"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."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When the School Shows Up on Your Caller ID

Yesterday one of the more dreaded numbers showed up on my screen: the upper elementary.

Hi Princess. What's up?
I need some pants.
(Long involuntary silence) Ummmmm, there are some in your backpack.
No, I had to use them when I fell in the mud puddle.
(Deep inward sigh) Ok. I'll be right there.

So I took in the pants. However, now my entire insides were liquified, because I know something. I know that Princess has the world's most incredible kegel muscles. Which means that, although she rarely uses a toilet, she can hold it in like you would not believe. In fact, because she's so skilled at letting out teeny tiny amounts of what she needs to let out, the results are rarely visible.


Except when she's unusually distressed. Then there's puddles.
This has never happened at school.

After, I spent the last hour of the school day at home with my liquified insides trying to prepare myself for the horrific evening I was about to endure.

It never came.

I couldn't make a thing of it. My own nerves were completely jangled, and Princess usually reads them like a book and plays off them.

After the girls were in bed, Josh offered the insight. He said he pointed out to Princess that she seemed happy and asked her about it. She said, "I called mom and she came."

If only it were always that easy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Giant Pile of Grossness

Every time I've thought, hoped, and prayed that Princess would one day be healed, that's what I focused on: the "being healed" part. The end result. Abra-cadabra, voila, you are healed.

Sadly, that is not the way it is working out. Apparently.

I mean, I was right: there is Being Broken, and there is Being Healed. Unfortunately, I'm finding out there is also this giant pile of grossness in between called HealING. Emphases on ING. That being, clearly on the way, but not healed yet. Dr. Sl warned us about it; he said things would seem like they were getting worse while they were getting better. But I believe all I heard was lalalalalalalalala getting better.

I don't know what I was thinking, really. Maybe that she'd start to make baby steps toward being whole and we'd all rejoice and enjoy this newly-emerged part of her and then she'd plateau for a while and then make another step and we'd rejoice and

Not so much.

It's more like how you've got that one child (or husband) who just does not value neatness and organization all that much so every now and then you dig under their bed and pull away the blanket they used to try to hide it and find a pile of rotting mush and ground up dessication that haunts your nightmares for months afterward.

Yeah. Kind of like that.

So what's happened is that Princess has not really raged significantly in six weeks. Which has never happened before. Maybe once, when she was five. I think there was a good summer once. So YAY!!!! right?


Only there was something underneath that blanket.

She doesn't rage much anymore and YAY for that, really, but it has been replaced by Oscar the Grouch, only without the lovable gruffness. Your breath stinks! Don't breathe near me! I hate you! You hate me! You're always mean to me! It's mean to mention my butt crack is hanging out and I might want to fix it! It's mean to tell me you'd want me to tell you if your butt crack was hanging out! Laughing at me is mean! Get out of my room and go cook dinner or something! Stop laughing- it's mean to laugh! How could you laugh at your little daughter? I hate you Peanut; shut up! I hate you Cuddle Bear; shut up! I AM!!! I'm COMING!!! I DID!!! Eighty times two IS 79! You don't know cuz you're not me! You don't get this! You don't know how to do math! I don't want to! No! I'm going to kill you, Peanut!*

Typing this does not do it justice, because there is, as my husband tactfully puts it, no I'm Going To Rip Off Your Head and S___ Down Your Throat font.

Now add to this base line of grouchiness an event like, oh, I don't know, let's say....theoretically of course....Princess miscalculated how little homework she could turn in and still earn the class incentive for the quarter and landed two points short, so is not invited to watch a movie in the gym Thursday, and the Pile of Grossness gets more Giant.

Princess has this rubbermaid box to put her laundry in, with a lid that is supposed to stay CLOSED. CLOSED! I say. Ever since points were tallied (I now realize), she has not closed the box. Every time she comes downstairs after changing, I tell her to close the box. Every time she tells me she did. Every time she did not. One time, I brought the box to her. She yelled at me for being mean, closed it, picked it up, and grouched loudly all the way up the stairs about how I made her have more work. This morning she came down and I told her to close the box and she said she did and I said, "great! Now ACTUALLY go close it!" and she went. I went in her room later to deposit some laundry and THANK HEAVENS it was closed, because I had this moment where I understood those women that get on the news: "how could she! How could she actually get in her car, drive to school, excuse herself to the teacher for interrupting, and throw a Rubbermaid box at her daughter's head! A monster!

I had the rages down. I had them down cold. I could handle a rage like no one's business. Now I feel like I'm some slimy fish grabbed out of a polluted pond and thrown into another. The new pond's water isn't quite as foul and murky, but I was used to my old pond! I could do it, right? Maybe not for much longer, but I had it under control, right? This new cleaner pond sucks!

So now I need to go fish my Big Girl Panties out of the old pond and wear them again. Maybe I'll embroider something new on the butt.

How's that for a mixed metaphor for you?

*Taken from actual monologue, all within the last eighteen hours

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?