Friday, April 30, 2010

Praying Today is the Same

We have had two VERY, VERY happy, contended days. Today is sunny and beautiful and I'm looking forward to another peaceful day. Little Guy has two stickers in a row on his clean underwear chart. He's feeling successful and so he's not frustrated with the process right now. Missy has no stickers, but mostly she's doing well. We are concentrating on OT, PT and Speech and toileting. Forget the ABC's... enough is enough. I know what the State expects me to do, but it's not fair to the children right now. Besides, Buster Brown can't see straight and we can't get him in to have his vision checked until the end of June. I have been borrowing an armload of books from the library each week and we all take moments to read, read, read to them. Their vocabulary is increasing. It's almost funny to hear the words coming out of their mouths. Yesterday Little Guy was describing his job on the potty and he said, "Wow! I did a major one!" If that isn't a Steveism I don't know what it is. He was also using words like decoration, and fancy, license plate, ticket, etc... to tell us about what he and Christina done to his bike.

Little Missy is laying on her back in bed talking to the ceiling at the moment and Brianna passed her room and overheard in slow clear words; "May. I.  have.  that.  please?  Sure, I'll . help.  you!"

LOL! She's come a long ways from her "Hava hava?"

The adoption fund raiser was a blessing last night. It went off beautifully. I counted ten children who were in need of families represented there. Six of those have "come home". Four are on their way! God has blessed our little community in reaching out to kids who need a mom and dad. Two years ago there were two: Leila and Mia....

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I was suppose to be rushing around at this moment getting ready for our trip to yonder city for the kid's visit, but it has been canceled! The bio mom has to call the office 24 hours ahead of the visit because it would not be a good thing for us to drive several hours only for her to be a no-show. She didn't . Yippee! The kids have not seen her in over a month and I think the less they see her right now the better off they are. I think the emotional distress of having to spend 4 long hours in that chaos and the big traveling day can't be beneficial to their healing.

The other reason I am grateful is that tonight is the big fundraiser for our friends currently in Ethiopia picking up their child. I was delegating all my jobs to other people - namely my girls and their friends, and they can still help me, but I can be more supportive if I am actually there.

Yesterday was my break. I needed it. Steve spent the day with the kids working in the garden and then later taking them on a picnic and bike riding in the park. He wore them out completely. I went Goodwill shopping and then taught piano lessons, directed the rehearsal for this weekend's big concert and went to a planning committee for the Journey to Bethlehem until late. Yours truly is in charge of all the music for this huge endeavor happening the first weekend in December. It feels like a huge load on my plate - both that and the two choirs, but I need the diversion and the  break from the kids or I would go crazy. In the midst of teaching and rehearsing with all those little kids yesterday I felt like I was relaxing and the Lord knows I was needing to.

Apparently, Little Guy asked to go potty for the first time yesterday. (You knew I had to bring up that up, didn't you?!) It was his second normal bm in the two months he's lived here.  Missy was the cantankerous one when it came to that yesterday. She's gone backwards. After several days in a row of being clean and dry she has had more than a week of daily troubles.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Memory Game

Little Miss is a champ at the game Memory! She beats Vanessa no problem (ha! well, Vanessa never could play the game).  I'm just so tickled pink about Missy's good memory. She may be further ahead emotionally, but her brother is generally better at games and academics since he is more advanced physically, mentally and in speech so this totally exciting to me.  When we bought the game at the store per suggestion of the PT gal, the twins wanted to know who I was buying it for. I told them it was mine and that I would share it with them. They don't know how to co-own anything, as yet. I have to model sharing: -)

We went back to the audiologist today. He ascertained by the records I was able to scrounge up that her hearing loss is not genetic or related to her cranial facial deficiencies. It's likely a result of the constant ear infection she's suffered most of her life. This is good news. It's likely reversible - if an issue at all because the next thing he did was look in her ears and find them 100% occluded with wax in one ear and nearly so in the other. End of visit. He could not do any hearing tests with such a mess. They made us an appointment for an ENT specialist to take care of the wax. She'll be deaf for another three weeks, I guess.   I'm praying all the deafness she has dealt with over the years from her infections (probably caused by the smoking of her birthparents, and the bottles in bed until nearly 5 yrs of age, and maybe the dairy consumption - according to Mr. Audiologist) has not caused her an auditory processing disorder.  The thing to do is get her ears cleaned out as quick as possible and go from there.

