Monday, April 11

Long overdue check in

So life chez-Lina is pretty good.  Still crazy, still heart wrenching, and certainly full of social workers but good.

Spunk (now 5) has sort of figured out that we're sticking around.  She's full of statements like "You are MY mom" or "You will be MY mom forever".  Toileting has improved tremendously, she's finally going to school all day and generally thriving.  She's able to read a bit, print well, and academically closer to her peers that I'd expected given all this emotional upheaval.  Her struggles (school wise) are more learning social skills.  She's so fearful of rejection, she has a hard time asking others to play or letting them control the game.

Clover (now 13) has had a rougher time I'd say.  In my last post, I mentioned she slipped and called Mr. Lina Dad.  That was the start of her brain going "Holy fuck what is going on???  We don't trust MEN!!!".  I spent the fall saying she was sliding, she needed help, she hit a bottom in December which opened us up to more help.  We've added more medical professionals to the team, sorted out an alphabet of diagnosis and we're working on treatments.  Somehow through bleak months where she couldn't do more than mumble to Mr. Lina she still managed to have 5 grades at 90%.  She has a boyfriend so I now get to talk about sex and worry about what's happening on that 45 minute walk after school on top of the usual mental health/parenting concerns.

Legally speaking, the girls are still our foster daughters.  There was a lab in Toronto that did hair analysis to find historical drug use.  There was a false positive in a divorce case (so impacted custody but nothing to do with adoption) which led to an inquest.  Because of the inquest, they are now opening up every single case where the lab was used to see if it played a factor in the apprehension of children.  Until that is resolved, all adoptions for cases where the lab was used (even distantly - like in the case of an older sibling who is now an adult holding back the younger sibling from being adopted) are on hold.  I cannot control the government, I know our case and I know I have nothing to worry about.  Birth mom is actually in a good spot now and she recognizes the girls are better with us.  But it does mean I have to adhere to more social worker visits and paper work for much longer than expected and I still can't post pictures.

My parental leave came to an end March 29th.  We spent the whole month getting the girls ready for Dad taking over (Mr Lina has been on parental leave since November).  2 days one week, 3 the next and all 5 days after March Break, Mr. Lina did the whole morning alone and I usually tried to find somewhere to be after school.  With social worker visits and therapy being as frequent as they are, the after school part didn't always work out, but it showed them he could do it.  The night before I went back to work, Spunk climbed up in my lap asking for "help" to finish the last few bites of food.  We used to do this all the time and she hadn't asked for weeks.  Mr. Lina asked what that was about and she said "Tomorrow is going to be a very tough day and I need extra cuddles from Mom."  Kudos to her for being able to articulate her feelings. 

My return to work lasted 2 hours.  I was given a severance package.  While I was off they sold the software I specialize in and my position was not there to return to.  Never mind the fact there are presently 5 openings I could fill in other divisions.  Not my problem, we're leaving that to lawyers.  For now, I will casually look for work and enjoy more time at home.

This past weekend, Clover's best friend had her birthday party.  Her dad travels for work a LOT so they have points up the wazoo so they book 2 hotel rooms in Toronto, let her bring 4 friends and essentially hang out in a hotel room for the sleep over.  Her mom asked me along.  I'm game for bonding with another mom who has known my daughter longer than I have and seeing Clover interact with old friends I don 't know myself.  I had to drive myself, there were 7 in total and their car holds 6.  I didn't mind the drive and paying for my own parking but I was wanting to go home with Clover, have a little time 1:1.  She wanted to go with her friends.

Rejection is the hardest part of living with Clover.  She does it over and over again.  In little things, like not eating brownies I made, not eating vegetarian food I made for her (she's the least healthy vegetarian I have EVER met, breadetarian would be more accurate).  She pisses Mr. Lina off by putting her feet on the kitchen table and leaving lights on.  The bigger deal you make of it, the more it happens. 

So I said I was disappointed but let her go in the other car.  I couldn't manage my own anger to turn it into a fun afternoon with her at that point.  It's not fun if she doesn't want to be there.

I went to Queen and Spadina and thought of past times shopping there.  I only bought one piece of linen (I have insane stash to work through still and Sunday is not a good shopping day), but I remembered the fun blogger shopping trips.  It was inspiring and calming and made me feel good.  I went to a European grocery store that is no longer convenient and stocked up on mulled wine tea and garlic sausage for Mr. Lina.  I went to Starbucks just so I'd have a cup to put in the recycling bin. 

