Monday, November 29, 2010

Sickly Weekend

This weekend was rough.  Friday night Uncle M.'s family arrived in town.  It was good to see them as we haven't since Halloween.  We visited and watched a movie after they got in then went to bed around 10:30. We had some giggly teenage girls in the house, so didn't get to sleep till around 11:45 when we finally got them to be quiet.  Around midnight, I woke up so sick.  I spent at least 15 minutes in the bathroom every hour from midnight till around 8:00a kneeling in front of the porcelain monument that no household can do without.  Uncle M. was pretty sick too.  I texted everyone to let them know that game night would be off the next morning, and found out that Aunt Trishy and her boyfriend were sick as well.  I don't know what hit us, and don't think it is food poisoning because it hit us about 36 hours after we all ate at the same place (Thanksgiving dinner).  I tend to believe we all had a virus of sorts.  I sure used my fair share of Lysol this weekend, regardless of how much I abhor the smell of it.

Keep in mind Uncle M and I have a virus... and company!  So I'm trying to stay away from everyone, yet continue to visit with them.  My body hurt all over.  I felt like I had been hit by a train...  or what I imagine is the equivalent.  Uncle M seemed to be feeling as rough.  Every time I moved I felt like I was going to be ill.  When the Vampire went down for a nap, so did Uncle M and I.  Well we tried to nap, but it's hard with a house full of people, a 90 lb lab, and teenagers who ring doorbells.  I feel like a horrible parental type, but I couldn't see taking the girls to the parade that they were supposed to be in.  I hadn't had the stomach to eat anything all day, and Uncle M was still feverish.  We called everything off and sat around for the rest of the day trying to feel better.  I finally felt like eating something around 6:00p, then regretted it with the stomach pain that ensued.  The good news is... the kids didn't seem to show any signs yet (knocking on wood) of getting this virus. 

I felt like a jerk, with his parents, sister, niece, and nephew trapped in the house with a couple of sick people with nothing to do but watch T.V.  The girls had a lot of fun, though.  They love playing with the other kids, and adore the attention they get from Uncle M's family.  The Vampire was so mouthy to me, and went to bed early Saturday night for pinching and hitting me, oh and yelling "STUPID BABY, I HATE STUPID BABY" at me.  I couldn't take it any longer and put her to bed.  The Drama Queen probably learned a lot of tricks from the teenage girls that she shouldn't have, but I was so miserable, that I was just glad to have someone help me keep an eye on the kids. 

Sunday morning, the Vampire and I went for a walk after I got up.  I was trying to keep the house quiet so company could rest, and she just can't seem to comprehend the word "quiet".  We took Hobie, and set out on our walk.  The Vampire did pretty well, but wanted to take a lot of "let's sit on these stairs in someone else's yard" breaks.  I was trying to get my blood flowing and feel a little more human, cause I felt awful after laying around for 24 hours trying to recover from a virus.  I thought a little fresh air could do us good.  When I got home, I helped Uncle M finish getting breakfast for everyone ready.  He seemed to be feeling much better.  Once everyone was fed, and the kitchen was cleaned up, I stripped my bed and carried the laundry down to get that going.  I set our pillows out in the sun to air them out after we were sick and laid around on them all day.  I went in the girls room to strip their beds (I try to do it every Sunday), and somehow pinched a nerve in my back getting the Vampire's sheets off her bed. 

It took all of my strength to stay on my feet.  My legs felt weak from the pain, and my entire lower back felt like it had just exploded.  As much as I didn't want to... I ended up laying down for the rest of the day yesterday.  I have no Christmas decorations up.  I haven't really started Christmas shopping.  My house was a bit of a mess, and I had at least 10 loads of laundry that had piled up.  And all I could do yesterday was lay around on an ice pack or heating pad, and wish my back would feel better.  I was so upset at myself. 

When it was time to lay the Vampire down for her nap, she went into hysterics, screaming at me that she couldn't nap because her pillow was "Naked".  I couldn't help but giggle.  Her pillow wasn't "naked" but she insisted it was because of the white pillow case I had on it.  Now keep in mind, she INSISTS that she has a white pillow case.  Why?  Because she likes to spit on it.  If it is any color other than white, she has a hard time seeing her spit.  She will have a melt down and a half if I put the flowered pillow case or the pink pillow case on her pillow.  It's sick.  I tell her it's sick all the time, and remind her that she shouldn't be so nasty.  But she doesn't really care.  Nothing I say phases her.  I then wonder what the extent of brain damage is with this kid, or is this a normal kid thing??  She finally realized that the pillow case was indeed on the pillow, and finally laid down for a nap.  I don't think I will ever fully understand that child., but all I can do is keep trying.

I received some knowledge about my sister recently that I will need some time to digest before I can relay it to all of you.  I need to find the right words, and wrestle my anger at her a bit before I were to write something I may regret.  I also need to find the best way to tell the story, yet retain the privacy of parties I have no business talking about.  I will post in the next couple of days, though when I have myself all healed and more able to deal with my own feelings.

Aunt TT

Friday, November 26, 2010

The space between

Wednesday night, Uncle M and I took the girls shopping.  We stocked up on food items, and began preparing for game night this weekend.  Of course even with my list I forgot important things.  It seems as if I am forever spending money.  The girls will be in a Santa Parade this weekend with their dance troupe.  They have to wear a white top, red scarf, red gloves, and a red/white Santa hat.  I will be making a last minute trip to buy these goodies.  I have decided that I will also be buying some for Uncle M and I, and that we will pose in some photos with the girls.  I will put those photos on the 50 free Shutterfly cards that I earned, and have my bases covered in the Christmas Card area.  Would it be cruel to mail my sister one of the cards?  I guess it probably would be...

We let the girls stay up a little later than normal on Wednesday, and watch Toy Story 3.  The Vampire insisted that we watch it, saying "I want to watch WOODY!".  For once, the Drama Queen didn't argue, and sat down to watch it with her. On Thanksgiving morning, I awoke from a dream that stuck with me, and had to sit down and try to get it out on paper.  Something about the dream seemed so special, and something inside of me was screaming "turn it into a story".  I sat down to start writing, and the Vampire is in my face saying "I hungee".  So I stopped writing and ran to serve up a breakfast of pop tarts and grapes to the girls, then tried to get back to it.  It didn't go very well, though.  It is so hard to write with other people around.  The girls were noisy, and the Vampire would run into the bedroom and want my attention.  Uncle M stood over my shoulder at one point, and that just drives me insane, cause I don't want my writing read until I have looked it over thoroughly and decided upon who, what, when where.  I don't care if he is trying to read it or not, it's that lingering thought in my head that I have to concentrate on that other being in the room, obviously wanting my attention, that slows my progress.

One of my friends stopped by to pick up something that I had of hers, and wish us Happy Thanksgiving.  I had to stop writing for that, and by 10:00 I had to stop all together to finish getting what we were taking to my mom's house for Thanksgiving ready.  So between trying to get the idea out, and do some quick research to make sure all of my points were valid...  I had three paragraphs sitting on the page when I was finished.  Luckily, I have thought of the idea on and off when I have a few moments to myself, and have been able to keep the story alive and well in my mind.  Now to find the time/fuel to put it down on paper...

