Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Pictures

A couple of you asked to see the front of Corazon's hair. I know I have those pictures but haven't gotten them from my camera. These are the pictures we took of the kids with C.'s parents. They aren't all cropped correctly but you get the idea. The grandparents were thrilled to get a picture with all their grandchildren. This was the first time their entire family (3 kids, 5 grandkids) were together and so it was worth commemorating. The kids did great during their photo shoot!

Thanksgiving went well. Almost as good as possible and both Corazon and Tortuga did fabulously. I am working on writing about where we are with Tortuga but we did have a meltdown free Thanksgiving despite extraordinary amounts of attention and time with people. I was very proud of them. The family left on Friday and we were able to have a relatively leisurely weekend. I am so impressed with how many folks have their decorations up already--I am not one of them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep


We have a full house. C's family--parents, uncles, 2 brothers, 1 sister-in-law and 2 year old niece have joined us for the week. Amidst all the requisite meal preparations, chauffering, airport and grocery runs, and of course, therapeutic parenting, I managed to find two hours tonight to give Corazon something she has been missing for several months. She loves having her hair in braids/beads but they aren't allowed for gymnastics. Since she has the bulk of the week off, we put these in. I was pretty pleased with my handiwork.

Life is good. We are busy. Kids are going through the usual holiday ups and downs. We are trying to get pictures of the grandparents with all their grandkids today in addition to some sight-seeing. Not sure how the kids will handle it but so far we are holding steady. In case I don't get a chance to say it tomorrow--one of the things I am most grateful for this year is my new-found community of RAD moms and friends of RAD moms who have made up an important part of my community this year. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and know that I will be thinking of you and your families tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm back

Well I didn't mean to be absent for the rest of the week. I guess life "happened."

I survived a week of "running errands" every. single. day. with the kids. This was a grand experiment to help Tortuga handle these better. It went pretty well. Two of the 6 days I got to the store and turned right back around to head home following challenging (minor) behavior. In each case it was an errand Tortuga had been looking forward to (once to get football cards, the other to get fish for his aquarium which I just decided to reintroduce to his room after an absence of almost a year--last year's Christmas Day destruction of his room.) I figured he would benefit from truly "feeling" the impact of his inability to hold it together for these errands. On Sunday, I actually got out of the house with only 1 child, Corazon, (rarely happens) and went and got him his fish.

I am not sure what all I did last week but I can recap some of the highlights. On Thursday we got a call from school that Pollito was running a fever and complaining of ear pain. So off to school we went and set him up on the couch to sleep and hopefully recuperate. Keeping our eye out and fingers crossed because we had been working on keeping everyone healthy as Thanksgiving approaches. C.'s dad has a seriously compromised immune system and they were going to be arriving on Monday (today). If anyone is sick we have to "quarantine" them (which we did last year with Tortuga). C. and I kept Pollito away from the rest of the kids, increased consumption of all the immunity boosting foods we could think of for everyone, and just kept our fingers crossed. By Friday afternoon he seemed back to his usual self and we started to breathe a sigh of relief.

We had big plans for Saturday and Sunday. The house was mostly clean except for the guest room and playroom but we were going to spend Saturday running a few errands, stocking up on groceries, and doing the kind of cleaning we save for special ocassions (dusting lampshades & ceiling fans, changing the 2 or 3 8 or 9 lightbulbs that hadn't been replaced in a while, mopping, setting up the guestroom, washing/changing shower curtains, cleaning microwave, toaster oven and fridge,etc.). We also had to rearrange rooms since the two older kids have to give up their beds as family arrives. On Sunday we were going to clean outside playspaces, pick up litter in the yard, clean out the cars, etc. Fun stuff! This was all in anticipation of our guests' arrivals.  C's younger brother on Monday afternoon, C's parents and uncles on Monday night, and C's other brother, wife and niece on Tuesday evening. We had a flawless good plan. I am compulsive organized  like that.

