Monday, July 25, 2011

Mama, you really love ME? (Part 1)

Mama, you really love ME?  

Yes, those were the words that came out of our precious Grace's mouth yesterday.  It was both a statement and a question all in one.  Grace has had such a harder time of adjusting and attaching and understanding our love for her than Shaoey did.  I haven't posted much about her attachment lately, well, probably not much at all.  Why? I guess because it's still such a work in progress.  It's so hard to explain to those around us that she's wounded, fighting our love, unattached when all they see is the silly, loving, attention getting little girl that she lets them see.  

We are making some really good strides forward, but then there seems to be an innate fear that senses we're getting too close and she goes into fight or flight and misbehaves all she can to try to keep us at arms length, to keep us from getting in.  (Doesn't that sound just like how we relate to God and others?)  I've been incorporating a lot more of Nancy Thomas' stategies and philosophy into our parenting.   We are having good results with Strong Sitting and using some of her tactics on Dealing with Defiance.   

Strong Sitting is a gift to the child.  It is a gift of time.  Grace sits cross legged on the floor with her neck and head in line and arms relaxed in her lap.  She is facing a blank wall, preferably in a quiet area near you, without too many distractions.  This works well for us when I'm cooking.  The research shows that the yummy smell of food cooking is a positive sensory input.  Grace has built up to 4 minutes at a time and we aim for 2-3 times a day.  A big thing to note is that this is NOT punishment, I repeat, it is NOT punishment.  I make sure NOT to do it when I am annoyed and cannot place her there in a peaceful loving tone and be there to cheer her on.  Yes, I get to give her positive input such as "I like how you are sitting so straight."  I try not to interrupt too much, but a little encouragement goes a long way.  I can see her smile from the back of her head when I do!  Why do we do it?  Nancy says it well.  Here's an excerpt from her website:

Strong Sitting gives the brain an opportunity to shift in the most successful position. Children who have been traumatized have the wiring in their brain more developed in the inner core (R Complex). This is defense or survival mode. (Fight: arguing, defiance, negative behavior, Flight: running away, Freeze: shutting down) This inner core is where children with RAD are most comfortable because it is the most highly developed section. They seek negative attention and criticism because it puts them in their comfort zone The parts of the mind with RAD that are less developed are the Limbic system (Love and Attachment) and the Neo-Cortex (Logic, reasoning, school work) In order to do it correctly (sitting still, straight and quiet) they must shift gears in their brain to the Neo-cortex by going through the Limbic system. It stimulates both of these parts of the brain! Each minute they spend doing it correctly exercises the logic and/or love parts of the mind. Brain power!

I love it--exercising the love and logic parts of the brain--   
helping our girl to get stronger and healthier!

In Part 2 I'll share how we are dealing with Grace's defiance.  Nancy has some off the wall ideas that really seem to be making a difference in our relationship with Grace.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cat on a hot...

shingled roof?

It is with MUCH sadness that we announce that the 3 kittens are gone.  We don't know if they ran away, were hit, or eaten (our guess).  It happened one at a time; first Leia, then Luke, and then Sagwa; about a week apart.   We are heartbroken.  They were absolutely, without a doubt, the BEST kittens we've ever had.  They were so loving and snuggly.  We're still sort of reeling from it.  

We think that something got them.  Why?  Because a neighbor told us a coyote got a couple of her cats.  And because of Little Boy.  Little Boy started acting weird the day that Leia disappeared.  He started laying in the middle of driveway.  Then we started finding him on top of the pool pump house.  This is where he spends his days and nights now:

Until he sees us come outside...then he does this:

He has spent the last week inside as much as we'll let him.  I really feel terrible for him.  He is apparently very spooked by something.  He won't go near the trees along either side of the house, he spends all his time up high--either the house, Troy's truck, the van...  When he comes in, this is where he likes to be:

His favorite human--Jacob!  He will "allow" the rest of us to hold him, but he is rigid and doesn't relax.  With Jacob, he crashes.  You can hear him purring.  He's also become more vocal.  Poor thing also seems to be having dreams.  His poor little feet are moving while he sleeps.

Mud Island River Park, Memphis, TN

 I just love weddings-  the love and sweet tenderness, the hope of years together, the joy that radiates...  I love seeing young men and women of God who see the value of marriage and aren't swayed by the culture that says wait until...until you've experienced the world, until you've tested out a few potential spouses, until you have established yourself... but I digress.

A few weeks ago we had the joy of being able to go to another family wedding.  We were so touched by the devotion to God and each other that we witnessed in these young adults.  We pray God's blessings over the newlyweds and their marriages.

Of course, if you know us, we'll turn any trip into a fun field trip!  This time the destination was Memphis.  My husband is sweet to humor me.  He took off Thursday at lunch and drove  us to Memphis.  
What post would be complete without a sleeping girl?

We stayed at an Embassy Suites.  This was our first stay and it was pretty nice.  It had a beautiful atrium with ducks and koi which the girls loved watching.  It was great to have that extra space of a separate bedroom, and no one had to sleep on the floor!  Oh and the breakfast was pretty nice too--a free cooked to order omelet and pancake/waffle station along with the usual breakfast fare.

Grace figured out how to cut her food by holding the fork in the crook of her pokey arm and the knife in her hand.  Pretty ingenious!

Friday morning we headed off to Mud Island River Park

I think the Monorail was one of the kids' favorite parts of the day!  (NOT mine....)

30" equals 1 mile--so basically one normal step was a mile
If you click on this photo, you can read more on what the River Park is all about.

And each 1" ridge you see in the river is equal to 8'
(Love being able to use math!)

Our dancing girl...

Shaoey's is testing out the current by sending her shoe downstream.  Grace was the first to figure it out, I just didn't catch a picture of it...

Discussing that this is one of the places that they go hunting (near Raccourci Island and Angola--LA State Penitentiary).

Connor caught (and released) a cicada!  It was floating in the water.  That makes 2 live cicadas that we've seen this year.

Near "New Orleans:
We reached the "Gulf of Mexico!"

Connor and Shaoey pedal boating around the gulf.

I love that you can see how hard Grace is working at pedaling.  Jacob is kicked back here letting her do the work!  

What we thought would take an hour or two ended up last about 4 hours.  So we had some hot, tired, and hungry children.  We decided to skip over to Beale street for lunch and to say we've been on it.  (And to compare it to Bourbon St.  Granted it was day time, but much cleaner than Bourbon St.!  I wonder why he didn't make it "I think He'd prefer Bourbon St. to the stained glass crowd?")    
BB King's Blues Club on Beale St.

Having a stare down.  You HAVE to click on the photo and enlarge it to see Grace's eyes!  Too funny!

Here we are ready to go to the main event:
Cutest window display I've ever seen!

Look how big the room was.  The bedroom is back to right.  The suite had 2 double beds and a sleeper sofa.

Grammy and our children

This table was the HIT of the reception!  Who'd have thunk it?  Even the adults were raiding it!  

Back row: Connor, Troy, & Jacob
Front row: Aunt Paulette, Shaoey, Grammy, Grace, & Aunt Susie

Beautiful bride, handsome groom, and an amazing cake made by "Aunt" Linda!
 Troy likes driving at night, so we left Collierville around 4 pm and drove on through.  It was nice to wake up in our own beds Sunday morning and get to go to church.  Thanks, Troy!

I must say, have mixed feelings.  While we are ready to spend some time at home "doing" school and not packing and unpacking, our trips are SO much fun that I miss them.  Our next scheduled trip isn't until our annual November hunting trip.  I may have to squeeze a little something in between now and then.  There just too much cool creation to explore!