Thanksgiving lunch/dinner with my family was nice.  Uncle M watched football all day long, and played Magic the Gathering with my cousins, and they all seemed content.  The children all ran around the house and played together.  The adults sat and talked and caught up on things we haven't been involved in with each other.  My youngest sister, and eldest brother weren't there, and there was a hole in everyone's heart because of that, but we didn't talk about it.  We chose to dwell on happier things.  The Vampire got to skip her nap entirely, and kept walking around with a pillow and blanket seeming like she would go to sleep any time soon, yet she didn't.  The Drama Queen ate more than her weight in turkey and ham, then still found that she had room for dessert.  Grandpa hung around a little longer than he usually does.  We ended up sitting down and playing a game of Uno with everyone.  The girls stayed the night, as Uncle M and I both had to work today, but they were more than happy to have a night with grandma and grandpa.  Bio mom or dad didn't call to wish the children a Happy Thanksgiving, I wasn't surprised by this and would be more surprised if they had called.

This weekend, Uncle M's family will be down.  I am always a nervous wreck about having people over at the house, because I want my house to be clean, neat, and orderly.  I want them to be at home and enjoy themselves.  There is a lot going on aside from his family being here with the decorating the float for the Santa Parade, being in the Santa Parade, and Game night to follow.  The girls are selling poinsettias for dance class, and I'm trying to spread the word about that.  Just so much going on!!!!  Welcome to the Christmas season with children.  There is always something to be done.  Sometimes I feel as if things are pulling me into fifty different directions, and I have to struggle to keep my mind on any one task at a time.  I'll never understand how my mom did it with five kids involved in all the different music/sports groups we were in.  Way to go mom!!!!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am Thankful For...

Yesterday morning, I pulled the school work from Monday out of the Drama Queen's backpack.  I work 12 hour days on Monday, and when I get home I don't always remember to check her bag.  I will have to hone that skill for when she is older and has homework to do, but for now there is usually just a jumble of pages where she practices writing words, drawing, and the occasional piece of art.  Yesterday, she brought home a large brown sheet of paper that was laminated.  When I flipped it over, I saw a little Thanksgiving poem on one half of the page, and her handprint painted up to look like a turkey on the other half.  She asked me to read the poem to her, and I said, "why don't you read it to me?"  So she did.  She stumbled on a couple of words, and I helped her sound them out (the English language is insane cause the vowels can all sound just like each other...  poor kid).  But she read the poem to me, and I nearly cried.  I will be clearing a spot off on the fridge for that beauty.  It was precious.

There was also a page and at the bottom half it read "I am Thankful For"  then had the lined paper that kindergartners would use to write on after the statement.  I had her read that to me, and it was a sweet and simple "I am Thankful For... my D.S. my mom my dad, my dance recital, my babe (baby) sister, my blankley, and my brown bear".  The words were all misspelled, but that only added to the charm of it all.  There were pictures drawn at the top half of the page.  She pointed them out to me saying "that is me playing my D.S., it was hard to draw, but that's what I meant.  This is me at my dance recital, there is my mommy.  I miss her.  There is my baby sister."  At this point, my emotions ranged from on the brink of crying to on the brink of screaming.  I reigned it all in, smiled at that face I love so well, and told her "that is so sweet honey.  I love this, and am glad you did it!"  She beamed at me and danced off in her usual fashion.

I tucked the emotions way down deep, but I am hurt over this.  I can't be angry or hurt at her.  It is natural for her to miss her biological parents, and long for what she wanted to have with them.  There is a little voice that rants in my head, "they left you.  Uncle M and I do everything for you!  We wash your blankley, and make sure brown bear is right next to you when it's time to sleep.  We feed you, and make sure you get to dance class on time.  I bought you that D.S. for Christmas last year!!!  We make sure you are warm, happy, and never hurt, abused, neglected by anyone!!!"  All things I could never say to this child, and feel bad for even thinking them, but it is so hard to be pushing yourself to every physical and mental limit, only to find that you're not as good as the woman who left them behind.  I feel, at times like this, that I will never be able to fill the shoes that this child has imagined she walked in before me.  I am glad that she has been able to block out the abuse/neglect that happened before she came to live with me, but I can't believe that she has her biological parents made up to be such a saints, when I clearly remember everything she does not.  I am bound by honor not to shatter those thoughts.  It would be cruel and unnecessary.  They may shatter on their own some day when she realizes the full extent of what has happened, when I will be there with a tissue and lots of love, ready to help her clean the mess up and try again.  I don't want her to endure that pain, but the more rational side of me knows that one day...  she more than likely will.  This limbo that we live in is just so hard sometimes.

On a good note, there was another piece of artwork in the backpack that had a very good rendition of a dog on it.  The dog was outlined in red, and there was a heart drawn on him, and it said "love dog", then at the bottom it read "I love T.T."  That brightened my spirits, and humbled me for my mental reaction to the "I am Thankful for" sheet.  I will keep them both, in the box of schoolwork that she may want to sift through and smile at someday.

The Redneck did another no call no show this weekend.  I have honestly lost track of how long it has been since the girls have seen him, but I think it is around 1.5 months to two months now.  I am dreading that he will want more time with them around Christmas, and that he will buy them a bunch of toys to try and make up for lost time.  Guilt seems to work it's way into people's hearts around the holidays.  But if it does or doesn't happen, I can not dwell on it, only deal with it when the day arrives.  I can say it was very nice to have that block of time to ourselves.  I took a short nap when I got home from work, and the girls snuggled with me and watched Scooby Doo while I napped.  Then we went to my friend's graduation party, and watched the girls run and play.  They were so happy. 

The Vampire is still biting.  She was sent home from school again yesterday for it.  The director told me she felt horrible for having to send her home at all, but that she had bitten three kids by 11:00, and was terribly unruly.  The Vampire kept pulling things off tables, and touching everything.  She wouldn't listen to direction, or behave as expected.  The director told me she had never seen the Vampire be so aggressive and angry.  I told her that she had a bad morning, didn't want to get out of bed, and had been aggressive all morning before I dropped her off at school.  She said well let's send her home, let her reset herself, and try again tomorrow, and have a great day tomorrow.  I said sighed, and told her I would see her tomorrow.  I feel like the professionals (therapists, IEP) are missing something with the Vampire.  Something is wrong with her being nearly 3.5 years old and still biting.  She can be so sweet, so docile, so loving one day, and the next day the Vampire rears it's ugly head, and I stare at the situation in utter confusion... where did the angelic blonde go??

