Reviews and Heidi

So two completely unrelated topics in this post.

First, I have joined a review team.  What is a review team?  In this case, it is a large group of homeschoolers who review products.  Many of the products will be homeschool curriculum and resources.  However, there will be health and beauty items, video/card/board games, cleaning products, foods, all sorts of things!  Now, I have already posted a review or two.  Those were not related to this group, just personal opinion.  When I am doing it related to this group, I will be sure to mention it.

 

My blog also has it’s own Facebook page now.  It is just getting started so a few comments and likes would be wonderful if you don’t mind!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/An-Intentional-Life/450052421730689

I took a picture of Heidi, my german shepherd puppy yesterday.  I take a picture each week and am just AMAZED how much this little dog is growing.  She was 7 pounds when I got her.  Saturday, she was over 15 pounds.

photo 1 photo 2

Isn’t that an amazing difference for one month?!?!

She is so smart too.  We definitely still have puppy-ness going on though.  But I really believe this is gonna be an awesome dog in time.

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OB (Aug 2012): It’s so easy

This seemed like a good blog entry to repost today.  Two of my kids have jumped off the deep end.  At the same time, I’m so amazed by them all the time!  It is the weirdest thing to reconcile in my head sometimes.

It’s so easy….

to be negative sometimes.  I worry about my children, their trauma, their attachment SO MUCH.  But I want to be sure not to miss all the positive!  They have grown so incredibly much!  So often, it is things we just forget or were slow in progressing that we remember.

I remember, for example, having a talk with one’s teacher at one point last year.  It hit us both that the child hadn’t been thumb sucking in a while.

And I remember the first week the one let me sleep through the night (not that *I* slept through the night.  I kept hearing “nee-nee” (the sound of the alarm) in my head.  The kids teased me endlessly about that.

And when the one stopped puking?!?!  THAT was big!

What about how one had only vowels when he got here, almost NO consonants AT ALL! For that matter, we didn’t understand ANY of them at all at first.

Oh, and I have to post the audio one day of one little.  We were at a restaurant and a creature was made out of a napkin. Kiddo was so upset about leaving the monster that we enlisted the waitress’ help to give the monster a new home.  The napkin monster was put in a cave with others like himself :)  The child’s sweet little voice!  I never want to lose that audio!

I really wish I had taped more of all of them.  Some of the grammar and accent and articulation mistakes were so cute.  I wish some of them hadn’t irritated me so much.  They were gone so quickly.

And the fits the one child used to throw were ADORABLE and heart-breaking.  Kiddo just was a scared, sad and angry. Why wasn’t I more understanding?  Or maybe the fits were needed. And they gave me insight into what my dear child was thinking.  I wasn’t the “real” mom.   They’d never say that now.  Then the fits went to pure anger, screaming, freaking out.  But it was what was needed then too.  I can’t picture this child doing it now.  But did I notice when they ended?

The one that got me was the fit recently (note:  in Aug 2012) thrown by another one though.  20 minutes of all out SCREAMING.  I (well, and two other kids) just were THERE.  No one tried to stop it.  That child had NEVER done anything of the sort.  Maybe it was finally *safe* to?  Maybe it was a test?  I don’t know.  I do know that it was handled well.

There are neat things from all sorts of areas where they have learned so much.  Learning academics and eating like humans at the table. Two have been without training wheels for months and the third is ready (third has learned). They need reminders but keep up their rooms and ask for chores.  Two can shower almost independently.

The sweet kids shine through.

You know…we may still have PLENTY to work on.  But in 15 months (now 24), they really grew by leaps and bounds.  They probably were capable of more if I hadn’t messed up so much.  But it is a learning process for ALL of us.  We can all grow together :)

Yes, though they drive me batty sometimes and we go through these spurts of craziness, my children are absolutely awesome, progressing so incredibly much.  They amaze me daily.  I am so blessed even on a tough day.

Why?

WARNING: Just letting everyone know that this is a depressing post.  I’ve been crying for hours and…just…

DISCLAIMER: I also want to say that I am not against moms working outside the home though it may look that way in this post.  Please remember that I’m hurting and angry and sad and worried.

So…so though things are really good around here in a lot of ways, Sweet Little M has been on my mind a lot.  Seriously, could ANYONE just forget their precious toddler daughter in less than two months?  Why am I supposed to just move on?  Would anyone else?

Those bluebonnet pics?  A family member was missing.
The fair Saturday?  A family member was missing.
Supper last night?  A family member was missing.
The visit to the dog park yesterday?  A family member was missing.
Going to the Christian Meeting Sunday?  A family member was missing.
Putting the kids to bed?  A family member was missing.

