Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something Different Update

This morning I gave each girl 30 M & M's. Explained that today would be a quiet day and that they could pantomime, write or draw a picture for everything they wanted to say. Each time they forget I get an M & M from their stash. A hissy fit constitutes losing 10. At the end of the day they can have all of their M & M's before dinner. Taking bets on if any are left. ;-)

So far it has really cute and really quiet. The score: J has lost 4 M & M's and SK has lost 6. Oops 7 now. I might update more on twi tt er.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Something Different

Thinking that tomorrow there's going to be a new game in town. It's not out of my bag of tricks from 99 Ways to Drive Your Child Sane by Brita St. Clair but it should be. No talking. Nothing. Nada. Everything must be either written or pantomimed. All day. Could be fun!

We'll see how it goes.


Can you spot anything suspicious in this picture?

Maybe this will help.

Let's take a closer look:

Just a grunt closer and the mystery pillow is revealed. Cutest pillow ever!
The Queen on her throne. She rules with kindness but expect belly rubs in return.

I'm channeling Pioneer Woman today. I wish.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Schedule & How to De-clutter Toys

Little Wonder asked so here goes:

5 - 6 AM Snuggle time with Jordan
6 - 7 AM Shower, dressed, coffee
7-7:45 Make-up beds/brush teeth and hair/get dressed/strong sitting/yoga, breakfast/clean up (in that order)
7:45-8 Walk/Run/Bike (any high energy activity)
8-9 Language Arts
9-9:15 Sensory Integration games and Occupational Therapy
9:15-10:15 Language Arts
10:15-10:30 Relay races
10:30-11:30 Language Arts
11:30-11:45 Walk/Steps/Mini-Tramp/bike/scooter
11:45-12:30 Lunch/Clean Up
12:30-12:45 Learning Breakthrough
12:45-1:45 Language Arts
1:45-2:00 Relay races
2:00-3:00 Play bonding games
3:00-4 Sensory integration games
4:00-5:00 Dinner/Cleanup
5:00-6:00 Play Time
6:00-7:00 Bath, brush teeth, Reiki, bedtime stories or independent reading
7- 8 PM Clean up house, wash and dry laundry (the girls do all the folding and putting away). J does all her own ironing.
8 - 9 PM Check email/read blogs and something to help my girls therapeutically (usually blogs because y'all give me so many ideas). Veg out. Read for fun.
9 PM Stick a fork in me. I. Am. Done.

Everywhere you read Language Arts it changes by day. On Tuesday's it is Math, Wednesday's are Language Arts Extension's which are lessons within a lesson, Thursday is Science and Geography, Friday is art and spelling. Art can be a play (we're about to start on the kids Shakespeare plays thanks to Pioneer Woman's recommendation, crayons, making a craft, etc.

We change up as needed and if one is stuck we move through it or have down time to help with regulation. I have to have a schedule or it would be too easy to roll with the day and nothing would get accomplished. I really, really try to stick to it.

Get ready to realize I'm the worst mom ever. I NEVER pick up toys or clothes. Ever. Unless it's to throw them in the trash. The girls know that if I have to pick up something or they leave something out at bedtime that it will be going directly in the trash. I NEVER have to ask them to pick up their room or put away bicycles, bubbles, scooters or anything because before they go to bed everything (every single night) is picked up and put away. Nice and neat. They also pick up after themselves all during the day so that it's never bad at bedtime. They're probably terrified that I'll throw it away during the day too. ;-) Don't judge, it works for me. ;-) Clothes go in the hampers in the laundry room. Sorted at the time of deposit. Our towels are color coded (J is pink, Sk turquoise, mine are white) so J knows which ones are hers and Sk can identify too. SK is now Chief Laundry Folder and delivery girl. Doing quite well too.

Three things are accomplished. #1 Things never get out of hand (meaning really big mess) in a way that is too overwhelming for them to clean up. #2 I never, ever have to nag. Ever. I like that. I have to repeat myself over and over and over and over during the day about important things but at least I never have to nag about this stuff. I will never replace anything that has been thrown away but they can earn money to buy a replacement and I'll take them to the store. #3 I never have to sort laundry. Just throw it in and press start.