Uncle M talked to the director for forty-five minutes yesterday when he got out of work, and now I have hope in the form of a man named George.  He travels to the different daycare centers in the area and visits with children who are problematic.  George is said to be a "child whisperer", and the director said that when he comes in she is going to ask him to focus on the Vampire.  George works for the state, and I have heard him mentioned at other day care centers.  He has quite a good reputation.  But when Uncle M mentioned the child whisperer, well I couldn't help but picture the South Park episode where Caesar Milan is such for Cartman.  Maybe we give the Vampire too much attention and she has all ready learned how to work it in her favor....

They tell me she is of normal intelligence, she is too social to have autism, she could have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but there is no formal testing for it.  Yet something seems to be so wrong.  It is like there is a puzzle piece that is just missing, and no matter how hard I look for it, I can't find it.  I fear that she will be kicked out of this center.  I feel that her time there is limited, and it won't be too long before I am groveling, begging and trying to see if there are any slots open on waiting lists (that she is currently still on at three different places....)  I have been approached by friends from high school, saying they are stay at home moms and they will watch her for me.  The one said that she wouldn't charge anywhere near as much as I am paying for traditional daycare.

My fears with moving back to a home setting are vast.  Will she cannibalize my friend's children too?  Will she get the education, and nutrition she needs?  Will my friends become angry with me because she is hurting their children?  Will they have to tell me they can't watch her because she is hurting their children or other kids they care for.  Will they be able to help her special needs better than all of these trained professionals who have not been able to?  All questions that can't really be answered until I take that leap and try it.  I also have the option to take her to a Vietnamese lady who married one of my distant cousins.  This woman is very wonderful, patient, and sweet and watched her for me for a few weeks last year.  The only issues I have with this, are that her English is very broken (although it is way better than it was last year), I don't know if she would be getting the education/speech that she desperately needs, and last but certainly not least, she wouldn't have the interaction with her peers to help her cope with school when she has to start attending in two years, as this woman has no children of her own. 

I am faced with making a decision for another living being, and I don't know what the best would be.  I have to trust my gut, and keep trying to fight the good fight.  I feel like it is best right now to be in the daycare setting where she will get the social interaction, the trained professionals, and the state regulated nutrition.  I have a lingering doubt that neither option is best for her, and the only way to make sure everything is the way it should be would be to stay at home with her.  That isn't an option for me as I have a house payment, and mounds of other bills that I can not let myself give up on, and I enjoy the social interaction and the ability to succeed at something in my work.

I am thankful you take time to read my blog, and give me advice/support where I need it.  I feel like I am stumbling around in the dark sometimes, and wonder if it would be so different had I carried these angels in my womb.  I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope that you are able to celebrate with your families.  Don't take for granted what you have today.  It may not be there tomorrow.  I know it can be boring to watch your brother gorge himself on turkey and fall into a coma, or listen to your other half rant and rave at the television because his/her favorite team isn't performing as they expected.   Maybe grandpa smells really bad, mom won't quit nagging you to come around more often, or Aunt Sally's dog won't quit trying to hump your leg, but for all their faults, they are your family.  There are not many ties that run deeper than family.   

Aunt TT

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Obsession

On October 8, 2009, someone contacted me via Facebook.  They went to the extreme to create a fake account, and then send me an e-mail saying "just thought you should know, your sister (although she used her name) is 7 weeks pregnant again.  will she never stop?"  I responded back asking them how I knew them, and if they were certain of the pregnancy, this person never responded back to me.

Now doing the math, if she were 7 weeks pregnant on October 8th, her conception date would be around August 26, 2009.  She fled to Arkansas around June 29, 2009.  So she got pregnant a full two months after she left her three children.  Taking that math one step further, if she carried this child full term, she would have given birth around May 20th, 2010.  Now mom and I have been told by various sources that she was pregnant, and that she gave birth to twins.  Twins usually come early, so I more than likely have another niece/nephew or two out there.  They are probably around 6 to 7 months old now.

I have to remind myself that I don't know that she has had more children for certain.  That if she did, I would hope she had started caring for herself... the kids better.  I have to think that the man she fled the state with, would treat these children better than he treated the three that she left.  Especially since they would be his blood where as Z-man, Drama Queen and Vampire weren't.  I have to tell myself over and over that it is out of my control, and even if she did have other kids, there is nothing I can do about it.  Nothing.  I can't really prepare myself for the worst.  I can try to be ready to help the children deal with the feelings of anger, rejection, and depression when they learn of the other children, if it is true.  I can't however, seem to turn a blind eye to the fact that this woman who had the guts to walk out on three children she gave birth to, could let herself become knocked up again and have a few more. 

I am 31 years old.  I have never had life growing inside my womb, don't even know if I am fertile or not.  I have never been in a position where I felt secure enough to usher a new life into this world.  Now, I am raising my sister's kids.  I love them and I wouldn't have things any other way, but I can't help but wonder about the implications it will cause about having children of my own.  My home is very small, there isn't much room for another child.  Our funds are very tight, and I can't see paying another set of fees for daycare.  Diapers, medical insurance, clothes, etc.  It all adds up so fast.  Some days I don't know how I afford the two I am raising, and feel like I scrape by with the grace of God and a lot of good karma.  So a new seed of anger begins to fester in my heart.  A seed that I try not to think of, because my thoughts seem to be the sunlight and water it needs to grow.

Has this woman who can run around and have children without giving it much thought or care, taken away the ability for me to feel secure enough to have a child of my own.  How selfish can one person be?  I feel like I can identify with my friends who have fertility problems because I know in my heart I will not in current situations be able to afford to get pregnant, even if I could.  I will not EVER put myself in the same boat that my sister hasn't bothered trying to get herself out of.  I have a friend who is just a little older than I am, who will be undergoing a complete hysterectomy in a few weeks.  This has given me sleepless nights, not only because I am worried for my friend, and hate that she is in pain, but because I can clearly hear that biological clock ticking, and wonder how much longer it will be before I can't wind it up and use it anymore, because my time has just run out.  Then I feel like I am selfish, because at least I have these two angels to love and care for.  But there is no way of knowing if it is permanent or not.  One day their bio mom could come back into their lives, and take them away from me.  If their bio dad ever got his stuff together, he could take them from me, and if it happened at an age, where my biological clock had finally died...  then I would never know the joys and sorrows of raising a child to maturity, watching them sprout wings and fly, and bring me grandchildren.

Of course I am not naive enough to think that if I raised these girls that they would still love me and care for me as their mother.  I have seen that in my own siblings, that sometimes they turn the anger of being left behind on the one person who stood by them all those years.  They say you always hurt the ones you love the most.  I could raise them until adulthood, and they could turn their backs on me.  I would hope they wouldn't, that I was able to show them enough love and kindness, but even if they were biological children, they could chose to cut me out of their lives for one reason or another.

