Thursday, December 27, 2012

Because sometimes I forget

I needed to write myself this reminder.

Dear Lindsay,
Because sometimes you forget:
Sometimes, you know like the days following after Christmas, or a Birthday, or a really, really good day....I find myself looking for my stolen and hidden cell phone. Or you know, removing the toilet for the one hundredth time to remove whatever it could be possibly plugged with.
When I see ANGRY eyes on the search for something, ANYTHING to justify their anger, I forget.

I forget the healing that has come, the less and lesser amount of urinated bedding I am washing, the fewer kitchen appliances I am missing parts to ...because well there are MORE normal days, and it ticks me off when they are interrupted by what “NORMAL” used to look like.

Because sometimes I forget.

When I am in the middle of restraining a child back from hurting a sibling, or themselves over a Netflix movie choice... or holding a childs hair back while they throw up from over eating a holiday plate they intercepted from well meaning neighbors...I FORGET that three years ago....this was my life, everyday, every moment.

I forget the months my Garbage can had to live on my counter top to keep from being raided, having to feed my animals in different rooms from my children, so the food would not be taken and hidden in pockets and underwear to be eaten later.

I forget. Because it is so easy to want everything good, and easy and perfect....and to remember that when we strive for that I am stepping on my own feet and setting my children and myself up for a fantastic FAIL.

Because sometimes I forget, and you forget, and it is O.K that we forget...

Forgetting what things used to be like means something miraculous, forgetting means quietly and slowly, they.are.healing.
It is so very Sssslllloooowwww. We don't catch it. But there you have it.
So what does that mean ?
It means it is O.K. that after a holiday of special and magical they HAVE to anty up those feelings of unworthiness, those feelings of “too much good” and neutralize them with speaking behaviors.

This is not going backwards, this does not mean we are back somewhere we don't want to be...this means our kids are STILL telling us things and need behaviors sometimes to speak for them...

Because sometimes we forget....
Because sometimes the healing is quiet and slow, but it is STILL there.

Hang in there, be gentle with you, be gentle with them...give it a week or two...

Love you,

Friday, December 14, 2012

Soul Cancer/The hands and hearts behind the guns

Oddly, I find myself yet again in my Kitchen, days before Christmas, this time making sugar cookies for my daughters Christmas singing review.
With the news of Connecticut tragedy adding salt to my batter, there is a part of me that disconnects and travels to the other part of this heart breaking issue at hand.

The death of so many children makes every parents heart and mind explode with fear and grief....the echoes of “This could have been my child lost at the hands and gun of that monster it could happen to anyone of our children at any school, mall, church, city, country...none of us are safe from this kind of tragedy.”

There are also few of us that whisper behind closed doors,  to one another in special closed support groups, looks passed between one another during parenting workshops, trauma parent to parent,that are parenting children with severe mental illness.. we nod our heads sadly and admit to ourselves...”My child could be that Monster.”

This fear for me is a double edged sword.
So many of us want to make this tragedy and others like it a “Gun Control issue”, yes, maybe. Many argue "this would be  prevented if less guns were being circulated and easy to get", yes,maybe. Others would say, "bad people will walk through any law to get any weapon", yes, maybe.

But may we talk about the hands holding these guns?

I have read over and over again:

and I answer;
A very, very sick, mentally unhealthy person.
A person so sick, so damaged, so deeply incapable of remorse and full of darkness ...that KIND of person.

A person that did not get help when they needed it most.
Possibly a child like mine, with Trauma or Mental Health illness that grew up without help, without a diagnosis, with out available services, with out those things he would need to heal and get help. With out prevention.

What our country needs, right now, to see this Tragedy for what it is, lack of mental health care, healing the hands and the brains behind the tragedy's.
Right now, mental health MUST become as much as a priority as physical health care...without out adequate mental healthcare we will continue with or with out new guns laws to see these tragedy's, any other solution is putting a band-aid on a gaping chest wound.

Our country is losing a battle to a disease they don't even see...

Soul Cancer
                                                                                               Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tonight as I bake cupcakes at mid-night for Bugs play ( because isn't that when most sane people bake cupcakes.) I started thinking, and then the thinking got passionate, and then while my confections baked...I decided to word vomit up the feelings I keep on pushing down...AND HERE YOU HAVE IT...

lucky you.

In our community there is something so heart breakingly tragic going on with a teen girl that we know and love personally. She is an AMAZING, talented BEAUTIFUL young woman, that is such an incredible leader and example to the youth in our area, just last year this girl organized a dance for relay to life, because she was inspired. One year later she has been struck down with a debilitating disease, that has been touch and go daily for weeks and weeks. I and our family pray so much for her daily. It has been such an incredible opportunity for my kids to work on building compassion. Through service, they have helped me plan and put together freezer meals, recommending their favorites. I love this girl and her family.

And as I read another update and saw so much love and support and amazing rallying behind this angel of a girl....I got jealous.

Yep, I did.

Not that ANY of the support, love and prayers that have been showered upon this sweet wonderful girl are not incredible, I continue to add my own, it's just that I began thinking about our battles last summer, with our teenage daughter...and my heart started to hurt.

You see, losing Papillion was hush, hush. The 10 hospitals, multiple suicide attempts, all of the pain, and scares, and scars, all of the visits, and hopes up, and then dashed were weathered alone.

When she finally disappeared from our home and community, there were no questions asked, no prayers of support, no phone calls...she just materialized into thin air...because well, we just don't talk about mental illness now do we?

It was the loneliest thing I have ever been through, with very little validation out side of other trauma parents...I get the “People don't know what to say.”....but even if they just saying THAT...”Linds I am so sorry I don't know what to say" would have been something...instead of avoiding me in the hallways at church, or changing direction when come face to face with me in the grocery aisle. Or completely stop being my friend...

Mental health is so isolating, but it is time in 2012, for it not to be...really.

If my daughter had, had Cancer, broken both legs, even terrible asthma, we could talk about it, and everyone would nod their heads sympathetically, ask questions, offer prayers, help, love...

But when it is a cancer literally eating away at someones soul, future,emotional health...when it is a broken brain, when your child can't take a full, deep breath because trauma has stolen it, well, that is something put in a corner, whisper and generally not ever bring it up.....and

It's not like everyone on this planet has never known someone that has not suffered from abuse, depression and even post pardum...we all know someone...whether it be a former soldier that gets skidish around loud noises, an Uncle that gets angry faster than needs be, a sister, Aunt, Grandmother or Mom that has quirky things she has to do, for “things' to be alright...getting hurt, being a little messy in the head, is part of the human condition we don't talk enough about, and we need to.

Medically in the last 100 years we have made leaps and bounds in the physical needs and healing of our bodies...but what about our brains? Our souls? There isn't enough demand, because no one is standing up and saying THIS, THIS NEEDS WORK, this need to be fixed, THIS needs to be a bigger priority than magic diet pills. It is not happening fast enough, it is not being prioritized.

