Wednesday, January 27, 2016

All cats go to heaven

In June of 2013 we welcomed a new baby into our home. Sure we thought he was a she and his original name was Ruby, but none the less we loved him. He was so tiny and young when we got him that his ears were too big for his head and that was why we had issues knowing she was actually a he. The kitten was part manx so he had almost no tail. This was by fat the oddest looking kitten I'd ever saw. I knew then and there he was going to fit in with our family just fine.

In the end when we discovered she was actually a he his name went from Ruby to Figaro. I always called him my handsome boy though, the rest of the world came to know his as Figgy, the odd little tailless cat. I can't tell you how many times we were asked what happened to our cats tail. Our son used to think it great fun to tell people he'd eaten the cats tail.
                                                                                                                                                          Figgy was a terrible kitten. He thought nothing was greater than terrorizing my older female cats. He
used to get into my back hall as well and attack anyone who tried to bring him back I'm not sure they ever gained any love for him at all. He was that kitten that could and would climb anything. The curtains, furniture, and even our legs. He was so funny when he'd get up on our screen door and just hang there. We'd hearing him meowing and have to go pull him off after he'd get stuck, He ripped holes in ever screen of our house to try and get out. It was the thing that eventually led us to allow him to be an indoor outdoor cat. Yep, he was a terrible cat and I loved him with all my being.

As he grew older we came to learn that all that disdestructionemmed from the fact Figgy was in fact a killer. This discovery was made at 3AM one morning when we heard a ruckus outside. My husband went out to the yard to find Figgy had a bunny pinned to the grund. Dave swears to this day the cat looked at him and in his eyes said it's you or the bunny someones going to die here tonight I suggest you walk away. Me I attempted to save the rabbit which must have looked funny with me in my jammies chasing the cat who was chasing the rabbit and Dave looking on laughing at all of us. We soon learned rabbit was his favorite thing to kill followed closely by moles.

As Figgy grew he became a sweet, loving cat. There wasn't a neighbor who didn't know him. He never was fond of a whole lot of adults, but when the neighborhood kids were out he was right there with them. He would follow us where ever we walked and sat as the kids colored with chalk on the sidewalk. He sat keeping watch when their bus was coming and he saw them off every morning. If he wasn't outside he was in the window making sure his babies were okay. That was my boy! Protecting the house and the family.

He was such a beautiful boy. I'd open the door at night and yell come on Figgy. Where's mama's handsome boy and you'd see him come running down the street for home. We had to bar him from being outside all night after an unfortunate run in he had with a skunk. That was the day I learned when giving a cat a deskunking bath wear gloves!

Just before Christmas Figgy wasn't acting right. He didn't go outside for over 24 hours. That wasn't at all like him. I was up getting the kids ready for school and Figgy threw up. No big deal cats do that. I was on the phone with my friend later that morning and he threw up again. This time after he hunched up like he was going to go to the bathroom on the floor. I yelled no Figgy and grabbed him. My beautiful baby boy collapsed in my arms and let out this scream that scared me. He never got up again. He just howled in pain. I rushed him to the vet and found out he was a very sick cat. He had a blockage and he couldn't pee. Everything had been backing up. Figgy was going to have to be put down.

I lost it. This was my baby, my friend. This was the protector of our children and home. He really was the king of the neighborhood, even if he was a little odd looking without that tail. The vet gave him some pain medicine so I could hold him pain free for a while. I told him how sorry I was, how much I loved him, and called him my handsome boy. I just sat there for twenty minutes that seemed like just five, petting my little buddy. What was I going to tell the kids? Even the vet cried as she put the shot into his little leg and he took his last breath in my arms. I'm not sure the exact moment he died as I just keep petting him and talking to him.

They asked me if I wanted his ashes and I asked them why I couldn't take him home? They said I could if I wanted. My husband said he was so glad I did. I'd promised Figgy when we left for the vet I was bringing him home and I kept that promise. My step dad dug his grave and we found a perfect stone to use as a gravestone. We plan to attach his paw print come spring. For now though I can look out my kitchen window, through the hole he ripped in the screen and see his grave. In the corner sun spot he loved so much.

So I have heard it asked do animals go to Heaven. The day Figgy passed I knew that answer. YES YES YES! How could they not? They love us, they care, the feel, they have a soul. Their bodies like ours are just vessels for that soul. I know now that Figgy is waiting for me. Another thing I'm sure of now... there's no mice left in Heaven, or rabbit, or moles, or leaves........

Friday, January 22, 2016

My daughter has ODD and that's okay.

We are all different people with different quirks, different personalities, and we all behave different. Some of us are boringly sane while others are what society calls crazy. I always thought of the homeless man walking down the street yelling at himself as mentally ill. Never would I have
imagined that mentally ill could come packaged as a beautiful six year old girl. I mean kids are just naturally sweet and playful, right? I learned really quick that mental illness takes all shapes and forms and this is my first time writing about it. I have a daughter with a mental illness. In fact I have two of them! It's been nearly seven years since I first heard the term ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and now I have a second child with it. You know what though? That's okay. Let me tell you what I see compared to what others see. Before I do that though I want to share with you the symptoms of ODD for anyone who may be dealing with similar situations.

