Friday, October 11, 2002


Friday, October 11, 2002

I can’t even say how long it’s been since I posted last. I haven’t even looked lately.
Life is pretty hectic these days. With trying to juggle my work schedule by working from home in the afternoon so I can leave early to be home for the kids, and helping with homework and various other activities, it doesn’t leave me much time for me. But I guess that’s part of being a parent.
School is a constant challenge. Both boys are now in learning support. We had our younger son tested this summer and the school finally completed everything and found he qualifies as learning disabled. We already knew our older son is. Maybe school will become less of struggle now that he’ll be placed in a smaller class and work at a slower pace. He was just so frustrated all the time. His main problem is reading comprehension which has affected everything else he does.
Our daughter is finding it difficult to be behind the others in her class when she has been so used to being on the top of her class. Switching from the private school has made it a little difficult because they are reviewing things in the public school from last year which she hasn’t seen yet. I’m sure she’ll come back though.
She finally got her clarinet a couple of weeks ago. The first week she was totally in love with it. She’s not so in love now that she knows she has to practice everynight and it’s not as easy as she thought it would be. I think she’ll stick with it though. She had her first Girl Scout meeting last week. Last year she was in Brownies. She couldn’t wait to go back. She made a craft and is already selling stuff. My husband says there are really only 6 girls in the troop and there were only 4 there last night.
Our oldest has been going to youth group at our church weekly. He seems to enjoy being with kids his own age. He hasn’t really had that much in the last couple of years because of his situation. He loves cooking and science in school because he gets to DO stuff – hands on. It keeps his interest. I think he just takes the rest of it with a grain of salt because he knows he has to do it. He also knows if he starts having behavioral problems, that he’ll go back to a stricter setting, so I think he’s trying his best to stay.
Hopefully now that our younger son will get additional help in school we’ll see an improvement in his overall behavior and attitude. Maybe he’ll get to start doing something extra soon.
That’s all for now I guess. If I think of anything else, I’ll add it later….



Friday, September 13, 2002


Friday, September 13, 2002

I am so terrible at keeping up with this!
The kids now have a couple of weeks of school under their belts. Our oldest started a week late at the middle school when his placement to a specialized school fell through due to lack of staff. He’s very excited because he will get to participate in art, gym, music, computer and cooking. He doesn’t get any of that in the other schools. He’s mainstreamed in science and social studies, but with modified testing. I didn’t know it would be modified until I contacted the teacher with my concerns.
Our middle son qualifies for reading support. I was surprised math wasn’t included because he all but failed math last year. They said they would monitor the situation and place him in math support if he begins to slip.
Our daughter seems to be doing very good academically. They don’t explain new concepts to the kids as well as the private school, so I’m helping her a lot more this year. But once I explain it, she usually gets it pretty quickly.
They are all three having trouble with kids picking on them. Our oldest gets called names because of his immaturity. I’ve told the special education coordinator that I’m concerned he won’t be able to hold back his anger much longer if it continues and she said she would look into it. I told him that I am proud of him for staying in control when they say things. I’m just not sure how much longer he can keep it up. He loves his homeroom teacher. She’s very attentive and helpful. He also loves his van driver. He’s made a point to make a connection with our son. I do appreciate that.
I’m not sure what’s up with the middle son. He gives different reasons each time and then he says everything is fine. I’m going to have to keep an eye on the situation. I try to get him to talk to me about it but he doesn’t always want to share.
Our daughter is such an outgoing person that she wants to be friends with everyone, even if they are unpopular with the other kids. She doesn’t understand why the other kids won’t be friends with her just because she is friends with kids they don’t like. She wants to be friends with all of them. I told her that I’m proud of her for not dropping the unpopular kids and to just keep trying with the other kids. I told her to ask the other kids if she could be friends with them too and they don’t have to be friends with her other friends. It might be working. I’m sure she’ll tell me if it doesn’t. She said she was physically threatened by some of the kids and went to the principal about it. Her teacher yelled at her for going to the principal! In light of all the school tragedies that occur, I was appalled! If my child does not feel safe, it is the school’s responsibility to make her feel safe! They will hear from me about this! I’ve heard that the teachers pay little attention to what is going on at the playground. This is where my daughter gets harrassed. She’s petite for her age and most kids her age tower over her. Those kids are taking full advantage of that. But, she still comes home with a smile on her face and does tell me about the good things like getting to try the clarinet for band and making chorus and stuff like that.
We’ve started our Thursday night church school meetings. I believe I have too much on my plate and it’s time to do away with some stuff. We have the counselors at the house 2 evenings a week, I have choir practice on Wednesdays, I have to try to help all 3 kids with their homework while working at home because I have to leave my office early to be home for my oldest, and the list goes on. Right now the only thing I can get rid of is choir. I used to enjoy it, now it just feels like another thing on my “to-do” list.
This happens every new school year. The summer is fine because my husband is home with the kids. Now the kids are mostly my responsibility on top of my job and everything else. At least my husband can go to the school meetings between his bus runs. Maybe I’m just a big baby. I should probably stop whining about it.
Oh well.



