Our quirky turkey.

I just intended to put up an iphone pic from a tower that Mikey made tonight. Really, that’s all I was going to do. But as I began to upload that photo from my phone I decided to look through some of my other quirky Mikey photos. There are many. And I think there were many more photos on my phone that have gotten deleted. So, in no real date order, here are some crappy iphone pics that demonstrate some of Mikey’s quirky, creative, silly, crazy, weird things that he does pretty much every day. Some of these pics are sort of old, from when we lived in the old house.

And the photo that initiated this post in the first place…

First of all, he’s wearing a pull up because he was about to go to bed. He was working on this tower and he was almost done with it when I walked into the room. He was done except for the two little white diamonds at the top. He had one white one in his hand. He really wanted to use it, but he couldn’t figure out where to put it. I knew what he’d say before I suggested it, but I pointed to one of the sides and told him he could put it there. He said that he could only put it there if he had another one for the other side. We found another one a few feet away from the tower. He was very pleased to be able to put them both at the top, one on each side. I asked him if I could take a picture of him with his tower. He said I could just take one picture with him in it.

I got the girls on WIC a week or so ago. They can be on WIC until they’re adopted. Anyway, I brought home a DVD about the shopping choices and procedures to use when using your WIC card. It’s super cheesy and just painfully boring. Mikey discovered it yesterday or the day before. He has become somewhat obsessed with it. He wants to watch it a lot. He just sits glued to it like he’s amazed, and rocks. (He still rocks. I don’t know if he’ll ever outgrow it. We hardly even notice it anymore.) Anyway, I don’t get the WIC video thing at all. He made me sit and watch the whole thing with him this morning. He wouldn’t settle down until I did. He was just so excited to share this movie with me. I tried to act interested.

He is a strange bird. An odd little duck. A quirky turkey. And we wouldn’t change any of it. Well, we might turn his hyper down a notch or two…just maybe.

And just on the off chance that I’ve never actually written it on my blog before, I think Mikey is probably some sort of genius.

This week

Phillip and I feel like things have been going better with Mikey this week. We’re trying to spend more one on one time with him and I think that’s helping. His love language is definitely quality time and when he doesn’t get enough quality time with his parents he acts out more.

I got the boys’ room cleaned and organized over the weekend. One of closets in particular was a huge mess and basically not usable. That closet is now organized and they can easily find their toys and the boys both have Lego tables in their room. They’ve been playing with Legos a lot since we got the tables. I think it has really helped Mikey to have an organized room that makes sense to him. It was pretty haphazard moving him into Jackson’s room and it really hasn’t been truly Mikey friendly until this week. If things are organized and have a place Mikey can understand how to play and clean up when he’s done, and he’s very willing to do it. He’s very particular about making sure that each toy is where it belongs. But if he’s in a chaotic space, he just wants to make it more chaotic by throwing stuff everywhere.

A friend of ours made really cute canvases for the kids with their names on them to hang in their rooms. We hung them up over the weekend. For whatever reason Mikey was very upset about his and he wanted to take it down. I think he likes it, but I just think maybe he still considers the room “Jackson’s room” and he didn’t want his name on the wall in there. Or maybe he’s still hoping that he’ll get his old room back. I really don’t know why he got so upset, but we just took his down and put it away. I’ll try to put it up again another day. It wasn’t worth the fight. Today my thoughts were confirmed on this when Mikey basically told me that he wants his fish bed and his room back, but the girls won’t leave so he doesn’t have a room anymore. I reminded him that he does have a room. He just has to share it with Jackson. Everyone in our house shares a room with someone.

Mikey seems to be playing with Brittany a little better the last week. Although today he was screaming, “I don’t want to keep him!!!!” over and over again. It took me a minute or so to realize he was referring to Brittany. The “he” and “him” thing still confuses me sometimes. I don’t remember now what he got so mad about, but when he gets mad at her he’s not very subtle about how he feels. Mikey and I took a long walk this evening and he did tell me that he likes Brittany a little bit….just a little bit. I guess little by little is what we’ll have to take. He’s such a good kid in countless ways. We just have to figure out ways to help him be better.

Thankfully for now Brittany seems pretty unaware of his yuckiness towards her. She’s slowly learning when she needs to keep her distance from him, but when he’s willing to play with her, she is just in heaven. She loves to be around him. She laughs like crazy at his jokes and his antics. She’s pretty sweet with him most of the time and just genuinely loves being around him. We think Mikey has just made the decision not to like her, but occasionally he forgets. Their relationship right now is very much on Mikey’s terms. I know that’s not fair, but I don’t really know what to do about it.

