Monthly Archives: February 2017

Gone.

school-student-education-outline-table-desk-chair

My fifth grader brought home her class picture last week.  It’s so fun to see the different kids in her class.  I pointed out one boy and said, “He’s a cutie,” and she said, “Well, he’s gone.” Gone? Gone where?  She went on to say that this boy has been expelled.  When I asked her for how long, she said he wasn’t coming back. Ever?! A boy who has been a classmate for 6 years is just “gone?”

My mind immediately went to the possibilities of why he was expelled.  Obviously, the school wasn’t a good fit for him.  Does he have a diagnosis? ADHD? ODD? Something else – NOS (Not Otherwise Specified?)  Poor kid.  Poor parents. I am sure this decision wasn’t made lightly and the school has an obligation to keep all kids safe so I’m not saying that this child shouldn’t have been expelled, I’m just saying that it is truly sad that he was. Again, poor kid, poor parents.

To the parents of this child who wasn’t able to stay in this classroom for whatever reason, I want to send you a hug.  I want to tell you that when I saw your son, I saw a cute kid.  He may have had a little twinkle in his eye which I recognized and thought was cute. That very twinkle that makes him unique is probably also the twinkle that causes the trouble in the classroom.  If your child truly was forever expelled from this classroom, you have my sympathy.  I doubt you are sure where to turn next. You are probably faced with many educational options and decisions. You are probably very angry and very frustrated. If we met, I would like to comfort [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[you and say that everything will be alright, but I’ll be honest….I can’t be sure that it will.  Your child being identified as a “challenge” at this age will probably lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy and he may be headed down a path of self-destruction.  I will pray that this isn’t the case. I will pray that your family will survive this disruption in placement and that you will get the help that you all need to weather this storm.  I pray that the twinkle in your son’s eye will make him resilient and will help him rise to this challenge in a positive way. And I will also pray for you at home.  I’m assuming that the problematic behaviors at school are also problematic at home.  It takes huge effort to raise a child like this at home day in and day out and I know you get weary of dealing with it.  You get weary of dealing with the behaviors at home and you get weary dealing with the calls from the school and other parents regarding the behavior outside of the home.  It’s a tough road you are traveling.

Be strong parent. The next time you heave an exasperated sigh and throw up your hands and say, “Oh, god” recognize that it is a true prayer.  It’s not a sigh of defeat, it’s a sigh asking for help and God is truly there to help you. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2) and even the maker of this child with the twinkle in his eye.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

—Psalm 121:1-8

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Kids, Inspirational, Life, Little Kids, Parenting, Scriptures, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

“No Scone for You!”

If you would’ve told me that you can have part frustration and part laughter when raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, I would’ve told you, you were crazy.  That is if you had told me that during the frustration part and before I learned to laugh.  Or should I say, choose to laugh?

OH, I cry….a LOT.  But so many times when I attempt to tell of the events that made me cry, it makes me laugh.  The things we live through are stranger than fiction and only others who are raising similar kids can understand.

It starts early when the little ones are literally caught with their hand in the cookie jar….I mean literally.  He is standing there with Oreo crumbs on his face, the cookie jar on his lap with his hand in the jar.  “Did you take a cookie?”  “No, I did not.” Many kids may do that same thing, but kids with RAD take it a step further.  As they hone their gift of lying, they will fight this fight to the death.  He did NOT take the cookie and you are a fool to even consider the possibility.  He will take any and all punishments necessary, but he will not back down and admit the obvious truth.  It’s who he is. Frustrating? Yes.  Laughable? Eventually.

