Category Archives: ODD

Middle Son

My middle child has probably had the most visibly rough time of it. He became his father’s favorite when he showed a willingness to engage in violence, a learned behaviour that it took four years for him to unlearn.

He has a touch of agoraphobia. He does not like to be out of the house more than two hours.

He has so much anxiety that he is always correcting everyone, arguing about the right way to say or do or even be this or that. He probably exhausts himself with it. I tell him every day to leave it alone but he has yet to learn how.

He is very discerning, he figured out the guy behind us is on drugs without hearing a word about it from me.

He is addicted to his Xbox, and cried today because his friend was not home and could not come over to play it with him.

He can’t eat dairy because it makes him angry. I keep him on medicine so that he doesn’t hurt other people with his initial angry impulses. It works well, but I have to constantly battle the insurance companies to get his prescription filled.

He would walk around sucking on lemons and eating raw onion when he was a baby. Not unusual in his father’s culture, but he gets a huge kick out of hearing about it now.

Today he began to throw a fit at the zoo (we had been there a long time) and he stopped himself. I think he has done this once before. I didn’t have to do much to calm him, I just reminded him that kids throwing fits get grounded and gave him a hug.

But sometimes when I remember that he collects glass sculptures, at eight years old, I feel a wonderment.

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

When Your Issues Clash

I hate video. I can watch movies, sometimes. Tension can bother me, suspense might bother me, and sometimes I just cannot sit still. I never watch them. Apologies to all those on my reading list here who put up videos. I read whatever you say about them, but I don’t watch them.

I can be triggered by videos as much as I can by real life. Loud noises, violence, aggression, sudden movements. In real life I am often triggered by my own children. They squabble, they scream, they run here and there, they jump up and down. It’s not like I lose it, but I can feel myself close to an edge. I have to calm them, remove them from the situation, distract them, or turn away when they are using the trampoline.

I have read a lot of books and articles on children. PTSD kids, trauma kids, autistic kids, ODD kids, ADHD kids. However, when I come across videos when researching an issue I just skip them. Because video.

Which is not so bright of me, I think.

Who should I be learning about kids from? Doctors? Yes. Doctors are good sources of information but it is just as important that I learn about children from children. Normally this is through children who have grown up and can vividly recall what it was like to be traumatized/developing autistic/angry/distracted. There is precious little out there from this last source. But that is changing.

I have known about and read about Amythest Schaber for years. But I have not been able to watch her videos, despite the fact that she has a pleasant voice and face. I just would rather read than listen because of my issues.

But I hit upon a solution for videos lately. I have been trying to keep abreast of Standing Rock events and live streaming video has been more informative on that issue than news articles. I put on the video and then I don’t watch it. I look away at pictures or something not moving and I go back and forth to manage the stimulation.

So after learning this trick this week (I know, seems simple to you but I have had this aversion…) I put on some videos by Amythest Schaber and found that what I term a regression she is calling autistic burnout. I had no idea that they could be the same thing.

The psychologist and I had begun crafting a plan to try to keep this year’s regression from happening to Oldest Son. We were going to treat it as a sort of breakdown, and were going to try to limit his overload and provide more one on one time and engage him in identifying and treating his feelings in the months leading up to his typical regression time. After listening to Amythest’s take on it I know now to add sensory diet into that plan. I am certain we will come up with more in the next few weeks, after the New Year it will become more critical. So we were on the right track but I ought to have more access to information now that I have the correct terminology.

So this is an example of how my own issues have limited my parenting. I think the date on that video was 2014. I ought to have watched it back then.

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

One Less Appointment

My Oldest Son has been seeing a physical therapist for four years. A child psychologist for three years, a skills therapist for four years (with a year off when there was no provider), and a child psychiatrist for two years. He also had social skills education at school for two years and a social group run by a psychologist with other autistic kids for over two years.

Yesterday the skills therapist released him as a client. He said the difference between my son of two years ago and my son today is night and day, and Oldest Son no longer requires his services.

We had brought the frequency of appointments down from twice monthly to once a month. So though I still have a lot of appointments per week, I get to drop one per month.

I wish I learned that quickly.

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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.

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Filed under ADHD, ASD, Asperger's, Autism, Child Abuse, Child Psychology, Medication, ODD, 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.

 

 

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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.

 

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Regression Resolved

The regression in my Oldest Son is just about resolved. He is again able to take a bath mostly reliably and now he does remember to shut doors, even if a beat later. He still does not tie his shoes, but he was not doing that daily before. I have used a thin sewing elastic to permanently tie his shoes so that he can participate in gym with less chance of injury. Summer has again had a good effect on him, healing most of the damage.

Since the neurologist thinks his EEG this week will come out fine, then this has to be a psychological issue. Probably the stress of being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world (school).

I don´t know how to lessen his stress without lessening his chances of a more independent life. I can´t expect less of him, he needs to learn how to care for himself, so his home life cannot be the relaxing worry-free time I would want it to be. This morning I had to teach him how to take care of his armpits and so I taught him how to wash his own face for good measure, because if his chemistry is changing enough to give him body odor then he has to start taking conscious care of his skin. He is eight. I was hoping this would come two years from now- but when his upper lip got fuzzy a few months ago I knew it was going to be earlier than I wanted.

Luckily there are a few very big early puberty boys in his social group run by the psychologist, so I will be able to get advice from their parents when we attend.

Maybe when the service dog comes it will get easier. For him, if not for me. Please, for him.

He is no longer going to be viewed as a cute harmless little autistic boy in a few years. People are going to look at him with fear or unrealistic expectations due to his size and behaviours and I wish I could just make it all better. But you cannot hang a sign on your child and you cannot change the attitude of the general public. You have to just cling to hope that his immediate circle of acquaintances will yield some kind souls and a friend or two and pray he never has any trouble.

 

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