Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Chuckle for the Week

After a week of cloudy weather, drizzle and rain, the sun is a cheerful welcome today! It is hard to complain about the rain after a summer of record draught, and it is nice to see some green grass again.

It has been a long, frustrating week. Chip has suffered from sinus infections since he was an infant. Last weekend he spiked a 101.5 degree temperature and we decided something must be done.

We have learned that there is a big mistrust of medical professionals, and home remedies based on old wives tales are often employed. So we made the appointment and took Chip to the doctor. Clinics in that part of town operate entirely on their own time frame with no regard to the patient's schedule, so it is usually a very long wait. Finally, armed with several prescriptions and specific directions, it was time to attempt explain them to his father who has many other things on his mind.

Then it was an emergency trip to take Annie to the Orthodontist because she had run into a door and knocked a couple of braces off. We still can't quite figure out how that happened!

Marquel has been in a 6th grade class of all girls so far this year. Evidently the boys and girls classes have gotten large enough that they are adding a 3rd class. So Marquel volunteered to go to the new class. Her father was quite upset, he was sure that she wanted to do this so she could be near the boys! It took some talking to calm him down and remind him that there is no keeping her away from the boys.

Tomorrow a friend who is attending college is taking Marquel to show her around her campus. Marquel is learning the basics of Basketball and Volleyball this year in a sports elective, and she is quite good. We found a basketball hoop for her and she practices every weekend. All of them love it, even Chip who will work for hours trying to get the ball into the hoop!

Over the last few months we have been working with the kids to learn to use proper English. They have lots of little sayings and terminology that we understand only because we have gotten used to it. One of those little sayings is "Cut it up" which means "turn it up" and "cutting up" means acting badly.

This morning Randy called his Chiropractor to make an appointment to take care of a pinched nerve that is causing his hand to go numb. I heard him say "My shoulder has been cutting up on me".

We had a good laugh and Randy said "Well, if you can't beat them, join them!"

Until next time - -


Friday, September 11, 2009

Parenting the Child of Trauma, Abuse and Neglect

Over the past few months we have done some reading and research about kids who have experienced abuse and neglect. We can understand how children in orphanages around the world who are tied to a bed with little care and human contact can have long lasting problems, but what is not so obvious is the same type of neglect from an alcoholic mother.

"Our kids" are very fortunate to be quite smart, however they do exhibit some of the physical characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. What is more hidden is the psychological effects.

This type of abuse and neglect leads to a host of problems for the child and there are a couple that I would like to talk about here.

1) They learn very early that adults are not to be trusted to take care of them, therefore they must be in control of everything around them otherwise something horrible might happen to them.

2) Their little lives are so miserable that this becomes "normal" for them, a they will revert to this feeling to feel comfortable in a given situation.

What does that mean for "our kids"? In order to begin to heal the wounds, we must throw out all we thought we knew about parenting. Techniques for parenting these kids are in some ways opposite to what you might do for "normal" kids.

We have learned that we have to limit their activities in certain areas until they mature and learn how to act. If they are not able to handle a certain situation they will do what they know best; be disruptive, hyperactive or insolent.

It will take time for them to learn how to act or react and if we expect changes in their behavior too soon, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Allowing them to be in situations that they are not prepared for is only setting them up for failure and ourselves for frustration.

Now that we are in our "back to school schedule" we only have the kids on weekends. These new parenting techniques are time consuming and exhausting. They may seem rather harsh to others who do not understand. But then there are the rewards.

Last weekend Charlie spent an hour on my lap while he struggled to get over his bad attitude. During that hour he told me over and over how much he hated me. Then he spent another hour sitting at the table until he finally gave in. Later in the day he was looking at the calendar wanting to know what date it was. When he discovered that it was Saturday he said "Yea! That means another whole day here!" I wanted to cry!

We hope that by sharing some of the struggles along with the achievements of "our kids" that those around us who care so much for these kids will understand when they don't act in the way that "normal" kids act.

We ask for your patience with them and with us as we learn how to help them best.

Until next time . . .


Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Shoes for School

You may have seen the commercials for Tom's Shoes, a shoe store that donates a new pair of shoes to charity for every pair it sells. After delivering shoes to other countries, in 2008 they began donating shoes within the United States. In their words:

“The domestic need is very different from the need in international places TOMS gives shoes,” explains Programs Manager Ana Maria. “In the states, kids may be wearing shoes that are too big or small, worn out beyond repair or shared, and we want to bring awareness to that. Every child should have a pair of comfortable shoes to call their own.”

My parents struggled to keep 4 kids in shoes, insisting that we had good fitting, comfortable shoes that were not hand-me-downs. As a grown up I can appreciate their efforts.

Each year before school starts we make sure "our kids" have new, comfortable and good fitting shoes. They get to pick out the style they like (cost within reason!)

Since they wear uniforms to school, it gives them a sense that school is special when they can walk in on the first day with new shoes and a new backpack.

Thanks to all who have helped with donations to the fund for school clothes and supplies. You don't know the psychological difference you make for 4 little kids who have a little lighter step on the first day of school!

Until next time . . .