Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Child of Rage

I know this post is going to seem really out of the blue.  Believe me... this news was the same for me too.  I'm still trying to get my thoughts together, so please bear with me.

Where to begin...

The day therapy school that V has been attending has made some very big strides in curbing some of her behaviors.  We have seen (on average) a happier child.  We have seen her think about making a bad decision and stopping herself 2 out of 4 times.  We have seen her stop wetting the bed, and be so proud of herself that she is now sleeping in undies.  But unfortunately...  I can not tell you this has been a magic fix.  I can speak very highly of this therapy center, and recommend them to anyone who is struggling with creating positive behaviors with their child.  But I do have to tell you now, that we were told this morning that the center is not equipped to handle her behaviors, and they feel that we need to find another place for her to be.

You might be blown away by this.  I was, because at our last meeting we were talking about graduating her, and how well she has been doing.  But, she has begun to strip in the time out room, and defecate on the floor.  She then takes her feces and rubs them all over her body.   She has done this at least once a day every day since last Friday.  They thought it was an extinction burst, and that it would be the final acting out that she would do, but they feel now that it is more a psychological reason than just a behavior.  She is so methodical in it.  She also went to see the Wizard of Oz with her daddy this past weekend, and has begun to act out the movie, changing voices to be different characters, and just completely "going off the deep end".  When they try to hold the back of her pants to keep her from stripping, she will then bite, scratch, and hit their arms over the 1/2 door.  It is not a good situation at all.

They feel that V is a "textbook RAD case".  For those of my readers unfamiliar with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), I'll give you my brief understanding of it.  It is so very important for a child to develop a bond with their mother in the weeks after birth.  This bond is imperative because it teaches the child how to love, how to trust, and how to be loved.  Children who do not develop this bond can not truly love, can not truly trust, and are so difficult to be loved.  I know.  You are thinking who couldn't love a child.  I think you can understand how very hard it is when they lie straight faced, when they can not seem to stop themselves from hurting themselves and others, when they have no grasp of empathy, when they cause such havoc in your home, that you begin to dread being in the same space as them.  You can not trust them alone, even though they are 5 and you think you can leave them to play in the living room while you cook dinner, they will begin to harass the animals or even hurt their siblings.  I am exhausted.  M is exhausted.  She can't be left alone.  It is even difficult to be alone with other adults, b/c the child will lie that the adult is hurting her(or other awful things), and can try to get the adult in trouble. 

I am ashamed to admit it, but that is sometimes how I feel about V.  Please don't misconstrue my words.  I love that child with all my heart.  I will NEVER give up on her, and will be her advocate in every way possible.  I have tried so hard, but I can not bond with her, or get her to bond with me.  Because of the RAD.  She is such a difficult child. 

I haven't explained it very well.  I'm so close to the situation that it is so hard for me.  I can give you the links to a movie that will help you to understand.  My V is no where near as violent as the movie accurately portrays this child.  But she has the potential to be because of the RAD.  She does hurt others on a regular basis, but I haven't seen her try to kill anyone.  The movie was originally released by HBO, and it is called Child of Rage.  I recommend that you watch the documentary of actual footage with the little girl before watching the movie, so that you can understand just how accurately it is portrayed. I warn you if you are a very empathetic person this movie does not portray, but does touch upon child abuse/neglect, and the ramifications of it.  I cried when I watched it many years ago, and when I watched it again last night.  So if you can not handle seeing this, don't watch.  But if you want to understand my V better, then by all means watch it.  I think it is good that everyone in the world be educated to what child abuse can do.  The mental and emotional scars are so much deeper than the bruises or broken bones ever go.  The full movie is in 9 parts, and you will have to click the next video to keep watching it on Youtube. 

Child of Rage Documentary (27 mins)

Child of Rage Movie (90 mins)

I am now tasked with trying to get V back into public school for the remainder of the year, even though I know that is not the best place for her.  There is no where else for her to go.  I thought of asking a friend of ours to watch her and we would pay her for the remainder of the school year, but the friend has a very young baby, and I do not trust V around babies.  I have the help of the therapy school, and they are trying to help me get her into the local psych program at our local hospital.  They believe it may be time to medicate, which is something I have tried to avoid.  I know, it works for many children.  I don't fault anyone for deciding to use it.  I just know that the long term effects of many of these drugs on the market now are not known, and I hate to condemn her future due to this.  My heart is very heavy today.

We are trying to get her enrolled in a school that specializes in children on the spectrum disorder.  I was told they specialize in any diagnoses that ends in a D, and autism.  ADD, ADHD, ODD, etc, so they should be able to handle V.  I hope and pray they can. She will not be accepted to this school until September at the earliest.  But I hope to secure next year.

