Monthly Archives: October 2015

Too Much Excitement Before Halloween

My oldest child and I both had an appointment with the eye doctor today. Oldest Son has to wear an eye patch at home for his astigmatism. It won´t be all day for a year like I had to do when I was a kid, rather just a few hours a few days a week. I am going to think of some sort of pirate nickname for him. My issue with my contacts? They got switched. Sleepy mornings can make you put your right lens into your left eye, and it just goes downhill from there.

But it gets worse.

I picked the baby up from daycare yesterday and the staff informed me she has nits. Not adult lice, but the eggs. So I raced to the store and bought the treatment and then I did six loads of laundry from her beds. Yes, she has two beds in her room and she sleeps in either. I bagged up all her stuffed animals and in the hope of freezing weather we will keep them in the back of the car for a week or two.

When I picked her up today from daycare the staff informed me that they are implementing a no-nit policy. Even if the nits are dead, she will be sent home from daycare if one is found on her head. They are doing this because she was infested by another little girl whose mother did not take the lice issue seriously and therefore did not eradicate the lice in the first place. So the staff wants to avoid reinfestations. I cannot blame them, but now it is about my paycheck, because most sitters will not sit for lice! So far we have combed through her hair three times, for a total of two and a half hours, in less than twenty four hours. Plus the treatment. I also blow dried her scalp as hot as she could stand. I have a shampoo treatment and the Cetaphil treatment all ready to go before I Nix her again next week. Hopefully the good comb I ordered off Amazon (The Terminator!) comes UPS by then, because I could not find one here in town. I have repeatedly asked her to let me shave her head. She does not want to. I even offered to do it with her, and no dice.

So our life just got super complicated.

I have been having six or seven appointments a week for the boys, and they have all been eating a pie a day. I cannot keep up with the cooking or the appointments.

I don´t want to cut back on either.

My Youngest Son lost both his upper front teeth this week. The first one was kicked out by a kid on the swings, and the second he lost on the bus somehow. We knew they were loose, weeks ago. Both teeth are AWOL. The Tooth Fairy paid him anyway, but he knows it´s me. A kid with bad PTSD shouldn´t have to think that strangers are entering his room at night and messing about under his pillow.

So I was thinking I had better call his speech therapist and see if he needs a hiatus from therapy, as it is really hard to hold your tongue behind your teeth to form your letters when your teeth are not there..

Perhaps it would cut down on the appointments.


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On The News Today: Pumpkins

I read on the news today that pumpkins will be available, but not canned pumpkin. Because the ornamental Halloween pumpkins are grown in a different state than the squash that they call pumpkin for selling in cans. There was flooding that wiped out Libby´s, basically.

So here is a secret if you did not know.

You can cook any sort of pumpkin.

Just carve it up after removing the seeds and pulp, and then cook the large pieces. Scrape the cooked pumpkin from the shell and squeeze out excess moisture, or, if you are lazy, put it in the fridge overnight and let the excess moisture fall to the bottom of the container so you can drain it off.

Then puree it.

Use as canned pumpkin. The color will not be as bright. The taste will be so close that some extra cinnamon will do you right.

Want it for Thanksgiving? Freeze the puree in baggies. No problem.

Don´t listen to people who talk you out of a food source. Ornamental pumpkins? Never heard of them. Mine are all for pie.


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The Social Worker is Trying to Recruit Me

My son’s social worker has been asking me to join the Local Advisory Council for NAMI (which naturally focuses on child advocacy) for about a year.

Now she has started sending me the minutes.

Just yesterday she sent me the itinerary for the state conference.

The people attending the local meetings are people I would want to work with.

The state conference is mostly about advocating for children and what to do for children in the case of x, y, z. It looks nearly dreamy. Like I could fill up a notebook and gain some confidence.

She is tempting me.

I don’t want to spend even one day away from my kids at a state conference. I don’t want to take two hours off of my work for local advocacy. I want to do it, but I need to work and raise my kids.

I have been doing community advocacy since I was sixteen. I think she is moving in for the kill.

I have great excuses. I just don’t know if I have the strength to resist.


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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

My therapist went over the basics of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with me today. She says it entails talking about incidents that cause symptoms. Like discussing the trauma behind my PTSD.

Well, that is not the sort of therapy I want. She damn well knows it.

I don’t want to talk about what happened to me. I rarely do so. I could use the word “never” and be accurate for ninety percent of my history. She mentions that she doesn’t expect me to start from the beginning and tell her everything, but she says that I throw out bits that shock her. Things that I am nonchalant about, like living on the streets as a child, and she has no idea where it comes from. I tell her I can tell her anything about being a kid, anything, it’s wide open, just not about being battered. She told me my walls are up too high. What walls? Sarcasm, sorry. Truthfully I crack jokes all the way through my sessions, she can’t treat me for laughing.