Every single thing we do, a family member is missing.  We use the smaller van these days because without Sweet Little M, we don’t need the big one.  When shopping, I don’t pick up things I got just for her (or primarily for her).  When looking through our area’s “garage sale” on Facebook, I still think about how cute M might look in that or how she would like this.  We got a new puppy.  How M would love Heidi.

And why?

Why?

WHY?

Why is “fictive kin” (for anyone who doesn’t know, that means someone the family knows, not related by blood or adoption; can be distant relatives by marriages or friends of the family or anyone else that has contact with a family member)…why is fictive kin the child and even her biological mother has never met a better placement for a child than the family who absolutely adores her that she has been with since before she could even sit up steady?

We were willing to do an open relationship with the family.  We do it with the other three’s family.  We would have done it with M’s also.  We could have visited this summer.   I already proved I would do texts and calls and skype and pics.  All of that was MY idea AND I followed through.  I wouldn’t have cut them out.  In addition, I would have included the family here in our area also, the grandparents who only gave her up because of a severe health concern who now have lost her altogether as she is across the country.

Why was going to the family she went to better for her?

It wasn’t.  I don’t know ANYONE who thinks it was.  No one believes a child should have five homes in 20 months.  No one believes a child should be passed around.  No one thinks a child should move unnecessarily.  No one thinks a child should leave the only family she really knows as family.  No one thinks she should lose her mama, daddy, and siblings she thought hung the moon.  Anyone who thought about it for a second wouldn’t think it was best for a child with attachment concerns to be taken from her family to a home across the country so she can go to two or three additional caregivers each week (again, not against moms working, but THIS child needed to work on attachment, not spend most of the week, waking hours wise, with several other people).

I have NO doubt that family is often a good placement for a child who can’t go home (or can’t for awhile).  I have NO doubt that sometimes fictive kin can be a good situation.  Why not have a child with someone related to the family in some way if that is a healthy place?

But why can’t ANYONE use their brains about this?

Why did Monkey *really* move?

I know the answer.  It looks good for the state’s statistics.  It was better financially for the state. It got a kid off the caseload.  The people who got her wanted another kid.

But what I’m getting back from the family is that my little girl has struggled.  And pictures, unfortunately, speak a thousand words.  I think it is reasonable to guess that they are sending the best they have.  The little girl they have is not the little girl I had.  I got new pics last night.  I was so sad looking through them.  As I went to bed last night, I looked at the “wall of [M]” as we call it.  The difference in the pics I have of her versus what they have sent of her is NIGHT AND DAY.  She isn’t the same little girl.  There are no huge smiles and obvious personality coming through.  She’s forlorn.  Desperately so.

And I’m here absolutely useless, unable to help her.

I miss my little girl so incredibly much.  I love her and just want her home where she truly belongs. But more than that, I hurt so much for what she has to go through in this process.

I’m sure the people she’s with love her and want her.  I just wish they would have thought about what was best for HER instead of what they wanted.

Bluebonnet Pics 2013

So Friday we took the kids out locally for bluebonnet pictures.  The pictures are great (if I do say so myself); but what I learned about one of my children is even better.  Swimmer was a whole different child this time.  He was natural, fun, silly, enjoyable.  He was easy-going and relaxed.  He looks so much happier.  He is really coming along.  He’s more confident, witty, everything.  I’m sure you won’t get all this from these pictures.  But if you saw the several hundred I went through, I think you might, especially if you could compare the last two sets of pictures we’ve done.

Anyway, so these are of all three kiddos 🙂

All three edit image_3 image_8 image_7 image_2 image_6 image_1 image image_4image_10 image_11 image (2) image_1 (2) image_2 (2) image_3 (2) image_4 (2) image_5 (2) image_6 (2) image_7 (2) image_8 (2)

A few workouts of the week

Sorry I’ve been MIA, but did you notice it became spring outside?  Mostly nice weather and plenty to do!

As I’ve stated before, though I don’t record every work out, I work out four days per week, without fail now.  Wow!  Each time, I realize that this is why I go to the gym.  For example, Monday’s workout was 400m run then 20 burpees, 3 times (was supposed to be 5 times, but I simply am not that cool).  There is NO way I would have finished it at home.  I hurt.  It was hard.  I got worse and worse at it.  I would have just called it a day within the first round at home.  There?  I push myself.  I need the gym, the other people’s support, etc.

On that note, Monday, two women came up to me and gave me compliments!