Yet here I am.  Putting the cart before the horse.  I had a friend tell me once that I always over-think things.  I am a planner by nature, and always like to have some set path in life that I can walk.  After years of fighting against them, I have learned to embrace the deviations from the path, as I know they are unavoidable, but at least I had a plan, and didn't wander aimlessly.  Now... my plan is lost.  As I can't decide to be completely reckless like my sister and bring another child into the world, that I can not afford, and I can't write off the dream of one day knowing what it is like to be pregnant, and see myself or the man I love shining in the eyes of a child.  I guess I must embrace this deviation, and hope that wherever it leads me, that I can hold my head up and smile, knowing that I made the best decision possible at that point in time, and I will have no regrets for what might have been.  I can not let my sister's actions turn me bitter or hateful.  And such is life.

Aunt TT

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There is a Monster at the End of this Book!!

So how many of you remember reading, or having the story of the Monster at the End of this Book starring furry lovable Grover from Sesame Street?  It was a personal favorite of mine when I was a child.  I would delight in my mother reading it to me and all the emotion she put into the struggle not to turn the page.  Grover did all sorts of things to prevent us from reaching the end of the book.  He nailed the pages together, but we still turned them.  He tied them together with ropes, we still turned them.  He even built a brick wall in front of the pages so that they couldn't be turned but we giggled and still managed to turn the pages.  Grover told us how very strong we were, and told us that not only were we reaching the end of the book, and the horrid scary monster that awaited us at the end of the book...  but we were also making an awful mess.  I read this book to the girls.  The Vampire squeals with glee every time Grover begs us to stop turning pages, and tells me "it's only Grover", when I act fearful of that monster.

This book is the first book that the Drama Queen has begun to read.  I have a few moments with her in the car every morning before she runs in for a full day of kindergarten, and she spends the time trying to sound out the words of There is a Monster at the End of this Book.  This one small inexpensive book that mom passed to me from my childhood has brought an unmeasurable amount of joy.  I sit patiently and help the Drama Queen sound out the words she has trouble with, and watch her sail through the words she has down pat.  She doesn't hesitate or stumble when coming upon the word "monster" which I say with pride is a great deal longer than the little three letter words she is learning in school right now.  I melt while she sounds out the word b-e-c-a-u-s-e, then turns to me with wonderment on her face and nearly shouts "BECAUSE!".  I tell her over and over how proud I am of her, how smart she is, and how she is very nearly reading on her own.  I know this isn't a product of my hard work, or my reading to her alone, but she is my neice/daughter, and I have such pride in whatever part I played to help her.

The Vampire was sent home from school today.  I am a bit sad about this because I was under the impression that this Child Care Center didn't send children home for bad behavior.  I walked in to pick her up for speech therapy, and the teachers are staring at me dumbfounded.  I then announce "hi!  I'm here to pick her up for speech therapy", and they say, "oh!  well we just called you to tell you to pick her up for the day, she bit a child and broke the skin."  I had to swallow back the tears as I glanced down at the child the teacher was holding.  A little girl, with braids in her hair, wide clear eyes, and gauze on her finger where the teacher was trying to stop the bleeding.  I looked into those brown eyes, and said I am sorry, then looked at the teacher and said the same.  My heart had sunk to the pit of my stomach, as a little voice in my head said "it begins again".  I tried to talk to the teacher about the incident, and how I was told that they didn't send kids home for bad behavior like this, and she said I needed to talk to the director, who wasn't available when I picked the Vampire up.  It was a struggle over a toy, and when asked how to handle a situation like this, the Vampire can answer without missing the beat, and smiles "tell the teacher!".  Yet when the situation is upon her, she falls into that comfortable old biting remedy.  I can't help but wonder about how much blood she is ingesting if she is breaking skin on these bites.  It really grosses me out to think of the amount of germs she is exposing herself to.  I have tried to tell her she gets bugs in her mouth when she bites (cause she is afraid of them), but that hasn't even worked.  Maybe I am not being consistent enough...

We saw the speech therapist after she was sent home.  This woman is very nice, and seems to be just amazing with kids.  She said that she thinks that the Vampire could be on the lower end of the "normal" kid spectrum, and have done just well enough on the battery of tests to not be included on an IEP, but still need help for one reason or another.  I let her know about the therapists idea of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and she told me that it could be possible, because children with that diagnosis are very impulsive.  The Vampire seems to be very orally driven and impulsive.  Makes for a very bad combo in my opinion.  I guess I could let my sister know in a letter the issues that are coming from the children, and ask her straightforward and honest if she smoked pot or drank while she was pregnant.  It would help so much in clearing up this mystery of what is going on with the Vampire especially, but only if my sister would answer me honestly.  If I don't try, she won't have the opportunity to lie to me, but I will never know.  So the lesser of two evils could be to try.

I keep struggling to turn the pages of the Vampire's book, clean up the messes, and smile through my fears of meeting that dreaded monster that lies at the end of this book.  I feel like I have pried the pages apart that were nailed together, cut through all the ropes that stood in my way, and even clawed through the brick walls that are placed in front of us.  I hope that since I have survived these obstacles with my sanity in tact, that there aren't very many more roadblocks in front of us, and I can turn that final page, to see that there isn't a monster at all, but a sweet, blue eyed, blonde haired little girl with a heart of gold and a smile full of possibilities.  That any thoughts of this monster lying in wait to hurt children at the end of the book, have been vanquished, and proven not to be the horrible vampire that everyone was so afraid of, but a precious little girl who has found that she isn't powerless after all.  Maybe then she can take that power, and become the great little person I know is hiding behind the guise of a vampire.

With the holidays coming up so close upon us, I am scrambling for ideas of things to get the girls for Christmas this year.  They both want pillow pets, and the Drama Queen walks around the house all day singing, "It's a Pillow!  It's a Pet!  It's a Pillow Pet!"  I imagine those will be a favorite toy this Christmas, and the shelves won't stay stocked for long with them.  Uncle M all ready bought the girls and their brother their unicorn, bumble bee, and dog pillow pets.  I need to run out soon and get another unicorn one cause one of  my niece is having a birthday party this weekend, and wants one of those (the youngest daughter of my youngest sister, not to be confused with the sister that sprouted wings and flew away).  Other than that and some clothes, I'm clueless.  There are so many things I could buy that they don't need, and they all ready have a house full of toys that they don't play with!  When I show them toy magazines, they point at everything and exclaim "Oh TT, I want that!"  At least they will be easy to shop for right?!?  I know one thing I am going to do, I will get them both a stocking and put their names on it.  Why you ask?  I was reading a book about a boy who was bounced through the foster care system.  He said that one house was good, and better than all the rest, and that the adults showed him what dream parents could be like while the rest just seemed to be there to collect the foster care money.  What really awed him, was waking up to see a stocking on the mantle, with his name on it.  Made him feel like he was actually wanted there.  That is what I want to give these girls.  They need to know... they actually belong here with me, and I want nothing more than their happiness.  Maybe I ought to buy stockings and put Uncle M's and my name on it too, to let them see just how happy I am that we are a family together.
Aunt TT

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cherry Chip Cupcakes

So on Friday night, I made up a batch of Cherry Chip Cupcakes.  They were for a baby shower that the girls and I attended on Saturday for one of my co-workers.  The ten cupcakes remaining at the end of the shower went home with the girls and I.  I let each of the girls have a cupcake when they finished their dinners on Saturday.  Now the entire time they are eating and watching Snow Buddies, I am doing dishes and laundry, trying to stay ahead of the game on the house cleaning.  I usually fold all the laundry in my bedroom on my bed, because it is the largest surface in the house.  I get the laundry folded, and I'm putting it all away.  I sail into the kitchen and put dish towels in the drawer, and on my way back out spot something odd about the cupcakes under their opaque cake lid....  I open it up to see that someone has licked the pink frosting off of a couple of the cupcakes, and has used their fingers to pull it off of others.  Every single cupcake is missing most if not all of it's frosting.