I agree some amazing, AMAZING work and books have been written in the name of R.A.D., P.T.S.D, O.C.D and all around trauma and the effects of it...but why? Why is is so much easier for a parent to get a 504 for a child with A.D.H.D. That is hyperactive and struggles concentrating, than a child with severe trauma and behavioral and attachment challenges?

one word, shame.

Our shame as parents being judged for our kids behavior, or that we "did" this to them, our fear and shame as a community, that if all start talking about our emotional and mental health, that judgment will be passed. No one judges someone with Cancer, “well obviously they weren't doing something right.”

That does not happen, why? Because what they have is physical, and obviously not anybody’s fault.

BUT, Nor is what happened to my child...Or to me for that matter.

My name is Lindsay. I am parenting children with severe trauma, anxiety, depression, psychotic tendencies, suicidal ideation, addictions, bulimia, anorexia, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder,Hording, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and they are surviving by the skin of their teeth, everyday. Their diseases are devastating, everyday is an Emergency room of Soul Triage, deciding which “bleeder”/trigger must be dealt with first.

My children have soul cancer. Their illnesses and struggles are not their fault or a result of my poor parenting. The statistics are stacked against them. There are not nearly enough resources, well trained Dr.'s, or therapists around to suffice...but we are fighting this with everything we 've got, and not quietly. I am not going to be ashamed with or for my children's needs and illnesses. I am going to talk about them, I am going to get the word out.

And hopefully someday the help that will heal them, and help heal other kids like them will come to fruition...because when we don't shout, and demand, and talk about what needs to be done, without shame, without fear of judgment, that is when the possibility to be heard and have change can really come...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You get what cha get and you don't throw a fit...

I mean can, throw a fit if you want, or a ginormous tantrum, if you feel like it..but please. You know. Don't.

I have had a couple emails asking me:

Dear Lindsay,

“What are you giving your kids this year?
I would love some gift giving idea's.”

Well here is your long winded, Internet wide answer:

Dear Fabulous, Brave, AMAZING Parent/Friend/Superhero,

After last years post idea's, I have to be honest, so much of it is more in the same....but you know “kinda” different.

My kids with Trauma backgrounds still struggle with really “Playing” with toys. So dolls/barbies/miniature animals and action figures are kinda not played with, body parts ripped apart and shoved into heating vents, yes, played with, not so much.
I am also finding interactive video games are over stimulating for my kids that are already so much on high alert and over vigilant those are out too.

It's amazing how much we really truly go back to old school, less destructible toys for our kids as gift choices.
Every year we try to give one gift that is a keep sake/reminder that says “Hey kids you are part of this family, forever, and no matter what...”
Last year I made 15 (some for birth-parents) 12 x 12 hardback coveredIndividual Picture books of my kids...they were time consuming, but still by far their favorite gift. This year I am printing GIANT 16x 20 canvas pictures of each of my children, with my favorite qualities of each child listed...these will be put up high, out of arms length...but visible, every day.
For older kiddo's we are focusing on talents, things they like to do, or are interested. 4 of my kids are receiving piano our home, with an instructor that gets the whole need for safe controlled environment. Are they going to mess with refusing to practice? You bet. And then I can “la,la,la it was a gift, you do what you want with it, but if the teacher wants to stop teaching you my..that would be a rough...” and walk away.

Some of our older kids are receiving a “new to them” sewing machine” to start learning to sew.
A used digital camera to learn to take pictures, and a refurbished drum set my hubs is working on fixing up...the nice thing is, these items are not new, if they get broken, ripped apart piece by piece, meh...I will not be adding up things in my head...not sweating it....and walking away....

We do this with toys too....second hand, thrift-ed, yard sales...and that $40 princess bedding set that you bought for $5 gets peed on, throw it in the wash....and walk away....

Are you getting the stress free, FREEDOM of giving beautiful, perfect gifts...that will NOT break your heart, or make steam come out of your ears IF and WHEN something happens to them?
Give it and walk away, walk away, walk away....

Other items our children are receiving this year.
New hula hoops...with these AWESOME new duct tapes...I was in Duct Tape HEAVEN buying the glorious stuff to my little hearts content... Hello Kitty duct tape....seriously, is there anything more incredibly cool?

For the two little’s , we found these bouncy horses...hours of bouncy fun...and shhhhhh they are regulating too.
Then we went old school, legos, Lincoln logs, sleds, balls, new bedding, hoops and books..

We always, always give our kids something to read...and an Ornament that reminds us of what we did that year...this year we made them. As a family we dressed up like M&M's for Halloween, so we made felt Initial M&M ornaments...this is our kind of Christmas. Every year our tree says, see we keep your memories, you are now and forever more part of our traditions, part of us.

“But Linds,what about the stuff family members and friends want to do for our family, that most of the time is well meaning, but doesn't work for us, and lets be honest ends up triggering, causing issues, or being buried in the back yard?”

My goodness I am glad you asked.
We have this offered to us all.of.the.time.

I used to graciously take it, put it away fro the future, or try to find someone that could use whatever we were given, but that just equaled MORE WORK for me, and I am pretty sure those well meaning thoughtful people didn't intend to add more work on me.

So I started saying “no”. ...nicely.

“THAT IS SO KIND that you want to give my kids an old game system...a new shiny toy each,remote control cars that they can race. I really hope that someday my kids might be capable of using those things with out breaking them, but we are not quite there yet.”

“This may sound weird or boring, but if you really want to do something that would be incredible for our family...everyone could use______________.”

Fill in the blank....
Ski hats
Art supplies
straight jackets

what evs....

Also some other things that have meant the WORLD to us, being a large family that are always budget Gift Certificates for FUN...
If we get cash, it goes to debt, therapy, medical..we have to be practical. But if someone gives us a Gift Card to the Movies, a Restaurant, or this AMAZING FUN ZONE with free trips to play Lazer Tag, well those babies are GOLD. We then have no it is.
And we therapeutic parents,

Another gift I want you to mull around in your brain, is life raft trips, for you, your spouse, or you two together...Trips for Mama like to ETAMM, are such a gift of refuge and release with so much love and acceptance.

If knowledge, help, and connecting with other parents is what you need...this, this is the gift would give you that. This is the gift that will keep on giving to yourself, your children over and over again. This is the gift you can tell yourself , your spouse and your family members that you need.
Parenting in Space Conference in Chicago.
I went two years ago, and it changed my life.
It gave me hope, friendships that carry me everyday.
In Fact I am speaking at this next one...terrified, but see you have to come.

And Happy hanuka!!!

Give or Get the gift you really want this year!

