Saturday, September 25, 2010


That is the new little "mantra" we say when we feel a "fit" a.k.a. tantrum coming on now.  We also have a scream at home rule.  Meaning that if we feel angry and we think there is a fit about to start, we just scream it out!  

Today we had three times that fits almost occurred.  The first time was at breakfast.  When she started to shut down and withdrawal/suck her thumb... I went over by her seat and sat down on the floor.  Then I looked at her and told her "We don't need any fits today because we have a fun day planned".  That didn't really change things.  So I then told her she looked a little sad and angry so maybe we should scream a little to let that fit get out of her body.   First, I screamed... she quickly followed.  Then I said, "Go away fit, she is safe, happy, and loved here!"  She repeated it and pretty soon she was back to her fun loving self. 

I pushed her chair in, returned to my seat, and my husband looked across the table at me and told me I was amazing.  He couldn't believe I had talked her down from a full blown tantrum.  He continued to give me kudos throughout the day, which made me feel even more confident!

We had a couple other close run-ins but we tried the same technique and it worked!

We did a lot of cuddle time and movie watching today.  We also went to the park with my brother and my only local niece. 

All in all, it was a great day!  Lots of work, but very good. 

As a side note, we are seeing a new primary care doctor in October that has a good level of experience with behavioral issues and anxiety.   I really think that if we can solve the anxiety issues our four year old has, that it will in turn help the tantrums.  More info to come soon on that! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Feeling Better Now!

Wow… in the midst of all of this craziness… I forgot to blog!  Sorry for everyone waiting on updates.

Well last Tuesday, September 14th, our case worker (CW) came for her monthly check-in.  The girls were happy to see her, but after she left, our 4 year old went into a tail spin of tantrums.   We had a tantrum Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, close call Saturday, and Sunday was the worst yet.   She did great Monday, but Tuesday we had another.  Wednesday she did really well. 

The worst part about a hurt child, is they want you to feel how hurt they are.  She has done this now by hitting our dog (thankfully she just kicked her the once and hasn’t been aggressive since), by cussing and calling every one in our house ugly names, by physically hitting, biting, spitting at/on me, and by making very vivid scary statements like she is going to kill us, shoot us, stab us, pull out our eye balls. 

It is VERY  difficult hear and see her in this state.  I KNOW she can’t control it.  I know she wants to be able to though. 

Last Sunday, when she hit our dog, we were ready to throw in the towel.  I don’t want her to be violent towards anything, but especially not our defenseless dogs who love her SO much! 

I posted our concerns on the forums and I had some people that bashed me, to be expected considering how long she’s been with us, and that we’re her 4th home in four years, but at the same time, they don’t live in my nightly hell! 

I love the girls though, and I know we can work through this.  We were tossing around the idea of disrupting, but hadn’t fully decided.  My husband and I both were just sick over the idea of it.  Which in the end meant we couldn’t live with ourselves if we did it.  We’ve since gotten more info from our CW to get additional in-home therapy and assistance. 

So I went into “fix it” mode.  I spent my time figuring out what tools will help her.  We watched a great video from Dr. Bryan Post at that put things into perspective for us. 

He covers the three pathways of emotion:

First is “Attitude”  this would be the best pathway to use, when someone asks you to do something, you roll your eyes, or sigh/growl, BUT it is a health expression despite what our parents said! :)

Second is “Feelings”  this would be the next pathway preferable.  Using this pathway you would voice that you don’t like/want something. 

Third is “Behaviors”  the least desired.  When you’ve not been able to express through attitude and feelings, you’re merely left with expression through behaviors! 

Right now, we’re in the behavior zone with our 4 year old.  Hence, tantrums!   It can take 6 months to a year to move back up the ladder to feelings.  Thankfully she is young.  She IS doing so well though with the feelings part.  We’re working very hard on using our words.  I also bought her an “Emotions” chart at the local teacher supply store.  This is helping tremendously.  If she can’t verbalize her present feelings she can go point to the feelings on her chart.    Here is the exact chart we have:

Tuesday afternoon we went over all of the emotions.  We talked about times when we felt certain emotions.  I focused on the positives, then two negatives (afraid and sad) then back to the positives. 

