Thursday, August 28, 2014

See me shake my head...

Well there is not much that makes me just shake my head, but today while doing laundry for one of the dwarfs, I pull a pair of khakis from Sneezy's pile of dried clothing that I was going to fold ... and I stare in amazement as I focus my eyes on them.  They are spotted, splotched, discolored and my immediate reaction is, " Oh NO!  instead of laundry detergent, Sneezy used bleach and the whole load is ruined.

As I pull more items from the basket, my mind is racing, as there are no other items in the basket that have the same issues with the splotching blotching discoloration.

Now in my new home, I have the distinct advantage of having a great view of the laundry room from the couch where I fold the piles and piles and piles of laundry that the Prince, the dwarfs and I make each week.

My mind only wonders for a moment more as my eyes fall to the bottle of Tilex with bleach, on top of the dryer with some of  the other cleaning supplies.  

Yes, I know, you're shocked too... instead of taking the time to read the bottle, or look for the SHOUT that was on the laundry shelf, she sprayed her pants with the shower cleaner.  Darn, I hate when those things happen!

I will give her this... she has only been here two weeks.  So she may have not realized that there was a laundry shelf in the laundry room on which all the laundry supplies sit.  I do wish at times like this I was a betting woman, because I would bet she will never make this mistake again!

You really CANT make this stuff up !!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Do you smell smoke?

Well the situation is this, we have a pyromaniac on our hands.  This pyro may be young, and cute, and seem, innocent, however, when there are opportunities to light something on fire, this dwarf can NOT stay away.

Last week I walk past the bottom of the stairs in our new home, that leads to four bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor.  I think I smell something odd.  Sort of acid like, sort of sulfur like, but also odd at the same time.

I keep on task as I head to the laundry room, but a nagging thought lingers, "what is that smell?"   I head back to the stairs as Sneezy is coming down and I say, "do you smell that funny smell?" She replies that she does and she asked Sleepy about it, but Sleepy did not smell anything odd.  As I continue up the stairs, the smell is stronger, and is strongest at the top of the stairs.  I walk to the left toward the four of the dwarf's rooms and sniff... nothing.  Back to the center of the stairs and the landing, still a strong lingering odor.  Head right towards the media room and the other two dwarf's room... nothing.  Back to center. Still a lingering scent of oddness.  By now my canvasing the hallway, landing and stairs has caused a bit of  a stir... Grumpy is saying that whatever it is, it was not his fault and that he thinks it was Bashful. Bashful is claiming ignorance and can't even smell anything odd.  Sneezy is now insisting that the smell is coming from the bathroom.  I agree that is the only room I have not checked.

As I head in, clearly the smell is the strongest (even as it is rapidly fading) in the bathroom.  Here is where the detective work begins, because whomever was doing whatever, did a respectable job of hiding said evidence.  I begin my methodical search of the bathroom counters, mirrors, trash cans, and tub... I see nothing.  I am still at this time unsure what I am looking for, but feel confident that when I find it I will know.  Currently standing and staring at me are two remaining dwarfs, one fearful I will find out the truth and the other lurking because for once he is not the guilty party and wants to assist in bringing in the one who he thinks is guilty. 

Bashful has most recently exited the bathroom.  So I call him in and politely ask him what he was doing in the bathroom.  He indicates to me that he had not used the restroom at school that day and that he was going to the bathroom, but that he had washed his hands.  First red flag.  Bashful never, ever, ever washes his hands after using the bathroom, without being reminded.  So I ask if I can see his hands.  They are still soaked. Odd, I think to myself, since the hand washing that he participates in after being reminded rarely ever ends with his actual hands being in the water, just his finger tips.  The backs of his hands have water drops on them, and the drops are running down his forearm as he holds the hands up for inspection.  So now my alarm bells are in full gear.  He did something in the bathroom to make a big enough mess, that he actually had to wash his entire hand, fingers, backs and palms...  because he is a germaphobe... I now know that had to have touched something he finds to be disgusting while he was in the bathroom to warrant a full hand washing.