Register now for Parenting in SPACE 2013
and get the early bird discount
(it ends December 31)

While we're still solidifying the program,
this year's speakers will include:

First Time Presenters at Parenting in SPACE:
Emily Beard, Neurological Reorganization Practitioner
Karen Buckwalter, Chaddock
Lindsay Crapo, Therapeutic Parent and Beloved Blogger

Parenting in SPACE Favorites:

Jim Kling
Christine Moers

And from House Calls Counseling:

Billy Kaplan
Wendy Kovacs
Amber LeFevour
Rick Simon
Rosemary Spizzirri
Caitlin Travers
Candice Wu

It has early bird sign ups going from now until December 31st.
Ask for miles, $25 donations...plasma (I am only slightly kidding on that last one). I went that first year on a wing , a prayer. The next year we wrote family members and told them this is what we needed as a couple for Christmas. They came through, with Child care, and some money to cover our trip. If not this conference, is there another like it that will help fill that bucket up? That will be that life raft to get you by while you patch holes in your sinking ship...we ALL get there....none of us is alone in the struggle to parent hurting kids....

This is the season of giving.
What is the best things you can do right now for your family?
What can your kids benefit from?
What can you ask for?
What can you say “No” to?
What are you willing to give, shrug your shoulders and walk away from?

Find your Peace this Season.
Give yourself is there...if even for a just second surrounded in all of that chaos.
I would love to hear what you are doing...for your kids, you, your spouse,  for YOU.
Merry Christmas my sweet ROCK STAR friends, Happy Hanuka, and more than anything,

Tidings of peace and Joy....

From our Family to Yours

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gonna find out if your worthy or not, Santa Claus is coming to town...

I have been mulling this over in my head lately.
You see, in so many ways my kids ARE healing...for REALZ.
It is very SA-LOW....if I didn't look at last year and compare it to this year, I wouldn't see it at all.

This time of year is rough on my kids for a number of reasons. In the summertime we tend to see the most healing, less engagement, more of the real them.
I think it is for a number of reasons, it is warm, we are out side 80% of the time. We are active, we play in water almost every day, there are no birthdays or major holidays that bring one word to me Summertime means HEAVEN. Winter time?

Once fall hits we have a whirl wind of birthdays, then cold hits, next snow, and being stuck inside...and to open the wound entirely this very over stimulating, over gifting, over commercialized holiday that leaves grown adults asking my children:
 “if they have been good this year”, and “What is Santa going to bring them”....
One certified emotional crap-storm coming up in a jiffy.

In their heads they are thinking, “Of course I have not been good, I am never good enough, thanks for pointing it out Jack Wagon, Santa shouldn't bring me anything and if he does he is a bigger idiot than YOU.”....I know this because my kids have actually vocalized these feelings.

In our home, believe it or not, we still do Santa. Not in a “lie to your kids about a mythical man that is indeed stalking your every-move and has creepy little elves making sure you are minding your P's and Q's”...
But in a magical, spirit of giving. Magic for my children that have been robbed of much of childhoods is in short supply. They KNOW he is pretend, but what is the HARM in pretending when it feels loving and good. Santa is the “Fake it till you make it” nice guy that loves everyone and gives them gifts...We all should want to be more like Santa.
We want that kind of magic in our home....
We treat Santa like we treat parental and Religious figures in our home, an out pouring of love and acceptance, NO.MATTER.WHAT.

When it comes to gifts my kids are on HIGH ALERT. They know they CAN NOT LOSE CHRISTMAS....most the time I like to blame that little ditty on Christine. But the truth is, they would never lose it any way. Yet REALLY, that is NOT what they are afraid of. In fact I think they would feel almost relived if they did lose it.

Chatterbox told me just yesterday.
“Mom you know how I lose it the day after stuff”.
“I am going to try to not do that after Christmas day, but maybe I shouldn't get what I want to get for Christmas, so I won't feel like I want to lose it.” (my heck she is ALREADY worrying abut this)

“Sweetheart, why do you feel if you don't get what you want it will be easier not to freak out?”

“Because I know I didn't earn it, and then I will feel bad for having something that shouldn't be mine.”

and there you have it.

I SO Sooooo get this for her.
ME, Lindsay who LOVES to give, send and surprise people with random gifts, and somewhere in my head likes to be given things... well sorta...still struggles with feeling worthy of them. I do. I have this AMAZING friend whom has tried to teach me to knit. I SUCK at knitting, which makes me more in awe of the things she knits. This friend sent me beautiful wash cloths on a really crappy day.
I still look at those beautiful washcloths and feel a little unworthy of them. Same goes with the scarf she knitted me and gave me for my birthday. I never know how to appropriately respond to gifts...because if I acted out what I was feeling when I am given would look a little like this:

Or I try to play it too cool and don't even act like I care. “Yo, cool, thanks and everything.”
“Weirdo” Right?...but it is OH so true.
When people do things for me, I feel weird, even though I do nice things for them all for the time, I am comfortable giving and doing things...but if a friend offers to do my hair (C you know who you are), or friends that pay for my meal, give ME a gift...WEIRD OUT CITY...
SO I can 'get' this for my kids....

Which is why we started our version of “Secret Elves” $ is ever used. Instead my kids draw names the day after Thanksgiving. Everyday afterward they are required to do a small kindness.
This could be vacuuming a bedroom, not engaging in a fight, writing a poem or a is good anonymous giving and receiving, it is safe and it is great practice for the anxiety of giving and receiving yet to come. They “return and report”, and for the reporting, they receive a “Sweet for the Sweet, a little treat for their being willing to serve and tell me about it. It really has been a beautiful process in seeing what my children come up with for each other.

Just a couple thoughts jotted down before we start our day....we are all worthy of love, goodness, acceptance and even GIFTS...even if it makes us feel all freaky beauty queen inside.
Fly that Freak flag baby, fly if for your kids, fly it for you....The Holidays are a coming...

 Don't you run, don't you hide, I don't give a friggn'-freak-a-do if you have been naughty or nice...
I know you are worthy, because we all deep down are, especially our sometimes very Angry elves.
Merry Christmas y’all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fear is not my motivator.

I am not sure when or if I will get to publish this anytime soon.

I am sitting in Haiti, in a Hotel room, waiting.
You do this a lot in Haiti, hurry up, to wait.
Haiti teaches me much about a lot of things.
That I have enough.
In fact, I have too much.
Unless life is on the line sometimes being in a rush is silly.
Friends are a gift.
When you have nothing you see the gift of friendship and family clearer, and cherish it more, this I believe.

I am wearing clothes I have washed in a sink with a bar of soap. They are mildly damp since air drying anything in Haiti takes eons, (even if you stuck your scrubbed unmentionables in a slotted wrung of a 1980's whirl pool air conditioner and they are waving like a flag of surrender in the cold air .)........still not so dry.

Two weeks later:
I am back in the states. I am showered, wearing clothes out of my overly stocked closet, preparing for a hike in the woods with my family to chop down our annual Christmas tree.

