Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Yay me!"

 To avoid “The Great Blog Jinx” of spilling the “good news beans” and then it all turn to a Crapola-Casserole, I have waited to share the “Yay Me” poohba.

The newest tool in Chatters tool box. My husband aka “Counselor Bob” whom is a therapist …has in fact been using this little gem he picked up from me for a couple of months now with clients, and guess what? It is working . He is getting feedback from other parents.
That.Makes.Me Smile…and want some founders fees…or at least a night out with the girls.
Hey I am all about equal opportunity over here.

So are you ready? Cause it is short…you might miss it…

Chatter goes on “anger hunts”….she constantly is actively looking for reasons to be mad. Almost like she needs to constantly justify how CRAPPY she feels all of the time on something, anything to be hands down pissed off about.

In one day:
  • She could be MAD that I woke someone else up first.
  •  She could be MAD that I asked her to eat before getting dressed.
  • She could be MAD that her bowl was green and not pink.
  • She could be MAD that her sister ‘might’ have gotten more milk in her cereal.
  • She could be MAD that her favorite dress is in the wash and she has to wear something else.

That was the first 20 minutes of everyday, and second by second, minute  by every-lovin’ minute this girl WAS MAD.

There were days I would want to roll my eyes…”You have GOT to be kidding me KID, freak-n-A…get OVER yourself friend!"

Then I realized, she had no idea, HOW to look for good. The kid has NO skills in the Gratitude and Happiness department. Nada.

So one day when we were in a giant pitty party over chicken nuggets…I joked , “well at least they aren’t POOP NUGGETS, cause then you would be all “YAY ME, I don’t have the biggest POOP NUGGETS TO EAT, Scooby does.”
Note: she is eight....poop is hilarious.
She cracked a smile,and I took that as lee-way for more…so I had her yell:
“YAY ME , I didn’t eat POOP NUGGETS.”

Then we started to break down the MAD moments…and finding real, or silly “yay me” moments.
MAD: Peanut-butter is having a play date…and I am NOT.
YAY ME: “I can ask Mom to play a puzzle with me and we will still have fun, YAY ME.”
MAD: I wanted to have the chocolate Doughnut, dude got first.
YAY ME:  I still get to have a doughnut and they are yummy, YAY ME.”

I could give you thousands of daily “yay me” moments…but what is the fun in that… chica go find your own.

We all cognitively need to learn better ways to process our thought patterns, our kiddo’s from rough places never learned how, they just know how to react.

We first started with verbally doing “yay me’s” .
We would then clap for ourselves…
Like I literally say “give yourself a clap”, and they do.
Then we kiss our brains…smooching our hands and planting em on our noggins…try kissing your own brain, it’s fantastic.

Now I can suggest a “brain” or “Quiet yay me”…and she will smile and say “I did it.”
This simple cognitive model has helped her so very much in the processing of constant negativity, into finding good things in small moments.

I am so very, very proud of her.
“Yay me.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bullying: a different perspective

Last Thursday my 8 year old son was bullied. In fact he was physically and emotionally assaulted. He is a type 1 diabetic, and as far as I can gather, he was going to the bathroom when a child thought what he saw peeking out of Scooby’s pocket was a game-boy, or a cell phone….
Really it was his Insulin pump that is physically attached to his body via tubing and a small rubber like needle that distributes his Insulin.
The kid asked “whats that”
Being embarrassed my son answered “Nothing.”

And then the child proceeded to grab the pump, rip it off my sons body and run into a stall and lock it. Where he began pushing buttons and ripping the tubing.
Scoobs knowing that his pump saves his life, and took us 3 very long years to afford was panic stricken, begging the child to give it back, pounding on the door.
The child then threw the pump up and it smashed into the ceiling, Scoobs luckily caught it on the other side.
Wanting to get away, and get help, he went to run, as he did the child grabbed Scoobs hoodie from behind pulling it back hard, and choking him in the process.

When I got the phone call, as any Mother bear would be, I was out raged. My eyes saw red. I wanted to swoop in and defend my baby. I wanted punishments and consequences as harsh as possible…and then the first half hour passed, and I began to process the situation. Knowing Scoobs would have HUGE FEELINGS over such a violation, I had to be prepared for how he would feel, how he may act out, and just move time to be there, listen, validate and hold him.

He hadn’t been able to identify his assailant because with Sensory Processing Disorder, he isn’t good with faces, all he could remember was that the kid had a gray sweatshirt on…it took the principle reviewing hallway video tape to figure it out.

He came home, Dad had picked him up, and he had held it together in the car the whole way home, once he got home, the moment he saw me, he collapsed in my arms sobbing, he hiccupped the whole story as best as he could. He had been terrified. He is always afraid of being choked so that part of it had deeply impacted. Most of all he was worried about not having a pump anymore and having to go back to shots. He sobbed and I rocked him The next day we planned swimming lessons and outside time.

