"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Sunday, November 13, 2011


We are in it.

And it's hard to put into words what's going on, so smart me thought, huh, it's a labor word. I'll look it up. The first site on the list was Amazing Pregnancy.com, so being lazy, that's what I clicked on. Here's what they had to say about it:

During transition, you may feel unable to relax or to get comfortable.  While you may have handled labor well up to this point, it is at this time you are most likely to feel like you have no idea what to do, and that nothing is comfortable anymore....

Sometimes taking a bath or shower or rocking in a rocking chair may help you cope....

Sometimes as the pressure increases...you will feel the need or desire to push...

Some things you can do to avoid pushing if you (are) not ready:
-  Lift your chin in the air
-  Pant loudly
-  Don't hold your breath
-  Imagine a balloon above your face and try to blow it away from your face.

Startlingly apropos.

About six months ago, one provider after another told me some version of, "I don't really know why she's not responding/ I don't really know what else to do/ huh?" and I started wondering if this was finally the end of the road and we really were on our own, outside in the dead of winter with the wolves. Then one said, "I had one family who swore by Dr. Sl. He's a behavioral pediatrician who specializes in trauma's effect on the brain. He's expensive, and you won't be able to get in for a long time, but he knows what he's doing.

I called Dr. Sl. He's expensive. Shockingly so, to me anyway, at least for the evaluation. The answering machine message warned me to not expect a call back for a full two weeks. Then I got an appointment-- with a three month wait. We had gotten so desperate that Josh's only question was, "are you sure he knows what he's doing?" Fortunately, I was. He ran the Children's Trauma Center in our area, and at the time our girls were placed with us our agency was requiring evaluations there for children three and older. Dr. Sl was the first person to really explain to me exactly what had happened to Princess's brain.

In September we finally sat down with him. For four hours. The more he talked, the straighter up I sat. For every thought that had ever flitted across my brain, he had already developed an actual Power Point presentation. And compared to what he had dealt with, with moderate success, Princess is a cake walk. He told us that, with the work we had already done, Princess was where he expected a patient to be around the third or fourth appointment. And I started to breathe. He spoke about the changes he'd make in her medication. Lot's of teeny tiny, low dose changes. He said, "we'll talk in a week, and then in two, because honestly, by then we could be looking at a different child." And I bent over and sobbed. Dr. Sl handed me tissues while Josh patted me. "Don't worry," Josh said, "she knew she was going to do this."

It was the hope. I know no one can promise me any type of result. But for someone to say, you're here now, and I have ideas you haven't tried," well, it was like coming out of a stale room. "See," said the Still Small Voice, "I told you. I told you you wouldn't be doing this by yourself. Now do you see?"

And he was right. By the second week, things were different. Just slightly. Just enough. She is more relaxed, more confident, more self-possessed. She laughs and giggles. She has raged twice in the past month, instead of twice in the past day, the past hour. In October, she began caring about her school work. She hasn't had a stamp in her notebook for not bringing home her homework for three weeks. She has only one concerning grade on her report card, with a note from her teacher saying it reflects more of September's work than October's. I truly see a chance for healing.

Except for the rest of us. I felt my anxiety take a hike the last two weeks of October. I figured it was because November is a traumaversary for me related to Princess, and that's probably most of it. But then, at about the same time, Peanut hit the skids. And Peanut on the skids is a far, far, FAR scarier than than anything Princess has ever dished out. And suddenly Buddy cannot stand Princess. Can't stand anything about her. And our feelings do not make sense: she's getting better! She's not screaming, she's pleasant more often, and she's only annoying in the ways all third-grade girls are annoying, yet this, mad, this anger, this junk that's been pent up in us for years is starting to move down the large intestine, and you know where that comes out....

So, basically, the three of us are moving into the therapist's office. It's nice there. She has a great dog. And a Keurig. What else do you need?


  1. First of all, congrats on finding a medical support that can actually DO something other than scratch his head and give you an excuse. This guy sounds like he is worth his weight in gold.

    Second, we have been through similar transitions and I never seem to be able to predict how everyone is going to respond. Our 14 yo son absolutely has no time for his 9 yo sister, even though I remind him how far she has come and "remember what she was like at age 3, 4, etc...?" He, like your son, seems to have hit the end of their rope, and it doesn't seem to matter to my son either that his RAD sister is "better"- he just has alot of accumulated anger and resentment from all the years of her acting out behaviors. Kinda makes me sad, because we had hoped to be able to give her a supportive family when we adopted her from foster care, and it seems that while I thought she was spending the last 7 years "healing", she was also spending the last 7 years building resentment among her siblings. I feel bad that they don't exactly "like" her because of the things she has done to them, but I can't make them like her either. Tough situation.
    I'm hoping that as they grow older, that some bridges can be mended.
    As for your other daughter, other foster moms and I often talk about the "naughty vacuum"- if the supposed naughty child is removed or changes, then one of the other children with emotional issues, will often use that opportunity to fill the vacuum with THEIR needs; fears, angers, insecurities, etc...
    Makes for a constantly volatile environment and a tired momma! Hang in there :-) So happy to hear that you are making progress-gotta celebrate when we can!

  2. I love following you. We haven't had many attachment-related problems with our son (adopted at 10 months old), but I feel like reading your experiences helps to prepare me for the future when we adopt an older child(ren?).

    So glad you found a doctor who knows his stuff and who thinks he can help Princess. Hang in there during the transition!