Haiti was such a gift.
It was so much hard work, surrounded by moments of complete joy, gratitude and even a little fear.
People ask all of the time if Haiti is safe. Yes, this being my 14th or 15th trip ( I have lost track) I have rarely ever felt unsafe. Things that happen are generally in the mind set of people “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”, you can chock that up to things that could go down in any major American city.
Much of my “Haiti fear” fear is in my noggin'.
Fear that is deep seated after my own personal experiences.
I think we all have irrational fears like this:
Fear your mother will show up unannounced and see what a wreck your house is normally in (you have to know my Mom)
Fear of answering the phone. (it could be bad news)
Fear of going to public places with a large group.
Fear of eating someone else's food, and getting sick.
Fear of judgment
Fear of being misunderstood
Fear of not wanting to be in a picture because you might look fat
Fear of speaking or reading in front of people
Fear of bugs like cock roaches or head lice
Fear of heights
Fear of new situations, and not knowing how it will go
Fear of someone walking in on me “going” #numbro uno, or WORSE #numbro doz, and not being able to flush
“Other” bathroom related fears...
Fear of throwing up in front of someone

So now that I have listed all of mine wack-a-do fears.....
I can be very honest that “Haiti” has been one.
My fear of how I would feel after all of the pain and death and terror I felt and witnessed after the Earth Quake.
My fear of memories, of bringing up old feelings of some of the things I coped with when I worked for the Orphanage and dealt with anxious parents and very sick children.

Sure there were some run in's this trip with dishonest Haitian Police officers; that made us all a little anxious/irritated, but over all, this trip taught me a lot about myself, and over coming my “stuff.”

There is something I have had to decide and apply as someone that has developed anxiety from past experiences, it is one simple process of asking my self questions.
Here it goes:

1. Am I afraid? - Yes
  1. Is it rational? -well duh, It's how I feel.
  2. Really? Are you in Danger? -wellllllllll, no , not really, but it is really,really uncomfortable.
  3. Are you going to allow that fear to keep you from doing what you know deep down is good and right for you?

    -HELL NO-

    That's my girl.

    Self-talk people, lots, and lots of self talk.

    The last 7 years since Haiti, adoption, and trauma have entered my life, I have learned so very much about me and myself. As I have entered my 30's I am reveling in what I am open to learning and listening to. What I am willing to except about myself? What weaknesses I am embracing, what beautiful things I see and support and am apart of with out the fear of “what people might think”.

    I love not giving people that power. It gives me more room to love and except and feel grateful when that fear is not ruling.

    I no longer fear being different, my family looking different, or even how our dynamic operates 1000 x opposite than many of my peers that live in my physical community.

    We live in extremes over here, and we are good with that.
    No one else has to “get it”, no one else has to understand why, and it is not my or my children's job to teach people.

    I am a member of the LDS church.
    Yup, I am a Mormon.
    I am extreme, I believe my faith with every conviction of my soul.
    I live my faith.
    I want to walk in Christs footsteps the way he would have me do it.
    I pray and listen, A LOT.
    I do what I am asked, when I am asked, even when it is hard.
    I am also liberal. Very Liberal.
    Some people confuse my liberalness with my faith. Don't.
    I have 2 tattoo's and plan on more.(I need those physical reminders, maybe more than most people, particularly when most of my tangible “things” like my wedding ring are disposable to my children and used as collateral to hurt me, I have to carry my reminders with me.)
    I also have a nose ring. It is fabulous, I have always wanted one, and was afraid that a Mormon Mommy from Idaho just doesn’t have piercings and tats....well guess what...
    This has nothing to do with my faith and everything to do with 100% accepting myself for who I am , and how I feel amazing. Never in my life have I felt more comfortable in my skin than I do now. I am so grateful that I have found this out about myself. Beyond grateful.

    What people think, or believe about me, or my religious experience is not about me, it is about them.

    My fear about what “they” think, is not my motivator.

    Sometimes my 8 children 6 with special needs keep us from a brick and mortar church experience, and I am good with that. I used to fear other members judgment for our lack of building attendance, I am over it.
    Even with the passive aggressive comments, I have gotten to a place of understanding, they don't understand, and even if I tried wasting breath on an explanation, they still would not understand. My closest friends try to. That is enough.

    Fear is not my motivator.

    Out of that “UN-fearlike-state, I have branched out and have learned and been blessed with seeking friends that blow the lid off being alone, and get me and my family on very real levels. I have sought virtually and met personally women that do what I do, the gift of their friendship. The way they walk with me and hold me up, also help me on this path of No Fear. I am a more complete person knowing, loving and being loved and understood by them.

    When I went to Haiti, I had this fear of this space where I experienced many after shocks nightly. There is nothing like waking up to the sound of loud crackling and the cement making waves beneath your helpless body. 

    I went back and gave it some love....Not so scarey now, eh?

    As I have begun this new job working with students, for Sionfonds in Haiti, we have learned much about the culture of discipline in the educational atmosphere in Haiti.
    One of the things we are trying to change in our schools with our teachers and how they relate to the students is switching our fear based discipline, to positive reinforcement. It is a VERY hard thing to teach, let alone reinforce in a culture where fear is the main motivator for everything. However when you fear someone, do you really respect them?
    Is fear an environment for love? Safety? Growth?

    I love learning, I love studying about learning, how people, children and even I learn, what teaches, what inspires?

    What I have learned about myself and as a student of other people is the more Acceptance, Curiosity, Joy, Playfulness, Color, Humor and Kindness is in any environment, Growth, Learning and Self Confidence is not too far off.

    Fear is not a motivator in these things.

    Just some random thoughts tonight as I snuggle in, my house smelling of fresh pine after a truly glorious day.
    Fear no longer has this hold on me, and for that I am grateful, I love that I have unchained this one thing that has bound me for so long.
    What are your fears? How are they working for you?
    What are they keeping you from doing?
    Sending out so much light and love to you.
    I want to know what you could accomplish if you kicked fear out of the equation for good?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I can still have Courage

I am afraid.

I have this necklace I wear.
I had it custom made as a reminder, not a statement, but lets call it a gentle nudge, lodged close to my heart...telling me what I already know.
It holds a moonstone, a tree of life, one angel wing and a medallion that says “Courageous”.

I wear it on days I need to be reminded to be brave.
Some days that is just getting out of bed and parenting children that are from hard places.
What I am learning about bravery, is that is does not mean "without fear."
You can be brave and still be terrified with every breath you take.

In one week I leave for my first of many Medical Trips for Haiti, as a new School Sponsorship Coordinator.

This time three years ago, I was in Haiti. I had led a small parent trip, and then with a dear friend, stayed an extra week to complete updates for the children at our Orphanage. It as a very difficult week. Sick children,  R.O.U.S. (rats of unusual size)...and one very very beautiful night burned in my brain forever.
We were invited to a dinner, and told to “Dress fancy", the nicest thing I had in my motley luggage that was still "somewhat" clean and child urine and vomit free was my black swimming suit cover up.
I dawned that, used my lip tinted chap-stick on both my lips and cheeks and called it “as good as it gets.” As my friend and I entered the dinner, it was as if we had entered a Prom/wedding/ball. Both women and men wearing their finest, professional hair up-dos and very formal taffeta dresses sashayed by.