During her Tuesday night tantrum, I had her point to how she feels.  She continually chose “Afraid” and “Loved”.   That speaks VOLUMES to me!  That even though she is afraid, she still knows she is loved.    Her tantrum got worse and worse, she was sucking her thumb and at some points just seemed so “out of it”. 

At the end of the tantrum I was holding her, and I kept repeating, “Go away fits, I am safe and loved here”.   I said it over and over as I rocked her.  Then I saw her mouthing what I was saying, but I couldn’t hear the words.  

Then the tantrum was over.  She went to bed with no further issues. 

The next day, when she got home from school (Wednesday) she was SO proud of not having any fits at school.   We had therapy Wednesday morning, and at drop off she cried and didn’t want me to leave her at school.  I just walked away, I knew it wouldn’t end well otherwise.    Wednesday night, she said “Mommy I won’t have no fits tonight”.  I said, “I know you won’t!  I am so proud of you!”.  Then she said if she gets a fit in her head, she will tell it to “Go away, because she is happy and safe”.  I added that she is also LOVED!  She just nodded.

So Wednesday night, she didn’t have any tantrums.  We did start Melatonin at bedtime, per her doctor’s approval.   I gave it to her at and she was out cold at .  Hopefully that will ease her separation anxiety from me at night. 

The next issue we’re going to tackle IS the anxiety.  She doesn’t want to be left alone, ever.  I can’t pee alone, I can’t get away from her at night, and she doesn’t want to leave for school when my husband drops her off.  So I think addressing the anxiety will help with the tantrums too. 

More to come soon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Pwedge A-wee-gence

My 4 year old is in Pre-School and they are learning the Pledge of Allegiance.  It is SO cute when she says it!  She proudly puts her tiny right hand over her heart and belts it out like she's the only person that knows it! 

I love the "With Liderby and Just Us for all" part!   I tried to explain what JUSTICE is, but she wasn't going for the concept! 

She has decided her teacher needs to call her Layla now.  I explained that it is up to her teacher if she wants to call her Layla or her real name.  She also said her friend "Damien" wants her to be Layla because it is a cool name.   He and she met in daycare and are now in school together.  I met him, he is bi-racial black and white, and his mom is white.   So it seemed natural to him that I am white and "Layla" is black.  When my husband picked her up at daycare though and she ran yelling "DADDY!", "Damien" came up to my Layla and said, "That's YOUR daddy?"  

I thought it was cute! 

This weekend we are trying out a babysitter for the girls.  It will be the first time in a month we get to go somewhere without them.  They need the time apart as much as us though!   Our babysitter is a sweet girl.  She is in nursing school, has many younger siblings, and the girls really liked her when she came over to meet us. 

For the record, we are doing background checks etc. and our DFS has spoken to her.  We don't have many friends that babysit, but in our town as long as you would trust them with your own children they can babysit during the day, just not overnight. 

I think this will be good though.  She needs extra money for school, and we need extra time to be ourselves without the girls in tow. 

I will keep everyone posted.  Her first day sitting is Sunday for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I really feel like my girls hit the lottery and we found two amazing therapists! Our 6 year old had therapy today. We talked about some of the "problems" we have. Mostly, it is bad dreams due to her previous trauma.

I got a great answer as to why my 6 year old and I aren't nearly as connected as my 4 year old and I. She said that our 6 year old has a bond to her birth mom. A bond that she needs to grieve over loosing. Where as, my 4 year old, she never really had a "mom", I fulfill that role for her, therefore she is bonding much faster.

Either way, I know both girls love us and we love them. We just have to work through grieving and bonding to one another.

On a side note, the therapist made me feel really good. She was shocked this is our first placement, and we don't have our own kids. She made me feel like I've really went the extra mile to learn and grow along with the girls.

