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.   

Love,
Aunt TT

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