Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Food is important in our family.  It is important if you have not had food in the past (as was the girls' case when they were with birthparents).

When the girls first came home they ate as fast as they could and often. I had a bowl of fruit out, they could ask for a snack between meals and I had a little tupperware pitcher and cups on the table for them (this was pre refrigerator that has an ice and water maker) at all times.  I didn't do the snack drawer as some parents do but I let them know if they asked they could have something between meals.  They did not ask constantly but they wanted to know food was there if they wanted it.  The first summer they were home, they really did eat us out of house and home.  Dave and I were used to shopping once a month.  We both worked and would take leftovers or go out to eat at work, and usually Dave cooked dinner because I always commuted to work at least an hour or more.

I remember the first grocery bill after they came home, and in shock as it was more than double what we were used to paying.  To say we were naive and didn't really think of what food would cost is an understatement.  I shopped a lot at "bag your own food" places a lot.  Sometimes I went out on my own to get a break, which meant I had to bag it up myself, put it in the car and Dave would unload it and then I had to put it away.  A lot of work, but sometimes that break at the grocery store was what I needed.

Meals during the first year were almost always 2nds and they asked before they were finished with their first plate, wanting me to fill it up as fast as they could eat it.  I often wondered what kinds of food they got in their foster homes.  I can't imagine there was a lot and when you were done that was it.  The last foster home had a few kids in it so I think they probably ate what they were given and that was it.  The girls both put healthy weight on and their hair began to shine and they looked much healthier.  Our first dr took one look at Dave when he came in with us (he's a big guy) and said to the girls "don't get fat."  That was it for him, I immediately switched doctors.  Even the therapist asked what they ate, and seemed surprised that I fed them milk, fruits veg, no soda and healthier foods.  We couldn't really afford to eat out that first year, once a week eating out. Very little fast food.  I am sure that was probably not the norm.  But they really ate healthy. Sure they had their share of sweets in moderation, but they were just as happy to have some canteloupe or watermelon for dessert.  Now of course as they have aged, that has changed a bit, but they still only get soda on special occasions and while I have been on a fall baking kick, they can have a cookie or pudding cup and not have to have a huge dessert.

I think the key for us now (and I know it can change as they become teens) is that we eat together at the table.  Every night.  We sit down and eat together. I prepare meals at least 5-6 days a week and it is mostly home cooked.  The girls have a small red Ikea table and chairs we bought them the first year, and they are able on a weekend or holidays when they are off, and it's just the 3 of us, sit at the table and eat their lunch in the living room. I tried breakfast once but BGA spilled her cereal bowl on the floor and then LGA spilled her mac and cheese on the family room floor, so that was it, I decided if it was a sandwich lunch it was safe.  But sometimes when we decide it will be fast food hamburger night they are almost disappointed.  However, that doesn't stop them from wanting pizza and hamburgers when out or if it's what we decide on for dinner.

BGA is still picky but one meal she actually scarfed down last night was a made up meal of frozen shrimp, diced chicken, veg egg and rice. I made up my own stir fry based on what I had on hand and she scarfed it down.  She's not fond of too many other meals, likes meatloaf and fried chicken, pizza, chicken alfredo, etc.  It is hard when I see her turn up her nose at food I have cooked but she does eat it.  She doesn't have to have seconds and I usually give her a smaller portion so that if she wants more she can have it (she rarely has 2nds, these days, probably due to the ADHD meds, but LGA has 2nds frequently).

LGA is not very picky, although she will turn her nose up on some stuff and when you ask if she wants 2nds will say no.  Last night on the stir fry, she had 2nds.  She likes off the wall stuff, like jicama, she likes her ice cream and frozen yogurt to be flavors like blueberry, vanilla, mango, etc.  She will eat chocolate but prefers when we have pies and last night's raspberry buckle.  She's more like Dave in that way.  When cousin G got married and we went to her rehearsal dinner they had a choice of ice cream or sorbet.  LGA picked lemon sorbet.  I like that she's open to trying new things.

BGA is more like me, as I was growing up. I was a picky kid. I can remember my mom telling me a story about how the babysitter she had for me (who had a daughter I played with, I think, I can't remember) while she rode the horses we had, and how the babysitter got a pizza for the kids. I was a strict peanut butter and jelly kid (like LGA has become these days) and I refused to eat pizza.  The baby sitter had to make me my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have changed a lot and I try new things and like a lot of foods (I have overcome my pickiness, although mushrooms are still not a favorite) these days.  I will eat almost anything.  I hope that BGA will change as she grows up too. I have her try new things all the time.