I have to confess to you that I naively believed she may grow out of this.  I am understanding now that it will take a lot for her to grow out of it.  I am understanding that she has a very long road ahead of her, and needs all of the love and support that she can get her hands on.  When I watched the above videos last night, it was all so clear to me.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that neglect could be worse for a child to recover from than abuse.  I was honestly angrier with my sister when her boyfriend bruised DQ's bottom, than when I would walk in and find V sitting in a nasty high chair that I knew she had been confined to for hours.  Not saying I wasn't angry about that, but I didn't realize back then what that would do to V.  I do now.  In my understanding, I will now say, if you are reading this, and you have a young baby that cries all the time and is difficult to bond with, or if you just don't want to be a parent at this point in your life, and you ignore this child, please please please do the right thing for the baby.  Please either get the help you need to help this colicky infant, or please find someone who will raise this infant for you.  The baby deserves to know how to love, how to be loved, and how to trust.  Please don't ever let this happen to your child.  It is in my opinion almost worse than physical abuse.  I know it might be hard to believe, but it is the bare truth.

If you don't know where to turn, contact me by leaving a comment on this blog with your e-mail.  I will try to help you find help.  I know it is hard to find, it has been hard for me to find.  But it would have been so much better had my sister found help for her children at an early age, than make the decisions she made. I hate for this to happen to any child.

 Aunt TT

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2nd Competition 2013

This competition was away from home, and was such a reality check.  There were some really good groups performing there!  To give you an idea of how good, do any of my readers watch Dance Moms?  Well Justice who used to dance for Candy Apples was there.  Cute little redhead guy, very skilled dancer for his tender age.  The dance academy that he dances at now is huge... and awesome.  Just about every dance they did was one of those dances that you can't take your eyes off of.  Literally, you're sitting there, lost in the music and beauty of the dance, and you're like daggone... I just spilled my ice cold water all over myself, and didn't notice.

 We arrived at the hotel on Friday night.  When dancing competitively, there is usually a hotel near the place the competition will be held that is called a "host hotel".  We arrived at the host hotel around 8:00p.  We let the kids go swimming, and I thought it would be harmless...  boy was I wrong.  DQ was climbing out of the pool after I had been sitting there thinking about how good she was being, and the next thing I know, she is standing in front of me sobbing, saying she hit her teeth on the side of the pool when climbing out.  I look, and she has totally chipped both of her two front permanent teeth.

Night before competition.
Imagine how awful she felt and how worried she was.  Everyone was so great, though, and told her how pretty her smile is even with her chipped teeth.  I was so thankful for that.  Tomorrow I'll be calling the dentist to see when I can get her in and get them checked out.  They are sensitive and she couldn't eat the apple she wanted this morning without it being cut up first.  I hope they aren't damaged to the nerves.

Where are V and M you ask?  Home.  M kept one of the other dance mom's daughters and V, while we went off to be dance moms.  It helped immensely.  V and the other little girl would have been dreadfully bored sitting through all of the performances that we sat through.  When V is bored she creates fun things to do.  Fun things are usually things that are not so fun for mommy.  So I can't say thank you enough to daddy for having kept both little girls.  They seemed to enjoy their weekend with him too.

Saturday we got up around 7:30a and started getting ready for the competition.  We ate the breakfast provided by the hotel (BELGIAN WAFFLES), then went back to the hotel room to do the girls' hair before leaving to head to the convention center.  Which by the way was gorgeous!

The Convention Center
Front of the Convention Center
 What am I talking about... the whole town was gorgeous.   I don't know if you can tell, but all of these homes, schools, Wendy's, Burger King, KROGERS, you name it, were of brick construction.  There was white fence as far as the eye can see.  Jogging trails, nature preserves, etc.

 I was in awe of what a pretty community this was.  And how could I forget the round-abouts?!?!  Instead of a 4 way stop at most intersections they had a European round-a-bout.  My mom was driving and a bit timid about it at first (who could blame her....  I was too!), but after going through them a few times she was a pro.  The competition should give out round-about mastery awards!

 So here's the photos I got from this competition.  The yellow costume is for Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (we're adding the polka dot rhinestones in the next week or two)  The blue is for their ballet, True Colors, and the striped and blue costume is for their tap, Oh La La.

At the end of the day, we let the girls go back to the swimming pool and have a blast.   I was nervous about this, but no more teeth were chipped.  A kid can't live in a plastic bubble...  even though sometimes as a mom you really want to put them there.

Sunday we were up early, and raced to see a duet that two girls from our dance group were performing.  We didn't make it in time, and I felt really bad about missing it.  We didn't miss their awards, though.  Then we stayed to watch the teens perform their numbers, and ended up leaving to head home around 4:00.  After dropping everyone off that rode with us, I made it back home by 6:30, and am unwinding before Monday begins a new week.

We had fun.  I had butterflies in my stomach waiting for DQ to perform.  Other than DQ breaking her two front teeth, it was a fantastic weekend.  I nearly forgot, the girls received a special judge's award for the ballet called the "heartwarming award", the won gold in Jazz, elite gold and 1st in their category for ballet, then elite gold for tap.  They won 9th overall (out of 10 places) for their jazz number.  I can't wait for the next performance in April!!!  I love watching these girls grow and become better dancers!

