How Quickly…

It’s been four months, and things have changed.  He did not deploy. Instead he stands on the side lines waiting for coach to call him into the big game.  So far, it benefited us greatly. It’s given him more time here, helping himself, helping me.  We moved and that was scheduled for days after his folks deployed.  I am thankful he was here because doing it alone would have been miserable. Oh, I’d have gotten it done, but it would have been miserable.

Not much to say.  

Just going through day by day…

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Pre-Deployment Jitters

So, here we are on the eve of our pre-pre-deployment and I have to say I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little bit worried.  Oh, I could be all wah-wah about it but that’d be counterproductive to what I NEED to be, which is strong.  Wait, no… it’s STRONG… all capitalized with several underlines and a few exclamation points.  I’m not worried so much about my husband being able to do his job when he’s ‘there’.  There… such a foreign place in my mind.  All I see is blown up rubble, people with dirty faces, and sand in their butt-cracks (ok, I can’t SEE the sand there… but I’m assuming).  I keep trying to picture it as a bad beach vacation… but instead I see the training pictures in my head… my husband leaning over the badly hurt body of another as he tries futilely to save the other person’s life.

But thoughts such as those don’t help.  Instead, I try to focus on the positives of him leaving.  The sooner he leaves, the sooner he returns.  While he’s gone I get most of the bed (the baby is still co-sleeping and we don’t want to stop co-sleeping until we find out why he stops breathing at night).  I can re-arrange the house however I please… which right now I’m thinking the bed at a different angle so that I can see the TV better.  Not that the TV matters.  I rarely watch it when he’s gone.  Part of me is afraid of seeing something I don’t want to think about, such as a movie like Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan.

I’ve tried working on my book, countless times, but each time my mind wanders to places I’d rather it not go.  The heroine and everyone ends up dead and it’s just not  pretty.  And part of me thinks that maybe it’s not fair to my characters to take out my frustrations on them, but it’s better I take my frustrations out on them versus my kids.

Speaking of which, I think that scares me even more… going from co-parenting five kids, to single-parenting the kids.  I have five of them, 12, 11, 9, 6, and 1, and I have a daytime play buddy I keep who is 2.  His dad’s going where my kids’ dad is going, doing the same thing, so it’s kind of kismet that we ended up together.  At least from 8-6, I’m busy with two toddlers which if anyone’s done this know it is very busy.  I’m thinking I might want to try and get a play-date together, but then the idea of meeting strange women I don’t know scares the peepers out of me.

Instead, I plan on becoming an introvert (more so than I already am).  I’m hoping to avoid depression (and the anger) with the use of a cranial electrotherapy stimulator (CES).  I have it on right now because I am finding that I’m angry and it’s not really anyone’s fault.  But I am angry… and at least I can identify that feeling at the moment, even if I don’t know why I am angry.  I think it might actually be more frustration that I can’t even pee alone, haven’t for a long time, and sometimes all a person wants to do is pee alone.

This month (February) will be a taste of what it will be like to single parent five kids (plus one).  When the kids were only counting four, I did it fine for three months, but that was different.  They were all in school, so I had hours of ‘me’ time to do as I pleased.  I joined a gym, hung out at bookstores, and just enjoyed myself.  Now, I have two toddlers… one 10 hours a day, five days a week, and the other 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Never. Ever. Getting. A. Break.

And God, sometimes we need a break… all of us.

I don’t know that a month can truly prepare us for this spring-summer-ish… and a whole year or so of being a single mom.  I hope I can handle it with grace, and don’t hit the box of wine…

 

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Military Pay in the USA

Someone asked me if we REALLY make that little… not as if I was lying but that it’s SO hard to believe. I mean, it’s the military! These are the men and women who are defending our rights to complain about everything under the sun from Facebook’s new profile pages coming out in the coming weeks and months to actually being able to PROTEST funerals of those fallen soldiers. Surely they’re given more.

Truth be told, you can Google Military Pay 2011 to see how much your favorite soldier is dodging bullets for this year. Doesn’t matter your branch of the military… the pay stays the same. There are other things that go into it (like time in service, etc…) but the very basic pay is standard. From that, taxes are paid (except in certain cases), including our state because our ‘home state’ has income tax. We don’t live there, but we’re still paying in to the taxes. We pay for our dental insurance.