Here are some photos from Tuesday. As you can tell, Mikey was pretty tolerant of sharing his space with Brittany. He even allowed her to lay on his back and climb on him for about 1 minute. He didn’t freak out at all. And I got a picture of Mikey, Brittany, and Jade sitting right next to each other but I can’t put it on the blog.

Today the girls’ CPS worker came over to plant some flowers with them (previous post). Here are a few pictures from today.

We’re doing the best we can to make our new family work. Some days are better than others. And just when we have a couple of really good days, we have one that makes us think we’re back to square one. So that’s kind of where we’re at right now, this week.

Just figuring it out, little by little.

No, he didn’t!

The girls’ social worker came over this afternoon to visit and plant flowers with the kids. (Yes, I took pictures) We really like her and she is so great with the kids. You would think that’s how it would be with all CPS case workers, but believe me, it’s not! She is so different than any of the others we’ve worked with in the past.

And it’s a good thing.

Let me tell you why it’s a good thing. Because while Phillip and I were sitting on the back patio talking with her, Jack came outside to inform us that Brittany had crumbled crackers all over the floor inside. Okay, not a big deal. But then Jack proceeded to tell us right in front of the girls’ CPS worker that we should spank her. For real. He did. First of all, we aren’t allowed to spank the girls until they’re adopted. Phillip and I have joked that we’re going to spank Brittany right there in the courtroom as soon as the judge lowers that gavel. And secondly, who in the world does Jack think he is telling us when to spank the other kids?!?

Phillip and I handled ourselves well even though we were pretty much in shock that Jack said that. We assured the girls’ social worker that we do not spank Brittany, even though between you and me and whoever might be reading this, I think it would do her some good. Can I say that?? Anyway, thankfully Ms. G laughed it off and seemed pretty amused by the whole thing.

I should probably add that shortly before this I had to take Mikey inside and put him in time out for kicking Brittany. As I was taking him inside he said, “What are you going to do to me?!” She laughed that off too. But there are workers who wouldn’t have been amused by any of this stuff.

So once she was gone I had a little talk with Jackson. I told him that the next time he thought it was his place to tell us who needed to be spanked that he would be the one getting the spanking. And for the love of everything good and holy NEVER tell us to spank one of the girls in front of their CPS worker!!!

Out of the mouths of moms

Was that sound a child’s head hitting the wall? Yeah, I thought so.

Leave me alone for two minutes. I gotta poop.

You should be able to laugh AND carry dishes at the same time.

Girls do not pee standing up!

I heard you, I heard you. I just simply don’t care.

If you can’t stop whining, then I’m turning on the Tejano.

Do you want some kava-kava root? You sure?

Nobody needs phone books anymore! It’s just a big trash book.

This little one

I’ve been meaning to post some of these pictures and I just can’t seem to keep up with stuff. Understandable, I know. Anyway, I took Brittany out a few weeks ago for a little mini photo shoot. She cooperated about as much as you would expect any 2…almost 3 year old to cooperate. And if you know much about me and making my kids take photos, then you’ll know that I usually pay them or bribe them in some way. I paid Brittany 2 jelly beans and some chips for letting me take some pictures of her. I WISH like crazy I could post the ones of her face. I have a password protected gallery up with the rest of this session. If you want the link and password, email me and if you’re not a weirdo, I’ll consider giving it to you. So anyway, here are a few “non-identifiables.” She’s a rascal. You can tell without even seeing her cute little dimpled face.

Not as pretty as you might think.

So I haven’t really updated on family life in a while. I don’t really know where to begin. So much has changed. I wish I could paint this beautiful picture of how wonderful our lives are and how in awe we are daily of the gifts we’ve been given. I wish I could write that post. But if I wrote that post it would be a fabrication of the truth and I don’t want to do that. And I think since I haven’t been able to write that, I just haven’t wanted to write much of anything. Posting pictures and videos is easy. Then you can paint your own picture of how you think things are with our family. Then I’m off the hook.

I’m on facebook quite a bit. Really, I’m not on facebook looking at other people’s stuff all that much. But I post a lot, mostly about the kids. And really more often than not, it’s Mikey related. He’s just always saying or doing funny or shocking things. I used to write about that stuff on my blog, but since I’ve started writing it on facebook I haven’t really written about much of it on my blog. Talking about Mikey and facebook may seem a bit rambly, but I know where I’m going here.

