Friday, May 30, 2008

Preparing for Battle

Well, I had a good cry last night! My dear Alyssa pushed me to the point of breaking and she won! I cried like a baby, runny, snotty nose and everything, for about 4 hours. I am really glad I have to work all weekend, I really need to recharge.

Lisa, thank you for the suggestions. You really are an awesome Mom! So, I am going to recharge my batteries this weekend and Monday I go into battle. I'm thinking we start over. No privileges, and she has to earn everything. Oh and my house is a pig sty so I'm thinking lots of chores are in order!

I feel like crap today but by Monday, I will be ready to roll!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sweet Alyssa

Well, Alyssa is officially a Junior Girl Scout. She had her bridging ceremony yesterday which I made sure I was there for. I had to take a half of the day off, but I didn't mind, I was so proud of her! So, I take time off from work, organize and put together the gift for the leaders, make a treat for the celebration and sit for an hour to watch my daughter cross a bridge. Do I sound cynical? Yea, probably because I'm sick and tired of fighting.

Every day has become a battle. If I say the sun is shining, Alyssa will disagree. If I say it is hot, Alyssa will say it is cold. And on and on and on and on! And my oh my has that child developed a sassy mouth! Just in the blink of an eye, she is nothing but sass! Last night I put her to bed at 7:30pm because I couldn't take any more! About 8:30pm she asked me to come in her room and she did apologize, but this morning she woke up and it was more of the same!

If anyone has any suggestions, I am willing to try anything!!! Don't misunderstand me, most of the day is actually really good! But let me tell you - when she gets sassy - it is terrible! I actually told my daughter that if she didn't shut her mouth she would have zero privileges for the rest of the week! I am loosing my grip! I feel like my bag of tricks is empty and I need to fill it up fast! We have not seen this level of disrespect for a long, long time! I want my sweet Alyssa back!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Choir Girl!

Well, we had an awesome weekend! Miss Alyssa decided to clean her room before we left on Friday. She was responsible, respectful, and fun to be around all weekend! I am glad to report that she really did develop some good friendships last year. The minute we pulled into the campground, at least six girls were at the door asking for Alyssa to play. When I talked to the other Moms, it seems that "the girls" as we all call them, are much better behaved since Alyssa has been around. My rule has been that you can play at the park as long as you behave and play nice. If you go to one of the girls houses, let me know where you are going to be. Break the rule just once, and you are done playing for the rest of the weekend unless Mom & Dad are with you. Well, apparently since Alyssa has been so diligent about behavior because she doesn't want to lose her play privileges, the other girls have been better about letting there own parents know where they are. Go figure, my little RAD is the role model! Miracles do happen!

Congratulations are also in order. Alyssa was accepted into the Lakeshore Youth Chorale for next year! She is so excited! This is quite a prestigious group and I am VERY PROUD of Alyssa for even having the courage to try out. Way to go Alyssa!

Three weeks left of school! Will I be glad when summer is finally here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Woe is Me

Alyssa continues on her path of self destruction. She is in one of those "Woe is Me" states that she refuses to let go of. She is making poor choices, being VERY irresponsible, and just doesn't seem to care! So, right or wrong, here is what Jeff & I decided to do:

1) NOTHING! We are going up north tomorrow for a long holiday weekend and we are just going to enjoy ourselves!

2) When we get home on Monday, Alyssa will be given the opportunity to clean her room.

3) Anything not clean when she leaves for school on Tuesday will be cleaned by Mom. That means anything not put away in the proper place will become mine.

4) Alyssa will have NO privileges until she can prove to us, once again, that she can handle them! We are, after all, the most awesome Mom & Dad on the planet!

So wish us luck! I am glad that we are able to identify the times when Alyssa needs us to hold her close. She does such a good job of letting us know that we need to do a better job of listening!

So I am going to M.I.A. until Tuesday. By then I hope that I can report a change of attitude. If not, I am going to at least get my spring cleaning done - all courtesy of Miss Alyssa!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Wonderful Teacher

I got an email from Alyssa's teacher today. Here is a little about what it said:

Hi Gerri,

Hope all is well. I have been trying to figure out what is going on with Alyssa. Don’t get me wrong, she has had good days, or I wouldn’t had sent home the sheets. Her work is done correctly, most of the time, she plays well with others, homework is in, etc. Tell me if I am correct with she looking for attention? For about the last three weeks I have noticed this...I don’t get the directions/instructions out and she has her hand raised. I have been telling her, wait until I finish listen carefully, and then if you have questions I will answer them. She raises her hand at the oddest times to tell me things, but for the most part they have nothing to do with what we are doing at the time.