I got the kids up early Saturday, put them all in the shower, washed Corazon's hair and sat them down to a quick breakfast so we could get out the door. C. was checking her email to print out all the travel itinieraries for me since I was doing the airport pickups and wanted to be sure to have details in place to work around school pickups and activities dropoff. Suddenly C. screams "oh my God!" and pushes her phone into my hands. I look at her text message and there is one from her mom that says "On our way to the airport. See you soon!" I ask C. if this is a joke as she is dialing her mom's cell. No joke. They "forgot" to tell us they had changed their flights! Her parents and uncles were arriving that evening!

calmly called screamed for the children to gather for a family meeting and announced our change of plans. We mobilized and all 6 of us scambled into the guest room/bath to clean up whatever else had accumulated in there recently (empty boxes, paper, crumbs, toys, linens, etc.) while C. cleaned bathrooms. We were a well-oiled machine with me barking order and the kids scrambling about the house putting things where they belonged. The kids were absolutely wonderful. They mostly stayed out of the way when needed and helped in all the right ways. Even Tortuga was able to handle this extra time with the family and managed to decide for himself when it was the right time to stay out of the way. He also took it upon himself to take Milagro to the playroom and "entertain" her so we could work more efficiently. He has never been able to do either of these things. It was truly appropriate and amazing.  We managed to do in 3 hours what we had set aside all weekend to do. Of course, we only managed the most important errand and a "celebratory" dinner to congratulate ourselves on work well done. I had to pause to remember how sometimes good things come out of challenging circumstances and I was so proud of the kids.

When grandparents and uncles arrived the kids were tired but thrilled and we were able to keep guests entertained while I snuck upstairs to clear out the one kid's room that the uncles would be using. My head, back and feet were killing me but my heart was warmed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Slow Progress for Tortuga

Carmel had asked a while back how our Halloween weekend "test" results for Tortuga would change what we were doing with him and a couple of folks asked me to say more about his routines in general. It has taken me a while to figure out a coherent approach or plan but thanks to a Christine I have been able to institute multiple short "practice sessions" (I'll get back to this) that seem to be helping. It took Tortuga about a week after our visit with P. to get through the constanct defiance, meanness, rudeness, dysregulation, etc. He didn't get over it completely and he had that horrible meltdown I wrote about in my last post but even that experience showed a few elements of improvement. So, skip this post if you don't want the boring details but I am going to try to pin down his current routines for those of you who might be interested.

When I get Tortuga up he goes through his morning routine (toilet, teeth, shower, dressed, combed, make/change bed) then he comes down to stair landing to get his daily writing journal prompt and goes back to his room to do it. If he finishes before breakfast is ready he brings his notebook back to the landing and picks up his next school assignment. All of this should be done without him interrupting me in any way. This process used to include 12-15 interruptions for redirection, reminders, or unnecessary questions/comments ("Do I really have to brush my teeth today?", "There is pee in the toilet." or maybe "Is it daytime outside?"-as the sun streams through every window!) He comes down and hugs me good morning then he has breakfast on the landing or dining table, brings his plate down to the kitchen, goes back to the landing and practices patience ("strong sitting"), taps and/or rubs.  The landing is his "safe space" where he can "be" with the family without having to "be" with the family. After breakfast, we check in about the school schedule and assignments he needs to focus on and he goes back upstairs to do his work. This will vary slightly when I have a lesson to teach, a progress meeting, or a group lesson/experiment (these he doesn't handle well so we don't do them often) or if I have to explain something. He is expected to save his questions until I call him to check in on his school progress. Lunch is the same as breakfast and this is followed by "activity" and/or "mom" time. This can include playing basketball outside, walk, brain gym exercises, yoga, time with me, etc. This lasts until 2 pm or so when we have to go pick up Pollito from school. Depending on the day we are out for awhile or come right back home. If we come back home he spends the time until dinner doing activities (which I choose), schoolwork, reading, drawing, puzzles, outside play (structured), etc. He has 4 snacks throughout the in-between times because food issues have been present for so long but he is now declining snack once or twice each day. He practices patience after each meal and each time we return to the house from being outside (play, pickups, errands, etc.) Dinner is with the family twice each week (the other days it is before the rest of the family and I keep him company). After dinner he does his evening routine-wash hands, brush teeth, pick 2-3 short activities (I give him the options), change into pjs, put clothes out for the next day, etc. We also do another round of one-on-one time here but the time varies depending on when C. is home from work. C. will check in with him for a few minutes each night and he reads for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. He isn't "allowed" to go to sleep before 8:30 p.m. (nightmares for the rest of us!) but unless he has had issues he can stay up reading until I go upstairs for the night (usually between 10-10:30 pm). That is his current basic routine.

