A Week, Briefly (A Sort of Spring Break Sort of Week)

Spring is here. The sun shines; the rain falls; the kids grow; the flowers bloom; we have big, exciting plans looming.

And I feel just dead inside.

One foot in front of the other is how I'm doing it. I tried to take the week off, but then I realized that all I would hear all week was, "Will you read with me? Will you do _______ with me? When will we do ________? What are you doing? Can I help? What are we doing next?"

The very thought of so many questions makes my heart race and my hands shake.

Then I tried sticking to our usual school routine.

For the sake of survival.

But even that didn't work.

The older girls and I began a music history/appreciation unit. Unsatisfied with the fact that the unit began with the Baroque period, the girls asked enough questions that I googled music history and read some articles about the earliest, earliest musical artifacts. We also listened to some Gregorian chants, some medieval pipes, and some Italian renaissance lute playing.

Then we moved into the lesson itself.

Rose Red, Pixie, and Belle were enchanted. Super Star said the (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, and Contemporary) pieces we listened to gave her a headache!

The younger kids and I made clay faces (and bodies) in the trees in our yard.
The first face is by Little Princess.

Here is Brother's face.
This face is by Ladybug.

The top left is a clay face of an owl by Mister Man.  The other faces are by Little Princess.
Nature Angel made a whole family!
They found some soft, fuzzy lamb's ears to examine.
Little Brother's face

Baymax hung out on my back.
One of Mister Man's faces
Little Brother gets up close and personal with some redbud blossoms
 They also spent a good amount of time climbing on the tree that fell over in one of last year's storms.  (I refuse to have it removed because it is such a good climbing apparatus.)

Pixie has chosen to pick back up on playing/teaching the violin. She spent a long time practicing her own skills and working with Nature Angel and Little Princess.

Jaybird came to visit, and we played outdoors with him.

Mister Man and Ladybug each had a reading lesson with me. I've begun to read Wild Places with Mister Man.

Super Star spent hours on Personal Progress.

We ate dinner (taco salad) on the back patio, played, and generally enjoyed the long evening without watching the clock.

We had baths and evening read alouds.

Everyone went to bed late . . . but not so late given that our body clocks haven't adjusted to the time change.

Thank goodness for caring, competent therapists!

I usually hate therapy day--so many appointments, and I'm gone from home so much. But on this day, they were just heaven-sent because all of them listened to me and shared information that helped me out of my funk and into hope.

Sir Walter Scott and I managed to vote in the primary election.

We had our final visit from the social worker. Hooray!!!!

Rose Red had her job orientation. She's on the schedule for Saturday evening.

The littles and I did "Big Painting."

I sent them in with Pixie to wash up, and this was her ingenious idea--using the bathtub!
 Sir Walter Scott took 10 of the kids to the church for activities, play time, and temple recommend interviews (getting ready for the day after adoption day).

He also took them to the library.

I took the babies to the grocery store--one baby on my back, one baby in the cart, 2 1/2 hours of shopping, lifting, loading, unloading, and juggling.

It was oddly joyful.

I slipped into my pattern of olden days (back when I had only babies) of singing and keeping up a patter of talk directed to the babies and their interests.

They chattered almost non-stop. It's funny how quiet they seem compared to the older kids, but they have so much to say when the other noise is gone.

I went to bed more at peace than I've been in weeks.

After Morning Meeting I took the big girls downstairs to work on wardrobe evaluations. Super Star is inches taller and more developed than she was this time last year; Belle is growing up, too; Pixie has actually lost about 15 lbs (good, healthy weight loss), so her clothes are falling off; and Rose Red is finally admitting that her clothes are either too tight or too short to keep the standards we teach and try to keep at our house.

Time flew by too fast. We got a lot done, but we have a lot to do.

The prize at the end will be shopping.

(Fun for them--not me!)

In the afternoon, I made a counting to 5 book with Brother.

I helped Ladybug with her sight words and the sound of /b/.

Little Princess worked on a personal poetry book.

March is busy with birthdays every year, but this year it is busy with a sweet 16 party, adoption plans and Easter to boot. We spent the afternoon crafting, cleaning, playing outside, and meeting with adoption support staff.

Oh, and I sent yet another update to a therapist about Ladybug's and Brother's sexually aggressive behavior.

We closed the day by putting very tired small people to bed rather early and enjoying a long evening read-aloud session.

I don't want to remember this day.

It was too hard.

Too dreadfully hard.

We did morning meeting.

We had evening read aloud (we finished The King of Men).

Everything in between was a perfect illustration for why big families are a mistake and adoption is a really bad idea.

Morning Meeting

Math for the big girls

More party preparation for Rose Red's sweet 16

Some kids learned about strokes with Dad as he worked on CEs for work.

Individually written and illustrated books for Little Princess, Mister Man, Ladybug, and Brother--I typed up and printed their words, bound them in brown paper and masking tape, then they did the illustrating.  Brother couldn't tell a story, but I asked leading questions, and he was very proud of his work.

Sir Walter Scott and I ran errands while the kids watched movies--it was too cold to play outside!

I learned about the term inducement from Ladybug's therapist who wrote me the following as part of her response to a desperate email I sent her late Thursday afternoon:

With the children coming from a situation which has instilled in them feelings of fear, shame, and anger, their ways of interacting with the world are understandably changed.  I want to introduce you to a term called “inducement.”  It is a psychological concept which describes the use of non-verbal communication to induce one’s own emotional state in another.  It is actually a form of communication and a strategy that all people use unconsciously. For example, when someone smiles at you, and you smile back and you start to feel just a bit better than you did before, you have been induced.  It is common among children that have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma to use inducement to project negative emotions.
I hope this concept helps you understand why you are feeling like you are pushed right up to your breaking point.  You are feeling the feelings that the children have been carrying around inside them (confusion, scared, do they love me, will they leave me, do they want to leave me). Inducement is used to test the commitment of a family. The children have abandonment issues and are finding it difficult to truly believe that their forever family will last. This is one of many reasons why they are inducing these feelings, and are acting out in general. They are testing to see what it will take before you and your family gives up on them.  This inducement is a GREAT sign because in order to induce these feelings in you, the children have to open up the rawest and most vulnerable parts of themselves to you. They are baring themselves to you and daring you to reject them.  It is important to remember that this is a show of trust.  By showing the children that you are willing to love them and stick by them even through the worst, you are validating that trust and promoting strong attachments.
I know it seems hard, almost unbearable, but hold on and hang in there.  Know that you are doing a great job and that this too shall pass!
There's a lot of food for thought here.  I'm grateful for a caring therapist.

Evening read aloud--we began The Great Brain.

It was less of a "mistake" and "really bad idea" sort of day.


  1. Man, I'm so impressed with the whole therapist-response thing... It doesn't make it any easier for you, but does it ring true?--I'm just curious.

  2. I am so sorry about Thursday. I'm grateful for the wisdom of the therapists. Hopefully this stage is short lived and the children can rest easy and find their place in the world. Prayers for your 8 that they will be strong and courageous in their new normal. The clay faces are lovely. Love you

  3. You are so amazing and strong. I am so impressed by all you accomplish as a mama. You rock! I'm glad you have such an understanding therapist. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Cyber hugs!


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