I call the girls into the kitchen, and say, "Ok...  who did it?"  They both stare at me with these blank "I don't know what you are talking about" stares.  Then I say, "Ok I'm pretty sure that Uncle M didn't lick the frosting off the cupcakes with his finger, and if Hobie (our 90lb golden lab) had done it...  well I don't think he would have put the cupcakes back on the plate with the lid over them when he was finished.  I certainly didn't do it - so that leaves two little girls, who did this?"  At this point they both begin blaming each other.  The Vampire insists it was the Drama Queen, and the Drama Queen wails that it wasn't her, it was the Vampire!  I'm thinking that it was probably both of them, but tell them to march into the bathroom for their showers, because if they can't tell me the truth of what happened, they are both going to bed.  They cry, they fight, they even beg, and I stick to my guns and tell them I won't put up with the lying, and that if they don't BOTH tell me the truth, then they're just going to bed. 

Needless to say, they were both in bed by 7:30 Saturday night.  They blamed each other till they were blue in the face, and had horrible hateful attitudes and argued with me the entire shower about anything they thought they could argue about.  In hindsight...  I was thinking I probably should have made them both sit down, divide the remaining seven cupcakes, and tell them that they had to eat the rest, since they slobbered on them all ready, but I was so angry that they crept into the kitchen and devoured the icing in the small time that I was folding/putting away laundry that I couldn't see straight!  I don't even know if that would have taught them a lesson or if they would have been thrilled to have sat there and enjoy the Cherry Chip goodness. 

We did a whole house cleaning yesterday.  The girls and I started in their bedroom, and Uncle M focused on his man cave... I mean the basement.  We have a couple of bags of clothes, and a box of stuffed animals to donate from all the cleaning, and I am hoping that since I made the girls help me organize their room, that they will have a new respect for where things should go, and how to clean up properly after playing (who am I kidding... right?).  I scrubbed the bathroom from top to bottom, literally.  Swept out heating vents, dusted fan blades, moved and swept under living room furniture, mopped all the floors, it was a very busy day.  While the Vampire napped, the Drama Queen cleaned up the toy station in the living room. 

When the Vampire woke up,  I let her and the Drama Queen sit down and have a real tea (kool-aid) party complete with cookies, and saucers.  They were watching a "Learn to be a Princess" DVD, and having tea time on the DVD, so I thought what the heck!  See the girls have a hard time with imaginary play.  They just can't seem to sit down and play together using their imagination.  So I thought this might help them.  I was in the same room, cleaning the entire time, and coaxing them to do what the Princesses did in the video.  It was funny listening to them try to make polite conversation, like asking how the weather is, cause the concept of the weather to a three year old is just lacking, but they tried.  Most of it was the Drama Queen telling the Vampire how to do this, and how to do that.  The Vampire was just excited that I was letting them actually eat/drink out of their play dinner ware, and was content to oblige the Drama Queen and happily eat her animal cookies.  To my dismay, neither of them tried to dip the animal cookies in the "tea" but the Princesses in the video weren't doing that, and they were trying so very hard to be like them.  It was precious.

After tea, they learned to wave, curtsy, sing, and dance like a princess.  They insisted on changing into their princess gowns after tea, and although the dancing part seemed to bore the Vampire, she did try!  They are both a little young for the singing part, as the words were displayed on the screen like karaoke, and neither of them can read, but again, they tried.  It was a priceless moment in time for me, and Uncle M seemed to be enjoying it too, as he carted things out of the basement, and to the street for trash day.  It is moments like these that I think about how very much their mother is missing out on.  I can't help but wonder in moments like these, if she really even cares, or wonders about what exactly it is she is missing out on.

Mom was also doing some deep cleaning yesterday.  She called me up and let me know that she found the Vampire's baby bracelet.  I nearly cried.  Something to put in the baby book.  I was speechless with joy.  She also wanted to let me know she found my sister's porcelain doll collection.  She wanted to know if I was comfortable with her keeping it and giving it to the girls at a later date.  I told her that I am fine with that, and when the time rolls around that we feel they are ready, and mature enough to have them, we will give them to the girls.  Part of me doesn't want to give them to them at all.  I feel like I am digging the past up and tossing it into their faces.  There may come a day that they want those dolls because they want to feel closer to the woman who gave birth to them.  That day will be for them to decide.  I am also feeling like I don't want to let her see them when she comes to Ohio to visit in March 2011, if she comes.  I wouldn't do it to be mean or vindictive to her.  I also wouldn't prevent it to be controlling or harsh toward those kids.  I just don't want them to have to deal with her walking out of their lives all over again.  It will have been 19 months since she left come March 2011.  I can't imagine how hard it will be for the kids to spend a little bit of time with their mother, only to have to spend months again coming to terms that she is going to be gone awhile again.  I may be wrong in thinking this, but I feel like they will be able to rationalize and understand it better when they are older.  It may not prevent the anger, and the hurt at having lost her, but all I can do is gently prepare them for those feelings when they are older, and be completely honest with them.  I am fairly certain that if I ask them now if they would like to see her, they would both say yes.  I know they miss her, and love her.  I know they don't understand what has happened, any more than I understand why it all happened.

So again I am at an impasse.  I think I will put it all out of my mind for now, and when the March 2011 date grows closer, I will talk to the kids therapist, and see what she thinks would be best for them.  And maybe when that time is a little closer, maybe I will mention to them that if their mom did come to town to visit, would they be interested in seeing her.  Until then, I will turn my energy to things that really need my attention, like weatherstripping for the doors to the house, cleaning leaves up before the snow hits, making hot cross buns with the Drama Queen since she has a sparked curiosity from the childrens' song, Hot Cross Buns, and continuing to support the Vampire in her bite free days! 

Aunt TT

Monday, November 8, 2010

Can We Get Clean Again?

This weekend was another no call no show with the Redneck.  I hear he is in the area, and working under the table.  He is living with my sister's ex husband, and has not bothered to try to maintain any contact with me.  I decided not to wait around for a call that might never come, and when noon rolled around on Saturday, told Uncle M that the visit was off because we had another no call - no show.  Uncle M laid the Vampire down for a nap, and I went to enjoy some girl time with a good friend of mine from college.  The Drama Queen had a very good day at school on Friday, and is starting to master being able to sound words out when she sees them on paper.  The Vampire has had three bite free days as of today (WTG my lovely little blonde!!!)  Hopefully we are seeing the end of that horrible biting stretch, and I give so much gratitude to this daycare for being able to help her with her issues.

