Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Huge Moment

I've been praying deep pleading prayers for this little Miss and me. The overwhelming sense of utter failure, hopeless frustration, fear for the future, and tons of mommy guilt for not being able to break through the barrier and also for what I have become in response to this rejection and frustration produces sleepless anxiety, but also a deep desire to set before the Lord our whole situation and press Him to do something. I don't know if that's a good way to approach prayer...  My impulsion for entreating may not be of the purest motives still,  but I pray for the power and the blood of Jesus to transform our lives and for His Spirit to live through us and for all this experience to be of some account in the end.

She has leveled off back to a certain amount of calm since that last post, thankfully. I have not been able to get her back in to the doctor's yet, but we have an appointment. She took to eating ice-cream out of the freezer downstairs with her hands until I threw it out. The day we caught-on she was into everything much like an 18 month old would be... She was here there and everywhere into people's things and impulsive as is possible. Brianna was about to start her art class with a large group of children and she just knew she would not be able to handle Missy too, so the child was not able to participate. James got all puffed up about being the "good twin" and he was quite quickly ushered out of the class too.

We have been trying to see the positives, trying to notice effort, and letting them know I see it. No two days are alike, some easier, some harder,  but I do see an improvement in self-control in both the twins. If you look back over the years - even of last year, when they become enraged or start to scream or lose their self-control over anything the duration of the event is shorter. The episodes are less often. I don't feel like they are trying to force me to their will as much. A good example of this would be this morning's situation. Missy did not get out of bed when called. We all assembled for breakfast and ate together and cleared the table and did the dishes before she showed. I don't think she was terribly surprised that kitchen was cleaned up as it was passed 9 o'clock. She took it kind of matter of fact... and I invited her to come close to me and we talked about it while I held her hand. She did not break her gaze, or pull away or melt down. THIS is HUGE. Huge for her, but also for me. I picked the right moment to make the connection and we were able to maintain it for maybe more than two minutes. When I asked her to go do her hair she only half-heartedly protested... then she did it and did it well.

I spend too much time analyzing stuff to figure out what makes the difference. Is it because we did not let her go to the birthday party that she reigned herself back in? Or was she not feeling good when she started to spiral? Was she over-tired? Is she actually learning some boundaries? Is consistency actually paying off? Am I doing something different?  To be honest, all this thinking is a waste of time. I've been analyzing situations and circumstances, and monitoring attitudes and all that for so long... None of it is chart-able, concrete, repeatable, or consistent.  I have to give credit to the One whose mercies I have been pleading.

Friday, April 29, 2016

To A Sceeching Halt?

So, as you know, Fluoxatine was not what I had in mind when I asked for a mood stabilizer for Missy, however, the difference was almost immediate and pretty incredible. We had been going through a horror story with this kid. She was screaming, or crying, or whining or growling or chewing somebody's head off 99.9% of the time for all of January and February. Once she started the meds on March 1st we saw the depression dissipate rather quickly and while it did not change her character - no one expected it would, the screaming stopped. And at the time that's ALL that mattered, but it actually even got better than that. I didn't know if I was going to make it with all the screaming so it was a huge relief when it stopped.

Last week she started slip. This week has been downhill all the way. She acts depressed. She barely moves without a growl. She barely acknowledges us when we are addressing her. She has started screaming again. Not all the time, yet, but I know where this is going. Her reading ability has deteriorated. He behavior is full blown RAD. She's been going out of her way to swipe food and we put in that new pantry door with the lock, (Which I love, by the way!!) and we have been using her alarm on her bedroom door at night so we know when she is wandering, but she still manages to take food at inappropriate times and take it to her bed or stuff it all in her mouth when no one is looking. We've seen regression other ways.

I'm trying to make a doctor's appointment. Maybe this is is not the right med or the right dose, or perhaps she should not be on anything.

Steve was home yesterday and we worked in the gardens. We tried to involve the twins in our activities, but they were not interested. Mostly Missy kept far away and did nothing. James eventually got going with the weed wacker. Steve was uncomfortable with Missy wandering about doing who knows what while we worked out of sight so he brought her to do some writing stuff on the picnic table down at the barn... but she hung her head and basically just sat there. Eventually the care-giver came and we didn't try much to keep them engaged after that.  Our neighbor had surgery yesterday,  so later I had her kids.... that always changes up things and Missy had energy to run and play just fine.

