Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A few thoughts on Stranger Things




Shows that have a child in danger as the major plot conflict bug me. I am tired and vulnerable. Kids are my alpha omega and so it's easy to over feel about any kids, even tv kids.

It's not a subtle show. The creators obviously have much love for Stephen King novels and played many rounds of D&D. They also seem like amateurs with their writing and production. It's like they have a nostalgia check list to write about. Banana seat bike, 80s music, corduroy backpack, walkie talkie (check! check! check!).  Don't forget to show the mix tape that the boy's brother made. (Super check!)

This betrays the subject matter which again, is about a boy whose missing. Gone. JUST GONE. There is a girl too. Resplendent with Carrie like abilities. The mine is deep but not explored sufficiently. There is an absolute devastation with missing children. The boy's mother, played by Wynonna Ryder, remains upright and functional. Soon she learns to talk to him through Christmas lights. It's a surface and inconsistent performance at best.

I blame the writing that relentlessly ticks off that list versus creating structure for the world to come alive. The creators underestimate the audience and tell too much. I also blame the actress. I don't think Ryder runs that deep. Plus, she's not a mom. What vault does she have to store complex emotions?

There is a cop in the show too. It's the same problem though. The creators are relentless with pulling up that list and using a cheap plot device (the cop had a daughter that died) to make us feel something for him. It's not a terribly complex character but the actor does what he can do.

I can say the kids are the best part of the show. I love the girl. That was the only scene were I loved Ryder. When she's in the pool and Ryder is comforting her like an actual mom. That read right. I honestly felt unsure if I could do that. Not comfort the girl but send her searching for one of my kids knowing it would be harmful to her. This bothered me.

The overriding issue that since all of this has been done before, how to make this series without repeating the master's material? It can be done. Walking Dead is a zombie show. Millions have been before. Game of Thrones has elements explored before as well. But everything can be done in a new way.

The key is to make everything smaller. Tighten up the place and characters. Use only what is needed and let go of wanting to show. Leave loose ends and inconsistencies. But we shall see, here's hoping the writers stop with the relentless checklist and get back to framing a world and characters that are real.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sperm donors, foster to adopt and the spaces in between




So here we are, in the spaces in between. No bonus kids at this point. Just me, Mr. Hall and our bio three. We are ready for more and waiting.

It's a weird space.

My friend is getting sperm injections. She's single, over 35 and done with waiting for a dude. By all accounts, this method of growing one's family involves a lot of doctor visits and people touching your hoo-ha. It also seems super expensive.  She has enough capital to cover three tries. The first one didn't work.

I didn't think it was going to work. It's almost like forcing a pregnancy with these injections. The magic is sucked right out of it, it seems. I have very fond memories of regular sperm injections from a loving husband and even then it took forever.

Now she waits to start another cycle and more injections are involved. Hormone injections. She had asked if I would help her and I said no. It was hard saying no. Super dupa hard.  But for so many reasons I said no.

Reasons-
I'm not skilled with injections--I haven't been a real nurse like that in over 10 years.
I don't want to screw it up.
If things go wrong, I don't want her blaming me.
She's sensitive to needles and has had reactions (nausea, passing out) before and I don't want to be there if that happens
Hormones make women crazy, these hormones anyway. I don't want to be part of that crazy.
The rest of the crazy I'm ok with.

But maybe I'm not. I harbor judgment. It's ugly and I have no right. But I like to hear kids having two parents. She is purposefully creating a life without a Dad there. And it's ugly how I feel because I know what it is to long to be a mom. The crazy of wanting more kids is strong in me. 

I know..I know.. go ahead and judge me. I'm not that good of friend for her right now.  

I've made my peace with her leaning on me. My heart will break for her if it doesn't go as planned.  I'm here for her in many different ways. Others are all gaga over her process. I'll let them do the injections.

but.. yes.. this is  ugly...