This routine has had a few changes recently. He can ask for more food/drink/etc. without waiting to be asked, bring his plates down all the way to the kitchen, and he can check in with me/ask questions/tell me his dreams/etc. Now instead of my company,  2-3 times per week he gets the company of Milagro OR Corazon for breakfast, where he "practices" having "normal conversation" rather than a captive audience. He also "practices" being nice to his sisters and listening to them and asking them questions. He has begged to do family chores so we have added a few. As part of his morning routine he must wipe down the tub, sink and toilet daily. He is doing this to show he can be thoughtful to his brother and sister who share the bathroom with him. For the most part they avoid that bathroom because he manages to leave a mess in the shower, pee on the seat/floor, soap scum and toothpaste on sink, counter and mirror. It is pretty gross in there so for a few months we have been having him wipe it down on the weekends before C. or I clean it. That clearly wasn't enough so we have made it a daily occurrence and linked it to being a good "family kid." He also gets to do the change the kitchen trash and take recycling out to the big container after he finishes eating. Doing chores was one of the things we "took away" from him when we started this new process with him and he has asked to do them again for quite awhile. He is now up to 3 dinners/week with the family and just this past week I have introduced letting Corazon or Pollito keep him company for dinner 1 other night each week. I have also

Whenever he is doing his schoolwork, chores, activities, etc. I have just started to do many more small "practice" sessions where I introduce something we need to work on (facial affect/expressions, talking to the baby, doing a short "errand" in the house, "helping" me with something I don't really need help with but want his company for, folding laundry, looking for something, selecting a book for nighttime reading, engaging in a quick conversation about plans for school, errands, etc.) These are designed as interruptions in his day that require small transitions (transitions are very difficult for him especially going from interacting with Corazon/Pollito/me and then back to his work or room. These used to lead to rudeness, meanness, impatience, attitude and even full-blown meltdowns so we are working on making these transitions smoother. This is a new thing this week so I don't have much to report about how that is working. The other thing I am trying this week is to "run errands" every single day. No, I  am not a glutton for punishment but I am trying to create more practice sessions for things that cause him trouble (being in the car, sitting near Pollito when Pollito is being 5, watching Corazon do something he cannot do, doing errands where there is high stimulus, behaving appropriately in a store, not sulking when I say "no" to whatever he asks for that he isn't getting, etc.) I. do. not. like. shopping. so doing this everyday is going to be a big "test" for me :-) So far we have had 1 day of this and he did incredibly well. Throughout all these practice sessions and tests I will talk to him before and after to help him be mindful of trouble spots, redirect and/or praise (which we have to be really careful with!) We have also increased his dinners with the family to 3 times/week and 1 dinner each week he is having with either Corazon or Pollito keeping him company. We are also reintroducing him to "family time" for short periods of time after dinner. Sometimes it is a family meeting, planning for something (holidays, visits, etc.), music, game, and/or story time. He has missed out on this entirely for a couple of months and each test has pretty much ended on a negative note. But we are trying again in small doses and seeing what happens.

