Flu Shots

So my little family went in for flu shots. I was totally prepared. I had informed them beforehand, soothed their fears. I volunteered to go first, set up the order in which we would get the shots, and brought the candy.

Best laid plans, you know.

So I got my shot. Didn’t even hurt, which was surprising. I was very happy to be able to tell the children this.

Next was my Oldest Child, who immediately began his autistic scream (we call it that because of the decibel he hits- no one else seems able to screech so loud). He screamed and I reasoned with him. Middle Child took that moment to escape. I chased him down and found the nurse had made no headway with Oldest Child upon our return. I threatened to ground Oldest Child unless he would come quietly. He insisted I ought to ground him instead of giving him the shot. Oops. Middle Child escapes again, and returns from down the hallway upon being threatened with grounding. Grounding in our house means no video games, a horrible fate.

I can see Oldest Child has lost his hold on logic so I hold him down over the exam table and free his shoulder for the nurse. He gets his shot. He gets his candy. His screaming ceases. We turn to Middle Child, who looks to his big brother. I prompt him: “Oldest Child, please tell Middle Child that it didn’t hurt, he is scared.” Oldest Child picks up his comic book and with the biggest grin ever on his handsome face, a grin so big that his dimple becomes a crease, he says “IT HURT A LOT!” and he laughs. I tell him to cut it out and tell the truth, to help me out, and he repeats it, all of it, even the laugh.

Middle Child starts screeching and sinking to the floor. Had I any inclination the visit would go this way I would have had him out of his coat already. So I not only had to wrestle him off the floor, I also had to get him out of a heavy winter coat and somehow bare his arm. His candy rolled across the floor during the scuffle, the nurse frantically warned me not to choke him (trust me lady I know how to wrestle this kid) and somehow I got him pinned and she took the opening and gave him his shot. Thank goodness the nurse wasn’t about to argue with the kids or get help. She let me manhandle them like the Rottweilers I used to restrain when I was a veterinary technician, and she availed herself of opportunity.

The baby is by this time scared out of her mind. Middle Child did not feel the shot, because they don’t actually hurt. He made sure to tell her immediately, a kindness I sure appreciated. She was crying but she got up on the exam table like a civilized child and she clung to me while she got her shot and her lollipop and her sticker. She was relieved it did not hurt.

I don’t know if next year I should ask the the sitter to come along with me or if I should just practice on them for a few weeks prior- by pinching them on the arm while they sit quietly. Because even a gentle pinch is going to hurt ten times more than this shot did.

The boys are grounded for two weeks for throwing fits. The Oldest is grounded for two weeks and five days, because he ended up insisting five times that the shot hurt, and I give consequences for lies.


Filed under Uncategorized, PTSD, ADHD, ODD, Child Abuse, Autism, ASD, Asperger's, SIngle Parenting, Child Psychology, Trauma, Medication

Epilepsy Group Called..

So yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with the top authorities on epilepsy and seizure disorders in my state. Unfortunately I dropped a call at work while I was on the phone with them, so my boss took it and that was not considerate of me.

I was just in shock, because what they told me was so different from what the neurologist had said.

They went over the data gathered by the neurology clinic and the Children’s Hospital, and they told me that often autistic children DO present these “electrical activities” in their brain. There is no need to treat it, and indeed no treatment known for it, as it is not seizure activity. What did shock me, though, was their calm assertion that this activity DOES put my son at a much higher risk for seizures. That’s when I dropped the call.

They want me to carry the neurological equivalent of an EpiPen in suppository form, and time the seizure, should my son have one. If the seizure lasts more than three minutes they want me to stick a suppository in his cheek, or worst case scenario, in his anus.

So I am supposed to watch a clock. Can you imagine standing over your seizing kid (the very first time you see them have a seizure) and checking the clock? I will do it, though. I will. So the neurologist did not lay this out as an option, and indeed did not warn me that there was any risk at all. I liked him a lot, but this is very different information from the people he referred me to, and it makes me doubt all his reassurance.

I have a request in with the pediatrician for this emergency dose, and should have it and all instructions for it next week. Then we will hope he never needs it. You can be very sure I will never opt for a wallet over a backpack again.


Filed under ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Medication, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

Feeling Unmoored

I have not slept well since before my father passed away. My memory has been affected, I am having so much trouble remembering even basic things- and it is affecting my work. I am trying to hide it. My kids lost out on having breakfast at school this next month because I forgot to turn in their menus over the past two days. I just now huddled over them on the floor and scanned them into my phone and emailed them in as a desperate attempt to see them fed- and they already get breakfast before they leave here! Why do I do it to myself?