This is just an example of how interactions with Missy go right now: I asked the twins to brush their teeth after supper. James got up and noticed Missy was NOT making a move and said, "AJ it's time to brush our teeth". She never so much as flinched. We reminded him that his job is to brush HIS teeth and sent him on his way. She continued to sit there. Steve and I told her to get going and there was no response. We started discussing the consequence of not brushing the teeth and made it clear to her. She never so much as acknowledged we were talking to her. I'm sort of used to this. She does not recognize me as her mother. She defies my authority all the way, but for her to do that in front of dad, or the two of us together is pretty blazen. He got up and moved towards her and literally had to lift her to her feet and move her down the hall. She mouthed off at him.😳

I just looked at him and said, "I don't know what my goal is suppose to be with her anymore. I'm clearly not her mother and likely never will be." There's no relationship there and what is there is toxic. What is our goal for this child suppose to be at this point? She is 12 and still as unattached as ever. Sometimes I think that I see bits of attachment and then it fades into nothing. She fights obedience with everything she's got. She fights progress in any direction.  We joke about selling our place when the girls leave and living in a tiny house and building her her own tiny house for "independent living".  😝 (We have better ideas for James).  Steve is sure we can homeschool them another year. I'm sure we cannot if the girls are off to college and Peru, etc...

James is doing fairly good. Though I just figured out he's been starving the chickens for three days... sigh.. 😱

the pantry door. YES!!

larkspur overlooking Sleepy Hollow

A really blessed visit from these folks... We shall be getting to know one another A LOT more. :-) ;-)

some garden stuff. :-)

Christina and her friend. They hiked 20 miles along the Carbon River at Rainier

James with his Bluebird House that he helped/watched being made

Monday, April 4, 2016

Oh Dear

Missy's Mental Health appointment was just the intake and it took three hours in all. I was completely overwhelmed and struggled to finish. Just having to answer questions and explain and tell and remember was too much. I was anxious and sick. I would have never thought I would react like this.

Two days later I was suppose to take James for his appointment but I canceled as I had not quite recovered and knew I could not do this all over again so soon.  

I scheduled Missy's next appointment a few weeks away... I just don't know if this is a waste of energy or not. Missy was cuddling up to me on the couch (she doesn't normally do that) and making up answers to the questions (because honestly she doesn't know the answers)  or veering off the subject completely to bring up all sorts of random things and it just did not feel productive. I decided I have some pretty big trust issues with therapists and counselors!! The intake gal did say that none of them are trained with DD kids and she didn't know if they had much experience in that area, either.  The whole direction of the process took a weird turn towards ADHD instead of behavioral issues and I think I must have messed up the outcome with my inability to think and articulate clearly why we were there in the first place. 

The flowers on our hill are in bloom. It's so amazing.  

My girls have been away. Vanessa comes home from New Mexico and Oklahoma tonight. She's in a very exciting time of her life and has a very nice boyfriend from New Mexico. I'll tell more when I get permission. Brianna is not coming home for two more weeks. She has also has a good boyfriend and he's from Oklahoma. Christina is busy with her work in Idaho. We could not be more blessed.

after her 25 mile backpacking trip that was a total hoot.

Friday, April 1, 2016

In Home Care-Worker Solution

It was Easter morning when the new care-giver showed up. I was not prepared to meet with her... Steve had taken the kids with him thinking it was going to be a hard day after all our crowds of people coming and going all day every day since Thursday. He was thinking it would be kind of a let-down sort of day for the twins. He works in the transfer center on Sundays. Pretty much he is in an office by himself at the hospital all day. He decided to help me avoid any behaviors by waking them up early and taking them with him. Here I was about to leave with Brianna to do music at a church in the community and this care-worker shows up.

Let me just say that at first glance I was pleased, but after ten minutes of talking both Brianna and I were completely in agreement that this was NOT going to work. at. all.  I just about cancelled ALL care-workers right then and there. I was a tad freaked out by the experience. There was NO way this person was going to be spending one-on-one time with my kids. Period.

Not knowing anything about what had just transpired Steve texted me that it was going great at the office and the kids were doing school work and he thought this might be a great plan for the next several Sundays. He's been actively trying to find ways to be  more in their lives and this works.