On school mornings we rush through the routine.  LGA has been eating at school.  Her teacher insisted the kids all ride the bus and eat bkfst in the cafeteria too.  So LGA would have to go through the routine to get her ready (which is challenging most days) and then get on the bus.  BGA would have Dave cook her a bkfst or make her one from a frozen waffle, sausage patty, etc.  LGA's teacher or aides will help LGA pick her bkfst and lunch.  I wanted to pack her a lunch but the teacher explained that she's a good eater and with a little help makes some good choices.

So fast forward this week.  LGA has been getting up at the crack of dawn. I don't know what has happened to my good sleeper but she sometimes gets up to go potty and in the case of this am, got up at 3:30 and wanted to know if she could stay up.  Oh, heck, no.  So I put her back to bed and she was up again at 6something this am.  She cannot unfortunately be trusted up on her own, so I have been getting up early so Dave can get his shower in and get ready.  Also I think he's burnt out on her am routine (which is hard too) so I am helping him out.  Yesterday he made egg in the hole for bkfst.  Everyone loved it.  We gave LGA a smaller bkfst because she was going to eat again at school, but today she asked for bkfst at home.  Yesterday Dave cooked and I helped LGA get her am routine done and get dressed.  Today I cooked pancakes and he helped LGA get ready.  We used to do this when they first came home but as LGA became more difficult in the am, and I became a night owl, Dave would let me sleep in and he would get her on the bus and then wake me up to help BGA.  Well, BGA became quite self sufficient last year and this year she picks her own clothes out, so he would wake me before they left.  But with LGA's increasingly earlier risings, and Dave feeling a bit burnt out getting bkfst and helping LGA get ready, I decided it was time to trade in the night owl for morning person.  I should have done it earlier but he insisted he did not mind doing it.  However, I have found when I am up there are less morning outbursts and tantrums and everyone does what they are supposed to.  I feel sort of like my mother who used to make me a home cooked breakfast every morning.  In the past it was a struggle to get the girls to eat on time, so LGA may have to forgo bkfst as she has in the past, to eat it at school, if she can't stay on task, because we cannot be late for the bus.  Right now it's a novelty and she is wanting bkfst, so I give her something small to tide her over and then she can have a piece of fruit and some milk at school.

It feels good though for us all to be up. I have decided this will also allow me to get some exercise in as soon as Dave and BGA leave for school/work.  This is a good thing.  The extra family time in the am and everyone getting ready to go is kind of nice too.  In the early days mornings were just plain not fun and if you read the old blog you might remember me complaining about them.  But these days it's kind of nice (even if I am really NOT a morning person, I try but I just am not an am person).

In other news, BGA is attending as of this week, a science and math program after school two days a week. She's not really a math person so I am not sure how long this will hold her interest but her teacher encouraged her to go, so she attended one session so far and seemed to like it.  This gives LGA and I about a quick half hour to hang out together while BGA is gone and the first session we managed to get in a game of checkers.  It was fun to see her play as strategy is new to her but she's catching on.  You just have to watch and make sure she doesn't cheat.  I am hoping we can fit a few more little things into this time we have together, although LGA seems to think there's enough time for projects, which unfortunately there isn't.  But she definitely wants the time together, so I am glad we have it.  LGA has been challenging for me since school started as she's hanging out with the bigger kids and trying some of their behaviors, which I do not like.  So maybe this will give us some time to hang out together.

Dave is now having weekends off.  He was working a weekend day and then having a day off during the week, which I really liked because we could have mini day dates together. No more.  At least till the holidays are over.  Which kind of bites because he really does not get any holiday time off during the holiday season, just the actual holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years days. The employees don't get 4th of July, Memorial Day or Labor Day off.  They are not allowed to ask for any vacation time from the end of October through to January. Dave is taking vacation time next month for the girls' one week fall break, but that is the only vacation time he's taken all year.  I will miss having him off on a Monday.  I really enjoyed it.  We'd go for breakfast or lunch, do errands, and when the movie times fit we would go to a movie together.  We don't really have babysitters so I am sad to see this time go. I hope it will go back to normal once the holidays are over.

We are hoping to take advantage of Free Museum Day this weekend (since Dave is now off both days).  Here is the link should you be interested in going to a museum free this weekend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Love Fall.......

I really do.  It's the best time of year for me.  There are 3 fall birthdays in our family, including mine, and our anniversary is in the fall.  The air is becoming crisp in the mornings and evenings and then warms up a bit in the daytime.  I really like that time of year and I seem to have more energy than I do in the hot summer time. Summers are hot here, can be in 100's + with no ocean breezes, just hot valley air.  So I really like when the seasons change. The air smells different.  The leaves turn majestic colors of orange, brown, red, yellow, etc. I love it.  I am most happiest in a pair of jeans, sweater, long sleeved t'shirt, cardigan, and boots.  I love fall clothing.