I am sure I have missed something but really didn't want to bore anyone with the details. Let me know if you have questions or want to hear more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Little" things

This morning I got up at 6:00 a.m. as usual to get Pollito ready for school. C. reminded me she was working from home this morning which meant I got a special treat--grocery shopping BY MYSELF. Shopping by myself almost never happens and I do miss alone time. So I gleefully got Pollito ready as I made mental notes about what needed to go on my grocery list. C. has her Critical Race Studies independent study group, including one of her professors, coming over for dinner tonight. I like this group since I get to join in the discussion and I do miss this.

Anyway, I dropped Pollito off at school and headed to the grocery story BY MYSELF. I cranked up the country station, pulled into a spot right near the door, and took a few moments to double-check my list for tonight's menu. As I headed to pick up my shopping cart I marvelled at the things I am taking for granted these days that weren't a part of my day to day life in Boston. (Like finding a parking spot especially near the door and being able to pull into a school drive-away to do drop off!) Then I used one of those wet handi-wipes to clean off my cart and a dry wipe to dry it off. I had never seen those until I moved here. As I walked into the LARGE supercenter grocery story I was warmly greeted by two different sales people as they went about their work. I found every item I needed and some were even on sale.

As I was checking out (there were no lines) someone bagged my groceries and then offered to help me to the car. The young man at the checkout stand handed me a balloon for my daughter (she wasn't with me) because he remembered she LOVES balloons AND she "always says 'thank you' so nicely." The kid couldn't have been more that 20! It brought a smile to my face and once again reminded me of the culture we have moved from. None of these things would have happened on a regular basis in my old "world." The pace was so much faster there, colder (weather and people), and just less "friendly."

Of course, it is a trade-off. There we didn't have to worry about our kids feeling deficient because they only had two moms. We didn't have teachers assuming our sons' issues were because they didn't have a father. There we didn't have to worry about my having health insurance because both our jobs allowed us to cover each other and our kids, and our kids had classmates/friends with two moms, single moms, divorced  folks, and even two dads. There we had some options in finding a church that had the familiarity and tradition of our upbringings (United Methodist and Catholic--I will let you guess who is who...) AND was accepting of our family. It will come in time, we know.

As I pulled up to my street I noticed it was closed but the workman waved me through. I couldn't make it all the way to my house because I live on a cul-de-sac and they were re-paving it but my next door neighbor (who I rarely see/speak too) waved me into his driveway with an offer to park there as long as I needed. Then he helped me bring my groceries to my door. All things I can never take for granted because they just weren't a part of my daily life in the fast-paced big city that was home for 15 years. I felt refreshed and rejuvinated and oh-so-grateful for the little bit of time away from the kids. If someone had told me back in my single-no-kids-day that grocery shopping by myself would feel this good, I would have laughed. I'm a slow learner. Now I get it!

Yesterday was really rough! Probably it was mostly my fault because I gave in to Tortuga in the way that is so easy to do but always comes back to haunt bite me! He has been begging for more family time and because I had errands and prep for Thanksgiving to do I took them all to two different stores. It was awful. Full blown meltdown, shouting, hitting, pushing, etc. It started in the store with hiding, sulking, making faces, incessant talking, and verbally attacking Corazon. I cut my shopping trip short but I wasn't fast enough. By the time we got to the car he had that fight/flight look in his eye that told me he was considering bolting. I "pinned" him against the car with my body so it looked like I was hugging him and whispered to him to try and talk him down. I was meat with drool, spit, and screams of  "I am warning you!" I was so grateful that it was near dinner time and the usually busy T*rg*t was not so full. He did calm down enough to get in the car but the ride home was excruciating. The other kids could tell because even Pollito stayed quiet. As soon as we got home he bolted to the door and started banging on it for someone to let him in. I had to leave the sleeping toddler in the car while I got the rest of the kids into the house. As soon as we got in the door he verbally attacked me and then attacked me physically (but luckily he is not that strong so he is more bark than bite) and kept saying "Just wait! I'm gonna k*ll you!" in that voice that sends shivers down one's spine. I was surprised at myself for staying as calm as I did and the other kids just steered clear. It took over an hour for his meltdown to be over and immediately afterward he was apologetic and crying. One of the first things out of his mouth after he calmed down was "Why weren't you my mom when I was Milagro's age?" I told him I wish I had been able to be his mom when he was little but that we were both supposed to learn something from these experiences and they were part of God's plan to make us who we were supposed to be. He seemed to accept that and asked if he could do his homework now.

