Monday, August 24, 2009

Back Again

To be greeted with 1000's of unread blogs in my reader. AAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I just had to mark all as read and start over. I was too overwhelmed. If I missed anything big please let me know.

We survived the week at the lake. The girls had a great time and have sunkissed faces to prove it. I, on the other hand, was almost going into DT's without internet. Honestly didn't realize how much support all of you are until I didn't have it. Then I forgot my books. Remembered every stinking thing for the girls and forgot entertainment for my ownself. Then the satellite was out. The girls don't watch TV but I will after their bedtime when I'm without books. Thursday I bribed (and whined) one of my friends to bring me some books. I was starting to get grouchy by Thursday so it's a good thing Connie showed up. I managed four 400 page books between Thursday to Sunday afternoon. Back to being a happy camper.

Dia and Laynie helped entertain me with phone calls or I might have stepped off the edge. Very grateful to Dia, Laynie, Christine and Corazon for standing in my stead and keeping y'all entertained. That Corazon is a really talented writer and I can't wait to see what she does when she grows up.

The tree murderers have left finally. I'm going to walk on the property behind me and see the destruction later. Seriously, if you want to build in a pasture buy a pasture. Why cut down a beautiful untouched forest to turn it into a pasture? I just don't understand. The critters are still crying around my property. Ugh.
Chrissi will be here from Germany tomorrow. For almost 3 weeks. I have a sitter coming to stay with the girls so that Chrissi and I will have a little bit of time just to catch up. Yahoo. Besides it would be way past the girls bed time before we get home.
Claudia's awesome new book arrived while we were gone. Autographed by Claudia and Bart. The library books are holding me hostage at the moment but as soon as they are done I'll be diving into Out of Many, One Family. In case you forgot, Claudia matched Special K with us. She rocks!

As soon as we got home the entertainment really began. More later.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Twice the fun

Each of us(Welcome to my Brain, My Sweet Chaos and Rancho Chico) have 2 children with RAD that manifests in somewhat different ways. We wanted to share some of our thoughts and advice for meeting each of their needs (and our own) without losing our minds. We hope you enjoy our guest post.

The three of us agree that the joys and struggles of having more than one child with special needs are many. We have greatly appreciated hearing about Lisa’s transition to working to help both her daughters and we are learning a great deal from her experiences. We aren’t sure she really needs any advice from us but nonetheless we put our heads together to address some of our challenges and insights of managing life with two kids who battle RAD. Please feel free to add your own in the comments section and maybe we can pull them together in a future post.

Things to keep in mind:

♥ First, foremost, hardest, biggest thorn on the bush has to be that they are each other’s main trigger. Trying to regulate someone, when the one person that annoys them the most lives under their very roof, TIMES TWO, leaves me pleading with the universe for a break. It is exactly like having two 4 year olds constantly saying “He touched me!” “She got more milk than me!” “Don’t look at me!” on steroids. The actions, not the children.

♥ When you also have other children (ldw has 3, Dia has 4 and Christine has 5) each one could completely dominate with their needs and issues. Try to juggle everyone’s needs, pick battles, plan ahead, let things roll off your back, without driving yourself crazy or beating yourself up when it doesn’t go as smoothly as you’d like.

♥ They love to gang up on you, so TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Keep things simple so you can avoid some of those moments. You have to get a good night's sleep on a regular basis. You need to eat regularly and make healthy choices. Take your vitamins.

♥ Never feel guilty for sending kids to their rooms so you can have some downtime. Yes they have to be with us to attach but who wants to attach to an exhausted, stressed, feeling-down-on- herself mom?

♥ Separate them as much as necessary. In the beginning, make their interactions rare and highly supervised. Then, when you start to allow them more time to hang out, make sure you are available to coach them and have them practice using words, etc. For siblings, that trauma bond is STRONG, and it was a very long and slow process for us to teach them a completely new way to interact with one another. Yet, it was worth it. I rarely have to separate them now.

♥ Even when they aren’t bio-siblings and don’t share that bond, they can trigger each other in destructive ways so above applies.

♥ Chances are when one is “up” the other is “down.” Plan for it and enjoy the highs!

♥ Just say "NO!" to extra responsibilities. You will never regret cutting back on things, but I guarantee you will regret it if you push yourself too hard.