The girls are excited for Halloween and just waiting to go trick or treating.  Last year we were not able to get them to trade in their candy for a toy.  That's getting harder and harder to have happen and I really wish they would trade it in.  Dave takes a lot of the candy to the office so we don't have as much around, but the girls really want to eat it more and more.  In previous years they wanted the toy more.  We will see how this year pans out.  They still want to trick or treat but instead of going round the neighborhood they want to go somewhere more fun.  We will see how that works out too, as I believe Halloween is on a week night this year.

The school year is panning out ok, however, the FASD behaviors for LGA have escalated a bit since she turned 9 in the summer.  She is in with the big kids for recess (most of the kids that were in her class last year followed her to her class this year) and she seems to be hanging out with some older kids.  I am not really liking the behaviors I am seeing with her, so that's presenting a challenge to me this year.  It's a day to day process with her.

BGA just started a math and science program her teacher recommended this week and this should be a bit exciting for her. I like seeing her grow a bit in math and she likes science.  This program makes Dave happy as he's always been into science and math (me not so much. I never liked math or science, and as a FASD child it these subjects were harder for me).  I am hoping she will like it and not get bored of it.  The challenge is she is now taking her PM ADHD meds at school because she and the teacher felt this would help her focus more.  But she has a habit of forgetting to take her meds at school.  So I guess one day she forgot at recess and the teacher has a no kid can get out of their seat rule for 30 mins after lunch so teacher would not let her take her meds.  So I told her to tell the teacher if she wants her to focus during the last half of the day to tell her she will need to go take her med.  They will figure it out.  The teacher will have to remind her.  I am not going to interfere on this one. I can tell when she has not had her med and can give it to her at home if I need to.  But she will need to take it to focus during this math and science program so I hope she can remember.

The routine is finally getting back to normal after the busyness of the wedding and my friend visiting.  I forget how important routine is to LGA.  She gets very thrown off schedule when the routine changes.  We are now in a very specific bedtime routine as well.  This may be her OCD, but it has to be done the same way every night.  We are finally seeing this and realize if we skip a step she will remind us.  Suffice it to say we put her to bed an hour earlier than we want her to sleep because she takes an hour to settle down (even with melatonin) to go to bed.  She is also up at the crack of dawn and has been since the time change in May. I am really hoping with the weather change she will sleep in a bit more but not really sure if we have left sleeping in behind or not.  She slept in all during wedding weekend and then once we got back to normal schedule the latest she would sleep in was 6:30, if that.  It's very hard for me as I am a night owl, so I am learning to go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  For example I was up at 5:45 (when she got up, so Dave could get in the shower) this am.  LGA cannot sit in her room and play quietly (pre-meds) and will not stay in her room.  She gets up, roams the house and takes things that do not belong to her.  We found this out when Dave left his miniature paints on top of the filing cabinet in the family room (where the cabinet had been since before the new floors were put in and just recently it got moved back to where it was).  LGA got a chair and got two or three pots of small paint AND paint brushes.  She took them to school, they were opened on the bus and in class and three pairs of shorts and three new t'shirts were ruined with non washable paint before it was discovered she had this stuff in her backpack.  So she has to be monitored in the am and that means I need to get up at 6 instead of the 7:30 I was getting up at.  Ok, change in plans. I can do it.  I don't need to be a night owl anyway, it's way over rated.

I am hitting my milestone birthday this year, so it's had me contemplating the next phase of my life.  I am not working at the moment (even though we really could benefit from it) because it's too hard to work with the girls' school schedule and the bus schedule for LGA.  But I am feeling a bit bored and unsure of what to do in my life. I am procrastinating big time, and have yet to find something to occupy my time. I know my husband, feeling some frustration with his job, is a bit jealous of the time I have.  When I explained that I was bored at home and needed something to fill the time, other than housework, laundry, cooking meals, etc., he pretty much said he'd be happy being at home and would not feel bored.  Well, unfortunately his capacity to earn is larger than mine so he has to go to work.  I think he would be bored, but maybe not.  He stayed home for 9 mos once when his whole work unit was laid off.  He enjoyed it. I just don't think he'd enjoy being a stay at home dad, though.