I think this qualifies as progress.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I just had to share.


This is Corazon.
She is doing sentences.
So why am I writing about this?
Because she is doing Tortuga's sentences.
She offered because he was really struggling to do them.
She asked me if she could help him and I sent her to ask him.
He said "yes" and and "Thanks. I owe you."
She said "no you don't. I want to."
Then a few minutes later he asked me if he could say something to her.
He said, "Corazon, I really, really don't know how I will ever thank you."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where did the week go?

The whole family (except Tortuga) has been down for the count since Tuesday with a nasty bug--more cold than flu-like. Milagro was the hardest hit so there's been lots of napping, tylenol, cough medicine, and kleenex in our days. We are on the mend. I am working on writing about how our little "test" with Tortuga has changed things and what we are doing next. Hopefully I can gather my thoughts soon. Right now I will say that it has been hard, very hard and we are still recovering from the additional freedoms he had. One good thing though is that he is adament that he WANTS to be in the family. This is new for him (although he doesn't remember it that way.) Here are a few highlights of my week just in case anyone is interested.

Wednesday--I was quite sad and disappointed about the vote in Maine that did not go in favor of same-sex marriage. I really thought it might. I just keep reminding myself these are historic times and we are witnessing important history in the making.

Thursday--I was pleased that Referendum 71 ("Everything but marriage") was passed in Washington state. At least they will get the 400 or so state rights they had previously been denied. In more exciting news I bit the bullet and registered my car in Texas. It was harder than I thought to let go of those MA license plates but it definitely felt a little bit more like "coming home." Spent half the day on the phone with Pollito's school because he had a golf ball sized bump in the middle of his head that no one could figure out where it came from. He had a mosquito bite there when he got to school and after rest time this HUGE bump appeared. He told one teacher he hit himself on the floor, the nurse that he had it when he came to school and then told his teacher he hit a door during lunch. He told me on the phone that he hit a wall outside during recess (they didn't have recess) and the nurse treated him for a head injury until we confirmed he probably was fine and maybe got a second mosquito bite. I made the nurse ask him if his cheek hurt (no visible injury there) and if his elbow hurt (no injury there either) to confirm that he couldn't answer the question accurately. He claimed they both hurt and she was convinced he was just confused. I got even greater stories from him after school about where he got the bump. Neither benadryl nor ice made it go down.

Friday--Tortuga and Corazon battling to see who could outcrazy the other. I think it was a tie! I was exhausted. Then Pollito came home from school with an ice pack. He hit his forehead on a pole during recess right before dismissal!

Saturday--The crazy continues...C. and I made the mistake of trying to watch a TV show (taped) while the kids played together. She's been so busy with work that we have had so little time together so after working all day she was ready for a break. We sat in the family room (15 feet from them) and spent 78 minutes to get through 14 minutes of the show before calling it quits and sending everyone off to bed.

Sunday--Got a haircut. Big deal for me because I don't let just anyone cut my hair (strange, personal quirk highly connected to my grandmother's superstitions) and I finally got someone who I could trust. Her name is Rain and she was great. I'd forgotten how great it feels to have someone else wash my hair! It is the little things that mean so much. Almost didn't go because I was on the phone with poison control. Milagro sprayed Febr**ze INTO her mouth just before we were leaving and really liked the taste. I was pretty sure it wasn't too toxic but double-checked with poison control to be safe. There were a few panic moments there and I am still feeling guilty about this.

