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Bed Wetting and Eating

Things have been going okay.  Good, actually.  We have had happiness and successes these past few weeks.  Marie told me she loved me and she even looked at me in the eyes when she said it.  Typically she says those three words to empty space in front of her after leaving the room I’m in.  I only know they are meant for me because she says my name, “Mom.”

Two days ago she peed her bed.  She had gone just about two weeks of being dry.  I was disappointed.  I still am, in fact.  I don’t understand this struggle so it takes a lot of work to let it go. Marie’s pediatrician was the first one to mention constipation as a major component to Marie’s consistent bed wetting.  So, Marie’s nighttime routine now ends with pooping.We gave Marie some medicine for a short while and ever since we have made sure she poops every night.  After she is all ready for bed we tell her to go poop and she sits on the toilet until it happens.  Sometimes it will take an hour.  Sometimes 20 minutes. We discovered, however, that we need to check the toilet to make sure it happens.

 Well, two nights ago Marie flushed on her own.  Since she has been so consistent Mr. Sexy and I didn’t see it as a big deal.

The next morning she was soaked.

Did she poop the night before?  We’ll never know.  I didn’t ask her because, frankly, she won’t give me a straight up answer regardless of whatever the truth is.

And now it’s been a few days.

I’m sitting at my desk and looking at remnants of pencil erasers.

After dinner she does homework.  Last night she also ate some eraser.

When I ask her about this kind of stuff I can tell immediately what the answer truly is by her demeanor.  If she blankly stares and then looks around, trying to figure out a “correct” response, I know she has no idea what I’m asking her about.  BUT if she presses her lips together, gives a sigh, looks down, I know that she knows EXACTLY what happened.

Her first response is, “I,” at which point I remind her (in that overly stern mommy tone I harbor) that one word makes no sense.

She then says, “I do not eat it.”  This is the response she knows I want.  She knows she wasn’t supposed to eat the eraser.  So, like any very young-minded child she attempts to tell me the best possible “truth” and the result is she ends up telling me, “I ate it.”

She has a history of eating things whether it’s binging in the kitchen in the middle of the night, snacking on crayons in bed, or now, eating erasers while I’m upstairs doing other things.  This behavior is progressing steadily.

What the hell am I to do?  Never leave her alone ever?  Send her to a special school because maybe then can figure it out?

Mr. Sexy’s idea is to take everything edible out of her reach.  It’s such a broad idea I can’t figure out exactly what that would mean or what it would look like.  Our current night time system is that she has a few barriers so she can’t get up and wander around, which is when she is most likely to get into mischief.  So do we take all “edible” items out of the entire downstairs where she spends most of her time?  She has eaten books before.  And toys.  We have lots of books and toys and papers and crafty things down here.

Mr. Sexy and I decided before we do anything drastic we need to go back to the specialist.

This most recent incident proves that Marie is in no way eating out of hunger.  She is eating because….. who the hell knows.

But I’m pissed.  And I don’t have time to be pissed.  I don’t even have time for venting on this blog.

 I am learning the part of Elaine from Arsenic and Old Lace to perform in their last show on Saturday.  The girl who plays that character is sick so while I joked with Mr. Sexy about that being a fun challenge, he told the directors who ran with the idea!

So for now, Marie gets no privacy unless she is in her room.  Her room is actually the one place where there is nothing “edible.”

Side note:  I didn’t write this post for advice.  I don’t mean to be rude but we get a lot of advice.  At this point, I am only interested in the advice of someone trained in this area of eating what shouldn’t be eaten and trained in special needs.

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Risk Rejection: Last Day

First of all I would like to think Amy and all the ladies who have stopped by my blog  and allowed me to be a part of this Risk Rejection series.  I have met some great ladies!

This is the last week for Risk Rejection!

My risk-thang was this blog I am writing in now.  I have been challenging myself to write openly and as honestly as I could about my life regardless of my fears and uneasiness.  Once again I am finding wonderful support from fellow writers who may not completely agree with everything I say; but they offer a kind word or gesture of support and that always means a lot.

I am starting to feel like myself again in the world of the internet.  I’m focusing on writing about what I want to write about, sharing what I want to share because it’s part of who I am.  Not everyone enjoys my instagram pictures of my birthday beer.  Although I’m sure EVERYBODY likes my pictures of my baby!

I’m learning to be okay with my decisions even when I know that friends and family may disagree.  They aren’t me.  They don’t live in my house.  While their opinions matter because I love them; their opinions do not define me.  Allowing other’s opinions define me is something I have been working through since I was…oh, I don’t know… high school at least.  Middle school?  Younger?  Let’s just say forever.  ::wink wink::

I feel really good about this blog.  I’m hoping this is the one that sticks and that in time – a lot of time – perhaps I can even bring in a small amount of income.  But that’s neither here nor there.  I am writing because God has given me a strong desire to share my daily life struggles/blessings/ups/downs and everything-in-betweens with you.  Whoever you are.

Thanks for visiting me today!

We’re Only Human

I am struggling with my blog because I am concerned about offending people.  I can’t decide if this is wisdom telling me to be careful or fear playing it’s nasty little game.  So at the risk of offending my friends and family, here goes.