So at the recommendation of some friends, I’m going back as far as September 2010 right now and copying my Mikey related status updates into a Word document. And a lot of the stuff is really, really funny. He’s an incredibly hilarious and clever kid. He was before we got the girls and he still is. But somewhere around early to mid December he started to change. I don’t exactly know why. It seems that it started before he met the girls, but the change started around the time we found out about the girls. Maybe he sensed changes within me. Maybe I was more distant or more preoccupied with getting two more kids. Maybe I was busier at work. I don’t honestly know when the break started to happen. But as I go back and read over my Mikey posts from before we knew about the girls, to current, my heart hurts. And as I’m typing this tears are streaming down my face because I feel hopeless and like I’ve failed him somehow.

On December 15th I wrote, “Mikey has been throwing tantrums more the last few days. Ahhh….brings back sweet memories of when he used to do this more often than not.”

Now his tantrums are daily. Numerous times a day. I feel like we are at war. I barely remember who he used to be. I barely remember how I used to relate to him. He was never easy. But it seems like he now spends most of his time at home frustrated, tantrumming, abusing, yelling, being punished, angry, saying horrible things. It is truly heartbreaking to see who he is now on a daily basis.

I’m not saying that I regret making the decision to adopt the girls, but I was incredibly naive about how this would affect our family, especially Mikey. Phillip and I both felt like we were sort of doing this for Mikey. Because they are his sisters. They needed to be together. It was the right thing to do for him. And I’m still hopeful that in the great scheme of things that will end up being the case. But right now, I’m afraid that this is just destroying him. I know that sounds extreme and I’m probably exaggerating. But that’s how I feel right now.

I know he’s not the first kid ever to go from being the youngest, the adored baby, to being a big brother. I do know that. But Mikey is a special kid with unique challenges. He struggles with things that the “average” kid doesn’t necessarily struggle with. He was the youngest for almost four years. He was adored, doted over. When we got him as a baby, he saved me. Right or wrong to put that on a baby, he saved me. He pulled me from a very dark pit. He gave me hope. He gave me one more reason to want to get out of bed in the morning. Of course I know it was really God who did these things through Mikey, but you see my point. He was one of the great joys of my life.

And now I cringe when he wakes up in the morning. I don’t look forward to seeing him or dealing with him. I know that it will literally be minutes from the time he wakes up until he starts yelling or throwing something or hitting someone or making demands of me or the other kids. I’ve arranged things so that he’s home as little as possible. I love him dearly, but I am exhausted from trying to predict what he’s going to do next and try to intervene. I’m exhausted from trying to reason with him. I’m exhausted from trying to convince him to just behave. I’m exhausted from feeling like spanking him is the only option anymore.

We’re planning on taking Mikey to a specialist at UTMB in about a month to maybe get some insight into some of his behavior issues. I don’t really know what I’m hoping to gain from this appointment. I don’t really care about a diagnosis. I really don’t want him on medication at this point. Maybe I just need some ideas or encouragement or validation. I don’t know.

But something’s gotta give because the way things are right now with him are just not okay. I think I’m going to start keeping him home with me more often. I’m going to try to start giving him two or three mornings a week to be home without Brittany at home with him. She’s a typical two…almost three year old and the source of most of his agitation. The way it has been he’s never home without her here too, which means that he can’t really relax while he’s here. She wants to be always where he is and doing what he’s doing. And that has made it more difficult for us to bond with Brittany because we see how she’s constantly agitating him and we see what it’s doing to him. I’m going to make myself be more intentional about spending one on one time with him. And that’s hard to even want to do because of how difficult he’s being lately. But I can’t give up on him. That’s not an option.

So please just be in prayer for our family as we try to navigate all of this stuff. We want our marriage to be healthy and our four kids to be healthy and we want our home to be a place of joy and not turmoil. I really want to be able to write the “our life is beautiful and amazing” post, but when I write it I want it to be truth and not just what people want to hear.

He has lots of stories to tell.

When he’s in the mood, and when we can just sit and listen, Mikey can go on and on and on about all kinds of things. This particular evening he was talking about stuff for a while before I decided to risk videoing him. I don’t think he realized I was recording him this whole time. Or if he did realize it, he didn’t care for a change. Anyway, enjoy the video. We think it’s pretty awesome.

Mikey speaks about the zoo, penguins, lizards, and other topics from Phillip Hintze on Vimeo.