And on that note... I am going to bed early!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

6 Days

So for the past 6 days or so, our dearest family friend P. was visiting. It was wonderful for me as I miss her terribly. Having the adult company for even a few days was energizing and comforting. It reminds me that I need to make some changes in my life so that I can do this more often. That said, the impact on Tortuga was something else. It gave us a good baseline and a nice sense of his progress.

The good news is that he did OK during the visit. No meltdowns (yet) and only two serious incidents of anger/meanness/rudeness/etc. He spent WAY more time with us than he has in quite a while and it definitely demonstrated that he has made progress. He showed patience, kindness, joy, and genuine affection many times during these days. His hugs were nice solid ones that seemed heartfelt not perfunctory. He was able to transition during the day from one activity to another including car to home and to his room without major issue and many times without minor issue. He played nicely with Milagro, joined the family for several meals, and had one-on-one attention from someone besides me. He generally held it together the entire day up until the very end of each day. This included Halloween, treats, and too much sugar on a couple of occassions.

Patterns that returned with a vengeance. Tattle-taling and hypervigilance about Pollito and Corazon. He had to tell about every little real or perceived misbehavior or infraction. "P. is playing with a piece of trash!" "C. is staring at me." and "P. isn't _______"(you name it.) Bossiness and telling others what to do or not do also returned and it was CONSTANT! "Forgetting" routines (especially in the car and out of the house) and inappropriately demanding my attention were also significant issues. Each evening we could see the toll the changes in his routines and daily interactions were having on him. Each night we could begin to see the transformation as he started to "lose" it. He has a tendency to "blow it" anytime he has had a good time so on Friday and Saturday(Halloween) he started to get really moody, short, and belligerant as the day came to a close and it would be something really small (as usual) that would set him off. BUT in both cases he was relatively easy to redirect. On Sunday we let him "hang out" and watch football for a little while after giving him most of the morning/early afternoon to calm himself and just be away from everyone. He did fine until the end of the evening when he really lost it. Rudeness, belligerance, meanness, faces, attitude,etc.--all directed at me--as he was sent upstairs to read and wind down for the night. This led to crying fits and a near meltdown but C. was able to diffuse it before it got too far down that path. The rest of the time he seemed to do ok after that near meltdown. 

The biggest challenges we had are ones we continue to struggle with but that had subsided. One of those is pretty typical of so-called "normal" kids but it always takes a bad turn with him. It's what we call "pushing it." I think most of us have been guilty of this and it happens when he is having a good time and decides to "go for broke." For him it means he starts to test all the rules and boundaries whenever he has been having a good time. Fun playing around and teasing turns into meanness or rudeness, hugs turn into rough-housing, and their is a blatant assertion of his "right" to do something he knows isn't allowed. Then this becomes the reason (excuse) for having the meltdown. It's what we have named the "I'm-having-fun-and-I-don't-know-when-this-is-going-to-happen-again-so-let-me-take-advantage-and-try-to-get/do-everything-I-can-now-before-the-feeling-goes-away" behavior. In his case it then gives him permission to suddenly turn on us(me, mostly) and do some pretty awful things. He got set off on Sunday because as he was going upstairs he asked for a "new" book. I reminded him that he could only read the book in his room until he was finished with it (this is always the case) and he kept "begging" for a new book. At first it was done jokingly but after the second or third time he just got angry then it went downhill from there.

