The Christmas letter isn't quite done but just might be in a couple hours! I achieved most of my goals for the weekend, and now my dream for today is to keep going in the same direction. My list is long.
In response to a comment asking about brain neurobiology and what I felt I did wrong and what i could still do right, let me briefly answer that question.
1) I was not very attuned to my children when they came and didn't take time to establish that. Attunement involves really understanding your child and how they respond emotionally. For example, an attuned mother knows if a child's cry means that they just need to cry themself to sleep or if they have to be held. Achieving attunement with a child who is acting out and unattached is a difficult task and I should have worked harder to do that. Even now I would say that I am only "attuned" to a few of my children.
2) I did not do enough calm, repetitive, activities with my kids. Nurturing things they missed from their early childhood that promote brain growth were absent with my kids who came over the age of 8 -- and even some of the younger ones. For example, even though Dominyk came at nine months, as soon as he learned to walk on his first birthday he never stayed still. So those kind of brain-stimulating things were missed. Had I known how important they were I would have focused on them.
3) I spent way too much time (and still often do) having conversation that require the cortex portion of the brain (abstract thinking) with kids whose cortex's are unorganized at best. Reasoning, explaining, and attempting to argue rationally with my kids is always a mistake before their brains are organized and fully developed.
So, based on that, I can still work to be better attuned to the moods of my kids. I can think of some of the activities that would help younger kids and apply them to the ages of my kids now and things that would help.
If you are interested in this stuff, the Child Trauma Academy offers lots of resources. They helped to write the curriculum I helped teach on Friday and it was really interesting stuff.