Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gloom

My husband and I just had a pretty big blow up fight. It's been brewing for awhile and I wish I had said something earlier before it got this bad. I'm angry, and hurt, and really scared. And I have this stupid knee jerk reaction that I hurt him by telling him how I feel and now *I* have to fix it. As you can probably see, that right there is one of the problems in our marriage.

My husband is strict, in my opinion too strict. I am not. I'm the mom that the neighbors hate because I send my daughter out in the rain and let her splash in the muddy puddles, causing all the other kids to beg and whine that they want to have fun too. My husband is the dad that requires shoes AND socks if you set one foot outside the door. This disparity is not going so well with one very stubborn and listening impaired five year old, and one very traumatized and brand new 14 year old. When the kids don't follow the rules it almost always ends in a fight. One of them will do something, or not do something, that annoys the strict one. The strict one will use his angry voice which sounds very condescending and mean, even though he doesn't mean it that way. The said child will continue to ignore the correction. The strict one will turn to the laid back one and demand that I back him up by enforcing whatever he told her to do/not do. I have pointed out to him that he undermines himself when he does this because why should they listen to him when he will just defer enforcement to me? He doesn't get it. He also doesn't get that he can't hold a child that has been in foster care most of her life to the same standard that he would hold a teenager without a traumatic past. I've tried and tried to explain trauma and it's affects and what I have read about reaching children like M. He won't hear me. He's even read some of the blog posts that I've pointed out that mirror our situation very closely. He still doesn't get it.

I tried for awhile to call him on it when I heard him using the "angry voice" with M, but all that did was cause loud and angry fights right in front of the kids. SO NOT HELPFUL. I think you should sometimes argue in front of your kids, if you are arguing in a healthy way. It helps them to see how to resolve conflict. The problem is that we don't argue in a healthy way. He immediately gets defensive and won't hear what I am trying to say. He will verbally attack me instead of discussing something. His immediate reaction is always like a kid getting punished, a knee-jerk "I didn't do it!" I can't ever remember a time he admitted that I was right. He will apologize, but it's a politician's apology. "I'm sorry what I said upset you," or "I didn't mean to snap at you." I get so frustrated with this, and feel so emotionally threatened, that my response is often to walk away. That usually results in him getting really mad and sarcastic. Or I just start cursing because I'm so fuming mad that he is talking to me like I am a misbehaving 3 year old. So we both have issues that contribute to really poor communication. I've tried to get him to see a counselor with me to work on our communication. He insists we don't have a problem. Which leaves me with really dark thoughts that maybe the problem really isn't me.

Bleh - I'm really just venting right now. I'm still pretty pissed, worried about how M is going to deal with this tension, and sad. Some days I feel like everything is a battle I have to fight and I'm doing it completely alone. In addition to an unresolved fight, I logged on to do my taxes but ended up checking my blog reader. A couple of wonderful ladies I follow have had their rainbow babies recently. I feel terrible saying it but no matter how happy I am for them, seeing those pictures hurts like a son of a bitch. Out of all the women I met online when I lost Aiden (over 30), only two have yet to have another baby, and one of them is single. I try to comfort myself with the fact that I now have 2 beautiful children, but I still feel the loss of not being able to get pregnant. It's a really frustrating tangle of guilt, sadness, anger, jealousy, and a whole host of other ugly emotions harder to name. I'm a mess tonight!

I'm never going to get these damn taxes done. How I wish I could just take a damn day off.

I've just re-read this post and I'm cringing about how bitchy and whiny it is. There is a whole lot more I want to say about our fight that is more introspective and less selfish, but I sliced off the tip of my pinky the other day and typing is challenging. I'm tired and depressed so I'll leave the introspection to another day. If you have advice on communicating with a spouse - or how to compromise on the strictness, I'm always willing to listen. If you got through this whole post you must be a saint or really bored!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And the award goes to . . .

The move in went great. We really had no problems this weekend that I wouldn't expect from any teenager that was grounded and bored. There are things I'd like to write about but I lack the time to work it out in my head and get it down. So today I'll just post the blog awards that I promised.

My reading list is long and full of some amazing women. If you have time please do check out my blog roll. Someday I'll get around to categorizing it but I promise you everyone of them is worth a read. Below are the five that I chose for the versatile blogger award. I wanted to choose people that might not have a large readership and haven't recently gotten this award. It was hard to pick 5 because there are so many bloggers I love. I hope you enjoy your award ladies, you definitely deserve them. It's only to bad I can't include wine and chocolate!

The first four of the five blogs are some of my fellow babyloss moms. They are amazing women who survived the loss of a child and kept on breathing. It was a hard, hard thing they did and the world is richer for them sharing their experiences.