People from all over the world greeted me as I was soon to learn I was at an International Rotary event where our Orphanage Director was being acknowledged.
Surrounded dear friends and live music, the incredible food, colors, company and laughter of that evening still stays with me to this day. It is the Haiti I remember.
In my minds eye, I can still sit at that table sitting next to Junior, Wilson, Kenia, Pascale, and Gauelle.
I can still hear Kenia teasing me about almost drinking the Icy pink Rum Punch, not knowing it was stiff with Rum, and that I don't drink. Teasing the men about how handsome they looked.
Junior patently trying to teach me some samba type moves I was clumsy at , and laughing.
The pride and beauty in my friends eyes as they danced around the ballroom.
Guesno as he stood to receive his award and speak about the good and hope that is happening in Haiti. How all of our eyes shown with pride and hope.
I remember crawling into bed that night with sore feet and a mouth tender from smiling.Little did I know the waltz was ending.

A couple days later, exhausted, heart aching from saying good bye to my children for the 11th time, kissing them as they wailed....I boarded my plane. Knowing this would be the 4th Christmas that would pass since their referral, and they still would not be home.
Reaching the states, I received a hurried phone call that Baby Faiths birth Mom was headed to the hospital, in labor.
On my next layover I learned a beautiful 8 lb. Baby girl had been born and my husband was headed to the hospital, by himself to retrieve her.
Oh the anxiety...I wanted to scream at everyone to “Hurry”...I felt like I might burst.

Once home I flew into the frenzy that is delicious/delirious newborn, complete with sleepless nights and 5 days later being Thanksgiving.
One month later Christmas.
Two weeks after that the Earthquake hit.
I remember calmly doing homework with my oldest, when my Sister in Law called and told me to check CNN, a huge Earthquake had hit Haiti, and after shocks were continuing to ravage the poor defenseless country.

I could not call, or get a hold of anyone.
Phone calls and emails from desperate parents began flooding my phones and e.mail.

We were all desperate for information, the biggest and simplest of plea's.
“Please tell me my children are still alive.” It was a prayer entwined with every breath we took every pounding heart beat, as all we could do was stare blankly at the T.V. Screen, try for hours in and out, every five minutes via phone, e,mail and text to contact anyone that would know anything....crying and praying.

It took 36 hours to have any word that the kids were O.K, Also learning the worst of losses, of friends, family and loved ones. 36 hours preparing myself for the worst, staying hopeful for others, and promising anything, anything to a God who had let this happen, that if the children would please be spared...and then feeling guilty and selfish when so many had already been lost.
Days and nights molded. Hours of phone contacts, with the Red Cross, different churches, being in on amazing missions of bravery simply to get food and water to the children.
Being apart of desperate phone calls with our government that was doing very, very little on behalf of the children that had U.S. Adoptive parents...and suddenly days later, everything fell into place. 9 nights without a full nights sleep, I spent the last preparing 40 + children's documents and pictures, we kissed our sleeping children goodbye, told my Mother, I didn't know when we would be back and left in a giant blizzard, driving over the icy Malad pass at 3 a.m. in the morning to catch our flight.

I prayed silently as Trevor white knuckled drove the borrowed 15 passenger van in the white out, praying we were still on the road, praying we would make our flight.

Miracles began that moment, Angels tangible and heavenly were everywhere. I have never and will never experience anything like that again in my life. The way the divine was in the details is what carried me through hell and back. For you see, Walking off that plane, into my beloved earthquake torn Haiti was walking into hell.

The silence, the death, the despair and the fear were thick and heavy in the air.
It was a warzone,of pain, and loss, hollow eyed zombie's with bandages walked around in a daze, some carrying each other or limping next to one another. That first night our vehicle had to swerve to avoid clumps of people, careful of not to run over sleeping in the middle of the street too afraid to not only sleep inside a building, but anywhere near them.
The numb , blank, terrified hollowness in everyone's eyes, including the children's.
The bodies. The smell. The names of our lost loved ones not being spoken on our lips, but seen in all of our eyes when we looked at each other. The aftershocks, that weren't aftershocks, but earthquakes of massive proportion. I will never forget the shattering sound like an iceberg breaking off and falling into an ocean and how the ground actually rolled beneath me as I slept next to 30 sleeping children on cement. The way they screamed. The way I shook with 15 children clinging to me feeling powerless. Because when the ground beneath you waves as if made of liquid, there is no Power, there is no say, you just pray and hold on , and the thing you are holding onto is shaking too.
10 days. Many spent in the embassy. Many holding children that were meant to be life flighted to the U.S.A....some made it, many did not. Evenings ending at the Central hospital picking up our Pediatrician friend,and witnessing the hundreds of tents and people, so very many people, and so very much blood. I wrote a specific memory down here.

When we returned with our children, after spending days in limbo in a Florida children's' housing, we returned to our home, and other children.

Much like a Soldier must feel like after returning home ( and sheesh we had only been gone two weeks) We were in shell shock. After walking out of hell, to running water, a change of clothes, medicine, food that didn't come from a rations was like walking through hell, and no one could see it, or have any idea what we all had been through. They wanted us at family parties and church, they brought us balloons. Everyone wanted to celebrate us, and our kids being home, and we felt like these survivors of something no one could understand, worn, terrified, exhausted and feeling guilty that we had gotten out when so many of our fellow survivors didn't, or prepared for the rainy season living in tents.
Returning to a newborn, our fearful children, and introducing 5 traumatized siblings . Our family in less than 8 weeks had grown from a family of 5 people, to a family of 11.

I don't remember much of that first year.
I don't think there was a lot of sleep.
I don't think there was much of anything but, eating, sleeping, crying,and raging, and surviving .
I learned how to gather wagons.
I learned how to make my children's worlds small.
I learned how to wait out 6 hours of screaming and breaking things.
I learned how to restrain a child hell bent on hurting me.
I learned how to tell other people "no".
I learned that no matter how much you love someone, it really can't be enough.

I have grown so much in these last 3 years, I am stronger, I am braver, I have a better understanding of what is, and what is not important.
I have a differing view on Orphans, and the way I can believe to help solve a very small portion of that problem.
I am passionate still about my children's country, and country men, women and brothers and sisters.
I am actively doing something, now that I am standing on both feet again (most days), I am going to Haiti, and taking on a new responsibility and calling for the children of Haiti, seeking free education, food programs, goat programs, and Medical care with the Organization of Sionfonds.
I leave for Haiti in two weeks.
I am terrified. I have big feeling and hard memories attached to this first trip back.
And that is O.K.

I am not doing this alone. I am being carried by so many friends and family with their love and support, I am riding on the coat tails of so many other brave people in my life, who by walking up and doing what they do makes the world a better place. These warriors, walk with me, and even talk time out of their day to text, love on and emotionally support me.
I have been so very touched by the overwhelming support I have found in my Paypal box, propelling me forward into doing more, helping more...because of others bravery and generosity.