The white rice did it's job. We only had two pairs of stinky underwear to deal with in town.

Our one interesting escapade in town today was when Buster refused to use the toilet. I had especially chosen the writing teacher's house because it was the right time and not a public setting and we've been there every week and used that potty.  We talked about it in the car and decided we would play Memory when we were all done. Everyone agreed. Little Miss did her job fine. Then it was Buster's turn and he refused to cooperate. I worked with him... finally asking him if he wanted to play the game with us when he was done. "NO!"  When he gets in the mood he's contrary in everything. "Okay fine. You don't cooperate, you don't play." It was out to the car and to buckle up and wait for the girls to be done class. He started screaming and I joined him with my not-so-lovely-opera - only I was sitting in the back seat of the suburban a few inches from his ear. End of screaming. He just hates that. I think he might be understanding my dislike for screaming.  (ya think?)  The real victory in all of it was that he eventually decided he would go potty after all and he did play the game with the rest of the kids.

Life at Our House

I already told you yesterday was rough. Brianna came home around 4:30 from an all day babysitting job for a 4 and a 6 year old. She helped them with their homeschool, played with them, fed them, etc... After an hour of being home she says, "One hour of the twins is more exhausting than 9 hours by myself with the Struthers' kids!"

We had poop issues all day yesterday. Screaming and unwillingness to even try go on the potty was trying indeed. Everytime I would finally let Buster get off the toilet he pooped in his pants - EVERYTIME! I even saw him get off the toilet, go get on his bike, take one run, then get off the bike and wander off in a "poop daze".... I hollered like crazy for him to head to the bathroom. Of course, it was too late. The day ended with him screaming on the potty. I had had it! I decided to yell with him. Now, I've taken a good many voice lessons, I can holler pretty loud. My kids were born the loudest crying kids in the world and kept that title until my brother's kids were born. It's genetic. So anyway, I put on my best opera performance and he ended up giggling but then he was back to screaming. I called in the troops... I told all four girls we were going to have a pity party  and we hollered our loudest with him. He stopped. After that it only took saying that I could call everybody in to help him and he would instantly quit. Sometimes you have to catch them by surprise and do the unusual.

I'm hoping that there are health benefits to blowing up balloons. Maybe healthy lungs, but I can't think of a benefit in eating them. Thankfully, that has only happened once.  Steve laughed so hard! He called it angioplasty. Trust an ICU nurse to come up with that.  I couldn't tell you how many packages of balloons we've gone through. We're nearly out again and it's time to stock up today. We've done everything imaginable with them. A couple of times we have gotten Missy to try bearing down on her own and it produced good results.... Buster is just plain unwilling to do anything in this area.

What do I do? I mean... if they are constipated I give them a shake with frozen rainiers and we'll no longer have constipation we'll have the opposite.... so then I make their fruit shake with less volatile fruit and sometimes it does nothing and sometimes it causes diarrhea.  It's one extreme or the other. I'm beginning to wonder if we have food intolerances. I fed them white rice for supper because today is town day. I can't deal with poop in the car all day long.. . . .

I mailed ordered every possible library book I could and bought 4 off of Amazon last night. Don't know when I'll find time to read them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rough Day

It was one mess after another all day - both kids. I'm exhausted and at my wits end to know what to do.We are not making any progress. Seems only that we are regressing.


Does it strike you odd if a child almost NEVER cries when they are hurt?

Little Boy went out to ride his bike and in seconds came back in. I knew he was at the door but he didn't say anything or go anywhere. I peeked around the corner and he's holding his hand like he'd slammed it in the door - and he had. He was cringing with pain. He showed me the line across the fingers and I could tell it hurt, but he wasn't shedding a tear.

She fell off her bicycle and never uttered a sound. Later I saw a small scrape on her face. I asked her if it happened when she fell and she nodded.