We decided to just keep Justin as our care-worker and have him work with the kids on garden projects. We have tons of work to do and it goes along with our special emphasis of the kiddos learning more practical skills that will serve to make them useful to society. Steve figures it's a perfect solution to my lack of man-power and getting the kids to do more without wearing me out. So, yesterday, Steve,  Justin and the kids moved gravel, and burned the whole, huge  brush pile. Tuesday Justin helped me and Savannah clear the large overgrown flower bed out. He found some vines there and taught the kids to make really cool wreaths, too. So that was a bonus. The kids stick close to Justin and he keeps them on task... The weather has been perfect so everyone is glad to be outdoors.

We had a lot of fun Thursday with the Pathfinder club. Christina invited them all over to work on their candle making honor. We had 18 kids, I think. 

Our hike up Nahahum Sabbath
From behind the house this week.
Today I have an order of plants going to the feed store in town. I'm so excited because I need the room in the greenhouse!
Building new garden beds.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Repatterning Mind Grooves

 The Problem
Most people have developed a few thought patterns they would do well to consider changing, ~me included. It's not always easy to recognize these negative patterns and how they destroy us. Sometimes it takes years of experiences, a new level of maturity or input from other people to even recognize a deeply entrenched thought pattern that keeps us from making progress in our lives or that affect our relationships.

Does anyone else's children have an automatic go-to rut in their brain every time someone asks them to do something or asks a hard question?  These usually begin with; I don't know, I can't, I don't want to, I don't know how, I can't remember....  I've  decided to be the person that pointed out these ruts and offer a solution to my kids. It's not the first time I decided this, of course. Parenting is pointing out ruts and showing a better way over and over and over again. But it seems to yield little results in certain cases. And in some very, very hard nuts to crack the ruts are actually concrete trenches, (figuratively speaking).
 The Solution
One day this past week I was making breakfast and I asked Jimmy Bean to, "please, get me a jar of home-canned pickles."

His response flew out in typical fashion. "I don't know where they are."

We only keep the home-canned food in one place so I didn't acknowledge his words. I just gave him a quick "I'm waiting expectantly" look and turned away. If there's one thing I have learned on this journey it's to just stop talking. Don't try to clarify, don't argue, don't take the bait, don't even notice half of what is being said.... Life is sweeter if you let it glide right on by. If you feel you have a fraction of a chance at changing the outlook later, think before you speak and have a plan.

While he was off to get the pickles, which by the way, he went straight to the pantry to get, I thought about his response and how so deeply dug his comebacks indicate those ditches have been laid. When he produced a jar of pickles I had him look me in the eye and I said, "It's a funny thing how the brain works. Sometimes it gets stuck in deep ruts doing the same thing over and over even though it doesn't always make sense. I would like you to notice that your brain is trained to think 'I don't know... I can't...' This is your automatic response to me for everything. In this case you actually knew where the pickles were, but your brain is so used to going down the path that says I don't or I can't. The Bible tells us that we are suppose to say, 'I CAN. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' People can make new brain pathways and change the way they think."

Seeing that he was actually listening I chanced a question. "Do you know where that verse is found in the Bible?"


"What? You didn't say, 'I don't know'!!!! High five!  You didn't let your thoughts slide along the easy route, you just plowed a new road!! Where did you learn that verse?"

"I learned it at Pathfinder Camporee."

"WOW! You just answered my question and you are doing well on building a new brain pathway! Good for you. If you keep telling yourself 'I CAN' instead of 'I CAN'T' you will dig some positive highways in that brain of yours that will serve you well."

 So THAT was VICTORY.  And the very first plow job toward building new ruts in his brain. Half an hour later he might not have been remembering his job was to keep bulldozing, but I'm remembering it's my job to keep parenting.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


It's hiking season again!! I bought 6 pairs of hiking boots last week.

 The Struggle
I'm trying to push through some writer's block and it's not going too well. I guess I have some pretty strong unresolved feelings about this blog and I find myself kind of loathing everything written here. Well, maybe not everything. Those early posts were so full of hope. I used to enjoy sharing my heart and I kind of miss those days.

