Trauma, different ways

We’ve had all six kids in our home for just under a year now. It’s very interesting how trauma from what they experienced will work its way out every so often, generally when we least expect it.

Ani took Mayci to spend the night with her while she was pet/housesitting a few weeks ago. Mayci fully believed she was now living in that house. She even referred to our house as the Duks’ house. She was very little when they moved very often and were homeless at times, but clearly it left her not fully secure or totally understanding when we say “this is forever.” Who knows how long it will take her to truly internalize it.

The older two boys show the most signs of what DFPS calls “neglectful supervision.” This makes sense. They were almost 4 and 1 1/2 at removal and so had been in the situation longer than Nicholas who was only 6 months old (the twins were born after the older four were removed and so never lived in that situation).

Mayci, however, doesn’t show any signs. Instead she was horribly spoiled. This also makes sense. She was the only girl. At removal she was 2 1/2, but she was spoiled by her caregiver after removal as well. Being overly indulged can cause just as many problems for a kid as being neglected.

You wouldn’t think being spoiled is a trauma that needs to be worked through, but it really is. And we are very excited to see her begin to show remorse for breaking rules and understanding why sometimes she has to take a time out or say sorry for what she has done.

Trauma is a strange thing. The same experience can affect different kids very differently. One thing is for sure about trauma, though. It will work its way out eventually and that can be very hard.

Adrian’s favorite part of the day

Every weekday we get up at 6:20 to get the six littles ready for the day. We leave the house about 7 or so and drop Elijah and Mayci off at the elementary school. As they get out of the van I always say, “Have a great day Mayci, I love you! Have a great day Eli, I love you!”

Then we head to the daycare to drop the middle two off at preschool. As they head in to use hand sanitizer after getting their temperatures checked, I always say, “Have a great day Anthony, I love you! Have a great day Nicky, I love you!”

Then we head home with the babies. Adrian gets up at the same time as the littles so he can get ready for the day and do his morning chores. A little before 7:30 he heads out of the house to the bus and after he puts on his mask an backpack I always say, “Have a great day Adrian, I love you!”

He often says that is his favorite part of the day.

Still Making Us Laugh Sometimes

Adrian saw the pediatrician for an ADHD med check last week. As soon as we got in the exam room he heaved himself up on the exam table (proclaiming that he really likes laying on the “check-up table”). He then passed the time waiting for the provider by singing the Doc McStuffins theme song (can you tell he has little siblings?).

After she listened to his heart and lungs he asked if he could listen, too. She seemed a little surprised someone his age would request to do that and quite amused at how much pleasure it gave him to listen to his own heart and lungs. She then asked if he wanted a sticker. He started to say no, but then he said that yes, he really would like one so she brought him an Aladdin one and a Lion King one (which he immediately stuck to his shirt – it fell off at some point during school so he came home wearing the Aladdin one).

She told him you only get to be a kid once so keep being a kid as long as he can. And keep making us laugh. It’s always good to make people laugh.

A Hole in Each Earlobe

Mayci has wanted pierced ears for quite some time. She talked about it even before she moved in with us. We talked about it for her birthday, for her adoption, or for no reason at all. But she always decided it would hurt too much and decided not to get it done.

Ani found out there a little pop-up boutique in some Targets where an RN uses a hand squeeze tool (rather than a gun like at Claire’s) to do the piercing. For some reason this time Mayci said she was ready so Ani made the appointment.

A week ago Saturday was the date. We found the place in Target and she climbed into the chair and looked at a few different options for her first earrings and chose 3mm pearl balls.

She was very brave, but even brave people need moral support sometimes so she invited Anthony to come along. She and Anthony have always been close. Because of her abilities with speech and his delays she seems way older than just the 11 months between them.

The nurse marked where she was going to put the holes. Mayci was getting a bit nervous at this point. She got to keep the pen the nurse used and for some reason this made Mayci so incredibly happy.

After the first earring was in place, she was a bit shocked by the pain. The nurse immediately distracted her by showing her how it looked in the mirror.

The second one is the one that takes the most courage. She knew exactly how it would feel. After a deep breath she told the nurse to go ahead and do it.

Mayci did not cry after either ear was pierced. She just said, “That really hurt,” in a very accusatory voice, which is pretty much on brand for this child. She’ll cry her heart out if she thinks it might get you to give in to her and let her have her way, but if she makes up her mind not to cry, she absolutely won’t. She’ll let you know what you did is not okay with her, though.

Soon the pain was gone and little miss had two lovely pearl balls in her earlobes. She’s looking forward to when she can start wearing other earrings (any time after May 22nd). She and Ani have plans to do some ear twinning and she can’t wait (and to be perfectly honest, neither can Ani).

Mayci Had a Day

Every morning Mayci leaves the house with her hair done nicely. Every afternoon she comes home from school with her hair all over the place. Sometimes the bow she left with has even broken somehow over the course of the day.

When she comes home and her hair is all over the place we always ask her if she had a day and she always grins and says she sure did.

Really, the best days are the ones where she goes from nicely done hair to crazy hair over the course of the day. Those are the days she was most active and had the most fun.

Side note: I’ve found the best way to get this child to smile naturally for the camera is by having her say her name. We have no problems with self-esteem with this little one.

Reading to the Big Boys

I read a chapter (sometimes more) to Fritz and Adrian every evening. As soon as their younger siblings head off to be, we read. Adrian cleans while we read. Both of them are perfectly capable of reading to themselves or putting on an audiobook, but the chapter a night is something we’ve been doing for many years and even though they will soon be 15 and 13 I don’t see a reason to stop any time soon.

Any time we finish a book that’s been made into a movie, we watch the movie over the next night or two instead of starting a new book right away. We’re currently reading The Hunger Games series and so watched the first movie last week. It’s fun to see the book brought to life and to see what they changed or had to leave out due to time constraints. The Hunger Games is all told from Katniss’ point of view so the small additions from Snow’s point of view in the movie really add to it (especially since we read The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes before starting the original three books).

So far none of my kids have been quite as into reading as I always have been. They read, but at a much more normal pace. Even as a kid I read like crazy. I could knock out three Baby-Sitters Club books in a week easy. I learned to read when I was 3 1/2 (my six-year-old sister taught me using an old copy of Hooked on Phonics) and was reading chapter books by the time I was in first grade. I really enjoy sharing books I’ve loved with my kids through their bedtime stories. DELTORA Quest, Harry Potter, Hunger Games… I think next we’ll do Miss Peregrine and then Divergent. Maybe The 100 (I do love dystopian).

We’re reading Catching Fire now. I had forgotten how amazing Suzanne Collins is at weaving a story. It’s been hard only reading one chapter a night. This is a series I read over just a few days (all three books had been published before I read any of them) and would do it again on a reread if I wasn’t reading out loud to the boys.

Side note… Watching The Hunger Games, after all the experience I’ve had with Mayci’s hair, I realized there is absolutely no way Rue’s hair would look that nice after a few days in the arena. I mean, Katniss’ wouldn’t either, but Rue’s *really* wouldn’t.