Posts Tagged ‘support’

Andrew and I worked a bit late last night so one of Blitzen’s babysitter extraordinaires took her to the hair braiding place to get her hair done.  Just as they were leaving the salon to head home, it started to pour down rain – not misty, not drizzle, more like monsoon.  And no umbrella.

Blitzen burst through the door, happy and laughing, telling the story of how they ran all the way home and showing off her wet, soggy clothes. Smiling, giggling, giving her babysitter a hug goodnight and moving along into the evening routine.

Now some people are all – so what?  Lots of kids like the rain.

And I am thinking back two years to our first spring with Blitzen when we got caught in a similar downpour and the child simply ceased to function.  Hysterical, sobbing, unable to move — not a cab or dry awning to be seen.  It was awful.  We practically had to carry her home — she just came completely undone.

I will try very hard to remember this triumph of emotional regulation and happy embrace of childhood wonders the next time Blitzen balls up her fists and growls at me (her latest thing).  I’ll remember that even the growl is an improvement, heading toward a much more socially acceptable expression of negative emotion.

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I am pretty angry and stressed and really very sad because a year ago we were in one place and now we are in a totally different place in regards to reunification / TPR.  There is too much s@*t to even explain but Andrew summed it up beautifully, ‘It would be one thing if we were (and by we – I really mean the agency) engaged in concurrent planning.  But instead, we are simply not planning for anything at all – we are non-current planning!’  We are adrift.  The agency is not trying to meaningfully engage and support the biological parents but they also don’t seem to think that TPR is really feasible.  And they are suddenly paying attention to the rules – mom has to be at the IEP meeting, they say.  Yes, ok, I get it and I agree.  But you never gave a flying fig newton about that before and why did you wait until 48 hours before the meeting to invite her and then send us frantic and frankly snotty emails about how we are not allowed to set up meetings without bio mom.  We didn’t ‘set it up’ – this in NYC and the DOE has attitude.  They sent us a notice that said come to the IEP at this meeting date, time, place – they were not interested in our calendars.  And then we SHARED the notice with the agency.  And they sat on it for  10 days and then yesterday frantic, crazy, stupidness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is my deepest fear that I will have to be a foster parent for next 8 years….I just can’t.  Of course I will, but it will leave me a broken, hollowed out shell of a person.  And I don’t think that kind bulls#%t non-permanency would be good for Blitzen either. Reunify or TPR – after 6+ years, simply no excuse for any other course of action.


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I gave Blitzen this book about buckets.  How if you fill someone else’s bucket, your bucket gets filled up too.  We just started working with this concept but when I tucked her in last night, I said that I was going to try harder to fill her bucket (and mine) and that I hoped she think about being a bucket filler the next day too.

Well, mornings are mornings and in the midst of it all Blitzen was her usual insightful self.  After yelling at me that she would not get dressed because her eyes were still sleepy, she snarkily said, ‘And my bucket will never be full.’  So many days, sadly, I fear that is true.

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Freeze time, step out of it, go spend like 5 years studying trauma and child brain development, become an expert in managing the behaviors of children with trauma, spend a lot of time with smart people that advocate for mental health care reform and awareness, and come right back to this moment.  I spend a lot of time worrying that I am screwing up a bit in my on the job training here and by the time I figure it all out, Blitzen will be ________ (insert horrible scenario of your wildest and most morbid imaginings here). 

I’d also like to meditate an hour a day, do yoga an hour a day and watch tv.   It is probably not healthy that my heart rate goes through the roof the moment that I walk in the door every night.  Make that 2 hours a day of meditation.  So, somebody just freeze time and I’ll be right back!

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Poor Blitzen is so torn about her visits — she says, pre-visit, that she doesn’t want to go.  And in fact, she had a meltdown of epic proportion at school with Andrew this week  (first time at her current school) with a plethora of parents and kids looking on — she saved her best stuff for the stairwell where it was just her and Andrew but the lobby action was probably still enough to get the other moms scared off playdates for a while.  Poor Blitzen, poor Andrew.

