Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Her First Day of Clinicals

* It's a pretty exciting day for Vanessa... as you can see.

* I stopped by the store to pick up few needed items on the way home from the twins' music lessons. James had some money of his own with him. I gave Missy 5 bucks and a chaperone (Vanessa). The back story on this is that she had come home one day last week and gleefully told me she had thrown away her spoon with her lunch at school. It was so random and so "and what are you going to do about that?" kind of thing. There wasn't much I could do. I just told her I was disappointed that she threw away a perfectly good stainless steel spoon and now she didn't have one. For the next week as I would pack her lunch I would have to modify it to something that didn't need a spoon. She kept asking why her lunch was different from James' and I would just say, "because you don't have a spoon." So, we set her off on a mission to buy herself a spoon. Well, with her helper, she found 4 for 99 cents. And she decided to buy a couple of doll bottles and diapers... As they waited in line a middle aged couple behind them were so tickled with finding a little girl buying bottles and diapers for her dolls that they begged Vanessa to let them buy them for her. Okay! You win some, you lose some. I got my 5 bucks back, she's got a few spoons for her lunch box and someone gifted her with her hearts' desire, but I don't know if she learned anything about money. :-)

* James was set on buying Legos. He only had $6 dollars egg money on him. As anyone knows you can't buy very many Legos with six dollars. He found a tiny motorcycle kit. . . . He didn't really want it, he just wanted to spend his money. Took me awhile to help him focus and realize that he didn't want that kit. By the end of our shopping trip he asked if he could put it back. YES! score.

* Christina found a home for the two big ducks. A farm with two ponds and a family that are really pleased with how friendly they are. The lesson learned here is that she texted me in my class about it and said they would be picked up before I would be back. Right. Let me get this straight. You invited a stranger to come to our house, while you, a 15 year old girl with the flu, is home alone?  She had to scramble to have someone come over..... the neighbors kindly obliged and hopefully a lesson was learned. However, it turned out that a family came to pick up the ducks. But you never know.

* Missy is making some progress on that violin. Brianna was quite pleased with her lesson yesterday and the "recital quality" of her tone on her new song... the teacher then gave her another new song. James needs some encouragement. He's plodding along, but hasn't come to the place where practicing is a JOY. :-)

*I've had the WORST migraine this week. Yesterday I was hanging over the tub with my feet in hot water wondering how in the world I was going to drive back to town for the music lessons when my pains meds wouldn't kick in ~~  when I remembered a new kind of med someone had given me to try. It took an hour to do anything, and it did not deal with the nausea and all that, but it helped enough that I could function anyway. MY next move is to get some Cell Power from the health food store and give it a go...

*In my foster care classes we had a discussion that was a lightbulb moment. We were discussion the do's and don'ts of reflective listening. The two teachers highlighted that actually, *I* statements and *feel* statements DO NOT WORK with kids from with a trauma history.  They went into the whys and wherefores, etc... but it got me thinking. So during a break I talked to them about the behavioral therapist that we are seeing and explained the things he wants me to say and use during issues with the twins and how often it totally backfires. They were not at all surprised. They said, "of course!" this guy does not take into consideration their trauma history. Those very things will either cause the child to blow up or shut down...."  EXACTLY what is happening, especially with James. They said this kind of stuff works very, very well with special kids and regular kids who don't have a trauma history. And they gave me the name of a therapist that works with adopted kids. . . (Ack! man, this world is SOOOO complicated.) Anyway, the TRAUMA HISTORY Key is also what other parents looking on and criticizing adoptive parents totally miss. I tried to talk to them also about how onlookers think I should not be so bent on consequences for behavior due to mental deficiencies and they totally dismissed the conversation as nonsense.  Oh, whew! It's been quite a week for me in this regard.....!

And then James had quite a flare up of anger - on the bus yesterday and there was a backpack flying. I was on the bus in a flash and he was down on my lap on the steps of the bus quicker than he could blink. He snapped out of it in a hurry. It's a good thing. There was a delayed child who witnessed the event freaking out and the bus driver had to do her best to assure him everything was fine.

* As expected, sending your kids to public school has it's downsides. Listen to this transcript of an unbelievable exchange between Missy and I, yesterday. Don't forget, she's in SECOND GRADE!!

