NealieRose

Oct 052017
 

Bruce wore tiger-striped reading glasses today. Some I picked up from the dollar store. He has no fashion sense and doesn’t care, so it’s amusing when he is accidentally in style.

He needed a bandage because he just had something on his face treated by the dermatologist. So I heard him yell, “Don’t tell me this is all we have for bandaids?”

I responded, “What? You don’t like bright purple ones? Lime green? How about the ones with hearts? Oh, and we have some with Minions on them!”

Tiger stripes framed the resignation in his eyes. He must have sensed what was not fashionable right then. Imagine that. 🙂

Bruce has always had my back. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did with Lilly without him. Working with a traumatized child is an uphill climb, and you have to have some help along the way. Maybe the “Bruce” in your life is a close friend, a brother, or a group of parents supporting each other. Don’t try to go for any length of time by yourself.

Where can you find some support? Try your local foster agency, either county or private. They will know about support groups. Ask around if you belong to a church. Here are organizations that are helpful:

BEYOND Trauma and Attachment (BETA)  A Facebook open support group . They offer humor, information, and retreats.

Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN)   Great international resource with a crisis hotline: 888-656-9806.

The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children is on Face Book. TLC 

Institute for Attachment and Child Development IACD

See my RESOURCE tab on the home page for more help. <3 Nealie

*(Minions is a trademark of Universal City Studios LLC)

 

Sep 252017
 

Yesterday I was inside and heard voices in my side yard. I went out onto the deck and watched as five young kids piled leaves from a maple tree in a big heap. One of them had a rake. I stepped forward and showed myself and said, “Hi! Whatcha doing?”

Startled, the oldest boy said, “Uh, we are taking your leaves . . . Is that okay?”

“Why do you want my leaves?”

Another boy answered, “Well, we don’t have any in our yard. We want to make a big pile to jump in!”

They seemed embarrassed, but I thought it was wonderful. “Hey, I’ll get you giant bags and another rake!” I hurried to get them. (What luck!)

I wonder what the parents thought when a truck-load of leaves appeared in their yard, right, lol?

-Nealie 😆

 

Lesson from the Spider

 Chasing Lilly, Foster children, Fostering, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Lesson from the Spider
Sep 212017
 

I went to the sink and was surprised to see that a spider had crafted a web over part of the sink bowl, like it now belonged to HIM. I don’t know how he pulled that off.

When you make up your mind to love and stick with a traumatized child, behaviors they throw at you are like that spider’s web. The child may surprise and shock you with their sheer craftiness and obstinacy. Beware, though, of becoming entangled in the web of their antics . That happens so easily when our emotions and tempers explode. I know! Remember when my halo  cracked?

Another word to whoever will listen. My love may not demonstrate like your love, or the love that is politcally correct. Take care of yourself . . .and never stop loving.

-Nealie

Aug 312017
 

summer pictureI have to tell you about one of the funniest things I’ve seen recently.

Bruce and I got a trampoline for the yard, and it has an enclosure around the sides. There is a zipper to open the side to let kids in, and then it has to be zipped back up to keep kids from falling off the trampoline.

Ari, my book illustrator and granddaughter, got up on the trampoline and climbed inside the opening. She zipped it up quickly and said, “I’m glad there’s a zipper. That bee won’t get in now!”

I cracked up laughing, “Ari, don’t you think it could still get in? Look, the whole top is open!”

She was embarrassed and smiled when she realized she hadn’t seen the big picture.

But, I have to say that when you are taking a direct hit from something, you block where necessary, and given that, Ari wasn’t so silly.

I remember many stop-gap measures we took trying to parent Lilly. And some seemed ridiculous, like balancing a spool of thread on her doorknob to keep her inside her room at night. If the spool dropped and hit the metal cookie sheet on the floor, we’d know she was out… You may wonder, what about a motion alarm? Lilly learned to dismantle or get past those many times, and the alarms would go off because we or a cat went by, and that alarm noise is unbearable. So, a spool of thread carefully balanced on a doorknob worked for a while. Then Lilly figured a way past that. It gets complicated! 🙂

My point is this:  Do what you can, and never quit trying! Some measures work for a day. Some work for an hour. Some may work for a long time, but you have to block problems as they come. Do not give up. Don’t kick yourself for not always seeing the pig picture. At least you are doing something positive.

And, by the way, that bee gave up and went away. It wasn’t able to figure out that the top was open. At least not that time. Just like Lilly, LOL!

-Nealie

 

 

 

 

Aug 012017
 

Some time ago, a relative buried his mother. Not long after, he and his brother and father went to the gravesite to see the newly delivered gravestone. They took pictures, and he showed me a photo of the headstone on his cell phone.

It was an ornately carved, big, beautiful piece of marble. But something was wrong, and I noticed it right away.

“Your last name is spelled wrong,” I commented.

He thought I was joking, and I had to tell him to LOOK at the picture.

He was shocked. “I can’t believe it! How did we miss that?!”

I understood how three people could miss something so obvious. And it was their own last name, for Pete’s sake. It was because emotional turmoil blinded them.