I think it triggers my own pain. Long time readers know the miscarriages I've been through. Getting pregnant with my third child was an ordeal. I've healed quite a bit but it'll always be there, the pain. Like a river that ebbs and flows. Just like all the women that have miscarried.

My friend does have a plan b.. if the sperm injections don't work... its to foster to adopt.

Which is where we are now. Starting our journey anew as they say. We are sufficiently recovered from our past foster hood excursions. Mr. Hall wrote the social worker and gave conditions on what we would like to do next. On what we are looking for. Conditions on age and such. Conditions! So up front that man. But, you get what you ask for I guess. NO need to beat around the bush. We don't want to be baby sitters and don't want to travel super long distances. We have space for one more at this point.


So here we are, the spaces in between... 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It starts with an idea



What is there to say that soon Mr. Hall will make contact with the social worker to express our interested of adopting from foster care. He's already said it to another social worker.

There is sort of a predictable process to getting pregnant. You stop birth control, start tracking ovulation and Mr. Hall becomes quite happy with the increase love. Adopting for the foster care is completely unknown.

But Mr. Hall is regimented. Step by step for him. We first met with an adoption foster care social worker back in 2011 and decided to just do respite and/or foster. Five years later he's closer to adoption. It's tough because I want to adopt and always have. He does too but timing and consideration of so many other factors go into this.

We needed our genius son better. Which he is. We need our daughter better. Which she is. We needed to heal from the almost 3 years of our bonus kids. Which we have. We needed a vacation. Which we took.

We need me better. My workload capacity and ability to calm needed to be increased. Which they are. Mr. Hall just needs more massages and that's getting better too.

So, are we ready yet?

I don't know. It's scary and crazy and wonderful.

When we got pregnant the first go round it was magical. It all started with an idea. We wanted to have a baby. And now, thank the LORD, we have three!

And now we have this idea. It's always been there but now it's being said out loud. To social workers. To family. To friends.

We want to adopt from foster care.

It's almost too much for the human spirit to bear doing this.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

2 second family hugs are the best



Wake up at 6.30 am. Tired. Didn't wake up in time for crossfit. It'll be a squeeze, but I'll go tonight.


Rustle the middle son Mac. My genius son. Put a kitchen timer next to his head. 10 min to get up or consequence. This keeps me from badgering him. We would use an alarm clock, but even the blaring ones don't rouse him. He slept on living room floor. It works better than his bed he says.  At least this week.


Attempt coffee. Get half of it down. Make oatmeal. Also half. Can't find clean pants so I put on a dress.


Skittle around my daughter Pancake,  whose standing near the stove eating a bagel with peanut butter. She doesn't talk. I go for a side hug, she tenses. At 13, she's not interested in hugs. I don't care. I side hug. We confirm I'm picking her up from volley ball. She makes a joke and I'm so happy. She stopped joking a few months ago and it was tough. But today, a joke. Praise HIS NAME!! With two bites left she puts her dishes in the sink.


My 3 year old son River bellows from upstairs. OPPPPEEEENNN IIITTT!! It being a  wee baby gate for his room. He rattles it with his foot, clutching matchbox cars and plastic Easter eggs. He doesn't want to put them down and open the gate. He has to pee. Desperation sets in. The volume rises.... OOOPPPEEEEN IIITTT!! I go open it. Give him a squeeze and he's off to potty. Still clutching the cars and eggs.


The timer goes off. My genius son is snoring hard. I get a squirt bottle and mist him. Loud snarls spiral up from the nest of blankets. Then he curls up like a caterpillar, trying to go back to sleep. I turn the nozzle from mist to stream. Three squeezes to the forehead and he's up. He stomps downstairs to get dressed. He has 9 min to get to the bus. He's too late for breakfast.


Then there is Ruth. Our wee puppy dog. Dogs are the frickin best!!






