I can tell that life has been busy managing a household with two babies, two tweens, a young adult and a husband. I have hardly been blogging at all (other than all my Facebook ramblings). So, in order to keep a record of all the crazy that is my life, here is a super crazy-long catch-up post. We'll go in order from oldest to youngest...
Mr. Amazing is healing quite well from his surgery – all things considered. He still can't eat meat or bread or anything but soft food so I'm something of a short order cook for him. And one of his surgical sites is starting to get infected. But we're praying that the oral antibiotic that the surgeon called in does the trick. Mr. Amazing had to get his surgery done in Central Texas because none of the surgeons in our area were qualified enough to handle the complicated re-do of the Nissen. We'd like to avoid any extra trips up north if they can be avoided. He also still can't lift more than 15 pounds so that puts me on baby duty for the most part. Still, he's healing well and that's what matters.
It's been quite the summer of transformation. We're learning how to navigate the world of parenting a young adult. Initially Herman had planned on going to a trade school in the area for welding. However, as the end of high school got closer, he decided against that. Ultimately, Herman wants to be a motorcycle mechanic. He wants to learn how to build custom motorcycles. This is a real career and we fully support him in it. However, the school he wants to attend isn't in Texas. And Herman isn't exactly ready to be on his own yet. So, we decided that Herman should live at home and get a job, do some growing up, save some money, and then go on to school.
Getting that job has not been an easy task. Herman has applied at many, many places and he hasn't heard back from most. He took it upon himself to go into many stores in person. He spoke with managers. But...Herman doesn't speak Spanish and he's white. Where we live, those are not good things!!
We thought there was a good chance for Herman to possibly interview for a job in Iowa. We quickly made arrangements for Herman to move up north to stay with My Genius Mother. When that possible job opportunity didn't pan out, we still thought we'd send Herman north. But then...ummmm...Herman showed us that he still needs active parenting in his life. My Genius Mother does not need to be managing that level of parenting anymore. So, I got up in Herman's business and told him he was NOT going to Iowa and he had better figure out where he was going to work down here. He managed to find a job and start within a few days after that Come to Jesus moment. Herman now has a part-time job where he barely makes pennies. But, it's better than nothing. And after his schedule is somewhat set we expect him to go out and find a second part-time job to fill in the gaps a little bit more.
TT and Bart:
We've decided that our season of homeschooling has come to an end (at least for now). TT desperately wants to play football. In order for him to play football, he has to attend public school. There simply aren't other options for kids in our area. Football doesn't start for students until 7th grade and TT is just going into 6th. But he needs to start back in public school now in order to be used to things. In less than two weeks I'm sending my kids back to the wolves.
I'm scared to death!!
I know I had been blogging about all the medications we've tried for TT's anxiety and Bart's ADHD. I got very fed up with nothing working a few months ago. We were going to the psychiatrist what felt like all the time, I was forking out a ton of money for all sorts of expensive medications and TT was still a giant stress ball and Bart was still bouncing off the walls. I took them off everything. I said we'd go back to baseline over the summer and reevaluate from there. I rescheduled one psych appointment so they'd remain patients in the office and I threw all the meds away.
Their next psych appointment was the last week of July. I thought we had been managing things OK enough without meds. Sure, TT was still coming in our room to sleep a lot. And Bart couldn't handle two-step directives. But ultimately, neither boy likes the idea of taking meds. So I figured we'd cancel the appointment and be done with things.
I involve the boys in their mental health decisions though. I sat them both down and discussed the situation. We talked about side effects. We talked about possible benefits. If I'm honest, I'll tell you I tried to steer the boys away from going back to the doctor.
Both boys looked at me and said they wanted to try meds again.
TT doesn't like being anxious all the time. And Bart knows when he's out of control and he hates that it's so hard for him to follow through with things.
Somewhat reluctantly I packed them up and took them to the psychiatrist again. After waiting for hours and hours, we finally got face time with the doctor. I expected that she would be frustrated I took them off everything. She totally seemed to understand though!! She even somewhat apologized for not being able to find anything that works yet. (Totally not her fault but it was a nice gesture.)