Other workouts – Tuesday:

Warm-up (3 rounds):

  • Samson stretch
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 dips
  • 10 squat-hops

Work-out:

  • Run 400m, THEN
  • 30 reps of each: box jumps, pull-ups, over-head squats,
  • 20 reps of each: box jumps, pull-ups, over-head squats,
  • 10 reps of each: box jumps, pull-ups, over-head squats,
  • 5 repsof each: box jumps, pull-ups, over-head squats.

Post Work-Out:

  • Row 1000m (my kids ran/walked 800m instead)

Then I came home, showered, and worked Heidi (engagement, basic commands of sit, down, stand, and crawl)

Wednesday: 

CrossFit Warm-Up (3 rounds):

  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 dips
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 back ext
  • 5 burpees

CrossFit WOD (3 rounds):

  • Run 400 (but I rowed the 2nd and 3rd rounds)
  • 12 KB Deadlifts
  • 21 box jumps

Post-WOD (supposed to be 3 rounds, but I did one):

  • I skipped the sit-ups on the back ext machine
  • 10 toe-to-bars (but I didn’t get my toes all the way up, of course)
  • 20 sit-ups

I also skipped mobility other than the butterfly stretch.

Just in case anyone reading this thinks that maybe I’m being buffalo’d, it has definitely hit me that just because they name it different things, that it is ALL working out :)

All while enjoying new jeans during the day.  No longer an 18/20.  Now wearing 14!

Two Years Ago Today

It seems like so long ago, yet not very long ago at the same time.

We moved into this house April 3rd.
We got the call for “the three” on April 6th.
On April 11th, we got a call saying that they wanted to set up delivery of “the three” (we hadn’t known we had been chosen!).
On April 13, 2011, our lives changed forever.

Now, when I got the call for “the three,” it was early in the morning on the 6th.  I had already gotten another call that day and several calls that week.  They were determined to fill up my house, it seemed.  I really thought there was something about this sibling set though.  Basically, I was only told a few things:

  • cute, blonde little 2yo
  • brother and sister were 3 and 5
  • all three had some delays, mostly speech
  • the one had a particular behavior many foster families won’t consider
  • they did share what a previous foster family did in order to minimize that issue
  • one required a pill daily forever more, but was stable
  • they were being moved because they foster family kept using inappropriate discipline

Now, anyone who has fostered more than a month (remember, we got licensed March 3rd that same year) probably could see a few places they should have asked a few more questions.  For example, why were all three delayed?  Any diagnoses?  Specialists?  Therapies?  So they’ve had at least 2 foster homes?  Why did the other not work out (story a few posts down, btw)?  I may have asked what behaviors were associated with the inappropriate discipline because though there are people who simply use unacceptable (for fostering) discipline, they usually do so in response to inappropriate or misunderstood behavior.  What was that behavior? What reason were the children in care?  Any other suspected issues?

But they were my second set of kids (though I do have previous experience with foster kids also).

So I got off the phone with my agency worker after the initial call just thinking a lot about these kids.  A few hours later, I had talked to a friend who I thought could help me with the one particular concern’s fix.  I mentioned them several times to my hubby and daughter.  The next day, I figured we hadn’t been chosen; but the kids still didn’t leave my mind.  Were they okay?  What kind of home did they get?  Wonder if they’ll come back up one day.

And they did.  As I said, April 11th, the children’s worker called the agency to see if I could accept the children on the 13th.  My worker confirmed I still even wanted the kids.  I expressed the slightest concern about the one issue, but said we’d work it out.  We were told to put the 2yo in with the 5yo (we had four boys and “the girl” at the time so to even out rooms that is what we did.  In our state, for children under six, you can put opposite gender in the same room).

Anyway, so the 13th came.  We picked up the house, enjoyed the two boys already living here, and waited.  A phone call said they’d be delayed as they had forgotten something so had to turn halfway back to meet someone to get it.  I don’t remember what that was.  So they were going to be a little late.  Okay.  It was a long drive as it was.  The children are from a town about 2½ hours away.

The kids got to the house and my first reaction was that they were so cute.  They were tiny, outgoing, energetic, and precious.  My second thought was that I couldn’t understand a single word any of them said!  Between their speech issues and their accent, we were going to have some difficulty talking with them!  Third thing that came up with the sheer amount of stuff they brought.  The other foster home had decided to close (though the agency had suggested they simply take only one child at a time, one with fewer issues); so they sent all the stuff they had accumulated to foster (table and chair set, outdoor toys, blocks, etc).  We put it all in the garage til I could go through it.