So I contemplate what to do.........there is a program called Project Cuddle where I could cuddle babies who are drug/alcohol exposed. I have thought of doing that.  The cavalier we got to do be a therapy dog is now skittish.  I think LGA was a bit too enthusiastic with her and I think she was a crate/kennel dog.  She is too skittish right now to be a therapy dog.  So, I have to think of plan B.  I am missing the interaction with a senior (mainly miss my mother) so maybe I should volunteer to take a senior on. I could have possibly been on PTA or Site Council, but I really didn't want to be involved in that this year.  So I wonder what I could do.  Should I join a book club?  I am thinking of what to do these days.

So, as I think of my milestone birthday and what the next phase of my life will be like,  I am enjoying the upcoming fall season.  Some people get depressed when the weather changes.  Not me. I seem to come alive.  In the meantime, until the weather cools off, I am cooking fall soups, stews, casseroles, and raspberry buckle (a new favorite amongst my family).  I am not ready to put the fall clothes on yet (bummer, the temps will be 87 by the weekend, although we will have a 'dip' of 72 tomorrow).  But that will be next month sometime.  The girls enjoy winter weekend pj days, and always ask for hot chocolate.  I think I am going to spend more time with them in the kitchen baking this year, too.  The chore schedule has been working great, and it's a lot of help for them to do some house work and we all get it done together (even Dave helped a couple of weeks ago).  They take pride in their work too.  I think we will introduce some baking and a small amount of cooking as well this fall.

Ready or not, here comes fall.........

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Wedding.........

The girls were in my cousin G's wedding over the weekend.  Not that many weddings going on in our family or friends and I don't think the girls had been to any weddings before either.  My friend T, who I have known for well over 30 years (through a couple of ups and downs) came down to help me out and see G get married as she had known G since she was a toddler.  The last time T came to visit was in March.  The girls were excited to see her and excited/nervous about the wedding. 

We got the flower girl dresses sorted out after an initial issue with the first dress (I looked on the JCP site and it showed the size, I did not realize I had to click on the size to get the actual availability so when I went to order they were not in stock).  Another dress was picked and was fluffy and twirly, however LGA had an issue with the top part of the dress not feeling right to her.  Luckily M, G's friend and C's mom (C was the ring bearer, and wore the dress too) told me her daughter also didn't like the dress (I suspect some sensory issues based on what C was talking about) so she was gonna wear a tank top.  Thanks to Kate, I had some undershirts she had sent me that ZuZu couldn't wear anymore so crisis averted.  I felt bad about the first dress as I really did screw up and C liked the other dress better.  BGA liked the 2nd one and I really think that LGA would have liked the first one.  But it got sorted in the end. BGA really wanted a fluffy twirly dress but I think the other two girls would have been happy with the first dress.  BGA in the end said she would wear the first dress, but as the sizes were not available it became a non issue, unfortunately. 

So there was a lot of build up last week.  Girls excited about the wedding and T's visit.  LGA kept asking me if 'today was the day Miss T would be coming' and her teacher reported her as being a bit antsy in class.  The girls also asked me what they'd be doing, we went over manners and expected behavior, etc. When T arrived she told them to think about it as a performance, which really helped them a lot.

The girls had to share a room, which they are never really very good with.  This time they were in LGA's room (the last time they were in BGA's room, and LGA got into all kinds of stuff). The idea had been to stay at the hotel like everyone else was going to, but LGA has had some sleep issues since school started and she's really noisy in the AM before her meds kick in and in the evening she can be hard to go to sleep.  We felt it would be better to have her in her own room (even though it meant an hour and a half drive each way).  They also tend to miss Daddy and the 'family' unit when it's not in tact, so this way they still got to see Daddy in the am and the evenings. I personally felt ok with that decision, even though it meant two cranky kids in the evenings being up later then bedtime.

T and I had a chance to talk on Friday when she arrived late am, as we got the car serviced and washed.  We went to lunch after the car wash.  It really made me miss adult conversation. It was nice to catch up with her and talk without interruptions.  We all went to dinner Friday night and got ready for the rehearsal Sat pm.

We were early to the rehearsal as we didn't know how long traffic would take, and it reminded me of where we were married, complete with a tea house.  Of course the girls wanted to go in it but it was not open.  We had the rehearsal and found out the girls would not have to come up the aisle, that everyone would meet below and G and her fiancee would come down on their own.  So the girls would get dinosaur bubble guns (it was a fall/dinosaur theme and I should ask G about it, I forgot to previously) and 'shoot' them down the aisle after the bride and groom said their I-do's.  They thought that was cool.