So, as casually as I can I glance at the toilet.  Which to my surprise is clean.  Any of you that have boys can attest to this...boys are messy in the bathroom.  Upon closer inspection, I now see one small spot of something on the toilet rim.  It is dark, and it is the size of a flea... I reach out to place it on the end of my finger, and it disintegrates, like the ash that it is...

I turn to Bashful and I ask, "What were you burning?" What?  Shocked and appalled that I would ask him, the most innocent of the innocents, what he was burning in the bathroom...  He responds with "Nothing. I was not burning nothing."  I shake my head to indicate to him that I understand completely.  That me finding an ash on the toilet was clearly a fluke.   I line up my second question.  " What were you flushing down the toilet?"  "Q-tips",  he responds.    I asked him my next question rapidly, because I would hate for him to figure out that he was being tricked into quick responding, " Were the Q-tips on fire?"  " I did not use a lighter."  says the dwarf.    "Ah...but they were on fire when you place them in the toilet correct?  "  Dang, now he knows that he has given himself away.  He tries to work his way out of the situation now claiming that he did not light anything or flush anything that was on fire while he was in the bathroom using it.  

To end the saga of the smell, I asked him where he got what he was using to light the Q-tips with.  He indicated that he " found" a pack of matches and just wanted to see what would happen when he lit them (the Q-tips) on fire.   I asked him if he knew that what he was doing was wrong, to which he relied that he did not.  So  I asked him why then he did not lite them on fire in the kitchen, where we were all working on homework and dinner.  That made him cry.

We all know that things done in secret are typically things that are wrong.  Bad for us, bad for others.  If we did not know that they were wrong or bad to do, we would be doing them in the open or in the light.  It really is my prayer for each of my children are able to see the difference between things done in the light and in the dark.  That the holy spirit would continue to impress upon them that if you feel that you must hide to do something, then you probably should not be doing that thing.  In this case Bashful should not have been lighting Q-tips with a match, watching them burn and then flushing them to extinguish them so he did not burn down the house.

You really Can't Make this Stuff Up !

Friday, August 8, 2014

Throw me a Bone

So many of you know that Grumpy did not just get the dwarf name assigned to him because it was the only name left over.  To say that he spends a significant part of his day being grumpy is not an understatement.  Based on several issues that seem at this age and space in time, to be beyond his abilities to over come, he struggles with low self esteem, the inability to make good choices, a fear of others and what they think of him, as well as a huge pile of pride that prohibits him from ever, ever, ever being humble and in a position to accept or desire correction or instruction.

Most of you with teenage boys can relate to this.  Add a little bit of body odor, a flair up of acne and I have just described half to three fourths of the males in the 14 - 17 year (and beyond) age group. 

To say the story of this blog post was a challenge with Grumpy would be accurate, and while I can hold it together for most of the day, as with most of us parents, you get to a place where we are mentally and physically exhausted and to coin a phrase my mother used to use, "fed up to here".  So the day of the blow up described below, was the climax of three consecutive days of rolling, boiling, stewing issues, where this momma finally blew.

From his direct disobedience, refusing to work on a task we were all participating in, to his silly antics, that to an outsider would make him seem more like an 8 year old than a 15 year old, to his mouthy disrespect, to his skewed and inaccurate remembrances of conversations, after a 58 minute shower I was starting to loose my cool.

The week played out like a bad sitcom, or at least scene after scene of me thinking, " there has to be a camera here somewhere and he is a paid actor, because no one in their right mind, could continue this way for any length of time behaving so poorly unless it was a choice."

The highlight reel.... telling me, insisting really, that I told him humidity would cause a sunburn. Spraying tanning oil on himself, in the house, with not one, but three fans blowing the oil on to the leather couch, arguing that no one told him we were leaving,  as all his other siblings are sitting in the van for 15 minutes waiting for him, his recounting numerous times throughout the week that he does NOT need to be reminded to finish a task before starting a new one; when there are piles of yard debris left in the grass that he did not clean up, his papers from writing letters blowing around on the patio, cereal containers and milk still on the kitchen table at 11 am, his bike left out in the rain, his clothing  and socks leaving a trail to show a where he has been in a 24 hour period throughout my 2600 sq ft home and my outdoor living spaces,  and my personal favorite that leads me to blow, that according to him, he was only in the shower/bathroom for 9 minutes "Grumpy time", but 58 minutes real time. 