Aunt TT

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A letter to my Sister


Today is your birthday.  You are 32 today.  I can't remember the last time we spoke.  I hate this rift, although I know that protecting your daughters is the most impt. thing I will ever do in my life.  There is so much I want to tell you, though.  So many times I wish I could pick up the phone and call you and tell you all about the girls' accomplishments, or the funny things they say and do.  There are times that I wish you had access to a computer, and could read this blog, and by proxy feel close to the beautiful angels that you gave birth to.  I also know that there are truths in this blog that would hurt you, so I sometimes hope you never see it.

I want to tell you about DQ, your eldest daughter.  I'm bursting at the seams with pride when it comes to both girls, but DQ is the eldest, so I will start with her.  She will begin taking voice lessons in the next week.  She is very excited about this.  She loves to sing like we did when we were little, but she seems to have a natural gift for it.  She is only 8, and all ready has a pretty little vibrato voice.  It is adorable.  She is also doing very well in dance.  She didn't get stage fright and freeze up on her first competition.  She danced her little heart out, and seemed genuinely happy the entire day.  She also looked beautiful up on stage.  She has plenty of room for improvement, but with the proper instruction, I feel that she could have a career that has involvement with dancing.

Mom and I took the girls to see The Nutcracker and Cinderella ballets in the past few months.  DQ was enthralled.  The Nutcracker has children dancing in it, and they have try outs in the fall.  She wants to audition to dance in The Nutcracker this fall.  If she is ready, and has time in her schedule.  I will support this dream as long as I can.  She also has it in her mind that she wants to do a solo next year in the competition season.  I will wind up talking to the instructor about it all, to see if she can do it or not, and to figure out the cost of it.  She practices pretty well at home, and can not sit still.  She is always dancing around the house and singing happily.  She saw a video of a child dance prodigy giving training tips on YouTube, and decided that she needs to do it too, so she has begun doing sit ups and crunches in her regular practice routine.  Such drive.  She honestly reminds me of a mix of both of you and I.  I really hope to help her achieve all of her dreams.

DQ's next competition is next weekend.  We will be traveling out of the area for this one, and staying the night in a hotel.  Mom is talking about coming with us.  We are all very excited.   She is also excelling in school.  She is way beyond her level, and I wonder if she will be accepted to the GATE program next year.  She is an amazing little girl, and I wanted you to know that.

V has been attending a day therapy school to help with her aggression, control issues, and attention seeking behavior.  The therapists at the school believe that she could have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), AND Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  I don't know if you drank while you carried her or not.  I know that if you did, it was probably before you found out you were pregnant, and I know you never meant any harm to befall her.  I have learned so much about parenting because of V, and her struggles.  We think we have finally pinpointed the root of her issue, and that is she believes any attention is better than none at all.  She is perfectly happy with you yelling at her or even spanking her, just as much as she is with you hugging her and praising her.  So we have had to completely ignore attention seeking behaviors.  It has been difficult, and I am certain we haven't been perfect, but M and I are working very hard to do things differently with her.... and Sis..  it's working.  (I'd better knock on wood, because every time I brag about her the bottom drops out...).

She has been such a happy child these last few weeks.  M and I work very hard to lavish affection on her when she is doing good things, and kiss or hug her often.  We have snuggle time with her and her sister every morning when we wake up before we start our days.  They both love it.  We cleaned a closet out in our home, and took the door off the hinges, and are using this as a time out closet, and both girls are responding well to the technique that the Therapy School has taught us.  The Therapy School is beginning to talk about working towards her graduating from their program and moving back into mainstream school.  I'm so nervous about this.  She doesn't handle change well, and I worry that she will backslide, but hopefully we will have the right supports in place, and we will be able to work through this.

V is the funniest child.  I was brushing DQ's hair the other night and we had the stereo on.  Some goofy funkadelic song came on, and V started dancing around the living room.  She kept dancing right up to DQ's face with the funniest little expression on her own face, and making the both of us laugh until we nearly cried.  She loves to make people laugh.  Maybe we have a little comedian on our hands!  She too is an amazing little girl.  I feel like you need to know how special your biological children are. 

I also wanted to wish you well on your birthday today.  I wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten.  The girls don't know it's your birthday, but I will tell them.  It is important that they know.  I also want to thank you.  I can't begin to tell you the happiness that being a mother to your daughters brings me.  It hasn't been easy.  V has presented us with a world of challenges, but I'm learning that being a parent to any child isn't ever an easy job.  Regardless if you gave birth to them or not.  They all come with their own unique sets of challenges, and you are constantly learning new things, and growing with them.  I still don't haven't had any biological children, and don't know if I ever will.  So the gift of being a mother is the most amazing gift of all.  I know it wasn't what you intended in the beginning, but I am so thankful that you were self-less enough to give them a chance at a better life.  A life you didn't think you could give them.  I commend you for being able to do that.  I do love you.  I don't know how to mend this rift, but if I ever figure out how, I will let you know.  I hope you will be open to the possibility by then.  I can't say I haven't been angry you during this entire process, because I have been very angry.  But I feel like I can forgive you now, and that is good, because it will help me help your children to forgive you.  I love you, and I hope you have a wonderful day today.

Your older sister,