Tag Archives: Single Mother

Upping the Game

So I have finished reading Transforming the Difficult Child: the Nurtured Heart approach by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley.

I am implementing the point system laid out in the book in the hopes that my children learn some more motivation and also a better sense of worth and accomplishment. It has been a week since we started and I feel I might have made it too easy.. but they are excited, so that is good.

Tomorrow my middle child is cashing in his points to take the others to the indoor amusement park! I am going to be sore for days.. climbing through hamster tubes and tunnels and rope bridges might be too much for me. Last time we went I came home, gave them lunch, and fell asleep for hours.

Today I had the neighbor (who is also a dear friend) babysit the children in the morning while I did some Christmas shopping. I fell asleep in the afternoon and I woke up grateful that I was now able to do this, without the children getting into any mischief. Their growing maturity has made my life so much easier, I was thinking.

I sat down for a snack and a peek at a book and my youngest told me to come look at the living room. I asked her what for, did she clean it? And she nodded in assent. I stood at the doorway and saw there was something on the floor that wasn´t there before my nap. She had taken apart a draft sock (the things you use to block drafts in windows and doors) and thrown the innards (rice) all over the living room. She made sure to get handfuls in corners and behind furniture and had strewn the rest everywhere she could.

I sent her up to her room and got out the vacuum and quickly discovered that I could not get it all up. I sent her brother up to fetch her to pick it up grain by grain in the corners and along the wall but she had fallen asleep. I woke her up, set her on her feet gently and told her she had some work to do before she had any rest.

She did pick it up the best she could. I have no idea what she made that mess for in the first place. I will ask her tomorrow. I hope she sleeps in. This is probably the first time in her life that I have interrupted her nap when we were home and had no where to go.

Today my oldest child figured out how to link the babysitter´s laptop with our home computer and play games online together. I assume all he did was add a server address, but the sitter was still impressed. I hope he always has this ease with computers. He got on when he was thirteen months old and has wanted to do nothing but since then. I have him block coding (which he loves) in Minecraft and have asked him to please use straight Java instead, but he likes the ease of blocks. Maybe I can get him into another language with another project that will force him to learn it directly.

I think they are doing well. Far better than they used to be. Going dairy free has helped Middle Child immensely. The sitter we had today was concerned about Middle Child´s sleep, as he has never slept well in his life until the past six months. She brought over some essential oils that are supposed to calm and help with sleep, and he loves them. I had to argue with him patiently and logically until he would release the little jar and put it on a table next to his bed. He wanted to sleep with it in his hand so he could smell it. He said thank you immediately, too. He usually does not say thank you when he gets a gift, he often says he does not want it or acts disappointed. We have been practicing how to receive gifts, but this was spontaneous. He was really pleased. Such a lovely girl to have as my closest neighbor. I am so lucky.

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

Grateful For Patient Children

Today the car was left at the mechanic’s. It has been stalling, while driving, and I want it fixed before I get into an accident with it.

The children and I walked everywhere today. My autistic child walked to the clinic and back to the daycare, and then immediately we went walking home. After dinner we walked all the way back to pick up the car, as the mechanic is near the daycare. None of them complained. My autistic boy did tell me he was tired and was obviously having trouble walking precisely. I am really happy his muscles were worked so well, I hope he gets some strength from it, but I was sorry for him.

Such lovely children. It was about ninety and humid as all hell. My heroes!

The car did not get fixed. Apparently it only stalls for it’s own family, and presents a perfect face to the rest of the world.

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Old Habits

Today my youngest son was playing with his RAD friend, and they both had NERF guns. They were not any toys of mine, we haven’t got any guns. RAD friend fired a bullet and they both raced for it. My son won and his RAD friend was trying to grab the bullet as my son tried to load his gun with it. His RAD friend reached around both sides of my son, grabbing with both hands, until my son was caught in a wrestling hold.

At that point I yelled over to him to drop the gun and the bullet and put his hands up and go in the house.

He did. I followed.

But he went back out a few minutes later. I should have run after him.

I did run outside when I heard him hysterically crying, not long after. Not long at all. His RAD friend, calm and collected, came to tell me that my son had hit him. He showed me the spot, there was no mark. He was not hurt, I did ask him.

