Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oregon Trail

Uncle M has recently been hooked on the newer version of the old game Oregon Trail.  Have you ever played it?  I loved it when I was younger.  You have 5 characters that you can name as people you know or fictitious characters.  You have to safely transport these folks (in an 1800's setting) from the eastern side of the country to the western side of the country.  You travel in a covered wagon, have to hunt for food if you run out of the stuff you bought, and ford rivers if they are too deep.  Some of your companions will die along the way to snake bites, cholera, freezing to death.  Poor Uncle M never seems to make it alive to Oregon.  I tease him saying that it is cause he is too risky, and drives the oxen too hard, but he is getting more enjoyment out of the risks he takes on his trip across country than my playing it safe.  The trials and tribulations of this game closely mirror the very same ones I am living in life.  I try to safely escort these kiddos from childhood to adulthood, while trying to avoid their death, illness, mental corruption.  This is my journey in life.  

The Journey.  I talked with a good friend last night about the sojourns that are our lives, and in talking with her, I was reminded of the quote "Life is about the journey, not the destination."  I have had a great many ups and downs over the past few years.  I have grown closer to some friends, while drifting apart from others.  Our life changes tend to cause this it seems.  In June 2009, my life took a drastic change.  One that has all of my time consumed by two little girls.  I try not to drown in all of their issues, and their needs.  I want to be able to stand on my own, and still enjoy life when they are grown and on their own, but I also need to be loving and attentive to them because although I want to retain my identity - they are my primary concern.  I miss my old friends.  I try to keep in touch with them, but we are all grown up and doing all of our grown up things, and it is hard to find time.  I make new friends and some of them come and go in my life like a revolving door, while others move away, and I still manage to stay in touch - although I know it takes a lot of work on their part as I withdraw into the role of mother - and for that I thank you!

The complication in my life right now is a beautiful blond haired blue eyed girl.  I have found child care.  The woman I mentioned from Friday's blog is now watching her.  It is cheaper than the last day care, the woman who runs it sees the Vampire as a normal child, and says she will be no problem, I can also leave the Drama Queen there on snow days, and the Vampire seems to like it.  The drawbacks...  there isn't a lot of structure, she doesn't work on a lot of education type things, and our therapist doesn't seem thrilled with the idea.  I have no other options right now, as the waiting lists I put her on months ago for other child care centers are still in existence, and there are still other children who signed up before her.  I may continue the Head Start angle, so she has structure at least 1/2 of the day.  Head Start can not help me until late January at the earliest, though. 

The woman who works out of her home told Uncle M and I that we need to relax.  That the Vampire is a perfectly normal three year old.  I want to believe her so badly.  I want to believe that she is normal, and that something in our being too wound up over her behavior is what is causing her to continue her bad behavior.  I have always prided myself on my appearance, but I can tell you that I have habitually NOT worn make-up since October because since then I have not been able to keep myself from crying at least 3-4 times a week.  I was always getting phone calls about how bad she was, and the pressure was always on to find a new child care provider.  I have hope that it won't be like that here, with this new child care.  I actually want to go put some make-up on.  On the other hand...  the Vampire had an absolutely HORRIBLE session with the therapist last night.  She wouldn't listen to anything the therapist would say to her, and actually peed not once but twice on purpose because she was angry.  The first pee was on a chair, the second on the floor.  I hope this is the end of her horrible behavior, and after all of this testing and manipulation, that she will realize that she can't do these things anymore.  I'm so embarrassed that my kid peed herself to try and get her way.  The therapist wants to talk to the child care provider, and needs my approval for that to happen.  I have to find out if the child care provider will talk to the therapist.  The therapist wants me to not give up hope on one of the centers she is on a waiting list for, but I am so afraid I will get the Vampire in there, she will act up, and be tossed out like all the other regular child care centers.

I purchased a book for the girls, and have read it to them once.  As I read they both smiled at me so broadly.  It is called I Love You So, and in the book the child is questioning the parent just where does love come from, do you love me when I am bad, and do you love me if I am far away, while the parent reassures the child that their love for them never changes, it is as tall as the mountains, deep as the oceans, and as constant as the sun.  I want to make this book, be one that is read to them once or twice a week, as I hope to communicate my love for them through this book.  They both seemed so happy after I read it, that if something that small gives them happiness....  then I can make it tradition.  I recommend this book to all of you for your children, because regardless of the circumstances you or they are in, they all wonder how far your love will go.  More testing and manipulation. 

As I watched the Drama Queen this morning cut her pancake into perfect squares, and remind me not to miss putting syrup on the square in the middle, I saw the perfectionist in me shining through her.  I said "are you sure I didn't give birth to you?"  She laughed and said "No TT.  You're silly."  I said "It's just that you're so much like me."  She smiled and said "I know, it's cause I was named after you!"  I just smiled at her.  I can relate to this kid.  I know why she does what she does, and am rarely surprised by her actions.  The Vampire's actions however, I can not fathom.  I try to get down on her level.  I try to understand what is going on in that little head.  But I just can't relate right now.  I can spend time lavishing affection on the Drama Queen, but the Vampire is so bad that it is hard to find times I can lavish affection on her.  I try, I really do, but it is so hard trying to make sure I am not rewarding her very bad behavior.  When she is good, I praise her up one side and down the other and hold her close to my heart.  I have been making a conscious effort to say "Hey, that was awesome!" or "I loved that you put your shoes on without my asking you!"  or "thank you for getting in the car like I asked you!".  I hope that I have the patience to continue trying to influence the good, and that she will catch onto it and begin acting better.  One day, this will all just be a bad memory - one that we will laugh about when she brings home her first boyfriend and we tell him "careful... she bites!"

I know my journey is no where near at an end.  I am going to try to remind myself on a constant basis that I need to relax more, smile more, and instead of feeling like the world is coming to an end, that this is just a horrible bump in the road, and I will recover from it and keep traveling on.  My friends will continue to come and go.  Some will have left their footprints on my heart, and others will have just taken or given what was needed at that point in time.  These two little girls will always hold the better half of my heart, and knowing they are there, will always give me strength to continue on in this sojourn that is my life.  I will try to understand that life will never be perfect like I want, and that instead of wishing for the unattainable, I need to focus on the wonderful things right before my eyes, embrace them, and let myself soar with the happiness they bring.  I don't have to be perfect, and you know what I realized recently, people probably accept and like me more when I'm not.  Who wants to hang out with someone who never makes mistakes, always looks like a million dollars (not that I ever have), always has a spotless house, children who never misbehave, and the elusive doting husband who never seems to think their wife does anything wrong.  Aside from all of that...  exactly what would I be learning from this trip through life if everything were easy and handed to me.  What would add richness and depth to my soul?  So I will savor the bumps in life as much as possible, and smile through the dark times, it helps me to be the person I am today, because to some in life I am a beautiful soul that has made footprints on their hearts.

Aunt TT

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