Friday, August 29, 2008

Ha Ha HA

AOL just had a little article on the life span of things in the home. Obviously they weren't talking about large adoptive families. Take a look.

We once had a washer and dryer set that lasted 15 years. Of course that was when we only had about 5 kids.

Now it's rare for us to get through a year without replacing at least the washer or the dryer.

The stove? Well our last glass top stove lasted about 12 years, but for the last few years the oven door didn't shut all the way, and one burner didn't work.

Carpet or other flooring that lasts 16 to 25 years-Well, carpet make zero sense in our house. And sheet vinyl flooring-my kids rip it right off the floor in random pieces. We have hospital grade tiles in our family room. The kids dig until they get an edge up and then pull the tile off. My kids have even been known to crack ceramic tile laid of a concrete slab.

Windows? That's a big joke! My kids break windows like they break wind.

And that stuff that looks like brick facing...if we had that I'm totally sure that someone here would dig and pick until they got it off the walls or fireplace.

Sounds like I don't have any control over my kids, doesn't it? But that's simply not true. All my children are developmentally delayed, and a couple have ODD and wild behavior that we try to control with medications. But we'd have to have something that totally knocks out the two boys before we could guarantee that nothing would be torn apart or broken here.

It's a trade off. Kids that I dearly love, or a perfect house. The house loses every time.

Making Fun of People with Down Syndrome

We've adopted nine kids with Down syndrome over the years. Two of those children now live in heaven. They are not all the same. They have different strengths and weaknesses just like "normal" people. And I love every one of them. They are my favorite flavor of kids.

They can do so much more than the public gives them credit for. Like the youn woman with Down Syndrome who works for a hospital where it is her job to break down the incubators and clean them part by part and get them sanitized for the next premie infant.

When the company that made the incubators sent a group of reps out to the hospital to be trained in how to break down and clean incubators, this young woman with DS was the only person in the hospital capable of doing it right. She is exacting in her work. She has found he niche. As will all of my children with Downs.

That's why it hurts me to see that on YOUTube 90% of the videos about Down syndrome are about making fun of people with DS. Cruel, hurtful stuff.

Today on a list I belong to, another mom showed us this movie. This is how parents of such a child feel.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Family Visits

We rarely get a visit from family here- I mean from my siblings or my husband's siblings. Even my sister who lives 10 minutes away never visits-too busy she works, no living kids. Everyone else either lives out of state or 4-5 hours away. So when my brother calls and says he and his family will be stopping by on their way home from south of here, I get excited.

John is 50 now. He's my baby brother-the one I always had on my lap in the back seat of our gray Olds station wagon when we were growing up. We didn't have seat belts back then. I did a lot of carrying John around when I was a kid. I was ten years older than he. I was the oldest, and he was the youngest of five kids. I was often in charge of him, and I loved it.

John's only child, Conner, looks exactly like his dad did at the age of 10. Takes me back. My husband hasn't seen them in years, and when he came in he was mentally taken back to 1967 when we started dating and would occasionally pick me up at home. John would have been ten then, too.

When John and his family stops by, it's always on the way home from somewhere, and usually for not more than an hour. I don't think he and his wife are comfortable around lots of kids, especially special needs kids that have been adopted. That's OK. I am not looking for family approval, and John has never said anything that would indicate he disproved. I just think all my kids make them uncomfortable.

Nonetheless, I love my baby brother. We email frequently and sometimes he even calls me. He and I have the same spiritual beliefs, something I can't say about the rest of the family. Actually, John is the only relative I have that shares my spiritual beliefs.

John has a bad heart. It's enlarged, and doesn't keep a good rhythm, so he has a pacemaker and one of those shocker devices to start his heart if needed. We almost lost him in May of this year. He had a heart attack, and if not for the shocker he would have not made it to the hospital. Crazy guy drove himself, getting shocked like 8 times on the way. He says that it's not just a mild shock. It's like a major blow, something that even makes him scream it's so powerful.

So he ended up having triple bypass surgery. If his heart continues to weaken he will be on the transplant list. I hate to see him suffer.

But we're all getting old. It's tough getting used to that. Our parents are gone, and some of our older cousins have died. All of our aunts and uncles are dead, too. We ARE the older generation of my family. I've had to come to terms with that.

John just wants to live long enough to see his son Conner graduate high school and start on his journey of becoming a man. I pray that he can do that-because I'd surely miss him and partly because I'm pretty sure we'll never see Conner again once John is gone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Holy Cow....errrr, TIGER

Just got an automated call from the county. There is a wildlife sanctuary about two blocks from us or less. A Tiger has escaped and we are to stay inside and notify 911 if we see it.