TT is on an anti-depressant that seems to be possibly taking the edge off his anxiety better than any other med he's tried thus far. He's also taking something to help him sleep at night. It's not dramatically better. But I know the idea of middle school is an almost crippling fear and he seems to be weathering this upcoming change OK. I have to think the meds are working just a little.
Bart is on another med for his ADHD. He can't take stimulants because they cause him to have violent rages. (He literally becomes a child I do not recognize.) I don't think the dose is quite strong enough yet of the new med, but I'm seeing him have more self-control than he usually does. It should help him as he navigates being a fifth grader this fall.
I don't have a lot of major things to report on Russell. He's just a super awesome HAPPY baby that is a lot of fun to take care of!! He's pulling up on everything and he can cruise the length of the couch with ease. He's making advancements in absolutely every area.
Russell is two years old now. We had a lot of birthday fun at home. He didn't understand any of it - but he likes his new toys! Sadly, his mother didn't seem to do anything for him and she actually got to see him ON his birthday. Instead, Star came home from that visit in a new outfit and Russell didn't have anything. I know it's not about the stuff. But I was sad that Mom chose to do something for Star and not for Russell on Russell's actual birthday!
I'm still waiting for the ENT to get me proper documentation so I can get the judge to approve surgery (tubes). Russell failed his ABR hearing test quite significantly. The test results point to there possibly being fluid in the ear. Russell has extremely small ear canals though so no one knows for sure. They need to sedate him, take a look, and put tubes in as a preventative. We'll go from there.
But first, I have to get permission from the judge for Russell to go under anesthesia. I hope it happens soon. I'm confident that this hearing loss is reversible and I just know that Russell's language will simply take off once he can hear the world around him!!
Sylvia (Bio Mom) is missing out on so much. She has two of the most beautiful and the happiest babies I have ever met!! Star is an unbelievably happy baby - just like her brother. She literally never fusses. She will let me know when she needs a diaper change, or when she's hungry or tired. But she doesn't cry just out of frustration with the world...ever! She's very, very happy!!!
Star is growing like a weed and getting bigger all the time. I swear she just about shot through all the 3-6 month clothes I bought her. Star turns four months old this Friday.
Star is doing all the things tiny babies do. She coos back and forth with me when I hold her. She smiles whenever anyone talks to her. She even rolled over from her back to her tummy last week (8/6/15) for the first time.
The case in general:
Sylvia has worked her entire case plan. Bopper (CPS) assures me that they are not recommending reunification at this time though. No one can account for the injuries that Russell sustained. That has got to mean something. He had fifteen fractures but no one has any idea how they happened.
I continue to point out to anyone that asks that Sylvia was also responsible for feeding Russell and that didn't happen. He was less than 10 pounds at 17 months of age when he entered Care. He was dropping lower and lower on the growth curve. And when he came into foster care...that growth curve started going almost straight up! He's big and fat and healthy now. I fear that people are going to forget how starved he was because nothing in Mom's case plan addressed why she wasn't feeding him.
We go to court next on the 26th of August. I know that no one has located anyone on the paternal side of the family for Russell. Star's bio dad is still in federal prison. I believe there is family that has told CPS they would take Star – but there's no one that is willing or able to care for Russell. I don't believe that CPS will split the case back up now either. But there really is no telling what will happen in court.
Life is nothing short of a roller coaster. But we're all weathering the ride OK right now. I try really hard to not worry about Russell's future. (I'm honestly not as worried about Star. Russell is the one I'm afraid would suffer abuse again. Star, to the best of my knowledge, was never hurt prior to coming to me.) I'm trying really hard to not freak out about sending TT and Bart back to the sub-standard public schools down here. And I'm trying really hard to believe in my heart that Herman will actually grow up and become a contributing member of society. Through it all, I try to be the best wife and mom that I can be.
Oh yeah - and I also have tried to quit drinking Diet Coke. I was a serious (SERIOUS) addict. I haven't gone cold turkey as I know that putting an ultimate "you cannot have it" would mess with my brain too much. But I don't keep any in the house. I got rid of my caffeinated kool-aid packets. And I'm drinking lots and lots of plain old water.
If I left anything out or if you've got any questions – just let me know.
And that's life in The Crazy House!