♥ The strategy or “school of thought” that works with one is worth trying on the other BUT may have a totally different impact. Be flexible to trying different strategies. For example, Nancy Thomas’ physical activities—jumping jacks, mini-tramp jumps, etc. worked well to get one child back on track whereas these same activities totally pushed the other over the edge to a full-blown meltdown.

♥ Be willing to try something again after some time has passed. If it is a good strategy it will probably work for both kids but maybe at different points in their healing.

♥ Don’t compare them to each other especially not in negative ways. It breeds hostility. However, we have found it useful because one of ours was here 2 year before the other one, to call attention to things one also used to do that has been changed to a more positive behavior. It seemed to give the other a concrete reminded of getting better.

♥ Finding support from others is so important. You can not do this ALONE! Pull your loved ones near, don't push them away because you are exhausted. Reach out and find others in your situation, it will make a world of difference, for all of you!

♥ For most of us, there is no one else around us who sees and understands what we do about our child. If they put on an “act” of good behavior and sweetness when others are around (thus making it harder for them to understand US) don’t let it get to you. ENJOY THE BREAK from the madness and treat it as a gift from your child.

Some other ideas that worked for us:

♥ Have them practice EVERYTHING including how to be with each other. In the beginning, we would have days where everyone taped a piece of paper on their backs and everyone else wrote something they like about that sibling/child/parent. We then slowly moved to saying these things out loud over dinner. It brought them to a point where they could actually say nice things about one another without melting or having their head explode. In fact, during this recent move, I watched my oldest gingerly packing away one of those pieces of paper, covered in loving thoughts from his family.

♥ When they were arguing with each other, making faces, or thinking mean things about each other validate their feelings that they won’t always like each other BUT that we are ONE family and we have to look out for each other and take care of each other. Sometimes I would let the face each other and guide them through getting all the “mad” out at each other and end it with the sharing of 1 or 2 positive things about each other. It always worked to diffuse the situation.

♥ Try really, really hard to help them be their own individual selves. My kids have started healing at different rates and in different ways. It is difficult to avoid just addressing them both the exact same way, because that is exactly what we did for so long. I made their lifebooks different, their life "timelines" different, etc. They both go to therapy back-to-back, so I would try to have discussions afterward in different ways with each of them. Of course you do many things the same, but it frees them to move forward at their pace when you give them a sense of separation.

It’s exhausting but we wouldn’t trade this journey for anything! We are all becoming better people as each day goes by. They are teaching us to be better moms and that gift is priceless!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From Corazon

My name is Corazon (That's not my real name. It's my blog name. I have a blog called Finding my Heartsmile.) Ms. Lisa asked me and my mom to do a post on her blog so here is mine. I hope you like it. Thank you Ms. Lisa.

On Sunday my family and I got up really early so we could get ready to go. I got dressed and then mom did my hair. She braided my hair that she had put into twists last night when we washed it. I put on my sandals, picked a book, Trouble River, for the car. We were going to go see a family that just moved here from Oklahoma. They live an hour away from us so I finished my book in the car really quickly. I read really fast so I read it again and then I looked out the window and read the signs.

I asked mom about the family we were visiting. They have 5 kids and 2 of the kids are kinda like me and my older brother because they have RAD. I don't like having RAD. The first RAD kids I met was J. (Ms. Lisa's daughter) and her sister K. I really liked them and when we met J and I talked about how we both had alarms on our doors, why we both homeschool, and some bad things we did in school. We also had alot of fun playing together and swimming. Mom said that one of her friends Ms. L. was bringing her kids M., H., and A. and I was excited because I just met them at my birthday party and 2 of them have RAD. I think my mom knows alot of moms with RAD kids now because we are meeting some of them. I used to think I was the only kid like me until mom explained RAD to me. Mom thinks I am getting better and I think so too.

When we got there we went to an RV park. It reminded me of when I went camping with my moms and my grandparents. We met Ms. C., her husband and her kids. Their names are R., A., MR, MC, and P. (these are not their real names.) We played with the volleyball and then P. asked if I wanted to ride her bike. P. is 6 years old but she is taller than me. I am nine now. Mom said yes. I felt so happy! I put the left pedal up and sat on the bike. I pushed and off I went. I pedalled really fast right after P. I have never ridden a bike so fast! When Ms. L. and her kids cam I was happy to see H. (she is 8 years old) and her little sister A. She is almost the same age as my little sister. Then all the girls decided to play with pretend makeup and do face-painting. My mom never lets me do face-painting at parties because we don't believe in that BUT this time she said yes because it was kids playing with each other. I was so happy. MC put makeup on me and painted my face like a cat. Then she painted a bracelet and some heart on my arms. It was cool!