I'm hearing sirens...Don't say my life isn't interestnig!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I needed this this morning. Now...well...what can I NOT accomplish?

Monday, August 11, 2008

This Guy Could Make a Bazillion Bucks....

...if he perfected his technique for babies, kids and teenagers.

Can you imagine having a kid going off and destroying things and then BLAM the kid is sleeping?

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I have two boys who seem to make housebreaking their life's work. I don't mean breaking into houses, I mean Breaking Apart Houses. This one in particular.

Now, many large adoptive families have this very problem. None of us has a picture perfect home. But then we're not picture perfect families. I've had case workers who walked into my home and said that it wasn't homey enough. That I needed end tables and lamps and curtains at all the window and pictures on the walls. I'd go out and get all those things only to have the kids destroy each one in just a few weeks.

The most we can have in our living room is a leather sofa, a leather loveseat and a leather recliner. Before we invested in the leather we had to go to the thrift store and buy a whole new sofa and loveseat and chair just about every month. It was good that I could buy the whole set for $100, though. But they were not very pretty.

We've had framed prints on the wall, well, screwed into the wall, and some of them have stayed up a long time. In particular the framed photograph of our late son, Ethan, which seems to be revered enough to stay put. It did have a mishap when Will through a skate at a window and missed.

On Thursday night Jeremy was caught with contraband food from the kitchen and then went on a rampage. Luckily there isn't much left for him to break. I mean he's broken his own bedroom window, and ripped his hollow core door to shreads, so that now he has no door. He's ripped the blinds from his window so often that I think they won't go back up there. He tore apart his dresses, so now he has a plastic basket for his clothing. He has holes in the walls everywhere in there, so he went looking for something to destroy.

He ripped the toilet seat off the toilet in the playroom bathroom, breaking the part where it attaches to the toilet. That poor toilet. Just the day before Will had been in one of his throw everything moods and picked up the toilet tank lid and threw it. Dad patched it together with superglue. It looks sad.

The difference between Will (almost 21, down syndrome) and Jeremy (15, down syndrome) is that Will does these things on a lark. He happily does things. He doesn't do stuff when he's angry. He sits and cries or yells. Jeremy is sneaky and takes things, and then when caught he goes on a rampage and destroys stuff. Jeremy is much smarter than WIll.

We used to have a pass through between the family room and the kitchen (what was I thinking when I designed this house. Kids constantly crawled over it to get into food. We've had a wall there for many years. Now we have a window there, but it has posts up and down the opening. Jeremy figures out how to maneuver his arm so that he could each the doorknob and get into the kitchen, so we put plywood on those posts as far as he might possibly reach. So he busted out one of the posts. Dad fixed it with tape and reinstalled it, but Jeremy knocked it out again and crawled through the opening (must have squeezed real tight) and got in to steal food. And when caught went on another rampage.

So Dad put another piece of plywood over that hole, and the next thing you know Jeremy is taking a metal dining chair and ramming the top of it into the plywood.

Did I mention that he broke his box springs and his brass headboard? Or that he has broken every set of rabbit ears we've ever bought?

Will breaks things too, but happily so. He has broken the legs off of the foosball game (one time Jeremy helped.) He ripped off the skirting from the playroom couch. He rips up vinyl flooring like it's the funniest thing in the world. But it's different. It's not from rage, but something fun to do.

I dream of a beautifully decorated home, but the reality is that until the kids are all grown and out on their own (AND THEY WILL BE SOMEDAY- I SWEAR IT!) and my husband and I have a nice little regular four bedroom on a pretty lot perfectly landscaped with flowering trees and end tables, lamps and framed art and, maybe, do I dare think it? Carpets...

My grandsons ask their parents, not if they are going to grandma's house. They ask, "Are we going to the Broken House?"

Am I alone in this?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tough Love vs. Spanking

Most of America's populace think it improper to spank children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of 'those moments.'

One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.
Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc..

Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together.

I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.


I think this will work with grandchildren, nieces, and nephews as well.

(OK, it was just too funny not to post here...)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Door Hinges and Getting Old

Yo, Wendy! you would have loved being here today- NOT! Jeremy got angry because we told him he could have a drink of juice, but he couldn't put it in his water bottle. (He would keep the water bottle and juice in his room for three days until he started drinking it and get sick.) So he went on a rampage. He took the hinge pins out of his sister's bedroom, door and that was just the beginning.

So late at night I was talking to Jay and he was telling me how much he loved me. Jay is 15 and is my only child who uses a wheelchair. I said, I love you too, and I'm glad you love me. Someday when I'm an old lady, will you take care of me? And Jay says, "Uh, Mom, that's what nursing homes are for."

And if the kindest, sweetest child I have says that, I guess I'd better get used to the idea...