Thankful Challenge Days 12-16

I have been super busy honestly lately so I forgot about my Thankful Challenge Days for days 12-16 so I will post them now.

Day 12: I’m thankful for my books, music, and arts and crafts. They are my escape.

Day 13: I’m thankful for my best friends. Even though we may not see each other too often or anything, they mean a great deal to me.

Day 14: I’m thankful for coffee for that extra boost.

Day 15: I’m thankful for all the help I have gotten from my loved ones.

Day 16: I’m thankful for people coming together to help one another in the community.

Thankful Challenge Day 11: Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts

Today I am extremely thankful for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Both have taken my Littles under their wing and helped them grow in different ways, especially with their confidence. Both of my Littles are learning so many new things that are valuable to them all because of being apart of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. I’m so thankful for them helping give my Littles these opportunities.

From a Mother Whose Littles Have Been Bullied

I look at my Littles and I can’t help but think of how they might have been now if they had never been bullied. I love my Littles through thick and thin, always and forever. There’s nothing that can ever change that. But there’s a small part of me that wonders what they would have been like if they had not been bullied in the previous years.

Before my daughter had been bullied, she used to talk to anyone and everyone with a second thought. While that scared me a little bit since there are so many strangers and others that could cause harm to her, she would make talk to others without really a second thought. It was very easy for her to make friends, in fact she thought everyone was her friend and played with everyone that she could. She would tell me about everyone she talked to and played with, about their lives, and what she learned from them. She was always so proud to have made a new friend. My daughter used to not care what anyone else thought of what she looked like, what she did, or what she said. She used to be her and there wasn’t anyone that could change her opinion about herself or “rain on her parade.” She knew what she liked and what she didn’t like, who she was, and what she was. Every single day, she would pick out a perfect outfit for herself that completely reflected her personality. It may not have matched to everyone else but it was her style and every clothing she picked out was a reflection of her. She would wear striped pants with a polka dot shirt, glitter jeans with a bright colored shirt, or a cute animal shirt with a skirt. It was her. Her style, her personality, her fashion. She loved it and so did her brother and I. I wished I could pull off the outfits she put together and rock it like she did.

Now, she’s changed. She’s not the same little free style, relaxed, fun loving big girl anymore.

She’s very cautious about what she wears, what she says, and what she does. Those outfits she used to wear are mostly long gone. Don’t get me wrong, she still wears cute outfits but she always stresses she has to make sure they match, are in style, and if anyone else likes them. With other littles, it’s a struggle for her majority of the time. It’s hard for her to make friends, speak to other littles, and play with them. She’s always worried about if they will like her or not like her and bully her, if she will get picked on, and what if she isn’t good enough to them. Anything she does, makes, or says now, is second guessed by herself on whether it’s good enough or not. She’s not confident in herself any more to say what’s on her mind, to do what she wants to do, or wear what she wants to wear. If there’s an idea or a problem she has, she doesn’t voice it until later when she’s alone with me.

She’s not the same little girl she was.

My son didn’t get bullied as much but it still has affected him in some ways. He used to have no problem making friends. Everyone and anyone was his friend, even the crossing guard and cashier at the store. He loved talking to everyone and making people laugh. He was always so excited about daycare, school, and even going to the store, simply because he could make friends and play with them.

Now, he’s different. He’s a different little boy.

He has a hard time making friends. He doesn’t just go up to other littles and adults and talk to them. He watches from a distance for a while and doesn’t really approach them. He’s not the same little friendly spunky big boy he used to be.

Both of my Littles have changed. Because of bullies. There’s no bringing back my spunky, free willed, fun loving, relaxed, outgoing Littles. They are forever changed.

I will always love them, always and forever. No matter how much they change or grow up, they will always be my Littles and in my heart. They will always be my life. It may take some time, like now, to get used to the new them and be able to help them with what they have gone through but I will always be there for them to help support, encourage, and love them.

At times I wish what they would have been like if they weren’t bullied. Would they still have no problem making friends? Would they be fun loving without a care in the world about what others thought of them? Would my daughter still be wearing the awesome outfits she used to pick out that fit her personality so well? Would they have confidence in themselves?