Mostly, at first, they played and watched tv with my other boys while I did paperwork.  My daughter helped “babysit” so I could focus on getting through everything.  It was A LOT.  I found out that the children had been in care a LONG time, with many cases.  I was given previous “common apps” (the paperwork CPS uses to get homes for foster kids), court documents, medical forms, birth certificates, IEPs, etc.  I got names and numbers for CASA, GAL, therapists, doctors, etc.  It was information overload really.   The worker said she’d send more more in email as she found it.

Note to new foster parents:  This is a situation where the state had a LOT more information than they let on in the common app.  They just wanted a home for these kids.  Thankfully, they found a good one that worked out.  But in order to protect yourself, ASK QUESTIONS!  Also, in a situation like this (a foster placement disruption), you could ask to speak to the foster parents, agency, or worker directly to get more information.  

So the PLAN was that a family member would adopt them.  The parents hadn’t seen the children since removal.  There were no visits.  CPS was D*O*N*E with giving services and returning the children.  A case closure in the past was supposed to make it where the kids had never gone back anyway!  So there were family members who wanted the children.  As soon as they were cleared, the kids would move to them.  Cool.  Hopefully another short term placement.  I was thinking short term placements at first might be good for us to get our feet wet.  The boys would be going home “soon” and these three probably wouldn’t be here very long either.

During the rest of the day, I had a lot of learning to do about the children.  It took time to get to understand them.  And the 5yo kept trying to be mom to the boys (wiping noses, asking about diapers, etc).  I kept taking over, but she was determined to take care of them.  She was in charge. That night, Tumbler helped my daughter and I take inventory of all their stuff.  She was too incredibly cute.  That let her brothers play without her hovering for awhile also.

At bedtime, she said something about taking care of the boys and I responded, “How about *I* will be the mama and YOU be the five year old?”  She smiled and turned away to let me do so.  When I put her to bed (she went last as it worked out best in order for me to get each kiddo in with some personal attention), she started talking about checking on her brothers and such.  John, my then 16yo, was in the hallway and asked what was wrong with the boys.  I was sure he wasn’t asking about developmental delays or health issues, so I was a bit stumped.  He says, “well, she says she needs to check on them.”  I told him that at her home (and probably, to some extent, previous foster homes) she had to be mama to them.  And I detailed some of what I had been told.  He got it. How I wish *I* had truly understood what was going to happen regarding all this (let’s just say that she didn’t, later, just smile and let me take over).

Here is a picture from April 17, 2011 (the Memorial for Christ Jesus that year).  To give you an idea how tiny they were….The boys were about to turn 3 and 4 years old (within the month).  The clothing each is wearing is size 12-24month!

1st download of pics 111

Today, in 2013, we did family day.  It just worked out that it was on the 2yr anniversary of their arrival.  It wasn’t really planned that way.  It was a very nice day with presents and a beautiful fruit tart.  20130413_145213-1At various times, we talked about how much they’ve changed and stayed the same.  We talked about how neat it was for them to be here.  And that two years is a big deal.  We talked about forever family and when they could/might leave (grown, married, have kids of their own).  One said he was staying.  The other said he was leaving as soon as he was grown.  Tumbler thinks married is a good time 🙂  As I learned with my first two, plans change.  We’ll just hope for the best regardless.

Tonight we put the kids down for bed.  Two years.  Wow.

OB: What’s a boy to do?

Given: Child better not leave bedroom after being put in there or he’ll be beaten severely.

Given: Child will be beaten severely if he wets on himself, in his bed, etc.

Given: Child has to potty more regularly than most children (ie, he is not going to make it through the night).

So what on earth was he SUPPOSED to do?   Did his first parents ever think of THAT?

I actually remember a situation like this from when I was a child.  My dad was very strict.  Usually, I was able to stay within the standards expected.  But one night when I was four, we went to my grandmother’s home.  My dad had told us not to eat anything over there.  My grandmother, of course, offered us food immediately.  I told her Daddy said no.  She said she’d worry about Daddy, eat.  So now do I disobey Dad or Grandma?  I was stuck.  My brother and I got spankings that night.  30some years later, I still can’t imagine what I was supposed to do.