I am running on empty and I get why people give up and give their kids a handful of M&Ms for dinner. I get it. But when I do that my children have meltdowns from the sugar and end up whining for M&Ms at each meal, and I regret it tenfold.

My middle son I just found in bed hitting himself in the head and crying because he doesn’t want to take swimming classes, and he has swimming in the morning. I get that he is afraid of drying drops and I get that he is afraid of swimmer’s ear and I get it. But to be seven years old and so disturbed that you are trying to hurt yourself over disliking drying drops is too much. I gently dragged him out of bed and taught him how to do push ups. I told him if he wants to hurt himself this is the best option, because it builds up the muscles he wants for archery and fencing. His form sucks but it doesn’t matter. He has to learn some healthy way to deal with things- and I hope this sticks. I hope with everything in me. I grieve for who he will be, how life will torture him, if his resilience is such as this. It hurts so much to watch him tear up over everything, to see him rankle at the word “no”. I want to give up, give in, cry myself dry. He is not violent any longer but he seems unable to cope.

My oldest child seems to be doing well, but he never looks up. He has no idea what is happening around him, he does not relate to anyone but rarely. He is always in a book- he is never present. At conferences the teacher told me she doesn’t want to stop him from reading but he has to do his math. I can relate. Two days ago Middle Child stopped him from walking into traffic with a book in front of his face. He is using it for sensory deprivation, I get that. Autistic kids are easily overwhelmed, but this is about growth and safety and health, too. His books are not a coping tool any longer, they are methods of escape. I have to treat books now like screens and designate times for them, take them away, etc. He won’t develop if he doesn’t participate in his life.

My house is dirty. We had archery all week, an hour and a half each night, and I have only had time to cook and feed them and clean up. I prepped food all last weekend and it was gone in two days. Everything a person needs to do for a home I need to do, and winterize it, too. I have about six hours to get it all done this weekend plus cooking and shopping for the week. Tomorrow we have swimming and we go to the pumpkin farm and Sunday we go up to their grandmother’s- so they can see she is okay living without my father. Oldest Child has been fretting over her nearly as much as I have.

I was absent from work for a few days for things I had to do after my father passed away and I still have not caught up from that. I cannot get ahead at work, this is the second month that I am continuously behind. My desk is stacked with papers that I cannot seem to get rid of.

I spend an hour on the internet every night. An hour I ought to be cleaning or cooking or planning or remembering all the shit I forget. I want my hour to read and I want more. I want another hour to eat in peace and talk to each child one on one about their day. I am tired of never getting it all done and I am tired of feeling like a failure every time I come through that door and see the mess still there. I am calling another family meeting tomorrow and going over expectations and listing the problems I am having with keeping up, like lunches. They want lunches from home, and rightly so, being dairy intolerant- but I cannot keep up with the cooking and the packing and the unpacking. I am drowning. I don’t know if children in kindergarten and second and third grade can help me with this, but there is no one else to ask. They already do help with laundry and chores and I want to do all the rest for them but I can’t figure out how. I need more time. I need another me.

I have neighbors with clean houses who also work full time. I don’t know how they do that.




Filed under ADHD, ASD, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Uncategorized

The Neurologist

So we met with the neurologist finally to get the results of the 24 hour EEG. The meeting was first cancelled by him, then by myself, and finally it came time. I find out someone was supposed to call me before now with results. Oops.

I was expecting something. I was shown the chart of his brainwaves under observation. A few seconds of normal activity and then the whole thing gets shaken up like there is an electrical storm in there- in every area of the brain. Sometimes for one second, sometimes for a dozen. Sometimes spaced out, sometimes quite frequently. Basically all the time, and random. Hardly a peaceful minute.

So I tell the doctor “No wonder he can’t remember anything!” and the doctor tells me we don’t know how this affects him. We don’t know if it affects his memory or his functioning, as there is no noticeable manifestation of these abnormalities in his person. He does not stare off into space, like absent seizures would cause him to do. He does not lose language or twitch or anything at all.

He does not show any evidence of these results. They don’t know what it is. They don’t know how it might bother him. They wanted to do a trial of a medication. They offered me three options: to wait and see, to medicate, or to refer me to specialists.