I went to my son and he told me that his RAD friend had hit him. The bystanders told me no, and I do not know if they were there or not when it all went down. My son told me his RAD friend had taken his bike, and had grabbed his toy back that my son wanted to use. I yelled at him, in public. I told him to come to me if he had a problem, to give his friends toys back when they ask, and never to hit. Then I yelled at him to go home. I hope he remembers the consequences of his action. He has been crying over the loss of privileges. I feel sorry for him, but he knows the rules, too.

I don’t usually yell at him in public. I decided to try it, because the last time I did so, he paid very good attention and did not repeat the violation. The psychologist has told me to react very noticeably to violence, because I normally do not react to it at all. I am so accustomed to it.

He and his RAD friend had been going at it for weeks, sometimes friends and sometimes fighting. His RAD friend is older than my son. He now knows all the right buttons to use with my son, and he knows how to upset him or keep him calm. Our RAD friend is brilliant, so I know he knows.

It is beyond important to me that I teach my son other ways to deal with extreme frustration. It does not matter if he were pushed to his limit or if he reached it by himself. Whatever brought him to hitting is not as important as the necessity of him choosing NOT to hit.

We have some new rules, which are actually old rules, reinstated. He is not allowed to play with his RAD friend. I will miss his friend at dinner and I will miss him playing at our house, he is one of my favorite children. But I see no other way around it. My son has to be supervised while outside, no more playing in the yard. He has to ask my express permission to go outside and then wait to be accompanied. He cannot leave my sight. These are the things I did in years past to protect him from abusive children in the shelter and to keep him from getting into trouble. I am sure he will miss his freedom but I know he will also appreciate the peace and quiet of being inside until the hour after dinner. School starts Monday, anyway, and homework will require his immediate attention before all else. So the change will not be immediately apparent, with the altered schedule.

I just keep seeing him crying, uncontrollably. While his friend was calm. It is only this friend that he has any problem with.

I wish I could fix it. I wish I had called him back in right away. I wish he were not so hurt inside by all of this.

I ought to start having house meetings with the children again. I think I will follow the formula of the 3 Minute Mother, setting goals and etc. I want them to look forward to a bright future, and to see their own progress, to KNOW that they can make changes and set things in motion. I want to give them more power, so they can gain more confidence.

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To The Zoo!

Today we went to the zoo, the children and my mother.

I had my mother in a wheelchair, so she would not tire. I had the children taking turns in a stroller, so they would not tire, which I suppose backfired on me, since they had to push each other, too.

When it got too much for the children I pushed the stroller a ways, parked the kids there, and went back for the wheelchair.

It was a fantastic workout. I think I burnt half my caloric intake. I bet I looked a mess, but I was really happy, and never tired.

They whined a lot in the beginning, Middle Child was tired to begin with. I think he gets more rest than I know in the day care, and for certain he gets a nap.

Overall, I think they did well. I did have to dose them twice in the day with various forms of ice cream to keep their strength up. I have to add ice cream sandwiches to the list of things they like.

We did not see as much of the animals as I wanted, but we did explore some fantastic play spaces, which I did want to accomplish this visit. There are four very different play areas and they spent significant time in each of them.

My mother tired after two hours, and I am not sure why, since she never even walked a block, but we set her by the sharks to have a little nap while we gazed at weird ocean creatures nearby and explored faux tidal pools. She perked up an hour later and we went outside for one last long play before we left.

I got a membership. Which might not be the best investment I ever made, since the zoo is much further than my comfort zone, but I figure it will force me to go back and get my money’s worth.

I can keep my kids in a triangle of three small towns, but I probably shouldn’t.

Hopefully we can see all the animals before my membership expires. We have only explored half of the zoo!

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Regression and Excuses

Middle Child hit Oldest Child today. When asked why, he told me “I just can’t control my anger!”

Not gonna fly, I told him. He lost some privileges, made his apologies and I let him know in no uncertain terms that nothing is going to slide around here. When the tears came out I comforted him. I told him I know he will make the right choice next time, and keep his video game privileges.

He stood up for his sister against a bully a minute after the hitting incident, and I did not let that go unnoticed. I reminded him of all the times he had stood up for his siblings this summer and let him know how proud I was- but I waited an hour after he was reprimanded. Just so I knew he would be receptive. He told me it was hard for him to stand up against bullying when he was younger. I told him I knew he would keep doing it, that he is acting like a hero. As he should, coming from a family of heroes.

