left behind
friday, march 30, 2007

it's been a rough couple years for all of us. the financials are nothing new, which weirdly enough is okay. things could have gotten worse instead of holding steady with the status quo, and that would have been a lot more stress. (and i'm well aware that the financials getting better would have been additional stress, but that's a stress we would have happily dealt with.) we're used to struggling, so that not changing at least gives us a sense of consistency somewhere. but there have been other things that just made it hard on us -- new school district, me working, saxy dealing with mcat's b.s. on the job, and so on. the transition to georgia could have gone a lot worse, but it also could have gone a lot better all around. even now, i don't feel 100% acclimated and there are still issues being sorted out.

but it's been a little tougher on froggy than anyone, i think. somehow my little caboose got left behind. it took her a year just to adjust to the schools out here, and then she had to transition to yet another new school as well as a whole new level of work required. the following year, it was another new school. (and, if i get ft/p, it just might be yet another new school next year too.) the second middle school wasn't our fault, but that didn't make it any easier on her.

the kids have always understood that taz needs more from us. both the younger girls pretty much grew up with it. we've always explained that taz was different, that he couldn't do what they do, that he may never even move out because he can't take care of himself without help. i doubt knowing this helped them much except to give them a little understanding (and i do emphasize little) as to why he needed more of our focus. they've all tried to help out as much as they could with watching him, helping him, keeping him occupied, directing him to what he needs to do, and so on. but it still meant that there was less of us to go around -- taz just requires a lot from us.

and i think froggy would have been okay with all this if her sister hadn't gone off the deep end for the last 2 years.

instead, the middle girl lost it and suddenly needed nearly as much attention as her brother. she wore us out with her arguing and upheaval. what jewel wanted, she tried to grab with both hands -- breaking the rules, fighting every day, all that crap that finally led to her being told to find some place else to go.

family dynamics change all the time, and me working did give me less energy to spread around. my son, well, he has to have whatever i can give, which left a lot less than i would have liked for my two girls. i tried to give them both some of what was left, but when jewel started making life miserable, well, she got most of what was left in an effort to try to get things "fixed," or at least tolerable until she was 18. she didn't make it that far, she wore us out, and everyone lost -- taz lost the stability he needs, jewel lost the safety net she should have until she's able to step out on her own, saxy and i lost peace of mind and household, and froggy, well, froggy lost the little bit of us she could get.

usually it's the middle child(ren) that gets lost in a family with 3 or more kids. the oldest has all that wow factor based on the fact that s/he is the first to do everything. if there's one downside to being the oldest, it's the fact that the oldest is the one who gets to be the experiment child for untried parents. the youngest is usually the baby, the prince or princess, given attention because s/he is the last one that the family will experience doing all this with again. middle children are . . . middle children.

we've tried to raise our children according to what the children are like. our oldest always proved to be the most level headed and responsible, so she got responsibilities and certain privileges earlier than the other kids. jewel, well, jewel has always been behind the curve, always a little less mature than most kids her age. and we've been aware of some kind of processing weirdness on her part for a long time. we tried to get it diagnosed, but nothing came up enough to place it and give us any idea how to help her with it. (considering where some of the spikes are in the testing, and the genetic proof, i'm betting it's related to autism and adhd, it's all just not strong enough to say, yes, this child has an autism spectrum disorder -- being able to say so would probably have helped some since we would be able to get her exactly what she needed to learn to work with it; instead, she's going to flounder for awhile, i think.) taz, well, taz has needed everything from occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavior modification to help with behavior management and more supervision than the other kids.

froggy is a smart kid. she's adhd, yes, but she's very bright, gifted even (at least, according to cali; out here, i dunno if it's the constant transitions or that they have a different level that makes a kid gifted, or what -- i still think she's gifted, but she doesn't qualify for any programs out here because of her grades and test scores; with those low, they won't even test her for the gifted program). i've worried about her level of implusivity, but i've always felt she would be okay, that she would become something incredible. she's resilient, she's going to be strong. this is just what i see in her -- all this potential.

but she's lost out over the last couple of years. her brother's needs and her sister's complete craziness took from froggy what little attention we could actually give her. the last 2 years have been focused on taz, which is normal, and jewel, which is not normal. but there wasn't much choice. jewel was making life miserable for everyone, and her issues had to be dealt with. we couldn't just let her turn our house upside down.

so froggy started acting out so she could get what she so desperately needs and wants. kids, they will take any attention over no attention. all the girls have done some taking of things over the years, it's just never been bad. some of that taking has even been understandable to a degree, but kitten grew out of it and jewel was working on growing out of it. and neither of them got to the point that they took things that would either get them in serious trouble with school or the law or took things that wouldn't be useful to them. they knew where the boundaries were, to some degree. froggy's taking not only was going on longer, but had gotten far more serious. so we took her to see a counselor, and it comes down to needing attention. in all the mess over the last couple of years, froggy has been made the middle child. we never intended it to be that way, it just happened.

i've never been the parent i've wanted to be. my kids always seemed to get less than what i've really, truly wanted to give them. things haven't been easy. poverty, school, work, autism . . . so much has impacted us in so many different ways, and i never could seem to catch up to it all and find a way to be the parent i want or that the kids needed. but i've tried. trying just ended up not being enough and froggy got left behind.

now it's time to fix that. i just hope i can.

word of the moment: shibboleth

catchword or slogan, a word or phrase frequently used, or a belief strongly held, by members of a group that is usually regarded by outsiders as meaningless, unimportant, or misguided; common saying or belief, a saying that is widely used or a belief that is widely held, especially one that interferes with somebody's ability to speak or think about things without preconception; identifying word or custom, a unique pronunciation, word, behavior, or practice used to distinguish one group of people from another and to identify somebody as either a member of the group or an outsider

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