I can still have courage.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon

I can still have courage.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three for the Price of One...

I am not a Robot.

Though it would be so much easier to be rejected, stick poked, have my things stolen and hid, pee randomly showing up everywhere, and being lied too everyday, if I were a robot.

Sometimes my reactions are human, sometimes my “programed responses” of “Wow, looks like you are having big feelings”, “Wow that's silly”, “Yes and...”, “Can you try asking me....”,
“Lets give that another try”....default and go to my natural tendencies to be sarcastic, snippy and or annoyed, which I can turn into rants, my own tantrums of “I HAVE HAD IT”, “THIS IS CRAP”....I am human....I am uber talented at these rants.

I remember, before my first son was adopted, before Bugs had made her appearance, I was 20 and doing child care for my mothers foster son. He was 4, and had some very peculiar behaviors.
He was obsessed with knowing when his next meal was coming and what it would be. He had no hand eye coordination, he would hide, anytime there was a loud noise. He had controlling bathroom issues, and would cry for small reasons, but fall out of tree and refuse to show any signs of sadness or pain.
“Max” knew my buttons, and how to make me batty.
I was 20 years old, studied child development and special education and was flabbergasted at the amount of crazy he could toss out. How? How could a kid that had been so severely neglected and not know his colors, know how to do this?

I learned yelling, putting him in his room, or giving him negative attention for his behaviors were not working....and lets not even talk about the “Good Behavior” sticker chart made him.

BUT; when I came up with somethings that helped him feel safe, and used complete consistency, reminded him in gentle ways, or let natural consequences reign...things slowly got better.
The day we decided to cut up all of my recipe magazines and make a flannel graph of “What we are eating today”...was AMAZING...he didn't have to ask, I didn’t have to be annoyed...It wasn't about control, the kid had lived with a Meth addict, whom would forget when the last time it was either of them had eaten...I learned empathy for his weird behaviors, and patience for the times in his own way he needed to let go of his pain.

Had I only known all of this was so very preparatory, for my life 13 years later.

Yesterday I had some precious reminders of my humanity.
My four Haitian children had their Medical Physicals to complete their citizenship. We had to drive 45 minutes into a rural farming area, majority servicing the Immigration needs of our Mexican brothers and sisters....we dealt with racism for my children, I was profiled as a Hippie mom, with a nose ring, who home schools and has too many biracial children. I went toe to toe with a nurse who wanted to give my kids 5 immunizations each.
I stood my ground, not wanting my kids to have that many injections, on top of the chemical reactions and how tough that many anti-bodies would be on their kids watched me fight for them.

Even though I had to hold kids down, even though I was punched and bitten in their terror of getting hurt, even though all of their eyes looked wounded as we four hours later walked out of that office grasping a pathetic assortment of stickers (those kids full on deserved medals) we stomped in rain puddles, and walked over to the neighboring gas station/mini mart for some junk-food booty...soaked, exhausted but invigorated by our mad dash and puddle stomp. A well meaning civilian asked if we were a field trip, I did not have my “sing songy”, “Nope just a family” available, I reached down deep and , nope,there was nothing...I wanted to say something rude and ignorant, because I was DONE with idiot people today, but I practice biting my tongue often and
so my inner thumper silenced me and I glared and ignored....

Cookie came to my rescue “Ain't you never seen a family before?”

“Yeah” answered three or four more children, “we are a family.”

As we got back in the car, and I buckled and and opened goodies the kids winced and whimpered...
I rubbed lavender oil on all of their foreheads and tucked them in for our long drive back home.

Tears were reaching my eyes as I looked back at my kids and softly said “ Guys I am so sorry that hurt you and scared you, and made you feel like you weren't the bosses of your own bodies.”

and Chatter said “But Mom, you fought with them you told them you didn't want them to give us so many shots, worried that we would get sick, we knew you didn't want us to hurt. We know.”

I stopped an fed them a lunch of apple slices and french fries. Once we got home I tucked each child in with our special saying.
There were no fall outs, there was not a single tantrum, or wall being kicked.

As I walked away and went to tidy up the wet shoes and socks, It hit me.

Therapeutic parenting isn't just for them.
Even though it is hard, and against every natural urge I have to react. I am having to have better practices, and the more I practice modeling healthy loving reactions to crazy hurtful things, they are learning and healing, and I in my very messed up, crazy, unhealthy habits am getting better, smarter and kinder too. Three for the price of one.

The harder I am trying to love and respect my children, the more I practice empathy and understanding where they are coming from, the more I am loving the person I am becoming. The more I am loving my messy hard, the more I think I can do and be more, even when I screw up.

I am not a robot.
But I am a bargain shopper;
and three for the price of one, is a pretty damn good deal.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Maybe Baby

This is all just hypothetical, of course.
Because this NEVER happens all of the time....

My children are in a constant battle, with them selves. They somehow think it is with me, but it is not, until I am stupid enough to engage , then I have welcomed the fires of hell and brimstone with a couple of my favorite word faux pas by asking the "W's":

WHY did you do that?
WHEN did that happen?
WHOSE was it?
WHAT were you thinking?

Do you get that I want to "know WHY?"...and let me tell you how much that is working for me.....ummm, it's NOT.

I have learned after grilling, demanding, begging for these answers, is only an opportunity for a control battle, that I WILL NOT WIN.

It also impedes my children's healing, when I literally with these "W"s am triggering my kids over and over again to lie to me.
I  am shoving them into a stressful state of fear, handing them one thousand opportunities to lie, strech the truth and try by all shapes and forms to either tell me what they think I want to hear...or control the information, therefore controlling the situation.
and this is not good for anyone.
Also, this makes my eyes shoot red scary lasers.
For realz.

Again for "hypothetical fun" lets say a blanket was urinated on and shoved in a make believe closet.
Lets say once found, said child that is owner of the closet swore up and down that the cat peed on said blanket.
"Interesting, Hmm, well next time you want to play kitty sweet cheeks, let me know and I will get you a litter box in here."

Said child giggled, and then remembered she was MAD.
Because well, somehow the Sunshine-esk sprayed blanky was my fault.
....She quickly tried to gain control with a ....

"I didn't do it today, I did it LAST WEEK, I promise."

(Since the blanket was on said child's bed, YESTERDAY)...but I didn't remind them of this....though both cheeks are bruised from the biting of the insides.

..if I engage in this , I will lose my evening,if I want to be "right", "right" will take the form of hours of wailing, and swearing and doors being kicked down...I soooo don't feel like being "right" I give er' a "Maybe".

"Hmmmm, O.K., maybe you peed on it last week."

Her eyes light up with power.

"Or maybe you did it this morning"

Eyes light up, smile/anger/justified rage shoot across heat rises...

and I defuse the bomb with;

"Maybe you did it Last Christmas, or for the Easter Bunny...maybe, a Green one-eyed Alien beamed down and turned time back and you did it three years ago? "Hmm that would have been interesting."
."..maybe you did it this morning, or last week, either way sweetie, lets toss it in the Washer with some soap, and while it washes, could you get your room vacuumed for me?"