Me petty?  Never. 

Not petty when I told her about staying in Toronto for a few more hours, how I forgot what kind of a great vibe there is around Queen West and times I spent there with Mr. Lina...

I also finished up a t shirt I cut out a week ago.  Just a clone of a retail shirt I have that I like, nothing crazy, pretty much a big rectangle  rayon knit that drapes nicely and is long enough for jeggings.  And don't you know I put it on this morning and slop egg yolk down the front of it.  I didn't even wear it for an hour before needing to wash it.  On the plus side, it is wearable, the yolk came out and I have cut out another shirt from navy modal I bought in 2012.

11 comments:

  1. Parenting is hard... parenting someone you haven't been with from birth is even harder. And teenagers are experts at rejection. Even the ones who've been with the same parents all the way through are hardwired to test your commitment. My partner and I just hung on to sanity by our fingertips when my stepson was 14 and 15, and he'd had a relatively stable childhood. (There's a child psychologist here who likens teenagers to mad uncle jack. Imagine you have an old uncle who is losing his marbles. When you offer him a cup of tea and he says 'f off', or throws it at you, you understand it is his dementia and not about your cup of tea. He reckons teenagers are just like that).

    You sound like great parents. I can't imagine how hard the wait is. And I'm so sorry to hear about your job. That's rough.

    Hang in there, and enjoy the good parts!

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    1. Uncle Jack sounds about right. It's tough enough with teens but when you add the lack of trust that the parents will stay through thick and thin... it sure isn't easier. But we sure do appreciate the little things, small improvements are huge to us.

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  2. So good to hear from you.

    Wow, you sound like it's a roller coaster ride with Clover, I have no advice but I am trying to send all of you some positive energy across the country. I work in a nursing home where almost all the residents have dementia/Alzheimer's in various stages, so I really get what the psychologist says. Makes perfect sense. We have a saying "you never win an argument with someone with dementia". Probably not much different with a teenager. At least the kids will grow out of it, eventually.

    Take care of yourself and Mr Lina, as well as your new kids, and write when you can. ♥

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    1. That taking care of ourselves is pretty important. All summer the social workers would ask about self care, but the best I could do was 5 minutes in a bathroom. School sure helps, both of us being able to be alone with the girls for a while helps, we find time to take care of our marriage too. All very necessary to be the parents they need.

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  3. So good to read the update, even if it isn't all sunshine and roses! It sounds like you are making good progress with the kids, yes even Clover. I would be pretty surprised if either of my kids opted to ride with me in such a situation, either. ;) and what a relief they're doing ok academically. (This was a huge struggle for my kids, though they're a bit better now, and definitely one you don't need on top of the other issues.)

    Good luck with everything, including the job hunt!

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    1. We had a house concert last week and as it turned out the musician had a 14 year old daughter, and our friend stuck around and he has 11 and 12 year old daughters. While some of the nuances of Clover's behaviour are from trauma and attachment (and my responses have to consider her past), it was so refreshing to hear I am not alone.
      I was never going to worry about academics this year, but I have to say it's nice to know it's still coming along and I have something to brag about. :)

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  4. Big hugs, Sera! I've been thinking of you and your family. Sending prayers, thoughts of positiveness, strength and good vibes your way!

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  5. It's a bummer about the job. :( Hope you be blessed with an even better job that you absolutely love! And the lawyers bring plenty of compensation from the old company.

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    1. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts. Work wise, I know I'll find something that fits my life better - at the very least closer to home!

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  6. Sucks about the job--one with that kind of flexibility is nearly impossible to find. Glad to hear that things are getting better, even if it's not quite "perfect". Clover sounds like a tough nut to crack, but it'll be all the sweeter when she finally does. :-)

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    1. It does suck, while I wasn't looking forward to work exactly, I was hoping to broaden my resume with a different position and 10 years is a long time.
      And yeah, definitely sweeter. We appreciate the tiniest bits of improvement because they are so hard fought.

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Thanks for your comments, I love to have a two way conversation. I seem to be getting a lot of spam from anonymous users and am turning off the ability to comment that way. I really would like to hear from you so if you do want to add your two cents without an OpenId, email me at seraphinalina at gmail dot com.