It was horrible to implement. On me that is. My wallet started shaking in my purse because all I could think about was the money I was throwing away when those toys landed in the trash can. I hate being wasteful and it felt terribly wasteful. I will admit that the leap fr*g quietly found it's way back to the toy box. However, J lost about 3 toys and 1 outfit before it clicked. Sk hasn't lost a thing yet because J made a believer out of her. I'm sure she'll have her turn before it's over. ;-)

Having them take the toys/clothes to a thrift store or salvation ar*y would be effective too but for J seeing it in the trash can worked like a charm. Plus at that time I wasn't doing much but surviving and didn't want to go through the public meltdown either.

Now if I could just get my stuff as organized and neatly put away as they do I'd be a real winner. Or wiener...depending on how you look at it.


In case you're having a day (like me) where you're feeling a little hopeless cause it's just been one of those days. Let me share this with you. When J first came her behaviors were over the top. It was. not. pretty. In any shape or form. She was always looking for something to kill or mutilate. I'm sad to say that some 2 to 3 ft long fish did not come out alive. At least it wasn't me or Puddin but it wasn't for a lack of trying and much effort. Fun stuff people.

Click here for a picture from before. Sorry I can't upload it here. Lost it in the computer death.

Here's a picture from Friday night:

So even on the bad days it helps me to remember the progress. She's nothing short of a miracle.

Did you know

that a piece of attachment is remembering what happened yesterday? Our first AT's mentioned it but I didn't "hear" it. I've read about it but don't remember where. Still it didn't click. Our current AT, Kristy, told me this again last week. My ears must've been open because I heard it this time. She encouraged me to have J remember the events of the previous day in the order that they happened. Thought it would be a piece of cake. Not so much. She really struggles to remember the events and gets very frustrated. It's not like she doesn't want to remember it's more that she can't. Interesting.

In case you're wondering how I posted 3 times during one day, it's because I have 2 kids in time-in. One on each side of me. They've been there most of the afternoon. Struggling with regulation. Joy.

Morning Activities

Our day starts at 5 AM. Yikes. I have the girls on a schedule that's very structured. It's been so hot that I've had to reverse it and have school in the afternoon. Below are some of the sensory things they do every day.

Dizzy Disk Jr. to strengthen body awareness and coordination. You have to move it with pressure and the goal is to keep it moving with the correct pressure on each foot until it will spin without stopping.

Brain Gym: drawing figure 8's.

Walking figure 8's (I trace it out with sidewalk chalk.)

Brain Gym: Cross Crawl to help both sides of the brain talk to each other.

Jumping rope. Gross motor skills and coordination.

Pogo stick jumping for vestibular balance. J has now mastered this and can get around great with it.

Giant hopper for vestibular orientation and for heavy work calmer.

They also did some activity (moonsand, dried beans, sand, play doh, etc) while wearing either a pressure vest or weighted arm bands.
Last week, at the recommendation of our AT, I added an all night bio-lateral Delta sleep CD to J. She loves it and it's reallly soothing. Actually it was for SK but wanted to try on J first.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


After one of the girls has therapy they will go to the waiting room while Kristy and I do a wrap up session and I get my homework list. When we walked out yesterday J was talking to a woman in the waiting room while she was coloring. They said good bye, it was nice to meet you, blah, blah, blah.

Last night Kristy called me and said that the woman waiting let her in on the conversation she had with J. She said she asked J how she was doing and J said, "well, I've been working really hard to get rid of RAD and I'm almost normal now." ROTF! ;-)

Side note: The woman in question is a counselor at a school and very familiar with RAD.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eye Candy

For your viewing pleasure.

Fully awake, ready for action:

Getting the sleepy eyes...

Uh oh...she's going down...

Popping up just to make sure she doesn't miss something:

Down for the count and waiting for mom:

Night, night....

Puddin in all her glory.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fabulous Trip

J was such a dream kid on this trip. One of our friends that went had not seen her in a year. She was astounded at the difference in J. Every day she makes my jaw drop. Since she had touch privileges she was able to hang around all the other adults during the trip while my other appendage was attached to my side. She showed very appropriate touch, conversation and coping skills. A little independence too. Appropriate independence and yet still so very attached to me. It was so very cool.

She loved seeing the "Pacific Ocean" but was adamant in still declaring her love of Myrtle Beach. I have got to take that girl to see some windex water someday soon. Maybe if she discovers there are actually "clear water" beaches she can convince Daddy G we need to be at "those" beaches instead of MB. A girl can dream.

