So, About the Children

Middle Child has  been in a bit of trouble at school. He has been goofing off, not focusing. He says he is bored. He might be. He gets in trouble in subjects that are harder for him, like math. He gets in trouble while waiting in lines.

I taught him all the tricks I could think of for waiting. Counting things. Tapping your hand on your leg. Tying your fingers together. Teaching your hand to do the Trekkie sign. Counting the number of letters in words on the wall. Thinking of other ways to spell things.

I have brought up math to him on a few different occasions. I want him to ask for help when he needs it. I don´t want him to give up in frustration and start goofing around. If he does not finish his math work he has to stay in from recess to do it. That is a serious threat for a busy kid like him, no wonder he is stressing about it. I offered to set up a secret signal between him and the teacher, so he could finish his work at home. He doesn´t want to. He says he will raise his hand.

He says that the tapping on his head when he is frustrated helps him to think. I am glad to hear that he is trying what we discuss. Cooperation makes it all easier.

My Oldest Child spent all day today in cooperative imaginative play with my Youngest Child. They somehow melded Minecraft and My Little Pony and acted it out with each other all day. This is my autistic child and my toddler! My autistic son spent his own toddler years incapable of imaginative play. He used to scream and throw fits if anyone he cared about told him they were being someone or something else. I think it upset his reality. He has come really far.

I am glad he found someone else to do this with, because he does it with Middle Child, too, and I was not sure if he could get along with anyone else on this sort of game. Usually Pokemon or Minecraft and occasionally Yu-Gi-Oh with his brother. It is good to see him being so flexible, today I know I heard him following rules and repeating lines that my willful little toddler had made up.

The Toddler has been in a bit of trouble, taking things from my room and then denying that she knew where they were, stealing zucchini muffins from the refrigerator at night, and throwing fits over not being able to have candy whenever she wants.

Her super short haircut is adorable on her, she looks like a pixie. I promised her I would grow my hair out with her and I went to my stylist and she told me I should not cut my hair shorter than chin length. I am not good at assertion. Perhaps I have mentioned that. This time my logic was that I should not force a stylist to do a cut they were reluctant to do, for certain it would come out bad if I did. She proceeded to give me a chin length bob and it wasn´t quite even- one side is longer than the other even in the back. But I like her, too much to say anything. My toddler says my hair is short enough, but I have half a mind to run to a Great Clips and have it cropped close. Because I meant to do that in the first place, and hair is not important. Looks are not important, and I don´t want to communicate anything else to my children.

This weekend we all went to the zoo. It was too cold for little kids to hike miles through outdoor exhibits, so we went and explored all the inside instead. This was their third time at the zoo, but their first inside. We saw everything we could and dropped a boatload of cash eating lunch and then we gave up the rest of our disposable income at the gift store. I have sworn off the zoo until spring, so we can get outside and away from anything for sale..

The kids are very excited to be having Thanksgiving this week, so that they can play video games instead of going to school.

Middle Child and I have started his gratitude training, because he has a horrible history of being ungrateful for gifts in large gatherings- probably due to nervousness, as he doesn´t really know anyone at the family Christmas party. But it is embarrassing to have him counting gifts or being ungrateful, so I have started giving him bags of dirt, or water, dolls, or an empty plastic plate so he can thank me appropriately. Then I explain to him how useful the gift really is, or who he can give it to later that would really appreciate it. Which has always made him feel better, because he likes to give more than receive.

I suppose we have started the Christmas countdown. I had better get shopping.

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Latest News- Later

I have been absent a bit. This is because I have discovered the magic that is melatonin. I was sick for about ten days from lack of sleep and out of desperation I purchased a painkiller PM (who I will not name because I am sensitive to meds and probably this one is fine for everyone else) and melatonin. The painkiller PM I can feel pulling me down into sleep(I hate the sensation of drugs, it makes me panic, which frustrated my OB/GYN no end-yay natural birth), but the melatonin hits me right and lets me fall asleep and sleep most of the night and go back to sleep easily if I wake. It feels like a luxury. I had only been getting a full night´s sleep for less than a year (because of Middle Son waking) when Middle Son´s nightmares started up again. About a witch this time, and it just snowballed and the nightmares got worse and my sleep got worse and then I just couldn´t sleep anymore. So for over a week now, melatonin and a break in the nightmares has made sleep possible. I have been loving it.

So I am retraining my sleep. I hope to post something of substance soon.


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Recommendations From the Psychologist

Today the psychologist recommended my Middle Son switch over to Abilify from his Clonidine ER. She wants his dopamine running. She gave me a rule of thumb: if I get one violent incident per month from him then I need to make the change. She agrees with me on removing milk from his diet, she says I am the second parent in as many days to notice a sort of possession upon the reintroduction of milk in a child like him.

During the session my Oldest Child gave us a rundown of exactly what has happened up to this point with the fourth grade bully on the bus. It seems it started out innocently enough, with tickle chases. But Middle Child does not like to be touched without consent, and to him it would have seemed a torture. So he got some revenge. He hit this big fifth grader hard enough to make him cry, so now this big kid is pretty riled up over the embarrassment and trying to ambush Middle Child every chance he gets. Which explains why he threw my son into the bushes.

I think I have the boys convinced that they need to make a peace offering of cookies. I just hope it works, because although I want my son to be happy, I don´t want to move him over the antipsychotic class of meds.


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Progress, or Detox?

It is the third day since Middle Son gave up milk again.

He was unable to think of any solution to these fits he keeps having, so I told him I would be tickling him when I pick him up and again when we get home.

We call it his ¨medicine¨.

It worked well today. He did lose control later in the evening and began crying a few times, unable to handle his frustration, but I stayed close and helped him address the issue each time-without rescuing him.

I hope to see a major change before a week is out.