We went to the funeral of my Great Uncle Joe this weekend.  He has been very ill for years with Parkinson's disease.  I felt  so much sympathy for his wife and kids, but didn't have the ability to convey it in words.  I freeze up in the moment, and just stand there like a blithering idiot.  I did compliment his daughter on the lovely obituary that she wrote for him, and was able to talk to his son for a little while.  His son's advice was to spend as much time with my parents as I can while they are living and healthy.  I smiled and told him "thank you, I will.".  The entire conversation... I thought "I do.  I call them often, include them in any plans I have, try to show up at the events they plan."

I was deeply saddened, though - because some of my other siblings... don't.  My baby brother has started to more often.  He and his wife have let mom and dad have their kids more often, and they go to their house just to visit now and then, mom and dad adore that.  My youngest sister does try to spend time with mom and dad, but she has two small girls of her own, and lives about 20 minutes away from them, so it is rough for her sometimes, she also just graduated from nursing school, and stays very busy.  My other sister... well she is the one who fled to Arkansas.  The contact she has with mom and dad is not detailed, but she has apologized for everything she has done to them.  Finally my older brother, he has disowned himself from the family.  He doesn't respond to any correspondence from my mother or I.  He has associated with my father, but won't come to any family functions, I guess because my mother or I are there.  There have been times that I have been so depressed over this action of his, that I have tried to seclude myself from the family.  Maybe, if I disappear - he will come around more often, and mom and dad will be able to enjoy him, and his son, whom they miss dearly.  In June it will have been three years since I will have seen my nephew, his son.  I miss him too.  He is the one who gave me the nickname Aunt TT.  Beautiful memories.

I have been sad lately thinking of times that are gone by.  I remind myself that it is the past, and this is the present.  Then I hear a song that reminds me of that corner of my life... and I'm sad all over again.  I always wished I had the courage and talent to be in my brother's band.  I wanted to get up on that stage and sing or play a guitar and just be as bright and awesome as my big brother.  I hung out with the band, and one of the guitarists was convinced that he loved me.  I always viewed him as my brother's friend and a brother type himself, and couldn't return the feelings.  After years of that, he finally couldn't bear to be around me anymore and finally just cut off all ties.  He was one of my best friends.  There has been so much loss in the last 10 years of my life.  If I could have seen things differently, done things differently, maybe my family wouldn't be as broken as it is today, and I wouldn't have lost so many friends along the way.  But then again, I am living in the past, and I can't do that, if I am to move forward in this future I find myself swimming in.

With what my sister has done to my parents and myself, and most importantly, her kids, I have a hard time believing that this family will ever be anything close to normal ever again.  Then I question what is normal anyway.  What family is as functional as they show on T.V.  What family is without problems, issues.  Maybe others are just that good at hiding them.  We aren't.  We have hurt each other so much over the years, and some can't find it in their hearts for forgiveness.  I know I struggle with it myself at times, but what good will it do me to hold a grudge for ages?  I won't benefit from it, but when others do it to me, or those I love and adore...  it cuts my soul.

It is like this demonstration that I remember from my girlhood school years.  The speaker took a piece of paper and drew a face of a little girl on it and told the assembly, "this is Susan.  When she left for school this morning, her mom forgot to tell her Happy Birthday" then she folded the paper in half, "when she got to school, a group of kids teased her about the second-hand dress she was wearing," then she turns the corners in.  She names other things that happen that day to little Susan, and continues to fold the paper until it is all wadded up.  Susan had a very bad day at school.  I can remember days like that.  Then when Susan gets home, her mom tells her she loves her, and wishes her a Happy Birthday and the speaker began to unfold the paper a little with all the nice things that happened to Susan through the course of the evening.  When the paper is entirely unfolded, Susan feels better, but she isn't whole like she was at the start of the day.  I think of that in reference to my family.  Every thing that happens, puts a little cut or tear on my soul, and it is so hard not to be bitter or angry.  It is so hard to smile and walk through each day as if I am my heart isn't bleeding, for my parents, for the kids, for the beauty my siblings are missing out on and might one day never be able to recover, for my nieces and nephews who will never know how truly amazing grandma and grandpa are, and for myself.

My father had a heart attack in 2007.  On August 12th, he was helping to take a tree down at my Aunt's house.  It was my baby brother's birthday, he turned 23, we joke about what a horrible gift my dad gave my baby brother for his birthday.  My father was whisked by ambulance to the hospital, and received the medical care necessary, with a some stints installed in blocked arteries, he is doing much better now.  He cares for himself now and has regular check-ups with his heart doctor.  I never saw this coming, though.  My dad was always so healthy and strong.  So brilliant and steady.  I realized on my drive to the hospital that evening, that he won't always be there.  There will be a day that I will have to say goodbye that final time.  Mom won't always be there, I cry even thinking about it, but there will be a day that they won't be here on earth.  Maybe I am too dependent on my parents, and my other siblings aren't.  But I can not imagine a day that I call mom for her dumpling recipe and she just isn't there, or need a shoulder to cry on when the kids are just being a bear, and there is no one, because the woman who has been there for the past 31 years just isn't anymore.  I can not imagine needing help or advice when remodeling my home, and having to call a complete stranger, be cause the man that has been my rock for 31 years, has gone to join his father in heaven.   I can not imagine treating them the way my sister and brother do.  Especially after dad's heart attack.  It scared all of us.  We all went to the hospital that evening to hold his hand, mom's hand, and be there for each other.  Dad's siblings were there, and my mom's sister, my dear Aunt Trishy.  I thought for sure that would be a life changing moment for all of us.  That we would all start making time for each other, and being grateful for the time we have with each other, because that was the lesson I walked away with.

I was wrong.  I have naively hoped since then that we would wake up.  We have all experienced death - the loss of someone close, and the inability to ever connect with them on this earth.  Some more than others, as my older brother, and youngest sister have lost their biological parents, but we all know what it is to reach for someone, only to remember that they just aren't there.  I have realized with this recent death, that it just isn't like that for everyone.  People don't always take circumstances like that to heart.  Maybe it isn't in their nature, maybe they just have different ways of dealing with loss than I do, maybe I am just insane.  I just hoped so much, for my parents sake that we could all pull together and be civil to each other at least for the remainder of their time on earth.  I know I would try my hardest to do so.  With age comes wisdom, and you don't always have to see eye to eye with the person you love.  It is OK to have differences, just please, don't let them create a Great Divide between you and those you love, it just isn't worth it.  They might not be there tomorrow when you find it in your heart to apologize. 