We truly had a great time. A couple of little maneuvers helped keep SK on the straight and narrow but I just stood back and watch J blossom.

Too much laundry, ironing and dirty house to clean up means that I have been astoundingly slow but if you haven't already you need to go check out Tuba. Now.

200 blogs behind means y'all have been breeding like rabbits while I've been away. Geesh folks.

Also, Michael has a new online consortium for RAD families. Bringing together families and professionals. Go check it out.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'm desperately trying to get ready to leave in the morning for California. Not enough hours in the day.

That rocking chick, Christine, had something wonderful to say in the comments so I cut and pasted it here:

I'm chuckling. You had a list of almost 30 items, and everyone is stuck on the Skittles! :)

I think what we're forgetting is Lisa is not handing over a Skittle each time. She's always changing it up. My kids are old enough now to verbalize, "We HATE it how you always give different consequences, because we want you to stick with one we don't mind so much!!"

Today Mar asked if she could help with lunch. I said, "No. I already have the help I need, but I'll let you know if I need you later." Now, I know she asked, because it was obvious the kitchen was full. She set me up.

Sure enough, she decided she would start her chores EARLY (ya' know ... cause that's what she does *COUGH*). Doing her chores would mean climbing over all the bags of groceries to get to the spray bottle of cleaner.

I just smiled and said, "Someone is mad at me because they couldn't help get things put away for lunch. Of course, you offered to help when you knew I would say no. (pause - little lift of my eyebrows) And now you're perturbed because I figured it all out!"

She was kinda' stunned. "Alright, why don't you jump in place about 15 times for me."

After she was done, "Alright, what was it you did?" "That's right. If it creeps up again, I'm sure we can find something else to help you get it all out, instead of making a bad choice."

When I find her destroying something, my favorite thing to do is put her in a giant bear hug and start singing 80's love songs (ya' know - when I AM FINALLY REGULATED!!). She starts screaming right away, but eventually calms and we can talk. We don't talk restitution until she's regulated.

What I think we should be focusing on in the list above is how it all brings our children closer to us in some way, or helps their brains regulate ... which then helps them to draw closer to us again.

My kids won't manipulate me so they can jump in place 15 times again. You change it up all. the. time. Having a shocker of a Skittle now and then will bring surprise and warmth and love. I make sure I have one shocker-consequence at least once a week, dripping with lots of verbal lovin'.

When we get back I'll try to do a video or something to show what I'm talking about but Christine did a beautiful job of explaining until I can get to it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Punishment vs Consequences

These are my opinions people, so please don't leave me any hate mail. Thanks in advance.

IMHO I don't think punishment works for RAD kids. I think it makes them shut down, dissociate and locks them into the fight or flight part of their brain. This is why typically star charts and other behavior mods don't work. When they have shut down everything seems like Mt. Everest to them. They can't manage it in their brain. It's unattainable even if it's a 5 minute task. My job as a RAD parent is to help them shake that off. RAD kids have already been punished enough for a lifetime. Why would I want to continue that kind of treatment?! Why would that make them want to bond with me? I don't think so. Before J came home I heard Parenting with Pizzazz CD (couldn't find the CD anymore but the book is still in print) by Deborah Hage. One of the things she said was, "who wants to bond with a b*tch?" Nobody.

I've tried many, many, many different things but the things that I think that work the best for us are the short and sweet consequences. Why does a consequence have to be bad? Short means that the consequence should take less than a minute and the sweet part is a Skittle or such deposited from my hand to her mouth, a hug, a high-five, etc. "Good job with that consequence honey" and another hug. Then I ask her what happened. She 'fesses up and I'll give her another hug and congratulate her on telling the truth. Briefly talk about what happened and should've happened. Usually ends with a little dance spin and I send her off to her next adventure.

When there will be a natural consequence I just allow that to happen and let her learn from the experience.