But, you may say, you get housing.

Yes, and for that I am grateful but it’s not like when you’re out in the world living where you want. Truly, my neighborhood is akin to Section 8 in the worst part of town. I mean, I am trying to make the best of it by keeping my little square of front yard clean and nice looking but it’s pretty hard when the neighborhood kids and their parents let trash fly everywhere… no less than three times a day my kids or I are out there picking up cigarette butts (and we don’t smoke), candy wrappers, paper napkins, etc… and calling does nothing other earn us dirty looks from our neighbors because they got tattled on.

My house has lead paint in it. Yes, that very paint that can take your Rhode Scholar to a drooling, banjo-playing hick in a matter of a few paint chips. You know, if it doesn’t kill you first. I will have to take the baby and smaller kids to have their levels monitored. That means blood drawls. Believe it or not, kids don’t like having needles shoved in their arms.

I’m constantly getting yelled at for where I park. There’s not enough parking for our house near our house, in our driveway, so I park in the parking spot closest to the house that isn’t assigned to one of the apartments. It just so happens to be the visitor’s parking. All of the other houses have enough frontal space that they can have one car in the driveway and one in front of their house. But, because of how ours is laid out, it would block the next door neighbor’s drive way, even though it’s in front of my house. Instead, they park their other car in front of my house, so I get to look out across my trashed lawn (again) and see their car just sitting there.

The floodlights shine in our window at night and light the room like day time. I’ve contemplated sneaking over there and changing out their light bulbs or shooting them out with a BB gun, but instead I put dark curtains up in the window and it blocks most of the light out.

Some would even say that we have awesome healthcare given to us.

Well, it’s not really given to us, and we have less choice in our care than those on Medicaid. When we were on medicaid, we got to choose our PCP and had a say in our care. The providers were friendly and happy to see us, which makes a big difference when you are going in and you don’t feel well. Here, they make it as hard as possible to get an appointment, you’re bumped for people who are more important to the military than you (remember when I was bumped because a high ranking official hurt his widdle shoulder-poo and he had an entourage… and you know what, if you’re laughing and cutting up, you aren’t THAT hurt that my appointment should be bumped… I don’t care who you are). They make it a challenge to get the correct medicines that you need and the ER… I flat out said if I ever need an ER… I probably would die before I was ever seen.

I get that since it’s ‘given’ to us, I shouldn’t be so picky, but I figure that my health will be with me beyond the military, I think I should have a say on how things are handled.

For all these benefits, my husband and the husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, all get to be soldiers. They get to leave their families for long stretches of time, get shot at, screamed at, hated (even Stateside, you should see the reaction some give soldiers). There are birthdays, and Christmases, holidays, and major life events that are missed. Soldiers return from their missions broken, aged, horrified, and damaged (even if you can’t always see it). Many families are torn apart, unable to cope with the sudden, drastic changes. The hours are horrendous, the danger real, and the effects last the rest of their lives.

So, to those who wonder why any military person would complain about their pay, would you lay down your life to work the drive through at McDonalds for well under minimum wage? No, you wouldn’t, but it’s okay for a soldier to. Good to know.

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Livin’ La Vida Loca-motion

So, here I am.  (looks at me) Sitting at a bar (don’t worry, it’s the breakfast bar of my new home here in the Belly Button State.  I know, Kansas is not really called the ‘Belly Button State’ (actually, I don’t know WHAT the state’s nickname is… like Florida is the ‘Sunshine State’ and Georgia is the ‘Peach State’.  I should Google what Kansas is called… later.

I’m trying to be patient as I try to explain to my almost 11 year old how to load and start the dishwasher, while helping my first grader with her math (never mind that my middle schooler has disapeared to his room, my third grader is playing on his father’s computer, and the toddler is just sitting on the floor, doing nothing at the moment which is suspicious in and of it’s self).  My first thoughts are- Hey, I’d be quicker if I did it myself.  Don’t worry, those thoughts were quickly squished by my laziness under the guise that I want to make my sons to be of high quality marriageable cloth, but really, I’m just tired today and don’t want to load the dishwasher.

