Friday, April 30, 2010

Well...Who da' Thunk!

Last night was interesting to say the least.  Both my husband and I learned something new about Dani.  For the past couple of weeks we have known that my husband's son is graduating from college today and the whole family (my husband's side of the family) will be making the trek down to Provo.  And Dani for the most part was excited to see her brothers.  But last night when we started talking about what time we needed to get up, etc she started having a melt down saying she had to go to school...she couldn't miss school.  We both tried to calm her down, even tried sending her to her room because during that meltdown, our grandchildren were over with mom and dad, didn't want to upset the rest of the family.  So Dani makes her last proclamation that she wasn't going and that's that.  After some thinking and dicsussion with my husband we both came to the same conclusion that there was something she was avoiding, something was scaring her.  She doesn't do very well in big crowds so we thought that was the answer.  Well come to find out this morning when I woke her up at 4:30am (my eyes were barely open) she confided in me that she didn't want to be around dad's ex-wife.  Everytime we were in a setting that the ex was involved in, she somehow made what we call a "zinger" at Dani, making some kind of rude remark and with Dani's obsessiveness, she mulls that over in her mind over and over until it makes her sick and the meltdown was her way of telling us "hell no I won't go".  So dad and I didn't force the issue with her, we areed with her and let her go to school.  Besides that she has solo try outs today in choir and she didn't want to miss that.  It just strikes me funny how these kids bring a voice to their fears.  It's definately not rational but it is the best they can do  isn't it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Words of Comfort and Joy!

I finally figured out today why I blog.  At first I thought it was to help educate others who are going through what I am going reach out there, but there is another reason!  It's so that my blogger friends can reach out to me.  You all are teaching me, inspiring me, and encourging me and I do so appreciate it.  One true blogger friend emailed me back this morning giving me some loving advice which I am taking.  I have made up a binder for my husband to take on the road with him.  It is full, and I mean full, of articles of every aspect of the FASD world.  I just hope he will take it with him on the road and that he will at least open it up.  I thought about even going through the articles and highlightening the important parts, since he doesn't like to read to begin with.  But if I simplify it hopefully he will take an interest in it.  So thank you my dear friend for your advice.  And by the way...I have said many times "Hey...who is the adult and who is the child...I feel like I am babysitting here because both of you are acting like children"!  That didn't get me very far, just a very upset husband.  Oh well, I will forge on. 

I want to say something husband is not an animal nor is he a bad guy.  In reality, he is really a fantastic, loving man with a HUGE heart.  He married me with four daughters when he raised boys, not girls so this is a different world to him.  And then he marries a woman (me) who has a daughter with special needs.  That's got to be hard.  And please...I am not making excuses for his behavior either, theres just another side of him.  But I think as parents and marriage partners or any kind of partners, we are all striving for happiness, no matter what kind of family we have, no matter what color we all are or the ages, we all crave two basic needs...LOVE and HAPPINESS!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Emotional Cleanup!

I don't know what is worse, the actual fighting in a family or the aftermath where we are all licking our wounds from the harsh and mean words that have been said.  In my family you could swear your are watching a tennis match, back and forth...back and forth!  But the unfortunate one wins.  For me I can pretty well numb myself up from the angry words but for my Dani...not so easy.  She gets more clingy, very emotional, needing those little checks from mom that let's her know that she is okay.  So I called mental health today to get her back into counseling and her counselor is out for a while, had heart surgery (God bless her) so we get a new counselor...a guy!  Dani has for along time trust issues with...guys.  Been hurt and let down so many times in the past, was even hard for her to open up to her male counselor when she was at the state hospital.  But she surprised me by saying "that's okay mom, I can handle it".

So next week starts a new challenge to start getting her back on the right path again.  I just wish I could stop and take a breather and get my sanity together...someday!

Usual Venting...Got to Get it Off my Chest!

Why is it so hard for men, not all men, to understand a child/teen's disabilities, problems, stressors, etc.  Why do some men feel it is okay to constantly put down and let that child/teen know there faults and try to hold them to higher standards when they themselfs can't do it?  We all know, as parents to these special kids, that we can not hold these kids to the normal standards/rules, whatever we want to call them as an adult or a kid without these challenges. My husband for one is famous for making sure Danielle knows what she has done wrong, drills it into her to the point of her being in tears and saying things like "maybe it's better that I am not here"!  What kind of man would drive his daughter to say something like that?  When we have had doctors, psychologists/psychiatrists, counselors tell us both...that being a parent to a child with FASD is a challenge and to throw those damn parenting books out the window.  I understand it, I even teach this to other parents but he just doesn't get it.  So now, I am where several mothers are at this point in time...what do I do?  What do I do?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Miracles Do Happen...It Happened Today!