But then I remember that everything happens for a reason and no matter what, they are still my little babies and will always be my world. No matter what they go through or how much they grow up or change, I will always be there treasuring the moments. Every once in a while, like tonight at Girl Scouts for my daughter, I see little glimpses of her being her true self again and it almost makes me cry.

image

If you know your littles are getting bullied, please take it seriously and push to put a stop to it before it causes damage. If you know your littles are bullying others, please help them. It can cause damage to others that isn’t repairable completely.

Working My Way Up

As of yesterday, I have officially signed up for my last few classes of my last semester of college and applied to graduate this May! I’m so beyond proud and excited. I can’t believe that around this next May, I will have my Associates degree in Criminal Justice and will be ready to start on my career. I owe all of this to my Littles and my loved ones that have helped encourage and support me in my journey with college  Hopefully after I graduate this May, I can start my career helping children in their time of need at social services or a children’s group home and I can go back to college online for my Bachelor’s in Psychology to get even further in my career. I can’t wait to see where else I will end up on my journey with my education in my career!

Internship Journal: November 6th, 2015

At my internship today, I learned about respite care. I hadn’t really heard much about what it is or had any experience with it before today. From what I learned tonight about it, respite care is temporary care of dependant elderly, ill, handicapped, or children with challenges. Children can go to a foster home or a group home for respite care when the parents/caregivers need a break from the daily challenges of taking care of a child with challenges and behaviors. They go short term and are taken care of. When the group home I’m doing my internship at has open beds from children going to home visits on the weekends or have been reunited with their families/caregivers, they do respite care for other children. Children come there and stay the weekend until they go back home.

The group home had had a child come for the weekend earlier that day so I was able to learn more about what takes place with respite care and the procedures that go along with it. I was able to read the background on the child and was kind of amazed on the amount of information they had on the child. It was a very small packet, maybe 5 pages, of information on why he was in the state’s care and his medical record. That’s about it, which was shocking due to how much information the group home has on all the other children there.

I could tell right away after arriving that the child was having a very difficult time with the adjustment being there. I seen him throwing things at staff, punching things, and trying to escape out of the front door. He was yelling, screaming, and swearing at everyone. The staff there was very understanding but stayed firm about the boundaries and rules that had to be in place. They tried to calm him down by playing a board game with him, talking about his hobbies, and trying to get to know him. The child was not having it. He had started to warm up just a little bit but then, he started to fly off the wall again. When the other children got there after school, it only got worse and escalated. No matter how crazy things got, the staff remained calm and firm like the children need them to be in that type of environment. It was kind of refreshing in a way when the staff got pumpkins thrown at them, got kicked and punched, and got yelled and screamed at beyond belief, they stood their ground while remaining calm. It really helps the children when they do that because they know someone is there for them that cares but can also keep the structure, respect, and everything in check while they are there.

I had to leave early but I learned a lot of new information that can help me in going into this career field. I’m so happy to have this experience and can’t wait to see what else I will learn.

Thankful Challenge Day 10: Therapy

When I first started years ago when I was a child, I didn’t really understand the concept and thought it was weird going there to talk to someone about mh problems. It took me a long time to be able to open up but once I did, it helped me greatly and has still helped me to this day. I had stopped going to therapy for many years but have started going again for a while. I absolutely love it. It has helped me greatly in many different ways and I’m so thankful for it.

Thankful Challenge Day 8: Acceptance of the Things I Cannot Change

On day 8 of my thankful challenge for November, I am thankful for acceptance of the things I cannot change. Now for anyone that knows me, it is very easy to tell this acceptance has been very hard for me for my whole 20 something years of being in this world. It still is a bit hard for me but its gotten better. It’s been a long time coming and much needed for me in my life.

One thing has really brought this acceptance lesson about things I cannot change upon me: my Little’s father.