Today he saw the skills therapist, to whom I told everything, EVERYTHING, even my own mistakes in handling yesterday´s fit. Oddly enough, he did approve of my technique of throwing a simultaneous fit at myself to demonstrate the absurdity of the fit. Which I know now only escalates the issue. Apparently it works on other children. I am going to make a sign and put it above the kitchen sink. It is only going to say Tickle Him. So I don´t forget what to do if he comes up to me and starts hitting again. I am nearly always at the sink.

He had some processed food for snack this week, cereal bars. Next week he will not, I will go back to baking huge quantities of food on the weekends so he can have his low sugar preservative-dairy-peanut-dye free snacks again. It was nice to have a  weekend off, but it cannot last forever. I wish I were up earlier to make a real breakfast, but I spend so much time in the kitchen already that I think it would just exhaust me.

I am glad he sees the psychologist tomorrow. She is a great resource.


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Middle Son Observes Life

A few days ago my middle son came up to me out of nowhere and said ¨We have had a hard life.¨

I asked him what he meant. He said ¨well, with our dad hitting you all the time.¨

I told him we have a good life now, I gave him a lot of examples. I told him his father didn´t have to be that way, he could have gotten help from doctors.

I told him I should not have stayed one minute when his father started hitting me, but that I knew he could get help and I had hoped he would.

He used to never talk about his father or his feelings or his opinions at all. I hope getting off dairy brings back my little thinker.

I did not remind him that his father used to hit him, too.

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Milk Elimination

So I kept my son off of milk for the most part for about six weeks. This past weekend we reintroduced it. On Monday he kicked a girl on the bus (still counts even if she started it and tried to strangle him) and later that day he punched another little boy in school. Monday night he lied to me about what happened.

Tuesday I finally got the principal on the phone and heard the real story. Tuesday afternoon I had an earnest talk with him about his behaviour, his honesty, and his consequences. He went berserk. He started hitting himself in the head. He talked about wanting to die. He said he would kill himself. He kicked everything around him. He yelled insults at me, called me names, and told me I didn´t love him, and so he didn´t love me. He wouldn´t let me near him for fifteen minutes of this. When I could get by him I held him, I rocked him, I reasoned with him and he came around. He would not use his TheraTapper, and so without his permission I tapped him on the sides of the knees. I got about thirty seconds in before he figured it out and insisted I stop. There was no more fuss after that. I reminded him last night and this morning that his consequences were in place and that the duration would depend on his good behaviour, three days if all went well.

His consequences are no electronics. That´s all. It was for a day, since the school had also given him consequences, but when his fit started, I upped it to three days. Because fits are not allowed. He can earn them back by getting good marks for each school day left this week, which meant he would have it all back on Friday, behaviour permitting.

Tonight when I picked him up he told me he had been good and asked for his privileges. I reminded him it was three days of good behaviour to earn them back and he called me a liar and started kicking my seat, refused to put his seatbelt on, and screamed for all he was worth. He didn´t stop until I threatened to crack an egg on his head and tricked him into thinking I had done so, twice. We made it home, buckled. He was sullen, but he got into the house. He had hit me once in the car so I advised him that he had lost two more days of privileges, and expected good behaviour to earn them back on all five days.

Then he threw a monster fit. I had had enough, so I joined him. Whatever he said, I said, too. I called myself all sorts of names with him. Whatever decibel he went to, I went to as well. Finally he ran into the kitchen and started hitting at me. I held him off with a box of corndogs and when he had rammed his head into that a few times he claimed I hit him with it and really began trying to get at me. So I held him down on the floor and screamed at him that he may not hit me or anyone.

That worked better. Not a technique I like doing, and not recommended. Intimidating children is not how you teach them. I just do not do well with being terrorized. Been there, done that, have PTSD. I don´t use it as an excuse, so he cannot, either. I did the wrong thing. I was worn out and hungry and tired and had just got home from work. I needed a minute to recoup before another fit, and I just did not handle it the way I wanted to. I stopped thinking.

Since he was done I let him up. He went upstairs on my insistence and had a quiet moment. I miss the days where I could roll him in a blanket and carry him to a safe space. He just got too heavy.

I went up and explained to him that he can always be mad at me, and that he can even yell at me, but that his behaviour tonight and yesterday is never going to be acceptable. I asked him if I hit him and he had to admit I did not. I asked him if I had called him a name and he couldn´t think of anything I said that was spiteful to him.

I told him I don´t want to live in a house with all that yelling and meanness. I reminded him that his privileges depend on his behaviour, not on my whim. I had him go over the house rules that are posted on the wall. He pointed out which he violated and which I violated and then I had to forgo dessert, because I did break the rules by yelling. I left his consequences as they stood after that first hit. He has work to do and a weekend to get through.

I never want him to have dairy again. I told him so.


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The Final Solution

So here was the problem:

Lice on a little girl who had been growing her hair out for two years. A mother with failing eyesight and arthritis. A no-nit policy at the daycare, and not a free sitter in sight.

When the baby did not pass lice inspection today I picked her up from daycare and took her home to shave her head. I simply could not see the nits once they were dead, yet the teacher found them immediately. The director then let her back in after a five eighths guard on the clipper took her curls off. Two other children were sent home today.

I took vacation time for the hours I missed over the two days with my boss´s permission.

So I kept my income, but the baby lost her hair.

She´s been great about it. No fuss. No tears. Not even a frown. I didn´t bribe her. She just got used to the idea over the last few days- I showed her some pictures of women without hair and she consented. Five days ago she cried and cried over the idea. I am so grateful that she came around.

I wish the mother of the girl who brought lice into the daycare repeatedly had done the same with her daughter at the first sign of the problem. It would have saved the rest of us some trouble.

I hope her hair grows fast and that she stops hugging people cheek to cheek.


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