I worry that my sister's lifestyle will one day lead her to her grave.  She is still so secretive about everything, and won't tell us anything about her personal life.  We know she spent time in the hospital earlier this year, and she wouldn't tell us why.  I worry about getting that phone call that will shatter the world of three young children, my parents, myself.  She makes bad choices, and has done her fair share of wrong, but she is my sister.  She is the person whom I used to play Barbies with all of the time, and dress up.  She is the person I grew up arguing with, and always blamed for stealing my clothes.  She is the person, whom I thought would always be there in way or another, but now, by her choice, she isn't.  I always figured we would raise our kids together, and call each other for advice or a shoulder to cry on.  What a difference two years can make in one person's life.

So if you are reading this, again I apologize for my somber mood.  Circumstances of late have been keeping me down.  I apologize for this post all about loss and death, but if maybe you could walk away from it with a new appreciation for your parents, siblings, children, and just plain family in general.  If it eases your soul even the slightest bit, and you resolve to end a bitter feud with a family member or friend.  If maybe you could learn from what I have lost...  and begin to appreciate what you have in front of you before it is too late, then I will take comfort in knowing that my loss, is your gain, and in that, maybe the cuts on my soul will heal.

"and the siren's song that is your madness, holds a truth I can't erase, all alone, on your face.  Every glamorous sunrise, throws the planets out of line, a star-sign out of whack, a fraudulent zodiac, and the God of Wine is crouched down in my room.  You let me down, I said it.  Now I'm going down, and you're not even around, and I said no no no no.   I can't keep it all together.  I know, I can't keep it all together.  There's a memory of a window, looking through I see you, searching for something I could never give you.  There's someone who understands you more than I do - a sadness I can't erase... all alone on your face."
-God of Wine by Third Eye Blind

 With love,
Aunt TT

Thursday, November 4, 2010

To Z-man, Drama Queen, and Vampire

"So what testing has been done on the Vampire?"  I look at the therapist, and am clueless exactly what she is asking me.  I tell her about the IEP testing and how they said she was a little below average in her speech right now.  She asks again "Exactly what tests have been run?"  I tell her intelligence, speech, and a hearing test.  Then she says, the reason I wanted to know is because I would like to try and figure out if she has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  A label.  Could three words really express what is going on in that child's mind when she eats mulch, rocks, people....   What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Did my sister really drink while pregnant?  How deeply has this been studied?  How will it affect her for the rest of her life?  I have some research before me. 

The Drama Queen or Miss Obstructionist as the therapist called her...  Well the therapist would like to test her for ADHD or ADD, and another syndrome.  Another label.  These children whom I love and adore.... whom I see so much goodness and beauty in.  Bam... a label for each of them in less than 1/2 an hour.  Ok, so the therapist isn't saying that this is for sure what is going on with them, but she would like to study them both further to see if there isn't something deeper.  Uncle M and I said right there that we don't want to go the drugs route.  We don't agree with all the medications that children are on in society, and don't want to subject these kids to it.  She said it might be controllable with diet and exercise.  So now we have a whole lotta testing to do, then after that, who knows what other things we will be doing to change the lives of these kiddos. 

So did my sister drink, and do drugs when she was pregnant with her three children?  I can't stand here before you and say 100% yes that she did.  I can't say that she didn't either.  The Redneck has accused her of being an alcoholic on more than one occasion.  She hid herself from my eyes, my parents eyes because she knew we wouldn't approve of the things she did wrong, so I just can not say what she did or didn't do.  I know that none of the three she gave birth to here in Ohio were planned.  Each pregnancy took her by surprise.  Yes she loved them, yes she was happy to have them. So to the three of you she gave birth to - if you are reading this...  she did want you.  She carried you to full term and gave birth to you.  She smiled and cried in happiness when you were laid in her arms.  Z-man she struggled to nurse you but for whatever reasons - it didn't work out, and she didn't have the heart to try it with the girls.  When she was pregnant with you Z-man, I remember having an argument with her about her lifestyle.  It was a very heated discussion on both of our parts.  I remember her telling me "I am pregnant and this stress isn't good for the baby."  I stopped then, hugged her and told her I didn't want to do anything to harm her or the baby, but she had to think about what was going to happen after the baby got here.  I felt lower than low for even arguing with a pregnant woman.

Regardless if we saw eye to eye or not, she wanted me there holding her leg (yeah, would be hand but I got to be at the end with all the action and helping her push) when she was bringing all three of you into the world.  She didn't want your fathers there for various reasons, none which I ever questioned her about, but she wanted me, Mamaw, and Papaw there to help her bring you into the world.  And we did.  They were the most joyous, beautiful moments of my life when I watched each one of you take that first breath, and got to hear the doctor or nurse announce how healthy and beautiful you all were, and got to be one of the first 5 people in the world who could hold, nuzzle, and just adore you.  When Z-man was born, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach because he wasn't breathing.  My sister saw the look on my face and began to cry and said what is wrong?  I was speechless.  I couldn't answer her, I stood there looking at this lifeless little guy, who wasn't screaming like I expected kids to do when they fell into this world.  I remember the doctor moving Z-man just the right way and when he sucked that first breath into his lungs I cried real tears of joy, and kids... your mom did too.  There is nothing a mother wants more when she gives birth than to know that all fingers and toes are accounted for and that baby is healthy and strong.

When you all were born, I was dating a man who wasn't always nice to me.  I had used his video camera to record Z-man and Drama Queen in the moments after you were born.  When my ex didn't want to be with me anymore in 2008, I had to leave in a hurry, and forgot the tapes that the first moments of you lives were recorded on.  Today, I finally had the courage to ask for them back, and received them.  I haven't seen them yet, as Mamaw and Papaw have them and are making me copies of them, but I am so glad we have them now.  I am so very happy that one day I will be able to sit you down, and let you see how happy we all were that you made your entrance into the world.  Your mother included.  I can not wait to hold them in my hands and watch them, and remember the pride and joy at being able to help your mom bring you into this world.  Being at your births...  was the best gift that anyone has ever given me.  To my sister... thank you.

Vampire - I am sorry, but I was unable to tape your birth.  I was called at work when my sister went to the hospital, and didn't have time to run home and get the video camera.  I hate this.  I don't ever want you to think that I didn't tape you because I love you any less than your siblings, because it's just not the case.  I just couldn't get to the camera in time.  I am sorry.  You were born shortly after Mamaw and I got to the hospital.  I don't know that Papaw even made it in time to be there.  It is so hard to remember all the little things.  What I do remember is the doctor tricking me into cutting your cord!  He asked me to hold the scissors, then said "Since you're holding that - cut right here."  He was crafty!!!

I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life, and I am so thankful that your mother thought highly enough of me to ask me to help her.  Your mom loved you so much, that she left you with us.  Mamaw and Papaw are in her shoes, and now I am in her shoes.  We are the people who have to scold you when you are bad, kiss away the tears when you are hurt, make sure you get a bedtime story at night, and are up and ready for school every morning.  We love this role in your lives.  We did not think twice when your mom left and we had to pick these pieces up.  We were scared, we didn't know how to handle everything, but we knew that we couldn't ever let you be put in foster care, and we knew in our hearts that this was the only way.  So to the three of you, treasure this gift we give you.  It is one that is not easy to come by in life.  Not everyone you meet or love will give you the unconditional love that we have now and will always have for you.  It will be finest thing you will ever receive from us, and will pale in the light of any present you treasure some day.  You have our absolute unconditional love. 

