Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Saturday, January 18, 2014
You have to know that over time we have tried everything, said and done all the things that seem so obviously like they should help. But in many ways they haven't gotten through. For example, we have modeled saying goodnight, like a typical parent and child do, and we have taught it, but short of making it a nightly rule, S and W are still likely to go to bed without ever checking in with a parent unless they are reminded. This may sound like no big deal, but when you experience it time and time again for years you realize how unusual it is, and why it actually happens. The idea of being parented has still not sunk in. They are living in a family and going through the motions, but still not relying on the family, or feeling true loyalty to the family. They have experienced brain trauma. And that will take a long time, and a lot of baby steps, to undo.
Steve and I think of it this way: it's as if we are on one side of a two-man saw, and the girls are on the other. They are holding as and Steve and I push the saw forward and back, but they are not actually pushing with us, or putting their weight into it. So, to anyone on the outside it looks as if we are functioning like any other saw team. Even for the girls it can be very difficult to understand what they are doing differently from every other saw team—every other family. They are going through the motions. They are leaning forward and back. Their hands are on the saw. What is missing? Why do Mom and Dad look so exhausted on the other side of the saw? But for us it is easy to feel the push and pull that is missing. We came from healthy families, and we have other children who have not been traumatized. We know what it really could feel like if we were all pushing and pulling with all of our might.
These new understandings have been really fascinating. And they make it easier to cope, and easier to know how to react to each bewildering situation. If you can stand back and not take it personally (which is sometimes possible, but certainly not all the time), it's like living in an emotional experiment.
Monday, December 16, 2013
I just made the dumb mistake of trying to take him with me to my volunteer gig reading with kids in Ruby's fifth grade class every other week. There is a reason--a major one that starts with C and sounds like 'ryrus'--that I only agreed to do this on the days I had babysitting. But a friend asked me to trade her this week, and I owed her a favor.
"What's the worst that can happen?" I thought. I see moms at the school with toddlers all the time. And I know Cyrus loves watching the iPad, so that should do the trick--not.
Right when I walked into the classroom he wriggled out of my arms and took off down the hall. And this kid is FAST. We are talking get-up-on-your-toes-pump-your-arms-and-sprint to catch him fast. The teacher asked, "Which student do you need first?"
"Ruby! To chase her brother down the hall," I replied. Ruby took off down the hall, only to find him in the sixth grade classroom.
We made it through a few students with him watching the iPad, eating every piece of gum in my purse, and unraveling a whole container of floss. Phew. Survivable so far, right? This is number 5, and I'm beyond embarrassment for such little things.
But then when he started spitting the gum out on the floor and running away every time I turned my attention to a student, it was too much. The worst of those was just all the way down two halls, trailing floss, with only a janitor and another mom to stare at me as I ran by. After that one I decided to tell Mrs. Thompson it was a lost cause and I'd have to leave. But as I tried to clean up he wriggled away from me and ran away one more time. I put on my best sprinter form and took off after him, but it was too late! I watched him round the corner into the sixth grade classroom and heard the giggles begin. I ran in only to be caught in a ridiculous game of dodge-mom-around-the-desks with Cyrus. The giggles got louder as the kids saw I had no chance of getting to him. Finally I cried "It's not funny! Stop him!" One boy took mercy on me and cornered him. As I picked him up and ran out of the room, I heard the torrent of laughter erupt behind me. I think I heard the teacher say something about how I just made their day. Good thing she saw it that way:)
Just another day's work with Cyrus. This number 5 is giving me a run for my money!
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sorry sorry sorry, everybody! I finally pulled the trigger and went private, and then immediately didn't feel good about it. There are so many struggling adoptive families out there getting no real, true perspectives that I hated the idea of all my old posts suddenly being harder to find. I decided to create a second, private blog instead. So that's why your email got bombarded again. I invited you all next door to my"quiet" blog, at swensensaysitquietly.blogspot.com.
This blog will continue to stay public, and will include all sorts of different things, especially about our upcoming house build. The other blog with be invitation only, and will contain the more difficult stuff that is harder to share publicly, especially about difficult parts of our adoption. Again, I am happy to let anyone read it as long as they email me and ask, and are reading in the right spirit. It's all just about protecting my kids' privacy.
If you would like to be added at any time—even if you're a new reader I haven't met before—shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There were a few of you whose email addresses I couldn't find:
Jennifer Bruner (didn't know if you wanted me to use Garths?)
Just email me and I'll add you.
Monday, June 10, 2013
There is so much in my heart that I would like to share, but feel I can't if I don't want my children's lives to be completely public. Maybe it doesn't matter, but it worries me enough that it keeps me from posting. So, I've decided to either take this blog private, or create a new, private blog. I have no problem with anyone who is interested following me there--I just want to be able to know who is reading.
I don't want to quit blogging, because now more than ever I need a place to record what's in my heart. But for the past couple of years my blog hasn't allowed me to do that freely, because I've been too afraid of violating my kids' privacy. So, if you'd be interested in following our journey, go ahead and comment. I'll add you when I make the blog private.
Thanks so much for all your love,
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Saturday, December 29, 2012
On the other hand, a couple of weeks ago Saffron couldn't find me for a few minutes at Target and was truly petrified. She cried, she was so shaken up by it.
Still many things . . .
Friday, February 10, 2012
Two years ago I wrote a post about a dear friend who was my inspiration for a "runaway mother's club." That precious friend, Kim Walton, no longer needs to run away. Yesterday she left us for another place. Huntington's Disease won't have Kim to kick around anymore. I am happy she is released--but there is a whole in my heart. I will miss her terribly.
I will not say Rest in Peace to someone who so longed to move again. Instead I say, "Kim, walk, and run and play and do a back handspring in peace! And be you again--the whole, amazing you." I love you.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
3 different situations with 3 different kids = 1 no good, very bad week.
Parenting is agony sometimes. We went to see We Bought A Zoo tonight and I could hardly handle it--cried hard through much of it. That is, when I wasn't outside with the baby.
Ah, gees. Tomorrow is another day, and another week. Thank goodness.
Sent from my iPhone
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
This second year, it was like I was still on the same dig, swollen with bug bites, tired, slogging through mud, mud and more mud, and still not reaching the buried treasure. And I was no longer high on the excitement of my big dig. I needed results to keep my going--and I wasn't getting them. Last year the hard wasn't about intestinal bugs. The hard was feeling frustrated all the time--losing patience, losing hope some days, and losing my cool a lot. It was about feeling like a bad mom--feeling guilty all the time--and wondering why the good feelings weren't coming along to balance out the bad as fast as they needed to.
This is something hard to talk about, or blog about. It's something, frankly, that most people don't want to hear about. They don't want to believe it.
But now that we've begun year three, I'm optimistic. I feel like we're close to discovering the good stuff. It's just hard to hang in there for so long. But we are hanging in, and we will keep hanging in.
Monday, January 02, 2012
Tomorrow I'll have everything I need: kids back in school, a new book to listen to from the audible.com account I got for Christmas, and I am off to the races. I am a cleaning machine! I will clean, the whole world will look brighter, and I might even let you in this time if you ring my doorbell.
So please take this opportunity to feel better about yourself by comparing you to me: today you were a better housekeeper than Emily. I know, they say not to compare yourself to others to build yourself up--but I'm giving you my permission to step on me on your way up the ladder to self-contentment. But just this once, please. :)