Especially since I have to clean up the kitchen from dinner still.  That in and of its self sucks all on its own, so I’m having my son run them.  But in good almost-eleven-year-old manner, he’s playing dumb.  Maybe he thinks if he asks me where things go inside the dishwasher, or if he can use the liquid soap from the counter in it, I’ll just toss my hands up and say that I will do it.

But I won’t, because frankly I still rather explain the process to him as if he was a coma patient who’s been asleep for the last 50 years and just learned about these new technologies right this minute.

Now, the first grader is another story.  It’s sad, but I swear she’s lucky she’s pretty.  I hope that she remains pretty because she’s not exactly what we’d call a Rhode Scholar.  I get that she’s only six, and a lot can change, and I’m even HOPEFUL that she’ll get brighter, but if not, well… we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

At the end of last year, she was really good in math (for a kindergartener, that is).  She could do simple math problems, and was figuring out times tables and the like.  Apparently, she caught herself a case of the ‘Summer’ and a bad one at that.  She brought home her homework.  It’s just a single sheet of paper.  It basically says something like this:

Jill has 5 dogs.  Nate has 2 dogs.  If Rodger comes along with his 4 dogs, how many dogs are there?

There are directions, like circle the numbers, under line the units, draw a picture.  Solve.

She got the right answer (11), but she drew three dogs (or horses, not really sure what the hell they’re supposed to be).  She circled the numbers and underlined the units (dogs), but only after I pain-stakingly walked her through it.

The toddler.  What can I say about him?  He’s an aggressive little guy.  I have a feeling that I’ll be getting phone calls from unhappy parents come pre-school time.  He gets it in his head that he wants his Bpo-bpoes (kisses).  He will jack you up by your shirt with his fat little fists and kiss you on the lips (if you’re lucky, his mouth will be closed) and then go-Mwah!  It’s cute (to me) because I’m his mother, even when he’s jacking me up in the Wal-mart (and that gives me a fear of becoming a ‘People of Wal-mart’).

I bought him a laptop (the toddler) because frankly trying to work on anything (including my school work) was impossible during his waking hours.  He could SMELL the laptop opening from clear across the house and would come running, hands outstretched to start hacking away at other people’s bank accounts and watch YouTube videos of Katy Perry.  I finally found one I liked for him (a $15 cheapo that WASN’T purple).  It has like 10 keys on it (shapes) that make songs and lights echo through the house, as well as animal and instrument sounds, but it gives me the freedom to not hang from the ceiling like Spiderman to check my email.

My third grader, love him, but I really hate his new school.  It’s a ‘special’ school for ‘special’ kids with ‘special’ needs.  It’s all very ‘special’.  I was fine that he couldn’t go to the same elementary school that my almost eleven year old and my first grader go to.  I knew he had ‘needs’ that might need to be met elsewhere, but the minute I was shown the padded room (serious to God) and explained that the staff at his ‘special’ school have all been trained in properly restraining kids… and not to worry, sometimes bruises and rug burns happen when the restrained kids are thrashing about… yeah.  I do not like the school.  I don’t care how ‘special’ it is.  I get that my son is emotionally impaired, but really… a padded room, restraints, and possible bruises/rug burns… it’s just a bit much for me to stomach.

Today was his second day.  So far, so good I guess.  I don’t like that their main focus is on behavior, and that the distant second is actual education.  It makes me worry and fear that maybe he will never be ‘normal’.  He’s supposed to start transportation services tomorrow (and the horrible person that I am, all I can think about is- OMG, my son has to ride the short bus… we used to make fun of the kids on the short-bus… we still do among ourselves).

Then I get to worrying that maybe Emotional Impairment skips every other kid because my middle schooler has it (in a different form), then my third grader, which leaves the toddler being the next in the pattern.  And I worry about the fact his soft spot hasn’t sealed yet, and that he doesn’t really talk much (just mama, dada, thank-you, bye-bye, hello, Alex).  I tell myself to calm down… he can nod yes (with his whole head and shoulders getting into it when he gets excited), he shakes his head no, or shakes his hand no with the palm facing down.

What will be will be.

But for now, I’m driving my third grader to his ‘special’ school and trying to talk to my toddler like he’s a grown up in hopes of fostering a broad vocabulary.