So I gave her one today. One incident that bothers me so much that I cannot forgive it. But it was nothing done to me, it was when I tried to grab my son to keep him from pushing his sister over and instead knocked him down. He was three. I can still see him crying after, in my mind. Middle Child has the worst PTSD of us all and he was barely three when his mother made him fall down. What if the reason he has PTSD is not because of his father’s actions, but because of his mother’s? Because of his mother’s PTSD, or because of this incident? What if I broke my son? What if the years of his mother being hypervigilant, afraid of punishment for laughter or noise or mischief or mess is what has really damaged him? What if it is me, short tempered and shushing and terrified in those first few years, who has broken him? What if it is the fear he drank with my milk, my fear, that poisoned his development?

The therapist asked me how I could think that, when it was the father who was abusive. She used words like accident and dismissed the incident. I told her most fathers are abusive, right? It is what is expected of fathers, that they should hurt their families or their wives. But to be hurt by your mother, that must hurt more than anything. That would be scarring. Fathers who beat and scream at their loved ones are everywhere, as common as pennies. But mothers who hurt their children are rare. She asks me how I know. I tell her to pull up any public conviction record in any community involving violence. I am more than right. It worsens statistically when you look at sexual abuse. Where I used to live there were 246 offenders, and only one was female.

The therapist and I do not agree. She thinks it is a common and forgivable incident, an accident, and I see it as a crime. I chose to try to grab him and I instead knocked him over. I could have let him go and tried to distract him with a noise. I could have done something else instead of reaching for him when I wasn’t sure I could catch him. He never thought his mother would hurt him.

The teacher said he is always happy in class. I try to remember that when I blame myself. I try to remember that he used to have four hour tantrums and now he has at most ten minutes. I remember that he tells me that he loves me, that he is learning what he needs to learn about his emotions lately.

I don’t want to talk about these things. It does not seem to get easier. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to remember on purpose when accidentally remembering is so painful, and I don’t want my children to remember, either.

Maybe I might need ACT, but I cannot find any studies on ACT being done with children, never mind young children. I might have to rethink this and perhaps the kids can keep their therapist if we stick with CBT. For that matter, maybe I don’t need ACT. I work and I keep the kids clean and fed and the laundry never overflows the basket. I function. So many with PTSD do not function. I am fine, right?

She said the clinic is undergoing training on CBT for trauma in children right now. She said it requires that they remember. I can’t win for losing.

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Sometimes Plans Can Backfire On You

The skills therapist is mulling over sending my boys to a new hire in his organization, who specializes in trauma. Because she is more familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

They have been seeing him for over a year.

I would hate for them to lose him.

I have asked him to think about teaching them these skills himself.

Tonight Middle Child was tired and became upset over a minor misunderstanding on movie privileges, and I was able to massage it out of him while joking around and telling him stories about when he was a baby.

That was lucky. It doesn’t always work.

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The Updated Plan – going into 2016

Today I met with the social worker, who I requested monitor my oldest child (read: advocate for) as he navigates through the school system and various therapies. It could be that one day I need her for Middle Child, too. I hope not.

I have new plans. I am always planning. So I gave her the new plans while I cooked dinner for the littles.

We are working on ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) this winter, and perhaps for the next year, and I wish someone had told me about this a year or two ago.

We are working on identifying emotion in ourselves and in others. Also walking away from negativity, or taking a moment away to calm ourselves if need be. I am working on this with them, too, but I remind the psychologist, therapist, and psychiatrist of this goal whenever we meet. I probably mentioned this in the last post.

I have enrolled my own therapist to teach me what the children are learning so I can be consistent with their therapist and teach them to apply ACT in their daily lives.

For parenting we are are going to order a book on the Nurtured Heart technique, which I have somehow never heard of until this week. I hope it is something new, rather than an adaption of something I am already doing. Because I want a cure.

The dog. We are eleven months away from losing our spot on the pre-wait wait list. Yes, there is such a thing. I meant to write wait two times. That is the sort of list it is. I am going to negotiate closer to the Day, because I don’t need an Autistic Service Dog to tether my child. I would rather a service dog track him than try to keep him rooted. Because he is almost as tall as me, and that could very well break a dog. So if he were evaluated now he could lose the spot for his size, anyway. Maybe if I explain that I don’t need such a consideration we can stay on longer and get a dog through a reputable organization. Of which there is exactly one in my state. I cannot afford the training if it is out of state.