My daughter leaves like a ninja. But I see her. I run to the door, flip it open and holler 'BYE SWEETIE...LOVE YOU....HAVE FUN AT SCHOOL.' She barely turns her head but a slight smirk appears.  She heard me.


I go and check on my genius son. He's laying on the bathroom floor. Fake sleeping. I tell him get up or no electronics for a week. I can see his light now. The coma has lifted. The bus carries him to school. 


River announces there is no need for pants today. Underwear day he declares. I leave him with a bowl full of raisin bran and my husband who will get him dressed. Like putting pants on a bucking kangaroo. I head out. I forgot to brush my teeth and couldn't find a hair brush. Pancake hoards and hides them. I brush both when I get to work.


There are a number of tough cases at work. I prescribe mental health medications. I see dementia cases where I can't really help. I feel sad for and with them. I see relentless drug seekers who make me angry. I'm not a vending machine. You don't want to get better, you just want a fix. That's not going to happen in my office. I don't say these things. I say, No. And. We are done,  get out of my office or I'll call security. Because now I'm mad and scared. Addicts can be dangerous. They leave. I'll have to answer to the patient advocate for that.


I see patients who are doing phenomenal. I count the blessings. Coworker lunch goes well. Lots of laughs and support. More patients then done.


Then the kid pick up mambo begins. I start with my daughter from volleyball. She's hunched over, walking forcefully to the car. I can tell she's crying and trying to hide it. She's introverted and sports requires a lot of effort socially. She's doing it though. I smile and give her my phone so she can dive into tumblr and pinterest.


Then our new foster girl Andrea. Her pick up is at an after school program across town. My name is not on the list for approved picker upper people. They only have Mr. Hall's name. Mr. Hall is across town picking up Mac. It's 5.30 pm and there is no way to contact a social worker to address this. The after school teacher says she'll call the birth mom. I sit down with Andrea whose all smiles and happy. She's truly a beautiful girl. I'm humbled and happy. We color and wait. I've got 15 min to pick up River but I'm at peace. There is no rushing this.


Mom calls back and gives the O.K.


We pick up River who leaps into Pancakes arms. We all do a quick group hug. Pancake doesn't fight it, at least at first.


2 second family hugs are the best.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Love and Logic and my genius son....stay tuned.....






There has been some back sliding with my genius son and his behaviors at school. He's a defiant kid at times. He doesn't like the rule of no running in the hall,  so he'll run in the hall. Or argue with the teacher. Or make noises when others are presenting their projects. Or go outside for recess when he's on detention and not returning after the bell rings. This is  no good.

We had been using two behavior techniques. One being 1-2-3 magic parenting. The other being "your defiant child". They worked well enough. It's a lot of heavy lifting though. Lifting my very, very VERY strong willed child can do himself. Which is were the love and logic comes in.

Love and Logic  was a six part class Mr. Hall  went to.  It's well known in foster care circles because you want to love on the kids. Logically. It's not about punishment because you don't want to be punishing with traumatized kids (which foster kids are).

My son has a lot of behaviors that mirror the foster kids. Naughty behaviors. Only my son is not a traumatized kid. I nursed that kid for 8 months. He was a perfect love and still is. He's  just a genius who wants to be in charge. Only he's EIGHT with college level smarts. Emotional wise he's about 6. All whirling in a tornado of ADHD.
 
And I'm tired. We're tired. We're tired of using behavior techniques that require a lot of us pushing him. Mac can start taking over some of this. It's time to shift the responsibility to him.

But, my husband went to the classes and I didn't. He needed the foster care continuing ed. I'm all caught up. So I'm basically flying blind with this. Trusting my husband as he guides us through is a new process. I'm usually the one in charge. I don't know this system.

Basically, love and logic is letting the child experience consequences. Like when I ask Mac to walk the dog and he ignores me, I'm not to argue or badger. Or yell. Shut up. I DON'T YELL.

