We have under a week left of school for the girls. Preston is already done! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! This latest transition is effecting the kids SOOO differently. It’s hard as a mom to meet the needs of all 3 when they need such different things!
Skye – she has always had a tougher time in school. Fighting with the school for the supports she needs has been an ongoing struggle. One I have included PACER in lately. She is barely holding it together but she is trying so hard! The transition combined with hormones (ugggg, puberty) is difficult. Trying to teach a hormonal pre-teen that she has to show respect regardless of what she feels is difficult. It’s something I’m still trying to learn myself! Using her words and keeping it together during the school days have been tougher. Her relationship with me has been more antagonistic and I’m trying to be calm and collected but it can get hard. Regardless of the difficulties Skyr is rocking it academically. She is reading much better (I even caught her reading after bedtime one night and I couldn’t even be mad) and is working on long division and fractions! In only 2 full years of school and spotty attendance before that she has learned soooo much! And she is simultaneously trying to figure out social situations as well as living life in a family.
Cayla – she loves school. Well, loves the learning and the fun but has trouble at times with peers. I cannot believe that she is finishing kindergarten! She has grown so much this year. She is reading and writing her own stories and notes to people. She has a drawing journal used to draw Joel and I pictures when she was in school. Sometimes (especially when tired) she takes things personally that really aren’t. Like if she and a friend agreed to spend choice time playing in the kitchen and then her friend choose to do blocks instead she would get very sad and say her friend was being mean to her. Completely normal kid feeling and we are working on perspective and people changing their minds. I think we will finish that lesson in about 20 years. 😋 She is bummed that summer is coming as she loves school but has asked to make some play dates to see her friends this summer and is excited for her birthday party and summer school with me.
Preston – He is already done with school. If you are Facebook friends with me see the side by side pictures of his first and last day of school. I swear he grew about 6 inches. He had fun in school. Sometimes it was difficult for him to keep a calm body during “learning time” but he’s a 4 year old boy! Joel and I debated having him do another year of preschool since he has a summer birthday. He’s on a waiting list for a 4 day preschool but current plan is to send him to kindergarten. He’s a boy and I don’t know that a year will change his crazy boy-ness but also because he has made such good friends this year that are moving on to kindergarten. Academically he is right on track and we will work this summer on different preparedness stuff. Who knows, maybe a slot for the 4 day preschool will open up and we will change our minds. Man, trying to make such a long term decision is difficult! He’s having a hard time with the idea of being away from me all day next year. Recently I went with Cayla on a field trip and was gone for the day. That night when I was tucking Preston in he cried and said he missed me all day. That will be a hard transition whenever he has to make it.
Early this week I read a blog post titled Happy Frickin Mothers Day. Naturally this title combined with the fact that it was posted on an online adoption support group piqued my interest. I read it and cried my eyes out. It just hit the nail on be head.
Mother’s Day is a day where we show love and appreciation to mothers. And I hate it!!! It brings up so much grief and loss it brings up.
It’s almost done!
Cayla is probably having the hardest day. Today she woke up and said she was going to school. That today WASNT Mother’s Day. All week the school has been talking about Mother’s Day and all week Cayla had been anxious. On Friday night she just lost it and started crying and saying I didn’t love her. It’s been a whole since she’s had a breakdown like this so I asked her if she was feelin sad. She said she was and she missing birth mom. So her and I sat down and made a card for birthmom. She didn’t finish it one day and asked me to keep it safe in my room until she could finish it. That is how I found myself going to bed with a happy Mother’s Day card to my kids birthmom 5 feet away from me. The next day she finished it. We have no contact but I have started a “birthmom box”. It’s a large storage container and whenever the kids making things for birthmom I put it there and say when they are 18 they can choose to see her and give it to birthmom. Today at church Cayla was so avoiding me! During the shaking hands part she came up to me and stuck out her hand and said “Hi, I don’t know you. I’m Cayla”. At first I thought she was joking but she got upset with me when I said I was mom. She has been just not aware of her body and if what she is doing is rude.
Skye is doing pretty good today. She’s a bit more clingy but she usually isn’t clingy to me so I’ll take it!
Preston is struggling just like Cayla. I honestly don’t think he even knows why. I don’t know if it is because of his own unique feelings or if he is feeding off of Caylas feelings. He has been baby talking, having accidents, breaking things, clingy and in general anxious.
So today and this weekend has been tough. I had some fun things planned that I couldn’t do because the kids needed both parents present. In the end today wasn’t about me, it was about the kids. But isn’t that what parenting is? I know my kids love me and appreciate me. They show me in a million different ways every day. This “holiday” doesn’t make or break that. I do still hate it because of what it does to me kids and I’d much rather just have a normal weekend. Being a holiday weekend it stressed out my kids but it also stresses me out. There are expectations of how Mother’s Day is supposed to go. Expectations kill happiness. I forget that and found myself having expectations about today and what it should be. In the end I’m just glad that today is over and we are all in the same piece!
