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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Stupid Books

I feel like a real heel writing this after Jeannie's supportive comment, but I have promised her to always be truthful about all of it so that she doesn't not go into it blinded like we did. Sometimes I really wish I could turn back time and change the decisions I have made in my life. Most notably (and guilt-causing) is the adoption of the four oldest kids. Nice people don't think that way- or at least they never admit it. What kind of a monster could regret taking on children who so desperately needed them? A monster who is completely wrung out and not even half way done.

When we realized in December that we were at the end of our rope with some of the kids and decided, against everything we believe in, to put them in school, we had a decision to make. Either we warn the teachers what is coming and by default give the kids the sympathy that allows them to get away with everything (as happened every time before) or we say nothing and allow the teachers to think we are just the worst parents possible. We decided on the latter, though we understood there came with it the risk that the teacher would be so concerned as to contact Child Services and there is always that nagging fear that they will remove all the kids while they sort it out. But we knew the other way had reaped only trouble, as the teachers would turn psychiatrist/social worker and try to force on us their opinion of how to parent these kids.

Always the victim, Nellie faked unintelligence on the placement exams, which landed her right back in third grade. I thought finally she was seeing the consequence for her actions, since she was bored already the first week. But she quickly found a way to make it work for her- continue playing dumb and you get special attention from the reading specialist, the math specialist, and the room mother/volunteer. And I know it is pride that made my first concern in all this that the teacher was secretly cursing both of us and homeschooling in general for creating such a dim-witted child. So with that bee in my bonnet, everything that has come up since has perturbed me to an all new level.

There are some Christian marriage guides that I own and have given to others as wedding gifts. I don't agree with everything in all of them, but find enough good to make them worth reading. I never agreed that it was necessary for a marriage to have 'weekend honeymoons' as often as possible. After all, no where in the Bible is there an example of parents leaving their kids with someone else while they took a romantic trip. Thousands of marriages survived without vacations. But when I read it this time, I was livid. Well, isn't that requiring a lot of people who have no one who can and or will care for their children? After all, I sent my boys to my brother's' house for one night last week and have had nothing but problems since. What if you don't have the money to go somewhere? Is your marriage doomed? This idea started to make me so mad I was ready to go toe-to-toe with the author. Or at the very least burn his book.

Then came the whole years-long discussion about moving. We've talked about how it might benefit the kids, but decided it wasn't going to benefit them enough to make it a priority in the decision. Our kids are likely going to turn out the same whether we give them a 'fresh start' or not. Then last night on a show I have started watching, the family announced they were moving and the reason was it was best for the kids. So I'm a selfish hypocrite, am I? Is what's best for the kids really the most important factor in determining the resat of your life? (all rhetorical- this family doesn't even know we exist) One of the hazards of this job is thinking the whole world is out to judge me.

And perhaps I should stop reading altogether, because I found myself weeping over Little House on the Prairie. I allow myself the luxury of reading these books in the winter, when the outside work is limited and there are many dark hours of the day. The way those girls not only respected but obeyed their parents made me jealous and angry at the same time. Why can't kids be like that anymore? Especially when they were rescued out of such evil circumstances? It it simply what Paul prophesied, that kids would be less and less obedient as time drew to a close? Is it all the pressure of society with the 'takes a village' crap and kids knowing the world will intervene on their behalf??? I don't know, but I can never see Nellie acting like Laura Ingalls and it ticks me off. There's a character in the later Little House books, Ida, who is adopted and is so thankful to have a family, she never asks for anything and is always cheerful. Instead, I have the true character we named her after- Nellie.

Down with books and happy endings! Seriously.

PS- at the risk of your own life, do not send me comments about how kids never really behaved that well. I have studied history enough to know what I'm talking about.


NeeCee said...

I feel your pain! Have you ever had a doctor or therapist work with your kiddos before? I ask because they sometimes come in handy when the outside world who know nothing about these kids get involved (aka school teachers or child services) Here, we document everything, just in case.

I love the Little House books too, but none of their children were RAD and came out of abusive homes and had their circuits fried in the womb. If they had, I doubt she would have even written them. LOL

Don't feel so hard about yourself. You are doing something not even Caroline could do, keeping up a household while raising a large family, with most of the children having issues.

My hat (or bonnet) off to you. If we lived closer, I would take your kiddos for an hour or two so you could rest. No fun times here, only more chores so they appreciate home more. ;0)

Prayers being lifted up in your behalf.

Tonya said...

To say I feel your pain would be inaccurate,I have only some idea of what you are feeling.But I do wish things were like they were back then and you are right,the kids minded MUCH better and were more appreciative.As I pray for the difficulties in our family,I will send one up for yours:)

Audrey said...

Amy, I am so sorry. I can hear the hurt and sadness in your words. I dont know what to tell you. I have a challenging 3rd son whom I for many years have loved but not liked. Isnt that horrible to say. Its so hard, Life is hard!

Praying for you!!

Anonymous said...

Despite this I still think you are raw and honest and that is exactly what we promised one another when I first sought you out a couple years ago...sheesh has it been that long....

And your post here regarding stupid books can I just say whoa did you get inside my head this morning? I was thinking on similar thoughts on some books I recently picked up and began to read.

Swylv said...

don't get me wrong I do think kids who truly need extra help in school should get it but too bad there wasn't a way to weed out those truly in need from those who are just playing to get the attention. not to mention schools are just like any other money making endeavor ....
don't get me started on the infertility and then on industry

~Bren~ said...

I happen to KNOW children that are as well behaved as those Ingalls girls were!! They are all homeschooled, church going, tightknit, families. We can not expect our girls to be that. Shoot we can hope and pray are as good as Nellie...not your Nellie, but Laura's Nellie! Don't give up hope. You are not alone...

Ace said...

I think the conclusion I have come to (very recently after looking at my own children and wondering what I did to deserve them AND horrible stretch marks, I mean really, the stretch marks make it like a real punishment :) is I think I have to do the whole raising them thing IN SPITE of them. Know what I mean?

I cannot fathom what you go through on a daily basis and frankly, I would probably just resort to a boot camp mentality (that is what happens when Mom is a vet and was raised by a marine, it is amazing I have any woman in me sometimes :). I might also resort to pepper spray, but hey, that is why the Lord chose you and not me :)

I realized that The Princesses will most likely never turn to me with wonder and awe in their eyes and thank me for changing their diapers, for cleaning up their puke, for saying no to diamonds and yes to toys and college funds.

But maybe, just maybe they will treat my grandbabies well. That when life gets hairy they will think of me and (I PRAY) it will be a good memory and an instructive one. I don't think the reward is here on earth and I don't think that the work is easy or fun (all the time). I think it is Holy and worthwhile and that everyday you make it through, you are launching nuclear war heads into hell against a devil still battling to steal back these kids and the future within them and your work with them.

I think what they went through, if they give it to God and seek to serve HIM, will be their most powerful witnessing tool and your efforts will echo through generations.

Stand fast friend. Even when the waters are going up over your head. Your work is worthy, it is HOLY and one day you will see that you had angels around you cheering you on as you were the only thing standing between these kids and hell.

I will pray for you and thank you for your honesty. It helps to know not everyone else's life is like a disney movie :)

Many Blessings :)

laurie said...

hugs and prayers : )

Humble wife said...

All I can say is I am sending hugs from New Mexico. I am praying for you.

Tracy said...

Yikes... I'm so sorry your having a hard time right now.. I don't have anything wise or witty to say... just keep doing what your doing.. you are a good parent and you are trying your very best.. and in the end.. that is all we can do.. my prayers are with you:)

a soldiers wife said...

Wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you!