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Four times in the past week, Aaron has cried.

THIS IS AMAZING.

Three of them were for injuries, which is a good start.  Normal kids cry when they get hurt too.

But the first time was after discipline!! Shock!  (The problem is, I was totally unprepared for it, and it was over a minor thing.)

Both Husband and I feel like we’ve made some emotional breakthroughs this week.

Should I try to figure out why, or just enjoy the ride?

It could be he’s settled in more (but he didn’t cry at his old foster home either).

It could be the new med he started (not ADHD meds, but another neurological type).

It could be he’s just matured.  My best guess is that plus becoming more comfortable with us.

I do still need to sit down with him and talk to him about his emotions.  I need to ask him directly what makes him sad and what makes him angry.  I need to ask him what he does when he is sad or angry.  I’m not sure he’ll know how to answer.

And do I dare ask his parents how often he cried at their home?  I wouldn’t be surprised if he is emotionally stunted because of his parents’ methods of discipline and communication during the first two years of his life.  And I don’t even know what those methods were, but I’m guessing they weren’t well thought out.

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More like two fox and two ducks.  (Maybe it’s foxes?  Foxen, like oxen?  Whatever.)

The problem is,  Aaron and Allie were the ducks and their parents were the fox(es, en…) and I was in charge of them all.

The kids were at a supervised visit when I got a call from the supervisor that Aaron was having a medical issue.  Not life-threatening, but not good by any means.  So I called his ped and they, of course, advised us to take him to the ER.

Did I mention I was far from home, at an event with Daughter, and I didn’t have any of Aaron’s insurance cards or papers?

We arranged to meet at the ER.  I left Daughter with a friend of ours at the event – lucky she was there and I need to bake a loaf of banana bread for her for thanks.  I rushed home for Aaron’s paperwork, then rushed back to the ER.  I had, ironically, been just blocks from the ER at the above event.  Wait, that’s not irony, that’s just annoying.

And so began my 7 hours with Aaron, Allie, and their parents.  Even after that much time together, I don’t understand them.  I don’t understand how they think.  But I do see their patterns and issues.

I understand now why Aaron asks questions over and over and why he interrupts conversations all the time.  Because his parents ignore him and don’t notice him talking.  Or if he’s talking to them, they will completely interrupt him to start talking to someone else (about something completely different.)  He gets verbally confusing messages from his parents, and I can see the gears grinding in his head, trying to figure it out.

Example: Mom hands him a book that is too difficult for him to read, and tries to get him to read it to her.  She tells him “You can do it!  You can read it!”  She’s doing it in a positive, encouraging voice, but the problem is, positive encouraging voices don’t make a difference to the fact the kid can only read about 10 words.  And I could see the confusion and conflict on his face that he couldn’t or didn’t articulate.  Actually, he did try to tell her he couldn’t, but she completely interrupted and overrode him, repeatedly telling him he could.

That would be hard enough for a typical kid, but for a kid with developmental and neurological problems, it’s so sad to watch.

So at the time, the logistical problem was that they technically weren’t supposed to be alone with the kids.  But there’s only one of me.  And sometimes I have to go to the bathroom.  So rules were briefly broken, but I wasn’t even comfortable going to the cafeteria to get dinner without them, so I just suffered through my hunger until I got home at 10:30 pm.  (The hospital staff was cool enough to let me have New Baby there in my Moby, so I was also nursing away my energy during those 7 hours.)

They complained a lot about their victim status and how much the caseworker hates them.  I just let them talk and tried to sound neutral to it all.

They also revealed some personal info that doesn’t help their case.  Minor, but perhaps telling.

Finally, the doctor we were waiting for showed up, said “Yep, do xyz.”  And left.  Seriously, he didn’t even need to lay eyes on Aaron; he could’ve just called us from where ever he was.  I think it was Canada, from how long it took him to get there.  Anyway…

The icing on the cake?  I could’ve left 20 minutes sooner, except Dad FELL ASLEEP in another part of the hospital.  So asleep he didn’t hear his phone ring over and over.

And that really typifies the parenting issues in this case: if it were just this one thing, there wouldn’t be a problem.  But it’s a million things just like this.

Remembering Good Friday two years ago, when I received the call for a placement – K and S.  They celebrated Easter with us and left the next week.

Hope they are safe, warm and happy, where ever they are.

We’ve realized Aaron does not understand addition or subtraction.  He can count objects up to 10 pretty well, but he doesn’t get even the concept of adding one.

OH MAN.

I’d hate to be the person teaching him math.

Oh wait, I am one of those people.

The doc hasn’t called, so Aaron is still med-free.  The more I examine his behavior in terms of a disability or medical diagnosis, the less inclined I am to want him on medication.  I’ve also been pointedly letting his parents know that his behavior has been very good at our house – I’ve been told they were the ones pushing most for medication.

On a downer note, I’d gotten a visit approved by the caseworker for this weekend, then thought she would call the parents and the visit supervisor to inform them.   Of course, she never said she would, so the parents and supervisor never knew and the kids missed out.  I feel really bad.  And it adds more fuel to the parents’  “we’re the victims here” fire.  (They never miss a chance to tell me how lousy she is at communicating with them.   She’s not stellar, but then again, all they have to do is call.)