Archive | February 2012

Becoming the parent I never had

Is it in the genes to just grow up and be the same as your parents?

Is it inevitable that we will say and act the same way they did?

Is it an unbreakable cycle?

Growing up I never knew who my biological father was. I had these weird memories of some huge burly guy seeing me tear off the labels on my brand new food play set and asking if I was suppose to do that and then turning to go tell my paternal grandmother. I had this memory for 7 years before I finally met him. When I was 1 or 2 he decided that he didn’t want me. Drugs were more important. By the time I met him, he had remarried and they had a child together, a son, which is what he wanted all along. I was respectful to him as I had been taught to do. But I just couldn’t hug him and say Daddy! He was huge, well over 6 feet and well over 300 lbs. I was terrified of him. And I was angry and cautious. He left once why wouldn’t he do it again?

My mom needed to work to give me everything I had or so she said. So I lived at my maternal and paternal grandparents house, only seeing my mom twice a week. Almost like a custody agreement. 1 week here and 1 week there. But they were like best friends. If I wanted to go to see the other set it was no problem. We would all get together and go out to the beach, dolphin watches and to get ice cream. That’s how I remember family days; 2 grandpa’s and two grandma’s.

When I would see my mom, we would usually go out shopping since that was the only way she knew to show me her love was to buy me stuff. And then we would go out to eat. After it was back to my grandparent’s house. As long as I was quiet and sweet and innocent, then our visit went smoothly. But if I decided to be normal and act out, it was awful. I would get verbally abused for being stupid and making a simple mistake like spilling something. If I mouthed off I would get threatened to get beaten, one time it took my cocker spaniel getting between me and my mom with her fly swatter to get her to back off.

There is one thing I had for both my parents and it wasn’t admiration and love; it was fear! I was scared of my parents and their erratic and explosive tempers. So I always tried to be the peace maker.

Then it all changed!

I was 16 and pregnant long before it was cool to be on a reality show for it. And suddenly I had this precious little baby inside me that needed me to be strong. And her biological father was also physically and emotionally abusive to me.

And then I snapped! I left him behind never to see his child again (2 years later I was strong enough to fight him and win custody of our daughter and now he has signed over all rights to my husband).

While fighting for custody, my father decided to leave his new family. He walked away from his 15-year-old son and never saw him again. He eventually moved in with my grandparents and tried to explain to me and I said I didn’t want to be in the middle. I was to the point and short about everything I said to him. But then the day came that I couldn’t take it anymore. My grandfather, my father figure, just came home from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. My grandmother asked my father to take the garbage out. Yes he had to be told to do his chores! Well he mouthed off and I went insane. I knew I couldn’t fake how I feel any longer. So I told him exactly what a low life he was and he then came after me. But fear did not consume me and cause me to run, no years of being emotionally scarred and pissed off ignited this strength that allowed me to stand in my place watching him try to get around the rocking chair to get to me. What he was going to do exactly, no one knows, but I do know I brought back my fist ready for a fight and simply said bring it. Years later he would tell me I am acting like a little bitch just like my mom and I said Thank you as long as I am not like you. That was the last time I saw him.

My mom had ways of sucking you in. For years I was terrified of her and then I became a parent and she wanted to be my best friend. It worked out for a while. We were always doing things together: shopping, taking the kids here or there. But then she remarried and the mom I knew and never loved.  And her new hubby wasn’t much better. The day before my beloved Grandpa’s funeral this last year, I text my mom a simple question. She took it the wrong way, blew it out of proportion, made it all dramatic. The next thing I know her hubby is calling me and when I answer the phone for the drunk, he goes off on me about how my Grandpa didn’t deserve respect and that I need to grow up and quitting acting like a spoiled brat. Snap #3! I can’t repeat what was said on that phone that day. But I will say the story he has told to my mom’s side of the family is an outright lie. We haven’t spoken since and even when he saw me he couldn’t look me in the eye. For months my mom went on trying to pretend it is all ok. She had to call me and I never called her. She had to text me because I wouldn’t. I was desperately holding on to that relationship string I had tried my whole life to have with my mom. She has never said she loves me. Not the day I gave birth at 17 years old and not the day I got married. And I was so depressed for months until finally my oldest daughter said “Mom we don’t like seeing you like this.” And I said “your right. It’s not worth it.”

My mom has tried to apologize in her we were all wrong explanation. But I told her through the whole conversation I was not wrong and will not say I was. That is how that ended. We still talk about once a week and she comes over about once a month. Maybe if she needs something. Far less than what it use to be. And I am ok with that. My family life has been amazing since I got rid of the toxins. I lean on my hubby more, I cherish my kids more. I want to be the parent that gives my kids amazing memories. Not the disconnected kind that treats her kids like they are a burden or ruined her life. I promised my daughters that I would never do what my mom did to me. They are old enough that they witnessed and understood what happened. And they know that is never going to be an issue.

I also write this because the brother that my father walked away from just found out they are expecting and I wonder. Will the past come back to bite him? Is he doomed to make the same mistakes? And I can honestly say not if you don’t let it. Stand up and be strong! Fight for what you love and what you have! And fight to be the best parent and person you can be! I did and I have succeeded!

Mama Jedi Mind Tricks

I have learned a few tricks while growing my large family. For one they don’t slow down on eating as they get older; they actually speed up. To make groceries stretch and last I have come up with some Mama Jedi Mind tricks.