These kids can scream and cry when upset - how come they don't cry when they are hurt?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm Just Noticing

That the twins have pretty much stopped saying "No, NO, NO!!" to me. It used to be that I heard this a thousand times a day over any and everything. We really worked on saying, "Yes, mom" and it has paid off. If they are really unhappy about something they just look away now - which is understandable.Little Miss is a pouter by nature. We are working on that. I take her hand and have her look into my eyes and we talk through it.... if she doesn't come around she goes to time-out, but she's really good at fake smiles - that's all I can expect sometimes and until they are feeling completely secure and have been here awhile I  don't expect a complete change of heart. Little Guy can pout, too, but generally he is much more explosive in his reactions so it takes a lot more effort to make him come around. He'll throw himself on the couch and say he's not going to eat if he thinks he doesn't like what I made. He'll throw the closest object, or let out a scream, or hit the walls. The other day I asked him to blow up a balloon on the toilet and he didn't want to so he swallowed it. I actually didn't realize it until the next day when I was wiping his behind and pulled it out of .... never mind TMI! There's never a dull moment. We're learning not to be surprised about anything.

We had a really good day yesterday. Both kids were happy. We went hiking after church up Saddle Rock. It was so NICE because both had done a great job on the potty so the whole day was worry free. They ran and climbed and played without a concern.

We have found something that both children like that will occupy them without them needing someone else at all times. Playdough! They will sit and play at the counter happily for an hour at a time. It's a relief.

Friday, April 23, 2010


And I am so grateful it's the dryer and not the washing machine!!

But with a view like this it's not too much of chore....
As you can see pears are in full blossom.
Like the set-up?
Tree, dog leash and ladder put up by two creative teens.
(No, they didn't put up the tree.)

Little Miss is being lazy today so that accounts for some of the underwear....unfortunately brother is being even worse and ran out of boy underwear. We have to make do with whatever we have, right?!
That's 18 pairs between the two of them - in case you're counting.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


We went to OT and PT and Speech and I am soooooo overwhelmed with ALL that we are suppose to do! These kids have a lot of catching up to do. We've really upped the speech correction in this house. It's making a difference. The audiologist said we have a small window of opportunity to get this right while they can make progress at a decent speed and so he recommended that we push ahead as fast and as hard as we can.

Things have eased up just a smidgen  on the potty training aspect... She's doing great and making strides. He's still bucking the system quite a bit, but his body functions are starting to come into line a little. I get really tired of the lack of cooperation, though. Some days are better than others.

Some behaviors are settling down and others are just as strong as ever. I wish they would learn to play on their own. It would give us some free moments, but the only way I can get them to play outside without someone out there with them is to lock myself in. I leave a window open and they won't leave me alone for a second but they can't come in. I have to ignore them in order to make lunch.

TPR didn't happen because the lawyer was not prepared. Can you imagine! So, try again next month. That puts everything off by several months so they won't be legally free until August and so we are off to another visit several hours away next week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peer Pressure

A friend of mine dropped in for a few minutes this morning with her little girl in tow...
This itty bitty thing of a girl asked to go potty.
Knowing Leila wouldn't care, I urged Missy to go with her to see that even tiny little girls go potty, too.

A half hour after they left we found Missy on the toilet all by herself.
She hadn't been told.
She hadn't been reminded.
She just decided to go . All . By . Herself!

I made a big deal of it. She confided to me that "Leila little. She go potty, too!"

It would be too much to ask to expect that it might make the slightest of impressions on Buster Brown. He's um...scrubbing his behind in the shower as we "speak".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rethinking the Last Post

So, I'm rethinking my last post. 
It seems I'm always second guessing myself. 
Let's just say that Buster Brown does not get it, yet. 
Just chalk up his earlier success to constipation,
or something, 
because today he was NOT trying.
I know, because
I was being vigilant and there was no excuse for the poop in his pants 5 minutes after asking him to sit on the potty.... and there was no excuse for the screaming fit he threw for being asked to go potty.
Let's just say it wasn't just a one time occurrence, either.

And as for the concert,
he couldn't have gone in if I would have allowed him. 
He wouldn't have gotten past the ticket collectors smelling like he did.

