December already! This is usually one of my favorite times of the year but I have started it with a really bad cold and a root canal that I cannot go back and complete until this cold is gone. One good thing we managed to do before I got sick was get our Christmas tree. I even put the lights on it during one of my more lucid moments with this cold. The kids are over to top with excitement about the upcoming holidays, making Christmas lists and gifts (this year all their family gifts have to be "made"), and getting immersed in our advent calendar tradition. We started this a few years ago and they just love it. Each day we pull a slip of paper from our calendar that tells us what we will do that day "eat dinner by candlelight and listen to Christmas music" or "do two good deeds "secretly" for the same member of your family." They just love doing this. Of course, this cold has sent me scrambling to change some of those slips of paper when it involves something a little more high maintenance than what I am up for.
Overall the kids are doing pretty well given the changes in routine and the visitors coming and going. Right now Corazon is the one having the hardest time or maybe I am having the hardest time with her. Most of her issues seem to be what others would classify as "normal preteen behaviors" but there is still enough "hint of RAD" to be truly annoying. Lots of drama, attitude, rudeness, and opposition. She starts pretty much every sentence with "no" and her tone of voice is obnoxious at best, mean at worst. This is particularly apparent in her interactions with her two younger siblings. It has been especially bad with Pollito so she is no longer allowed to say his name. She must call him and refer to him as "my wonderful little brother" and each time she fails to remember to do so she must either put a nickel in his piggy bank or give him one of her belongings. Since we started this a few days ago she has managed to only lose 20 cents and one bookmark. Her tone with me is even worse. So bad in fact that I have declared days when I am not speaking to her at all because I refuse to use her tone back with her and no matter how much I have tried to diffuse the attitude or tone by ignoring it, calmly discussing it, or joking about it she hasn't been able to snap out of it. She absolutely hates for me to not speak to her so that seems to help at times but her behavior is nowhere near under control and more importantly it is driving me nuts because I just don't want to be around her much (and neither does anyone else.)
I think she is also struggling because she is having many more "normal" days and when she actually realizes this it seems to terrify her and she quickly has to dive back into her RAD behaviors. That said, it is a bit comical because her "heart" isn't really into it anymore. The other day I sent her to tap because she was behaving in a totally disregulated way. She went outside and I could hear her trying to work herself up. Then all of a sudden she stopped and her whole demeanor changed and she did her tapping. When she came back inside she said "Mom, I noticed something when I went to tap."
I asked her what it was and she said "I didn't want to tap and I was really mad and I was stomping my feel and just standing there and then I thought about that sign you put up in the window (long story) and I said to myself 'What ARE YOU DOING? This is so DUMB. You are just wasting energy and missing out on stuff when you know tapping will help you." I asked her what happened next and she said she just did her tapping and everything was better. Imagine that! She said this with such an incredulous look on her face I almost laughed (but I didn't. At least not until she was out of earshot.)
On another note, I am so grateful to Lindsay Mama to Nine for suggesting the journal idea for Tortuga. He is really into writing and has taken that idea to heart. Since I gave him the journal he has written a couple of entries to his birth mom and he is so happy to have that outlet. I don't know if that will be the case for long but for now it seems to be helping.