And this has gotten me a car that likes to shimmy every once in a while, who flips it’s lights on (check engine and the air bag lights… of which I giggle at the air bag light because it looks like a big ol’ head in someone’s lap getting mouth-lovin’… man do I have issues).  I’m hopeful it’s not serious. I worry about the SUV over heating and my husband deploying, and not being able to get a job, and having no furniture, and the cost of food being so high.

I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with myself if everything went smooth and easy-peasy.

I’d die of boredom.

That, or I’d finally get off the anti-anxiety medications.

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Moving Stress.

So.  Here we are in July (hey, it’s July here at least).  July.  The month that our adventure overseas is supposed to end.  I look at this tiny flat thinking- Oh, shit… we have a lot of stuff.  With seven of us, it’s to be expected, I suppose.  I thought that once the baby turned one, there’d be less stuff… but alas, there is MORE stuff.  Sure, gone is the walker (well, since he walks now he doesn’t need a device to sit in and walk around).  Instead, it’s been replaced with a giant red wagon  and a little red motorcycle and a Cozy Coupe.  Yes, because we didn’t have enough crap to start off with.

Gone is the high chair.  That was an accident.  We actually needed to hold onto that, but it met an unsavory end.  Needless to say, the $5 chair-top booster seat was a great find (thank you flea market page).

Did we need a second table and four more chairs?  Well, no.  Probably not.  We really just needed a table that seats 8.  Since our quarters won’t hold accommodation for that, we have two tables.  I’d snap a picture if we weren’t in the middle of moving, I promise.

It looks like the misfit luggage store puked in my living room, and the hallway, and the bedroom.  There are suitcases and bags and backpacks of every hue littered through out, in half-packed states of packing.  I mean, this is my stuff… stuff I won’t see for months.  How can I pack everything I might possibly need for the next few months in a suitcase?

On the one hand, things are a tad easier moving from one country to another.  There is no option ‘self-move’.  We have no choice but use the moving company.  They gladly come and lovingly wrap our knicknacks and whoosits in bubble wrap and tenderly place them in a box.  Somehow, though, I think they really just throw everything in a box wrapped in paper and hope for the best.  They don’t have to deal with me on the other end in a few months when our stuff has made the long boat ride.  I’m going to be pissed if they break something, like my plate.

Truth be told, it’s a little overwhelming, though.  There is so much to do in preparation to leaving.  I don’t mean passports and itinerary.  All that is taking care of.  That’s our finish line.  T-minus 13 days and counting.  That part was the easy part.

The hard part is looking around here and being like- Oh, my gosh!  There’s so much to DO and I don’t even know where to start.  There are 10 days between now and when I hand over the keys to my flat, the home I’ve lived in for the last year (we moved from another one that was smaller, if you can believe it, when the baby was a week old).  I say my final good-byes to my friends and my family (not of blood).

It’s stressful, right now, because not everyone is doing their part and doing their jobs.  It gives us so little time to do so much and it’s stressful.  I know that when I’m sitting my butt in my economy seat, smooshed between my six year old and the baby, buckling down for a half-a-day flight, it’ll be worth it but until then I’ll stress and I’ll worry and hope that everything works out okay.

Gosh, I hope it does.

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Reason 157

Cross posted because I need it out there.  This was therapeutic (for one) and for two, I need to remind myself that this is the stuff going down while it’s still fresh in my mind.  Feel free to skip.

Ok, so in reality I’m not about to write 157+ reasons why life sucks, because frankly… who wants to read that?  We all have sucky parts of life, and it seems that when it rains, it pours.

Directly, it doesn’t really affect me… but indirectly, it’s all my problem to work out.

*pauses*

I should get dressed.  Be back soon…

*hour passes*

So, here’s the thing.  I’m done.  I’m ready to be done with this country and this Army.  Sometimes, you get a job and you know it’s just not for you?  Yes, well… I think that’s where we are.  Maybe it’s just Korea that has ruined the Army for us, but I doubt it if they’re all as spineless and underhanded as my husband’s command.

I wish his doctor would grow some balls.

Alex has his vasectomy a few weeks back and his EDG.  At that time the doctor was excited about the prospect of doing a selective vagotomy on Alex (it’s where they cut the nerves to his stomach to halt acid production in hopes of healing his chronic ulcers and ending his pain.  He took some biopsies to make sure that the bacteria he picked up in the field hadn’t resurfaced (as it sometime does if it’s not completely wiped out).