Afer we ate some food P. and H. and I went exploring. I saw that P. was picking up something I stopped and saw that she had it by the hind legs and it was a HUGE grasshopper!!!!!!!!! It was big, long, yellow and black. I asked "are those poisonous?" She said "no they are not." I saw another big grasshopper and wanted to get it but I was scared that it was poisionous. M. came over (I think he is 12) and put it on his shirt. All the adults and the kids were looking at the grasshoppers and then one jumped up and we all ran and screamed! We were being very dramatic. As I was looking at one of the grasshoppers P. put a grasshopper on my back and I screamed and ran to my mom crying. She told me I was being dramatic and called me the number 1 drama queen.

Ms. C.'s husband, Mr. M. cut up some watermelon and we ate. I had 4 pieces because my little sister and my little brother didn't finish theirs so mom said I could finish them. I love, love, love watermelon and this one was really cold. They have a really neat gazebo and all the girls and the little kids were coloring and drawing. I made a picture frame for my mom that said "I love you." I got to cut it with special scissors so it would look pretty. When we were drawing P. came over and threw a grasshopper at us. I jumped and pushed my baby sister backward and she fell and hit her back on the railing. My sister burst into tears and I quickly scooped her up to make her stop crying. I was scared to tell mom I had pushed her but I told myself to tell the truth and so I went and told mom that I did it. Mom said I did a good job telling the truth and taking responsibility. I was proud of myself.

I worked really hard to do a good job but actually it was easy to do good thinks. I was also trying to find out which of Ms. C.'s kids also have RAD but I didn't see any of the kids act RAD today. Maybe we are all getting better. Sometimes kids, like my big brother, got a timeout in a chair and I saw that 1 kid stuck really close to her sister and did not play too much with the other kids. I think maybe she has RAD because she said she sleeps with her parents and not the other kids. I don't know but maybe I am wrong. I think that all the kids did a good job and no one got into trouble because we were having fun and our moms (and one dad) were close by.

At the end of the day Ms. C and Ms. L. and my mom took pictures of the kids and we all left for home. I think we were all sad to go and P. climbed into our car to say goodbye and she didn't want us to leave. They asked us to come back soon. I hope we do but we got really, really dirty from all the rolling around in the dirt but it was alot of fun. This was one of my most fun days this summer. And that is what I did on Sunday.

Ms. Lisa, I hope you like this when you read it.

Guest blogger today

I don't want to disappoint those who came hoping to get an update on how the vacation is going. Lisa is enjoying time with the girls and looks forward to getting back to "civilization" soon because she is in a no-Internet zone! In the meantime she asked me (Dia at Rancho Chico) and my daughter, Corazon, (blogs at Finding my Heartsmile) if we would "guest blog" here. We are thrilled and honored especially because this was the first blog I found that spoke to me directly about my life as a mom to kids with RAD and suddenly I didn't feel quite so alone anymore. Lisa opened up an incredible world for me and has done so much to encourage my daughter and me on this healing journey.

When I asked my daughter if she would like to do this she said she would but was not sure about the topic. I suggested she write about our day on Sunday when we got to visit with a few other kids healing from RAD because I knew she had really enjoyed herself. She thought that was a great idea and asked if she could write it the way she does her daily writing prompts (so it will probably also appear on her blog) and off she went to do her writing. As I was waiting for her to complete this I began to think about all the ways in which we witness healing in our kids. It doesn't happen in the way that taking medicine works on a sick kid who is stuck in bed for a while where you generally "see" the impact relatively quickly. It happens in a much more subtle and gradual way and sometimes you don't realize there's healing until you stop to think "wow, that hasn't happened in a long time!" or "I cannot remember the last time she did ____." Sometimes it's a more dramatic revelation such as "Did she really just stop and tell herself OUT LOUD to tell the truth even if it was hard and she knew she was going to get in trouble?"