For one is my bacon, I cut it in half. Therefore when they take 3-4 they actually only getting 1 1/2-2 slices of bacon. If I left them whole they would still eat 3-4 and 1 package of bacon would only last me 1 meal instead of a week or so.

Another one I just tried this week was cutting the bread in half for French Toast. My family loves the French toast made with the Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Bread. If I leave the slices whole they went through almost 2 loaves of bread. I cut them in half and we only used 1 loaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to milk we go through a lot. So I have a couple of tricks on that. 1) Why use the good stuff for cooking? I substitute for half & half (especially if it is close to expiration date), cream or powdered milk. I usually make up a 2 quart container of powdered milk and use it for cooking. 2) On those days when I don’t wanna go to the store I will mix in my cooking milk with the half gallon of regular milk that is left in the milk container. Shake it up and your good. You have to be stealth. My hubby would never drink it if he knew. So that is why I mix it with a 1/2 gone gallon of milk and it taste perfect.

Meat is our biggest expense. So to cut down on that I have one meatless day a week. And I sneak in refried beans with hamburger whenever I can. Tacos, chili, spaghetti sauce are just a few dishes I use it in. It’s also a great way to get some fiber into your family.

VOILA! Not only is this a great way make the groceries last but also cuts the amount of calories. In their mind they are still getting the same amount but in reality not so much.

Sunday Mornings

AHHH Sunday Mornings! A time for peace and quiet. Some may go to church. Some may relax at home. Around here I like to catch up with my DVR and clip coupons.

But on this particular Sunday I spent my morning running around my yard chasing a rooster!

Hubby was leaving for work when he saw the rooster around the front of the gate. I jokingly said let him in; he can be our first chicken. And hubby did! Then I asked when the rooster made himself at home; how do we get him out? Hubby tells Cailin to go chase after him. Well we know that is not going to happen because Cailin is our little chicken of the sea. So I said I would do it. I ran around behind this rooster for 10 minutes trying to corral him back out the gate when hubby says OK I have to go work but make sure you get the chicken out. If looks could kill I tell ya that man would be a dead one!

By the way Koda was cracking up at the rooster and us running behind it. He thought it was the craziest thing!

So I opened every gate in the yard and tried for another 30 minutes to get him to go out one of them. Then I almost had him out the back gate when he turned and did this ninja kick with the wings flapping and I took off the opposite way and thought oh heck no!

I decided he could stay after that. I figured he would leave eventually. And I decided I needed some high fat football food for the Super Bowl. The girls called when I was at the store to tell me our neighbor came and got him. And that he used a net! Go figure!

But I have learned a very valuable lesson.

1) No Roosters! They will try to rule the roost! HAHA

2) Get my chickens as young as possible so they will be nice and docile.

3) Own a net!

By the way here is the culprit of the morning chaos.

Special needs mom fighting for diagnosis

I never wanted to be the mom of a special needs kid.  The idea and thought terrified me. Then I became very close with my cousin who one day just stop growing and no one knew why. He was like having a baby under the age of 1 for about 2-3 years. And I watched what my Aunt was going through and I definitely didn’t want it then. I had a perfectly healthy daughter and that was how I wanted all my kids. But then I met my husband.

I have a blended family. My oldest daughter and youngest daughter came from my husbands previous marriage. The mom got into some trouble and lost custody. The day I moved in, she quit coming around or calling much. Eventually she signed over her rights and I adopted the girls as my own. My middle and youngest daughter are only 5 months apart. But they are mentally and physically years apart. When I came into the picture Bri would talk but you couldn’t understand her at all. Only 3 words came out clearly. She was having a hard time potty training. Very small and petite in size compared to the other kids. It seemed like everything with Bri was on hyperspeed. And she was very impulsive and unaware of dangers.

We originally got the speech diagnosis and started her in an intense pre-k with tons of speech therapy. About 2 years later, we got the ADHD diagnosis. But within 6 months of being on meds, she turned violent and out of control. My little sweet petite girl could bust my lip, punch a hole in the wall and break a window all in one day. And yes she was only 6 or 7. From there we got the diagnosis of mood disorder. She has been on meds ever since. But I kept saying there was something more. That something wasn’t right. I homeschooled for a couple of years until her meds weren’t working and she became a danger to myself and the newborn in the house at the time. We decided that we needed a break and public school would give us that. But in school she was struggling. Inevitably getting in a fight because and I quote “the other girl wanted to”. She didn’t have any social common sense in my opinion. She will talk to you like dirt and treat you like dirt but the minute you do it to her; your labeled as mean and she runs to her room crying which then goes into a temper tantrum. She doesn’t understand right from wrong or just doesn’t care. I am not sure. She struggles in school with making friends and being on her grade level. No one has an answer, a solution and just keeps passing her along!

I have been to therapist that have suggest locking her in a closet to talking to her like she is a baby. I have been to neurologist, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, psychologist and had many IQ test done. But finally I might have a light at the end of the 9 year battle! It took the 5th psychiatrist to listen and say whoa, i think she might be this instead. But finally there is hope. And the scary part is I have suspected it all along.

Asperger’s!

I am really hoping this is the answer. I am exhausted and beginning to lose my drive. But I can’t quit; I know that. But it just sucks going on this journey.

I will say that with everything I picked up with my daughter and cousin, I have learned a lot. I can look at someone at the restaurant and say he is autistic or listen to a friend share her worries about her child and say sounds like a sensory issue.

But it still is hard…….