Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sun = Fun

This summer has given us the best weather ever! At least in my opinion.  My significant other calls the "heat" "oppressive." But I'm from Maryland where they have truely oppressive heat, so to me 88, sunny, and no humidity is heaven on earth.

For the first time ever (I've been in Seattle for 20 years now), I've gone swimming- outside- because I'm HOT- several days in a row- for two weeks, maybe three! I cannot emphasize how incredibly, ridiculously amazing this is.

I feel SO happy! 

That's ME- being fun mom.  I've jumped everyday, twice.

That Wyatt.  He's a bit more acrobatic about his jumps.  He'll even flip off that thing.
Boys playing in water. I know in other parts of the world this is a common sight. In Seattle, this is new territory.
I woke up this morning to brisk gray air and checked the forecast for the next several days. Clouds. Boo... It was good while it lasted.  Please come back Sunshine, my friend! I beg you. 

Therapeutic parenting update

I'm hoping to incorporate 15-20 minutes a day of deep breathing and "yoga" posses (not to alarm anyone, we aren't meditating or worshiping false gods, only stretching).  I've read a few articles this week about regulating brain patterns and how this can help calm kids down when they get out of whack.  

This is what happened after we breathed and stretched the first time. No kidding.

The second day of breathing/stretching didn't go as well.  Royal was P.O.ed after day one. He couldn't believe how I'd "tricked him into taking a nap." He's "not a baby!" I bribed him with wii time on day two and he complied (reluctantly). I could see immediately that his body was calmer post stretching.  


Sunday, July 13, 2014


Therapy is my new favorite thing.  
     Royal and I started play therapy back in March.  The way it worked was this- for thirty minutes once a week we sat in a tiny room filled with junky little toys and played.  For thirty whole minutes, my job was to play whatever he wanted (unless it was hurtful) while using reflective words.  No questions, no critiques, no suggestions, only reflections. 
     When Lady Therapy described this process to me,  I hyperventilated a little bit.  "You want me to play? But I'm paying you, and I don't like to play!"  And in my mind I continued, "Especially with the-crouchy-one in a claustrophobic little room with bad half broken toys and you (Lady Therapy) sitting in the corner taking notes. And anyway, I'm mad at him.  I don't want to follow his lead."A-hem, bad attitude much?
     Our first play session was awkward and silent.  Everything I wanted to say was a question or a suggestion.  I had no idea how to reflect.  Every now and then Lady Therapy would say something like, "Royal, you're trying to figure it out!" or "Royal, I can see that you like the cars!" She smiled a lot, only making me more annoyed. Didn't she know we were in therapy because we were failing as a mother and son? There was nothing to smile about.   After the thirty minutes of play, she and I would talk for twenty minutes about how it went and then she gave me assignments for the week, like- "Try using reflective talk throughout the day!"  Grrrr. 
     As the weeks rolled by, Royal and I fell into a play time routine.  He looked forward to these sessions, while I learned to pretend that I was having fun and reflect with a fake smile.  I always let him win and let him change the rules as much as he wanted.  It became more bearable, I did the homework, and in the end I found that it was helping.
     Two weeks ago we finished the sixteen week "play" program and I decided to continue with the next level (designed for older kids).  Now Royal and I sit in Lady Therapy's tiny office and talk.  Week one focused on feelings -she gave him a balloon to blow is feelings into, and week two focused on the brain -she talked about the fight, flight, and freeze response to danger while he figited with a brain eraser.  Royal gets squirmy during these discussions and clings to the teady bear on the couch.  It's obvious that he's uncomfortable but she's always reasuring him that what he's feeling is okay and normal.  At home he says positive things about it and is excited to go back.
     I also recently discovered Christine Moers (  I. Love. Her.  She's funny, she's insightful, she's pretty, she's real.  I find her short video clips to be extremely useful.  She does theraputic parenting.  In a nut shell, it looks nothing like normal parenting, is the opposite of what I would have done with my birth kids, and works incredibly well for Royal because it's designed for kids who have experienced trauma.  If only I'd discovered her three years ago and done therapeutic parenting from the very beginning... If only I could start over with what I know now... If only... But I can't.
     Just to clarify : These therapy are as much (if not more) for me as they are for him.  He's able to hear from an "expert" that he isn't a bad person, she talks about other adopted kids who feel and act like he does, while I'm talked through scenarios (that happen everyday around here) and taught what to do about it. Maybe I needed to do it the wrong way for so long to be receptive to this.  In the begining I would have said BS. Now I'm like, "If I throw straw on the floor and do the chicken dance he'll stop complaining? YES, I'll totally do that!!" 
     So three cheers for therapy- hip hip hooray! hip hip hooray! hip hip hooray!

"I can see that you like tacky hats and sun glasses!!" I reflect.



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

East Coast Trip- Part 2, My Spiritual Journey

While my trip east can just barely be classified as a spiritual journey, I did learn some things worth mentioning.

Each time I travel back I realize how much Annapolis is a part of me.  It's my childhood happy place, where I found Jesus, where I grew into adulthood.  The warm humid air felt soothing to my soul.  It felt stifling to my kids- they are true North-westerners. Although I moved away over twenty years ago, it still feels like home.

What I absolutely loved about this trip was my time with my friends.  We are now all forty (we'll one is 39, but she's close).  We are who we are, we're pretty much where we'll be. This is partly why 40 has been so hard for me.  I'd gotten used to climbing the hill and now that I've reached the top, I'm not quite sure what to do.

But back to my friends.  These we're the girls I told my secrets to, dreamed about my future with, got into lots of really fun trouble with.  As teenagers we were so reckless, so naive.  They now try to blame me for the bad choices we made- not true, it's my fun genes that are to blame. 

I loved spending time with them now that we're our mothers' age. We're the ones with teens and approaching teens, yet I found us all to be the same as we always were (only less reckless).  Although we don't all share the same beliefs (we never did), don't worship the same God (or any God at all), don't parent our children the same, we still laughed, shared secrets and shared dreams for our futures.

I was struck by the subtle comments each friend made about areas of life they wish were different.  Each had something that they longed for, each had something they struggled with. And, I recognized that I have my own dark clouds that I focus too much on, I'm really really good on seeing all the things that need fixing- ask Kyle.  We can't rid ourselves of struggle and hardships but these things often distract us from seeing the beauty in our lives. I found my friends to have beautiful lives.  Maybe it was the vacation brain, maybe it's just easier to see other peoples lives with more simplicity than our own.

Awards Time

Best indoor pool

Best red chair to sit and read in and never ever want to leave

Strangest living room items

Most kids (with theirs, mine, and the three kids who spent the night there were 12)

Best boots. I saw these at Barney's in Seattle, but since I'm giving out awards, THESE are the bomb. Too bad they cost $500.