He has been angry, he has been weepy, he has been overly sensitive, We have spent hours rocking in my chair. Throwing eggs. Tromping around in the snow….

and I am sure what your next question is….WELL? WHAT happened to the Bully?
Well ……….
Here’s the thing……
As ANGRY, and OUT RAGED, SICK, and so very SAD that this had happened to my vulnerable little boy, I had questions…who is this kid?
Have his parents taught him better?
Did some entitled, overly indulged brat hurt my son?...
has this child, the one that hurt my son so deeply, scared him so very much, could this child be hurting and scared too?

……so many dear friends offered advice, called with expertise, so much GOOD and HELPFUL stuff. There were so many ways for this to go, so many battles and wars I could have begun, filing police reports, calling the district….but  I took a breath and decided to gather more, listen more, figure out more…put the torch and pitch fork down and make some lists of what I wanted to see, what I needed to know, and most of all what would help my son heal….
I didn’t want to engage a battle when my energy needed to be here listening and rocking and being present for Scooby

The principle being an adoptive mother herself and VERY good about understanding special needs, asked what I needed, most of all what my son needed….I wanted her to take both boys in her office and get the whole, true story.
Then call me.
After Scoobs story was validated, I wanted the other Mother to know, and help come up with consequences and retribution. I crossed my fingers she was the type to own up to her childs behavior instead of rationalize it away.

The principle called and told me, “you are going to love this Mom, she wants as many consequences as possible, she wants her son to learn a strong enough lesson, to not do this again. As well as she informed me this little guy was also in fact and older adopted child…..gasp.

The child that hurt and bullied my son was an older adopted child.

Keeping your self in check Linds?
Talk about a swift slap –o- reality, right in the kisser.

Today I sat in the Principles office, next to another Mother doing her best to parent a sibling group adopted out of Foster care. We laughed, we spoke honestly, we shared hurts and concerns, tools and recourses. We agreed on consequences. …We had first had her son come in. I first spoke to him. His sad, beautifully eyelashed eyes looked deep and dark and sad…but most of all afraid.  He was so afraid I was going to be mad…he told his Mom he was afraid I might punch him in the face for hurting my son.
As I gently spoke to him, about Scoobs needing to feel safe, how Scoobs might have felt..I began to see the disconnect , I so often see in my own childs eyes when things get too heavy….and my heart lurched and I just wanted to make things O.K. for him….

Next Scoobs was called in. He was apologized to, they decided that after the destroyed medical stuff was worked off, that this little guy would also find ways to do service for my son. The plan is the next snow, this child will come to my home and shovel the white stuff, which is primarily Scoobs chore.
After some effort and chance to work off his debt, Scooby will join him and help complete the jobs

 Today I saw the world again through a different perspective. If I hadn’t been parenting little bruised hearts and broken brains for so long, I may have missed the opportunity for healing and just wanted self-righteous vengeance for my son…that’s the thing, Bulling, is NEVER O.K. but it is not as black and white as that. Never is. We are all flawed, we all have deep dark hurts, but children from the darkest places, the biggest hurts…they give what they got, and though they need to learn how to make better choices, they also need mercy and love.

I am so sad my son was once again hurt. I am so grateful he sought my arms in comfort.
I am so very sad the boy who hurt my son was hurt so deeply, that his behavior spoke so completely of his pain. I am so grateful I had the life experience to pause, listen and be apart of a whole healing learning experience.
I Hate Bullying….but I love the Bully.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Embracing the Season & Gift Ideas

So “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love, every song you hear seems to say”….

HOLY CRAP BATMAN….It’s a season of rages, insecurities, loss, and anxiety…..


NO that’s not the song the  Carpenters originally wrote, but they should have.
With all of the shopping and baking, we so desperately want to enjoy it, finding that peace this season used to mean to us, before the Drama of Trauma .
It’s O.K. that we miss Pre-Crazy lives, those traditions , and how the holidays worked then. Facebook does this nifty/annoying thing where it posts pictures of albums in the past…this one came up yesterday, and so many people “liked it” and commented on it…and I responded with “Though that was only three years ago, it feels like a lifetime ago.” …..and it does.

This year we hiked the mountains with eight children, and found our tree. It was fun, I had to do soooo very much more planning to pull it off. I had to be prepared for triggers and whining and people being mad that others were walking faster, or being closer to Mom, or what color the sky, and snow and their boots were, whatever. I had to have “special jobs” for everyone. I had to have pockets full of treats to remind them to “be sweet”…but we did it, and it.was.awesome.


I believe. I believe the holidays can be awesome. They also are VERY hard, and we need to take the long way. There are things I have to give up along the road,yet, those things I have had to sacrifice for my children and family, have been replaced by really important things..that I wouldn’t change.