My son was in a predicament one day. I had started a diet and made a chart of how many servings of X and Y.  I made each kid one also.  Why not?  I remember a checklist as a school assignment in elementary school so it seemed to make sense to teach nutrition (there is controversy about whether this was “good nutrition”).  Well, one of my categories, I had put something like grains: bread, cereal, etc.  There were three boxes next to it.  My son ate cereal for breakfast (this was before we stopped doing that).  Later, I had told the kids to get something for lunch and I had gone upstairs for something.  I came down and J was eating cereal!  What on earth?  Since when do we eat cereal twice in one day?  I fussed at him briefly, sighed, and fixed myself something for lunch.  Later, J comes to me telling me that he doesn’t understand why he “got in trouble” when the chart says cereal and has three boxes.  Poor kid.  He was just confused!  Thankfully, in our home, “we don’t eat cereal twice in a single day” and a frustrated sigh is considered discipline enough (though maybe not my best parenting, go figure).  Thankfully (even more, imo!) my son could come to me later so we could work it out! BTW, yes, I beat myself up over the confusion and fussing at him.

See, my son knew I was reasonable.  He could come to me and we could fix the problem.  And the discipline wasn’t harsh anyway though I apologized of course!  And the issue with my father was not an ongoing thing.  I remember it well since I felt I was wronged, but I didn’t live my life in such turmoil.  But *this child*?  There are several things the children expressed being similar.  They just couldn’t make “good choices” because no choice *was* good enough.  Now, we’re still working with them (8½ months after they last saw their parents…update: 25½ months…) to see that things are different here.  They will not be disciplined harshly; and regardless, we can always work to clarify things because I want it easy for them to not have to be anxious about the boundaries.

CrossFit Progress is AWESOME :)

Okay, so I stopped blogging EVERY workout.  I am going 4 days per week, usually taking off Wednesday or Thursday.  My son doesn’t usually take off a weekday.  My daughter usually takes off Wed or Thurs, the opposite of me.

So this weekend, we cleaned out our storage room (the last foster kids had 16 boxes of stuff CPS told us to “do something with” plus all our own stuff, needing to organize kid clothes before we get another child who probably will need clothing, etc).  While doing so, I found my bathing suit.  Of course, I decided that I needed pics to compare with my last swim suit pics.  The difference was absolutely amazing!  I’m so glad I did that!  One day, I’ll post pics; I just want my “current” pic to be half decent first.

Okay, so this morning’s workout showed me some real progress also:

  •  During warm-up, J, the trainer, was so happy we were doing all our pull-ups on the bar.  She didn’t care how many bands it took us to do so!  So my first goal is to get to all 10 without the red band.  Then I’m going to try to drop down to less helpful bands.  It’ll be a long time, I’d guess, til my pull-ups are unassisted.  
  • During the WOD, I did some actual box jumps, not just step-ups, also (the first one holding my daughter’s hands “just in case” to get a feel for it).  Pretty cool, huh?  
  • Post-workout was 1000m row.  I liked that one because I noticed that I now have my time a FULL minute faster!  The first time I remember trying for was 3min 30 seconds per 500m.  As I rowed, I’d try to stay very close to that.  Now I try to stay under 2min 45sec for 500m.  And I did throughout the row!

So progress is good.

I do want to share something to other people who may be obese when they start CrossFit.  I’m not proud of this; but I wish someone would have told me.  However, it is kinda gross, so those of you who have always been decently fit, probably want to stop here and call it a day.

That was your warning.

Stop now if you don’t want or need the “issues of the obese” part of this discussion.

Okay, I’m assuming anyone still reading is duly warned 🙂

So one issue with losing weight is the sag of skin, fat rolls, etc.  It just is a fact of life for those of us who are obese.  It can be worked on naturally, but it’ll take time.  In the meantime, we have these “flaps.”  Sometimes, people with “flaps” find that they have more issues such as yeast growth.  For that, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are good natural ways to take care of it.

But last week, I had an additional issue.  Getting off the back extension machine, I ripped my skin, under “the womanly pooch” in two places.  I had gotten my “flap” caught on it before, but nothing like this.  It was SO bad.  It really hurt.  I used some ointment on it to help it heal; but I really wanted to find some way not to get caught up on it again.  What I ended up doing was using one of those panty tummy tuckers.  A cheapy one from Walmart will work.  Make sure it is a little tight though.  Anyway, that holds the flap closer to your body.  It also makes it more solid so that you can slide on it rather than getting it hung up on things.

Again, I know it isn’t a nice aspect of the situation to talk about.  However, it is my reality and no doubt is the reality of many other obese people as they start to get more fit.  This is just a fix I found.

Another OB (with some commentary): TPR Trial

The following parts were originally written in November 2011, just after my children’s first parents’ TPR trial.  Obviously, things were considerably emotional.  The day of the trial, I wrote:

I am thrilled that the children finally are safe from their biological parents and have a chance for permanency.  I am thrilled that we’ll be able to pursue adoption.