This week was a real struggle for our family.  Lots of real, sad and frustrating moments when the light of laughter hit me.  After two days of battles and tears, we were still implementing a punishment for some major bad behaviors.  Our son came home to see if we had forgotten the trauma he had caused our family and asked if the punishment had been rescinded. When I told him that it hadn’t he exclaimed, “Well, no scone for you!”  I burst out laughing!  Seriously, you think you can win back my affection with a day old scone that you received from Panera bread for free when they donated it to your school?! But, the scone story doesn’t end there, it turns out I wanted the scone.  I mean, some days, it feels like I don’t get any treats at all and I  knew the scone was in his backpack and I love Panera Bread Scones.  After he left for his basketball game, I convinced myself that I did indeed deserve the scone and I took it out of the bag.  I left it on the table to enjoy later. In the meantime, our kittens thought that they deserved the Scone and while I was out, they drug the Scone containing plastic bag onto the new carpet in the living room to enjoy. Just my luck! No Scone for me. The best part, though, is that when my son came home and asked “Hey, where is that Scone?!” I could honestly reply, “The kittens got it.”

Does a Scone make up for the pain? No, it doesn’t, but a boy with a heart that thinks it might may a little.

images-3

By the way, if you are having a “No Scone for You” kind of day, you can make your own!

Cinnamon Chip Scones

Tender and crumbly, these simple cinnamon chip scones taste like cinnamon rolls and are packed with sweet cinnamon chips! Don’t leave out that heavy cream; it’s imperative to their rich taste.

Ingredients:

SCONES

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream (plus a little extra for brushing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups cinnamon chips1
  • optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on top before baking

GLAZE

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) black coffee (or milk/half-and-half/cream for a plain vanilla glaze )
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Adjust baking rack to the middle-low position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Grate the frozen butter (I used a box grater; a food processor also works – here is the one I own and love). Toss the grated butter into the flour mixture and combine it with a pastry cutter, your fingers, or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, egg, and vanilla together. Drizzle it over the flour mixture and then toss the mixture together with a rubber spatula until everything appears moistened. Slowly and gently fold in the cinnamon chips. Try your best to not overwork the dough at any point. Dough will be a little wet. Work the dough into a ball with floured hands as best you can and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Press into a neat 8″ disc and cut into equal wedges with a very sharp knife. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers!) brush lightly with a little bit of cream and then sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Separate the scones and line them on the baking sheet with a little space between each one.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. During this time, make the glaze by whisking all of the glaze ingredients together until completely smooth. Drizzle over scones right before serving.
  5. Make ahead tip: Scones are best enjoyed right away, though leftover scones keep well at room temperature for 2 extra days. Scones freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up to your liking before enjoying.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I use Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips, pictured in the post above. If you can’t find them: I usually see them in Walmart and grocery stores in the fall-winter months. Or sometimes year round! But no fret if you can’t find them– they’re sold on Amazon for relatively cheap for a pack of 6. If you do not want to buy them, feel free to make my chocolate chip scones which is the same recipe but uses a little less cinnamon, chocolate chips, and a simple sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar instead of glaze.

DID YOU MAKE A RECIPE?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

1 Comment

Filed under family, Parenting, Recipes, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

How Did You Do That?

636073220449256063-551921265_senior-yearPaul had his senior night for basketball last night which means I have another child at that age.  That age of not knowing what’s next and celebrating all that he is leaving.  Senior year…the year of lasts, yet the year of “what’s next”s too.  This is my fourth child going through this phase, so I am viewing it through a different lens than in the past.

My first child was the one who had to suffer the most.  I was clueless of what his future held and I felt a need to share all of my anxiety with him directly or indirectly.  I have apologized profusely for my ignorance and he has forgiven me.  The second one came around quickly and she was so focused that I knew she was headed on her way without any input from me.  The third was a little more unclear, but she headed out with a good attitude. As I face the “what’s next” questions with Paul as he approaches this season, I also have a huge question to ask the first three….How Did You Do That? I see their lives and sincerely wonder.

How did you do that? How did you know that you wanted to major in Neuroscience when you were only 17? How did you get the courage to ride your bike across the United States? How did you have the nerve to go to Time Square to watch the ball drop alone on New Year’s Eve? How did you study abroad, date via the internet, travel to Israel? How did you get a good grade in a subject I’ve never heard of, graduate with two bachelor degrees in three years, or go camping alone? How did you ask for a raise, teach surfing, or open your home to strangers? How did you go on mission trips, learn to play the ukelele, or write a song? How did you know how to comfort a child, fix a computer or weave a basket?