She also commended me on parenting both girls at once, working full time, and being a wife! That made me feel really good. I think I needed some positive reinforcement! :)

So we're hanging in there for now.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Well, our girls know that if they want new names, they can have them.

During cuddle time, my girls love for me to sing to them. I suck, I mean really suck at singing. That is how I know they truly do love me! Because no one, not even my tone deaf husband, desires to hear me sing.

I know a lot of songs. I say all of the time that when my altzheimers sets in, I will loose all of my memories to Dave Matthews Band and Kenny Chesney lyrics.

So the girls get 3 songs (usually a verse and course) and by the time bedtime rolls around there are about two songs that stick out in my head. Usually, it's a DMB song and something random.

The first night Layla by Eric Clapton was on my mind. I sang it, and my four year old FELL IN LOVE!

Every night she asks me to sing it. Tonight she said, "Mommy is it a secret?" I start singing it in my head looking for a spot where the song says "secret" I came up empty so I asked her is what a secret? She said, "I didn't tell my teacher my new name is Layla".

How sweet is that?!? I told her she can have whatever name she wants, but I LOVE Layla if she chooses it!

My 6 yr old loves when I sing The Pretenders "I'll Stand By You". She said to me that she will stand by me, and I won't let anyone hurt her and she won't let anyone hurt me.

Ahhhh, I love my girls!

Wow, it's been awhile!

Last week school began. Both of our girls had an AWESOME first week. Our 6 year old did have one day where she got in trouble for talking too much. In hind-sight I feel really guilty because I laid it on pretty thick that she knows better than to talk during class. In my defense, she talked all through Kindergarten too, so she DOES know she's not supposed to talk during class. With that said, I am trying to be a bit more compassionate with her.

We start therapy tomorrow, and I am hopeful the therapist can assist me in helping her.

My 4 year old had (well I went alone) therapy last week. The therapist recommended "The Connected Child" by Purvis, Cross, and Sunshine. This book is SO wonderful! I couldn't put it down. It was like I had someone holding my hand telling me to do this, and not that.

This book has helped me become way more compassionate and it has changed my approach especially in regards to my 4 year old.

My 6 year old is a more difficult case to crack. Although she is sweet, caring, and ultimately a fantastic kid, some of her tendencies are mind boggling to say the least.

She talks NON-STOP! I mean to the point that I feel like I just need a pair of ear muffs to muffle out the noise. Telling/asking her to stop merely sends her into a crying slumber, so I have come to my wits end. Some days I wish she would just STFU! I try soooo hard not to be impatient, but it is difficult. When my 4 year old is dressed and ready and my 6 year old talks and takes 20 more minutes, I just want to bang my head against the wall.

She is constantly touching things. Our shopping rule is NO TOUCHING! I typically make them wear pocketed pants so they can place their hands in their pockets instead of on things.

My 6 year old literally touched EVERYTHING in the store. After I repeatedly told her to stop. Next time I guess we will just leave mid-trip, because now I know I have to "say what I mean and mean what I say".


With all of that said, we are making progress. I plan to do an update this week with the things I am learning in my book. It is helping!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back To School

We had a really nice long weekend.  Dare I say, WE HAD NO TANTRUMS!!!  We have now went a total of 10 days tantrum free.  I couldn't be more proud of my adorable little Preschooler.   The funny thing is we call Preschool, "Pre-K" and she HATES that!  She will correct me EVERY time! 

So off to school they went.  My husband took them to school because they start at 7:45, and I have to be to work at 7:00.   My boss was generous enough to offer me the choice of changing my schedule.  I declined because I like getting off at 3:30 to run errands, clean the house, start dinner, etc. 

I am very excited to hear all about their first day though.  I will be picking them up tonight from daycare, so I get to hear the details first.

Hopefully, my husband remembered to take pictures!  I will post some tonight/tomorrow if he did.