Well...for years I have tried to get Dani to clean her room, not just shove stuff under her bed but deep clean her room.  I don't know what got under her skin today but I came home and she was so excited about something, she was bouncing off the walls.  When I opened my car door Dani was right there asking if she could help with anything.  I said "no honey, I'm fine but thanks for asking".  She dragged me into the house, had me close my eyes and directed me to her room and as soon as she told me to open my was like the angels were singing, it was one of those "AH..." moments.  I was so surprised, I was speechless...but the look on her face was priceless.  So let me sum it up...1) Long day at work 2) Too tired to move 3)  Dani's face when she showed me her room?  Priceless!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Excellent Article Everyone Should Read!

I borrowed this article from a fellow blogger which I feel is extremely important to read and get the message out there to the public about drinking and being pregnant.

Guest editorial: Behavior problem can be detected
By Carolyn Szetela, Ph.D., and Roger Zoorob, M.D., MPH • April 18, 2010

The recent news of a 7-year-old boy adopted from Russia and returned to his home country because of alleged behavioral problems calls to mind a new family struggling to find the routine, comfort and acceptance that helps most families function.

Whether a child is adopted, foster parented or raised by biological parents, children with significant behavioral problems should be evaluated for alcohol-related birth disorders, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Alcohol is a teratogen, meaning that it can cause birth defects in the developing fetus. The level of risk is higher when alcohol is used in higher quantities and at critical times of fetal development. In the United States as well as Russia, the use of alcohol during pregnancy is common, and many pregnant women are not aware of the risks.

In the United States, about one out of every 10 women report drinking in the past month of pregnancy, and about one out of 25 pregnant women reports binge drinking of five or more drinks per occasion in the past month.

Children who have experienced foster care have higher rates of FASD. This may contribute to the findings of a recently announced Swedish study that more than half of 71 children adopted from Eastern European countries were affected by FASD.

Often overlooked problem

FASD is often overlooked and presents differently in every affected child and adult. It can manifest in mild to severe learning, mental, behavioral and/or physical disabilities. Children who are affected and their families often go through their lives without understanding the cause of their struggles to function and fit in, and without access to the interventions to help them manage.

While there is no single blood test or psychological screen that can tell if a person is affected, trained health professionals can typically identify when FASD is present and propose strategies and interventions for doing better. Meharry Medical College is host to the Southeastern FASD Regional Training Center, which urges more public attention to this health issue and trains health providers to identify and help manage the disorder.

It is not appropriate to offer an "armchair diagnosis" of the child spotlighted in the Russian adoption case, and multiple causes may influence any behavioral problems he may have. However, an FASD evaluation should be part of any child's health evaluation for persistent cognitive, developmental or behavioral challenges.

Parenting is difficult in the best of circumstances, and parenting high-needs children is sometimes overwhelming. When FASD is present, the question of blame is irrelevant. Acknowledging the possibility of FASD is an opportunity for the child and parents to understand the child's difficulties and help restore their best potential.

And one more thing: If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, remember that alcohol is a known teratogenic drug that targets the developing baby's brain. No mother wants to harm her child. FASDs are 100 percent preventable.

Carolyn Szetela, Ph.D., and Roger Zoorob, M.D., MPH are based at Meharry Medical College and the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders South East Regional Training Center.

Resistence is Futile!

Here's my Sunday morning so far:

"Dani...time to get up (as her alarm is going off)"

"No" (major whining)

"Dani...time to get up and get ready for church!...Now!"


Five minutes later - " made me a promise last night if I let you stay up a little later"

"I did not make a leave me alone"

"Well then, I guess your trip to California is off"

"Oooook, I'm up (as she is grumbling all the way to the bathroom"

What a wonderful way to start a Sunday.  When Dani was at the State Hospital a couple of years ago now, during one of our counseling sessions, we discussed rules in our house that were not negotable.  And going to church was one of them.  So, if she views me as the "Borg" and that I am trying to assimilate her, then let the games begin!  Happy Sunday everyone! 

Footnote:  As far as the picture of the daisy goes...I just love the flower, it's one of the happiest flowers out there besides the sunflower, which is another one of my favorites.  Just wanted to give this cranky post a cheerful feel!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What Are Our Children Learning???

Today was an interesting day when it comes to conversations.  My husband and I belong to a family that are strong supporters of "The Constitution", "The Bill of Rights", etc.  We read, or I should say I read, my husband listens while he drives books about our founding Fathers.  We love our country and what it stands for.  Dani got involved in this conversation and she had real no idea who our first presidents were.  What she knew was from what she learned from the movie "National Treasure".  Come to find out, and in looking at her school history book, the kids are not being taught American history.  So with that said, we spent a wonderful afternoon reading "The Constitution" and talking about it.  Now...the test will be if she remembers what we talked about.  But then again, it wasn't about the learning, it was all about spending the time together in discussion instead of arguing or having one of those FASD meltdowns.  Or dad and Dani butting heads, to see who gets the last word, etc.  Usually when we have these kinds of discussions, Dani gets mad and frustrated because she always feels she is right and mom and dad don't have a clue!  But today, it was wonderful!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Technical Difficulties!