His dear little twin was immediately devastated
when she learned that we might not get to go to the concert
on account of her brother. 
It just wasn't fair when she was trying so hard and doing so well.
She was sobbing and I had to think real quick!
In the end Vanessa came up with a plan and it worked beautifully.
Little Miss went into the concert with sisters and listened to the very first piece - 
which was long enough
- and it was the piece Vanessa played on her harp.
Little Missy clapped
(I think clapping was the main thriller of the evening)
then she was ushered out the side door
to where I was waiting in sight of Stinky Britches
who was busy perfuming the car.
 He was quite tired of waiting since we had to be there
an hour early to bring Vanessa her supper and concert dress.
So, Little Girl attended the concert because she deserved to go
and still went to bed at a decent hour...
Steve is bringing the rest of the girls and the harp home.

Missy was delighted to put up her 4th sticker tonight! 
Talk about feeling good about herself!!!
She reminds us all the time that she is going swimming soon.
In fact, she had to put her bathing suite on today - just because.
Two weeks is a long time to wait when you are 6.

Feeling Free

It's amazing how free we are feeling!

We don't need 6 pairs of pants and 25 pairs of underwear to go places. In fact, we can actually go places now. I'm still staying close to home as much as possible, but in just the last couple of days we have made strides!!!

Little Miss is working on day four of clean panties. She's quite proud of those hard earned stickers!! She had never gone one single day without an accident before and suddenly she has gone three days in a row. This has been encouraging to brother. He went all day without an accident yesterday and so we started a sticker chart for him, also. I haven't wanted to highlight failure so we didn't start the chart until we had some measure of success. I finally have their will and desire on my side and they are experiencing the freedom of being able to live dry and clean.

Going potty is still a production! We have every kind of balloon possible and we do all sorts of things with them. The latest is blowing up a balloon thru a long piece of plastic tubing attached to it. Whatever it takes! We have to make the process enjoyable and take the opportunity to teach them creative, imaginative play. We had a good laugh yesterday. We had a major potty time after church and lunch and then went hiking. When we arrived home it was off to the bathroom again. Little Guy pulls down his pants and says, "What's this??" A little blue balloon had hitched a ride in his unders and was stuck to him. He promptly pulled it off and stuck it in his mouth and blew on it - while R.N. Daddy freaked, "That's dirty!!!"

They've had some happy, contented days. Friday was tough for Missy and me! It was a battle all day and in the evening she gave up the fight and was suddenly worried I might not love her anymore. She became Miss Chatty and Lovey-Dovie - almost in a hyper way. She struggled with anxiety all night and screamed and yelled "Mamma" throughout the night. Part of the trouble was that she overate supper ad had a tummy ache and part of it was fear.

The twins are really into hats and neckerchiefs, walking sticks and binoculars. The girls slept on the deck last night in their sleeping bags so now the twins want to sleep outside - in fact they are playing in the sleeping bags right now.

I'm in a bit of a quandary.  Vanessa is playing harp with the symphony tonight and we all have tickets... but it will be kind of a late night for the twins and I'm not sure I want to pay the consequences for the next two days...

Friday, April 16, 2010

There Once Was a Little Girl

with a little curl right in the middle of her forehead and when she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad....

Oh goodness!

I've done everything I know to bring her around and we are still at square one that started when she woke up this morning. We've done time-out, bed, hiked the mountain, held her, loved her, been firm, prayed with her and for her, etc, etc........ when I give her the choice of being happy and doing what I ask, or being mad and getting a consequence she chooses the consequence.  I'm wiped out.


Steve has been by my side.... She's finally asleep. I hope with all my heart that was what she needed. So sad to waste the whole day when she could have been playing in the sunshine and learning good things. Instead she's choosing to be stubborn.

Interestingly enough she hasn't messed in her pants even though I have not been able to get her to go potty... She's wet herself once.

How can anything so cute be so bad?

Yes - our mountain has exploded into blossoms.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Okay - battery is dying, but just have to say:

She did it!


Dry and Clean ALL DAY.


She really, really, really, really wants to go swimming in her pink "babysoup" (bathing suit)

I thank the LORD for success for her today.