We left rehearsal to pick my aunt and uncle up at the airport.  The wedding details were taken care of, so we didn't have to help in any way, so I thought this would take the pressure off my cousin J (G's mom) if I picked my aunt and uncle up at the airport.  By this time two little girls (and two big girls) were hungry.  So we stopped at a Mc D's on the way to the airport as we knew dinner would be later.  Unfortunately the aunt and uncle's flight was late.  So we circled the airport for quite awhile before I went in and asked the baggage claim gate person if the flight had landed.  It had and a half hour later they were outside waiting for us.  We dropped them off at their hotel and hit the local coffee house across the street. 

The girls did well at the rehearsal dinner but were pretty much done since we had been up early and out of the house around 10. The only issue was G's friend whose daughter was the ring bearer had a game system she was playing and BGA wanted to play it with her and so they took off and poor LGA felt left out. I would have let LGA play it but she can't read what to do and I didn't want her to do something to the girl's game, etc.  But that meant LGA was about ready to meltdown.  Between T and I we managed to diffuse it though, and we were sitting at the table where the bride and groom ended up and the groom played tic-tac-toe with her and the bride and groom drew dinosaurs and she had fun talking to them.  The girls slept on the way home.

We had a bit of time before going to the wedding so we had time to get the girls' hair done. I am not and never have been, a hair person.  T knew a bit about it as she's had really long hair so she gave a stab at both girls' hair and we managed to come up with some cute styles for them.  We left a bit later than anticipated and had to stop for gas on the way, as I did not pay attention to circling the airport and how much gas that I used circling the airport.  We made it in time, about 4pm and the got the girls dressed in the van (the back windows are tinted) and then waited for the wedding to start.

I mis-read BGA's cues, and she was nervous.  I didn't catch on for some reason, and she became sullen and pouty.  It started with T telling her she could go to the teahouse (where the bride was getting dressed) after the wedding to read a sign (she wanted to go in the teahouse the day before but it was closed) after the wedding was over and if there was a space of time.  I made the mistake of not choosing my words carefully and said "No (which immediately set her off, as it would) if there is time you can, but we have to wait till wedding and pics and other reception stuff is over."  I should have said "Sure" or something like that first.  But I didn't think and that set the mood for before the wedding as she pouted and was sullen and not very nice.  I sat down on the bench and I got, "But I wanted to sit there by myself."  Ugh.  I finally had to take her aside near the bathroom and tell her if she didn't pull it together, we'd just go home and skip the wedding altogether.  So it was touch and go for awhile there. I thought LGA would be the one I'd have to worry about as far as behavior goes.  We gave them their pm meds later so they would be a bit more focused during the wedding.

The girls did not have to walk down an aisle or stand near the bridal couple.  They sat in front of me and I sat behind them with my cousin's brother and her grandmother (on her father's side, not related to me).  The one cute thing the girls did which made it better for them was to shoot dinosaur light up bubble guns down the aisle.  They had fun doing that and they escorted the bride and groom back down the aisle.

The reception was fun.  The hall was decorated really nice with lovely fall flowers. They had cupcakes and food trucks for food.  The girls didn't care for their coconut rice and grilled chicken but they did eat it and had a couple of cupcakes. My cousin's friend, J, who helped us out with LGA's IEP, had a quest for the 3 girls to go on. They had to ask either bride/groom, someone with a tattoo, someone bald, etc. and then the person had to pick what activity they wanted the girls to do (spin, tell a joke, running man, etc.).  They had a good time but of course LGA could not read and BGA took off ahead of her leaving her behind.  We helped a bit but by that point I was feeling tired and didn't really want to go on a quest with the girls - I wanted to stay and talk to my family who I never get to see because they are all in S CA.  SO J said she would take LGA around at dinner and help her.  She kept her word, thanks J if you read this blog at all.  You helped a lot.  When BGA came back I asked where LGA was, BGA actually was worried because LGA was with C the ring bearer but also with J (but BGA didn't tell me that and she had some stranger anxiety for her sister which I was happy to see).   They completed their quests and got their prizes and it kept them busy through the reception.  J knew it would be hard for them to sit still I am thinking and wanted them to do something fun.

Another thing that touched me, but was met with a bit of  "I didn't do that" was the bride's father, my cousin's husband, helped BGA when she was nervous. I saw him comforting her a couple of times and telling her what would come next and not to be nervous.  It was really cool to see and helped me a lot.  He also wrote a very nice song for his daughter and they did a waltz for the Father/Daughter dance.  The only other almost melt down was when BGA caught the bouquet.  LGA flipped a gasket.  J was sitting and talking to my uncle so I asked her to take the bouquet.  She did a sweet thing and had the girls take the roses out of G's bouquet and give them to the single ladies.  Then she either forgot or left the bouquet on the table and there were two more roses left in it.  I then was able to tell LGA that we were taking the bouquet home for all of us to enjoy. That seemed to appease her although she still is bringing up the bouquet and BGA catching it.