I struggle with letting other’s words define me.  At least for a period of time.  Often I appreciate advice.  But then there is a point where either that person hasn’t earned a right to speak into my life so personally or another personal boundary is being crossed. Then that advice that was meant in love turns into something different.

More often it feels as if I’m being judged.  Usually by friends and family.  Most of whom are Christians. That’s kind of backwards isn’t it?  We are supposed to love each other.  We are supposed to be united.  Yet so often I see relationships fail when judgements are made, conclusions are jumped to and love is forgotten.  
It’s really easy for me to look into someone else’s life and know what their issues are and how to fix them.  The next step is to share my wisdom in the name of love.  I’m pretty good at this. 
While there is a time and place to speak wisdom into the lives’ of others, more often than not, I believe I am supposed to close my mouth and keep my judgements to myself.  What do I really know anyways?  
This can be so damn hard!  
This subject is on my heart lately because so often I feel looked down on and judged for the choices I have made for me and my family.  The fact is: What works for me might not work for someone else and that’s okay.  
For me, step-parenting is the toughest and most emotionally- charged thing I have ever set out to do. 
For me, sometimes a beer or mixed drink replaces my dinner.
For me, my house in the woods is perfect because it pushes me to be better every day.

For me, church is not my religion and sometimes I enjoy staying home with my family.

For me, money is a struggle to talk about, to live with, and to live without. 
For me, anger is a learned coping mechanism and a daily battle.

For me, my blog is how I try to find my voice.

For me, faith is often difficult.

This post is part of a series called Risk Rejection where a group of bloggers are linking up and sharing their own Risk Rejection adventures.  Mine is simple.  This blog.  I am still nervous when I see notifications for new comments.  I spend a lot of time worrying and over-thinking what I want to write about and publish. However I am enjoying my new bloggy space and it’s been an amazing outlet this past month.  I’m looking forward to the future of 5 Hearts, One Family. 

Issues of Self-Control

A big part of my blogging journey via Risk Rejection is to continue writing as I did last year about my daily life.  I tend to write from very strong emotions and sometimes it seems I have a lot of negative emotions.  I am overall a happy person and enjoy my life (even with all the bugs in my house) but it’s true: I do deal with a lot of negativity in my emotions.  Every day I learn how to deal with them in a better way, a healthier way.  And today – this morning – is a prime example.

To you, it’s just a little bit of cheese.  In fact all it was were crumbs – the leftovers from my breakfast.  To me, it’s not just a few crumbs of cheese.  It’s disobedience.  It’s ANOTHER weird food issue/incident.  It’s Marie making another bad choice, one she has made countless times over the years, and when I ask her why she did it, I get the same answer: “I don’t know.”

It’s down syndrome.  Friends can tell me it’s not just down syndrome.  Other kids struggle too, kids who are perfectly “normal.”  But she has down syndrome so her brain works in ways I don’t think I will ever understand. Therefore, she has an obsession with food that Mr. Sexy and I have yet to figure out and overcome.

As I was brushing Marie’s teeth this morning I thought it was gross that she still had bits of food on her tongue from breakfast.  Wait a minute.  That’s weird.  I asked her once what she ate.  She immediately lied about it as I expected.  I asked again and this time she gave a big sigh and looked down at the counter.  Oh yeah, I was on to something.  After a few minutes she did tell me she ate cheese.

It took a split second for me to go from relatively calm to shaking and hot with anger.  An immediate time-out was in order for both of us.

“Time-out!”  

I shut the bathroom door and basically ran down the hallway to call Mr. Sexy so he could help me diffuse the situation.  Talking to him didn’t really help.  (Sorry babe.)  He was pretty stressed out with work and his answer was, “We should deal with it tonight.”  The thing is Marie probably wouldn’t remember the incident by the end of the day.

I felt I had to do something.  But what?  I wanted to punish her and I wanted the punishment to hurt her so she would remember the pain and not make that bad choice again.  Well, that’s no way to get a child to fix their mistakes.  And do I really want Marie to make good choices out of fear?  That type of obedience will never stick.

Now let me explain where I’m coming from here.

Back when Marie was just 5 years old she would get up in the middle of the night and raid the fridge.  By raid I mean she had every single item out of that fridge and ALL of it was headed to her tummy.  This habit continues today.  We currently have some safeguards in place so she can’t get to food after bed time and we are hoping to work on the issue this summer.

It’s not just at nighttime that she likes to grab an inappropriate snack.  Sometimes it’s early in the morning on her way to the laundry room and no one is around.  Sometimes it’s when Nanna turns her back in the kitchen and then a cake pop has disappeared.  And sometimes it’s while I trust her to be putting away dishes and not to snack from the crumbs on the counters.  It’s an issue of self-control.  She doesn’t have it.

So back to my room and blood-boiling anger and feeling totally alone in the situation.  I had just used the one life-line I felt I had and it didn’t help.  I paced my room and I grunted out of frustration.  That’s a better choice than full out screaming in my opinion.  I took some big deep breaths which only produced frustrated tears.  I felt helpless because my emotions were so overwhelming I thought they would eventually completely take over.