I'm not sure if I should try and start over somewhere new and fresh or keep trying to press through.  I'm really conflicted about the whole thing.  I know that writing gives me a lot of clarity... My foggy confused brain could use some clarity for sure. Should I be writing a blog, or just a paper journal? Should I be sharing the failures and pain of our struggles with our adopted children, or should we be keeping it all private and putting on our "everything-is-just-fine-&-dandy" face? Do I have anything to offer anyone else who might be in the same boat navigating the same seas, or is this a total waste of time and space?
Fancy feet

 What's Up
We're battle scarred and wary. We've lost our innocence along with our youthfulness and I don't trust people as much as I'd like to.  We have learned that a lot of people have a lot of opinions they would like us to make ours. We've also learned many a good lesson. We've learned who we are and who we are not. We've learned we are dependent and we've learned that we are weak. We've learned we cannot do anything to change a person or improve their lives even as we offer them everything we have.  We've learned that our opinion is nothing to hold dear.

Our stairway to heaven at the back of the house...

Did I mention that we've learned that we are weak?  I read this blog post yesterday:

Read it if you will. I totally resonated with this piece -  at the same time I am grappling with it's challenging significance in my life. This is hard stuff. Really, really hard stuff.  I don't like being weak. I don't like not knowing how to handle things. I'm heartbroken when my child refuses the best I have to offer. I wince at the "I told-you-so's", I shrink from people telling us we were wrong, and that we are doing it all wrong. I don't want to hear that this journey will ruin us.  I shudder when they tell us we should look for a way of escape. Actually, it doesn't matter what other people are saying. at. all, but the truth is they are only telling us what we've been tempted to think already and we wish them to rather come alongside and hold up our hands. 

But then again, 
"The degree to which I allow myself to be weak is the degree to which I experience true, God-originated strength (crazy, wild strength)." 

And maybe I'd rather experience that miracle when we are all alone and at our weakest.
Then there will be no doubting the source of our surge of ability to hang on and to keep praying.

wildflowers from the hillsides

The Promise

He gives power to the weak, 
And to those who have 
no might
He increaseth strength.
 Isaiah 40:29

 Not one who is earnest and persevering 
will fail of success. 
The race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong. 
The weakest saint, 
as well as the strongest, 
may wear the crown of immortal glory.  
AA 313
The girls decided to take the kids camping up in the mountains. Nobody died.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 
 But he said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you,
 for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, 
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  
 That is why, for Christ’s sake, 
I delight in weaknesses,
 in insults, 
in hardships, 
in persecutions, 
in difficulties. 
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2Corinthians 12:8-10
The little Duck is still my best little buddy.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In-home Caregivers

We have used in-home caregivers on and off for the last few years paid for through the Department of Developmental Disabilites. We've had a variety of caregivers. Some are worth their weight in gold. Others are more work than the kids are by themselves.

Our one gal just went on maternity leave.  She was perfect for us. She's been calm, confident, dependable and the she's not manipulated by the twins. She enjoys cooking with Missy - which is perfect. It was a bonus that she is vegetarian, too, as she was used to our kind of food.

The young male caregiver is just that,  young.  He's laid back and easy going and the kids trample all over him. They manipulate him to death. He does not recognize how they get what they want. He's fun and goes out of his way to try and do fun stuff like making volcanoes with them and playing tag, etc... Nice guy. But Missy is ALL over him. I had to talk to him about not letting her push the boundaries. I also talked to the agency. She is not allowed climb on his back and hold his hand, etc... She is something else around him. She gets so intense for his full attention that pretty soon her voice is LOUD, High Pitched and insanely irritating.

When the gal went on maternity leave they put the young man in her shifts as well as his. I had to call and tell them I cannot handle that much of him. It's not really him... it's his inexperience. So, I guess we are about to be introduced to a new gal.

I wish we could go back to Twyla. She was here for a few years. I had gotten her when I requested the agency find me someone with grey hair. She was lame, so Missy could get out of her reach and would throw tantrums for her because she had expectations.... She was calm and would wait. Missy would eventually come around.

I wonder what kind of caregiver the agency is sending us this time?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

About the Meds

So, Missy has not screamed since she has been on the meds. She has not been groveling in her misery day after day, hour after hour and we are seeing a lighter side to her. She nearly lost it this morning at James, but for some reason she was able to reign it in at the last second. And this is how it has been. It is so, so much easier to live with.

However,  the medicine prescribed her is NOT a mood stabilizer as I had asked for. I am not a medical person.... I did not know what I was picking up at the pharmacy the day it was prescribed. It had some weird name I did not recognize at all and  I took the doctor's word for it and gave it to her.