HELP!  Somehow, someway, I lost my background and I am not able to put another one on.  I've tried everything so please bear with me and my format.  I am not a big fan of this one but until I figure this I am.

Down Memory Lane...

After my last post I decided to look at some old photos stored on my hard-drive and found just a few of my favorites.

This photos i when her dad and I bought this little four-wheeler for her to help boost her confidence in something.  Her driving our big Polaris was fun and all but not very safe for her because of her lack of strength in her hands.  We nicked-named this little machine "shortie".  And shortly after that, Dani received the honorary name of "Crash".  I think the name says it all!

The picture was taken on top of Ben Lomand Mountain up from Willard Bay, Utah.  This was one of Dani's weekend's home from the hospital. Went ATVing with my brother in law and his wife.  It was cold, rainy and windy and we took part in a rescue that didn't end good.  But Dani was a trooper through it all.

I especially love the last picture.  Dani has a love for horses.  She so wanted to learn to ride so her dad and I signed her up for lessons.  The look of joy on her face is something I haven't seen in a long time.  But alas...the next time she went riding, her horse, named "Red" stepped on her foot, scaring her from riding again.  But she still loves horses.  She has a great collection.

Taking a Deep Breath...

It's Friday...I would like to take a moment and say "Thank God"!  I am extremly blessed right now because Dani is at a school dance until about 9pm and I am sitting on my recliner, feet up, no TV or radio on, no noise but my dog snoring. And I am instant messaging back and forth with my wonderful daughter in Maryland.  This feels so good...I almost feel guilty.  Tomorrow is catch-up day.  Been so busy with work and Dani drama that I've neglected my home...and myself.  Laundry that needs to be folded, my own personal bed (this is embarrassing) I washed the sheets last weekend but haven't made the bed yet.  How tacky is that?  I just wish I could hire someone to come in and do a deep cleaning for me.  I use to be such a fanatic over a clean house, it was the way I was raised you see, but with raising three daughters then Dani arrived when my youngest was 8 yrs old, other priorities took over.  Then I deal with the "Bad Mommy, Bad Housewife" syndrome and then I say to myself..."OH WELL"!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Disgusted and Angry! Disclaimer...This is just my opinion!

I have to vent here just a little bit.  The more I hear about this so called mother, who adopted this boy from Russia, the more upset I get.  What kind of a society do we live in?  We have become so disposable, not just our food, garbage, marriages, well you get the picture...but all of a sudden our society is beginning to dispose of children!  Oh my goodness...little Johnny is having some behavioral problems, I think I'll just blame it on the country, even his birth parents, oh no better yet the people who let me adopt him.  I think all us parents who have adopted probably feel the same revulsion.  Adoption to me is no different than giving birth.  Even in adoption there are labor pains (to me it's the whole legal process) and then once the judge signs the paper...tah-dah...a child is born and a family is created! :)

When I took Danielle out of her birth mother's arms and announced that this child was mine now...I had no idea what was in store with this child, had no idea what was in her DNA grab-bag.  But it didn't matter I chose to be her mother.  Let me say that again, it's so profound..."I CHOSE TO BE HER MOM"! Whew that felt enough of my ranting.  Hats off to all us adoptive parents who have stuck through the behavior problems, the mental illness, the disabilities, all the sleepless nights, the phone calls to the counselors, the doctor appointments, the constant worry about that child's future, etc...all because we believe we can make a difference in one or more child's life and shame on those people who think children with problems are disposable.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Better World Today...

Today is a much better day.  I also figured out that Dani hasn't been getting the sleep she so desperately needs.  When she first arrived in our family, she didn't sleep.  Oh she would sleep for a couple of hours here and there but otherwise she would be wide awake, angry at the world.  Little did we know that she was suffering from withdrawls.  It all makes sense now. husband and I have to make sure she gets to bed on time so she can sleep at least 12hrs a night.  If it's less than 8...then we are in trouble.  So the past couple of nights I have made sure she has gotten to bed by 8pm, no later and surprisingly she is doing so much better.  There something to be said about sleep.  Now...if only I could get some restful sleep, then this would be such a happy household!  :)

Which brings me to another subject...summer!  The mere mention of the word brings terror in the hearts and souls of parents...especially in mine.  Since Dani is 15 there are no daycares that would accomodate her and her older sister just had her third daughter so I am not about to barge into her life with babysitting issues.  Yes, Dani can help with the kids but after while things can get stressful because Dani can be as loud and playful as a regular 6 year old. is my problem...I work full time (have to)...does anyone have any ideas on what to do with my teen during the summer months?  I am all ears!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Commercial Break...