My kids have done all of this on their own.  When they walked onto that stage at graduation, I wasn’t clear about what they had learned or if they were prepared for the future. But they did all of the above.  Was it something they learned at school or home or was it simply inside of them all along? We can’t see what is inside of them by looking at their report card or counting the number of friends at their graduation party.  When they graduate high school we don’t know who they are and they don’t either, but I am sure glad that my oldest three have allowed me along for the ride as they found out.

Paul’s future is unclear just as all of my children’s’ futures were during their high school senior year.  As I am a bit sad to witness Paul’s lasts of high school, I am thrilled to look forward to his future.

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Kids, family, Life, Parenting, Uncategorized

Missing Money?

images-2

I rush upstairs to grab some ones out of the bankers’ envelope that I keep in my studio.  It was an envelope with some ones and fives that I could have on hand for the kids’ school needs.  A book order, new pencils, snacks for an after school activity.  Using my credit card for most of my purchases, I never have cash in my wallet.  SO, the envelope.  It was always there to meet the need.  Until today.  Today it is missing.  Did my Reactive Attachment Disordered son steal it?  Probably.  Yes, he steals often, so I bet he did.  However, there is this slight chance that I just mishid it.  Yep, new vocabulary word, “Mishid.”

See, living with a RAD kid means hiding all sorts of things, all the time.  His hypervigilance will note an extra $20 in his dad’s wallet when his dad opens the wallet to pay for parking. His darting eyes will spot a pack of gum in your purse. He will know where all the extras are that you are hoping to save for a special occasion.

So, the money is missing, but it may have been mishid. I may have thought he noticed the day when he asked me for $3 and he already knew that I didn’t have cash in my purse. (Cash in the purse is never an option with a RAD kid in the home!) I said I would get him the money and he noted my every move.  Though I thought I snuck into the studio and put the money in my back pocket and then opened and closed drawers and doors along the way, opened the coat closet and pretended to get things out of the pockets of winter coats….all in the hopes that he wouldn’t know where the money was stashed.  BUT, he beat me at this game again.  Or at least I think he did.  In reality, I may have at one point thought that he knew where it was and moved it to more inconvenient location.  This scenario happens more than I care to admit.  Twinkies will be eaten a box at a time OR they will be found where I hid them (in the china closet) way past the “Best used by” date. Packs of gum hidden in sock drawers are found after they are dry enough to crack each piece in half. Christmas presents are found when they no longer fit and small toys that were supposed to be prizes for good behavior may be found in rafters in the basement long after the child outgrew them.  That is the life we live.  Not to mention, the bacon hidden in cottage cheese containers in the fridge, the bag of change hidden under the cabinet where the cookbooks are, the bullion cubes hidden behind the cereal and the cell phone in the glove compartment of the car.

So, the money? Yeah, he probably stole it, but there is a chance it will surface again.  It doesn’t matter, the money was not able to be spent on the treats at school and the day was not spent doing anything but looking for the money.  For that, I am truly ticked!

1 Comment

Filed under family, Parenting, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

Date Night

imagesTonight is Date Night for my husband and I.  I am so excited.  It’s been a while since we had a real date night, complete with tickets to a show and hopes for dinner prior!  I can only hope it goes as well as the last one did.

The last time we stepped out it was for a night of comedy with Tim Hawkins.  We bought the tickets months in advance and we enjoyed looking forward to the event. The day finally arrived and we spent the day rushing around running errands and making arrangements for the kids to go to different places in our absence. We bought groceries and I picked up a new book for my daughter to take on our vacation the following week.  She wanted a Dork Diaries book, so I selected one of the dozen or so titles in that series.  Of course, I selected one of the two that she had already read! No problem, we can stop by Walmart and make a quick swap on our way.