*Parties are Out/ Reading a New Christmas Book and Creating something together is IN.
*Putting out Breakable Family Heirlooms OUT/ Handmaking Ornaments and Decorations is IN.
* Traveling to Family members houses OUT/ Snuggling in and making it our own, IN
* Shopping together as a Family OUT/Randomly Shoveling peoples driveways all sneaky like,IN
*Visting Santa at the Mall, OUT, Drawing names and doing secret elves for each other, IN.

There is very little I feel we have lost.
There is so much of the heart of the season we have regained by making our worlds smaller and concentrating on what is Important.

Next come the gifts.
There is nothing left from the gifts/toys that my children received last year. NOTHING…everything was broken, destroyed, buried in the backyard, or thrown away.
I have now taken inventory and realize what does last in my home, what my children do value, and semi take care of…what not only will they LOVE, but what will help them HEAL.

So here goes my idea list for Christmas 2011:

Bean Bags, $17, from Walmart. They come in a variety of different colors…infact I ordered 10 sight to store and shipping was free. My kids are like the mighty morphine power rangers…they each have their own assigned color, for plates, bowls, toothbrushes…. AND NOW BEANBAGS…
This is what Santa will be bringing them, with a book of choice, and a matching snuggly blanky.
Sensory wise, these are a no brainer…Bean Bags simulate being in the Womb, they are soothing.

 If I hadn’t made these for my kids birthdays, I would be including them in their Christmas wish list, so I thought I would share, Weighted Pillow Pets.
My kids LOVE theirs….like LOVE, and sleep with them every night. Dude stems when he can’t sleep. Every night before he goes to bed after kisses and tuck-ins, he asks “You put Numb-Nums on me?”…(Numb-Nums is the name of his dinosaur Pillow-Pet)
We have found even in the middle of the night when I can hear him rocking back and forth, simply laying him back down, tucking him in, and laying “Numb-numbs” on him, he goes right back to sleep.

Here is how you make these not-so-little guys.
Buy a Pillow pet, or a stuffed animal that can lay flat across a lap, or on a sleeping chest.
I am cheap and bought most of mine at T.J. Maxx, or Ross for $7.99-$12.99
Here they are:

 Next I find a seam, on the side or Bottom and I seam rip it open about six inches long.

 Then I take STRONG Gallon Baggies and fill them with rice,noodles or beans…I get the rice or beans at the $1 store, or somewhere cheap since they won’t be being consumed.  I fill two bags to the same weight, each containing half the weight for the intended pet.
Depending on the child, recommended appropriate weights are: Suggested weight is 10% of their body weight plus 1 pound.
Example Dude weighs 25 pounds. So we made Numb-numbs 3.4 pounds.

After filling I get all of the air out before sealing them…then I double bag them.
Slowly pushing the Bags one by one into the body of the stuffed animal guiding them into place. Then with double thread sewing the seam back up…really, really well.
Now you can’t toss theses in the Washing Machine. So if they get Dirty, or let’s be honest peed on (MY KIDS HAVE HAD THESE FOR MONTHS AND NEVE HAVE)
I Soak or Spot clean them with a Vinegar Baking Soda, warm water, Lavender oil solution and leave them on a Warm Air vent to dry.
                                                            Love at First hug.....

Another idea: Mini Trampolines, again Wally World or Sears have GREAT inexpensive options in there fitness departments, generally running around $25.00. We own three, and they are used everyday in the winter.
I use them to get energy, angry bugs, and anxiety out. …LOVE THEM.

Make them Hula Hoops…really. My friend “Lisa the Amazing”…wrote this incredible post about why Hula-Hoops are so healing…and just like in the Chipmunks song …your children would truly benefit form this simple, FUN toy! Here is a link in how to make them.

Some other items on my shopping list are:
Blocks, Blocks and more BLOCKS….my children LOVE blocks and I have them out all of the time, Legos, Stacking blocks…the worlds they create while building dexterity and fine motor skills is vital for their brains.
Here and here are the ones we are looking at.

Also Melissa and Doug have AWESOME things for children’s brains:
These are all items I have bought for my kids this year for Christmas, or items we already have and have lasted, because my kids LOVE them.

Melissa and Doug are NOT paying me for my blatant brand representation…though; I would so be cool if they would. ;) This single puzzle is one of my kids ALL time favorite thing to play with ....we have bought two now, just because they play with it so much.

Anywho. I guess what I am saying in all of this, is…Instead of fighting this season. One that I sappily LOVE with all of my heart. I am morphing into learning to love it in new different very special ways. I am slowing down, enjoying the moments and not letting the hustle, the commercialism be part of our Season.Though there will be mini, or massive blow outs…there also will be priceless, healing moments of simple joy and love.  Letting be what is, embracing the real,just being us, being in the moment, letting my beautiful children be exactly who they my Christmas card picture? We are what we are..and what we are is CRAZY BEAUTIFUL!
 "It's that time of year when the World Falls in LOVE."

Cause the Carpenters said so.


I believe. I believe. I believe.