Turns out it is plain old Prozac.

Great! I don't see a long term benefit to a child taking Prozac. Especially for a child who seems to ride the waves, as it were. If she has any kind of bi-polar disorder it could in the end make it worse for her. It could make her manic and we have seen manic a few times in the last few weeks. We've seen talking nonstop in a high pitch tone very loudly, with incredible intensity a handful of times.

What I was looking for was something that might supply the lack in her brain chemistry. 

James is in his slump and has been for a few weeks. He's in tears every single time we ask him to move a finger. He's refusing to do his school work, skipping chores, avoiding tasks, acting helpless, refusing to answer me, even waving me off with his hand and walking off. He's building towards a blowup. I have a mental health evaluation appointment scheduled for both of them.  This is for them, but it is just as much for me, for our family.

We have seen many good things coming out of homeschooling, but having this intensity of moods and stress takes its toll. I need to put them in school next year if I can find an appropriate setting. Public school is not it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Today the twins have lived with us for 6 years.

As of last week the twins are 12 years old.

Today we started Missy on a mood stabilizer. I can only hope and pray it helps her even out.

She is crabby three weeks and half way decent one week each month.

James is much more unpredictable.  Mostly he can be okay.... but when he flips out we struggle to get him back. IF the mood stabilizer helps Missy we shall be going back to the doctor to try him on it, too.

I really have no desire to write about the twins and this part of our life.

LOTS of other good things are happening, though. Sometime I'll write more.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


We've been dealing with screaming.

Every. Day.

"Here kiddo, do this little job for me." Scream, scream, scream.

"Hey no kiddo, you can't do that." Scream. Scream, Scream.

"It's time to do this." Scream, scream, scream.

Every. Day.

Blood curdling. Hair raising. Nerve rending. Screaming.

It's truly a wonder the child has a voice left. at. all.

It  goes on for hours.

The words go something like  I hate you, or I don't want to, but usually I can't understand.

What to do.

It's totally unpredictable. The child can be calm and fine and cooperative one second and turn into a screamer the next.

All outings are on hold. No homeschool group, no patherfinders or Bible Bowl, no sledding parties or anything like that. Even kept the child home from church this week. It was convenient to do so because Brianna was still recovering from her wisdom teeth extraction. I do take the child to swimming because one, I paid for it, and two I'm not taking anything away that might be physically beneficial. But somehow we hope that keeping life simple and quiet the kid will calm down.

Steve and I slept in this morning but when we woke up Steve says to me, "what's the matter?"
 I'm like,  "Nothing."
He says, "You are breathing hard! "
"Oh sorry. Just thinking about the kid."


I'm trying not to be frazzled. I'm trying to figure out what we are doing wrong. Or how to flip the switch to a different channel.... 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Really struggling with Missy. It's all very negative so there's nothing to write, but am growing weary of the battle.

Monday, December 28, 2015

According to the Measure

 But every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Ephesians 4:7

She is all the way across the country with the GYC Pre-conference Outreach Mission and selling books door to door in Kentucky. I cannot say I am not a bit nervous about having not just one, but two of my daughters walking down different dark, wet streets by themselves in a strange city so far from home. Of course I pray for and trust in God's protection, but I am also eager for each and every text notification lighting up my phone to let me know that all is going well.

A smile spread across my heart as I grasped the significance of that latest text message:  

"I feel bad for some of my team-mates. 
It's not going as well for them. 
Some of us have it unfairly easy!" 

Oh really now!  Is this the same daughter texting that just a half a week ago had come to me in tears because she seemed to be exceedingly deficient in certain endowments that so evidently flourish in her friends? She had been at the point of questioning if she even had any very useful talents that would mean anything in the cause of God. To be fair, it had been an overwhelming couple of weeks. The days just before Christmas are always very, very full of opportunities for musical concerts to bless people and she had played her violin and sang and stepped in as a minute man, planned the Christmas service for the church, organized practices with young people and small kids and even written the script. She had work to do for GYC registration and some calls to make for a friend. Old people were depending on her to help them get their Christmas tree put up, while little kids needed her to help them with their crafts. She was starting to drop the ball here and there on some of the details. Logistics are clearly not her forte and she felt disorganized and unable to meet people's expectations and that's when she realized maybe she was trying to do too many things and some of those she really was not cut out to do. She has fantastic friends who can organize an army, plan a conference,  run businesses, feed the world and still harmonize their bedroom closets by the Lean Principles touted by Toyota. That's just not her, however, and she was beginning to only see what she can't do well instead of what she can do with grace.