The award goes to:

This blog you must read, even if you have never lost a child. Her writing is so amazing it takes my breath away. I've linked a recent post of hers that has a poem that really affected me. Please pop over and tell her how amazing she is.
After Iris

This is my dear fried B. She lost her little snowflake a little before I lost my Aiden and our due dates were very close. She was always there for me in the horrible weeks that followed and has remembered when most other people forgot. I owe her more than I can say. I am happy to say she has her rainbow baby now and is doing an awesome job with the little guy.
Non Geordie Mum

Next up is another beautiful writer, Vera Kate. This woman has been through more than I can imagine and come out strong. Her love for her babies shines bright in her words. She is also a pretty awesome artist. Check her out.
Fox on the Run

Catherine is another mom that helped me make my way through the loss of my son. She is an amazingly gifted writer. She always manages to find a way to say the things I feel but can't explain. If you have ever lost a loved one her site is well worth the read.
Between the Snow and the Huge Roses

Last but not least is a writer I found when I started adding adoption blogs to my reader list. She is a passionate feminist and gay rights advocate. I always admire her take on things and the post I'm linking to is a very good read about assigning gender roles to children. It is a topic I think about frequently and she has some very thoughtful points to make.
a queer family grows in redneckville


That's it. Enjoy your award ladies. If you want to, the award asks that you list 7 things about yourself your readers don't know and pass this award on to five other bloggers. Have fun!

Friday, January 13, 2012

MOVE IN DAY IS HERE!

I'm tied up in knots. I was okay until I got up this morning. I think I've just been in denial about how much this is going to change everything. I spent yesterday frantically trying to tie up all the loose ends so I was busy calling doctors and clinics and medicaid. I came to realize I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to parent a teenager - especially a traumatized teenager. WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING!!

Deep breaths.

I can do this. I didn't know how to parent a baby either and K is still alive and not killing puppies. Surely I can figure this out?

I'm excited too, it's just the old, insecure me popping up to inject a little axiety to make things interesting. We also have a slight complication that was not unexpected. M was a little off last weekend. She kept complaining of a stomach ache and was very withdrawn. On Wednesday she got into a dispute with someone at school and hid the girl's phone. She denied it so when she got caught she was suspended. Now instead of a fresh start at a new school she has to go back to her old school on a teacher work day and make up her finals. I had to convince my husband not to be too punitive with her. She created plenty of consequences all by herself. She missed her chance to say goodbye to all of her friends, the bus driver she really likes, and her church youth group. I'm planning on taking her back in a couple of weeks so she can visit those people but it won't be the same. Unfortunately we can't completely ignore the behavior and she missed the reviews for her finals so she'll spend the whole weekend studying instead of playing with her new family. It's not the best start but we knew to expect difficult times until she realizes she can trust us. I think the biggest hurdle is actually going to be my husband. He had not done any research like I have and doesn't know what therapeutic/positive parenting is. I've tried to tell him but I think he needs to see it in practice. I foresee a lot of after-the-kids-are-in-bed arguing. Ugh.

So - update to follow this weekend if I get the time. Wish us a smooth transition!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday night I don't give a damn dinner

This is what we had for dinner: one box Uncle Ben's wild rice 5 minute recipe, turkey sausage, and broccoli. It takes 10 minutes start to finish and is actually decently healthy for processed food. The turkey sausage is sold with the hot dogs and is precooked. All I do is heat it up, cook the rice, and throw the frozen broccoli into the rice pot for the last couple of minutes. Voila - dinner is served and I can sit down with my friend the heating pad. I thought I would share since I'm always looking for ways to cheat on dinner.

I'm working on the blogger awards, I swear I am. I just have a ton of things to do for M's move in so it will probably be a few days. Check back this weekend, I'll try to update how the move went.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Last return

If all goes as planned tonight will be the last time I have to hug my daughter and send her to another Mom's house. Move in date is this Friday!!!!

I'm nervous, not really for myself, but for M. I was so annoyed that we couldn't move her in earlier because they wanted her to finish the semester, and now I am doubly sure this was a bad idea. I could tell tonight that her anxiety is climbing. Her stomach has been hurting all weekend and seemed to get worse the closer it got to the time to go back to the foster home. I don't think she is going to be able to focus much on her finals with all the worry about this move she has on her shoulders. I did find out that she can fail one semester and still get passed on to high school. Normally I would say this was idiotic, but in her case I think it would be way too damaging to keep her back. She is already a year behind, only because she was never in school in Kindergarten. She was too busy getting shuffled back and forth from home to home.

Watching her unpack was heartbreaking. She had a scrapbook from her previous failed adoptive family. The mother used to send her cards telling her to be good and good things would come to her, and saying she should follow God's plan, as if all the crap she has been through could have been prevented if only she was good enough and Christian enough. It made me so sad for M and so angry toward that family. Before I could stop the conversation K asked M why she wasn't adopted by that family. M said she didn't really know. I wish I did. I wish I had something to tell her so she would know it wasn't her fault. The other thing that made me sad, angry, and helpless was how little she had to unpack. No beloved childhood toy, no blankie full of holes, no dolls or stuffed animals she wasn't quite old enough to let go of yet. She left her last adoptive placement with 2 small duffel bags. Her current foster parents have bought her a lot of stuff but I couldn't believe the woman who wrote cards about "God's plan" didn't send M the rest of her things after she was moved back here. I find it hard to believe they never bought her anything while she was with them. If they didn't buy/give her things, that is really just as bad. I am not by any means materialistic and no longer get attached to stuff, but I know foster kids are very deprived in material possessions and it seems pretty shitty to hang on to their stuff after kicking the kid out.