Fast forward to his follow up appointment.  I don’t know what my husband’s command said to him, but now the doctor is afraid to even touch my husband’s case anymore.  He is sending him off to a Korean doctor in a Korean hospital.  He changes his story from one minute to the next, and is now refusing to contact me or my husband to discuss it further.  His command says they just went down there, but never talked to the doctor.

I believe it? No.

They’re threatening this and that, and I’m just sick of it all.  I’m going to file a complaint, but I just don’t know where to start.  I might have to pack myself up on Monday and actually physically go down there.  It’s harder to ignore a person when they’re camped out in your waiting room. I will get myself in trouble for harassment if I need to.

We would have been fine with the Korean consultation if the doctor’s story hadn’t changed one moment to the next.  First he (Dr. Richard Inae… yeah, I  went there… blabbing his name out in the open) said for Alex to see the specialist and come back in 2 weeks to see him.  Dr. Inae put the ‘order’ to go off post.  Told me to call the next day to Tricare to make the appointment.  Gave me some number (that was the WRONG number).  I found my OWN number to Tricare (which I suppose I should have used for the start since 3/5 of my kids have been referred to Korean hospitals in the past few months).

So, I call.  And they’re telling me that the way the doctor put it in, it’ll be 14 business days before they even process it.  Thinking it was just put in wrong, I call the doctor’s office and politely explain.  I have only ever once ever been anything less than polite (albeit firm).

*stops to field half a dozen phone calls*

Lord Jesus.  I understand.  I can see why people give up, but damned if I will.

So, the lady at the clinic calls me back and says that the doctor is going to leave it where it is and to pretty much deal with it.  I ask her to have the doctor give me a call.  She says she will.  She doesn’t.  My husband stops in there to talk to the doctor.  At this point, we just want to know WHY.  Why he’s changed the rules to the game mid-way.  We aren’t trying to change his mind, we just want some answers.  The lady at the desk tells my husband that the doctor is NOT calling him back and that if my husband feels so strongly about talking to the doctor, that he (MY HUSBAND) can just go up to the OR and find him his-self.

Yeah.  Luckily my husband had the sense in his head to just go to his doctor’s appointment (his Sargent thinks he’s suicidal).

I finally gave up and filed an ICE complaint (it’s an Interactive Customer Evaluation).  I got two calls back, and finally the doctor called my husband back to say that he (my husband) is banned from the surgical clinic and to let our next duty station deal with my husband’s issues.

Pissed?  You bet!

My husband’s chain of command (Sargent Austin, yep I went there and called that fella out too) went to my husband’s doctor and talked to him, said that the memorandium (that Sargent Cross told us to get, but then later denied telling us to get it, and then accused my husband of jumping the chain of command and getting it).  Sargent Austin told Dr. Inae that the memo put a kink in their chapter paperwork.  Alex hasn’t even been informed that they’re chaptering him, he had to find out from his doctor.  This is getting ridiculous.

So, I filed these two ICE complaints, and on Monday I will be going down to patient advocacy.  And possibly that IG place if I could figure out where they’re hiding it and what the proper protocol is…

*breaks to breathe*

I’m just so ready to give up.  I don’t have any fight in me left, but I can’t.

Instead, I have to continue fighting this righteous fight and hope I’m making a difference.  Nothing’s going to change.  I feel so helpless.  I hate that I have to wait 2 more weeks to get in to speak to my mental health professional because there are not enough appointments to go around.  I hate that being here has really worsened my kids, gotten my husband sick.  I wish they’d quit threatening my security.

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Special Issues

I have kids with issues.  It’s no secret and I don’t hide them away from other people.  When people talk about their kids, they sometimes skim over the bad stuff and brag about the good.  I’m not one of those parents.  I love my kids.  I have a lot of them (more than average, I’d suppose).  When you start adding people to a family, it really changes the dynamics.  Going from a couple to a couple with a child changes things (ever heard the statement- Having a baby changes everything? Well try that nearly half a dozen times, and you’ve got us.)

Two of my children live in the land of IEPs (Individual Education Plan), therapy, and my constant visits to the school.  They attend regular public school here.  There ages are 11 and 8, and they (like almost all of my kids) are boys.

