Wednesday, December 28, 2011

With faith in my stomach and pain in my voice, my honest heart yells at God.

I need space to vent right now and this is where it is going to happen.
We live in a day of modern medicine but I have become very aware of a huge gap or lack of higher level services for mentally ill children between the ages of 3-5 year old.

Child abuse is the "ugly step-sister" in our society. Nobody wants to talk or hear about it. Just recently on NPR there was a report that a large child pornography website had been shut down. The site included videos of babies and small children being raped. Some of you may not be able to read on but I am still going to write because everyday I love a child that was horrifically abused the first two years of life. I know what happens to a child when they have been raped before having two words in her vocabulary. These children have no voice, no power. Where is there agency? It is taken by evil.

I watch as the daughter I love can not love me because her brain has been damaged on an organic level because she was not nurtured and her basic needs were not met. She feels like she does not deserve love and fears to love anybody because people always go away. So that makes strangers much more comfortable to be around than loving family members. My daughter draws pictures that are called "my screams." She tells me about fire in her bum and babies with bloody bums and black blood in their poop.
The professionals say that we have provided the "ideal" intervention for two years and now our last option is a residency placement. Okay, so that is hard. But then we are told, no program will take a child so young. So your child has special needs that can only be met by a 24 hour staff but no one can help you do that so good luck. A helpless child, victim's needs can't be met.
I called NAMI this week, the leaders in education for mental illness. I explained my situation and on the other end of the phone a cold voice said, "We cannot help you."
These children that lost their agency early in life are horrible to live with. They live in a hell of their own. Most children with severe abuse early in life are so difficult that they burn through loving homes every few months. Which only exasperates their attachment disorder.
I have opened my daughters room to find her covered in her own blood. How did it happen? With her very short fingernails.
I watch this child eat and eat until her stomach is extended and she throws up. So scared that there will not be enough food. She drew a picture last week of a sad and mad baby. She said, "baby not know if hers have food any more." And then we have the sippy cups hidden under the bed and PICA where eats things that are not food like chalk, plastic, metal items, feces etc.

Crisis workers told us six months ago that it would hurt her attachment to be placed in a psychiatric hospital while I sat there shaking with the trauma of seeing a small child injure herself on a daily basis. I was relieved when Kenna was admitted into the psychiatric hospital. The hospital gave the crisis workers "feedback" on the situation because the hospital should have seen Mckenna 6 months ago when we were dealing with 2 major issues instead of 6. I thanked our treatment team about giving that "feedback" to the crisis workers because I don't think most parents could have made it through the last 6 months. They all agreed. I would like to think that our pain helped those that will come down our same path access help for their child's needs sooner.
When Mckenna was 3 we had a few rough days, as usual, so I was keeping an extra close eye on her. She was sitting on a bar stool at the bar. I turned around to stir dinner on the stove, I turned back and saw Mckenna with vacant eyes carving a plastic knife back and forth across her wrist. Three years old! Not looking for attention, just quietly hurting herself.
In that moment I ask where was God's mercy and gift of agency? Sometimes I get so mad, with faith in my stomach and pain in my voice, my honest heart yells at God. I think He appreciates honesty in our feelings and this is what I say, "Where is Your justice, mercy and gift of agency when a child is hurt before they have a voice?" I ask for justice to those who have injured a small child in such a horrific manner.
Wow, now I am exhausted from venting, there is so much more but I need the sleep.
Sorry if this was too graphic. I will not be afraid to give a voice to those little ones that do not have one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SG Triathlon- Sprint