For those of you who read my blog's and wonder if this behavior is all normal...I have this to say...Yes!  Just right around when spring starts, and that is usually in March, a child/teen with FASD and who may have also secondary disorders to go along with it like Bipolar/ADHD etc, the behaviors become irratic.  Emotions run high (especially in girls who are maturing) tempers flare easily, you name it it happens.  And along with that it is the wind down of everyone, and I mean everyone is all keyed up.  Which doesn't help the child/teen who is affected by these disorders.  So, if you are one of my readers, please don't turn and run the other way and think that my household is so dysfunctional, what the heck is this mother doing, etc.  I am normal, Dani is normal and this will all pan out real soon.  It always does.  By the time school is out and she can breath without the stress of being around so many kids, the pressures of work, etc...she will be fantastic and I will be able to breath easier.  Just know that my prayers and thoughts are out there with you all and if I could give one piece of advice to any parent who faces these challenges...please take care of yourself emotionally...physically...and spiritually.  Because without God's hand in your life and without the proper care, things are much harder.  Peace be with you all!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Need A Time-Out...Again!

Whew!!! And I need to take a deep breath.  I don't know what is worse, having a headache that won't go away or dealing with an explosive teen.  After a good weekend...I knew it was too much for her.  We had a major melt-down tonight.  First I caught her in my room...again taking a couple of my rings after telling me to my face that she didn't.  But the worse part is...I was sitting in the livingroom and I heard her talking.  Thought maybe she was talking to herself.  Then I heard her say that she was working a double shift last Thursday and then a triple shift on Friday.  Then and there I felt her reality was a little off base.  So I went by her bedroom door and listened some more...she was talking to one of her friends and she started telling her that this guy she knows comes over after school to watch TV but they never get to the TV part.  Well, I am one of those mom's that has to work away from home so she is by herself for about an hour and a half before I get home.  I walked right into her room, took that phone away and told her she just lost her phone for a very long time.  That phone is for emergencies only.  Then she blew up, she started packing her bags, screaming at me that I don't love her that all I want to do is get rid of her that she hates my f(#)(#*&$ face and she is running away to her sisters in California.  Whoa...time out here.  Let's check reality...something is wrong and in talking with my husband tonight, it's always around this time of the year she looses it.  Stay tuned for more details.  We'll see if we make it through the night before the police are called or I take her up to the hospital.  This is the hardest part of being a parent to a child/teen with any kind of mental illness or emotional illness.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Faith Will See Us Through"

I really don't have anything to report that has to do with the title of this blog but I just liked it.  I have this saying on my livingroom wall...and it says it all in times of happiness and trials!  But this weekend was a good weekend for us.  A lot of activities which usually sends a child with FASD over board...but Dani handled it really well.  I think I found the combination or the secret to calming her's talking in softer tones when there is so much activity and putting her in charge or something...anything.  We spent the day Saturday at her niece's first soccer game of the season and then we all went down to Salt Lake to the aquarium.  I put her in charge of watching her little niece and follow her, make sure she didn't get into any trouble and Dani did a wonderful job.  I am proud of her.  But by the end of the day she was pretty exhausted.  But she was a champ...proud of her!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shopping with FASD...Oh My!

Have you ever tried going shopping, for yourself, with your child or teen who has FASD?  I forgot what it was like, it's been awhile, only because by the time I get home from work, I am totally exhausted.  Well tonight I had a little extra energy and decided to go to a couple of places.  Laying out the plans and expectations with Danielle.  Ok, we're off to a good start, but while I am looking around she comes up to me and asks about taxes.  Ok, harmless question, no problem.  Then minutes later she starts with the compulsive thinking and saying over and over again, not in rapid succession but within minutes of each statement..."I just need to save up for five weeks and I can get this!"  And then the next store, she found something else to fixate on, and then the same statements begins again.  By the time we get home I am mentally exhausted.  Then the bomb shell...right before she goes to bed...

"Mom...can I ask you a question?"

"Sure honey, what is it?"

"Can I have a raise in my allowance?"

"Why, what's up honey?"

"I want to get those things I saw tonight"  

So I told her I had to think about it and figure out how much is a good raise.  She said she wanted $10 a week, again I told her I would have to think on it.  So...I guess I will go think about it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Today was a good day for my family.  Started with the traditional Easter breakfast consisting of pancakes, bacon, strawberries, orange juice for the adults and special juice drinks for the grandkids.  There were special baskets for the granddaughters, Dani got a new Easter dress (which she looks gorgeous in) and I got some important time with my family.  Couldn't ask for better times.  Then my daughter Brenna and her husband Jason went home for the Easter Bunny to hide the eggs, went there for the hunt.  Fun times.  Then Dani and I went out to dinner, we both didn't feel up to cooking and my husband is in California for a delivery.  Then we laid back all day.  Good complaints!  Hope everyone's day was good too~