One thing I kept thinking of today is how different this weekend has been from our normal. It really made it painfully clear how well adjusted the kids are most days. Is there progress to make, of course but today showed me that we have already made a ton of progress. What we saw today was everyday normal behavior 18 months ago. And now it is not! I’m thankful for that!
My kids have been in our home for over 18 months! It has been a crazy time full of highs and lows and stress and sleeplessness and doctor appointments. When the kids first moved in it was as if everyone was walking on egg shells. Unsure of how certain actions or words would effect the other people. Since then we have found our grove and feel like family in all senses of the word. Which is awesome!
But it also makes this hard. Wait what? Feeling like a family makes things hard? That makes no sense! But it does. When my kids first came to us Joel and I were painfully aware of the difficulties they had experienced and how those difficulties may be impacting them and their behaviors. Now that things have settled in it is all too easy for us as parents to just see the behavior as willful and hurtful and unnecessary. Last night we had a family meeting where we all talked about what has been going on and how to fix it. It was during this meeting that it hit me. Something was going on. Not in real current life (soooo much supervision) but in their minds. Preston was the first to verbalize feeling unsafe. When we talked about what was making him feel unsafe he listed names of birth family members and actions of siblings when they lived in birth home. Cayla and Skye both agreed that they were thinking those things too and had been having bad dreams. We talked about what a trigger is and how to figure out what is triggering. We talked about how to calm your body even when you feel unsafe and we talked about coming to mom and dad for help even if you don’t know what’s wrong.
Sometimes I forget just what my kids experienced before us. I wish I could take all the pain and trauma and hardships and memories and deal with them myself and free my kids up to live a happy calm life. But I have yet to find a way to do that (if you know of one let me know). Sometimes when my kids are struggling I yearn to know why.
Sometimes there are no why’s that I will ever know. Sometimes the most I can do is let them know that they are not alone and keep them safe (even from themselves). Sometimes, (ok most times) when these types of times happen I feel inadequate and not helpful. I feel angry that my kids went through this and helpless that I can’t make it better.
Right now we are deep in the middle of our latest sometimes. It’s tough. The kids feed off of each other’s emotions (can you say trauma bond?) and all spiral together. These behaviors for the most part are minor. But the parent in me sees beneath to the scared and struggling child in chaos. I hate seeing that in my kids because that is a crappy way to feel! Here’s hoping we can offer enough stability and supervision and love and grace to get through this latest sometimes together and stronger for it.
Ok first for the funny story. So Joel and I aren’t super lovey dovey romantic all the time. I mean we love each other and the kids know but not big into romantic gestures. Well the other day Joel brought home some roses for me. When he was giving them to me I heard Cayla and Preston in the background using quiet little voices full of awe “They’re getting married again!!!” They were so excited it was hard to have to tell them that we only get married once but love each other always.
Ok now on to the realization. Spring has officially hit our area with warmer (not warm enough for me!) temps so we have been getting out more. I have come to the realization that our children are outside children. On days we go to the park or play outside they are funny and happy and just good times had by all. If it is rainy or we don’t go out even with the fun stuff we have in our house we just pick and pick at each other! And by “we” I mean the kids, mostly. So here’s hoping the weather stays nice and we can be outside all the time soon!
One of my favorite parts of the journey for the past 18 months is watching my children really coming into themselves. They went from well mannered guests to the testing and acting out phase (which is not really over, probably won’t ever be as they are, you know, kids) to growing into their own person. Watching their personalities, their likes and interests form is such a joyful thing. To know that they feel safe enough to just be them, just be kids is encouraging.
The child that has made the most noticeable changes in this area is Cayla. She is a hoot!!!! Honestly, when she gets ready to talk you really don’t know what’s going to come out. She is always so serious so you have to steel yourself from laughing no matter what (and sometimes fail).
For example, this morning Cayla was playing nicely and quietly in her room and then went quickly to the bathroom. She pulled me aside after to tell me “Mom, I had a lot of candy and cake in my room and I ate it all and now I have diarrhea” I was amused and concerned about how I could miss that much food hoarding. I mean we hadn’t had cake in months! I asked her to show me and she showed me a puzzle of food and said she “ate” it. Lol!!!
I wrote this post about a week ago and then some shizz hit the fan and I thought it was too rosy for what we were going through. I’m glad I decided to still post it bc life can change quickly but it’s good to know enough to enjoy the good!