Had an amazing weekend with Gaila, Mary Jane and Steve. I drove down Thursday night with Steve. We stayed at the Grow's home in Ivans, just outside of St George. These wonderful friends were so supportive and fussed over me. Taking care of 5 kids and a husband, I wasn't accustomed to being fussed over, it was healing in a way. I didn't have a lot of support during High School sports so having friends support me meant a lot! When Gaila, Mary Jane and I get together, people think we are drunk. Thinking up the most inappropriate situations possible, we laugh until our abs hurt and tears run down our faces.
Then at other times we cried tears of sadness over life's injustices to children.
A lot of my best friends are 20, 30 and even 40 years older than me. I have noticed that with older friends or male friends there is less competitiveness, loving each other unconditionally without competing against one another is so liberating.
Friday we spent time up Snow Canyon and then we headed over to beautiful Sand Hollow Reservoir for a practice swim and to check out the course. This was my first time swimming with a wetsuit! The weather was grumpy and the water showed it with rolling waves. I kept up with the group from the timp tri club even though panic was in my heart. Thinking, "Wave! Breath. Wave! Breath!" I survived to swim another day. We went into St George to packet pick up where Gaila made 20 more friends. When I got home I realized that the body marker volunteer put 44 on my leg for age. Do I look 44 years old or did I stutter?
Steve made a little wager that if I got under two hours on the race he would pay for dinner at Red Lobster. I enjoyed my tilapia for free!
This was my first tri try in 4 years. I was interested to see how my time would compare to four years ago. Because of the following:
1- I was carrying 6% more body fat than four years ago.
2- It was a different course.
3- I wasn't running with a concussion like I did four years ago (that is another story).
4- I started a new training program called Crossfit. I did very little mileage the last few weeks.
5- I am 33 not 29 year old.
6- Two years ago, I blew out my heart valve and had a pericardial effusion.
For me, a beginner triathlete, the result was a personal record time by 8 minutes, finishing at 1 hour 52 minutes and a few seconds. Ranking 59 out of 150 women is average but for me it felt above average. A personal victory over many emotional and physical trials.
The 750 M swim was fun, 19.47 minutes. Chatting with other athletes and making new friends is a fun part and atmosphere of a race. I think Gaila made 20 new friends. During the swim and bike I thought, "This is sooooo fun!" I felt strong during the famous bike hill of St George, even encouraging other athletes that were struggling. While biking, my big gear wouldn't stay shifted, I found out later that the cable was loose. I could have pushed harder on the bike but was anticipating the run. The run, well, not my strength. I need to work on running faster paces. I always finish races with a 50 meter sprint. Gotta love goose bumps at the finish. Then, usually, after races I get a sick stomach followed by a viral infection. But with good hydrating and supplementing with airborne and zinc lozenges, there was no sickness. Yeah! After the race I enjoyed a massage followed by eating lettuce and oranges (the post race food provided had gluten and milk in it). Part of my fitness plan is to eat more "paleo." Oats are something I haven't given up and its hard to cut out all sugar because athletes need the sugar during endurance sports. Paleo just makes my GI tract happier and it is a healthier life style.
Sunday we took a quick stroll up Snow Canyon and attended a local sacrament meeting, where Gaila made 20 more new friends. Then I drove home with Gaila.
Sweet Spencer survived the weekend with our hundred kids, autism, and crazy strict allergy issues. He admitted to me that he would roll over to my side of the bed at night to smell my pillow. So cute and supportive.
This will be a hard weekend to forget, beautiful scenery and beautiful friends. Good times!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pixies and Kisses

Tender headed hair chewing Cynthia got a hair cut this week. It was a special date since we have never paid for a hair cut before. I wanted Cynthia to feel special with short hair. Her pixie hair cut matches her enchantingly sweet and bubbly personality. Hopefully the new hair cut will also cut out the hair chewing habit that created quite the dreadlocks for this tender headed pixie.

Favorite blanket of all time made by Great Grandma Breinholt.

So Sweet!

Richard is so much like Grandpa Richard. He likes quiet time, chocolate, soft clothes, tends to be opinionated and at times a little on the grumpy side.

I can't believe how big he is getting, as you can see in the picture below, he is bursting at the seams.

Richard doesn't like change when it comes to sippy cups and clothes. He tantrums when we introduce new clothes to his soft cotton wardrobe.

Throughout the day Richard demands in his deep voice "choco miwk" and in exchange I say, " I wonna kiss." He SLOWLY puckers his little lips and plants a slightly embarrassed kiss on my cheek.

This is true joy! A Richard kiss. I am truly infatuated by this valiant little man.

Mood Swing Love

Before Christmas, with the help of a wonderful neighbor Wayne Hardman, I installed beam supports above Kenna's room for an indoor swing. This was one of those gifts I could hardly wait til Christmas to open.
We have two swings. One a canvas Ikea swing and the other a Lycra hammock that I ordered online and smells like Las Vegas plus gross cigarette cover up spray. The Lycra swing is Kenna's favorite. Autistic children, like Kenna, love to swing. The movement helps them to relax.

This is Kenna's Happy Place!

What a smile!