It was great to see my young cousin get married.  Almost 13 yrs ago she was a bridesmaid in my wedding and now here I was with my girls in her wedding, watching her marry the man of her dreams.  The couple are a great match and we're all very happy for them.  It was a sweet wedding and we all had a great time.  The girls enjoyed being in the wedding and I think they will remember this for a long time. I don't see much of my family and the girls had not seen "cousin G" in a long time so they were happy to be a part of her wedding and see her.

T stayed till Wed and Monday we were able to get away for the day and do some shopping (her, although I did buy Dave a Christmas gift and myself a cookbook and book on sale) and lunch and dinner out.  I also received some Bare Minerals eyeshadow for my milestone bday next month since T did not think she could come back for a visit and a nice dinner at Red Lobster.   When we came home the girls were in epic melt down mode and LGA is especially going through an "I only want mommy" stage so she was not happy I was gone. It let me know I have to find a way to go out, even if it's on my own because they are used to me always being here.  LGA was tired and over stimulated from the weekend (didn't do well at school either) and just wanted mommy I guess.

All in all it was a great weekend, but we are staying in this weekend and getting back to normal schedule. Sad that we have to do it but we do.  Then things will be back to normal.  It's hard for me as I enjoy having my friend here but LGA can't handle the change in her routine.  She needs her routine to be the same or she just doesn't do well.  But she made it and by end of week was doing much better, although still having meltdowns and frustration till she got caught up on sleep (she slept like a champ and was not getting up at 5am as she had been doing previously - and which was the case this am).

It was a good experience, but I think they wore T out, she commented as I did, that we were glad they were in school on Monday. I think it was more emotionally challenging than I thought it would be and no one really knew what went on behind the scenes to get them going for the wedding.  They (and we) did it and it went off ok, it was just more emotional than I am sure anyone who didn't really know the girls, expected it would be.  But I think T got a glimpse of what it is like.

Here are the girls in their flower girl dresses.  They did not want to pose together AT ALL.  Notice the body language as far away from each other as they could get, LOL.  BGA has the "I am still feeling pouty" look and did not want to pose at all.  People said if you didn't know them (on FB of course) that you wouldn't know they were not happy to have a pic taken, but notice there are not any hugely happy smiles or looks.  But it's ok, I know that the photographer got some good shots and my cousin got some good shots of the girls the day before. I didn't have the energy to take out my camera so really didn't get shots but my uncle did, so hopefully I'll get some better shots.  The second shot is the girls with bubble guns blowing bubbles down the aisle.  You can see me at the very far right of the bubble shot.  LOL.

Many Congrats to J and G, and wishing them a lifetime of happiness.  :-)

Photo: The girls dressed up for the wedding.  They were a bit nervous before the wedding and did not want a shot together.  Hence the scowls.Photo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Food and Kids.......

Do you have a picky eater in your house?

We have a picky eater in our house.......BGA.  BGA was not a picky eater when she came home at age 6. She devoured any and all food at 6.   Was worried food would not be there and upset if a meal was delayed, or worried if we were out close to a meal time and she wanted to know when the meal would be.

Now after 5 yrs, this has changed somewhat.  I started to see pickiness around food after she had been here a year.  She would turn her nose up at something for dinner, and take forever to eat whatever it was, almost like she was gagging.  BGA would finish it (or the equivalent of what we consider finishing it, with some crumbs and parts of meat she didn't like, or pronounce, "this has fat on it. I don't like fat." ) and we'd move on.  However, it became apparent that she really only liked certain foods, Pizza, Meatloaf, Cheeseburgers, Fettucine Alfredo and Tacos.  She would not venture to try new things, she wanted what she knew.  As I tried (and failed) to get a meal rotation going, I would try out new foods to see which foods the girls would like.  I could always tell if BGA did not like it because she would move her fork around and eat the other items on the plate first.  She doesn't like mashed potatoes but does like some vegetables (Lima beans being one of them.......ewwww, not a fan of the lima bean, personally).  So I make sure she gets a good helping of vegetables and sometimes the girls will fight over who gets the last serving in the bowl.  Seriously, who ever fought over the last vegetable serving?  I certainly did not.  I like vegetables now but hated them as a kid.

