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Adoption = Stinky, Part 1

So, the girl and I are sitting in a hospital room for the 24 hour EEG. We (docs and ‘rents) are fairly certain we’re not dealing with seizures, but all parties concur “better safe than sorry” applies.

Her head is wrapped up in electrodes and gauze. Let me tell you, the glue they use to apply those things is NAS-TEEEEEE.

The odor reminds me of a dentist’s office, actually. Have you ever needed a tooth cavity filled? Did they paint your tooth with that solvent first? The one that tastes simultaneously sour and, well, disgusting, at the same time? Imagine that taste as a smell. Permeating everything.

Since my sneakers stick to the floor (ick), I’m leery of bacteria levels in the bath, or I’d grab a shower. By tomorrow, Eaų de Ádhəsïve will have combined with Flęűr de Ospìtæl Cøt for a groundbreaking new fragrance. When we get home, Hubby won’t be able to keep his mitts off, thanks to the hotness of this sexy new summer scent.

I’m pretty sure the tech thinks I’m the most horrible parent ever, because he started calling her “princess” and brought her ice cream after he heard me tell her he had a job to do and she can’t keep calling him back in (after the second call-back to loosen her head wrap because it was too tight). Yep, mother of the year, right here.

What he doesn’t know: she is having the most glorious time.

Complete strangers are pouring all their attention into her. She is the center of the universe.

We’re only here because she would not shut her eyes for a few minutes in outpatient testing.  And no, it’s not because of any sensory issue. When I explained that she needed to close her eyes so they could get the data, she refused. Why? Because the test happened to fall in a several-week period during which she did the exact opposite of whatever I asked.

Thanks, Reactive Attachment Disorder.

In general, I try to be objective and fair. To be understanding, patient and supportive. To be the best mother possible, knowing all the kids have endured.

Today, I am still striving for that goal, whether outsiders understand or not. She knows (thanks to the neurologist) that our time here is a direct result of her behavior. Real-world application of this information for my RAD kid: “I can find ways to send myself to the hospital, where strangers will treat me like royalty and I have 100% of mom’s attention.”

My job today, like it or not (and I don’t) is to make sure she decides the hospital is not a vacation. So we’re sitting in a quiet hospital room, TV off, and she’s doing math. I’m giving her attention only when she correctly works a problem on her own.

I also feel a little guilty, because even though I’m definitely doing it for her good (and to keep us out of self-inflicted hospital visits in the future), I’m also pretty annoyed.

I know it’s ridiculous to expect her to have any cognitive ability to grasp the amount of work that goes into having kids. It’s even sillier to think she might understand how exhausting it is to deal with the constant power struggles of RAD. Sometimes, though, I get a little selfish and I just want her to give me a break.

Today, I’m fighting not to be annoyed, or even mad. If she’d closed her eyes for just a FEW minutes in that outpatient EEG, we’d be heading to my aunt’s house for the weekend. And let me tell you, that’s a don’t-miss. She and my uncle are awesome.

Fine, you caught me. I’ll admit it. I’m angry to be stuck in this smelly, sticky room when I could be hanging in the kitchen with my aunt, whipping up a fabulous gourmet dinner. (Okay, let’s be real: hanging in the kitchen watching my incredible aunt whip up a fabulous gourmet meal while I pinch samples.) All because this child just REFUSES to obey me. And then she acts like an angel for strangers, so they think I’m bonkers.

I try not to rant, because I want this blog to help people, but maybe you’re out there hanging onto sanity by a thread, and you just want to know you’re not alone. Here you go.

There will be days you don’t like your kids. I’d like to encourage you that it will pass.

At least, I’m pretty sure it will.

Carry on; stay strong. We’re in this together. For their good and for the future.

In the meantime, please excuse me. I just got a call to come to the EEG Tech desk.

I bet they’ve awarded me Mother of the Year.

Adoption = Stinky, Part 2

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Adoption = EEG Update

Yesterday, the girl and I went to her EEG.

Some of you asked about the reasons for testing. She has fluctuating difficulty in comprehension and ability (both at school and at home). We’re fairly certain that at least some of it is by choice, for attention.

However, I’m of the “leave no stone un-turned” line of thought, so we consulted a neurologist. The doctor shares some of our concerns. We don’t want to assume she has only behavioral issues, then later in life find that there is some type of damage causing the problems. The tests will determine whether anything is not-quite-right.

They taped little electrodes to her head and wrapped it like Queen Nefertiti. Actually, more like King Tut, come to think of it.