However, today was NOT happy day.  Three beautiful, wonderful, special children lost what could have and should have been their most precious relationship as youngsters.  Two adults lost the relationship with three awesome, lovely, incredible kids.  Today’s decision will allow for some beautiful things to happen; but it also was the culmination of six years of neglect and abuse ending in yet another hurt for these very young children.  We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t consider the gravity of the situation even though we are excited about the joy that will come from it.

So a couple things happened during the TPR trial that made me  feel good.

The first is that as I was walking off the stand, the children’s caseworker turned to her supervisor and said, “she is amazing.”  Okay, so I got the big head for a moment.  Of course, then I went straight to beating myself up over two things not mentioned, one of which could have opened the door to certain other discussions.  Obviously, it wasn’t a fatal error.

Second – Note to Defense Attorney:  Don’t mess with Mama.

I may not yet be the children’s legal mother, but I most certainly *am* their Mama.  Maybe the defense attorney missed that as he was preparing for this case?  I don’t see how.  Everything I say and do oozes love for these children.

So basically, my testimony was just to say the children are thriving, growing, and developing well since being put in my home.  I put hard numbers to prove the point.  I had clothing sizes, weights, heights, speech (and OT) evals broken down, a list of changed behaviors, a list of new abilities, a list of changed beliefs/feelings/thoughts, a list of new experiences, etc.

The defense attorney gets to me and says dismissively, “okay, [T-lo] has gained under a pound per month and [Swimmer] has gained just over a pound per month?”

Mama Bear was ready :)

“Sir, average growth for a 2-9year old child is 4-5 pounds per year.  [T-lo] has gained that much from April 13 to Oct 11th. [Swimmer] *doubled* that in the same six months. That is catch-up growth.”

Mess with me!

So this came about because the caseworker had called and asked me if I could *prove* the children were thriving in my home.  I said I could; but to be honest, I was a little worried about if I really could.  Everyone who has known these kids during those seven months (and in the case of some CPS workers, family members, and the like, it was five years) could see that the children had taken off.  But could I *prove* it in court acceptable ways?  And to be honest, I was also worried of offending anyone while doing it.  Honestly, a LOT of people had dropped the ball in terms of caring for these children.  The court gave them back to their first parents.  So did family after a “case closure” which was supposed to protect them from ever living with their parents again.  Foster parents and caseworkers hadn’t made sure that certain care was given to them. More importantly, these first parents had severely neglected and abused their children. How do I say what all we had done without offending all those who messed up?

But I’m so glad I did the work to show the children really were progressing so beautifully:

 I sat down with their folders (They each have three: one for school, one for history, and one with current case/health related items) and got the FACTS.  I then typed them up.  What I had was gold, hard proof my children were flourishing.  I think this was much more important than being able to put a lawyer in his place.  It allowed ME to see awesome progress.

One lesson that hubby and I learned is something we have to be reminded of many many times since that day in November 2011.  Here is how I wrote it the day after TPR:

Another big thing came from yesterday in Hubby’s and My hearts.  Sometimes 7 months seems like a short time and sometimes it feels like plenty long enough for certain changes in the children.  Yesterday, hubby and I learned why seven months is NOTHING and why it may take us a few years for certain things to happen for our Littles.  Those few years will probably be hard work for us in terms of attachment, teaching, and loving.  We are up for it :)

Yes, 7 months was nothing.  15 months wasn’t anything either.  Next week, we’ll be at 24 months.  Some days are still *really* hard.  Some issues come in waves.  Others slap us in the face because things were going so well just before the issue comes up again.  The “power of three” (I’ll write about that another time) drives me batty. Many days I’m scared for them.  Most days there is some hope though.  They’ve come so far.  They may or may not ever fully heal from what their first parents and the system did to them.  But we will be there every step of the way, here to love them, help them, and hope for them.  With God, all things are possible….in this system or the next 🙂

Bloody Tears

So Tuesday morning, we were getting the house picked up and brushing teeth, that sort of thing, after breakfast.  I asked Swimmer to put the soaps up from the side of the tub (we aren’t allowed to have shampoo and such out in foster homes; ridiculous really).  Well, I walk away as T-lo is brushing his teeth.  The boys start arguing.  It comes down to T-lo saying he is going to put toothbrush on Swimmer’s toothbrush which Swimmer didn’t appreciate.