What was she thinking redux


So, oldest was a no show for Thanksgiving.  We called three times on Wednesday.  Only got to speak to him once.  I told him call when he was done with an earlier interview.  I called twice after that and he never did call. 

K decided to give our HOME phone number to a boy at residential that she says she loves.  She knew him 2 days before she decided this.  He was also home on a visit and called our house even before her dad picked her up to bring her home.  The third time he called I said she would not be taking calls during her visit.  She was upset.  She snuck to our room and called him.  He called again.  By then it was about the 8th time that he had called.  She knows the rules.  She knows she is NOT to give out our home phone number to anyone without our permission.  She had written a contract for her visit and broke at least three of the things on it.  On the way back Friday she told me that I don’t love her.  If I loved her I would not be taking her back because she doesn’t belong there.  I told her this is part of her flawed thinking.  We can tell her things until we are blue in the face and it doesn’t matter.  All that matters to her is the people who don’t like her and the need to MAKE them like her.  I told her that she has no clue what we went through when she ran away from respite.  I told her how sick we both were with worry.

8:00 pm we get a call saying she’s gone AWOL after an argument with staff.  She’d been gone since about 6:30 pm.  This is her way of punishing me for taking her back.  I had told her that very afternoon how frightening it was for us when she ran so she used it against me.  They called back around 9:30 pm and said they found her in a church.  I’m not sure if it was the one on campus or not.  She had tried to call her boyfriend to come get her and she cut herself.  They wanted to know if I wanted to speak with her.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t calm myself enough and stop crying long enough to talk to her.  She called the next morning and I simply said "I don’t know what you want me to say to you KM".  She tried saying that I didn’t know how she felt.  I told her that I did and that’s why she is where she is with professionals that can help her if she’d only let them.  She wouldn’t let us help so she left us no choice.  I told her I feel she wants to feel this way and refuses to listen to anyone who wants to help.   Until she’s ready to listen, our hands are tied. 

Her birthday is in three weeks.  She’ll be 16.  I doubt she’ll be able to come home . She’ll hate us for it even if it’s not our decision.  If she’s going to act that way each time we have to take her back, maybe it’s for the best until she is more stable…



The Whole Dang Family


Well, not the WHOLE family, but lots of it anyway.  I called oldest a few minutes ago and asked if he wanted to come home for Thanksgiving.  He said yes and even asked about staying until Friday.  That was a shocker.  I had it in the back of my mind that we would pick him up on the way back from getting K on Wednesday and letting him stay until we take her back on Friday, but never in my wildest dreams did I think he would WANT to do that.  Hubs says that even though we don’t give him money, giving him food should mean the occasional help around the farm, but it’s never been offered.  If he stays overnight this week, there will be expectations from Dad even if no offer is extended.  We’ll see how well that goes over.  The good news/bad news is that he was there to take my call.  The bad part about it is that it probably means he is still without a job, especially if he can stay two nights.  I don’t know what it’s going to take.  He wants a specific job and no other will do. 

So, he’ll be home, K will be home and various sisters, brothers and parents will be there.  Wish me luck.  :)



one night or two?


We got the ok for an overnight visit for Thanksgiving.  I’m going to ask for 2 nights so no one has to travel Thanksgiving day.  I can’t see why they would say no.  I know they have protocol on visits according to levels, etc., but she will be home.  We won’t be going out or seeing anyone that she would be uncomfortable seeing.  She has only been home for 2 nights since September 8.  I think 2 nights now won’t hurt her.  She hasn’t cut in weeks.  She is still very depressed.  She hides behind fake smiles that all the staff can see right through.  She still feels worthless and that she has no future.  But I think being home and being in contact with us and extended family will hopefully motivate her.  I know Friday will be hard going back, but maybe she’ll be encouraged to continue to do well to get more visits that last longer.  We can always hope, but also be thankful that we get what we got for now.



Family Therapy Session


The phone call started out upbeat. It slowly deteriorated in to her crying and saying she had no future and there has never been anything good in her life. I did more talking than the therapist and she must have been ok with that since she didn’t try to stop me. I told K that I wanted her to look up the word unconditional and tell me what it meant the next time we talked. She tried to say that nobody loved her and that we were all just pretending. I also told her I wanted her to think long and hard about what made her happy and the good things in her life (past and present) and write them down for our next session. She talked to me later that night and said she couldn’t talk to staff because they were mean and that she “needed to do something”. I told her that was her way of punishing me for sending her there. She said that she wasn’t. She knew I would worry and make phone calls to staff and that was her way of getting the attention she needed. Tomorrow is her case meeting and it will determine whether or not she can go up one level and start to do outings and other things with the rest of the group. She’s been depressed about having to stay onsite while others go out so that hasn’t helped either. I don’t know how tomorrow is going to turn out. It will also determine if she gets to come home at all for Thanksgiving. If she doesn’t get to come home, I’m not sure what she will do.