The other big issue is what we call "telling stories" and I have written about this before I think. This is when he convinces himself that something is supposed to happen or going to happen in a particular way and then behaves accordingly. So if and when it turns out not to happen that way he is upset or angry and we get the full brunt of this. Other times he tells himself something is happening or has happened when it hasn't. Then there are the times when he doesn't get his way and he turns his anger about that into a story that he then believes to be true. This was the case when he told some of the kids he was playing with that I was mean to him all the time. By the time he got home it had become that I hit him all the time. When I spoke with him about this he ARGUED with me that it was true. He believed it. He was convinced that I hit him and did this often and we had to "process" this out until he could "remember" that I had never hit him and that he had gotten himself confused. It can also happen when he thinks something is going to happen and it doesn't. This can be a very little thing, such as tacos for dinner instead of pasta, but the response is major.

This can also happen when he "chooses" to forget something or remember it incorrectly. For example, he has lost the privilege of using glue or scissors without supervision due to some pretty destructive behavior a few weeks ago. This happened on Monday again.  He is working on a school report that requires a little big of glueing. He asked me for scissors and glue and I told him to leave it to the end of the project. A couple of hours later he asked again and I reminded him to leave it to the end when I would help him. About 30 minutes later he asked again and I reminded him again and told him we would deal with it on Tuesday. About 15 minutes after that he came all the way downstairs (not allowed) and asked again. I said no. He ran upstairs, slammed the door, and started shouting that I was stupid, lazy, mean, etc. He was working himself up so I called to him to come down so we could address this. The bad news is that he was caught up in his "stories" and convinced that I was being unfair about the glue, lazy, mean, etc. and didn't "remember" why he didn't have access to these things. While sometimes it seems like an act I think in this case he genuinely believed it. The good news is he was able to handle the discussion and conversation with minimal rudeness and disrespect. I let him make up the mean things he said to me with a foot rub since we don't "do" apologies around here. All in all a success.

So what have I learned? I have learned he is doing better but we still have a long way to go. I learned we are on the right track and should continue down this path. I also learned that he is able to control, calm and rein himself in pretty consistently except when there are extreme(for him) circumstances such as an audience, too much stimulus, sugar, and of course "too much" fun stuff. I also learned that he likes these changes in himself and is learning to take pride in his behaviors and control of his behaviors. As weird as this may sound I also learned that I like him a whole lot more than I did 3 months ago.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Testing

In about a month our regular parade of holiday visitors will begin. 11 visiting family members for the whole week of Thanksgiving, will be followed by a 10 day visit from family friends and then we will once again have a full house starting around Dec. 17 through January 10. Throw in Thanksgiving, boys' adoption anniversaries (we don't celebrate but are "there"), Christmas, C.'s birthday, Three Kings' Day (which we do celebrate), and 3 kids' anniversaries (of joining the family) in January and early February and we are in for a long spell of opportunities for meltdowns, drama and trauma. With few exceptions most of these visitors do not understand our parenting especially with the older two.

So in my infinite wisdom I decided we needed a "test run" this past week with Tortuga. He has been more demanding of having time with "the family" and we have been telling him he wasn't ready. He kept asking for a "test." We generally don't do "tests" until we think he will have a high rate of success. That said, I decided to give some things a try and the perfect opportunity came up when our dear friend P. (who is also Tortuga's godmother) came to visit for this past weekend. She has been here since Thursday and leaves tomorrow (Tuesday) and with Halloween thrown in I thought we had the makings of a good "Test Run" to see just how far Tortuga has come and just how far we still have to go. We gave him more time with "the family" and more "fun stuff with the family." Some of you are thinking how brave, how daring, how wonderful, or maybe, how crazy!

I don't have the chance to write about this now but will do so tomorrow after I get my friend to the airport.Before I discuss how things have gone anyone care to venture a guess at what might have happened?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Fun

There was some real doubt we would actually make it to today. Crazy behaviors plus a whole lot of attitude had us leaning towards cancelling the whole thing. Happily, the kids got it together and were able to enjoy a night of trick or treating, special treats, and Tortuga and Corazon even did a reprise of their Halloween play from last year. I was impressed they remembered all their lines from last year's Halloween play! All in all, it was way too much fun.

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