Friday, February 18, 2011

Teen kiddo update

Figured I'd update a few items on the kids.  I know pictures don't always tell the whole story.  And with all our FAS/FAE teens, it's new territory for us.  I truly believe the stages in parenting are a bit tougher for FAS parents.  You have to separate normal teen behavior with FAS behavior w/ some of us, adopted behavior as well.  Crazy stuff.  Things are constantly changing and ups & downs abound.  Last week, was tough here.  This week it's busy but it's manageable and we're making it.  So, a little about how the teens are doing here.

Irina-- Irina is still having a tough time.  As I said before, she has become more aware of her disability.  She realizes she is different and trying to deal with those emotions that one has when they finally realize they are rather mentally challenged and quite different from their peers.  Irina hates school and I can't blame her.  We have gone back & forth about homeschooling her.  Irina is also having a tough time as one of her best friends since 5th grade has finally seemed to "outgrow" her.  Remember, FAS kids tend to be about half their age socially.   Irina is 18yo, but more around 12 or 13yo socially.  Makes a huge difference.  Irina is trying to obtain her driver's permit.  She has failed the test 3 times.  Very difficult to watch.  We try to encourage her but this is something that can not be modified and we understand that.  She is deciding whether she wants to try again or not.   Hoping she decides to try one more time. 

Irina's health.  She goes to get a videoscope of her vocal chords on March 1st.  She goes to the doc next week for bloodwork.  I'm very interested in what they have to say.  I know her thyroid is normal.  Her weight is our biggest concern right now.  It has been hard to watch her deteriorate.  Don't think we haven't tried to do something.  This is a girl who was amazingly athletic.  Super shape.  She got to high school and it all seemed to fall apart.  I mean, she gets up at 5:30, gets ready & catches the bus.  Sits all day at school w/ no activity but walking between classes.  Comes home at 3 & cleans up the kitchen and does homework.  Eats dinner & the child literally wants to go to bed by 7:30.  I've been trying to get her to stay up and stay active.  Trying to make her go on walks w/ me.  We've had a serious heart to heart but still don't think she understands the gravity of the situation yet.  Though, being on all the acid reflux meds & such is helping.  Helping her understand this a bit more & now she seems to be trying harder to follow doctor's orders.  Slow progress but I'll take progress over none at all.  Irina has found a friend in one of the neighbors.  That girl is 13yo.  You can see the social maturity in Irina is definitely not anywhere near 18yo.  At 18yo I was in college, held a job, etc.  Things are different for Irina and I'm trying to adjust to that as well as a parent. 

Max-- Max has been trying our patience lately.  He's currently grounded.  For grades.  He was not doing any homework at home despite my reminders every single day.  Now, keep in mind though Max has FAS, he has normal IQ.  He HAS the ability to do the work.  He CAN do the work.  He is choosing NOT to do the work.  Epitome of laziness right now and not tolerated here.  He lost his tv he had in his room.  He had bought it w/ his own money.  He is grounded and can't hang out w/ his friend.  He's been on chore duty lately as well.  I get angry b/c I hate to see him waste his life.  I mean, even the teachers say he's smart, he's just not using it at all.  At all.  Now, he has a severe, severe learning disability in math and can not do math.  That we know.  However, everything else, is fine.  He has the ability to do better & we expect no less from him.  He got his permit revoked by the DMV this week.  I think that was a wake up call.  Of course his first response is always anger & always, always trying to blame it on someone else.  Every last one of my FASers do this.  Every single one.  None take responsibility for their own actions.  Burns me to no end.  We make it abundantly clear that they have no one to blame but themselves.  Now, on a lighter note, all his grades this semester as of yesterday & progress reports, he's doing great.  A's & B's.  What is it w/ this kid?!  Max's health is great at least.  And, he's been on this creative streak lately.  Another post will show some of his work.  We'd like to try to harnest that to be able to provide him w/ some sort of career.  Max loves to do carpentry work & is good at it.  Who knows where it will take him.  The church has asked him to do some art work as well.  And he loves to do that.  Max has always been a keep to yourself kind of guy.  Not social at all, not athletic but he has gobs of creativity & talent.  Trying to find balance.  He'll get there.  I do have to remember a lot of this is just 15yo boy behavior and nothing more. 