We’ve been thinking about how to deal with the visit stuff.  Blitzen’s social worker says that she doesn’t have to go.  I think this is short-sighted on a lot of levels – 1) it is a commitment and a responsibility, in this family, we honor them even when they suck 2) should reunification happen, it will be essential for us to have a decent relationship with mom and step-dad (step-dad hates our guts and mom goes whichever way the wind is blowing) and skipping  visits will not be viewed favorably 3) Andrew and I work – if she doesn’t go to visits, we need to organize care which is fine unless the change of heart happens last minute — in which case, it is not ok — and Blitzen is not good at organizing her thoughts and feelings in advance.

So she has to go to visits, right? Have I ever mentioned that I hate visits…….

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There are very few things that I like more (and very few things that I dislike more) than having a new experience with Blitzen.  The wedding this weekend was one of those times.  She was so curious, so inquisitive – full of questions during the ceremony, “What does that mean when the pastor said who gives this woman?”  I just softly chuckled at that and said, “Umm, that one is going to take a while to explain, ask me again later.”

At the reception, she was very shy at first. I could tell she was anxious.  There were just a couple of other kids and they knew one another so she was sticking by her adults but she wasn’t quite happy about it.  A third of the way through the evening, Andrew did lean over and mentioned to Blitzen that sometimes it looked like she had saved up all her meanness for me which was kind of odd because she is so happy to give her love and sweetness to everyone else.  Andrew also had to lean over to me and remind me that no 10 year old wants to dance with their mother.  Fine.

Blitzen also spent a lot of time tracking the bride and groom.  She was fairly discreet about it, I think, but she was watching and sometimes physically following their every move.  It was all so much to take in but all relaxed and had a great time in the end.


wedding photo booth

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We’ve had several very teary, sad evenings because of homework.  Blitzen struggles with math and reading but especially reading.  And she has gotten to the point at school where reading is kind of a part of everything, not just language arts. 

Last night she sobbed and sobbed over her poetry assignment (she loves poetry and is good at creating it!) but the poems were long-ish and had some words that she didn’t know.  She just kept weeping and saying, ‘All the other kids can read the big words but I can’t and I never will.’  It was utterly heartbreaking.

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Jeez.  But Blitzen has been so good about talking out her feelings.  Before I left, she was clearly distressed but able to articulate exactly what was going on, how she was feeling.  Instead of picking meaningless fights, she just kept saying that she was going to miss me and didn’t want me to go.

Through all the processing, she had the most fantastic week last week and it was filled with emotional landmines – 2nd week of school, interviews for new babysitters, me prepping for a trip and to cap it all off, a new baby sister arrived on the scene.  Amazing.

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Frankly, it has been grueling for everyone involved.  We will try again in a month.  Exploring new modalities, different approaches and structures, considering if a different therapist might help.

We told our social worker about the decision and after relaying the big reveal from our last emotionally exhausting session, she said simply, ‘Ok, my heart is literally breaking a little bit now.  And I think it is a good idea – that is just a lot to process.’

In the meantime, we have ‘therapy’ at home at least 3 or 4 times a week.  Meltdown followed by in-depth processing and examination.  We are accessing and recalling more memories of all types kinds – good, bad, mundane. We talk about our feelings a plenty, past, present and future, so I not concerned that we’ll lose ground.

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When I was a kid, I never thought (or at least, I don’t recall thinking) about how unfair it is that grown-ups get to do whatever they want and kids have to listen to grown-ups — even when the grown-ups are sometimes idiots. I might have been a bit of a lemming.

But Blitzen broke it all down for me last night, counting backward from 42, explaining that just because I was 42, didn’t mean that I knew everything or should be charge of everything.  I was still all of my ages — 42, 41, 40, 39…..all the way back down to 0.  I was still a kid inside.  And she was a kid too.  So, really, why exactly did I think that I get to be in charge, anyway?  I tried to explain that, well, because while I am still a kid inside, hopefully I’ve learned a few things in year 0,1, 2,3, 4…….all the way back up to 42 that would be useful to her, that can help her along the way.  Perhaps sometimes grown-ups know some things that kids don’t yet know.

Not sure she was buying it.

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