This was my response:

It is all about CONTROL!!! I think she may be just trying to see if she can get you to repeat yourself! It is a control thing and what you are describing is a big part of it. We are seeing ALOT of it at home also.

What do we do? I don't know other than to say that we both have to remain in control. How we do that, I'm not quite sure. I have gone through my usual bag of tricks and nothing has worked. We had therapy last night and she suggested that we try saying, "Alyssa, this is important, can I have your eyes". and then wait for her to look at us, and then give her the instruction and then have her repeat it.

Maybe if we both pull her aside and lay down the law. Just tell her, this is the way it is going to be. If you break the rule and interrupt at inappropriate times, you will receive X consequence. No 2nd chances, no "forgetting", this is the way it is. If she does it once, maybe she looses a recess, if she does it twice, an added consequence at home? I really don't know, but at this point, I am willing to try anything.

So, my daughter's wonderfully understanding, caring teacher responds with this:

I will give her the law, there is questions once I have given final and complete details. She must have eyes and ears on me while I am doing so. I will let you raise your hand, but if it is about something silly, or about what I just said or wrote you lost a recess. I don’t want her afraid of asking questions, but I know your feeling of GOING NUTS! You lay the law there, and I will here. I love her dearly, but she can’t win. Maybe JUST maybe once she sees that at home, and school it might just fit in place for her.

Motherhood...gotta love it! :)


My daughter, my family, is very lucky to have this wonderful woman in our lives. We have been truly blessed because not only does Alyssa have her this year, she also had her last year, AND, because of class re-structuring, will have her next year as well!

God is Good!

Monday, May 19, 2008


I am tired! We had a good weekend, but Alyssa continues to be mentally exhausting. Cody was in town so they spent the day together Saturday and then Alyssa stayed over night. This was actually a nice, unexpected break. Jeff & I were able to go out with friends, just the two of us and relax. We had a wonderful time. When we got home around 10:30pm, the neighbors were having a fire so we stopped to say hi and ended up over there until 2:00am! So much for our early night!

Alyssa seemed to handle things pretty well. We even let her have a friend over Sunday afternoon! I find it really hard to pinpoint her behavior. She is not being over the top obnoxious. Just enough to pick, pick, pick!

We have therapy tonight, so maybe Paulette will have some tricks up her sleeve. I hope so!

Still no word on the youth choir! I am sure this unknown is not helping the situation at all!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Awesome Uncle Bruce!

My daughter is teetering on the edge. She is halfway between a respectful little girl and a crazy person. What's really scary is that I am catching glimpses of both! I know this time of the year is really stressful. But Jeff and I have bean really careful of what we say and what we do. We know how touchy Alyssa is so we have been extra careful. I think the only thing we are managing to do is prolong the meltdown. I don't think we are going to prevent it. I almost wish that she would blow, get it out of her system so that we could move on to another place. Walking on eggshells is not fun!

The worst is that she is suddenly helpless. It is driving me nuts, it is driving her teacher nuts! By helpless I mean that after getting in the shower by herself for the entire school year, she suddenly is incapable of turning the water on! What the _______??!! Oh and my favorite by far: She suddenly is afraid of being on a different floor than us. If I go downstairs to do laundry, Alyssa refuses to stay in her bedroom(on the main floor) because she is scared! Jeff & I have talked about what to do and have even tried a couple of things. Nothing is working. We even discussed the possibility of charging her a quarter every time she asked for help. We are not going to do this though because I don't want to teach Alyssa to NEVER come to us, I want to teach her to lean on Mom & Dad when she needs to but learn to be independent. So, we are at a loss - ALL SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!!!

It seems that Alyssa has the MOST AWESOME UNCLE - EVER! This came from Alyssa's friend because Uncle Bruce let her come over to play after Girl Scouts when he was watching Alyssa. "K" thinks that Alyssa is the luckiest because she has Uncle Bruce! Yes, Alyssa, your Uncle Bruce is awesome - not because he loves you completely and has from day 1, not because he volunteered to babysit every other Wednesday for the last two years so that you could be in Girl Scouts, no that's not why Uncle Bruce is awesome. Uncle Bruce is the most awesome because he let "K" come over and he let them have a Popsicle! Go Uncle Bruce!

We should find out today or tomorrow if Alyssa made the choir. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


OK, so yesterday I was really feeling down. But, I got my big girl panties back on and am once again ready for battle!

