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.
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.
On Saturday we went to finish signing Fritz and Elijah up for swim team. We took Elijah, Anthony, and Noah along with us. Mayci was very put out that we didn’t take her. When we got home my mom said she told her that we had gone to the beach to go swimming. No wonder she was so upset!
Elijah’s hair grows so incredibly fast and it’s super thick, too (actually it’s a whole lot like Fritz’s hair that way). We have to cut his hair about twice as often as his siblings’. Last week Jamie took him to get his hair cut and it turned out just perfectly Elijah (we always let him pick the style).
Our family doesn’t have a whole lot of traditions related to holidays and birthdays. Elijah had an assignment to write down our family’s Christmas traditions in December and at first I was thinking we didn’t have any, but really we do.
Every Easter we watch Jesus Christ Superstar. The 2000 version which is most definitely the best version.
We watch Tuesday the 17th (Psych) every, well, Tuesday the 17th. Because of this, it is our most watched Psych episode which is funny because it’s definitely not my favorite.
We take our kids to a hotel, just them plus Jamie and me, the night before their 13th birthdays. They get to pick what we do and where we go. Adrian gets his turn in June.
Every holiday meal includes pickles and olives. Because some of my kids like bread and butter pickles, we’ve added a jar of those in recent years.
We have the most traditions at Christmas. We go to see the Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls some time around Thanksgiving. We give the kids an ornament every year as part of their gift (I used to cross stitch them but that was when I had four kids and now I have ten so we just buy them now). And we watch Holiday in Handcuffs a few days before Christmas (funny that so many of our traditions involve watching something on TV considering how little we actually watch TV).
Speaking in Conference, President Nelson was talking about the pandemic and how things have been and lessons learned and said some would probably like to skip from April 2019 to now avoiding the whole thing altogether. Adrian said he would, but then I reminded him that means he wouldn’t have six little siblings and he said in that case he definitely wouldn’t want to skip.
Adopting six kids in the middle of a pandemic has definitely been odd. Until things shut down we were having Elijah and Mayci over every other weekend. For a couple months we only ever saw them on Skype. Several planned visits to see their bio grandma and aunts and uncles have been cancelled due to exposure. We didn’t take them out in public all together for about an entire year.
I agree with Adrian. No way would I skip. Can you imagine what we would’ve missed out on if 2020 never happened?
We decided to be brave and take all six littles to HEB on Saturday. For a long time because of COVID we didn’t take any of them anywhere. We’ve been taking one or two with us to stores the last couple months. This is the first time since last February that we took all six anywhere at the same time (and that was to the zoo).
We got them loaded up in two carts with the twins in the seats and the toddlers in the baskets. I had talked to Elijah and Mayci ahead of time about walking properly and staying by us at all times and not asking for everything they see on the shelves.
These kids are pretty much angels. They all behaved so incredibly well. They were all antsy by the time we were finishing up of course, but they listened to everything we said. A couple times I had to remind Elijah and Mayci about our conversation, but as soon as I did they remembered to do exactly what I had asked them to.
The only problem was when we got some baby food suckies. Those are great for when someone is hungry in the middle of the night. Joel decided he was hungry right then (and, to be fair, it was just about lunch time so he probably was). I ended up giving him a sucky and having the checker throw it away after scanning it.
Anthony really liked arranging the food around himself in the basket. The bagger, Chris (we know his name was Chris because Mayci walked up to him and very politely asked what his name was and then introduced herself to him), handed each bag he filled to Anthony. Anthony felt very big to have such an important job to do.
We only had a few things to get. No way would I do a full grocery shop with all six (we get the majority of our groceries delivered from Wal-Mart and only hit HEB for things Wal-Mart doesn’t carry or they didn’t have/we didn’t like the substitution). But for a quick one it was just fine. Two adults are absolutely needed, though, because it would’ve been completely insane with only one cart and two places to put little ones.
A week or so ago we got winter progress reports for the toddlers. They have skills and conduct requirements listed and mark beginning, making progress, or mastered for each.
No surprise Nicholas got making progress or mastered for everything and his teacher wrote that he is just a joy to have in the class. His personality is so much like his big sister. They both charm everyone.
Anthony has a little more trouble with a few concepts and behavior. He got mostly making progress and a couple mastered and beginning. His conduct in class is mostly between beginning and making progress which is a big improvement from a few months ago.
Early elementary grades are 1s, 2s, or 3s and are more like the toddlers’ beginning, making progress, and mastered idea than grades.
Elijah got all 3s in music, PE, and health and mostly 2s and 3s with just a few 1s in conduct, reading, math, science, and social studies. He can orally count to 39 with no mistakes and can identify all letters, both upper and lowercase, and their sounds (though the sound y makes trips him up a bit still).
Mayci got all 3s in PE, science, social studies, conduct, and fine arts. She got mostly 3s and a few 2s (no 1s) in language arts, reading, and math. She can identify all the uppercase letters and all but two lowercase letters and the sounds all letters make. She can count to 29 orally with no mistakes and objects up to 16.