Side note: does anyone else think that Egyptian chick looks creepily like Olivia Wilde? 

So then, the tech turned out the lights and told her, “Just close your eyes, be still and relax.”

What ensued was a very UN-relaxing 50 minutes of “But I can’t stop moving. I can’t close my eyes. I just can’t,” while the tech and I tried to bribe her. Thanks to RAD (or just plain old “I-want-to-do-the-opposite-of-what-you-say-because-then-I’m-in-control”), we may have to go back. The tech wasn’t sure how much of the data is usable.

On the way to the appointment, I told her that if she was very cooperative, I’d take her out for lunch. About 45 minutes in (I didn’t know it was almost over), I said, “Let’s do it this way. At this point, I’m not taking you out. If you want to go out to eat, you have to earn it back.” She was incredible for the last five minutes.

Dang it. Why do I always think of the solution so late in the game?

As we left, she asked if we’d go out to eat. “No,” I said, “you didn’t earn lunch out. But, you were very cooperative for the last five minutes, so you earned a snack.” I went through a fast food drive-thru and got her a dollar burger. Gotta reward progress immediately.

She pouted a little. “Lunch at a restaurant would have been more fun.”  Yep. And if you simply closed your eyes, neither I nor the EEG tech would be frustrated right now.

She has an MRI coming up in two weeks, but she’ll be sedated for that.

Right on.

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photos courtesy of http://www.colorkiddo.com and learn.canvas.net

Adoption = Sleep Deprivation

Today is the EEG for our girl. I’m not actually sure what this one is supposed to tell us but the neurologist ordered it so we’re going. One step closer to the MRI and more definite answers.  We hope.

The EEG is “sleep deprived,” so we’re up all night watching movies (and I’m praying the boy doesn’t wake…I’ll never get him back to bed). She’s having the time of her life.

I think I’m the only one feeling the sleep deprivation.

It’s okay. God created naps for a reason…

Adoption = Taking Care (and I Need YOUR Help)

Recently, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed (the kids have ups and downs…we’ve been in sort of a “down” rut these last few months).

Generally, I take care of everyone. I absolutely and truly love to take care of Hubby any way I can, because he does such a great job doing the same for me (and for the kids—he’s the best dad I know). The kids require a lot of care. In addition to the typical Care and Feeding of Young Hyenas, we have a number of appointments.

Occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling and play therapy weekly. Extra help for school twice a week. Psychiatric and medical appointments monthly. And, in the next month, we have appointments for EEG, MRI and neuropsych evaluation for our daughter, with follow-up appointments to be scheduled.

We also have several friends in tough situations, so I provide a listening ear and any help possible. As you might imagine, sometimes I exhaust my energy.

Recently, Hubby pointed out there’s one person I’m not taking good care of: myself.

I felt overwhelmed, so signed up to chat with a counselor recommended by one of the kids’ therapists. It was the best thing I could have done. After one hour, I recognized some things that need to change. Amid all the other scheduling, I’m now blocking out some time to be alone. A few more naps sprinkled through the week when I need them (I also have Lupus, so that makes fatigue more of a problem). Less catering to the kids and more teaching them self-reliance.

It’s not easy.

Because of their past neglect, I feel guilty leaving them when they want me (and they want me anytime they’re awake). I’ve realized, though, in order to give them my true focus and best attention, I need some “me” time. And honestly, they don’t need me every moment. They CAN do most things for themselves…they just enjoy having me do it for them. They also crave attention of any kind, so they work hard to keep me zeroed in on them (either by behaving well OR by doing something they know will garner some negative attention).

So, all this to say…I’ve set aside some time next week to JUST READ. Like last time, I’m asking for your help in keeping my sanity. Reading YOUR blog is like therapy. (Really.)

Please reply in the comments with link(s) to your favorite posts. Posts you’ve written. Posts of people you follow. Posts from some random blogger you happen to run across. Doesn’t matter–I’ll read it! 🙂  I’m planning to read Thursday and Friday, but if you catch this post later, feel free to keep adding links. I love recommended reading. (As you know, I’m addicted.)

Thanks for your help!

I look forward to snuggling up with my laptop. IT’S…SO…FLUFFY!

Yeah…actually it’s not fluffy. Sorry. Just watched Despicable Me with the kids for the bajillionth time. Perhaps I’ll also take time to watch a movie for adults…

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image from http://harpers-tale.wikidot.com/logs:20140730-1

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