After printing out the directions old school on the computer, we headed out. A quick pit stop for a new title and we’d be ready to be entertained.  We parked in the front of Walmart and we discussed our game plan.  He was going to head directly to Customer Service for a refund while I ran back to the book section to pick a different title.  I would then make the purchase and he would receive the credit. Done.  You’d think it would be that easy.  However, it was a Friday which meant that all the employed people in the county who don’t have local bank accounts were standing in line to cash their paychecks.  After selecting the book and purchasing it, George was still customer number 5 in line.  I told him we could skip it and return the book later, but he said he had already made it that far, so we’d wait.  We waited while these hard working men cashed their checks, returned previous purchases and wired money to relatives, tick tick tick, counts down the minutes of our date night.

We finally were given our credit and ran for the car. Wait! Did we park at the side like we always do? No, I think we parked in the front.  Yes, in the front by the cart returns.  That narrows it down a bit.  Eventually, we locate the car and head out.  A glance at the clock on the dash makes it apparent that we won’t be able to have the sit down dinner we had thought we might, but we can definitely do fast food somewhere on the way. I decided that I wanted a baked potato instead of the typical burger and fries, so we chose to look for an Arby’s en route. We finally saw an interstate sign telling us there was an Arby’s at the next exit. We took the exit and before we even descended the ramp realized that this was a poor decision.  The traffic was backed up onto the ramp and traffic appeared to be at a stand still. The Arby’s was 2 traffic lights to the right and we finally arrived feeling a little more nervous as we still had some driving to do and showtime was fast approaching. We entered the restaurant quickly and were a bit discouraged to see 3 take-out customers with their arms folded and their toes tapping an impatient rhythm. RATS! A backed up “fast” food restaurant! I take a look at the board to see that they no longer offer baked potatoes anyhow. We order a sandwich….to go….and head out as quick as we can.

Back on the road, we take a look at the directions.  Doesn’t look too difficult, however, the printer ran out of ink on page two. It gives us a hint of where we are headed though.  Thank goodness for smart phones.  We ask our friend Siri to take us to 300 Gallery Drive.  We will be a bit late, but I’m sure they have someone warming up the crowd before the headliner comedian.  We’ll be fine.  Make a right, two lefts, another few rights, a left at the T, a couple more rights, some lefts and we arrive at our destination on the right. Wait! That’s a Water Treatment Facility!  Seriously?! The show started 3 minutes ago and we are obviously NOT at our destination.  We ask Siri again and she starts her whole “Recalculating song and dance!”  It appears she took us to 300 Galley Drive instead of 300 Gallery Drive! Back the rights and lefts we go and finally, we are on the correct road.  We rush, park and run to the locked door that we had hoped was the entrance.  No worries, the warm up guy is probably still performing.  We race around the building, go inside and manage the maze of hallways following the sounds of laughter.  We see TV monitors along the way showing Tim Hawkins on Stage!  Are you kidding me?  He opened the show?!  Bummer. We give our tickets to the usher as she informs us that we won’t be able to sit together but she thinks she can get us in the same section.  Is it still date night? I take my seat between complete strangers trying not to cry as they yak it up. Remember, they were already warmed up by the headliner!  Eventually, I, too, was laughing along, but still feeling very uncomfortable spending date night in a separate row from my husband.

At intermission, we shared our plight with those near us and they agreed to let us sit together.  We enjoyed the second half and headed home getting more lost on our return trip than we did on our way there.  Finally, we saw a sign indicating that we were about 15 miles south of where we were about 45 minutes before.  Get me out of this car and off of this date night!!!!  We finally made it home about 2 hours later than we wanted to be and we both mentioned how much we enjoyed our date.

OK, so that was our last date night, so why do I want a repeat? Because in ALL of those things, I realized that we didn’t have an argument.  We didn’t say one unkind word to each other.  In the midst of all of that, we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.  Looking back, I could see the couple we might have been 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago I would’ve told him that we shouldn’t have waited to return the book, he would’ve insisted that I didn’t need to search for a baked potato and should’ve settled for a burger. Twenty years ago, I would’ve thought he should’ve had a map and he would’ve thought I shouldn’t have taken so long getting dressed.  BUT, we aren’t those impatient people anymore.  We value our time together too much to argue about things that are relatively out of our control. We view the whole evening as a miracle.

