Thursday, April 30, 2009

what's in your head

Ethics. Who would have thought that doing the right thing would be so complicated? I'm already perplexed by the readings in this course and we're only a day in. The various codes of ethics seem to conflict with each other, and contradictions in some case even exist within the same document if the right problem is presented.

Underlining it all is the responsibility for proper self-care. Hilarious that it's mandated in the same document that demands ongoing professional development, commitment to the client, responsibility to society as a whole, contributions to the profession... and so forth. How does one person do all this?

Speaking of pro-d, tomorrow is a professional development day throughout the entire district. I'm highly tempted to stay home which would be both unprofessional and unethical, so I won't. But I want to.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

seasonal allergies

The new batch of courses started today and I raced right in there to answer all the questions on the first day the way we're advised to, allowing the rest of the week for discussions to follow... and guess who else in my class did that. No one, that's who. Not a soul. I don't understand how come other people aren't participating. Maybe I've misunderstood the instructions, or maybe I'm just the class geek. So it's me and the professor talking to each other and listening to our echoes in this giant space meant for twenty people or so. Sometimes I don't understand what's going on around me.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

in the hope that there's a heaven

It's been eleven days now since Little J has spoken to her mother. She's refusing to talk to her because she was kicked out of rehab again and because they had an ugly phone conversation in which Little J confronted her mother with one of the most awful of her psychopathological lies. And unsurprisingly, her mother denied having ever said it in the first place, although she said the same thing many times to me in the past.

It's demented. It's demonic.

Now C is losing her mind, calling here every day bawling to speak to her child who won't pick up the phone.

The stupid thing is that if she admitted her mistake and apologized for it, Little J would probably accept that and try to work on their relationship again. But C's brain doesn't work like that. And as always, part of me is so sad for her because I know that it is partly her Borderline disorder that makes her think this way, and another part of me is incredibly frustrated that she just won't do the right thing, no matter what she loses by choosing not to.

Tonight when I was tucking Little J into bed I was trying to remember me at her age, twelve. When I was twelve there was rarely a day that passed that I didn't have some kind of tearful emotional breakdown. The family was in turmoil. Little J doesn't cry every day. So in that way we're already doing better by her. I hope she grows up to feel more self-assured than I did. I hope she feels confident and competent and loved.


Monday, April 27, 2009

try not to breathe

One of my best friends had a baby this week. I wish I lived closer because I'm wanting to see her now, meet the new baby, and be part of everything. That's one of the hard parts of living far away... missing special things.


I feel tired today, as though I'm only half-inflated, sagging at the seams, limp and bedraggled. I don't know why.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

i was hungry and it was your world

One of the dogs has an impacted anal gland. For the record, this is a thoroughly disgusting condition resulting in ooze. I'm not going into any more detail because I think it can do nothing good to explain it further. The vet has prescribed antibiotics and the things I am required to do between now and when they kick in are best left between me and the dog.

Today we accomplished a few things which is kind of a nice feeling for people who mostly spend the weekends just recovering from the week. Shawn mowed the lawn, both front and back, which in all fairness wins him the grand prize. Mowing a third of an acre with a push mower takes some real dedication.

While Shawn was mowing, I went into the garage and worked on collapsing a million boxes so they could be taken out for recycling. The garage is in serious need of a sweep and tidy to rid it of its vast collection of dead spiders. *shiver* After I was done with the garage, Little J and I planted her two strawberry plants in the garden in hopes she'll get a few berries this year. We also tended the grave of her poor little hamster who died on Friday. (She's doing well with that, coping nicely.)

After chores were done we went to see Earth, feeding some money into the giant Disney machine. I don't know what's happened to me in my old age but I can no longer stand to watch scenes in which tigers eat deer, lions take down elephant calves, and so on. So I watched parts of it through my fingers.

Today Little J's mother called wanting to speak with her. It's been nine days now that Little J has been refusing to speak to or to see her mother. In some ways it's easier for all of us just not having to deal with her. In some ways it's heartbreaking to see this child having to detach in order to maintain her sanity. When I told C that Little J didn't want to talk to her, she because upset.