I was thinking “Aren’t you a specialist?” Apparently not. I guess the specialists have specialists.

More tests are coming, I suppose. I am going to call the service dog people next week and see where we are in placement on the list. I don’t need to mention anything about seizures, though, so there is no last minute twist on what sort of dog we require, which is a relief. We will have to drive into the city for these tests. I didn’t want to choose more tests, but I don’t know what else to do. The tests are inconvenient, but they don’t hurt him. Can these specialists tell me what is going on, or will they just mine their own data and tell me the same thing again? Was I referred because the specialists CAN help or because the clinic I was seen at CANNOT help?

I need to read more on autism and seizure disorders. At least now I won’t worry anymore about my son sleeping with his eyes open and jerking his limbs around so much.

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Filed under ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Medication, SIngle Parenting, Uncategorized

Losing Family

I have this fear and hatred of losing family.

I lost my first husband to his unfounded suspicions. Some serious drinking and risky behaviour got me through the divorce

I lost my second husband to reasons unknown, that I still continue to guess at. I had years to become fond of his family and it still hurts. I will never know how they are no matter how I worry, and I will always be aware that they do not care how I am. Some divorces just rip the guts out of you and they never grow back.

The children’s father’s family I lost out of necessity. If they know where I am, so does he. This was about preservation.

I lost my best friend to a heart attack. I suppose multiple heart attacks, really, and the last one was just that.

Now I have lost my father for that same reason and my children have lost a grandfather who taught them how to fish, took them on their first ATV ride, and reassured them that bears were not threatening to people in the overwhelming majority of encounters.

I lost my father once when I was child, age thirteen. He did not speak to me for about four years. He sent me letters explaining how to gain his favor back, but the letter (for it was photocopied and sent a few times) did not make sense to me. I wanted a love that was not conditional. I did not understand how things worked, what people wanted from me. I was deficient in my understanding and lacking in my behaviour and I just wanted to be known and loved. Nothing else made sense to me. When I reached adulthood I contacted him to re-establish a relationship and I decided I would never give him any cause to leave me again. He offered me a room (conditionally) when I was homeless and I turned it down. I wouldn’t have been able to bear losing him again because I failed to meet his conditions. Worse, I couldn’t bear his disapproval.

I have had some of his disapproval in the years since but I have never offended him enough that he chose not to contact me.

The children had some of his disapproval, but he still showed up with hugs for their birthdays and took fish off their hooks. They have not many male role models, so he was very important to them. The oldest and youngest adored him and my suspicious middle child was coming around to a mutual respect- as they are both avid outdoorsmen.

The youngest is five. Too young to lose a grandpa. None of them have sat down and cried about it-though there was some tearing up. The oldest, at nine, is trying to make me stop talking about their grandfather. He doesn’t want to remember that his grandfather has passed away. I had a talk with him about it, and explained we cannot pretend someone is still with us, it is disrespectful, nor can we simply stop mentioning the deceased for the same reason. He understood. He just doesn’t want the hurt. I don’t want it, either.

I have his Christmas present on a shelf. I know the brand of pickled fish I was going to pick up for him the next time I was in town, a brand I don’t think he had ever had.

He asked me a few times if something ever happened to him, what would I want of his? I wanted his cowboy boots. He didn’t have them anymore. I wanted his boot polisher. He didn’t have that anymore. I wanted one of his puzzles. He was going to look for them. He used to do puzzles and eat popcorn and watch baseball or football. Huge puzzles. Boring picture puzzles of covered bridges and fall leaves, the kind that you put together more by chance and determination than by color. The kind you take a month to finish. I want to take months to finish it, knowing he did so before me, with patience.

That’s all I want. Whatever my stepmother meant about having money that her own father left her that she sunk into the house or about how they both worked for what they have I hope she didn’t have a point or any suspicions of me.

Because that would mean she wouldn’t know me at all, after 35 years. I was worried about her. I wanted to meet with her so I could see her face and reassure myself that she was okay. I left the children at home with a sitter in case the stress was too much for me or for her. I needed to see her, my father’s beloved other half. Because I love her. I love how much she did for my father and I love how happy she made him. I truly believe she tamed him and made his life worthwhile. No one else could shush him when he was getting offensive. She was everything to him, no matter how demented he had behaved towards her this past year. I remember what a comfort she had been to him during the years I tortured my parents with my own mental illness, if my preteen confusion was that. His divorce with my mother enabled him to establish a relationship with a woman who completed him in a way no one else could have managed. Early enough in my life that I could become attached to her, too. I was five when I met her- she was like the mother I often wished I had, who had always patience and cookies.