This morning was much better than yesterday, but we still left the house late. We have reverted back to the Alyssa of 6 months ago. She doesn't want to get out of bed, then she doesn't want to move! I think all of the "milestones" combined with the end of the school year, combined with being anxious about her tryout(did I mention that Alyssa tried out for the Lakeshore Youth Choir? She will find out at the end of the week if she made it) are just throwing her for a loop! Her evenings have been great, we just need to get rid of the morning attitude! Of course she is sweet as pie with Daddy in the morning, and then the minute he leaves for work my devil child arrives! I am trying to think of a brand new "incentive" for leaving on time so if anyone has any ideas, I am willing to try them!

This weekend we are going to go full boar and get every speck of yard work done! Next weekend is Memorial weekend and I want to know that my weekends are going to be free to go up north, not filled with outside chores that need to be done at home. We are home all week, chores can get done then. I want to go up north!

Alyssa finished her Dust Bowl project. She has one more big project due next week, her group project on Ireland. I hope they are able to finish it. One little girl has barely participated. But, I am trying really hard to not have it be MY problem. I passed the third grade, remember? Oh well, the school year is almost over and Alyssa has a busy summer planned. Before we know it we will be starting the madness all over again!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The meltdown arrived. It was expected, but made me sad just the same. Alyssa was owly. I have no other word for it. I did the unforgivable and asked about her day and I got nothing but sass! And, then, when I called her on it, and requested an apology, MELTDOWN! I won't go into details, just to say that it was not a major meltdown, and as meltdowns go, pretty tame. But, it got to me! It smacked me right in the face and forced me to realize that we are still traveling this RAD road and the destination is really no where in sight. We go for such a long period of time thinking that we are "normal" and then a day comes along, a stinkin' day, and your heart aches for the hurts of your child. And to top it off, Daddy gets the "I Love You"! What did I get this morning? Why do you always have to be so mean? Yup, that's me, the mean Mom! I'm the one that gets the most crap, the most grief, and I keep coming back for more. Yup, I'm mean all right! I get yelled at and glared at, but I am still the one that turns around and helps with homework and I do it with a smile on my face!

I give everything I have to give and it is not enough! I don't have the power to fix the hurts that Alyssa feels. I don't have the power to make it all better. I can give Alyssa all the tools she needs. I can pray that she will open her heart up enough to use them. I can be here, waiting with open arms for her to be ready to let me help. If only she gets strong enough to ask!

It's been a hard day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

I'll admit that I'm a little biased, but I have the most wonderful daughter in the whole wide world! I was awoken Sunday morning with a kiss on the cheek and "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!" I put my arm around her and hauled her into bed and responded with "Happy Adoption Day, Sweetie". This was the precursor to the whole day. We rolled out of bed and went to church. No arguments, no rushing, no raised voices. We went out for lunch after Church and then came home where I was showered with gifts. My favorite: Pink T-shirt that says "Queen for the Day!" and a homemade magnet for the fridge that has cloths pins on it to hang things from. Alyssa painted it purple because she knew it was my favorite!

We had a double whammy yesterday. Not only was it Mother's Day, but it was also the one year anniversary of our adoption. Both of these days are normally days that RAD's do not handle well. But I got to tell you, Alyssa was great! Jeff & I talked to her about understanding if she was feeling a little sad, or missing her old family. We understood and said it would be ok to talk to us about it. I think just knowing that we were ok with her feelings, was all she needed. She was so loving, and so wonderful all day! She got me coffee in the morning, and in the afternoon wanted to know if she could refill my water.

I woke up this morning, prepared for the fall out and it never came! Alyssa is wearing her emotions very close to the surface, but has managed to talk them out and not let them boil over! I really do hope that everyone had as good of a Mother's Day as I did!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Alyssa got her hair cut! I know to some this may not seem like such a big deal. But for Alyssa, this was apparently a major milestone. Jeff took her to the beauty parlor and I met them there. We had talked about her hair cut the night before and Alyssa told me she wanted it short. I told her she could have her hair any way she wanted, as long as we were able to braid it for summer. When I arrived at the beauty parlor, Alyssa was in the chair, Jeff looked like he was gonna throw up and Tracy(beautician) had just cut a 5" chunk of hair off. All heads swiveled when I walked in and Jeff and Tracy both said, "This is really OK?" I looked at Alyssa's face and saw the excitement and also the fear. I responded with "Alyssa can have her hair however she wants it as long as I am able to get it in a braid". Well, apparently that was the right answer because Alyssa was all "see, I told you Mom said it was OK". Now mind you, Jeff & I had talked about this also, but I think he got scared when he saw the big chunk of hair. So anyway, Alyssa is now sporting a bob, landing right at her shoulders. She loves her hair! The fear I saw on her face earlier was that she was afraid I was going to be mad and I really didn't mean it when I told her she could cut her hair. Apparently, she was never, ever allowed to have any say in how her hair looked. Well, I passed another test today because I didn't lie. I let her get her hair cut. Little does she know that I am overjoyed at the fact that she got her hair cut! Less hair means less time doing her hair! Ya HOO!