With Corazon we have seen more healing in the past few months and about a week ago we were having some control issues and I had her pull out a sheet of paper and take a "pop quiz" with no right or wrong answers. I have found that these "pop quizzes" really help us process stuff in the moment and lest you think it was my idea I actually stole it from an awesome mom who blogged about it here a while ago in her blog Welcome to my Brain. Here's what we did and remember this is in the MIDDLE of a control "struggle":

Me: "When you think about me being in control and acting like the mom
with you how does that make you feel?"
Corazon: Happy
Me: "Why happy?"
Corazon: Because then I can have more fun when you decide things.
AND I don't have to think so hard.
Me: "So, if that is true, why do you do it? You like to have fun."
Corazon: I don't know.
Me: What did you mean by "think so hard"?
Corazon: (after a long pause she wrote:) because there is alot to have to remember when
I have to decide if I want to do it or not and when I don't do it the right way!
Me: "So, are you saying that when you are fighting me and not doing things the way you are supposed to do them you KNOW you are not doing them the right way and you are thinking about how to NOT do them the right way?"
Corazon: (with a smile on her face she writes:) YES!
Me: "Does this work out well for you?"
Corazon: No.

Me: "Has it ever worked out well for you?"
Corazon: No.

Me: "But you keep doing it. Do you think it will work for you in the future even if it has never worked for you before?"
Corazon: Yes

Me: "How many RAD kids do you think this has worked for?"
Corazon: Zero

Me: "But you still think it can work for you?"
Corazon: Yes. Maybe.

Me: "Let me get back to what you said in the first question. You said it made you "Happy" to think about letting me be the mom and be the one in control. Do you still believe that?"
Corazon: YES!

Me: "So even if it makes you feel happy to let me be in control and be the mom, you still don't do it. I don't understand. What do you think will happen (good and bad) if you let yourself be the kid and be happy letting me be the mom?"
Corazon: 1. Good things will happen to me. 2. I will be mad when you go away. 3. I don't know.

Me: "Do you still think I will leave you after 4 1/2 years together?"
Corazon: (she wrote this and the caps are hers) NO but sometimes it FEELS like, when or IF you leave me or die then I should not let me feel happy now because it is easier to feel mad all the time.

This led to a discussion of how disappointing it can be after having fun and feeling happy to have a let down of some kind and how it is "easier" for her (I suggested it was more comfortable rather than easier because they both work too hard for it to be easy) for her and her older brother to feel miserable and unhappy because it was predictable. It also surfaced something that seemed much more like regular kid feelings rather than RAD kid feelings: her classmate/gymnastics friend just lost her father in a sudden car accident a couple of weeks ago and she was scared that could happen to me too. We talked about that as well.

I had been trying to figure out how to write about this on my blog but until just recently I realized that the fact that we can have these conversations now is part of the healing. It used to be just me SAYING, YELLING, SINGING, CRYING at the top of my lungs: "I am not going to send you away!" over and over again and now she knows it but still has the fear that was put there by her experiences with all the other people that came and went in her life before me. She just has to figure out how to make herself believe that she is safe and that even when she does get hurt that I will be there to help her pick up the pieces. She has gotten it that things go better when she just lets herself trust yet those little voices and experiences inside of her keep the doubt very much alive so she still struggles for control in those areas where she can be in control even if she makes the wrong choices and knows it. It is so complicated and so hard yet I am ever so grateful that we have gotten to this point in her healing.

I will try to post her post later today or tomorrow. Thank you for listening reading. :-)

Sunday, August 16, 2009


There's a new addiction in this household. Scrapbooking. After we came home from NY, my best friend created a scrapbook for J to remember the trip. She finished it a few weeks ago and I was enthralled with the book. Now I'm trying to learn how to be crafty. It's a dangerous thing. Also very stressful because I'm not crafty naturally. I struggle and over think every stinking thing. At the moment I'm trying to create a scrapbook for J with all her worldly travels. Currently it takes me 4 hours to do 3 pages. At this rate I may never be done.

Picky Puddin is on a self-imposed fast. The stinker won't eat anything. I hate it when she does this. I wish she would march herself to the pantry and announce which dinner she would eat so that I didn't open 5 different cans only to have her turn her nose up. So far her face drips with disdain whenever I open Grammy's Pot Pie, Harvest Moon, Thanksgiving Day Dinner, Turducken, Wingaling, or Smothered Comfort. This is the only brand that she has consistently eaten so I suck it up and get it for her. She I found out the hard way. Please don't ask.