Kenna rubs her face into the swing and sometimes, as seen in this picture, she licks it trying to get her sensory needs met.
She goes from hot red anxious hyperventilation to a state of Zen deep breathing in a matter of minutes. It is miraculous.
We had three great weeks but this week, not so much. What a blessing this swing is during weeks like this when her body has acclimated to her meds and we are all ready to scream and cry because of one broken terrorized brain.
We just celebrated Valentines Day this week. A time to express love to those around us. But it is weeks like this that I see my imperfect love. It is so easy to love a child that gives back to you and responds quickly to love. But Kenna is different. It's like fumbling around in the dark hoping that our good intentions and love is sinking in and that the angry frustrated moments are not sticking.
The progress in the last year is astounding, she is amazing. But when she goes back to food gorging, reactive, disregulated and crazy energy, lets face it, I get a little crazy myself. She is so much easier to love when she is regulated/medicated. But that wasn't the plan apparently. Apparently, I have a lot to learn from this little person. Part of me can look back over these hard times and say I DID MY BEST. Another part of me wishes that I was more and that I had a more perfect love like our Savior. A love that has no end. A love that has no scarcity. A love that is patient and infinite.
I know that MY BEST IS ENOUGH. That is what I can put on the alter, my best effort. It still isn't perfect and that is why the atonement is a part of my life daily, because I am far from perfect on my best day. How could I ever have hope without Jesus Christ? A loving brother that saves me. That is true love. A true Valentine.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Provo Half Marathon

Better late than never on blogging stuff, Right?
Marilyn (Mom), Me, Liz, Jason
How many people can say that they have run 13.1 miles with their sister and mom? I can! Also throw in a brother-in-law for fun and that makes up my first 1/2 marathon that was on Halloween day. It was fun to see other friends also enjoying the costumes and fresh fall air in Provo Canyon. Go Thomsens!
Warning, Sorry, bragging coming up! ........My Mom ran her first Marathon 1 year after having breast cancer and a double mastectomy. She is 57 year old! Your an inspiration Mom. Go Mom!
This fall was also my baby's 2 year birthday. Which mean that two years ago, (1 week after Richard's birth) I was told by a cardiologist that I had a heart of a 80 year old woman. It took me 45 minutes to walk 1/2 mile, two year ago. But look now, I am running (around the average 1/2 marathon time)! Go Danielle!

Posing for Clayton Beck

Final painting

Clayton Beck

What can I say, I'm vain!

I am really interested in art. I feel compelled and pulled to it. I have this need to create and see through others eyes. Last fall, I was asked by Ryan Brown the owner of CAS (Center for Academic Study and Naturalist Painting), a small art school in Springville Utah, to pose for Clayton Becks demo of portrait painting. Clayton Beck is known nationally for portrait painting, he studied with painters like Richard Schmid. The demonstration was really cool. I learned a lot while getting paid, which helped pay for my tuition. I remember that day well because it was the day I got Mckenna's autism diagnosis.
The school teaches after the classic European masters. I was studying figure drawing which was interesting and difficult. At first, I wasn't sure how I would feel about drawing nudes but the atmosphere was totally professional. The human body is so beautiful and very complicated to replicate on paper. I am a total amateur but I have also been studying with Patrick Devonas who is an AMAZING master painter and admirable person. My other very good friend and teacher Mary Jane Grow (yes that is her real name) has been so supportive and taught me about enjoying the process. I have such great friends that are so dear and precious to me. I am so blessed.

Mouse Trapping Club

Did you ever start a club when you were a kid? Like a "babysitters club" or "no girls allowed club?"

Just had to share! Eight year old Katrina has a club. She starts it up annually as the mice flee the local construction zones to share in the warmth of our home which has a bountiful abundance of food on the floor after all meals.

Here is what her Club Flier says:

Mouse Trapping Club

Rat(picture of rat x'ed out) + Mouse (picture of mouse x'ed out) =

Mouse/rat trappers (picture of happy kids)

Team Members

Alex,Claire, Ishmael?, Israel?

Rat Leader: Katrina

Fun Activities

1. Play Mouse Trap TM for practice

2. Draw pictured of our plan

3. Make practice traps

4. Roll play of mouse trap

Mouse Pledge

(this is the best part)

I pledge to not scream when I see a mouse (Guess I can't be in the club) and, to make good and smart traps. I promise these things to the Mouse Trapping Club.

I hope this made you smile like it did me. Katrina is a natural leader and so creative.