when you’re desperately searching for clothes, a vacuum, and patience.
here’s to surviving childhood. if we can get through it without anymore lightbulb incidents, or blood on the walls, I get serious bonus points.
Ooooh! guess what michele told me?!
There is one of those blogger popularity contest thingies going on that i didn’t know about, and i’m in it, and don’t know how that happened, because who cares it made my day. i am not too cool to care, and that is NO secret around these parts, of course.
AHEM. (no. i couldn’t make it any bigger. isn’t it pretty?)
You might think that if there is a ‘Finalist’ status, that there were preliminary rounds or something. But who knows? First I’ve heard of it. If you’re so inclined, you can go vote.
Really, you could.
Because apparently some of y’all either really like my "I’m SoooooooOOOoo depressed" tone, or you kinda feel sorry for me because i’m suddenly too lazy to even use capital letters in my posts. And that’s okay. Is it a good time to tell you that I’ve reworked my drugs and i’m doing a little better? ok, really, it’s more like i’m feeling a little manic, but that’s okay for now. trust me, it’s fine.
yesterday i asked my mom if i was acting a little weird and could it be possible if i were acting a little too happy that it was the increased dosage? her diplomatic response: "Well, I expect you to hit a plateau soon."
Ha. Ha ha mom. That translates directly to: "Yes, you’re a Happy Freak today, but it’s such a nice change – let’s just go with it and see if it’s worse than Faceplant on the Carpet Depressed Version."
Snippets of Today:
It was surreal, and i might be drugged, but I promise all of this stuff actually happened. there were witnesses.
1. I chatted with a woman playing an accordian
2. my mom and i ended up in a MANSION – unlike any dwelling place i have ever before seen except maybe on tv, well probably not even there. Oh. My. GAWSH.
3. there was a horse in the entryway of the mansion.
4. i assumed it was fake.
5. it was not.
6. it wore little tennis shoes, and it was a miniature pony of some sort.
7. later, it walked into the mansion’s KITCHEN, and stranger? the whole episode was so surreal, it didn’t seem odd at the time – to either my mom or myself – to see this horse in TENNIS SHOES in the kitchen of a mansion.
8. it seemed very, VERY weird later.
9. i lost one of my kids immediately upon entering the place, but he reappeared later. (yuh huh. Ethan-6yr of course.)
10. Toothbrush Sword Fighting caused great drama tonight.
11. toothbrush sword-fighters in question: Ethan-6yr and Caden-2yr
12. I think caden-2yr ‘won’ somehow, but i don’t know the details.
13. there was much screaming and wailing and accusing.
14. i tried to act sympathetic
15. but i was not
16. as i am a heartless mommy whose boys were fighting with toothbrushes for pete’s sake,
17. and since when does that get sympathy (how bad can a toothbrush hurt?)
18. when they’re supposed to be in bed so i can
19. be with y’all…? (suck up to the pretty voters)
20. run-on sentences are even better when ennumerated, dontchathink?
The category is a little broad. 1001-1750. Try putting that on a baby blue satin sash.
Which reminds me.
My sister used to be friends with Miss Beans and Legumes. And also friends with The Peanut Queen. did i get that wrong, holysister? (correct me in comments if you get a sec. ) We made fun of their unattractive titles. No more.
I could be MISS TOP 1001-1750.
My mom and sister and I have a certain store at a certain mall, in which we spend many hours together whenever they’re visiting me. To others it is called Dillard’s, but to us it is The Mothership. We know every nook and cranny. We are familiar with the locations of the various brands, and can spot a new clothing display at a 50 yds. We have taken each of my babies there before the age of 2 weeks, and to this day they all assume a peaceful, relaxed pose whenever we walk in. (ok, that last part isn’t true, but it would be nice)
Conversation between two friends, overheard by my mom (j-Mom) in the handbag department of The Mothership: (want some more prepositions?)
"i wonder if chester had that problem?" says one lady to another.
With Texas drawl, "chester’s DEAD."
that’s it. all it took to have us in giggles all the way past the shoe department. and j-mom saying, ‘well, i guess it wasn’t a problem for him after all, whatever it was.’ don’t you wish you knew who chester was, what could have been a problem for him, and why the one friend thought to bring him up in conversation, but didn’t know of his death? i’m still wondering.
he could have been a dog you know.
or a ferret.
i really wish i knew.