We have a very busy weekend coming up. I work tonight at my second(fun) job. Tomorrow morning at 9:15, Alyssa is auditioning for the Lakeland Youth Choir. She is so excited! I just keep reminding her that not everyone is going to make it and not be too disappointed if that happens. I really do think she will make it though, she has a beautiful voice! Then, at 11:00 Alyssa is getting together will 2 girls from school to work on their Social Studies project. Then at 5:00, we are picking up Chelsie(the baby sitter) because Jeff & I have a banquet to go to. Plus, Jeanie is home from CA for the weekend (our friends daughter) so we want to stop in and see her too. Then, Sunday is not only Mother's Day, it is also the one year anniversary of our adoption. We are going out for Brunch after church and the rest of the day is a surprise! Alyssa and Jeff have been whispering and planning all week.

Today Alyssa is on a field trip for school. They are visiting the Spaceport Museum. The museum is not open yet and probably will not be completed for a year. But, a hands on interactive display was brought here from the Kansas Space Center as kind of like a taste of what is to come. The local schools were given the opportunity to bring the kids in as a kick off to the Rockets for Schools program that is happening this weekend. Alyssa was really excited, so I hope all goes well!

My wonderful husband just called and invited me out for lunch. We haven't had lunch together in probably six months and we work right next door to each other! I can't wait!

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Alyssa had a rough morning! She was very controlling, very bossy, and very disrespectful! She refused to let me touch up her hair (I straightened it for her on Monday night) so she went to school with her hair looking like a rat's nest. She got a section of it wet in the shower this morning and you know what happens to her hair when it gets wet - instant Afro! She argued with everything I said, and was just a little brat all morning! We did leave the house on time, so that was good, but I told her that we were going to talk about her attitude/behavior after school tonight. I asked her to really think hard about what was going on in her head this morning and when we talked tonight, we would sort it all out. She kept asking me if she was going to be in trouble. Well no! We just need to figure out what caused all the attitude this morning! I think a lot of the attitude is coming from our adoption anniversary that is coming up on Sunday. Yes, along with Mother's Day! It's a double whammy. While she seems OK with the day, her behavior is obviously showing otherwise and we need to discuss it. I am going to have her do a couple pages in her volcano workbook and see if that helps get some feelings out! She also has two big projects that are due next week, so I'm sure that is stressing her out also. This morning when I asked her to tell me what she was feeling, she said "I miss Cody!" Now, I don't doubt that to be true, but I hardly think that missing Cody is the reason for the Miss Sass Mouth attitude!

So, let the investigation begin!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Real Alyssa

We had therapy last night. Paulette made the comment that this is the first time in a year and a half that she has seen the "real" Alyssa. She could not believe the change since our last session not quite 3 weeks ago. She also said that she could "feel" the difference. I was glad to hear that because I have felt like that for a while now. I think alot of it is that I don't feel like I have to be on guard every single second! Paulette gave Alyssa homework. She is supposed to work on being truthful, work on taking responsibility(not blaming others) and Alyssa and I are supposed to look in a mirror and try to make the same face. This should be interesting. If I catch Alyssa gazing in the mirror without me, she has to give me a quarter!! I wonder how much money I'll make???

I have caught Alyssa gazing at herself in the mirror. ALOT! She is just looking at herself. This is my theory:

Alyssa knows that she is changing, growing, healing! But, I don't think she recognizes this new person as Alyssa. This new person laughs, is happy, is safe and secure. I think she is having a hard time meshing the "old" and the "new" together, hence the gazing. I am hopeful that the homework from Paulette with help with this. I want Alyssa to be able to recognize what happy, sad, mad, glad look like. Perhaps if she sees it on my face, and then copies that face and sees it on her own, she will be able to complete the puzzle. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Last night, Alyssa was finally ready to attempt her healy's. She got them for Christmas and has finally shown an interest in attempting to figure them out. For those of you that are unfamiliar with healy's, they are tennis shoes that have roller wheels in the heal. So, Alyssa was attempting to figure out the dynamics of the shoes and came flying in the house to get her elbow & knee pads. I was impressed that she realized the need for them! After about 30 min of frustration, my little darling actually came in the house AND ASKED FOR HELP!!! This is huge, she asked for help. Jeff & I both jumped up and went outside to help. Alyssa said she was afraid of falling and wanted Jeff & I to both take a hand. She trusted us to keep her safe. She actually relaxed enough to listen to what Jeff was telling her and take his advice! She made progress and thanked both of us for helping her!