Tomorrow morning we'll leave and be at the lake for a week. No internet. Boo. Although there will be much swimming and tubing going on. I am armed with books and scrapbooking stuff.
I will miss all of you. Don't do anything really exciting while I'm gone. K?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tips to Share

Wonderful Wednesday's always include helpful new tips from our AT. I keep thinking some day I'm going to go in and she's going to be slap dab out of tips. Not yet though.

She gave me a new tapping thing for breaking a habit. Since J was never clean a baby/toddler her RAD brain thinks that she is dirty on the inside so she must look dirty on the outside and in turn has bad hygiene. So now we're going to try the new tapping thingy to break the habit of wanting to feel dirty.

You tap with your fingers all around your scalp around your ear starting at the top and working to the bottom. Very firm bouncy tapping with all four fingers. If you are right handed you state the negative behavior and bounce/tap on the left side of your head around your ear. J's is "I don't want to be dirty." Do this 5 times.

Then move to the opposite ear for the positive and do the same thing with positive words. The phrase is "I want to be clean and healthy." 5 times.

If your child is left handed just flip it and use the negative word on the right ear and the positive phrase on the left side. Clear as mud huh?

Doing this tapping routine 4 or 5 times a day.

We're also adding a new tapping on the sora spots or T3 spot (under the collar bone). Even though my RAD brain wants to show the world I'm dirty and bad and RAD I'm still a totally great kid and my mom totally loves me.

If I didn't know this stuff worked I wouldn't bother. Yet all I can do is heave a hefty sigh on adding one more thing to my daily list, suck it up, put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

Someone asked on the other blog to explain the mouth hug. It's holding the mouth until they can control what comes out of it. Sometimes it's for interrupting, others would be incessant chatter or a spew of disrespectful words. Sometimes it takes 2 hands to hold the jaw still. ;-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Things have been pretty hectic around here lately. J has been struggling for the past week or so and most of it has been revolving around the new addition but some is just struggle. 3 steps forward, 2 back.

G and entourage rode the bikes up to Cherokee so we joined them via the mom truck and ended up being the support vehicle for stuff. Toured the Indian Village on Saturday which was really cool. It's always fascinating but G & I are both part Cherokee so it makes it even more so. Plus women ran the tribe so you gotta love that. Saturday afternoon and Sunday we rode up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Pisgah and beyond.

J was cantankerous the.whole.time. Rancid even. Every one of us tried to help her change it up. Nothing worked. Sunday I finally told her I wasn't going to let her steal my joy. And I didn't.

Yesterday was the bi-annual dental visit. Joy. She's been doing an extremely poor job of brushing her teeth and refuses to floss. Actually all hygiene issues are a constant struggle and most of them are caused by the severe neglect she suffered. I've harped, praised, scolded, lectured, timed, dental tablets, cute toothbrushes, vibrating toothbrushes, singing toothbrushes, shown, brushed myself, all of it....till the cows came home. It didn't work. Yesterday all the people at the dentist's office commented on her lack of oral hygiene. The word disgusting was even used. When she came out she told me she was really embarrassed. The truth hurts sometimes. I think it really hit home this time (I hope) because for once it wasn't mom harping about hygiene. It was "others". Assured her I understood her embarrassment but told her there was a surefire way to make sure it won't happen again. Brush well and floss. Very simple. Her mouth opened into a big O. More will be revealed later.

Today she has been such a joy to be around. Totally switched up. Yay!

Here's some pics from the trip:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Please Remember

Cindy Adam's family in your thoughts and prayers. I "met" Cindy through Cindy Bodie. For the past few days I've been worried that the worst had happened and it had. Cindy leaves behind a husband and 10 kids.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend in Pics

After reading Essie's post I remembered that I hadn't started SK on any omegas yet. I had J on cor omega but have been slacking on giving it to her. We were out so we ran by our local health food store. The owner told me about Barleans. Figured we'd give the banana strawberry flavor a try and see if it tasted better than coromega. Of course I had to try it to. Normally I don't like banana flavored stuff. Oh my stinking heck. This stuff is the mac daddy. I could seriously take a bath in it. Yummy. My girls love it and beg to take it. You can't get better than that.