If I cannot get a service dog I am going to make one. Because if there is one thing I have been very successful at in life it has been training puppies to be very good adult canine citizens. I don’t know how throwing children into dog training will help or harm, but I think for the children it will only help. Maybe we can get involved in the dog world, too, and meet more nice people. I have always used a modified Barbara Woodhouse basic training with great success, and of course I would supplant that at the appropriate age with a professional who can certify in service. I know of two agencies here who do this, and one is highly recommended by a friend. The issue is time commitment. I would have to pay a neighbor to let the dog out during the day until it became old enough to handle a long wait. I could also get a failed service dog and skip the puppy stage, or adopt a well trained adult and hope it catches on. But those last two would result in a therapy dog, rather than a service dog, and that would limit us in where we can take the dog, as it would be a pet. I know I can pay some two bit huckster online and get paperwork and a vest but I am honest and I refuse to do so. If the dog is not qualified for service, I won’t use it for service.

I am beyond frustrated that there are not service dogs available for children with PTSD, as such a dog would be of service to both boys.

For education we are going to work on fostering independence and executive functioning. I think the independence part will come easily, if I can stop myself from buttering everyone’s toast. The executive functioning bit is going to be super tricky. I don’t know how to teach someone to see what they don’t notice. I have one book that has proved useless on this and so I am ordering another in the hope that it has some practical advice.


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Zoloft And Conferences

So the boys had their conferences this past week.

Middle Child was first. Despite the violence of the prior five days (thank you, Zoloft), his conference went well. We had it in private, even, and there were no negatives. He is active in self-regulation in the classroom, segregating himself from the group during most floor times and wearing the noise muffling headset quite often.

What surprised me was that he was well liked, and despite his distaste for homework he scored above average on all of it.

She said he is always smiling, always happy.

Much better than the last school, which was destroying his self esteem.

Oldest son had his conference the next day. He is lucky enough to be in a class that contains a half dozen other kids who are super bright and also very strong readers. The teacher said that he has his moments of not wanting to do his classwork, but that he is capable and comes around. I was a bit surprised, and asked her about his math homework from the night before, because he had me walk him through it. She told me that he knows it. She said he has no issues with retaining what he learns. Which was nice to hear and not what I expected. Compare this to last year, when he would lay on a chair and moan and kick during math class. No behaviours like that at this school. He has begun attending a social skills group daily, with five other students, and that makes me immensely happy. Because it is in his IEP and his teacher is trying to comply with it. So many schools do not even try, do not even read it, so you can see why this makes me seriously warm and fuzzy inside.

This is the honeymoon conference, though. The one after Christmas will be the real deal in my book.

Zoloft has been a magic pill for Oldest Child and a curse for Middle Child. I was seriously triggered by Middle Child’s temper and his violence, and it was a rough week especially considering that I was ill, Oldest Child was ill, and there was little sleep to be had. I tried waiting for his psychiatric nurse to return from vacation before making any move, but after I got a teacher’s note about hitting and kicking students for the third day in a row I yanked him off of it and side effects be damned. Luckily there were not any.  I got a note in response to my update to the psychiatric nurse telling me to take him off of the meds the next day. It is so nice to have no report from the teacher every day since, I cannot tell you how it relaxes me to find nothing written in his folder at the end of the day.

Today we went to gymnastics for middle child and after that no one wanted to do much of anything, the children did not even want to go to the store, so we stayed in and I promptly fell asleep and missed an entire afternoon of cleaning. So nothing is done save the morning’s baking and laundry, and tomorrow I have to do it all. I needed the sleep though, have needed it for over a week since we got sick.

There was no fighting in my house today. Everyone behaved well, even with emotionally charged disagreements. This is a huge deal, that most days are now like this. It used to be quite the opposite and I could not leave them for a minute. I am so lucky to be in a space big enough for them to get away from each other and manage their emotions. I am so lucky to have a good medical team for them and a school that is accommodating. Cutting down on the stress for PTSD kids is a very helpful thing.

Middle Child is still not drinking milk or eating milk products, and as best as I can tell it is helping him. I caught him yesterday at snack at daycare about to take a drink from a glass full of a white liquid and asked him to tell me what it was first. MILK! Oops for the daycare! Hopefully they improve on this..

We are working on identifying emotions and emotional needs (perpetually we work on this), walking away from angry people, and listening to our gut. I especially want my Oldest Son to quit situations where people are angry, since he doesn’t pick up on escalating emotions. I want him to remove himself as soon as he observes anger in another. Remaining present and oblivious makes him a target.

The current obsessions in our house are Minecraft coding, monsters, autumn leaves, and bagels.


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