So I am terrified that my children will lose their grandmother. Terrified.




Filed under Child Psychology, PTSD, Trauma, Uncategorized

A Few Days Later…

Our neighbors have forgiven us. We stayed inside since that night and we stayed out of sight so we could give our neighbor a break and some time to heal.

It was a good choice.

Her mother sat her down today and explained to her how little boys are and what her own brother did to her growing up and she came over and told me I should let the kids out to play.

I am so relieved. I can afford to move, but I can’t afford higher rent.

More importantly, I can’t afford the guilt I would feel if this girl was traumatized.



Filed under Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized

My Life Does Not Seem Real

My Oldest Son has had three tests now. The 1 hour EEG showed abnormalities. The MRI was normal. I don’t have the results of the 24 hour EEG. I hate waiting for the doctor to meet with me. Why can’t people just type stuff up and shoot off an email?

The Baby has become unpleasant. She is five and somehow her cute strong will has become her rude abusive personality in recent months. We are working on it.

My Middle Child last week was playing with two kids when one pushed him to the ground and he lashed out with a foot and kicked the other (a girl) in the face from defensive posture. He kicked a girl who suffered from a concussion most of last year. He is under instruction not to hit anyone, and not to ever mess with her head because of the risk of injury! He and another witness say he was kicked before he did that, and the victim and another witness say he was not. The girl he kicked immediately gave him a hard kick in the balls. She is a teenager, he has just started second grade, so it was a decent kick that covered the entire area, not a little toddler kick like his sister has. He iced himself up and was okay after a while. Either way, he was forbidden to play with either child and he was grounded from his favorite things. So instead of playing with this girl he helped his friend play with her yesterday by filling up a water gun for him, as a sort of refill assistant. I saw him coming out of the house with the full gun but he seemed to be staying out of the fun as he was instructed, so I thought nothing of it.

Until the girl came running up drenched in water and told me it was toilet water. Some had gotten in her mouth and she had swallowed it. I told her I couldn’t imagine he would do that, he had to be lying and she was reassured. I got him home and he explained to me that he put some toilet water in the gun and I marched him back over and made him confess. The victim wants nothing to do with our family anymore. She asked me to keep my kids away from her and specifically my Middle Child- she never wants to see his face again.

I lost a babysitter, a friend of ours who went everywhere with us for two years, from the zoo to the pumpkin farm to wildlife rescue trips. She spent hours puking after the incident and worse, she feels victimized by my son. He punched her once in the spring, kicked her last week, and this. He is a lot better than he used to be, but none of this acceptable. He has been complaining about her for months, he says she targets him and pushes him down, kicks him, won’t let him play when all the kids are playing together. It bewildered me, I had seen none of it. I thought it was his skewed perception, his PTSD. I have tried to get him to talk to her about it, he would not. I have seen her be aggressive but not like what he describes.

So I don’t know if this is revenge or thoughtlessness. He seemed to think it would be funny. He did not seem to understand how offensive it was until he saw how angry I was. He has restrictions lasting a very long time, and we are respecting her wishes. Today is the next day, and we did not play outside. We did not park in our parking lot, we walked in from the street from the side so we would not have to cross her front door.

I don’t know what to do. I have to keep a seven year old away from his next door neighbor, when both are outside all the time normally. This is my hyper kid, who needs to run and be active all day. I can’t even trust him with a water gun. I have to cook and I have to clean and I can’t just let him play anymore but for a half hour an evening. I don’t know what to do. I liked it here, but I don’t want to distress this girl any longer. She is the victim, and I can’t keep her safe from my kid even when I am present. I think I have to move somewhere else. I cannot think of any other right thing to do.

My life has become a nightmare again. I am right back where I was a few years ago, when my kid was a danger to other people. I have to treat him like that and hope he can rise above it. It’s a horrible catch 22. I have to treat a kid like he is dangerous and then hope he doesn’t see himself as dangerous so that he can learn normal behaviour instead of living up to expectations of being dangerous.

I can’t stop crying. The only saving grace was that I had cleaned the toilet before we came outside. It’s a serious miracle that there was a bit of cleaner in the water instead of what it could have been. Still crying, though. Since yesterday.



Filed under Bully, Bullying, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, ODD, PTSD, SIngle Parenting, Trauma, Uncategorized