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 😆

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

Guess What I Bought?

 Fostering, General Humor  Comments Off on Guess What I Bought?
Mar 252017
 

Wonder Woman

I just bought my first Lego set -for me! When I saw this one, I had to have it. WHY?

Because all parents of special needs kids know that you have to put on the super hero suit to fight the “Doomsday” in our lives. My suit just happens to be Wonder Woman, like lots of other moms.

You dad’s have a lot more choices, lol! Superman, Batman, Captain America…

My Lego set is now all put together, in plain view in my office. Sometimes we need reminders of who we are, with God’s help.

If you need this, you can get it for about $10 at Amazon.

-Nealie 🙂

Feb 122017
 

I have three grandsons who live near me, and they are all in the 8-9 age. For the past year I’ve been giving them information about how I want them to treat me when I’m old. I told them that since I always feed them either at a restaurant or at my house, (and drive them all over creation), that I want them to do that for me when I am old. Here’s the basic conversation…

Me: When I get old, you guys have to come see me, and you need to bring food, and sometimes take me out to lunch.

Sev: I know. I’ll do it.

Travis: What do you want to eat again?

Me: Mashed potatoes, BBQ chicken, and watermelon.

Tommy: I’m going to pick you up in a truck, not a car.

Me: That’s okay, I like trucks!

Sev: Uh, so you want watermelon? Do you have to have mashed potatoes, too?

Anyone could ask these boys about what’s going to happen when I get old, (as far as it concerns them), and they will tell you exactly what you’ve just read.

Not long after our fiftieth conversation about this, I was holding Tommy’s hand, and patted him on the head.  He commented, “You held my hand and patted me on the head.”

I replied, “I know. And when I get old, you’ll hold my hand and pat me on the head.”

He looked thoughtful and said, “And when you get old and die, we’ll put you in the cemetery.”

“Whoa, Tommy! That’s a looooong way away, though.”

“The cemetery?”

He had no clue why I couldn’t stop laughing! 🙂

And then I remembered Lilly telling me not to sell our house, because when we die, she wants to live here!

Seriously, I think we need to communicate our expectations to children, and be examples for them. I don’t believe that a child should be the center of the family universe, with everything and everyone rotating around that child so that his every wish is met. Instead, offer him the gift of beginning to think about how other people in his little universe have feelings and needs, as well.

 

-Nealie

 

Oh Boy!

 General Humor, RAD parenting, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Oh Boy!
Feb 012017
 

Do any of you take your special child to public places with caution, and hold your breath until you get home? I’m laughing, because it still happens, and Lilly is in her twenties. Lilly is hyper-sensitive to strangers around her, and will often react to their appearance, clothing, voice, or demeanor. We never know what to expect!

Bruce and I were at a Wendy’s restaurant with Lilly, standing off to the side waiting for our order to be filled by a sweet black woman, who was running things behind the counter single-handed with a smile. But the smile instantly vanished when a chubby white man came came up to the counter and held out a soft-drink cup.

“I need a refill of Hi C.”

“We’re all out,” she snapped.

I held my breath, and hoped that Lilly’s interest hadn’t been piqued by the terse exchange. Lilly was looking at them, waiting for what would come next.

And then the man said, “DON’T toy with my emotions.”

The woman laughed and held out her hand. “Give me your cup.”

He handed it to her, and she filled it with Hi C!

Wow. Who would have guessed that they were friends, just messing with each other? We need to save our quick judgements, don’t we? It was nice to witness some fun, even if it was suspenseful.

And remember, don’t toy with my emotions, lol!

-Nealie  😛

 

 

 

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