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....


  1. The most important thing my adopted children have taught me is that I need to heal as well.
    Before I adopted, I knew I had gone through lots of stuff as a child.... I thought I had dealt with it and was ok... I was wrong.

    So we all heal together. And my kiddos who have grown up in a stable (well, until trauma came to live)home, have been able to learn about the world and how it really operates, and what we can do to make a difference. Starting in our own home.

    I had an hour long talk with my biological son last night. We talked about addictions and how he might be addicted to being sad and frustrated all of the time. He likes the attention when he throws a fit and acts like a victim. We talked about needing to replace those feelings with other things that will ultimately feel better. We also talked about how our job.... all 10 of us... in our home is to help each other learn and grow before we are sent out into the real world.

    Our house is a social experiment. We try something, we royally screw it up, and we try something else. We figure out what makes life more pleasant, and we share that with each other and we try to repeat it.

    "use your words" might need that tattooed on my forehead.... and then written backwards too, so when I look in the mirror I can read it... instead of throwing an internal tantrum and shutting down emotionally- maybe *I* can learn to better communicate the way someone just made me feel.... I'm working on that!

    I got teary eyed reading about Cookie offering to share his food..... given food is our Haitian sensations love language- I know how freaking HUGE that was. HUGE.

  2. I've noticed many of the same things at my house. It's a healing journey for everyone. I get so bugged when people tell me I'm "a saint" or that I "saved those kids." Reality is I'm no saint. I know what goes on at my house. I know how many times I've lost it. I know how many times I've had to walk away so I didn't keep escalating things. And reality is, yes, we took the kids from a different life and gave them a new one with more opportunities to make something of themselves, but we didn't do it do save them. We didn't do it for charitable reasons. We did it because we wanted more kids. And while the journey has been hard...REALLY HARD...the truth is that our kids saved us and have taught us more about live and living and love and acceptance and healing and making a marriage and family work than anything else ever could have or ever will.

  3. Oh...yes! Love your insight and am learning, learning, learning to be a better parent and a better me- slower than I'd sometimes like, and in between Hershey's Kisses and too much computer, but still learning.

  4. I love the popcorn story. You're doing it right, what ever "it" is!

  5. Wow, this is awesome! I can't tell you how much this resonates with me.

    I thought I was all healed from my childhood trauma until I adopted my son. Turns out we both need some healing. Turns out I lose it quite often, and he reminds me gently that he needs me to be calm so he can be too. How about that? In learning to help him with his issues, I've also helped myself when I didn't think I needed helping.

    Has anyone else had ugly pushback from their extended family? Like people who want to say you were a fool for adopting special needs kids? People who want to pretend your kids aren't even part of their extended family? People who want to treat you like a pariah because your kids have issues?

    Or worse, people who suspect you of bad motives? Like, since they can't imagine themselves adopting and dealing with a difficult child, then there must be some underhanded reason why you would do so?

    It's really heartbreaking to me, and also, of course, to my son. It's poisoning our relationship with those family members. Right now we just stay away from them and do our own thing. Should I try to heal those connections with extended family? Is it worthwhile? Or is it best to just let them go? Anyone have any experiences to share?