Humanity is like that. We are all like that. We  compare ourselves among ourselves and we lose sight of the God-given gifts bestowed upon us.  The Bible says we are not being wise when we do that, of course. Right then, though, what she needed was a hug and someone to point out that not everyone was suppose to be created with the same gifts and talents and she clearly was not meant to be an organizer general.  This world would certainly fall apart without those kind of people, for we most definitely need planners, organizers, coordinators and facilitators, but definitely she was not designed to be all of that.

"But I don't know if I can remember what I can do!" She lamented.

"You are a people person; a connector. Why, you could sell a carrot to a farmer with ten rows of carrots in his patch. Not because he needs it, and not because you have a great sales pitch, but because you connect and people respond to that connection. They feel loved and they are drawn to reciprocate . Think about some of the people in the community you have connected with recently."

"Oh my! I think I want to go visit that old lady I met at the Christmas concert that was one of 9 in the family that camped with their sheep in the mountains all her growing up years . . . "

I smiled again as I re-read her text message:
"Some of us have it unfairly easy!
The people I meet are typically interested. . . "
And I  remembered the prayer I had prayed that the Lord would show her some of her special gifts given to her especially from Him.  I typed back:

"I think some people have excellent people skills. 
Like we talked about."

"Yes", she texted back, 
"It's a blessing".  

. . . . Some have the gift given them of God to act as organizers. Others fill their place as they work in retirement, feeling themselves little and unknown, with but few to recognize their work, and none to pity their mistakes and praise their victories. But the Lord uses all these elements. No one man can fill every place, and God’s great work must go forward. . . . In every age God has His workmen, and at the needed time preparation is made for some man with talent, with some gift, to come in. Thus the Lord reveals that He has the supervision of His work. The most essential work now to be done is to consider the words of Christ, “All ye are brethren.” Each must stand in his lot and place to do the work appointed him, in perfect harmony with his brethren. All are to seek to strengthen and build up the waste places to hold aloft the Bible standard, to voice the third angel’s message, to live the truth, to exercise mercy and the love of God, and be ready for any work that may be next in the service of God. MS 116, 1898

Monday, November 23, 2015

They Really Want to Go Swimming

We've had a hard, hard week. The twins have been pushing against their responsibilities.  I have not budged, but they keep pushing back harder. It's not like anything has changed. I didn't really add anything new, I just am holding the line where I've been holding it and they have been trying to strong-arm it away. Missy has had tantrum after tantrum and the harder I try to work with her the worse she gets. And so when I go places I won't take her with me, and she tries to bully me into taking her. Forget it kiddo. Change the behaviors first. I have gotten really tired. (Brianna gets home tonight from Oklahoma. YAY!)

This morning they did not get out of bed until 7:30 or later. Breakfast is at 7:30 except on the weekends it is at 8:00.  I drove Vanessa to the bus stop and got myself behind the school bus. All the kids in the countryside are dressed and have eaten and are on the bus and my kids are still laying in bed and had no motivation to get up and get the day going. Missy came into the kitchen about 7:35 and said, "I will be here for breakfast at 8:00."

I just said, "Today is Monday. Breakfast is at 7:30."

She turned around and walked out. I went about my business.

Neither kid showed up again for a long time - like 2 hours. If they happened to pass me they did not speak to me or look at me. My experience has taught me that there is nothing I can safely say at this point that won't throw us into a power struggle when they set themselves against the schedule hard like that. I remained silent. At  9:45 I took two pieces of paper and wrote their names on the top. Then wrote out a math problem for them regarding how many minutes late they were to breakfast and a list of jobs. On the bottom I wrote that if they expected to go to swimming tonight they would be working very hard today.  I set out a bowl of lentils and a serving of corn chips and a kiwi each and wrote for them to help themselves to their lunch when they were ready. I went in my bedroom and locked the door.

I heard them go and eat. I heard dishes being washed. I heard the vacuum running. Math got done, their laundry is nearly done, their rooms are vacuumed, and so are the stairs, the kitchen is clean and the floor is swept. I've come out and made vegetable soup and they are still hard at it. The bathrooms are being cleaned. The eggs are gathered and sorted, the garbage cans are emptied, the shoes are put away....


