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)

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Mar 102017
 

                                                                                                        Chasing Lilly

Chasing Lilly is meant to be a teaching tool for students in Psychiatry, Psychology, Counseling, and Intervention Specialties. That’s why there is a companion Discussion Workbook. Profs can use this true story as a case study. Students decide whether to confirm or disagree with Lilly’s diagnosis, talk over what could (or should) have been done in certain situations, medications, etc.

If you know a Professor or University Chair in any of these studies, please pass this on to them as they plan for the coming year. The books are available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.

Love my readers! Nealie

Jan 292017
 

Taking Care of Children by Ari Kuzmik

Remember the swimming pool mental picture from Chasing Lilly?

Picture an empty swimming pool in your mind. It represents a damaged child’s life. Then someone dumps a bucket of dirt into the pool. That dirt is the abuse and trauma experienced by the child.

Your job as a healer is to dilute the dirt by adding bucket after bucket of (healing) “water” by loving and connecting with that child.

The trauma (dirt) is still there, and always will be in that pool, but the healing water of goodness, love, and acceptance will dilute the the bad things, and that child will be empowered to have a better life.

The healing will take much longer than the period of abuse did. Sometimes it takes forever.

Forever is a long time, but if I have done anything in my life, let it be that I have helped an injured child heal.

But not at the cost of damaging and traumatizing other children. That’s the catch.

You must protect other children from being harmed, and don’t assume that kids are resilient and everything will be okay, just like you don’t assume that your pets will be fine without added protection.

-Nealie

P.S. Don’t you just love Ari Kuzmik’s art? 🙂

 

 

The Lone Rager?

 Chasing Lilly, General Humor, Uncategorized  Comments Off on The Lone Rager?
Jan 012017
 

The Lone Rager

The art work is Tommy’s. He just turned eight and is a prolific artist.

This picture stood out to me, because not only is it funny, it can represent several things. One of course, is the real Lone Ranger. 🙂

Then, there is the Lone RAGER, who could be an adult who is always angry about something.

But what about a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder? That child rages all the time, it seems. Unfortunately, there are more than one of these ragers, and the numbers are growing. There are a whole lot of angry and hurting children out there, and most teachers and social workers don’t know what to do with them.

That’s why I wrote Chasing Lilly and the Curriculum. Please pass the word if you haven’t already.

I would love to do a kid’s book on the Lone Rager. I’ll add that to my list of what I’d like to accomplish in 2017.

And if you are parenting a lone rager, don’t forget to check out the resources offered on my website. An especially good one is  Dr. Karyn Purvis and the Connected Child.

Love my readers!  -Nealie

 

Aug 292016
 

When we moved to a new house, Lilly wanted to visit as soon as possible to check it out. She wanted to make sure certain things were still in place.

Things like Bruce and I. And where are the pets -Dunkin’, Noodles, and Moses? Never mind about one single piece of furniture or decoration. Lilly needed to know that all that lived and breathed were fine.

Then she was okay.

She had it right, you know. Sometimes we get the things that don’t live and breathe ahead of what matters.

Love my readers, Nealiecats

 

Aug 062016
 

Chasing LillyThe beef and broccoli was fantastic, and when I cracked open the fortune cookie, it said, “Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.”

Boy, isn’t that the truth?

I was definitely wrapped a little tighter when Lilly first came to us. It didn’t take long for her bizarre antics to force an expansion of my comfort zone. Before I knew it, I was wresting in public with a tiny girl, chasing her down, and once even jumped  fully dressed into a pool to grab her.

I can’t say that I ever got comfortable with all of that, but there was enough of it to loosen me up a bit!

My end goal for Chasing Lilly and the discussion workbook is for colleges and universities to use it to equip students in Intervention Specialties, Counseling, and Psychiatry. When you read the book, you will feel my discomfort, (as well as laugh your head off), and you will understand better how to respond when children with similar issues come your way.

And they will.

The Curriculum and Discussion Workbook offers some lively and engaging classroom discussion, and this two book set will prepare you for the Lilly’s that will be in your classroom or office someday, like nothing else can.

Love my readers, Nealie