Sunday, April 27, 2014

Back From Hiatus

A free day! Maybe that was a bit dramatic; however Tom will tell you my work life balance needs adjustment. I squeeze work into pockets of the day, and you can see from the last time I posted the pockets are getting longer.  This has been a very positive personal change. Now to figure out how this is all going to work out over the summer months. It will take serious structure.  The first two weeks from what I have observed the last two summers are very rough. My sensory girl needs each day to play out in an almost Groundh*g Day like fashion. She fights the change, and typically old behaviors resurface, but it doesn’t impact us any more than the phases we are experiencing with a sometimes moody preteen.

For all practical purposes, we are seeing a Sidney that is the best she’s ever been. That being said, it’s important to stay grounded in the reality this will change. I recently read a great article called “Trauma Doesn’t Tell Time.” Before I confuse everything said in the article, I suggest doing a simple search and finding it. It talked about “Physical and implicit memory.” Because Sidney can’t physically remember what happened, her environment and body sensations trigger her. It explained how this is stamped on her brain. It’s always a relief to find information that specifically talks about the impact of neglect.  None of this is to say that we have lowered our expectations of Sidney or her behavior. Simply put, it’s awesome to find resources that deal specifically with what we are experiencing.

When I was reading the article, I kept thinking of all the ways it relates to everything about Sidney but more specifically hunger. I read the books before we came home. I was prepared for issues of attachment, but like so many other parents I was under the assumption that once a child understands there is food, they start eating, and we go off into the sunset. Not so much. This is another part of her prior life that she can’t let go. She still goes to bed at night with crackers. We can replace them for four weeks straight, and she never touches them. The night they are gone she will come downstairs immediately and ask. She’s terrified to go to sleep if they are not physically there. If we say something is gone like her favorite fruit apples, we immediately respond by saying, we will go to the store to get more. 

This also occurs when she goes into a new situation. Our girl scout troop visited the police station last week. It was dinnertime. She had a large snack after school, so there’s no way she was hungry yet. Tom was grilling at home, and she saw him prepping the food as we told her we would eat immediately following the short outing. We live in a town of less than 6,000 so a 30 minute tour takes about 35 minutes with drive time. As we walked across the street into the station, I saw her pull a small package of candy out of her pocket. I told her to hand it over, and then the look I know so well washed over her face. She hates sweet food, so it wasn’t that she simply wanted candy. It was the first thing she could grab before we left. Midway through the tour, she came to me making sure it was still there and asking for some. I pulled her into the hall and repeated my mantra, “You will NEVER be hungry.” We were home once, and I told her the same thing, asking if she trusted me. Her response was no. Knowing what I do, I can’t blame her.

I share all this, because it’s like I have shared so many times. When we were waiting to bring Sidney home I knew what to expect the first months and even year home. It’s what happens in the later years that I was curious about, and I could never find information that detailed what parents experienced. So I will continue to share as I have time and hope that my small (okay very small) group of readers continues coming back! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I have a six year old! Sidney typically starts planning her birthday in October. True to form the mothers of her classmates were almost looking at me expectantly the days following her birthday. After all she was planning a big party. However Sidney forgot to tell her friends SHE was planning a big party. I had planned on having her invite some friends, however we need to figure it out. My crazy husband thinks we need to invite all 19 kids from her class. After all Eli had his entire class. Is he remembering this correctly? Unfortunately yes.

In other events Eli is almost ready to make his onstage debut next weekend in Annie. Eli’s a pretty simple kid. As long as he’s not hungry or overtired, has an available area to hang out with intermittent Mincr*ft, and isn’t being nagged to practice his trombone, all in all he’s a content kid. Sometimes we like it when he pushes himself outside his regular routine. We were surprised when he told us he wanted to participate. His teacher told us the music teacher came to her needing people to take roles and the schemed together. They were ready to have to convince him if necessary, however he agreed immediately. That’s only because it wasn’t his mother asking. I would have been met with a resounding no!

The same conferences were for Sidney. She is doing well in all respects. Frankly, I think her teacher is more perplexed than I am. Let’s face it our kids are completely outside of the box. Couple this with the fact that Sidney has sensory issues, and she’s struggling a bit with reading which is really no surprise considering there was no literacy the first part of her life. I can share this because her teacher will never know, however I think she was taken aback that I wasn’t upset when she told me she had never seen a child with her specific set of issues. She has issues retaining site words or immediate knowledge. Of course never being one to leave any stone unturned when it comes to my kids, I have started researching learning to read with her sensory issues. Many things are becoming clearer, so as I learn I will share. If anything I write can help another parent in my situation it’s worth it.

It’s off to another week!