Work, work and more work for me. I've been doing interviews with families, trying to get my daycare business up to capacity. It's been an interesting experience, to say the least. The jobs around here aren't 8 to 5, Monday thru Friday. Most who have come to my door are in businesses running 2 or 3 shifts, and work a few days per week. For example, the forestry service, fire and police departments, nurses at hospitals, and postal workers. As a single mom of 4 kids with special needs, I just don't have the energy to work a 12-13 hour a day job and not burn out, especially a job where I'm on my feet all day, without a single break, tending to needy little people. I'm starting to piece together my enrollment, but it's quite a change to go from having a waiting list of families who love what I offer and can't wait to enroll, to people who don't have any option but to put their schedule and financial situation above the quality of care their children end up with. My location is about 3 miles too far south to draw the kind of families who want the kind of care I offer, but as all those "northward" day cares fill up, they are starting to find their way to me.
Jie Jie continues to "even out" and find her own way, independent of carrying Blossom along. It's hard. It's easy to fall back into old habits, but she's doing a good job of working it out and I'm much better at recognizing the difficulties and helping her.
Blossom went through this week talking in something one step above gibberish. She repeated herself, used far too many words, pronounced them badly - anything to draw attention to herself. The result was that I told her we will not respond to her unless she speaks properly. It got so bad that those around us outside the family were commenting on it.
On the plus side, it's been a week since her last tantrum. She almost had one yesterday, but I reminded her that she was on her last day of being able to earn back a privilege so she reined herself in.
She also doesn't follow directions with her school work, so three days of work amounted to nothing. Her assignment was to read The Secret Garden (a little bit of a stretch but she's seen the movie and understands the story), write down the words she doesn't know when she comes to them, look them up in the dictionary, then, eventually, write her own sentence using those words. She wrote down words she already new, for example, just, hate, best, blanket, like, and late. When she made sentences with those words, there were tons of careless mistakes. When I asked her to correct them by writing the sentence correctly underneath the wrong one, she drew lines through all the sentences then made up completely new ones, but only partly. Nothing was complete and it was a mess. She does this ALL THE TIME lately, which is why she's off to special ed in public school this year.
I spoke with the special ed coordinator yesterday and we're lining up a good program for Blossom. She's going to start in functional skills, probably take a reading class and choir class. I'll be sure she's escorted to the cafeteria to get her lunch, and escorted back to class to eat it so she doesn't swipe food from other kids or the trash can. At this point, her food issues are for one thing: to get attention. Everything she does is to get attention. We've been talking a lot about her need for attention and how it's not appropriate, but understandable given her past and that she will have to work to resolve her issues in appropriate ways and that those ways may take many, many years.
Sissy returned this morning from church girls' camp. She had a great time and her English was better in that is was slower and clearer. Obviously, she adapted to those who weren't familiar with her and had to make herself better understood. I wish she'd keep that care with her speech here at home, but she's already going back to her old mumbling ways. One girl taught her a "bad word" without telling her it was a bad word and told her to go around and say it and she did. Finally someone clued her in. The bad word meant "you are ugly" and wasn't a word, but a phrase without any bad words in it at all so she either got it wrong, or it's teen-speak.
She climbed a 50 ft. rock wall, did a zip line, swam in the pool, did a skit, attended talks, did service projects and more. It was a great experience for her!
Apple is coming along well. Compared to kids her age, she's still behind in most of the mainstream ways, but is very mature and ahead in others. She has excellent self-control and patience, great table manners and sleeps well for naps and at night. She's great with animals and is pretty fearless in a good, confident way, showing appropriate caution. Speech therapy continues and we are seeing results every week, but there is so much to speech that she's going to be in therapy for many years and my main concern now is for her to be able to communicate well socially by the time she starts school in a year or two. She has a few 3 word spontaneous phrases, but most are memorized. One of the things that holds her back is lack of depth perception and her inability to bend her fingers to hold on and pull herself up. It's slowed her down as far as running, jumping and climbing goes. What gives her an edge with her peers is her ability to understand and adapt while playing. She can jump right in and join a small group playing and know exactly what's going on and contribute her own ideas well. She's going to be fine in the long run but it will take extra effort for now.
My Firefighter and I are still seeing each other. Our relationship continues to progress, but much more slowly now as he waits to see how things turn out this year with the girls. He's close enough to us all now to see behaviors that are quite repulsive, even to me, but he's assured me that it doesn't affect how he feels about me or the girls, it's just more information he has to use to decide if he can handle a life with us. I'll be honest here. While each of the three girls all have BIG issues, Blossom's are the biggest due to the treatment she received in her orphanage. She can be and often is grossly inappropriate and intrusive. Jie Jie's issues are mostly her physical special need and the recent emotional issues I feel confident are going to resolve completely with what we are doing now to address them. Sissy is an unknown at this time. It's very promising that she corrected her speech to make herself more understood at camp this week. That means she recognized a social problem and solved it. She lacks motivation, ambition and is unable to grasp the concept that she can teach herself by seeking out knowledge and acquiring it, but the first seeds of it might be starting to grow. I see her being able to function appropriately, but very basically, as an adult, but I also see that the potential for more is there IF SHE CHOOSES TO GO FOR IT.