One of the issues with having a blog is that you actually have to (wait for it) . . . BLOG!
The truth is, I’ve started about a dozen blog posts, but none of them have much of a conclusion and most of them are not even finished to the point where I could HAVE a conclusion. This is not because I don’t think the posts might at some point be valid as much as, frankly, I just have not felt much like writing lately. A lot has happened since we were granted guardianship of the kids and yet, not much reportable has occurred. You know, kind of like real life.
Today, though, I decided that it’s time for me to at least get off my butt and give an update. I know that some of you have asked for them and I’d like to think that some have been curious but didn’t want to ask and many of you have considered the thought that our lives are so busy now that I don’t have time to blog (there may be a little bit of truth to that).
So, without going into a ton of detail, I thought I’d give a general overview with an update and then hopefully that will get me back on track with posting about more details over time.
Since Chapter 2 Began (Post-Guardianship)
One of the big issues we had when moving the kids in was that of where they will sleep. While we always had intended, when purchasing this house, to build additional living space so we could take kids in on a Foster-To-Permanent basis, we had not quite done that when they came to live with us. Sometimes you look for the opportunity and sometimes the opportunity finds you. When the opportunity finds you, though, you have to find a way to make it work. And for the most part, we have done that. Once we were granted Guardianship, ‘A’ has been moved into the guest room with ‘N’ still sleeping in Brenna’s old bed in our dressing room and ‘A2″ is still sleeping in a bassinet next to our bed. ‘A2’ is seven months old now and growing like a weed, so that may have to change soon.
Overall, it’s worked and as of right now, the one who needs the privacy is getting it. We’re making it work. Currently, we have construction starting on the attic in about two weeks which will give us four new bedrooms and two more bathrooms. This will open things up tremendously because the bedrooms will be big enough that brothers can bunk, if need be.
‘A’ and Eli have been taking taekwondo and are Yellow and Cammo belts respectively. This puts them in two different classes which means that when I pick them up for their M-W-F classes, I’m now there for two sessions instead of one. ‘A’ barely passed his Yellow Belt test despite being given the opportunity to have the instructor privately teach him in our home. Eli was very concerned about whether or not he’d pass, so about two weeks before his test, we hired the instructor to come over and offered the same opportunity to ‘A’. We knew it would be a perfect example, comparing apples to apples when it came to opportunity to prepare vs actual preparation vs performance on the test. Eli breezed through his more advanced test and ‘A’, who had chosen to forgo the additional instruction, struggled. When he learned that he got his Yellow Belt as a “recommended” instead of “decided” he became discouraged, but also realized that he blew the opportunity. For this test, he has been asking daily when we will be hiring the instructor to come help him so he can pass his Cammo test as a decided. He has been working harder on his skills and it does seem to be showing as his form has improved. We are still not sure that his heart is in it, but until he tells us it’s not, we will continue to encourage him to make strides in this area.
‘A’ is also in the school play. I am not exactly sure what his role is (he wants to keep it as a surprise), but I know it involves being in a band and having to stand perfectly still for a minute or so. I suspect it’s some sort of robotic thing. He does like to perform a lot (as well as be the center of attention), so I think that drama may be up his alley. We’ll see how he feels after the play is done. We’ve been lucky in that the person who is directing the play has taken a special interest in ‘A’ and is working with him to hone his skills. This year has been a year of growth for him, but he has actually made friends and, while he does have anger issues still, he has been able to curtail them more and more and is starting to get in touch with some of his positive energy. He still has a long way to go when it comes to dealing with his emotions, but if I think back to what it was like a few months ago, I actually do see improvement. Sometimes that’s hard to see when you are knee-deep into it (which we are daily, of course).
‘N’ has also grown in many ways. While he is still a bit behind in many ways both developmentally and communicatively (not even sure if it’s a word but hey, I’m going with it), he has gotten so much better because of his daily interactions with all of us. We have opted to take him out of school and we have brought in some help here at the house to work with the smaller kids during the day. While he can still be difficult to understand, his verbal skills have gone through the roof; especially in the last couple of months.
We are working on getting him in to see a specialist so we can determine exactly what we need to work on. While we know that speech is one of them, where he sits on the mental development scale is still to be determined. He grasps some concepts so easily and then others (getting off the toilet without having to be told it’s ok) he acts like he’s being told for the first time. There is improvement for sure, but until we know exactly what’s going on between the ears, it’s still sort of a crap shoot.
The last couple of weeks have been quite the challenge with ‘A2’. The poor kid has been sick and congested with a nasty cough. Sleeping through the night before he got sick rarely happened, but with the sickness, he was up about every hour hacking away and would not go to sleep until he got it out of his system. Then, he’d be exhausted, go back to sleep for an hour at which point he had just enough energy to start coughing again, cry hysterically and wear himself out. Since he is so young, the types of medications we could give him were limited and we just, basically, had to wait for it to run its course. Fortunately, for all involved, the last couple of days have been better and last night, he only woke up once.
Many Weekends the three go stay with their mother wherever she is at the time. For a while, when they would get back, we’d have about three days of negative attitude shifting that we’d have to do with ‘A’ but the last couple of times, it’s been much better. He is happy to visit his mother but he is also happy to be back here. The other two are always happy to come back, although ‘N’ sometimes has a sour face for a few minutes when he just gets back. We are not exactly clear on what goes on when they’re there and it may just be a reminder to ‘A’ that things are not exactly perfect (and with him, it’s perfect or nothing), but lately we’ve seen that attitude far less.
In short, things are feeling more and more like what was crazy a few months ago is now the norm and we’ve adjusted (mostly). Routines are now occurring more often than not and people are starting to feel some sort of stability, which is what Jessica and I strive for. Stay tuned . . .