Today was so beautiful and sunny and warm. It was delightful to watch her run all over the freshly mowed grass in her "bare beat" (bare feet) . She was so happy and free as a bird.

Little guy had a good day, too.... but we had to hose him down with the warm water hose before supper because he was a total mess and stunk to the high heavens!!. (He loved the hosing off and the soak in the rubber-maid container outside.  He is getting a little overly brave on that bicycle of his on the down hill. I'm sure he's going to wipe out good one of these days.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Will It Backfire?

Swimming is in the top 5 things to do in this family.... so, have been telling the twins that it's really exciting to be potty trained because then they will get to go swimming!  I have made it very clear that kiddos who poop in their pants aren't allowed in "our" pool.

The community pool is super nice for kids and it's only just down the road from us.  My girls do a ton of lap swimming there all summer long. The pool will open in the middle of June and I figure if they aren't potty trained enough by then we still have July or August...... (or next summer  -wost case scenario).

Guess what! Today we were blessed with a free family swim pass to the YMCA for the whole month of MAY in appreciation for being foster parents.

Oh, boy!

The girls are thrilled!!!!!!

And I'm a tad worried......

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


is a learning experience...

It's true. We are all learning.. . even the twins.

There's a nice clear schedule on the fridge door. It took a long time to get to the place were we could even figure out a schedule so this is really nice. It takes some of the burden off me as the "mean old mistress"... the kids go and stand by the schedule and stare at it and recite what they think it says. I'm working on a pictorial version.  They might still say "NO", when I tell them what is next, (specifically going potty or drinking water)  but they are quickly learning that saying "NO" to me only lands them in bed every single time and interestingly enough, they (especially he) will often instantly fall asleep and if they  don't go to sleep they quickly decide to say, "Yes, MOM!"  The first day I tried this I had to repeat the process over and over all day long, but since then it has been only once or twice each per day. It's very, very effective, thankfully.

On to the poop chronicles:

We are only going through about 3 or 4 pairs of underwear each a day now. The balloons are so effective that the twins are NOT allowed to blow them up unless they are sitting on the toilet!!! They are such experts at blowing up balloons now that Little Miss can blow up 3 or 4 balloons to the popping point in one sitting. It kind of stings the face - I tried it.  We stocked up at the dollar store yesterday.

We were in the grocery store Monday and someone wasn't smelling so great and in order to save time and get the food bought I sent the big girls to the bathroom with the littles. The Little Fellow sits on the pot and says, "I need a balloon!.

Christina says, "Well, we don't have one."


She says, "Just BLOW really hard".

Goodness! Will they ever figure this out?

It's going much easier for Missy than for her brother. She can sit on the throne and poop 5 times a day. He can only do it once or twice but I am never sure if it will be in the morning or in the afternoon and so we have to try every hour all day long.

I still think, even while I'm trying to be vigilant, that she is over-eating. She literally eats everything and always wants more. I put limits on how much she can have but it's hard to know what a little body needs. I've been cautious to err on the side of plenty - but I think I might be doing her a disfavor.

Both kids run with their heads down. They had a terrific collision today in the hallway. She was completely bowled over by him and quite hurt. She's a toughy, so I knew she was hurt. He, on the other hand, howled long and loud, but shrugged his shoulders when I asked him where he was hurt. He's very much a baby and sensitive to his rights, but he and I hiked to the top of our mountain the other day. We went straight up the steep parts without much of a pause. He's come a LONG way in attitude and strength. He only asked for help on the way down. I was going fast and hard and he kept up and was happy the whole way. Previously he only whined and fussed and nearly tore my finger joints to pieces on small hills. Hiking is a big deal in this family and so it's always presented as the THING to DO for fun and he's catching on.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Even More Real

 Okay, the last post was about the realness of what we are dealing with as far as the kids go ... and this post is about the realness of dealing with me and my naturally hot-tempered nature.

I'm trying to figure this out. It's so hard to know when you are doing the right thing! Everything's a gamble pretty much, except that I've been thinking that getting mad and frustrated probably wouldn't be very productive in teaching these children self-control... like duh! But there are moments when this is very frustrating. The moments I struggle the most are when I have a time crunch. If I have all day - they can pitch a fit and it doesn't raise any dander... but throw a hairy 5 minutes after we were suppose to leave for somewhere and it's a lot harder to be smiley and matter-of-fact.

