Sunday, July 09, 2006

It Takes A Village

Jude left a comment on my last post:

"Is there something those of us that love you can do for you or with you in this trying time?"

Well, y'know the saying...

"It takes a village to raise a child."

So, after much thought and discussion with my husband and co-labourer we have come up with this.

Be the village.

What we need, on a truly practical level, is for people (not just families, either) to come around us and purposely build relationship. Spend time with us and our kids. Become "safe people" for our kids and then you can even be the occasional respite for us on the front line. We are simply not going to survive this if we have to go it alone. We're the front line, but we are desperately needing some back-up!

So... invite us out to the park with you. Let's plan a picnic together. Who wants to go to the snake dens with us in the fall? Camping anyone?

See, if you don't build relationship with our kids too then there will be no-one to spell us off when we really NEED time to bounce back. So far we've been trying to spell each other off, but we're both running out of steam and realize that we need more help.

BTW... single people who don't have kids of their own to look after would be totally SWEET to have around as good role models.

It's funny... but when we were childless we felt like we couldn't really break into the social circles of couples with kids. We thought that would change once we became parents. But it didn't. Matt's needs and social shortcomings put up walls (partly from our side - mia culpa) to building relationships with other families 'cause we just didn't know what he would do. They still do. So, not only are we not in relationship AS A FAMILY with other families, but we don't have relationships with the singles or other kid-free couples, either. Isolation sucks. And we just haven't been in a space to initiate our way out of this.

So, if you really want to help... come and get us!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The good, the bad, and the Y chromosome

I don't know what you did for the long weekend, but we took our family camping. It was our fourth venture out in our new trailer. Here's what came of our weekend at Clear Lake.

The Good.

We're getting pretty efficient at setting up and taking down this contraption. We've got it pretty much down to a science. We even plan for the boys to explore the vicinity on their bikes while we do it.

While we didn't do as much hiking as Doug and I would normally like to do, we did manage to get the boys on the marsh walk. Calling it a walk made Matt complain less, and Kelvin REALLY got excited about the whole thing. He could have spent the entire day there trying to catch leeches and such.

The weather mostly co-operated with us this time. We neither set up nor took down our abode in the rain. We actually got to put everything away dry! While we were expecting a really hot weekend, it probably is good that it was a little cooler. I only got sunburned on one day (the marsh walk) and even that is not too bad.

The Bad.

Have I mentioned that FASD behaviour is often cyclical? Well folks, we are smack dab in the middle of the bad part of the cycle, let me tell you. We had several fits - not the least of which was while we were setting down the trailer. I'm half surprised that no-one called the authorities thinking that we were beating on a kid who can scream that loudly. I've been hit, kicked, had stones thrown at me, and been called "stupid mom" so often I'm tempted to just put it on my license plate. No amount of consequences will quell the storm. No offer of rewards for good behaviour are incentive. And no amount of reasoning will deter this child from his view that he is entitled to whatever he wants, when he wants it, and always before and bigger than his brother.

I would have been in tears but for my resolve not to let him know that he can get to me that way. It would only get worse. Somehow the wiring in his damaged brain has left him without a shred of empathy, and with limited logic. It's all about him.

Now, I know we've walked through this before. We've survived. It has always passed.... eventually. But right here in the middle of the storm - we need help! We're runnin' on empty. And we are going on a longer trip in just a couple of weeks. Scary.

Pray. Please pray. Only divine intervention will enable our survival.

The Y chromosome.

Yes, I'm back on the "boys are aliens" kick.

This weekend I think my boys hit a milestone. They are no longer little boys, but big ones. Was it the ability to jump to the third rung on the monkey bars? The hanging upside down by one's knees to the dread of one's father?

The endless spinning on the merry-go-round thingy that's been banned at most playgrounds ? The ability to eat a 6" sub and still be hungry? No. This weekend my boys discovered how to do armpit farts. I even heard Kelvin tell Matt that it worked better if you lick your hand first.