Today was a good day for the Vampire at her new daycare.  The teacher seemed pleased with how well it went, said she had one incident where she did hit someone, but was otherwise a wonderful child.  The Vampire was so happy when I came to take her to the therapist meeting.  She was all smiles, and told me she didn't bite today.  I got down on her level and hugged her and kissed her and told her how very proud I was of her.  She put her shoes on, got her snack and left happily with me.  I hope there are many more days like this to come.  We talked with the therapist about the Drama Queen saying she doesn't like Uncle M anymore and all the lying she tries to do.  The therapist talked to her about how she felt, and had her voice it to Uncle M, then she had Uncle M tell the Drama Queen what upsets him.  It was good to have her help them get it out into the air, since my attempt last night wasn't the most successful thing.  We talked to the therapist about the mark that was left on the Vampire's back last Wednesday.  She didn't believe it could have come from a basket hold as we were told it might have.  I hate to accuse anyone of abusing my child - but it was odd.  The therapist seemed to really think so as well.  She is seeing another child that goes to that center that has some issues, and said she would keep us posted on the findings of his issue because it is similar with what happened to our Vampire.  So sad, but I guess people in daycare don't have to like their jobs, and put their heart and soul into their jobs any more than you or I do. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Dark Ages

It is Wednesday, November 3rd.  Since Thursday October 28th, I have been seeking new child care.  I have had a couple of places turn the Vampire away because of my honesty in her behavior.  Other places tell me that they are glad for my honesty, and that they will try to help me, but they have waiting lists.  The one place that doesn't have a waiting list also happens to be the most expensive, and I will be visiting there today, with the hopes that she can start some time soon.  In the mean time, my father has been watching her.  I am so grateful to have his assistance.  This week has thrown her off her usual routine so bad.  I wonder if we will ever get her back into it. 

The Drama Queen has in the last few weeks been giving Uncle M a really hard time.  I asked her why, and she told me she just doesn't like him.  I asked her why she doesn't like him, and she couldn't give me a reason.  I let the subject alone a little bit and asked her again, and she said he is mean to her.  I have never seen him be mean to her, and asked her what she meant by that.  She again said that she didn't know.  So I asked does he hit you?  She said No.  I asked if it's because he yells at her sometimes, and she said, "yes - that kind of mean."  I told her "I have to be "mean" to you sometimes, does that mean you don't like me?"  She said "No TT, I like you.  I don't like Uncle M."  I'm flabbergasted by this.  On top of the daycare situation, my house has been like a war zone with the Drama Queen fighting with Uncle M every step of the way.  It has been very dark times.

Now I'm faced with this new issue.  How do I pull Uncle M and the Drama Queen together to get them on even ground.  He doesn't seem to understand her.  She doesn't seem to want to put forth the effort to understand him.  I'm emotionally drained, and can't stand them going at each other constantly.  I'm at a point that I go through the motions of life and accomplish the things I know have to be done, and fall into bed every night with my eyes closing nearly the same time my head hits the pillow.  Since mid July I have done NOTHING but damage control on the biting situation.  Most of my time is spent researching about biting, role-playing about biting, and throwing my heart and soul into that precious three year old and that beloved five year old.

My house is a wreck.  I still haven't cleaned for fall and prepared for winter.  I should probably mow my lawn again before too long.  Garage desperately needs cleaned, as I recently discovered the outdoor cat has used the back corner of it as a litter box.  Basement has become a catch all for things I need to get out of sight when people come over.  I need to clean the girls' closet and buy the Drama Queen some new clothes for winter since she has so few.  Hobosis Jones needs a bath really badly.  I get the general things done like dishes and laundry.  I am grateful for Uncle M's help in everything, but I am a perfectionist to the core and when he washes dishes, but doesn't wipe off counters, tables, or sweep/mop the floor, I feel like I have to go behind him and do it again.  I can't stand a dirty mess.  When my house is a mess - so is my mind.  They tend to reflect one another and feed off of the state of one another. 

Uncle M hates his job.  I can't say I blame him.  The people he works for aren't very nice, and his co-workers are all really cut-throat.  I wouldn't be happy there.  That unhappiness spills over into home life I am sure.  He is less patient with the girls, and can't get past their inability to listen and do as they are told.  The therapist recommended a book called 1 2 3 Magic, and I just haven't had time to get to the store to buy it.  I am going to try after my meeting with this daycare on my lunch break, but it isn't looking too promising, and out next meeting with the therapist is tomorrow - I hope she isn't too upset with us for not having been able to follow through on that "homework" assignment.

I am up 4lbs. since I won the biggest loser contest we did here at work in October.  I have been exercising, but my eating habits have been out of control.  Planning meals and making sure I have fresh fruits/vegetables in the house have taken back seat to this entire daycare situation.  I'm really bummed about the weight gain, and had hoped to keep my momentum going to keep losing and get down to my goal.  I resolve to get back on track every morning, but I hit a bump in the daycare situation and drive straight for the first fast food joint on my lunch break because I really don't have time for anything else.  I need to figure out a way to see past this ditch I seem to have dug myself into. 

The Vampire is going to start speech therapy.  I really had to throw my weight around at the meeting on Friday to get the woman to take her on, but goal accomplished.  Now, every Friday, I have to take her to speech therapy, and pray it helps her to begin to use her words instead of her teeth.  The only time they had available was noon, and that will conflict with her nap time at any daycare I get her into, but what choice do I have?  They would like to get her into the daycare at the facility that she will be doing speech therapy, but there are six children on the waiting list in front of her.  It could be awhile.  I don't even know if this speech therapy will help as the therapist seemed so hesitant to take her on, but I have to try.  I don't know what else to do.

When I got out of the meeting on Friday for speech therapy, we drove up to Michigan to visit Uncle M's family.  We had a good time, and it was lovely to see everyone.  We were very busy all weekend, and the Vampire has missed her nap pretty much every day since last Wednesday.  You can only imagine what a bear she has been....  Uncle M won a costume contest for his Mad Hatter outfit.  He looked very Hatter-ish, and played the part well when on stage.  We were all very proud of him when he was announced winner.  He was stacked against a 350lb male tooth fairy, Dracula, a candy girl, a peacock, and the gold-digger.  He did very well.  On the trip home Sunday, we decided to stop for lunch.  It took way longer than we expected and we had to race home to trick-or-treat.  It was freezing, but we had a good time walking around with our friends and their kids.  The girls got soooo much candy, and it's no wonder my weight is going up instead of down.  It is so very hard to resist the siren song of a Reeces Cup.  Please bear with me if I'm not entirely upbeat right now.  The odds seem to be so stacked against me that I have struggled to keep my head up.  I am sure it will get better - just bear with me.

Aunt TT