Rewinding to the fact it is Wednesday, and a church night...  By three that afternoon all 3 boys had their hair cut, so upon arriving home at 4:03, Grumpy heads up the stairs to shower so he is not hairy for church.  In that time, I send some emails, switch over the laundry, make dinner, call him twice for dinner, serve dinner,  sit with the other dwarfs, share conversation around the dinner table with the four other dwarfs, put away dinner and am cleaning up dishes from dinner, when alas he finally wanders down the stairs.   Still holding my cool, as I say to Grumpy, " Here is your dinner, I fixed you a plate because you did not come when called for dinner."  His response, "I did not hear you".  Fine, I said," I can see how that can happen when the shower is on, the door is locked, and the radio is blaring. "  You need to eat your dinner so we can leave for church." Still in my opinion,  holding it together, refusing to get into a battle of the wits with someone that suffers from a processing disorder.  Until that is,  he starts to complain because his taco is too full and he can't wrap the ingredients in the "baby sized taco shell".

To say that my next words were edifying would be a lie.  To say that my tone was more kind than sarcastic, would also be a lie.  To say my blood was boiling over the fact that no amount of reasoning or discussion could make him see his part in why he was eating pr-emade taco's,  would be accurate.  My greatest source of frustration with this dwarf (and he is not alone, there are others that vex me so), is that they never, ever stop, when faced with a correction or instruction and they are clearly at fault, to just say, "oh, darn mom, I lost track of time, or gee mom, I'm sorry."   Or in this particular instance, "thanks mom for saving me dinner."  (I know that is similar is seeking a miracle, but a mom can dream right?)  In this particular instance 20 minutes of loudly discussing brought no resolution.  I thought that my rational and calm (not) pointing out of the facts would assist him in seeing his fault in this.  My points, as they were made, had no seemingly immediate impact like I had hoped, and in the end we both walked away frustrated, exhausted and irritated.  In times like these, I always tend to walk away feeling like Charlie Brown's teacher .... my voice and all conversations with said dwarf, are just non intelligible words being heard, making no impact.

To church we go.  Two hours later, we are on the home journey (which really takes all of three minutes now if you don't get stuck at the red light)  and Grumpy announces he wants to talk to me.   I wish that I could say to you that I graciously agreed to talk with him.  That my initial reaction was to want to sit with him one on one.  It was not.  However, what happens next,  is why as parents we keep on repeating ourselves, why we keep on reinforcing the messages of social skills, work ethic, curbing attitudes, heeding instructions, playing nicely with others etc, etc, etc.

Grumpy, went soft on me.  He started to tear up.  He shared from his heart.  He desires to change. He wants to comply, he is starting to understand that he alone can not make the changes.  He is able to articulate that he is taking his past out on me. I am hopeful again.  Will this be the last of these types of days, with certainty I can say no.  It has been almost a month since these incidents occurred that I am writing about, and just yesterday alone I can recount 4 issues that Grumpy and I had to work through painfully.  I can say that the path ahead is long and the journey will be difficult, but the moments of growth and tenderness in Grumpy are what I need to hold on to, in an effort to continue on in this sometimes monumental and exhausting path of raising special needs kids.  God knows when we need the encouragement as the parents, just as he knows when these broken cracked kids need encouragement.

When I think about my life and my decisions, my arrogance and pride, while on the outside may look better when I am melting down, what is on the inside is really what counts.  It is what is in our hearts that is what displeases God.  My special needs kids, do not have the ability to harbor things, or to hold it together like others can.  The training process for these kids is rigorous.  The fruits of our labors are often times so small that if we blink,  we will miss them. However knowing the unconditional way that God loves me, should give me the strength and the power, in His name, to keep ministering to my kids.  To keep instructing, to keep on being faithful in the small stuff, because my God has not walked away from me in my moments of stupidity, confusion or defiance.   

One of my life verses reads like this, and I keep it on my desk at all times:
"Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's prefect work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything."  James 1: 2-4

You really Can't Make this stuff up!