So I walk into the bathroom and reach around T-lo, playing with his nose, as if I was gluing it back on.  He looked at me like I was crazy (I’m used to that).  So I told him, “I’m putting your nose back on your own face so you’ll keep it out of your brother’s business.”  He starts crying, wipes his eyes, fixes his glasses.  I say, “you will not touch your brother’s toothbrush.”

Then I see it:

So I freak.

I turn him around, pull him off the stool he’s standing on, and say over and over, “why are your eyes bleeding?”

He wipes them again.

More tears, darker bloody tears.

What on earth?!?!?!  I look at his hands.  There is more on his hands than he could have wiped in two wipes (yet not an extreme amount); but it looks partially dried.  I ask, “What is all this from?”

“My eyes bleeding.”

“They were bleeding before?  Why didn’t you tell me?”  I’m desperately checking his eyes, saying over and over, “why are your eyes bleeding?”

I wipe his tears.  Nothing.

I look more, pulling down the bottom lid carefully.  Nothing.  There is no evidence it ever was bleeding.  HUH?

And then it hits me.

We had had deviled eggs (made with guacamole instead of mayo, sprinkled with smoked paprika) for breakfast.  He had asked me for a napkin for his hands.  I had given him a wipe.  Guess he didn’t use it very well.  So when he rubbed his eyes, emotional because I had “fussed” at him, the paprika stained his tears, I guess. I told him to wash his hands well and try to calm down.

WAY too interesting!  SO much for getting my boring life back!  LOL

Swimmer

So Tumbler was whiny, really whiny so I put her in bed for a nap at 10:15ish this morning.  Obviously she needed it as she didn’t get up until after 12:30!

Anyway, after I put her to bed, I walked back to the main part of the house and found Swimmer reading the newspaper, which he continued to do for about 15 minutes!

reading the paper

OB: Potty Training – The Method

REPOST:   The long awaited potty training method post :)

This is the method I used for my son when he was 25months old.  It is what I’ve used for numerous daycare kids (in-home), foster children, and I tweaked to make work in childcare centers.  The average child can do this at 16-30 months old.  If you try at the younger levels for a day or two and see they just aren’t getting it, try again in two or three months.  Almost every child will potty train by 2½ years old.  The longer you wait, the harder it is because 1) they have gotten used to sitting in their mess and 2) they start really ramping up the orneriness  :)

  • Daycare children have the benefit of positive peer pressure.
  • Most children have the benefit of wanting to please mom and dad.
  • Foster children have the challenge of this being a key thing they can control as well as often not having the secure attachment to their caregiver to try to please them over everything else.

Please keep these points in mind :)   Above all else, do NOT do the following if you are likely to be stressed out about the process.  It really is not beneficial for the parent (or parent figure) to yell, spank, punish, or even show disappointment.  And it can cause the process to take much longer.  Worse, it can cause not so fun issues like encopresis, long term holding it, etc.

Okay, so here we go:

GOAL:  To teach child 1) to recognize when he needs to go to the potty, 2) what happens after he has the need, and 3) how to handle things like clothing, wiping, etc.

Get Ready:  You’ll want to be ready for a party.

  • Snack foods (I call this the Cheetos method because Cheetos work well; but various snacks that will cause thirst such as crackers, snack mixes, etc would work).
  • Juice and water, whichever your child will drink more of.  The more you get the child to drink, the more successful you’ll be.
  • VERY watery foods like watermelon if you would like SOME healthiness in the method.
  • A child’s potty if that is what you want to use.  A stool for the big potty if you are using that.  If you are a daycare teacher, you have THE best set up already as you probably have child-sized, but real(!), potties.
  • Wipes, toilet paper, etc for cleaning kiddo
  • Cleaning supplies for messes.
  • Something for soiled undies and cloth cleaning supplies

Method:

  • Set up shop in bathroom or kitchen (a room easy to clean up messes in.  In summer, outside parties may work if you use a potty chair.
  • Keep upbeat
  • Tell child that we’re going to learn to use the potty
  • Eat and drink and be merry :)   This is THE key
  • Possibly teach a baby doll
  • Every 10-20 minutes, depending on the kid (15 is pretty normal), have child try to use the potty.
  • Child should be taught to pull his pants down himself.
  • If you are using a child-sized real potty or a stool in front of the real potty, it is easier to teach boys standing up.  Have them hold the seat up for this phase of learning.  That has them hitting the water with the pee :)   For a potty, boys and girls should be leaning slightly forward.  Boys should be encourage to hold himself down (We use anatomically correct wording here, but I’m not brave enough to say it on the internet as I don’t need wackos coming to be blog).
  • I teach boys a quick shake.  Girls learn to wipe.
  • If you are using a reward, give it after they potty (a resistant child may need some extra motivation for sitting on the potty even)

Other points:

  • If kiddo has an accident, help him clean it up; but let him do it.  He may need help manipulating wet clothing, but only help. Don’t do it for him.
  • Daytime training often comes before night time training.  If your child was night time dry before you tried, expect a few days of night time wetting but within a couple weeks, he’ll probably stay dry at night again.
  • Urine training sometimes comes before BM training.  Some kids can take an extra 3-6months for BMs; but in my experience, most don’t.