Today we had one of those moments. Mister was not cooperative about going potty before we left for speech which lengthens the potty process by forever. I had no time for the foolishness. I wasn't patient and  got really stern and told him to do what I said and since he was being naughty he would not get to play in the play ground at the school. And you wouldn't believe it!!! He completely turned around. He put a big grin on his face and went ahead and did what I said. He still didn't get to play on playground jungle gym, even though I let his sister play. He sat by me and watched knowing full well why.  As soon as we arrived home I announced another potty session and it was a whole 'nother round of screaming fits from Little Guy. Of course, nothing I said or did would make him calm down..... then the phone rang and I left him alone on the pot. Would you believe it he was quiet for probably 10 minutes while I was out of the room, but he'd already lost the pleasure of playing with his new game for the rest of the day and missed the walk that Vanessa and his twin took. I let him off to wash his undies and within 5 minutes I had to put him back on. This time he was more cooperative and was willing to blow balloons and play (now we are putting pennies in the balloons to add interest).  The balloons did the trick and he is probably finished his big job for the day.

I don't know. It's so tiring.

I keep asking the Lord for wisdom in dealing with these munchkins and for a boatload of patience for every single day. I know He is helping me. I just wish He would have sent an owners manual with these kids and patience in extra strength pill form would be really handy.

I had at least three major trials over going potty with him today and one time he asked to go because sister was trying out those long skinny balloons during her sit session and Christina was turning them into puppies. Every time we say it's potty time he tells us he will go pee - NOT poop. I don't know what to do except to keep fighting. Hey - we've gone from NOT going at all, to pooping in our pants, to pooping a teaspoon in the pot and now to doing most of it in the toilet, but it's such a fight!

Just Keeping it Real

I think that I may have figured out what precipitates a melt down in these two rascals. For Little Missy it is usually a great disappointment; a little heartbreak, and then she feels sorry for herself and soon refuses to follow direction. For Little Guy it's a combination of insecurity and plain laziness that brings on a crying fit and stubbornness. He does alright so long as everything is totally predicable and he feels like following along, but change things around a bit and he isn't so sure how to handle it, or ask him to go potty when he's "busy" and he'll fall apart.

Yesterday we endured a stand-off in both of them at the same time. Little Guy was asked to go potty while friends were here... and then while we were still dealing with that Little Miss didn't want to accept the fact that she couldn't go with me to the children's choir - and then she also was asked to go potty. Steve had to take over because I am the choir teacher. He just calmly told them he expected them to do what I had asked them and then sat down and sorted mail in the bathroom doorway while they both screamed and cried refusing to go potty. They were still there when I returned. I backed him up and repeated the requests to use the potty (and to get in the shower because he was a mess from the waist down). We prayed, we talked kindly, we repeated our requests, we held their hands, I washed the bathroom floor, I washed the bathroom walls, I disinfected the toilet and even scrubbed the toilet brush holder and sang, and then we reminded them that it was time to eat supper - and all hell broke loose!

The girls and I went up to eat and turned the music on. Steve calmly read his book in the bathroom doorway...  It appears that Little Man was trying desperately to get a rise out of us. The thing is, this is what worked before they came here. If they cried and screamed long enough they got their way (at least that is what I have gathered from my conversations with foster mom. She is a busy person and didn't have time for these long, long stand-offs.) And if that didn't work then they would resort to swearing. Thankfully, that has only been the case here once with Little Man early on. It's never happened again, which is strange because it was a common occurrence at the Foster mom's. She told me she wept over them and was at a total loss.

After I ate, I went back down to try and bring Missy around. I know food is incredibly important to her, so I used supper to my advantage. I prayed with her, held her hand and asked if she would like to eat. Of course, she did. She soon capitulated and went potty. She really, really had to go! Silly girl! I showered her and held her, put her in pajamas and then sat her on my lap and talked to her about angels and Jesus, and the bad angel who wants us to be unhappy. I used the felts to illustrate and talk about making choices and choosing to listen to the good angel. She totally gets it and wanted me to tell Little Man. I then fed her and went down to relieve Steve because he had to leave for prayer meeting. Little Guy was already in the process of obeying... but it took a long time to accomplish things. I fed him and it was time for bed.  The whole afternoon was gone!