We are going to see another comedian tonight.  I hope he can make me laugh as much as sharing our previous date night story has.  I’m also hoping to eat at a restaurant with a fork, but the night is young and time will tell!

Leave a comment

Filed under family, Life, Uncategorized

Pray Without Ceasing

prayerforyouth1I often hear the scripture from 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray without ceasing” and wonder….do I? Ever? I say the blessing before I eat and when I put my head on the pillow at night but is that it? As I grow as a Christian, I recognize that I sincerely do pray a lot more than on the formal occasions such as meals and bedtimes & I try to instill these habits in my children as well. Today, it occurred to me when I was putting a load of delicates in the washing machine.  I probably shouldn’t have put them all in the same load, but I did.  As I closed the door, my involuntary statement was, “Please don’t allow the hooks to snag the sweaters.” Who was I talking to? I was alone in the room, so I guess it was God.  Is He okay with my silly request?  I believe He is…especially as I acknowledge Him and give Him the glory.  Will my clothes get snagged? I will know when the rinse cycle is complete and I pull them out, but, even if they are snagged, it doesn’t mean God didn’t hear my prayer, it just means He had a different plan for me.   Maybe that plan will include a new sweater.  Wouldn’t it be great, if I could remember that response to my “bigger” prayers as I do my smaller ones?  It would be wonderful if I prayed about something and when things didn’t turn out the way I hoped, I would recognize that God may have a better plan in mind? Maybe with a little more practice, I will.  So, as I attempt to pray without ceasing, I will also attempt to remember that He already knows the plans he has for me….and maybe it is even better than a new sweater!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  –Jeremiah 29:11

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspirational, Life, Scriptures, Uncategorized

Stolen

He has stolen again.  Not my money, not any of my possessions and still not my joy.  (I vowed a long time ago to not let that happen.) But he has stolen again, let me explain.

Pizza squares are in the oven and he’s in his room.  I want to share them with him, instead, I am eating them out of vengeance. They were a treat that I thought I would surprise him with, but his behavior today has reduced me to eating them all myself.  Do I want to be this person? Do I want to eat chocolate in the closet and cry in the shower? Do I want to spend every waking hour scheduling appointments to see how we can best serve him? Do I want to rehash the argument we had this morning with every professional therapist we know? Do I want to send him to his room just because the sight of him frustrates me? No, I don’t want to, but I do. He’s in his room.  I’m eating Pizza Squares. The joy that resides in me is deeply buried by the pain and frustration of the morning, but I still know on a head level that it is there.  He can’t steal my joy!  He can, however, steal the dream I had of being the mother I wanted to be.  I will have to resolve to be the best mother I can to a child who rejects my mothering. I will have to be a mother with a much stronger heart.  One who can function with a heart broken in a million pieces…daily.

Today I got an introduction text from a mother who may be in the same shoes as I.  I will be called to encourage her when she thinks she is surprising me with all the things that her daughter does to her.  She will think she is shocking me with her tales of lying, stealing, cheating and hoarding, but I will laugh a bit and tell her it is to be expected.  “These kids do that.” I will tell her that she may never feel the warm, fuzzies that she was hoping to feel.  I will tell her that though her parenting style may never feel “normal,” she will survive it.  And, I will tell her she is not alone.  Just as someone told me in the past.

Oh how I wish I could be the mother I want to be, but he stole that.  I guess I’ll just be the mom who eats all the Pizza Squares and shares the love she has in her heart with other moms who are picking up the pieces of theirs. I may not get to be the mom I want to be to this child, but I can be the friend I want to be to other moms.  And, I will do it all with the true joy that will always remain in the bottom of my heart through faithful prayer.

When Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” I think he had Pizza Squares in mind! (Nehemiah 8:10)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. –Romans 12:12

 

1 Comment

Filed under family, Scriptures, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized