Tag Archives: ADHD

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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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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Runaways

Today the boys got off the bus at daycare and decided to walk home. The staff inside realized that they had not come in and chased them down the street, they got about a block before they were caught, about a fourth of their journey accomplished.

I think the new director had better appoint someone to meet the bus, like they used to do.

I asked the boys what they would do once they got home, how would they get in? The lightbulb went off and all they said was “Oh..”.

So they are in a bit of trouble tonight, lost a privilege or two. Because, as I explained to them, if they cannot leave the house without asking an adult, how could they think they were allowed to leave the daycare?

The director replaced nearly all the staff recently. The children do not know their new teachers. The teachers do not know that Oldest Child is fitted with a tracking device that pings straight to the county sheriff. Because he is considered an at-risk wanderer. And, a week after I began mulling over having the device removed, I’ve decided to keep it on him. Because today.

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The Pumpkin Farm

Today we went to gymnastics (Middle Child’s class), came back for lunch. Went to complete a little crafting at a craft show, came back for snack. Went to the pumpkin farm, came back for dinner.

Keeping them out of the house has actually been far easier than I anticipated (no complaints, no fits), but keeping Oldest Child away from Middle Child during computer turns has been impossible. Tomorrow he will be banned from the living room during his brother’s computer time and will have to sit in the kitchen instead. He tried to stay away and could not, he freely admits. He has been scheming how to get onto the computer since he was thirteen months old, so I suppose it is a deeply ingrained habit. The computer is his sun.

Middle Child started his Zoloft today and did better than usual this morning but did exhibit some aggressive frustration when his brother tried to railroad him on the hay bale slide at the pumpkin farm. I put him in time out immediately. He felt bad enough that he apologized to his brother on his own before the time out was finished and argued not at all with me about taking a time out. His brother refused to accept a simple apology, and requested a formal apology card due to the severity of the crime. Middle Child requested paper and a pen, which of course I neglected to anticipate a need for during a pumpkin farm outing. So he instead tried multiple apologies, which his brother did not accept but did allow as acceptable. Later I watched him replicate the scene by himself, as victim, to see what it felt like. So now he knows that people cannot breathe properly with their face down in a pool of corn, and that I meant it truly when I said he can never, ever hold anyone’s face down in anything for any amount of time without risking a horrible consequence. I am grateful that I am vigilant around him.

The pumpkin farm staff knows us. The owner came up and said “Back again this year, eh?” “Every week!” I told him. It’s an exchange we usually have on the second visit each year, so I must be making an impression, if we can have this conversation in the first hour of arrival on the first opening day.

His wife is from a country that I knew a few native words of. My ex had taught me a few words of the local language, years ago. Last year I told her I knew a few words, and mentioned the one my husband taught me to say to children who had big fat faces like my son. She laughed nervously and immediately clapped her hands over her daughter’s ears. So that is how I found out that the children’s father had taught me sexually explicit phrases and misinformed me of their meanings. So embarrassing. I hope she does not hold it against me, that is not the impression I am trying to make. I am one of those people who does not swear or drink or gossip. I don’t want to be known any other way.

I suppose my ex told me those words meant something else so I would not figure out that he was actually talking to his mistress on the phone, instead of the moon-faced man down the road that he told me was calling him every morning. But that was not the first time he had done this. He taught me the incorrect meanings for words in his own native tongue, too. I think so that he could continue to insult me and I would not suspect.

So, even years later he is isolating me, through his gaslighting. The farm owners are lovely people. So are their cousins. My favorite family in town, really. I don’t want them to think of me as the woman who insults women married into their family in their own language. I don’t want to be the lady that people hide their children from.

Today I did not have the hours of whining and complaining that I usually have, and I can only think it is from Zoloft. Middle child told me that he feels calm when he is upstairs by himself on my laptop, watching Minecraft videos. If he can find some channels with decent language and stick to them, he is welcome to spend his turns like that. If Middle Child can figure out how to stay calm, then I am happy for his progress.

Tomorrow we hit another farm, this time for the animals, and go shopping, too. I am tired of my kids shivering through winter and their shoes falling apart six weeks after purchase. I am going to get them some quality things, instead.

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Changes Recommended By The Psychologist and the Psychiatrist

Both boys met with the psychologist today, and the psychiatrist reached me as I was driving away from the appointment. The psychologist said that if the aggression was stemming from anxiety rather than ADHD/PTSD, then the Zoloft would work. Middle Child had mentioned last month that he has anxiety symptoms, and I suppose the psychiatrist remembered when she recommended this change. So the Zoloft is appropriate, and safer, than the Clonidine ER.

The psychiatrist wants the Clonidine to continue. So I am layering them, starting one over the other, and if the Zoloft shows an improvement, I will taper off the Clonidine ER. This way if there is no change then he is still on the Clonidine ER, rather than nothing. I hope it takes.

Today Middle Child talked to me a lot about psycho killers and people who get violent for no reason. He developed a fascination for guns out of nowhere (today!) and apparently has been playing “army” with a new friend. A NEW FRIEND from school, in his class. This could be the cause of his constant triggering, his relapse into aggression. A child who has been traumatized with war scenes and slapped around by a guerrilla fighter of course would be affected by this. I reminded him that playing army is not good for his brain, and asked him to play other pretend games instead. He seems to be in agreement, but I am not sure if I trust him to do it. He has been a bit evasive lately on all matters school, to hide the trouble he is having with it.

Today he was so hyper before bed that I let him run around the building ten times. I think he walked some of those times, but hopefully it helps. Right now he is splashing in the tub. I want it to relax him enough that he can get to sleep on time. Tomorrow is Saturday and we are going to be out having fun all day.

This is how I used to do it, keep him out of the house, always busy, frequently fed. It was exhausting, but it cut down on the fighting and there were no injuries, no bad memories formed of each other. I did this for a few years, and this year I did not have to, thanks to meds. Meds that do not seem to be working right now. The skills therapist told me that sometimes just before a growth spurt hormones can rev up out of control and make the meds seem ineffective, that many parents complain about behaviours that settle back down after a shoe size has increased. I hadn’t known that before.

We made a plan for the weekend, each boy has agreed to leave the other alone during computer turns, which is where I find the frustration escalating. They have to be in separate rooms during computer times. I hope I can get it all done and find time to cook, too, without having to constantly police them. I don’t want any more fits and crying like last weekend over the lack of control and consequences for such behaviour. It’s not fair to be six and to be so upset.

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