30 May 2014

I'm am an Awful Mother

For the last few minutes I have been chanting this in my mind. Apparently I only now get motivated to write on my blog when I am admitting to a mistake. My friends at work all tell me that I need to write these things down so if there are other Foster Parents out there who feel the same way they don't have to feel it alone. Or something like that.

Tech is a great kid. I don't want anyone to think otherwise. He just hasn't had the environment to learn, grow, and develop as a healthy child in a stable, loving environment. When you are labeled as mentally retarded, never to live on your own, placed with the children with down syndrome in school, and given mood altering medications instead of being taught proper coping techniques, you just don't learn everything you need to. (Can you tell how I feel about some of his previous caregivers?)

My problem is sometimes I want to treat him as if he doesn't have that past, and I can't. It doesn't matter that he has lived 12 years because no one taught him how to be a 12-year-old.

Tonight he and a friend made plans to go see a movie at the local theater. They made the plans at 5 and the movie started at 7. Tech rushed home to get dinner and made a deal with us regarding getting his allowance early so he could go to the movies. This friend (who is a really good friend and kid in general) ended up helping his grandparents with watering their fields because his dad was too sick to do it. Because he chose to help his grandparents they didn't make it to the movie. They are now going to see it tomorrow.

Tech is no longer functioning this evening as a rational being. Something about not going to the movie with his friend has caused him to meltdown. We tried to encourage him in some activities (activities that if he would complete would mean that he would no longer have to make a deal with us regarding his allowance). Nothing. He pretends to be asleep sitting on the couch and when we call his name he opens his eyes and then closes them again as if he didn't hear us and is still asleep.

There are days I wonder if this is actually normal 12-year-old behavior. I mean no one likes to have fun plans cancelled, but the plans were just delayed, and he could have earned his entire allowance instead of it being reduced due to not completing his work. I just don't know some days. Maybe it is a good thing that we don't have any measuring stick. But right now, as I type this blog post and wonder what he is doing in his room, I just keep thinking "I'm an awful mother."

29 May 2014


I can't believe it has been over a month since I have written. I will try to keep that from happening again, but with summer staring, I can't promise anything.

I am not a perfect mother. I never thought I would be, but there are days that I thought I would be better than I am. So to admit my failures.

There was one night that Tech had some history homework. The teachers and school have been amazing and accommodating. Since Tech's reading is not on grade level, his history teacher takes the time to make his worksheets easier. For this particular assignment he only had to do the fill-in-the-blank questions and not the short answer. I read the question and then find the paragraph and read the sentence with the answer. Then I make him tell me the answer. Normally it is word for word the fill-in-the-blank from the paragraph. I can tell when he doesn't want to do it because Tech just repeats the last word I said. In addition to doing the worksheet he has to focus on his penmanship. If he isn't focused his letters are unrecognizable.

I have never struggled with homework. I just can't see why someone would spend more time and energy complaining and avoiding the homework rather than just doing it. This particular night I was frustrated. The whole day had been hard. The night before I had been frustrated because I was stressed and Moose kept telling me that he didn't feel comfortable helping Tech. That wasn't what I wanted to hear and I lost it. As a side note I let things build up and then every couple of months I lose it for a night and just lie on the couch and cry. I was feeling so tired and frustrated that Sunday night I let it out on Moose.

So on Monday, Tech comes home with this homework and I am trying to keep it together. It didn't turn out so well. I would ask him to do something and, like a regular teenager, he would pretend he hadn't heard. I was still feeling the effects of the night before and ended up crying through dinner preparations. Tech knew something was wrong and just left me alone. After dinner as we tried to do homework, Moose stepped up and really helped. Tech really didn't want to do homework and was dragging his feet. (As I have learned over the years, I was abnormal when it came to homework. It seems that normal kids don't just do their homework.)

Tech was pushing back at Moose and I lost it. But here is the sad thing I thought I would be reasonable and put a bookmark in the history book. I then slammed it shut. And dropped it on the floor. I then accused him of wasting our time and that if he didn't care, I didn't care. I then ran to my room knowing I had screwed up. I felt like I should just hide under a rock. So I went to my closet.

Moose stuck his head in a few minutes later. "What are you doing?"

"Hiding under my rock."

There was a click. "At least do it with the lights on."

Moose knew I needed some space and that Tech needed more support than I did. I wish I could say that was the last time that I lost it. Maybe my next post will be about trying to get him to drink cough syrup.

Tech still says he likes living with us. At the meeting with the caseworker he said that she could write in his file that he likes reading! He is a good kid. I know there are days that I sit in my room and cry, but I have come to learn that I cry because I care. I will keep my closet available if I need it, but at least I haven't had to use it again.