One of the things she did have was a school picture she never sent to her birth mom. When I first saw it and asked if I could hang it up I was just happy we would have photos of when she was younger. It wasn't until later that I noticed the note she wrote to her mom on the back. Poor kid. Even if it meant we couldn't keep her, I would fix her past for her if I could. I hope her future will be easier and I hope she will be okay so far from all the people she should have been with.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!




My first blog award!! I'm very thrilled to get this from someone I really admire. Last Mom is someone you should be reading. She adopted an older child from foster care. Her blog is great for anyone who has adopted, or is considering adopting a child with a history of trauma. Her advice and techniques have already proved invaluable, even with my biological daughter who didn't have a history of trauma before her little brother died. I am so grateful there is someone like her out there to lead the way. I'd be much more nervous about our adoption if it weren't for her.

With this award I'm supposed to tell 7 things about myself that you (my readers) probably don't know. I'm also supposed to tag 5 other blogs. I have a long reader list filled with many wonderful women so that part will take me some time and thinking. I'll start on the seven things and then talk about all the silly things I'm worried about with the big move coming up.

1. I hate roller coasters. HATE THEM. I took my 5 year old on the flying hippogriffs at the Harry Potter park. I almost bit a hole in my lip. If they don't give me a raging headache from the jerking around, they scare the pee out of me. I can brave angry venomous snakes but can't handle a kid's ride.

2. I love to sing. I sing all the time. I often start singing and don't even realize I'm doing it. I think I have a decent voice but I'm too shy to sing in front of people unless I know them really well. I like to sing at karaoke bars but only after several drinks. My tastes in music are very diverse, there isn't much I don't like. This is serving me well with adding a teenager to the family. She really likes the pop station, which I'm not crazy about, but we enjoy enough of the same songs that we enjoy singing together.

3. When I was 4 I cut off the tip of my ear when I fell while jumping on the bed. Let that be a lesson to your children - you really will break your head. My dad worked in the hospital then and that's one of the few nice memories I have of him. They were worried that I had a concussion so while the plastic surgeon sewed my ear back together he kept lifting the drape and asking if I was awake. I remember giggling, thinking he was playing peek-a-boo.

4. I've moved so many times I can't keep track anymore. I stopped counting around 24 moves after I moved out of my parents house. That's an average of more than 1 a year. I like to see new places and I'm quick to move on when things aren't going well, but I am ready to settle down. The problem is I don't want to do it here. I'm going to have to accept that there will be more moves in my future.

5. I'm a biologist that hates to kill things. I worked on an endangered species during grad school so I didn't have to kill anything. When I collect aquatic invertebrates for my job I always get the fish and salamanders out of the sample before I add the preservative, but I feel really guilty about the bugs that get pickled. I never understood when I was young how much killing there is in science. Sometimes I think I'd be better off as a writer, but I lack the self discipline to make a living from it.

6. I love me a man in a poet shirt. Those long, billowing sleeves and ruffles at the cuff. Mmm mmm. Especially if he forgets the pants.

7. I bite the inside of my lip all the time. I guess it's a nervous habit. I don't remember when I started doing it but I never seem to notice until I have a big sore. I'm sure it's disgusting to watch and I worry that it will cause mouth cancer, but I can't seem to stop doing it.


That's my seven things! I'm weird, I know. Now on to the adoption thingie.

M is moving in next Friday. A week from today!! I'm excited, and nervous. I know she will be very scared and I'm worried I won't react the way she will need me to when that fear manifests as anger or "bad" behavior. I worry that I haven't treated her enough like a daughter to make her feel wanted. I kiss and cuddle my five year old all the time, but I've never kissed M. It's not that I don't want to, I'm just unsure if she would be okay with it. It's weird going from 5 to 14, especially when the 14 year old is bigger than me and looks 18 or 20. I can't exactly pull her into my lap and rock. We do horse around a lot, tickling and wrestling and having pillow fights. Is that enough? Should I ask her if she wants me to kiss her (maybe on the cheek)? Should I offer to let her lay her head in my lap when she is falling asleep on the couch? Her history is so vague that I just have no idea how she will react to things like that. I worry she won't want to be adopted and our little one will be devastated. I even worry I'll accidentally get pregnant (ha ha ha) and M will see that as a betrayal or think we won't want her anymore because we got what we really wanted (that's not true but I think she might see it that way). I'm not on the pill right now because it was doing crazy things. Other methods are not fool proof. I don't want to get something more long term but I really don't want to hurt the child we are promising to protect who has already been hurt so much. I'm very torn. We do still want another child and I was thinking maybe a year from now, but I do want to ask M how she feels about it first. Is that a good idea? I just don't know.

I suppose I'll do what I've always done and muddle along and see what happens. In the meantime, thanks for listening.