Some of our consequences are:

1. Spin in a circle 3 times (I usually let them take my finger and spin them like we're dancing.)
2. Take your shoe laces out of your shoes and put them back in.
3. Run to the 1st drive way (we live in a low travel street in a subdivision so I send them to the neighbor's drive way. Its' about 50 ft away.)
4. Give Mom a hand rub.
5. Massage Mom's shoulders
6. 5, 10 or 15 jumping jacks (depending on age and ability)
7. Run jump on the mini-tramp for a minute. (Bouncing really helps change up brain function.)
8. Go swing (again, swinging really good for the brain)
9. Stand or sit in your think spot for a minute with their arms in the hooked-up position (brain gym).
10. Time-In's (sit beside me)
11. Hug Mom
12. Go find Mom a pretty leaf.
13. Go jump rope.
14. Follow Mom around (keeping them close to me)
15. Walk in a figure 8 pattern (brain gym)
16. Do the cross crawl. (left elbow to right knee and then right elbow to left knee in a marching pattern. (brain gym)
17. Tapping
18. Skip to the 1st drive way.
19. Hop 10 times then walk 10 steps to the first drive way.
20. Sit in Mom's lap.
21. Pull on your ears. (You start at the top of the ear and pull gently straight out all the way down to the ear lobe. brain gym)
22. Have a tea party.
24. Play doh time (moon sand, silly putty, whatever, just something they can knead)
25. Go color me a picture (can be very revealing of their feelings)
26. Blow up your imaginary black balloon with all the yucky feelings. Let it go and send all the negative energy away.
27. Put on your pink suit. (J's love is pink so she has an imaginary pink suit that she can put on from her toes up to her head. I "zip" it up to hold all the good stuff inside.)
28. You look like you need some pink love. (I "pour" my love into her forehead with my forehead touching theirs while I make silly sound effects of all the love going inside. I seal it up with a kiss and hold my finger on that kissed spot while she hugs me, closes her eyes and let all the pink love seep into her body.)
29. Hit your angry pillow.

Well, you get the idea. I used to have a consequence jar and and they could go pick their consequence. I still do it occasionally but I'm more practiced now so I usually just throw it out there. Copy, paste and use them if you like. Add some that are practical for your family or do some of the special things that are unique to your family. Don't forget the crazy nonsense things you can add too.

Your kid must be regulated BEFORE a consequence happens.  You will notice there are several things above to help get them regulated.

The major point is that I have tried punishment and it didn't work for us. I'm ashamed to admit that I have even swatted J's behind (after adoption). IT DIDN'T WORK. It only feeds the anger and self-loathing. If she has committed a serious offense I still do one of the above listed consequences and later after their brain is switched up from the fight or flight I'll whisper in her ear that she'll probably owe me something later to make it up to me. Then I assign the owed chore when she is in a happy mood. This means they will (usually) do it fast and snappy and not be stuck because they're brain is working right.

Then of course, there are the days that NOTHING works. Those days I just hold out for tomorrow. There are also the days that I am the queen b*tch. I hate those days. They just suck.

I don't have all the answers. I know it sounds insane. Probably goes against everything you know to be true or logical. Maybe that's why it works. I just keep doing trial and error stuff until I find what works. What works today might not work tomorrow. If something isn't working give this a try. Just for a day. Not a lifetime commitment. You've got nothing to lose.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th & Shopping

The 4th was fabulous! J did great all weekend. Saturday night when we docked the boat I told G I was going up to put SK to bed and let J go to the bathroom. Thought he understood that J was staying up to shoot the fireworks they had purchased. Not.

I told J to wait on the porch for G to come up and get the fireworks. She did. Very patiently. He didn't come up. He left with friends to go to his sister's house for another firework show. J was so upset. Bless her little heart she cried until she couldn't cry anymore. She fell asleep crying in my arms on the porch.

When G came in I explained what happened. He felt terrible but he didn't express it well so it ticked me off. The next morning J didn't want to hang around because she knew he would be grumpy. I don't blame her. I'm not crazy about hanging around with grumpy either.

We came on home and the girls played all afternoon (after a nap). Daddy G came over and sincerely apologized and all is well. I was very proud of J for voicing her feelings. She did a great job.

Today we spent in Atlanta shopping for clothes for J. She has outgrown every.thing. that I bought her 2 months ago and they were huge on her when purchased. It is horrible trying to find things that are really cute (she is a huge girly girl) in her size. Everything looks like they would be more appropriate on a lady of the evening standing on a street corner.