Light of fight goes out of her eyes, her shoulders slump jus' a little from loss of engagement....but later, while I am sharing Marshmallow fluff on a Dark Chocolate Dove bar.
Her bed remade and floor vacuumed....I am so so VERY glad, I didn't decide to be right.

The truth was in the mix of "Maybe", it was there, she knew it, and I knew it....
And what is important is not the moment of being right, but the moment her eyes light up while I eye to eye pass that chocolate into her beautiful mouth and know she feels my love.

Maybe Baby, you will love me...Maybe baby, I will wait right here until you doooo....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How we roll...with "Curiosity"

I don't normally post video/pictures of when my kids are triggered or doing rat @$$ crazy $#!%, mice booty silly poo-poo-face stuff associated with their trauma. Yet, after walking a couple of Moms through the "Curiosity" part of S.P.A.C.E"...when dealing with lying, THIS happened, and well I figured THIS would be a good time for me to practice what I preach, even if it didn't go well I videoed, and would not have shared....but since it did...well this might give a really hands on example of how to deal with Behavior/lying/sabotage/and the importance making it right.

Back Story.
(and whoops I do know I used my kids names, meh...)
We are in the throughs of showing our house and hopefully selling it so that we may move to greener pastures (literally)...we want land and animals.
So the big scary of a possible move , we have been talking the stuffing out of every single scenario, re-visiting anxiety;s (yes, your bed comes, and all of our the animals too, no the new people do not get your stuff)
Toss Daddy cleaning all of the carpets with a professional Carpet Cleaner, and it being birthday week, yup the perfect Storm has been a-brewing.

So no surprise here when I found lip-stick smeared all over my newly scrubbed tub this morning, and in my carpet, and in the living room, and in Diva's room. Awesomesauce.

Excuse the fingers blocking a good second half of this video, but I hope it gives a good example of this fine dance,(with ALL of the background insanity of a gazillion kiddo's) I even triggered her, but got her back after inviting her brother to help clean up as well...
For your viewing pleasure "Curiosity": (again sorry about the misplacement of fingers)


Next we You tubed cleaning options: This is a great way yo NOT trigger your kids,them getting "Fix it" or "Make it Right Advice" from someone OTHER THAN YOU...because if you trigger them, are they going to listen to your advice? But will they listen to a random stranger, more than likely. yes.

                                    Making it right:
She didn't like it, she was sad, but she was also relieved, most of all because her birthday is tomorrow. At one point I went in and helped her, she was panicked that it was not coming out perfectly...and I grabbed that gorgeous little face and told her, "No matter what, no matter if it doesn't come out, no matter , maybe if you did do this to the carpet, when you go to bed tonight , i am making cup cakes, we are having your Princess  Birthday party, you matter more than silly carpet."
and this, on a good day, when I have my crap together is how we roll Curiosity style. Yo.

By the way...later I discovered my dog, Wednesday was also a spectacularly familiar shade of "Very Berry" pink....awwwww cute, cute.

Thursday, September 20, 2012



1. the branch of medical science that studies the symptoms of diseases.
2. the combined symptoms of a particular disease. Also called semeiology. — symptomatologic, symptomatological, adj.

In my home this boils down to the wacked out behavior that goes down in my children's efforts to communicate what it is that is upsetting them,what they are afraid of, or what they feel they do not have control over.
To tell the truth we all have it, symptomatology I mean, ever gone to a Dr. Appointment for yourself and had to fill out one of these guys?They seem way to personal don't they? Mind your own Beez-wax Dr.Noseypants. But truth being, if we want help with our stuff, we have to talk about it, check the little boxes and admit that some sort of messy is front and center in our lives.

Both me and Trevor have obvious symptoms when the not O.K. is going on with us. I tend to first get Insomnia, then eat crap for energy, which then it is harder to sleep so  I feed that with Netflix reruns of Scrubs. Trev tends to be all around grumpy and cuss out inanimate objects such as the Dishwasher that isn't doing a good enough job, or the car he just put gas in.Or he buries himself in ESPN, which I loving refer to as "Sports-Porn". If we get a handle on these things new ways of bad coping are willing and ready to take their place. As we, my family and my kids get better I am seeing this. The cake walk of symptoms.Trading one way of coping for another.

I am such a dink, sometimes. Once we have championed a certain behavior I can hear the Rocky theme music in my head, WE.HAVE.SUCCEEDED. I can hold the heavy weight champion belt of no more peeing on bedroom carpet over my head and do a touch down dance....and then four days later find 100 banana peels with fruit flies shoved under a dresser.
"Well hello big feelings THATS where you have been hiding, sneaky, sneaky."

Don't you ever just want to tell your kids with issues, a faulty belief system, behaviors that take gallons of vinegar to clean up just to "STOP IT?" Have you actually ever said these words? I know I have...and they have been about as effective as this therapy session we like to bring up as a reminder from MAD T.V.


The reason I am finding banana peels in loo of pee. Me eating chocolate by the fist fulls instead of being on Facebook 24/7. Is that there still is something there that needs loving attention and to be addressed. If the power goes out, we light a candle. We have to go deeper. We have to get that the cake walk music is still playing.
Yesterday while I was listening to NRP radio ( because why not out my self as the complete geek that I am) they were holding a discussion on how we are failing to rate actual success in the classroom, and that in fact all of this academic testing is not the best gauge of how well children do in having complete successful lives. They said that the most influential thing that they found in Children that would move on to be Successful adults was these Non-Cognitive Skills that can be taught and improved in a classroom, but for the most part are shaped and molded by family, spirituality.....and happiness.

The way they gauge success was not only financial and occupational, but also relationship and family success. I have always deeply believed this.As important as academia is, true character skills are what will serve all of us in this very human experience.
When sitting in a meeting with Chatters teacher and school principle 2 years ago as I was signing the papers to un-admit her they stood there taking my decision for my child personally.
"But she was learning, and catching up"
"Don't you want her to be smart"
"Her test scores....."

and in that moment I turned and looked at them and said," If we stay on this path she will be the smartest psycho-path in town, with no friends, no family no way of actually connecting with the people in her life that love her, and if she does not learn how to read until she is ten, but I have taught her to have empathy and give a genuine hug and trust me, I am good with that."

(I am not saying school is not the answer, some kids attach better and are less triggered in the school environment than at home)

What I am saying, is my former opinion to hurry them along, push, push push the Cognitive learning and trying to supplement the Character development here and there has changed. I myself am changing out that bulls eye from their brains, to their hearts.

