Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This Is RAD

We were traveling. It had been a long day. We were out looking at a possible emotional support dog for Missy. We fell in love with the pup. However, we had not fallen in love with the price so we were headed home to think about it for a bit more.  We had made a pact to be very deliberate in this search and make no rash decisions based on cuteness.  :-)

As we pulled into a fast food joint to use a restroom Steve reminded the twins they needed to finish the water bottles he had given them at the beginning of the day. They still don't just drink water... It has to be scheduled, as does #2 bathroom use. They just don't unless we require it. And as of my latest experiment  they can go two weeks ...  How scary is that?!! (To say nothing of our plugged toilet situation when they finally do go... Honest to PETE!)

Steve led the twins to the restrooms then went to the counter to get something for the kids. He was back with Missy and a bag of food fairly quick. He reminded Missy to finish the water so she could have her treat and returned to the building to wait for James. No sooner did he shut the door and walk away then she started her whine, "I'm starving.... blah, blah, blah...."  She rarely asks directly for what she wants when she knows the requirements.

"What did Dad just say?"

"I don't know!!! Groan, whine cry....

"Well, when you remember let me know."

I'm super careful to sidestep direct communication. I've taken lessons from the expert...

To be sure, there wasn't more than 2 inches of water left in the bottle. We had been working on it all day.  I heard gulping and loud exaggerated belching and groaning about her stomach not possibly being able to handle that much water, etc...  And then suddenly she needed to go to the bathroom again. I hid my rolling eyeballs and said, "Sure, of course you may go, ONLY LEAVE your water bottle here in the car. It would not be right for you to go and dump it because dad asked you to drink it before you can have your treat."  -No sidestepping communication this time.

She ran off in a hurry. I watched her go and I saw nothing amiss and bent to my reading. When she returned  she came up to my door and swung her EMPTY water bottle in my face.  I just looked her in the eye. She flashed me her Cheshire cat grin.

This is RAD. 

Lord help me, this is CRAZY making business!!

She got in the car and this time did not beg for the food. She just waited quietly.... This scenario boggles my mind. If she really truly revels in pulling a trick why wouldn't she keep it to herself? Why does she risk a consequence to let me know I've been had? Somehow the conquest is not enough, she has to rub my nose in it. When Steve got back with James I told him what had just transpired. He just said, "Well, that's too bad." Opened up the bag of treats and ate hers.....

Thursday, November 17, 2016


We are at a transition stage in our family.... The girls are grown up and moving on with their lives.

Christina (19) is in California studying at Weimar College. It's the perfect place for her. We love it. We love the experience she is getting and the friends she is making. She will be home for Thanksgiving and we are looking forward to that with great anticipation.

Brianna (21) is in Peru. It's the perfect place for her right now. The experience is full and meaningful and exciting. She gets to use so many of her talents. She took a violin with her (not her best one) and is making it work hard, she took all her photography equipment and she's capturing children living life, she is working hard with the PT team and watching a grown man who hasn't walked since his vaccinations as a small child learn to walk again, she's sharing the gospel with people who need to hear and it's very fulfilling. Out there in the wilds of Peru she's busy, happy and practicing her Spanish. She will be home for Christmas. 

She's complaining about her hair in the high humidity. lol

Vanessa (23) is getting married! I could leave it at that. She is so excited and knee deep in wedding plans and looking forward to living forever with her man in New Mexico, BUT she's also in Peru with Brianna. She is preparing the way for our church group to go and spend 10 days in Peru on a mission trip. I will join the mission trip and come back with both girls in time for Christmas. 

James (12) is homeschooling. Right now he has a postcard project. He is collecting postcards to fulfill a requirement of the Postcard Pathfinder honor. Pathfinders is his favorite thing! We are very grateful to have such a fine club in our church. (anybody want to send him a postcard?) I have not pushed him ahead in his school work but have continued to go over our basic foundation of knowledge. I tested him in math and could have put him in 5th grade but decided to start him again in 4th. In one month he finished HALF the course, however the second half is going a bit slower. His slow processing makes it important to go over information many times to get it locked in. He's a different kid from a year ago. SO, so thankful. Mostly he's happy and interested in life. We don't have enough time in a day to do all that he wants to do.

Missy (12) is in special ed public school. Since she is on medication life has been easier, but she is still RAD and she is still determined to have her own way. An example would be last Friday she helped with house cleaning very, very well. It was veterans day and there was no school. I had 3 extra kids that we had been babysitting for 11 days and their house (just down the road) and our house was showing signs of too many children and not enough cleaning. So, I wrote out lists for each child to accomplish. I had to go with the other kids to their house while the twins worked on ours.  I could find NO fault with any chore Missy or James accomplished. It was amazing. I rewarded all the kids for their hard work and they had free time. At one point I had a small basket of clothes for Missy to fold. She folded part of it then decided she was done. There was no changing her mind and she eventually started screaming. She had a tantrum and threw things for a few hours. I tried to reason, I tried to have her make a choice. I eventually put away the basket of clothes but the tantrum continued. I told her clearly that if she couldn't pull it together she would lose the privilege of marching with the pathfinders at church the next day. It made no difference. The next morning she asked for her Pathfinder uniform and I gently, with my arm around her shoulder reminded her of her choice the day before. And thus began the tantrum that lasted on and off most of the day. After a real traumatic sort of day (of her own making ) this kid reverts back to ALL the mind games and RAD sort of manipulations and button pushing she knows. She had a visit with the therapist as we went over all the happenings and she was able to maybe process some of it, if nothing else. There's a Pathfinders club meeting tonight, so the last two days she has been on better behavior.

This is her happy place. But the season just ended. No more lessons until spring.

After babysitting those 3 extra kids for the 11 days I decided I'm ready to do something else. I still enjoy having the Smith kids on Saturdays  and I often pick up Drake to spend with me extra while his siblings are in school. He's still the cutest thing ever and a very loving child. He loves to come to Auntie's house and won't go home until it's dark! I look forward to having nieces and nephews over in the summer, but apart from that, I won't likely do fostercare or take in lots of kids again. This house will still see plenty of kids I'm sure... I'm just being honest about what I can and cannot handle as far as parenting goes. I told Vanessa "don't put me in charge of any kids' projects in Peru when I get there. I'd rather feed the multitudes than run a VBS program at this point".  With Missy's needs we will never likely have an empty nest, though sometimes that looks like it would be exciting. (lol) I'd love to see Steve home more, but we are in a place with where he needs to work overtime to keep us up to date so as not to have college debt for the girls and to pay for weddings, etc... :-)