Cindy joined us (after I did some whining and begging) since she is fully aware that I am a fashion challenged individual and detest shopping. Thank goodness she came with us because there's no telling what we would've come home with us. J's going to have to do some major sucking up to Cindy so that in the future maybe Cindy will take J shopping and it won't be so much torture like it is with me. I am NOT fun shopping. It's a fact.

The really great news: Cindy doesn't see J that often so she's able to see significant gains in J. It is noticeable. She even remarked that J was a lot of fun to be around. This is a huge compliment coming from Cindy because she's very astute at picking up on behaviors. Yay for J!

Dia commented that maybe J would benefit from some 60-70's television such as The Brady Bunch and The Electric Company. Everything is much slower so perhaps it won't cause the dreadful meltdowns. (SK doesn't have this problem.) I've ordered some and we'll see how it goes on a rainy day. She's also posted some more great pics of the kids having fun. It was such a great time!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Brace Yourself

Not sure if this will come to fruition or not but I'm thinking of doing a CD on adoption parenting strategies for our state. I've talked with a few people and have several ideas up in the air.

Please don't think I'm trying to act like I know it all. I'm not a doctor or professional in this field. Far from that. I'm also far from the perfect parent. I screw up more than I get it right. However, I would've really liked to have had a cliff notes version when I first ventured down this path. I'd like to do something with a strong overview that would be helpful to new adoptive parents in our area. Expectations, strategies, blah, blah, blah. Share our story and be a hopeful example.

Could y'all help me with ideas? For those of you that have already adopted, think about what you wish you'd known. Those still waiting....what do you want to know? What would be the most helpful to know? Would you rather know strategies or techniques? Expectations?

You know...I can read parenting books till the cows come home but it's so much more helpful to me when someone models the right tone of voice and attitude for me. I just can't seem to do that in writing so I was hoping a CD might be more helpful to new parents. I want to give people hope, ideas, something to ponder, etc. In other other words I want to cram a lot of information into 1 hour.

What do y'all think????? Don't be shy! Email me if you don't want it posted here.

Darn It

Dia and the gang came by this morning on the way out of town. Headed back home. It was very sad watching them pull out of the drive way. Waaaahhhh!

Now she can firmly picture me sitting on my throne while blogging. They were also able to meet Puddin and lo and behold, for the first time ever, Puddin grinned on command. Dia has more pictures that were taken this morning but she did leave me with several and permission to print them. She's quite the photographer! BTW, she has a fabulous camera and I am so envious. Therefore you'll get great pics!

The visit only confirmed my belief that all radical families need to live in a commune. ;-)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Special Day

It was a very special day. We spent it with Dia, C and all the kids at the lake. It was fabulous. The kids had a great time and J is smitten with Tortuga. ;-) She has very good taste. They were both exhausted by the time we got home. After a quick bath and faster dinner they were both down for the count. Both girls were sound asleep by 7.

It makes for such a great time when you're hanging out with people who are parenting exactly as you. Wonderful to put faces with names and to see that my tubes friends are just as wonderful in real life. Dia has all the control because she has all the pictures plus she and C are threatening blackmail. ;-) Pics of each family and the kids are coming. We also had a belated mini-birthday celebration for Dia to compensate for the lack of happy in the original day. Hoping they get to finish her cake before they leave in the morning.

If the stars align they might just make it for a quick good bye in the morning on their way out of town. I have my fingers and toes crossed.

Dia is without internet so be looking for her take on the visit when she is delivered to civilization. ;D

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Changing It Up

After a tough couple of days, J has totally changed it up. I missed the sensory diet activities yesterday due to trying to help her cope so today it was back on schedule. The girls had so much fun. Lots of brain gym stuff going on here. Major physical activity in the morning since it's too hot to be outside in the afternoon.

SK had therapy today instead of J but Kristy met with J for a few minutes afterwards to congratulate her on changing it up and on the ways that she has handled several things that have come up in relation to the other blog. She beamed from ear to ear. Nothing compares to seeing people notice the changes she has made. Especially from Kristy because she knows first hand how hard J has worked.
Waiting to hear back from Chrissi (J's former Au Pair from Germany) on whether we will be blessed with a visit from her in August. We have our fingers and toes crossed. Chrissi is cursed with procrastination so I might not find out until the day before she gets here. You know I love you, Chrissi. ;-)
More big news. Dia just called and they are 13 miles from my house. Yahoo!!!!!!! I get to meet the whole gang.