Yana-- Oh my oh my.  I know I haven't finished my RAD posts yet.  She is one of them.   A few weeks ago we had a RAD rage.  Quite a big one.  She said some very nasty things to us & went to full blown rage mode.  This is part of who she is and part of what we have to deal with.  More on that in the RAD posts.  Anyhow, she was grounded for that rage episode of hers.  Was due to get off grounding last Friday.  What happens?  She got an ipod confiscated at school.  Umm, she doesn't have an ipod.  Yana stole it from Irina's room.  It was out of pure revenge.  I was livid.  Didn't even want to look her in the face.  Why?  Because she got in trouble last year for the SAME thing.  Same exact thing.  URGHH!!!  Meaning, she learned nothing from the last time she pulled this stunt.  Those are the times that are frustrating as parents.  She is grounded obviously. 

On the up side, she has proven tons of dedication only to be let down by the school system once again.  Now, being that our kids come to us later in life & w/ issues, & w/ NO English whatsoever, we put them in a grade younger.  So, Yana is 15yo and in 8th grade.  Just the way it is.  Well, she has been running all year long to try to get in shape to be able to try out for track.  Even neighbors have commented on how smooth her running is.  Well, found out recently she can't even try out as she is 15yo.  Yet, I was VERY proud of her when she wouldn't let this get her down.  She decided to go a different route and ask if she could be a manager.  She could.  However, they already had picked someone else.  She is still running and hopes she can join the high school team next year.  Me too.   It would give her such the push she needs.  Academically, she is doing excellent.  Well, all except for math.  We really do expect that out of our FAS kids and that's okay.  Shoot, I had to take remedial math the first semester of college & graduated the top of my department.  So, I'm really not worried about the math bit for them.  I do understand it is very, very difficult for FAS kids to understand abstract concepts.  Hence, why they take everything so literally.  Yana overall is doing well, just has to stop doing stupid teenage things.  And, being that she's 15yo, that may not stop any time soon.  LOL.  The good thing is she has become much more driven over the last few months.  She's trying to read a book a day though we told her she needs to lower that goal a bit.  I want her to comprehend what she reads, not just to read it to cross it off some list.  HOpe that made sense.  Yana's health is also excellent.  And, not too many migraines any more. 

Overall, it could be a ton worse.  Trust me, I know a few folks in positions that I would not want to be in.  None of mine are in trouble w/ the law, none of mine are kicked out of school, none of mine smoke, none of mine do drugs, none drink, none break any curfew rules, none are pregnant, etc.  So, if you look at it that way, I'd say we're doing pretty dog gone good for parents of teens who have no idea what they're doing & have the odds stacked against their FAS kids.  Nope, not perfect by a long shot but when I hear of stories from some of my friends and what they are contending w/  with their "normal" teens, I have to say I am beyond thankful for the teens I have.  Despite the fact that they make me want to tear my hair out everyday.  I can't say that one of these things may happen to our family.  But so far, I have an 18yo and 2 almost 16yo's and we're making it work.  I think if we can keep it this way, we'll survive the teen years.  Yes, we have our drama but I also think we'll be okay.  Just taking it one day at a time, one step at a time.  Trying not to make mountains out of mole hills.  Yet, addressing issues as they arise.  Just wanted to share that we experience ups & downs of raising teens just as any other parent would do.  More updates to come & want to show you some of what Max has built.  Stay tuned for more.  BTW, no "littles" today!  Had the whole day off.  Though I spent it organizing, calling, & other stuff, it's beautiful and peaceful in the house.  It's just a nice break.  I'd take a nap but they're fixing our door & the vet is coming here soon.  Did manage to give Alaska a bath finally.  Enjoy the weekend.  I know we plan to despite Warren having to work.  Oh, and Bojan can't walk.  Think his surgery site might be getting infected.  Leaving message for the doc.  Never dull here, that's for sure. 

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