Sometimes I feel sorry for C because it must be so painful to lose the trust of her child, to feel their relationship slipping away.

And sometimes I think she's getting exactly what she deserves for abusing/neglecting her daughter the way she has. It's easier to feel that way when C is being angry and obnoxious, harder when she's sad.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

something to say, but i'm so far away that i don't know who i'm talking to

I'm trying to make Shawn eat his vegetables. It's been an uphill battle in the past. He likes meat. He likes potatoes. He likes junk. So I've snuck spinach into spaghetti sauce, hidden a few flax seeds here and there... but never to a degree that felt like I was making any real headway.

Suddenly, just recently, he's expressed a new interest in eating better. And I'm jumped all over it in case it doesn't last. I got him to eat mango-tango salad last night, and yogurt and fruit for breakfast this morning, and egg on toast with red peppers for lunch. I'm totally surprised that's stuck with me for three consecutive meals. Maybe he really means it. Unfortunately, the key seems to be that I have to be the one doing all the food preparation, which is NOT one of my most favourite things in the world. Maybe it's worth it, though.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

you were always on my mind

C phoned and left a message on our answering machine threatening us with legal action again because we are denying her access to her child.

I used to find these threats extremely upsetting just a few months ago. Now, though I can't say I am not somewhat distressed, I don't believe her. I don't believe her. I don't believe her.

We are the ones acting in the best interest of her child, supporting her decisions and facilitating her desires. When she wants to see or talk to her mother, she does. When she wants to forget about her, we allow it.

I'm ready to defend that in court.

Or just to myself.

I'm trying to protect this child. That's all.


small and white

Tonight C called to tell us she'd been kicked out of the latest treatment centre. That's SEVEN recovery homes in ten months that have kicked her out. My disappointment is always tempered by the knowledge that these foibles make it harder for her to convince the courts to return her daughter to her. However, what is to temper this news for the child?

She tried to laugh at her mom. But it doesn't feel good to laugh at the person who brought you into the world. She tried to be angry. She has every right to be angry. But in the end it's heartbreaking and there's no other way to feel when the mother you trusted turns out to love drugs more than she loves her child. There's nothing that lightens that blow.

Tonight she sobbed. In my arms she sobbed because she knows her mother is dying, day by day, and that she will die feeling unloved by everyone, even her daughter, because there is no way to love this woman that doesn't involve turning yourself over to her, body and soul, to be consumed by her blackness.

While railing against some of their dogma, I've listened to, and understood (even appreciated) some lessons from NarAnon, AA, etcetera, about detaching with love.

And I'm trying to teach her.

Tonight, as she cried in my arms, she said, "No matter how happy I am, ever in my whole life, there will always be a shard of glass stabbing me in the heart; she'll always be there, no matter what, she'll always be there."

And how can I tell her that isn't true? It IS true. That shard has been stabbing me for as long as I can remember. But it must be so much sharper for her, because this is her mother. How can I help her? What can I do?

She's a beautiful girl. Optimistic and beautiful and bright. So these things increase her resilience. But her pain, I can do nothing about. Except to share it, and I do.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i can go anywhere

Gah, I got another B on a paper I turned in last week. I HATE getting a B on something that I worked hard on. Fortunately, I've done well enough in the course that I can still get an A overall, I hope!, if I did as well on the discussion component as I think I did. The thing that's really silly is that it doesn't matter, particularly, if I finish the program with a C or an A, as long as I pass. Most employers don't want to see transcripts; they just want to see the degree. So why do I care? I dunno. Just a perfectionist, sometimes.

The new courses start at the end of the month. I'd like a longer break and more time to sulk over my B, but for some reason the registrar didn't offer me that option.


Monday, April 13, 2009

into the light of a dark black night

I ask myself a lot if I'm parenting her well.

Tonight I heard her crying in her room, and knocked on the door. She told me she's upset because sometimes she just can't do anything right. I know how she feels. Sometimes I still feel that way even now, let alone when I was twelve. I hugged her and rocked her and told her just that, and that she does so many many many things right.