On Wednesday nights we have storytime on my bed.  Little Miss brought the felts and she explained to her brother about the Jesus and the angels... She had the sweetest prayer. She prayed about everything from having a good sleep, helping her not to be naughty, to going to speech tomorrow. She asked me if I was feeling better. I had had a migraine for two days and I said, "No, screaming makes my head hurt."

"I sorry, Mommy, I sorry!!" 

They both were calm and sweet as could be. They were cuddly and pleasant. It's amazing. They both fell asleep instantly.

Later the rest of us gathered to talk over the day and pray together. We always talk at the end of the day and of course, the twins are a major topic of conversation lately. It's no secret that Christina was a hot tempered baby. When she gets tired of the screaming we remind her she had temper tantrums when she was just little. I would hold her tightly and pray, and sing (and cry) for an hour until she gave up or  fell asleep and usually, she fell asleep. She just has to ask every once in awhile, "WAS I as BAD as this??" Well, no, we dealt with you when you were a baby.... these kids have been strengthening their passion for 6 whole years.

Brianna piped up with, "It just seems so silly to scream and cry and carry on when it would be so, so easy to just give in!!"  She always was my compliant child. :-)  I did remember an incident, though.... she was about 3 when she decided to scream in church. Steve took her out and brought her back and she did it again, so he took her all the way home to deal with her properly, and then drove her all the way back to church.

Brianna's response, "OH, My!! I ought to reimburse you for the gas money!"


After prayer, she again commented, "It just seems so SAD when these kiddos scream and cry and all they have to do is obey and be happy!"

Yes, how sad it is.
PS... Isn't such an illustration of the way mankind relates to God? Wouldn't we just be happier if we would give in and let God direct our lives? Ah, but sometimes it's such a battle and God just stays by sad that we don't accept that He knows what is best for us and waiting until we are done with our little fling.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Continuing Yesterday's Trend

Today is calm and peaceful like yesterday. The house is clean. Chaos no longer reins. We've done school with the littles and the big girls are making progress in their studies. Everybody is working along with the schedule and moving along super duper.

I took the twins for a walk in along the irrigation ditch. Upon returning home I sent the kids to the toilet. Little Miss was ecstatic to find that she had clean and dry undies! Her eyes were sparkling, "Mommy, I clean!" It was precious to see the joy on her face to have actually managed to go outside for a walk and come home still clean! She asked for a treat - which is interesting because treats haven't been mentioned in quite a long time, but she for sure received some carob chips, a lot of cheering and big hugs.

I have the kids off of all food coloring and I do believe it is helping keep Little Man from feeling irritable. We have been one whole week without a single M&M or anything that has color in it.

I say that the day has been calm, and it has, but Little Guy did try something just to see what would happen. I mix the miralax with water and then serve it to them on their "throne". Hey, there isn't much else to do there, so why not? Anyway, I ran back to the kitchen to turn off the stove and I heard a crash. I returned to find he had "dropped" or thrown his cup of miralax on the floor. I just picked up the cup and said, "I'll be right back after I refill this and after you are done, you can wash the floor for me."

He did.

Not much else was said about it. He scrubbed the floor square by square as I taught him and when he was done he was having fun enough to agree to wash the other bathroom floor also. By the end of the second tile job I think he had decided to not dump his drink out again.

I never thought I would be praising God for balloons, but I am! I have this little bag of hard-to-blow-up balloons. The kiddos are only allowed to try to blow them up on the potty. It works like nothing else!!! I'm sure that's why Little Miss was able to keep her panties clean. By the way, they have actually BOTH learned how to blow them up - much to my surprise. It helps to work on one balloon for a couple hours. The new ones are near impossible at first. I'm thinking I'll buy a few more packages of different shapes and colors to keep them entertained and to keep the process moving along. I hope that they are taking note of what it feels like to empty out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baby Steps

We practically did a victory dance this morning - we are a long ways from our goal, but the girls and I were pretty thrilled with the small steps taken in the right direction today. For one thing putting the kids on the potty does not necessarily mean they will erupt into screaming and crying and such anymore. It might, but not every time and it wasn't the case this morning.