I wanted so badly to come up with a good consequence for Marie that would impact her but not cross those lines into fear-parenting.  I just couldn’t think straight.  I paced, I grunted, I breathed big and deep and I cried.  I was fighting against my sinful nature.  This isn’t a new fight for me but that doesn’t make it any less difficult.

As I used my de-stressing techniques my heart slowed and I cooled down.  Sentences.  I used to have Marie write sentences.  Yes!  That would work!  Sentences are not fun AND she could practice the correct action in her head during each one.

I was still pissed but no where near the boiling point any more.  I was the one in control.  I felt ready to get Marie, sit her down and explain her consequences.

But first, I had to tell her good job for telling me the truth.  I’m sure that bit of the conversation sounded pathetic as she was sad and I was mad.  But I tried.  Thank you so much for telling me the truth.  Telling the truth is always a good choice.  I think I said those lines like three times hoping she would see that I actually was proud of her for that.  Maybe I can talk to her about it again later and she will give me a real smile.

Then I laid out her consequences:

1. She is not allowed in the kitchen until I decide (basically when I’m ready to let go of the incident)

2.  Because she has shown she doesn’t know how to handle food properly, I will be feeding her during lunch and dinner.

3.  She will write 100 sentences.

I’ll bet some of you are reading this and thinking I’m a terrible mom because these consequences may
seem harsh to you.  But the fact of the matter is Marie MUST learn to control her urges to eat food.  I honestly don’t care AT ALL that she snacked on cheese.  I care that it’s all part of the pattern of sneaking food into her belly when no one is around.

My hope is that if Mr. Sexy and I can I have regular, serious consequences for this particular behavior then by the time she is ready to move out (this WILL happen) she will have an appropriately learned behavior of when to eat and how to eat.

Again, eating a little bit of cheese isn’t a huge deal.  But eating an entire jar of peanut butter is.  Drinking an entire bottle of chocolate syrup isn’t that great for you.  Eating half a bag of that cheap-o bubble gum isn’t great for your stomach and neither is eating an entire jar of vitamins.  Marie has done all these things and more.

So eating a little bit of cheese, right after breakfast, while she is putting away dishes and I’m taking  care of the baby, it’s a big deal.      

Disclaimer:  I understand that all our kids go through these issues.  But Marie is 12 and she still continues to eat inappropriately whether it’s an entire loaf of bread she snuck to her room or crumbs of cheese she stuffed in her mouth as soon as I left the kitchen.  I truly desire her to have self-control and the ability to make wise choices. 

Risking Rejection Every Day

I feel kind of silly participating in Risk Rejection because I feel completely disconnected to the blogging world.  I miss my last blog where I felt like I made actual friends whom I talked to and they talked back.

I guess I have decided to join this challenge in an effort to meet others and maybe share the challenges that come up with the risk I have chosen.

5 Hearts, One Family.

That’s my risk.  I’ve already started.  It’s a risk because last year my blog got a really bad rep.

Initially, about 3 years ago, I started blogging to talk about my relationship with my step-daughter whom I now refer to as my daughter.  I’m not a person to shy away from hard topics and my blog(s) depicted that.  My very first blog site was full of – anger.  To put it mildly.  I had absolutely nothing positive to say although I tried so, so SO hard!  I don’t think anyone could see how hard I was trying, though.  So I gave up on that one site.  I can’t quite remember why.  I can still look at that blog today if I want.  It’s a great encouragement for me to see where I was then and how I have changed since.

I started another blog.  This one was better.  I had almost 50 followers!  I even got contacted to review products!  Woo-hoo!  Again, I was discussing my relationship with Marie and all the hard SHIT (yup, I like colorful words) that was happening to me, around me, inside me.  I poured my heart into my writing.  I can’t count how many times I turned into a blubbering fool from an encouraging comment, a friend’s post or my own writing.  It was that emotional for me.  I don’t regret what I wrote and I would do it all over again because it was honest.

Then I got run off the internet and that was heart breaking in itself.  But it is what it is.  I understand what happened – but I don’t understand why or how it got taken to the extreme levels that it did.  These bloggers basically wanted to see me in jail because apparently I was an abusive parent.  I’ll be honest.  I have parented in the gray areas.  I have made choices I regret.  And maybe I deserved harassment because let’s face it: I’m a very flawed person.

The fact is, however, I shared my heart on the internet.  I hid nothing.  I guess a lot of people found that to be scary so they harassed me, my family and my friends for weeks.

I’m disappointed in myself that I gave up back then.  But I’m back now and it’s a scary process for me.  I’m sure that I will get negative feedback in the future.  I won’t be surprised if someone from last year happens across my new blog and starts harassing me again.  But it’s okay.  I’m in an even better place now than I was back then.  I’m better prepared.  I am more aware.  And I have gone through heart change this past year.

My relationship with Marie is still very fragile.

So that’s my risk.  To risk judgement.  To risk hatred.  To risk friendships.  All in an effort to share my journey, my story and my heart so that those who have similar struggles won’t feel as alone as I have felt.