When I started cooking and using new recipes, I didn't catch on at first, because I thought she really wanted to know what I was fixing and how it was fixed, ie an interest in cooking, she would ask me what was in a certain dish.  I happily obliged and told her exactly what I put in each dish, really thinking she had a genuine interest.........wrong.  She wanted to know what was in it, in case it had something she didn't like in it so she could delay meal time and push the food around her plate.  So now when she asks, I tell her, "oh it's got a lot of stuff in it. Try it." Fool me once (or a few times evidently) not gonna happen again.  Her newest tactic is to ask a lot of questions at the dinner table and get us all talking.  Took a few to figure that one out but Dave figured that one out first.

Meal times at our house can last 30 mins or more, sometimes up to 40 mins as they eat their meals.  LGA used to be a fast eater, and my 'good' eater.  She likes all foods.  She will not have 2nds if she really doesn't like the food we are having.  But most times she has 2nds.  She's a light girl, still, both girls are, and because of their issues with food in the early days, they had 2nds.  I don't mind them having 2nds at all, as they are in lower percentiles for weight, most likely due to the ADHD meds.  BGA will sometimes have 2nds but very very rarely.  Unless it's vegetables.  However, I have come to find out that the reason she likes vegetables is she can serve herself out of the bowl.  We have not previously let them serve themselves because we had issues of people taking large servings and then not enough for others, or not eating what they have taken.  So we got used to serving up plates and putting whatever is left on the table for whoever wants it.  That works for us and the kids can take 2nds off the table if they want it.

Meal times in our house though, are taking a long time these days. I think part of that is because of the meds, so I haven't really made a big deal of it.  In the summer the girls and I sat at the table and had discussions about stuff, talked a bit over our meal. My family (including aunts, uncles and cousins) has always done this.  We would go over to my mom's sister's house once a month when my cousin and her kids came to visit and have a meal (even holidays would be at my aunt's house) so we would all sit around the table after the meal was eaten and talk.  Dave's family was more of the 'eat and leave the table' kind so he really does not want to sit at the table and have discussions, he wants to move on.  The girls find this frustrating at times as they want to talk (however, it has lately become a bedtime routine stalling tactic, so when we are done, we are done).  So we try to get some conversation going if we can at the dinner table, while still making sure two girls eat their dinner.  I have tried to get the girls moving faster for meals, but either an ADHD med has already worn off, or they just had it in the am and it has not kicked in yet.  Either way, it's been hard to get them moving for meals.  I know that is why BGA didn't gain much weight at school, because she has to rush her meals and because she is picky she wouldn't eat what was offered or not enough to sustain her.

BGA gained 8 pounds over the summer.  Since she's in a lower percentile (I think 25%) I really wanted her to gain weight.  She's been a size 7/8 in pants for 3 yrs and finally grew to wear a 10/12 (with an adjustable waist).  I really wanted her to grow a bit.  I knew it was because we ate well and she had time to eat.  So my worry for her this year is that she will lose weight.  I have discussed with her that we can send a lunch if she's not liking cafeteria food.  I have the menus printed up and she knows what they have each day.  She eats breakfast at home most days, however, LGA eats with her class in the classroom (and her teacher helps her pick her meal as we asked if she would and she or her aides will do it for bkfst and lunch).  LGA would prefer to eat at home but there is no way her morning routine will allow for it, to get her on the bus.  So I give her control over her snack (most days).  I send a snack in for LGA and BGA's teacher also said it would be ok, although BGA's teacher prefers no fruit or fresh food, only pre-packaged.  LGA's prefers fresh.

I am learning to pick some foods for BGA to try that are new.  They say you need to introduce a food to a child many times before they will eat it. That was the case for some foods for BGA that she will eat routinely now.  But I always have her try what we are eating.  If I know she won't really like the food I will give her a smaller portion than the rest of us and let her know if she likes it she can have 2nds.  Very rarely if I have picked something she does not like will she have 2nds.  She is starting to like casseroles, however I am not a huge casserole fan. I have made them but I really find myself having a small portion whereas the girls will want a bigger portion than they are used to.

I am happy that LGA will eat most things and never turns down a food, although her current favorite is peanut butter and jelly and she will pick that for lunch most days when we are home.  I have to say I was a picky eater so I do get it.   I would prefer peanut butter and jelly to pizza.  I remember my mother telling me a story and I have a vague memory of it, that my mom left me with a neighbor who also had kids around my age.  The neighbor wanted to get pizza (which in the late 60's was a treat I will bet).  Mom said I refused the pizza and only wanted peanut butter and jelly so the lady had to make a separate sandwich for me.  I didn't care for most vegetables, the textures always were weird to me.  So I get BGA's picky eating.  I don't force her but I do make sure she eats what we are having.  I am not of the "cook another meal" for the picky eater.
I have found meal times to be challenging at times, but I am happy that BGA will try and eat her meal. I know it could have been a lot worse, so I go with it and don't let her heavy sigh when she sits down at her plate, get me down.  :-)

