Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing

Having a 4th grade daughter, brings me back to my own 4th grade year. Overall, I do not have fond memories of my youth. Sure, I do have some good memories and those are usually the ones I choose to focus on, but if you ask me to think back to a specific year in my life, my first recalled memories are usually negative.

Things I recall from the 4th grade:

  • Two of my friends and I liked the same boy whose name was “Joey”. My friends had a sleepover together one night and wrote Joey notes telling him my boobs were small and that he should not like me. I was crushed that my so-called friends who do that to me. (Side note: My breasts ended up being so large that later in life I had major breast reduction surgery!)
  • Later in the year I like a boy name Kevin. I decided to tell him on his Valentine card. Once I had written and sealed the tiny card, I changed my mind about confessing my undying love so I scribbled on the envelope hoping it also scribbled out the words on the card. It didnt and it was terribly embarrassing.
  • I did NOT like studying our state history. I refused to do a packet of work. I did not care what the result, I simply refused. The teacher gave me a detention- my very first ever! I was mortified and terrified of what would happen when my parents mother & stepfather found out. I stayed after school and the teacher worked by my side. She would read the question and then read the passage that contained the answer and I would guess wrong answers just to spite her. She stayed patient with me and eventually we got through enough of the packet that I earned a C (probably only my 2nd in my entire 4 year elementary school career). She ended up having to drive me home and spoke casually along the way as if nothing happened. I couldn’t understand how she was able to separate her feelings like that.
Now that Daffy is in our lives and I look back at my worst 4th grade memories, I am embarrassed. How could that possibly compare to the list of things Daffy will remember from her 4th grade year?
Things Daffy will probably recall from the 4th grade:
  • Living in a group home with people that stole her things
  • Meeting yet another “Forever Family” that she was sure would break her heart
  • Transitioning to a new school over an hour’s drive away from everything she knew
  • Being assaulted by her biological brother numerous times including being strangled by him
  • Her brother going to a psychiatric facility
  • Her brother going back to residential care
  • Her brother getting expelled from school and moving to another residential treatment center
Things I hope Daffy will recall from the 4th grade:
  • Meeting the family that will truly be her Forever Family
  • Meeting her new pets and falling in love
  • Making a new best friend
  • Starting with her new therapist and beginning the hard work to deal with her losses
  • Chats with me every night
  • Mickey & I advocating for contact with her former foster families and her biological mother
  • The many “firsts” she will experience in our family (Christmas, Valentines Day, St Patricks Day, Easter, Mothers Day…)
Only time will tell what Daffy will choose to remember of her 4th grade year, but I am hopeful that in the end she will reflect on this as being the beginning of her “happily ever after“!
Thanks for the writing prompt that inspired this post, Mama Kat’s Losin It!

I found out “Whats next”….

I might as well have asked “Whats next?” because I found out anyway. I got a call from the group home at 3:30pm yesterday. The long story short, Donald attacked 2 staff members at his school, then ran away from the school. The group home was called, then the police. The police didnt end up getting involved because Donald agreed to leave with the group home staff. However, Donald can not return to school until further notice. The group home staff mentioned that it will take 3 weeks or so to get a tutor set up and the caseworker (who later called) mentioned potentially moving him to school for those with mental illness and behavioral issues.

I have to say, I felt a little euphoric when I got the call. FINALLY, they are seeing what we saw when he lived here. One of the 2 staff members attacked visited Donald in the hospital and frowned at the fact we couldnt manage his behaviors, looked down on us for giving up. I feel so validated that she now “gets it” and they have learned that even in a school setting where they have an abudance of staff and deal with him only a small portion of the day, he can not be kept safe nor can those around him.

We already had a school meeting set for Monday so we will attend that and help determine what happens next for Donald. I want for him to be mentally well but this is one more reminder that we did make the right choice in not letting him return. He is simply NOT safe.

I received the list of homoepathic supplements Donald is now taking. The total cost per month is in excess of $200!! I still need to do some research on their effectiveness and risks/side effects, but I can say with certainty that transitioning him here while still on these unapproved and unorthodox supplements for mental illness can not happen. As I mentioned before, we do not have benefactors to cover that monthly expense. And I havent failed to notice that they dont seem to be effective, either.

Mickey and I attended a foster parent support group last night on Loss & Grief. Its interesting to think that just a few months ago we were the “newbies”…  but I couldnt get over some of the questions foster parents were asking… “How are foster children different from biological children?” … “Why do children need to be aware of their history?”… I was dumbfounded that these foster parents are considered “prepared” to have foster children in their homes! Maybe their children arent as complex as Donald & Daffy? I just dont know.

Anyway, we left Daffy at home with Pluto and Goofy during the meeting and I am thrilled to report that they had a GREAT night! NO issues! I made a point to lather her with praise! 🙂

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]