I reminded them that skipping their personal responsibilities, like teeth brushing, was invisibly on their lists as well. Suddenly they were both brushing their teeth. The lists are completed but they continue to look for things that need doing because they know if I catch them sitting around it's not likely going to sit well but I won't say a word and so they would be left guessing. They used up their free time this morning, as far as am concerned. They really do want to go swimming tonight.


5:30 AM. 24 degrees. 17 miles. And he's off to work on his bicycle. I really did offer to drive him but he's dedicated to his health. 😶 yesterday it took him an hour and a half to get there - something to do with how cold and how dark it was. At least today he can snag a bus for part of it. Yesterday he was chased by a big German shepherd. Last week he nearly hit a dead deer... But until the snow gets too deep he's riding. #determined #onecarfamily #reflectivegear #lovethatmanofmine

Monday, November 16, 2015

Raising Lions

It was Sunday and James was standing outside wailing loud and long enough for the whole valley to hear. It was time to clean the barn. He didn't want to. Every week is the same song and dance.

I was so tired of it. He's been calmer, more appropriate, and easier to live with, but he's still extremely repulsed by work, or anything he perceives as hard, and anything that takes muscle or mental effort. That's pretty much life so we endure tears frequently. His physical therapy team is about to dismiss him because he will. not. work. on strengthening his muscles. They say he shuts down the second he perceives that he must exert himself in the least. He's stuck physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and developmentally because he won't do the work it takes to move on. Not a hair.

Vanessa bailed me out. She took him running. They ran along the irrigation ditch as far as it goes West, and then turned around and ran back and around the mountain so that they went as far as it goes West on that side. Then they ran along the road and up over the mountain to our side again. He decided to clean the barn without another word. If a barn could sparkle....

Meantime I cried and then prayed and then got on google and typed "lazy 11 year olds". Desperate times call for desperate measures!!  :-)

I scrolled through a few useless things and very nearly scrolled right on past a recommendation for a book. Raising Lions The Art of Compassionate Discipline by Joe Newman did catch my eye and I downloaded it to my Kindle app and sat down to read.  And READ. I read it all before the evening was over.

Raising Lions is a book for parents or educators dealing with behavior problems.  It is simple, straightforward, practical, and encouraging. James is William of the story of chapter 4. He is passive and content with his state of affairs. He has every avoidance technique mastered and exercises very little self-regulation.   Missy is Emma of chapter 5 who is manipulative, oppositional, emotionally volatile, will not accept correction or consequences or direction, wants everything to be fair,  and is super competitive. Both children are stuck in the stage where they believe they are what the writer terms omnipotent. They are the most important person in their world. They must control everything or everything will spin out of control. They have not reached the developmental milestone of interdependence. Consequently they have are not really developing relationships and it's no wonder they don't worry about hurting feelings, or destroying friendships. They don't get it.  As for us,  I've become the authoritarian parent and Steve is moralizing till we are all blue in the face. This is born of our utter frustration and burnout. We are getting close to six years of this...

I quote from " Raising Lions challenges us to re-examine our interactions and relationships with children, re-think the root causes of behavior problems and find new ways to support healthy, happy development."

I'm going to let you scour for reviews online. They are out there. Here's one to get you started:

We've done some things right. We have done some things wrong. I can see how having the kids do jumping jacks for a minute or two when they are struggling goes right along with the writer's plan, except we are creating stimulation instead of boredom, but it has been working. Having the door alarms goes along with the plan, too in that it creates a safe place to put a stop to behaviors - but I can see how I can do it differently and not leave them for longer than they absolutely need in order to reward their efforts at self-control. I can see how bringing them home to educate them cut out a lot of people in their lives that might have been catering to their "disabilities" and also created a consistency that is necessary. It cuts a lot of their power in being "disabled" out. We need to empower them to develop to their full potential, not bow to their "omnipotent" power of controlling the world around them to keep everything the same.


I have a podiatrist appointment Wednesday.
We are dealing with more than plantar fasciitis. I could survive the fasciitist on its own, but I compensate for the high arch by carrying all the weight on the outside of my foot. From what I can gather I am dealing with lateral column overload.... We shall see if I'm right and if there is anything we can do about it.