We started our journey with ‘issues’ when I was just a young mother of three.  My now 11 year old son was 3 years old and I KNEW something wasn’t ‘quite right’ about him.  He never stopped, he never sat still.  I spent more time than I care to admit out of work and in the pediatrician’s office, trying to figure out what was wrong with him.  He wasn’t potty trained (in fact, he wanted nothing to do with potty training).  He was wild.

Wild.

Like raised by wolves wild.

The pediatrician kept saying that it was a stage, and he’d out grow it.  He was smart and advanced and huge.  He threw the most horrid temper tantrums.  He once picked up a chair (at 3 years old) and threw it, smashing an electrical outlet (which we had to repair in the dark of night because I was certain that someone was going to get shocked).  That was at 3 years old.

But well before that, I worried.  I worried when he was just a baby and he couldn’t STAND for me to hold him or touch him.  He’d flip out.  He wasn’t affectionate, at all.  He’d smile, if he felt like it, but wasn’t smiley.  I chalked it up to every baby was different, and hell what did I know?  I was 18 years old, raising this baby, and didn’t have a place to live.

I’m pretty sure that screwed him up a bit, even as young as he was.

I worried about him when I brought our second son home.  I’d lay the baby in the pack and play to rest, and come back to check on him to find my oldest had managed to find a knife and was cutting into the playpen, inches from the baby’s face.

But, I was told, that my son was normal.  Even when he flipped out and broke things, hurt people, he was ‘normal’.  He went ape-crazy in the pediatrician’s office and she actually had to restrain him in the corner of the room.  She referred us out at that point to see a different doctor.

My oldest has been through therapist after therapist.  Therapy after therapy.  He was diagnosed at four years old (4!!) with depression and possibly bi-polar disease (but they didn’t want to place a label like that on a child so young).

Everyone was honest from that point out.  They didn’t know how much of his behavior was normal four year old (and growing) behavior, and how much of it was psychosis.

He went through a lot of preschools and baby sitters. One lady lasted only a day.  I went to pick him up from her house and she asked me to never come back.  I was hurt and mortified.  How could my parenting skills be so terrible?  Family didn’t even want to take care of him or watch him for me, no matter how much I paid (except my sister in law, whom has watched my kids on and off over the early years.  I would later find out that she was hitting and beating my children).

My pediatrician tried to get me to have him committed.  At four years old.

I didn’t, and we did eventually start him in kindergarten.  We bought a house out in the country (which had me commuting 2 hours to a job that I loved) so that he could go to a good school.  What had been bad in preschool (which now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that they were horribly mistreating my son), grew worse in public school.

He would throw these temper tantrums.  He’d soil and wet himself.  He’s slam his head into the metal filing cabinet.  He was wild and emotional and out of control.  His kindergarten teacher was a male, and he had the most conflict with him.  Eventually, we had him tested and put in special education.  He wore pull-ups to kindergarten, had changes of clothes.  He was in a contained classroom because he was out of control.

I believe now, though I have no way of proving it, that my sister-in-law and her husband both abused my son(s).  Call it a gut instinct or a feeling, but I believe that the few short times my sister-in-law came into my home (MY HOME) and watched my three sons (then aged 3,2, and a newborn) that she and her husband physically and sexually abused my sons.  Maybe it’s because my kids tell me that she hit them, or perhaps it’s because her husband admits to wanting to have sex with little boys (can you imagine, he announced this at Christmas the last Christmas we were there, 3 years ago).

You never think you have to worry about your sons.  Your daughters, especially if you are a victim of child abuse yourself, you think that it’s very possible they will be victimized, but your sons as victims? I never in a million years thought that I would ever even have to think about it.

My pediatrician asked us when we started bringing our oldest in with his potty problems at 4-5 years old, did we think he could have been the victim of child abuse.  We didn’t know.  We both said that we didn’t think so, but we didn’t know.  At that time, we didn’t know that my husband’s sister was bringing her then-boyfriend, now husband around when we were at school.

I believe that they hurt my child.

Again, I can’t prove it and the kids were so young that they don’t really remember much from back then.  We’ve asked in round about ways because we don’t want to have them have false memories, nor do we want to bring up the past if it’s not needed.

So, my son is emotionally disturbed.  He’s 11 years old now.