When he ignores me I'm to say, "We'll take care of this later." And if he argues and says, "I don't want to walk the dog."  I'm to say, all monotone, "I love you too much to argue, we'll take care of this later." And the later consequences includes deep stuff. Like stopping all electronics and throwing them away.

Only the dog doesn't get walked. Mac doesn't do his chore. I walk the dog then. How is this helpful? At least when I badger, cajole and bother...the dog  GETS WALKED.

THIS WILL INCREASE OUR WORKLOAD.

But whatever.

I trust my husband. He's a logical engineer and he believes in this. I follow him.

Stay tuned....  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What did you do?







Bonus kid(s) is my code work for foster kids.


We had a critical mass of bonus kids the other night. Three of which were there for a second time. They were just gems last go round. This time...not so much.


When bonus kids come there is something called a honeymoon phase. Everyone is pleased and happy. Then the upsettness breaks loose because dude, would you want to be taken away from your mom as a kid? ...No.... So the acting out begins.


I was telling my coworker that the middle bonus kid (9 years old) --was having NONE of the Hall's hospitality this go round. Didn't want to eat, kept sneaking out to the backyard and so on. Then, in the am, he wouldn't get in the car to get to school.  It went like this.


(in the driveway)


Me: "Hey dude--time for school, let's get in the car so I can drop you off."


Bonus kid: (literally turning his back on me--crosses his arms and hunches his shoulders--then giving me a backwards, stink eye glance)---



"No."


YA KNOW. I totally think that's something adults should be able to do. Like if my boss wants me to do something I can just turn my back and say no. All plain and obstinate like. Seems perfectly acceptable!!!


So I'm telling this to a coworker who is middle age and now suddenly a step mom to a 9 year old and therefore totally overwhelmed at this new mom stuff. She leans in with rapt attention and says, "What did you do?"


I really thought about it. I mean, at this point, I'm totally over being on time for stuff. Church, school, work... I have too many kids. Mine and bonus. Each kid can explode with behaviors at any time. Or have a potty accident. Or both. I don't care about being late. I don't care if this kid spends six hours not getting in the car.


So starting with that attitude, I told her I didn't fight it. There is no point in engaging with his power struggle. It's as if  there was a  gigantic moose in front of my car. I can't move the moose. 


So I gave him options. I said,


"I can tell your mom one of two things. I can say wow! He did such a good job getting in the car this morning. Or, I can tell her that you gave me attitude."


He got in the car after that.


I talked with Mr. Hall. We are focusing our life on creating carrots for good behaviors. We are finding none of our kids, our or bonus, acts nicely for nicely. Well, sometimes but mostly they need a reason.


So that's what I did. Created a carrot. And if that didn't work I probably would have just sat in the car, surfing my phone while he stood in the driveway. All moose like.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Fruit and other animals



This Easter weekend was divine. There were little animals made of fruit on the brunch tables.


I'm very blessed to have such a family.


The kids have struggled lately but my genius son is 75% better on all fronts. I left his conference skipping and singing. I have NEVER left a conference feeling happy before with that kid. It's a miracle. My daughter is showing signs of struggle but we are on it! I know some families that have no issues with their kids. All normal and chugging along. We are a different breed. And that is ok. We'll all work to get better together.


It's a funny thing, all these interventions for the kids. It's caused my husband and I to really take a look at ourselves. A lot of the smart, awkward, anxiety, social difficulties, defiant, working harder not smarter stuff comes from us. Only we barreled through it. It took years to get where we are, to blend in with normal. But, there is so much available to help the kids. We can lessen their struggle. It won't take years. We're healing now.


I can't say enough about kid counselors and teachers. They've helped us understand the complicated and super awesome kids we have. It's hard to say I don't know what's wrong or how to fix but something is not right. And if you say it in front of the right folks it gets better.


Parenting gifted kids is a whole different animal.  But the way I see it, it's all part of their gifts that will explode all over as they grow up. They will grow and accomplish things I can't even imagine right now.


Best Easter weekend ever.









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