That’s why those of us working with people who have mental health problems need a team of people to shape how we view things. I don’t know how we could have seen our way all these years with Lilly, without the different team member’s input and insight, because of the continual emotional upheaval and exhaustion. These team members have been guardians, social workers, doctors, medication RN’s, and therapists. And sometimes, it’s a friend who visits Lilly and notices something I don’t, because I am too close to the situation.

My advice is to take advice, as long as it goes with your gut feeling of what is right. Don’t try to be all and do all. You will need help along this journey.

<3 Nealie

 

 

 

 

 

A Dirty Life Saver

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on A Dirty Life Saver
Jul 102017
 

I was cleaning out the console cubby in my car, and found a peppermint Life Saver in the bottom of the little pen cup. It had ink from the pens on it, and looked icky. If I hadn’t eaten it, I’d show you a picture of it -just kidding! The photos did not come out right, but I tried.

I couldn’t help seeing some similarities between that Life Saver, and the life-savers that I know who work or live with damaged children. They often get a little dirty trying to make a difference. You can’t always be picture-perfect or organized when you are saving a life. (Remember my swimming pool soak?)

So to all my friends who have fostered and adopted, or who work with kids like Lilly, Thank you for being a Life-Saver!

Nealie

Billy Bass Gets A Makeover

 Children, General Humor  Comments Off on Billy Bass Gets A Makeover
Jun 172017
 

Wow, It’s been a month since I posted here! What have I been doing? Making things fun for the kids and grandkids. We have an above ground pool, and we made a “changing room” for swimsuit dressing. I previously had Billy Bass in a bathroom, (much to Bruce’s chagrin -he doesn’t care much for him, lol), so I moved Billy Bass to a wall in the new room.

But not before he got a make-over! What do you think? More like a rainbow trout?

Humor can bring relief when things have been bad for a long while. I know the tenseness that can be in the air; the walking on eggshells around an explosive child. I know how it feels.

Do what you can to lighten up. For your own good. And remember, attitudes are contagious. It will rub off on others.

Billy Bass sings two songs. One says, “Take me to the river…throw me in the water,” and the other goes “Don’t worry; be happy…”

It’s difficult to keep a straight face when a fish sings funny songs while he’s looking you in the eye!

-Nealie

 

May 132017
 

Taking Care of Children by Ari Kuzmik

Three-year-old Nick was whining about being hungry.

After hearing “I’m hungry” for the fifth time, his father said, “Well Buddy, what do you want?”

“I want hugs. I want hugs in my tummy.”

Nick found himself showered with hugs from everyone in the family!

I am proud of my son-in-law for asking Nick what he wanted, rather than throwing him a snack. And because he did, Nick had his true need met.

I think this speaks loudly to all of us.

Slow down.

Ask a question.

Listen for the answer.

And hug!

🙂 Nealie

PS The drawing is by Ari Kuzmik!

 

May 012017
 

the green monster

Kind of a scary sculpture, but Tommy likes sharing his creations with people.  🙂

His mom, Joy, recently asked if I could get Tommy off his bus at the bus stop up the street from their house. After he put his book bag away, I asked him if he had a good day. He announced that he  had an “outstanding” rating from the teacher.  I also asked him who he played with at recess.

“Sergio,” he replied. “We played Diabetes!”

“Uh, what did you play?”

“We played Diabetes. The person who is Diabetes is “IT,” and he chases other people until he catches one, and then they are Diabetes.”

I explained that diabetes was  a health problem that some kids had, and he needed to go back to saying, “Tag! You’re it!”

After school is out for the day, we parents or grandparents need to find out a few things:

How was it? Give a 1-10 scale, or offer three words that help describe it, like great, awful, ordinary.

Who did you play with today? What did you play?

Mix the questions up  and don’t make them the same old after-school drill. Include something of your childhood recess or problems from time to time.

Boys will give shorter answers than girls, but try to engage them soon after they’re home, so if they have had a stressful day or a problem you can work through it.

And please see if your kid has homework. I volunteer at a school for an hour or so each week, and the kids that I work with are the kids who don’t have support with their homework at home. So sad!

Nealie

Over the Edge

 Chasing Lilly, Life's Difficulties  Comments Off on Over the Edge
Apr 112017
 

When Bruce and I were at the Grand Canyon, I honestly enjoyed the clouds more than the mile-deep craters that a person could fall into. I had no interest getting close to the edge of anything remotely high.

Nealie Rose

Bruce kept telling me there was nothing to worry about, while I stayed seated on park benches as he got closer to nature.

Later, we were in a Grand Canyon  restaurant and gift store, and I saw a book for sale. Guess what it was called?

Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon by Michael Ghiglieri Wow! I didn’t read it, but the title confirmed a few things for me.

That brings me to what I want to mention.

This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And sometime average people under severe stress (and without needed supports) go over the edge and become abusive to their children.

Here are four scenarios that demonstrate how that can happen, and interventions. If you are interested in preventing child abuse, see what you can learn from these scenarios.

Love my readers, Nealie