WebMD lists:
Symptoms of ODD may include:
  • Throwing repeated temper tantrums
  • Excessively arguing with adults
  • Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
  • Deliberately trying to annoy or upset others, or being easily annoyed by others
  • Blaming others for your mistakes
  • Having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
  • Being spiteful and seeking revenge
  • Swearing or using obscene language
  • Saying mean and hateful things when upset
In addition, many children with ODD are moody, easily frustrated, and have a low self-esteem. They also sometimes may abuse drugs and alcohol.

My daughter has almost every symptom listed above. The temper tantrums are more like hours long bouts of her screaming in a way that sounds like an infant in a megaphone. Nothing calms her we have to just let her scream until she can't scream any longer. People who have seen this have been shocked. They think she's being bad. I know she's just so full of anxiety that she's overwhelmed and can't express it any other way. I'm just thankful she's not lashing out at anybody. When my older daughter was about six or seven she would hit, kick, spit, and scream at me. Devony will be violent sometimes, but for the most part she uses her sounds and voice to get the shock value she craves.

My girls are such masters at arguing they can sometimes stump me. That's when I do they because I said so response. That doesn't work with a child with ODD. I really believe they both have golden futures as lawyers. Leanna (My older daughter) will ask for a dollar when you agree she tries for two, then three, etc etc. Okay, so she'd make a good car saleswomen too. Devony at six is just learning her negotiating skills. They usually involve tantrums (see above paragraph).

I don't know if the reason they would be so mean to people was because they themselves were hurting. I know my six year old has separation anxiety from me. Oddly we've never been away from each other for even one night. Up until within the last two years I was sure my older daughter hated me. They are so different yet they are the same. The outcast kids, the kids everyone thinks are trouble, the kids no one wnats to play with. Then it hit me THEY ARE JUST LIKE I WAS! I admit I wasn't as mean or abusive as them, but I sure did have a massive case of ADHD! So I could only image what adding on the ODD part must be like. How sad they must be and the feeling of being left out. It hurts me to know deep down they are hurting and there's nothing I can do about it. That is the most helpless feeling I have ever had as a parent.

Society sees the child who just called her mother a bitch. I see the child who hasn't left my side since the day she was born. The child who suffers with a kidney conditions that cause terrible infections and painful testing. I see a child who can't sleep at someones house because she can't stay dry through the night. I see the child that still refers to me as her best friend. I see a teenager with dreams and aspirations. A young girl who struggles to fit in somewhere, anywhere.

We made the choice to medicate our younger daughter for her ADHD as she is in first grade and still doesn't know all her letters and numbers. She was in trouble everyday, or as she would say I was on red again. She is now just a shell of who she was before the meds, but she's functioning the way society feels she needs to. She goes to therapy every two weeks to learn how to conform. I pray she becomes like her older sister and with time, consequences, therapy, and love will improve without the medication.

If any of this sounds familiar to you because your child shows symptoms get help as soon as possible. Without it these kids are high risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Many become criminals. I know I talk a lot about society and how these kids are seen, but there are some issues that need resolved. Know you're not alone. I think that was the hardest feeling for me when Leanna was young. I just felt like a failure as a parent. Now I have a huge support system of other mothers with children like mine. Children who are hell to wake up and sometimes make it very hard to get close to. Mothers with bruises on their skin and hearts.

In the end an adult was once a child who was fought for or forgotten. I will fight because where society sees a mentally ill person. I see unlimited potential! I see a child with the whole world in her hands.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to survive raising teen girls!

I never thought this would happen. My girls were my buddies, we did everything together and they told me everything. Then the teens years came. My sweet little princesses lost their damn minds! It was like pod people had replaced the kind, loving, sweet girls with these mean, door slamming, screeching shadows of what they once were. Now I had to find a way for us all to live together and survive. Now if having one teen daughter wasn't enough I have two with one more inching her way toward the horrific thirteens. I had to find a way to get through. So here is a list of my coping mechanisms... I mean tips to survival.

1. When they start yelling I just walk away gracefully. I hold my head high walk into the living room, sit down at the computer and post about how they ate poop as babies! Cruel, yes, but very effective on making me feel better.

2. When they ask for money this is the best time to get work out of them. They ask for five bucks I ask for a clean toilet. I always get the clean toilet!

3. Hide any food you plan on eating for yourself. Teens have no shame. I once caught my daughters friend taking hobo shots out of my Pepsi! You know who you are!

4. Get to know their friends. Talk to them, learn everything you can. Most of all love their friends. This will make a huge difference if your child is ever in trouble, but also helps the other teens as well.

5. This is by far the most important of all the rules. LOVE THEM. Love them despite the fact that sometimes you'd like to smack the teen right out of them. Love them even when they think you are the most annoying person ever. Remember that in a few years they won't be home anymore and your going to miss the slamming doors and the stomping feet. Best of all one day in the future they will have a teen and that by far is the best justice of all.