We have therapy tonight. We have been off for almost three weeks because Paulette has been in Italy (lucky her). So, we haven't seen her for ages, and I am searching my brain for things that we need to discuss! What progress we've made! Jeff is probably going to skip tonight in favor of attending softball practice. I am actually overjoyed at this because he is finally becoming involved again in the things that he enjoys doing. I think therapy is helping everyone!

I am actually really looking forward to Mother's Day. It is also our 1 year adoption anniversary. We have much to celebrate this year but I think we are going to keep it very subdued. Just maybe brunch after church and then whatever strikes our fancy. Jeff and Alyssa have been doing a lot of whispering though, so we shall see!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Is this what "normal" parents feel like? I've got to say, it is a great feeling! We had NO issues over the weekend. It was very uneventful! Sure, we had "normal" stuff, Alyssa had a friend over, cleaned her room, went to the park, etc. You know, normal kid stuff!!!!

I feel AWESOME today! I highly recommend this feeling. All you got to do is open your heart to an emotionally damaged child. Parent them with consistency and love. Shed tears, and have fears for their future. Help them deal with all the "yuckies" and "cold pricklies", accept the hate that they spew forth, and give them unconditional love. Then, wait for the signs of healing. You know what I'm talking about, the genuine smile, or the real belly laugh. Then comes the "I love you Mom" that is 100% heartfelt, then comes the security and feeling safe enough to talk about feelings. And then, just like that, before you know it.....................A NORMAL WEEKEND!

It only took a year and a half!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Smooth Sailing

Well, the trip to the farm was a huge success! This is a portion of Alyssa's description of the field trip(keep in mind that this was all said in about 30 seconds with no breath in between):

"OMG(oh my God) Mom, I got to milk a cow, and I saw him poop and pee. And I can't believe how much they pee at one time, and I didn't step in any poop! and it was so awesome but boy it really stinks, and MOM - did you know that cows have 4 stomach's?!!" You can read about it here.

This was all said, mind you, in a VERY loud voice, as we were sitting in a restaurant! I couldn't help but chuckle. She was so excited! We got a lot of amused looks and quite a few smiles from the people sitting around us. It was really nice to see her so happy!

Alyssa decided that we should have a party to celebrate our adoption anniversary. Jeff tried to explain to her that parties were very expensive and we couldn't have one every year. We talked about what we can do to celebrate the day, and decided that because it is also Mother's Day, we would go out to eat and plan a special family day. What that will be, we have no idea yet, but I'm sure we will come up with something!

I am very proud of Alyssa! We have had many discussions about feelings and how important it is for her to talk to me & Jeff. She is trying really hard to share her feelings before they overwhelm her and it shows in her demeanor. She is content! It is such a great feeling to see her so "settled".

I know that we will have many rough patches in our future, but I am enjoying the smooth sailing while I can!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Alyssa gets to visit a farm today! She was really excited about the possibility of getting to milk a cow. She was also very aware of the fact that there was a good chance that she may step in cow poop! Needless to say, we had an interesting morning.

I belong to a couple of online support groups for parents that are raising a child with RAD. These groups have been my lifeline and many times have saved my sanity! I have become cyber friends with a couple remarkable woman, most notably Lisa! She is a single Mom who is just Awesome! Lately, I have come to realize just how lucky we are. Sure, Alyssa has her days, sometimes even weeks! But at no time have we ever regretted our decision to adopt! Alyssa has brought more to our lives than we could ever possibly give her in return.

Our one year adoption anniversary is coming up (May 11) and alot of people have been saying to me lately how great Jeff and I are for what we are doing for Alyssa. I really am uncomfortable hearing this because my initial reaction is to respond with "We aren't doing anything! We are the ones that should be thanking Alyssa!" I really do believe this. Yes, there are days when Jeff and I tag team because Alyssa's behaviors have exhausted us to the point of craziness! But there are also days when are hearts physically hurt because they are overflowing with love for that little girl.

God has blessed us with a daughter! He had a plan for us that included Alyssa. Part of that plan included Siarra. I am crying as I type this because my friend, my BEST friend, had to lose her daughter for me to gain mine. This may seem like a weird statement to some, but Tammy and I have discussed this often. We both believe that God took Siarra so that she could watch over Alyssa. There are so many things that Alyssa just "knows" for this not to be true. I know I have said it before, but Siarra really is Alyssa's guardian angel.

My heart is full today! Full of love for the people that love me, and full of gratitude to those same people. Today is the national day of prayer. My prayer today is a heartfelt THANK YOU to God! Thank you for my wonderful life!