Why does this work?  Mostly because if a child is going to the potty every 15-ish minutes:

  • he is getting the sensation of needing to urinate many times close together.  He doesn’t have a lot of time to forget inbetween which will allow him to LEARN the sensation and REMEMBER it from one time to the next.
  • he is learning that when he gets that sensation, pee pee comes out of him.
  • he is getting A LOT of practice manipulating his shorts and shirts (girls also learn to manipulate dresses).

After 4 hours, your child will have had a LOT of opportunity to learn the above.  You should be able to tell by the end of the four hour party if you will need to do it again tomorrow or if he has gotten the idea.  I wouldn’t worry at all about nap time and bedtime for right now.  In the afternoon, you can offer the potty every 30-60 minutes (most children do beautifully with 45 minutes between tries).  Just go based on your child’s needs.

Success rate?  All but two children I’ve taught with this method has learned with few/no accidents within a week or two.  I have started working in a daycare (twos room) at the beginning of summer twice.  Both times, I’ve had all but 1 or 2 kids potty trained in the first week.  The hold outs were potty trained the next week. At home, it may be easier to get success sooner because you can do a full potty party for 1-3 days as necessary where daycare teachers have to tweak the party.  My son potty trained, at home, at 25months old, despite delays, with one potty party day, no daytime accidents from day four and on.

There were two long term hold outs.  Both were foster children with physical issues.  I’d still do the potty party for 2 or 3 days every couple months.  Just know that they do have control on this issue and these kids often take the control when they can.  Physical issues MAY hinder their ability to notice the sensation of needing to go OR to get to the potty in time.

I hope this helps a little :)

Monday, April First

BLAH.  That is how I feel today.  I don’t know what is wrong!

So I woke up about 4:45 with the help of Heidi. I should insert a cute puppy picture here.  It is amazing how fast puppies change!

1364861424-picsayShe actually went back to sleep; but, of course, I needed to potty so couldn’t.  And hubby was in the bathroom getting ready for work; so I had to wait.

I took Heidi outside, read a few things online, then got the kids up to make the 6:30 WOD at the box. I did the warm-up.  It was a basic warm up, no biggie, until the end.  1000m row.  I seriously didn’t think I was going to make it.  Maybe that should have been my first clue something was up.  So we tried our first lifting today.  It went well.  I did the best of the three of us 🙂  I wish I had paid better attention to the weights though.  Maybe I can ask N tomorrow what we did.  The first ones were with no weight.  The second was with weights on the ends.  The third set had tiny weights added too.  I could have done more (more weight and more in number).  But it was probably a good thing we didn’t!  Then we did LifeFit, supposedly doing 4 rounds, 5 if you’re feeling it.  Ha!  Run with a Medicine Ball 100m.  10 pull-ups (we did rows). Med Ball Run 100m. 5 Burpees.  I did two rounds then did the runs without the med ball for the 3rd round.  Then stopped.  I was done.

Anyway, at about 9:30 I went to lie down for an hour.

I took the boys to swim lessons.  They did great!  Swimmer’s backstroke is NICE!  T-lo did a couple cool things also.

When we got home, I made lunch then set them up so I could take a nap.  I woke up, took Tumbler to CrossFit Kids.  When I got home, I got supper started; but all I really wanted to do was go to sleep.  Seriously go to sleep.  So I’m writing this and trying to stay up til 8pm then going to bed.

I figure something is wrong.  I don’t feel sick in any real way, just DEAD tired.

Anyway, the kids have had good and bad days lately.  Tumbler’s bad day was today.  T-lo’s was yesterday.  I’m hoping Swimmer doesn’t go nuts tomorrow.  Well, and hopefully the other two do better also.  Maybe we can plan on the park Wednesday afternoon.  They are getting plenty of physical activity at home and sports and such, but….Oh, that reminds me that I wanted to look up the homeschool day for the other local zoo.  I’ll go do that and go to bed.

im_so_tired_today-1592