We’ve battled IEPs for him.  He still has issues with the bathroom, but he’s actively working on it.  He has severe depression (but is not medicated for it).  He also has ADHD (though I wonder if he’s only ADD since he’s not very hyperactive anymore).  We are slowly working on him, with him, to make him a well-adjusted member of society.

I’ve had to quit my job.

Sure, sure.  I’ve told everyone that I quit my job because I was missing out on so much of my children’s lives (and I was) but that was just part of it.  My kids needed protection and parents that had someone available 24/7.  Childcare costs were ridiculous, so for the first two years after our daughter was born, my husband stayed home, and I guarantee not bouncing around from care-giver to caregiver helped her be more stable.

When my husband was done with his degree, he was ready to go back to work and I stepped down from my position in the medical practice and stayed home with my kids.  We probably could have afforded to have all of them in daycare (possibly) at that point, but it was time for us to put our kids ahead of everything else.

I didn’t have children to have other people raise them.

Fast forward to last spring, when I attempted to go back to work.  I was several months pregnant and my daughter was attending a few days a week morning preschool.  I decided that I would work part-time at the daycare.  Through some error on my part, I somehow ended up a lead teacher working full time.  My daughter hated preschool full time and would cry, and fight, and hide things to keep me from going to work.  I finally got a letter to knock me down to half-days, so she’d only attend half-days, but it was too late.  She hated it.  All of it.

And I quit my job.  Part was the horrible strain that working full time while being pregnant with a giant, energy sucking parasite (as I lovingly thought of him), and part was the fact that my kids really needed me… at home.

In the two short months I worked (yes, it was just two months), my kids managed to get in all kind of trouble (to include burying our house key in the sand box and getting the MPs involved in them trying to get back into our house).  Right before spring break last year, I left work and never returned.

I wish that I could say that things got better with the kids, but they didn’t.  In fact, they got worse.  My now 8 year old son was 7 at the time, and if there was ever an award for the most frustrating kid in the world to love, he’d be putting his oldest brother to shame with it.

It started the last day of school.  It was between my husband’s near-death ICU visits, at the end of my pregnancy, and for some ungodly reason my 7 year old decided to go mental.  Full out, hug-yourself-with-a-straight-jacket, no shoelaces mental.  He had been acting up and being defiant at school to this point, but the teacher insisted that she could/would totally handle his defiant and impulsive, literal behavior (as she said at the last Parent-Teacher conference).

So, the last day of school, he wanders to the garbage area of our complex, pockets two cans of degreaser and climbs on his transport bus from our village to the main post.  He threatens to kill himself and everyone on board (at the time there were few people on).

That is the first of many, many suspensions.

If I ever thought I’d not survive my oldest child’s ways, it was child’s play in light of my middle child’s psychosis.  He’s threatened to kill himself (and others) so many times, and has had means to do both.  The ONLY reason he’s not been institutionalized is because we are living in a foreign, non-English speaking, 3rd world country with limited resources.

Where we live, it feels like prison.


Rare pictures of our prison-esque life here (taken at night for effect).

My 8 year old has been upgraded to contained classroom, complete with an extensive IEP.  To the school, he is a danger to himself and others.  It’s why he’s already racked up an impressive 13 days of out of school suspension so far (and I am realistic when I say ‘So Far’).

He has been diagnosed as ADHD, ODD, and Depression NOS.  Up until last week, he was taking 54mg of Concerta daily.  Last week, we decided to take him off his meds.  I haven’t shared the ‘good news’ with the school.

I don’t know what the future holds for my middle child.  I am hopeful that he will be able to find a path in life that is good and pure, but realistically I have to be prepared that he will live with me forever, or could end up in a group home or in prison.  I’m not trying to be negative, and I don’t talk about that aspect of where his life is heading if he doesn’t get a better grasp of himself.

I have hope though.  I have hope that once we return to our home country, and we leave our host country behind, we can get him the help he desperately needs (beyond therapy and some well placed words on a paper in the form of an IEP).  I see how happy he is when he’s home with us, in his normal environment, and I have hope that one day I won’t have to worry about whether or not he will hurt himself or others.

Until then, I will fight to have my sons’ rights respected.

I am a mom, and I have kids with special needs.  They’re not the kind that they have walks for or that most people understand or think of when you say special needs, but they are special needs, none the less.

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