Just yesterday, I saw this and kept tears from dripping off of my chin. We had watched a documentary on corn, it was interesting I even learned where my beloved Xanthum Gum came from. So we got our learning on, talked about what we found the most interesting and then I herded everyone into the kitchen for a snack. I had planned air popped popcorn, to go along with our little documentary, so we chatted about heat, and kernels, still learning as we went. I carefully scooped the same amount of pop-corn into 8 bowls. As the kids took their bowls and went to sit at the table, Scooby tripped and sent his Pop-Corn flying everywhere.
All of the kids stopped munching, and as Scoobs burst into tears, I simply asked "What would be the kind thing to do right now?"
Like a gun shot, all seven kids burst from the table, in seconds flat all of Scoobs popcorn was retrieved. As they all settled back to their munching, Cookie (whom has some of the severest food issues) kindly Asked "Hey Scooby, do you still feel like you have the same amount as everybody,cuz I can give you some of mine?"
"No I'm good, but thanks buddy."

We all live in this life of wax and wane. Trading new habits, coping and even symptoms in for something else that 'might' take the pressure off. Even though my stuff may not be as severe as what my kids need to do to show me they are not O.K., I do it too. We are all sitting here healing and failing together. The better I am , the stronger I am to help my kids.

The more boundaries I use in a healthy way, the better I am at helping them.
The more self care and vocalizing when I feel over whelmed instead of stomping off, they can to.
When I simply state "I am sad, I need a hug", they can too.

Symptoms, Behaviors, they say something...they may change, they may go away for a little while or trade in for something else....but there is still healing, there is still seeing there is still listening to be done....
Oh, and for the kids too....

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Choosing the Good, MORE than the Bad...

I don't really know where this post is going, stay with me, hop on if you want, but I have had these thoughts  twirling around in my head and I need to sleep, so hence the viral word urp.

I use this phrase a lot,  "Were you Choosing the Good, More than the Bad?"....I mean a lota lota lota lot, with my kids, along with "so tell me 'How did that work for you?"
I can use both of these phrases with Empathy, without shame, and taking myself out of the situation, they are used for pure reflection and not for shaming.If I or they are incapable of this conversation going well, we wait.(I wait a lot, mostly for me, and my empathy to replace the oozing sarcasm before I open my trap.)

'Most' people/kids "get" that our choices create the reality we live in. Sure some are circumstantial, but our choices say a lot about the life that we live/want/have.Even then we all sometimes forget that, and fall into victim mode.

But we can, and will snap out of it, with the strength, perspective (a really good therapist) and past experience that says "good can be just around the corner", and majority of the time we can be the creators of that good.

My kids can't.
They can't.
They are learning to, but this thought process, this "good around the corner", or simple "if I do good, good things will happen, if I do bad...ect....

You see we all have this even keel place inside us that let's us know, "this is good', "this is safe', "this is my normal", it looks different for all of us, for example my "normal" would be HELL for say Paris Hilton, but Heaven for a woman living in a tent in a third world country.
I have to remember that when I look at my kids.
For me my experience is, "occasionally showered, solid 5ish hours of sleep, dishes done, and chocolate in my fridge, and no one smearing pooh on the wall as a damn near perfect day."
I have things that I know will make me feel better, like exercise, a shower and dressing in something other than my yoga pants, eating whole foods instead of junk ect, can bump that day on up. Those are my "Good" for me choices"...and the days I choose to not do that, and eat Doritos and Ice Cream 3 square meals in a row, and veg in front of some screen 15 hours a day,BUT, at some point I am capable of pull myself up by the boot straps and begin again.
My kids can't, yet.

Because their "even keel" their experience and gauge for normal is NOT mine.

Their normal (just because they have lived with me for what feels like FOR-EV-ER) is not what is sitting in front of them, their experience of what "normal " is, being hungry, no one caring about them as an individual, having to take care of themselves by any means possible, getting hurt, being used, not being seen.
So I must make them feel uncomfortable, every single day. Crap.
I am screwing with their "normal",and though we will all say "GOOD, cuz their normal is MESSED UP."
It is their foundation of what they can trust , they are alive after all right?
"Why do abused women go back to their abuser?"
"Why do alcoholics take that first drink after being sober?"
"Why do we gain the weight back?"

My Children are not liars, they do not steal, hurt, act out, sabotage special days, destroy or urinate on everything (and I mean everything) because they 'like to', just like my toddler Baby Faith uses Singing the Sunshine Song to sucker me out of my M&M's, these behaviors too is how they learned to get what they needed to survive. It is not a character flaw, their behaviors are instinctive HABITS.

Like biting nails, popping zits, over eating, over of viewing pornography, alcoholism, prescription drug abuse,....oh wait,  did I JUST take habits and turn them into addictions. Yep, I think she did.

My kids naturally lean toward what is not healthy for them, NATURALLY. It is their first instinct when a choice comes up for them to make, "should I hand my brother his special paper I am holding and make sure he receives it a non-crumpled way, so he feels good about it", or "Should I crumple it up, spit on it and goad him to beating the tar out of me?....Ding-ding-ding wina-winna-WINNER....In fact the first thought wasn't even there, not until we stop, process what happened and I give an example of the two , do they even recognize there was another choice. In evaluation (while applying a wet towel to scratch inflicted when said brother acted like a rabid mountain lion) "how did that work for you buddy?" "Not good", "Which choice do you think might have worked better? Were you choosing the Good more than the Bad? "

That is what we work on everyday. Seeking that second choice, there always is one....and sometimes it is a devil to find. I too struggle, what is the second choice when deciding to eat that 2nd ( or 3rd) piece of cake? Or buying that something I really want but cannot afford...
None of us are capable of always choosing the Good, or the Better over the Not-so-good- or bad. We work on it.

With my babies I have to respect that tendency towards Chaos, It is not simply  just "choosing the Good", the bad and chaos is ALWAYS going to be there, much like a built in addiction such as Alcoholism, they are going to tend toward that Chaos first and there is NOTHING I can do to rewire that for them, but, I can give them tools, the power to use them and help remind, process and revamp when and if they will let me.

I have lost specific children permanently to the addiction to chaos that trauma creates, I routinely have children get stuck and have to sober them up again. Most of the choice is truly theirs, they just have to know that there is more than one choice.
It seems so simple. Doesn't it?
But, if you know someone struggling with a "Behavior/Habit/Addiction", we all know how simple it is to say "STOP IT"...and where they can't even begin to know HOW, instead we might try, "Try choosing this instead." It is choosing something else MORE, choosing Good, more, because we are human and automatically what is Bad for us is just sitting there waiting.

This is a tool I can use with my Oldest Daughter not healthy enough to live in my home over drug use, or unprotected sex. What that Choosing the Good more than the Bad? How did that work for you?
or my three year old:
Bummer you peed on your pillow, and now you don't have a pillow to sleep on.
Was that Choosing the Good more than Bad? How did that work for you?
(ugh, ugh, and ugggg)
....and husbands, it really works on husbands, with no trauma at all. ;0)
"Oh you took a nap instead of helping with the dishes".... (yuk, yuk, yuk...)

Anywho, that is what I have been thinking about lately. Habits and Behaviors really being different words for possibly what Addiction is, and how to help my children break down and process their very own cycles, and recognizing the choices that lie there within themselves.