I took the day off work yesterday - my excuse was taking my dog Rufus to our vet to have the work the emergency vet did checked out and the bandage removed/changed. Didn't have to have the bandage removed. Rufus destroyed his Elizabethan torture collar and removed the bandage himself during the night. Our vet thought this was very funny. Said Rufy didn't need a bandage and is getting along great. He doesn't have to be isolated from the other dogs any more and the drainage tube comes out in a week. He is mostly a large animal vet and doesn't believe in over-doctoring animals. Rufus is much happier. He's a mut and doesn't need as much doctoring as some of the other dogs.
I could have made it to work for a few hours, but it was so beautiful a day, and Holly wanted me to stay with her I never made it in. We got some of the teens cell phones for christmas and got the service plan straightened out at a Cingular store yesterday. The service agent that helped us was a Katrina refugee. Her family decided to stay in our area after the storm because they are racially mixed and we live in a more tolerant area than the Missisppi town they came from. They've already bought a house. She was very sweet and helpful. We might even set up a play date for our twins and her two kids that are just a bit older.
The teens were more than thrilled to get their own cell phones. We had dinner as a (very large) family at one of our favorite restaurants. All in all a very good day.
recovering from the holidays
I love spending time with extended family - they are all great people, very supportive and good natured. The hardest part, actually, is my kids. The teenagers (some not all of them) take turns being difficult. I know it isn't all their fault, lots of issues come out around the holidays. Mine do too, actually. The twins get off schedule with all the new people and travelling and that leads to being wired and unpredictable, if 20 month olds are ever predictable... :-)
Plus, my dog Rufus got a splinter in his leg that got infected and had to be taken to the vet while we were gone. It was pretty serious - surgery, debreedment, antibiotics, x-rays. He'll be okay, but it added a bit of stress.
as a result, Holly and I are pooped and don't have time to catch up yet.
One of our teens is being particularly difficult. She feels miserable and her chosen response is to try and make everyone else feel miserable, too. When asked to do anything she doesn't want, whether it be chores or participating in family activities, she blows temper out her mouth and nostrils and involves as many other people as possible. She won't listen to reason - becomes a total victim. sometimes she apologizes later, sometimes she doesn't. It happens several times a day. We think she needs to work on some big issues. Her therapist believes that the issues need to come out naturally in therapy and won't push her to deal with them. We could probably talk the therapist into pushing a bit, but she's out of town. When we mention any of this to the other resources at the fostering agency, they suggest we send her back there for a 'tune-up'. Holly and I agree this probably would do as much harm as good. There has to be a way of dealing with these things without institutionalizing her. There has to be.
why do they make is so hard?
I imagine it has something to do with cutting the apron strings, and fear of the unknown, and fear that they won't make it alone. Kids getting ready to leave the household are ridiculous. Was I that bad? I honestly don't know, all of my immediately family has passed, so I don't have anyone to ask. They can't seem to understand that we will be there to help even after they move out. May not help in the way that they think we should (which usually involves lots of money and no advice) but we will always help as much as we can and think is prudent.
We are dealing with kids on so many different levels right now, and the holidays are escalating everything. We have kids sabotaging their lives, and other kids getting messed up because they are either for or against the saboteurs. It is making me crazy. Holly, too, although she is dealing with it really really well. Next year we will have to figure out a new strategy. We will most likely have fewer kids at home, which might help. One day at a time.
Holidays are not great times in our household. Too many teens with too many family issues. The holidays bring out the worst in them. We try to keep everything as light and low key as possible, but it's never enough.
I think that next year Holly and I are going to concentrate on empowering and reducing the victimhood of our girls. They know the words - we talk about it all the time. But, we need to figure out activities and books to read or whatever we can to get them to take responsibility for themselves.
I've been reading some books about Buddhism that deal with leaving the past. maybe we'll start there.
every year Harley riders have numerous toy runs for needy kids. The bikers like it because they get a great ride with lots of other bikers and they get to help out kids. Every H-D club has their own run, and our fostering agency is the beneficiary of one of the clubs. It is truly an awesome site - literally hundreds of bikers riding up with gifts.
In the past, we've tried to keep our kids low key about it. We've even told the agency that we didn't need to go because our kids get enough stuff for Christmas, but they basically require us to go. I think part of it is the babies. The riders want to see babies, not just teenagers. With so many kids in our house this year, the gifts will be more of a blessing this year.
Anyway, tomorrow is the big day. We'll drive out to a restaurant out on the lake and let our kids hang out with the bikers and get gifts. Hopefully, the babies won't be too shy and their noses won't be too snotty. Hopefully, the teens will be polite and act interested. Hopefully, it won't rain.
i warned them
I was late to work Monday through Wednesday this week. When I woke the teens up, I told them I was leaving at 7:20. At 7:05 I told them I was leaving at 7:20. At 7:15 I told them I was leaving at 7:20. Then, at 7:22, I left, minus one girl who didn't make it out the door in time.
She made it to school because Holly took her (for a fee). Maybe she'll take the morning thing a bit more seriously now.
And it is only Tuesday...
The worst part is that Holly has a cold and I kind of do, too. It just sucks one's energy. The weather has been very cold, at least for us in Central Texas. The dogs are not cooperating as they could. The twins are learning how to do things faster than we can fix what they've already done. Bringing in our newest last weekend has been more stressful than we thought. She's discovered that we don't have a perfect household where she can get away with whatever she wants. She's also found that even though we aren't perfect, we are supportive and try really hard. Lena needs a job, but Holly hasn't had time to take her around. E's car is dying and she is going to have to get another. We found one for her in her price range, but she is a bit resentful that she has to spend her own money, and the one we gave her only lasted a year. (Might have lasted longer if she'd taken better care of it...grumble) S. Is into limit testing. She knows the rules and what is expected and is playing as far as she can. Most of these things are pretty normal, especially this time of year. All of our teens are super-stressed around the holidays. Too many memories.
The other teen is in b***h land. She's been for awhile, but it just gets more and more ridiculous. She is desperately trying to ignore her issues and turn her back on her problems in the hope that they'll go away. Well, they won't, and her life (and probably ours) would be so much easier if she started working out her emotional problems before she completely ages out of the system. We are blessed with a great support system, part of which we lose access to when the kids leave the foster care system.
Also, I forgot my lunch today. Normally, not a problem, but I'd saved some tortellini and broccoli from the other night and I really wanted it. The cafeteria is having BBQ - way different from tortellini and broccoli.
That last thing, although true, was meant for comic relief. One must have a sense of humor!!!
Please, also, if you have children, check out Sara Hickman's three kid's records
for babies, toddlers and older kids. We have the toddler one, and not only do the babies love it, but the teens keep taking it out of the van to listen to in the house. That album has been a bonding experience!!
Holly just got an email from rfamily. As you know, if you follow her blog, our familiy changes regularly. Rosie and rfamily vacations promised us places on the cruise for our family, but we have two or three more kids than we did last year. Holly emailed, with some trepidation, asking if our free cruise included our family in its old or current composition. This was such a generous gift that we certainly don't want to look greedy or make waves (pun intended) The response was that, OF COURSE, it included the new kids, the promise was made to our family as a whole, not just the members that we had last summer. They are good people. Paying for the three other kids would have made finances really really tight.
If I ever become really really rich, I hope and can be as generous.