Brianna has been evaluating every move with an critical eye and made this one huge observation: When the kiddos start to need to use the toilet they start tugging at the seat of their pants, over and over. I've never noticed this, but this morning Vanessa noticed Little Guy doing it 5 minutes after he got off the toilet for his scheduled sit time and she took him back and he was a little soiled and proceeded to "go" in the potty.

I read somewhere that blowing up balloons, holding the breath, etc... might help to teach them to bear down and this morning both caused major explosions in the right place for Little Missy. She couldn't blow up a balloon to save her life, especially with her cleft lip, but it was in the trying that we were able to do a job - which means about 150 pairs of fewer dirty underwear for today. That's always something to celebrate.

We are pretty much dealing with everything very matter of fact and they are starting to deal with themselves more matter of fact. Cleaning up the messes is not necessarily cause for a major tantrum. We still have them. He had two yesterday and when he does he is entirely unreasonable, but it doesn't last as long as it used to.

People are saying they are seeing a difference. I hope they aren't imagining it.

Drinking water is getting to be easier and easier. Brianna has been a real blessing in this department. She can get the most miserable child to drink for the fun of it against their will :-)

Honestly, when people tell me that it is going to take a year or more to train these kids to go potty it is very discouraging because it's very intense right now. We cannot go places, we can hardly go for a family hike, we dirty every pair of underwear in the house every single day, the smell in this place is horrible, the tantrums are exhausting, the schedule is regimented, and the hours sitting on the edge of the tub encouraging a little poop is wearying, BUT I am finally realizing when people say that it is going to take a year or more they mean that we will still have some accidents here and there - not every ten minutes all day long every day of the week. We'll see, but that's what I am clinging to right now.

We are learning to pray like never before. Yesterday, Missy was yelling "I done, I done" over and over while I was out getting clean undies, etc... and suddenly she said, "I pray. Dear Jesus, gibberish, gibberish, not pee in the pants, not poop in the pants, Amen. Mommy I done, I done, I done!!!!" It's a start : - )

Friday, April 2, 2010

Snow Day

We are having some ridiculously wintry weather, but Little Man has been in seventh heaven playing in the snow all day. It's melting like crazy and everything is super wet, but he's been out there continuously except for potty breaks and food. Little Miss likes it almost as much, but she's been drinking so much prune juice she has to come in and sit more often and get bathed frequently. She's been doing quite a job on the potty today and to be honest, so has he. Even though there are a hundreds of accidents every day, having them sit at the same times every day is starting to work the teeniest bit. Each day they do a little more than the day before. Yesterday there was a serious melt down over having to go potty, but today they've endured it without too much fanfare, in fact we have not had any unacceptable behaviors today, but the day is not over :-)

Little Guy has a strange food texture issue. He is starting to venture forth and take a bite of this and that - things were once on the "I like that, NO!" list, but he is such a gagger! He will eat a banana now, but lots of things that he likes the taste of makes him puke at the table. He doesn't chew anything very much. He looks as though it hurts to chew he does it so gingerly, but then he walks gingerly like he's peed his pants even when he is dry. He can't eat lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, apple, lentils, scrambled tofu, etc.... Is this weird or what?? Half his teeth have fallen out and the ones he has are half in and spaced far apart.

Yes, they talk funny. "I like that, NO, or I want that, NO!" is about the funniest. She says " I hava-hava" and it means I want to have that. "Me no have turn", is pretty cute. Mostly they leave out unnecessary words but occasionally turn sentences around. There are many sounds she can't make because of her cleft lip. I'm curious about how things will go at speech therapy next week. I need tools. They talk all the time and we are constantly teaching them new words, but I don't know what I am doing and I need concrete ideas.

PS. The day is officially over for the kiddos and we made it all day without a single outburst! No screaming, fussing, or any other unacceptable behaviors ALL DAY! Yahoo! Thank you LORD!