For years, 9 years to be exact, I have been trying to work things out with him for myself, our Littles, and him. I’ve tried just about anything and everything. I tried to communicate effectively with him over the years since that has always been a big issue with us. I’ve tried being 100% honest with him even when it hurt to tell the truth and I was scared how he would react about the smallest simplest things. I even researched numerous times over the years on things to do that can help like couples therapy, The Love Dare, and many other things. I tried to do things sexually that he wanted me to do that I thought would help us in our on and off again relationship. I changed myself and molded myself into the woman he wanted me to be to the point that I completely lost myself where it took a little over a year twice to find myself all over again. I cleaned as much as I could, tried to be there physically and emotionally for him through everything, and dealt with anything and everything he put me through. I pushed many guys that were very nice that wanted a chance with me away for him. I moved for him. I cut off a lot of my family and friends and hurt them for him since he didn’t like them or they didn’t like him. I burned so many bridges in my life so that I could be with him. Every day, I would encourage him to be back with our Littles and I as a family. I would invite him to just about every event in our Littles lives and my life. I ended up rescheduling and canceling many events so that we could be with him or he could come to the events and he wouldn’t miss out even though he never ended up coming. I made sure to never say anything bad in front of our Littles about him so I wouldn’t taint or ruin their view of him and so they could make up their own mind about him. I stuck up for him every time someone including my loved ones said something negative about him. I borrowed him so much money over the years, even though I never seen a penny back, even when I was supposed to use that money for our Littles, even though he was supposed to be the one paying me child support for them. I always gave a million excuses for him to my loved ones and our Littles for his actions when it was brought up such as why he didn’t show up for the 10th time for our Littles to an important event in their lives. I loved him always even when he would lie, be disrespectful, and treat me like absolute shit. I was always there for the bad and good times. I encouraged one of our Littles to have a relationship with him even though she didn’t want to have anything to do with him. I believed he couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything wrong to anyone as naive as that is based on my past and the fact that I don’t believe or trust anyone. When child support put out the first warrant for him, I tried to help him. When they were going to put out the second warrant for him not paying, I saved his ass and paid it so he wouldn’t have to go to jail again. Every holiday, I would reach out to him with our Littles for him to be with us even though he barely ever ended up being with us. I took him back every time through everything. I would bite my tongue so much whenever we would talk for a while that my tongue hurt majority of the time whenever we’d start to talk. I didn’t really talk about my needs or wants since they weren’t important compared to his and our Littles’. Every holiday, event, and special moment that our Littles and I had, I would spend most of my time wishing and hoping he would be there and would try to get him to be there but he almost always never came. I even lowered the child support amount a few years ago so the least amount he could pay to try and accommodate his needs and wants in hopes he wouldn’t leave our Littles lives even though I really needed the funds to help support them badly. He still never paid even though I did that.

I tried anything and everything to make it work. There was always someone or something better than our Littles and myself for him in his life that came first for him. No matter what I did or tried or said, it never helped.

He still isn’t there for our Littles.

He’s still only there for one of our Littles only about four days out of every month, even though they are BOTH ours.

He still doesn’t know really anything about one of our Littles. He doesn’t know her favorite color. Or her favorite food. Or her favorite thing to do. Or her favorite animal. Or how she likes her name written. Or her laugh. Or her silly self. Or how she is with people that she is comfortable with. Or who her teacher is. Or how old she is. Or what she is passionate about. Or what causes her anxiety. Or what makes her laugh and smile. Or her favorite sport. Or her favorite movie. Or the songs she knows by heart that she sings with all her might. Or her favorite board game that she always whoops my ass in. Or her favorite outfit. Or the differences in her cries. Or that he causes a lot of the anxiety and fear in her even though he’s supposed to be her father.

He’s still not there for our Littles events.
He’s still not there for holidays.

He’s still disrespectful towards me and has no respect for me.

He’s still disrespectful towards our Littles and has no respect for them.

He’s still not paying child support even though there will be a warrant going out again soon for him for not.

He’s still the same jack ass.

And I’m, for the first time ever in my life, done. 100% done. No more, not less: DONE.

Done with him. Done with the lying, disrespecting, using, getting treated like shit, and everything else in between.

I accept that things are shitty with him. I accept things will never work with him. I accept that things will not change, no matter what I had tried or did. I accept that things with him are not okay. I accept that I must take a stand for the better of my Littles and I.