Sometimes I ask myself if things would have been different if my mum had come into the room to ask what was wrong when I was twelve years old and crying. I understand why she didn't. But I still wish it had been different. I want to make sure she grows up whole.

As I write this, I hear Shawn talking to her softly as he tucks her in.
We're doing okay, I think.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Tonight at dinner, Little J said to me, "If you ever have a baby, I hope it's a girl."

"Why?" I asked her.

She said, "Because I'd rather have a little sister."


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

bloody well right

Little J has figured out that Shawn and I don't share one brain, and if she asks one of us for something the answer might be no, but if she asks the other, it might be yes. This is just smart. But now she's also figured out that if the first one says no, she can just go ask the other one and have another shot at it.

This, we must prevent. But how? Twice in the last week she has tried to pull a fast one, the first one more successful than the second. We are in negotiation about how to handle this. The problem with me is that I'm a huge softie and when she gets teary-eyed I just want to cuddle her and let her have whatever she wants. Nice parenting, huh? Fortunately Shawn is here to balance things out with a bit more common sense.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

just escaping on the run

I don't know how I missed seeing the hummingbirds last year, because it turns out that they're at the feeder all the time, all day long. On Friday I was thinking that maybe hummingbird time was dusk but since then I've seen them feeding at various times throughout the weekend. They're so pretty and delicate. Is it human nature that I want to trap one because they're so free? (I know why the caged bird sings...) No, of course I won't do it. It's just one of those impulses I feel - the same way I always think about jumping off footbridges when crossing.

I took Little J to visit her mother this morning. I find these visits painful to sit through, but it's that or pay $80 a week for someone else to supervise them. That's almost car payment. Or the cost of hiring a maid to clean up this pig stye. I wonder, at times, if Little J will eventually stop speaking to her mother (I would) but then I also think that the bond between them is strong and that children always seek some kind of relationship with their parents even if it's barely tolerable because it's just the way we're made. Or something.

This afternoon Shawn has promised to take Little J out on a date, leaving me some peace and quiet to finish my research. I hope I can get focused by then. Right now I feel like playing outside in the dirt.


Friday, April 03, 2009

head 'round the curtain

I have rufous hummingbirds at my feeder!

Last spring Big J told me he saw a hummingbird at the feeder and I didn't really believe him. I kind of assumed he didn't know what he was talking about, which, in retrospect, wasn't fair. But he only saw one hummingbird one time, and the rest of us never saw any. I had my doubts they even existed around here in spite of what I'd been told.

On Monday I went to the wild birdfeed store and bought more sunflower seed for my feeders (the finch are going crazy) and while I was there I asked the lady who was working if the hummingbirds were back from their migration. I asked this because my parents had a hummingbird nest at their house in Arizona and I was so delighted to see the little oiseaux flitting around their feeders; I wanted some of my own!

She said the rufous hummingbird was definitely here and gave me her magical recipe for nectar (1 sugar + 2 water = oiseau).

I filled my feeder again and placed it outside without much hope.

Tonight while we were having dinner, later than usual (around 7:00), early enough to still have some light and late enough that the sun was sinking low, the rufous appeared! Not just one, but many of them, one after another. They've probably been there all along and I've just never known when to look for them. (Maybe they've been scared away by the finches during the daytime.)

It was ridiculously exciting. I felt happy that both Shawn and Little J were excited along with me.

I have hummingbirds!!


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Today something exciting happened. With unanswered questions on my mind, I decided to send an email to a rather famous psychologist, thinking I'd like to ask him my questions directly rather than do research and form some kind of half-baked opinions about the questions based on my own guesses about what he was thinking. So maybe there's something to be learned from doing the research and forcing my brain to formulate its own inferences, but I was excited that this psychologist actually wrote back to me and answered my questions and referred me to some of his other writings that would also help provide more information about what I was looking for. Fantastic.

In theatre, people who chase actors have a name. Starfuckers. And I kind of felt that way about talking directly with this psychologist who is something of a star, at least to me, at least within the psychological community.