S’up?


Let’s see. 

We took oldest some food that I had bought for him a month ago.  Seemed like good timing as he called and told us he was out of food and money.  I won’t give him money.  He knows that.  We took the box of food which contained mostly freezer stuff and non-perishables.  There was a pizza, mac and cheese, vegetables and we gave him a few packages of our home-grown beef and pork.  He said his food stamp card would be reloaded in a few days.  When we got there he was sitting on the stoop outside.  He bleached his hair again and pierced his other ear.  According to middle son he said he got a tattoo as well.  Not sure if that’s true or not.  He was smoking the last of his cigarette.  I just took a deep breath before I got out of the car and reminded myself that he’s 19 and doesn’t live at home.  It’s his life.  He still doesn’t have a job.  There are help wanted signs all around him within walking distance but I think he thinks those jobs aren’t good enough for him.  I don’t know how much longer they will let him live there without getting paid.

 

I’m going to see K tonight for a therapy session.  She called last night because yesterday was her first day of school there.  She was pretty upbeat and said she got good remarks from the teacher.  She was upset the night before because she had lost dessert privileges for lending her clothes to someone.  She cried about how unfair it was.  I asked her if she broke the rules by lending them and she said yes and I said there ya go.  Don’t break the rules and you won’t lose your privileges.  Life is so unfair.  She’s not expecting me today. 

 

I got a call from the campus nurse this morning telling me about how K has been complaining about stomach aches for awhile now.  K told the nurse she got them all the time and she just drinks gatorade to make it better.  She visits the nurse quite frequently.  Just like she did while she was in school.  I explained to the nurse her need for attention and how she embellishes and even sometimes lies just to get the attention.  The nurse understood.  She sees it all the time.  Since K is new up there she just wanted to be sure that there wasn’t a history of gastrointestinal problems.  Nerves.  That’s what it is.  I’m really surprised she hasn’t been getting hives regularly.  We used to have to keep a bottle of benadryl at school for her because of how often she used to get them. 

 

If she doesn’t do anything terribly stupid, like try to run away again, she should be able to come home for a day or two for Thanksgiving.  I have to keep reminding her each time I talk to her because she keeps the threat open.  She was upset with me the night before on the phone because I wasn’t buying in to her self-pity party so she blurted out "I have a boyfriend".  Gee, she’s been there not two weeks and he told her he loves her already.  I know she did it just to get a reaction because boys are a big problem for her.  I don’t think she got what she wanted from telling me that so she dropped it.  We’ll see how things go this afternoon and if she brings it up again.



Wednesday, August 28, 2002


Wednesday, August 28, 2002

First day of school yesterday for 2 younger kids. Found out we still don’t have a placement for the oldest and he may have to attend at the public school in their special education program. I’m very leary about this because he does not do well with large numbers of kids. I feel he will get stressed out and either shut down or lash out. The younger 2 enjoyed the first day. They were kind of nervous going back to public school after being in private school for 3 years. I’m STILL nervous, but I guess we’ll take one day at a time.



Praise you in this storm


 

We moved K to her new placement yesterday.  It’s a very nice campus.  As I said before it’s faith based and she’ll have access to clergy and get to go to church.  In her earlier years she was very grounded in faith.  Life happened and she’s kind of forgotten about all that.  I felt very comfortable there yesterday.   They know the drill.  Maybe we’ll have her home sooner than later.



Another move tomorrow


Hopefully the last until she comes home.  The way she’s been talking to us lately she acts as if she’s going to summer camp.  It’s hard to tell if she’s doing that because I told her I wasn’t going to be an audience for her theatrics or what.  She’s given me a list of things she wants me to bring from home.  I’m not going to bring all that she requested.  I’m going to tell her that if she wants those things, she needs to do the work to get better and come home.  I have such mixed feelings.  On one hand I wonder what is really going on with her.  On the other hand, I sometimes feel that she is controlling this whole situation just so she won’t have to go back to her school where all her problems seem to be.  She asks about that a lot.  Early on I was dead set that she was going to learn how to deal with how kids are no matter what.  But if she is willing to go to these extremes to stay away from that school, what can I do?  I keep telling her she’s going to find those kinds of kids everywhere.  But there are some things she claims have happened that maybe a fresh start for her last couple of years would be best.  I just don’t know.

 

It’s an hour + trip to the respite and then another hour + to residential.  We’ll probably spend at least 3 or 4 hours admitting her.  She’s been gone since September 8 all told.  I just hope getting her settled somewhere that she shouldn’t have to move again will encourage her to start the real work of healing.