I accept the things I cannot change and I’m so thankful for that.

image

My reasons for this acceptance in the things I cannot change

Internship Journal: October ’15- November ’15

I’ve been doing my internship for a little over a month now at the children’s group home in town. It’s been beyond eye opening, emotional, and amazing all at the same time.

Most days I am there, I shadow the youth specialists around with the children. I learn the ins and outs of the group home, the career field, and the children. I’ve learned about the procedures of the group home and how it functions in all aspects. With the career field, I’ve learned what roles you play in the group home with the children in this field, what is expected of you, and everything you have to do. I was able to study all of the children’s backgrounds, learn their schedules, and learn how to handle them with the behaviours they have. There has been so much I have learned so far in the little over a month that I’ve been there. I can’t wait to see what else I will learn during the rest of the 200 hours I will be doing there.

There have been a lot of things that have opened my eyes in many ways. I’ve seen the children being violent towards one another and staff, heard a lot of yelling and arguing, and observed a lot of complete meltdowns that the children have had. Most of the children have a kind of “front” that they have on around everyone. They act tough, try to intimidate everyone, and show off like they are the ruler of the whole wide world. But once in a while, once you’ve been there a while and observe, you can start to see little glimpses of the other side of them. The same child that I seen earlier punch another child, try to destroy public property, and try to intimidate me from the moment I got there in any and every way possible, wanted to be tucked into her bed with a good night hug and be told a bed time story. The same child that was screaming and yelling at the top of her lungs just about all day, swearing every curse word in the book, and being extremely violent towards others was a totally different child on the phone with a family member of hers. Her eyes and face lit up right away when she was able to call her family member and was talking to them like a little child on Christmas morning looking at all the presents under the tree.

One child in particular always gets me every single time I’m there from the moment I knock at the door to the moment I open the door to go home when I’m done. She will try anything and everything to try to intimidate me and scare me. I’ve been called every name in the book, teased about everything about myself, and tried to be pushed over the limit so I will just leave by her. Every time I’m there, it never fails. It always happens even. At first, I was honestly intimidated a bit, especially my first day.

My first day I got to the house and knocked on the front door. I had double checked the address at least three times to make sure it was where I needed to go since on the outside, it looked like a regular normal house that a family lives in. No one answered the first time I knocked so I knocked a few more times. On both sides of the door there are tall big windows and on my third knock, a girl showed up at one of those windows. Right off the bat, she was saying, “Who the fuck are you?,” “You better watch yourself with your ugly bitch ass,” “Watch your back,” etc through the window. Now mind you, she’s a child that is in middle school so I wasn’t too afraid of her or anything but this was only through a window next to the door and I could already hear all the anger, sadness, and all those bottled up emotions in her voice and it got to me a little bit. This girl has never met me before and has all this anger she is directing towards me just because I came to the door and knocked and I’m still only outside of the door. Don’t get me wrong, I expected some behaviours and such but I didn’t think that a child would be this angry at me for nothing right off the bat and direct it all towards me. A youth specialist opened the door for me and we introduced ourselves to each other. In the process of the youth specialist and I doing that, the child had gotten right up to me since I had stepped inside the house and was in my face trying to intimidate me way more. Eventually after the director and her talking, I found out that the child thought I was a child that was going to be living there for now on. With that being said, I kind of understand why she was being how she was with me. In a group home or foster care, you have to protect your space and position in the group home. When another child comes there, they could get more attention, more space, more power, etc so they try to compete in a way to show who is in control to secure their space and position. I thought the child wouldn’t be like how she was with me after she found out I wasn’t a child there but nope, when she was told I was an intern there and will be there for a while, she simply laughed and said, “Good, this means I get to fuck with you more.” Now every time I’m there, she tries to intimidate me even more in every shape and form. It never fails.

At times, it reminds me of things in my past from being in foster care and other past situations. It gets me emotional at times but I know I can’t show it there so I process those emotions when I get home. When the children see by your emotions that they got to you, they act out even more to try and push even more buttons so you have to basically put on a “poker face” and not show any emotion. It’s hard to say the least.

I’ve only been doing my internship for a little over a month now and have learned so much that is very beneficial to me for experience, I can’t wait to see what else I will learn in times coming there. Wish me luck!!