"Mom, Mom!! Guess what! We're going to a dance tonight at the high school."

Me: "Ummmm.. What? Actually, no, we are going to your violin lesson."

"But mom! There's a dance at the high school tonight. I want to go to the dance."

Me: "No, honey. We don't go dancing. We are getting ready to go to your music lesson, remember?"

"But mom!! Everybody else is going!!!" (Steriotypical teen talk, but I've never even heard my big girls say that!)

Me: Silently in my head, of course, and dripping with sarcasm.... "Right. I am SURE EVERY second grader is going to this high school dance except you."

and then with panic...." What in the world am I doing to my kids!!! "

~ and out loud, "Sigh, well I am sorry kiddo, but you are not going dancing at the high school tonight." 


momof4boys said...

so funny!

Preacherstribe said...

Ange, you are doing a great job. It is no mystery that people don't understand and that they feel sympathetic toward a poor (what they think is) overly restricted child. They can't understand. It is exactly what Julie suffered in dealing with Ian. The experts were sure she was the problem. Not!!! Disregard, for the sake of these kiddos, the negative reviews and keep on trucking. The Lord will give these kids to you. Someday, people will be coming to you for advice. Mark my word. Dad

Oldqueen44 said...

The whole post was a crack up. All in a day of a busy mom.

Mandy said...

Can you explain further the "I feel" statements you were addressing? I am getting that training was about consequences working better than conversation, but I am not sure and the topic is very useful and interesting to me at this time. If you have time that is.

angela ford said...

Thanks DAD! A vote of confidence from your direction means more than the nay saying from any other direction.

angela ford said...


We actually were talking about reflective listening --- which is an important skill for any parent. sometimes we just need to listen to our kids rather than "talk at them". They may actually solve their own problems if we give them the opportunity. The do's were: take the time, pay full attention with eye contact, put aside our own feelings, accept what is being said without judgment, reflect verbal and nonverbal messages, reflect the sender's depth and level of emotion, respond with empathy and understanding, allow them to solve their own problems.... ALL GOOD so far.

Then we went on to phrases to use such as ,
*you feel
*that makes you feel
*you look
*sounds like
*seems as if
*I hear you
*I wonder if
**what I seem to be hearing
*I get the feeling
*You feel as though

The problem comes in that often kids with a trauma history don't give a rip how YOU FEEL because haven't learned empathy. They don't take it or feel it or give it. It has yet to be learned. BUT it doesn't mean we don't listen to them and give them the opportunity to learn to share their feelings - obviously...we talked a lot about how this is rather difficult if their communication skills are as poor as my two kid's skills are.

When in these conversations one must

NEVER take over responsibility for solving the problems

NEVER give advice

Never be judgmental

Never reflect exact wording back - paraphrase instead so they know you are truly hearing them

etc, etc......

This is all fine. It is completely separate from consequences. I somehow I led you to believe it was.

So, my little conundrum was this: the therapist wants me to say to James when he's having a problem getting motivated, "What do you WANT?" and the kid is suppose to respond with that he wants to go somewhere, or whatever the case may be. and then I'm suppose to say, "Great! How can I help you?" and give him tons of support and offer my backing to his solutions to his issues. BUT my kid doesn't want me in his face asking what he thinks is obvious. He's more concerned at the moment that he doesn't want to do the work to get there and my "prompting" him to tell me what that work invovles makes him shut down or get angry. Instead it seems to work better to ignore the issue - walk away, give him space, and carry on with my work rather than make him feel cornered. I don't know why. IT just is right now.

We did have a class on consequences. Natural consequences are, of course, the number one choice. One will find that each parent will differ in their interpretation of what that means. The teachers of the class also teach LOVE AND LOGIC.

Mandy said...

Thanks for your response. I am going to keep that info because it is good thinking.
I have a similar issue. I have one child who does not respond to "what do you want" at all. He wants me to tell him what he wants.

Glesni Mason said...

I'm so thankful for that smiling girl. Give her a hug for me. I'm proud of her! <3

Glesni Mason said...

I'm so thankful for that smiling girl. Give her a hug for me. I'm proud of her! <3