In other news the girls are going to be flower girls in my cousin's wedding, which is coming up soon.  They are very excited about this. I don't know how they will do, have no clue really, but there is a rehearsal the day before so I am happy about that.  They will have an idea of what they are supposed to do going down the aisle, etc.  Dave cannot come with me, work is pretty stressful for him these days, so my friend T is coming with us (wedding is in the bay area) to help with the girls and hang out when we come back.  I am not a hair person so have no clue what to do with their hair.  I never was a long haired kid, except for a couple of times in my growing up years.  Mom kept my hair short (probably because I don't think she knew what to do with hair either) most of my life and I have no clue about french braids or curling it, etc. I am hoping T and I can figure it out. If not we may have to get a load of bobby pins and take them to a Supercuts or whatever hair place is near and open. Otherwise my other choice was to flat iron their hair (they each have bangs) and then put some pretty hair/bobby pins in. I wish I knew how to do hair, I just never learned.  T says she's not sure either, but we're gonna give it a shot.  Maybe some of my cousin's friends (who are all young 30somethings) can help us out.

Not much else new here these days.  Getting ready for fall, my favorite time of the year.  We have lots of milestones to celebrate, the biggest being my 'milestone' birthday. I certainly do not feel my age, so hard to believe I have this big birthday coming up.

The girls are settling in to school.  The bully situation came back up for BGA, so I emailed the teacher and we will see if she responds.  BGA tells me she is going to adopt her grandchildren so am curious to see what that is about. BGA chose not to mention she was adopted but made the mistake of telling one of the bullies at her old school (both girls attended the old school together, then the bully moved to the current school and BGA moved to it last year) that she was adopted and the bully told one of the boys who made a hurtful comment.  Younger BGA would have flipped.  This time she calmly told me what the boy said and we discussed it.  But I felt bad for her.  So I am sure there will be more discussions coming up.  I let the teacher know she was adopted (her last year's teacher knew and the two teachers discuss students, as well as this year's teacher is friends with LGA's teacher who knows the girls are adopted.  But I did tell the teacher that BGA was choosing not to tell students.  Now that's out of the window as the bully told a student). And now we navigate the system and mean girls.

LGA had a hard transition, lots of fits/tantrums, lots of bad days.  But almost a month in, it appears she's doing better, as she settles in with the new routine and the older kids.  She told me they were bullying her so I told the teacher.  We are in the lying phase of FASD for her these days, so I am never sure what is the truth or what she perceives is the truth as the FASD mind sometimes perceives things that are not true, to be true.  So I just tell the teacher what she tells me (told the teacher that she was fabricating the truth a lot more these days and got a blank look - really?  You aren't up on FASD?  Well, guess some printing material is in order.  However, this is a teacher who has taught 25+ years and has had foster children, she should be aware of it).  There are still days LGA will hold it in at school and then come home where she feels safe and let it out. I have to admit as she gets older the behaviors are more challening and harder for me to deal with some days.  It is hard and there are days I have felt really down about LGA and her FASD. I think Dave and I need to find a support group to attend, so will try to find one in the area.  There are days I just really hate her behaviors, but I do understand how her mind works and I am learning to not react which only gets her going into a full blown fit.  But some days it's easier to do that then others.  When I am not feeling well it's really hard not to buy into the behavior.  School wise her reading is taking off, as I posted in a previous post, and she did a page of double digit math on her own while I sat there with her (I still have to sit with her to do homework).  That is great for her and she seems to realize what she is missing reading wise and is determined to read, which I like (BGA is not really a reader, I wish that she was as I am a reader).

BGA and I are working out her homework.  I have let her know she will be accountable (4th and 5th grades she lied a lot about not having homework) in 6th grade and that I will be in contact with her teacher about homework. I tried to let the teacher know about homework and her issues with it during the back to school night but we really didn't get to talk about it. Her teacher and I think we know each other from somewhere but haven't figured it out yet. I don't know where it could be as I don't really know a lot of people in our town.  Also she appears to be older and my age, which is nice and more like LGA's teacher (they are friends).  What I also like about the two teachers is LGA was having issues having recess with her sister and not being able to play with her (BGA wanted to play with the big kids)  so I told this to LGA's teacher.  At back to school I found out that LGA's special ed class and BGA's class were having PE together.  I thought that was pretty awesome.

So far the year is going ok.  We will keep hoping it goes ok.  Part of me misses the carefree days of summer. But a part of me also enjoys more free time. :-)