June 15, 2011

We dumped the box

     Want a free converter box? Our family made a small upgrade in electronics. We bought a 32" digital TV. Baba doesn't know about Phase 2 yet. For Phase 2, we will go totally bonkers and buy a Wii.

Baba testing the remote (old TV did not have remote)
Who cares about the TV when there's a large box available.

The girls helped sort clothes this week. I think it is a chore that never ends. They think it is fun.

     Photos can be tricky when you are a photo dunce like me. How did I not notice a bra dangling from Pooda's hand? Take 2 and Pooda is hidden. There was a third attempt. Panda was not a happy camper at that point. Photo #3 belongs on the cutting room floor.

     Warm weather means craft projects on the patio. Panda & Pooda have been waiting for warmth because mama doesn't allow painting in the house. The wreath is designed in hopes of attracting a nesting bird like last year. There was more Spanish moss than needed so Panda got creative (and grew an extra pair of arms).

     We've also put out the hummingbird feeders. I am forty shades of green with envy because a hummingbird has nested at my sister's house. It's not fair . . . . .    

June 10, 2011

A love-based paradigm

     It is impossible to help a child regulate when you are not calm and present in the moment. I have spent hundreds of hours reading about parenting traumatized children. This article describes the parenting paradigm we use. It's from the Beyond Consequences Institute.
     In my own words (so any errors are mine), a love-based paradigm places your focus on relationship with your child, not on the child's behavior. That means parents do not punish a child for dysregulated behaviors. It does not mean there are no boundaries and home is a free-for-all.
     Parents focus on understanding why the child is dysregulated (i.e. feels frightened). The parent helps the child by being physically and mentally present during the dysregulation. This is the first parenting strategy with which we've found success. There are other names for this approach and other therapists who encourage it. Daniel Hughes, Bryan Post, and Bruce Perry are a few examples. 
     Our family is still relatively new to this paradigm. It is hard to make the shift and I knew we needed help. I enrolled in an on-line parenting course offered by Heather Forbes with Beyond Consequences. Families from around the world participated. Technology literally brings students together live, via home computers. We did live role plays during class. It was incredibly concrete, useful, and inspiring.
     I didn't want it to end, so next up is a program called Dare to Love Yourself. This is also taught by Heather Forbes. It virtually meets once per month for a year. The goal is for mothers to care for themselves, as well as their families.
      Then came the Everyday is Mother's Day conference. It was so emotional I could barely pull myself out of bed after the third session. My body & mind were drained and felt wonderful at the same time.
     At this point, some might consider me addicted. It is definately a possibility.

Respite for everyone

     Lately, it has been difficult to find my silver lining. The rages happen three & four times a day. Emotional turmoil has completely overtaken my body. Panda is in turmoil, too. This is not a good combination.

My tears begin the moment Panda dysregulates.
     Things are knocked off counters ~ I cry.
     She hits Pooda ~ I cry.
     She hits me ~ I cry.

     Pooda soon now expects my tears the moment Panda gets upset. I want to get in the van and drive somewhere  ~ alone ~  and stay there a very long time. 

     Something has to change. All four of us need respite. I have never contemplated this before now although many families use respite on a regular basis.

     She would be terrified if we send her away.
     I do not want her to feel abandoned (again).
     I am scared, too.

     Support network to the rescue: Panda stayed with her best friend for three nights. Pooda went to my sister’s house for two nights. They both considered it a special treat and had a wonderful time. Mama & Baba had a wonderful time, too.

(I started this post last month . . . . ) This move was truly a miracle for us. I did not cry for weeks after the girls came home from respite. I cried for the first time yesterday. Tonight they are staying with Aunt Shaw again, so mama can have another respite.


Pooda: "Mom, we need to hannatize."
Mom: "What?"
Pooda: "You know, hannatize our hands before we eat."
Mom: "Sweetie, I think the word is sanatize."
Pooda: "No, it is hannatize."

School's Out !

School's out for summer ~ School's out forever ~ School's been blown to pieces
No more pencils ~ No more books ~ No more teacher's dirty looks
Out for summer ~ Out till fall ~ We might not go back at all *

Last day of school photo below. Pooda's kindergarten class had a pretend beach party. Flipflops were the footwear of choice. Panda just wants to get the show on the road, hence the crossed arms and grimace-like smile.

This was the first day of school last August.

* Song by Alice Cooper, released 1972


Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."      ~ Mary Anne Radmacher *

     I felt this way last night. Yesterday Panda & Pooda had swimming lessons, began Irish dance class and we stopped by 'the farm' for the first time this season. I should have predicted the folly of doing all these things during one outing. It was too much!
    As we left 'the farm', I accidently smacked Pooda in the face while trying to maneuver her into the back seat. She needed to be in the back seat for safety. Panda was mad and Pooda is an easy target when they sit side-by-side in the van. My iced tea spilled on me when Panda threw a small gym bag at me as we drove home. All three of us were crying as we pulled into the garage. Baba had a deer-in-the-headlights look when he heard & saw us. Although, by the time we went to bed everything was calm. Whew!

* Check out Mary Anne Radmacher's writing and artwork here. In an odd coincidence,  I was inspired by her words when making a gift for Baba soon after we married. He was not a baba then but he was, and remains, "my best time".

June 5, 2011



Pronunciation: dis-ˌreg-yə-ˈlā-shən 
Function: n  
Definition: impairment of a physiological regulatory mechanism (as that governing metabolism, immune response, or organ function)

Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2007 Merriam-Webster, Inc.