His sister cried her little heart out before she came in for the evening. Her best neighborhood friend had cruelly covered up her hard work, a dirt puddle that she had created as a gift for the friend. Something to do with pretending to be lemurs. Middle Child assures me that his sister experienced an act of cruelty.

It could have been retaliation. I did tell the children not to pull down the sapling they were messing with. I did tell The Baby she was not allowed to hurt trees, which caused her to blurt out that it was not her who pulled off the bark, but rather Best Neighborhood Friend. I had nothing to say to that. It would be up to her friend’s mother. But her friend might have been embarrassed on being ratted out.

If The Baby were older I would explain it all to her.

Instead one of the older girls who had experienced similar cruelty from the same individual had a small heart to heart with her and then she came in smiling.

So we had some good with the bad this evening. I much prefer that to only bad.

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Toddler Threats

My daughter today wanted to go to a friend’s house. She had already proven herself tired and cross today, evidenced by many long tantrums. So many, in fact, that I suspected her of being on the cusp of an illness.

So she asked me if she could go. I told her she could not. She asked me why, and I explained it was because she threw fits today, which were not allowed. I told her I saw them as proof that today she could not handle her privileges and needed to stick close to home and get her rest.

She told me to get down. I looked around and there was no reason to duck. She said impatiently “Get down here!” I leaned down so she could whisper in my ear.

She gently cupped a hand around my ear before she said “If you don’t let me go to my friend’s house I will throw a big fit.”

I straightened back up and told her to go ahead and throw that fit.

I got this.

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Friday with the Child Psychologist

Today both boys had an appointment with the child psychologist.

She asked me what we should be working on today, and I reminded her of the current issues. I asked my middle child what he should be working on, in case I missed something, and he said he is about ready to graduate. Not the answer I expected.

After session, she told me she thought he might be ready to cease his sessions with her. She told me she remembers how they were when they first started with her, middle son at two years ago and oldest child at a year ago.

She said they were bouncing off of things. Had no focus. Became upset every minute. Did not share. Argued with everyone and each other.

Middle child did not talk about his father and did not want to discuss his feelings AT ALL for a year.

I was surprised she felt he might be done with therapy. He is doing remarkably well right now, true, but I just did not know if it were due to his medication or due to his emotional growth.

She walked us to the door and turned to me and looked me in the eyes and said “good job”.

Last week a social worker visited us in our home and attributed my kid’s good behaviour to good parenting.

After years of criticisms from their father, my father, the shelter staff- I can scarcely believe it.

I hope the children do. They worked really hard to get here.

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Friday Night

I managed to pick the kids up early from daycare. They got on the computer and did their video game thing and discussed it at length with each other. Our sweet neighbor made funnel cakes (I know, you are SO JEALOUS) and brought them over to share, right as we were finishing snack. Triple snack makes for a very easy dinner, and late. It was a great excuse to go outside. You cannot eat funnel cakes over a table, you know. They won’t taste right.

We played Kick the Can five times, one game of Kickball, and went for a bike ride around the block. There was some time on the swings, in the sandbox, that light dinner I had mentioned, you know how it goes.

I get them inside, covered with sweat, powdered sugar, and sand-all melted together. I wash them and get them ready for bed.

Middle child asks me, after I tell him to park himself in bed “What day is tomorrow?”

I tell him Saturday. He falls on the floor and begins whining about how daycare is five days a week and weekends are only two days a week and how weekends ought to be five days, as it is only fair. There was a lot more whining about numbers five and two, but I couldn’t catch it all. Whining makes my ears shut down.

So I ask him, “Why don’t you whine like this on Sunday night, when you have daycare the next day? Instead of tonight- when we have a day at home tomorrow?”

He stops whining and looks up at me. He asks me “Isn’t Saturday a daycare day?” I tell him no. He laughs a little, and tells me he thought he had to go to daycare tomorrow. I tell him when he starts whining on Sunday night I am going to tell him I heard it already on Friday, so he can’t even start. He laughs all the way to bed.

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Changes From The Psychiatric Nurse

We were lucky to get into an appointment today to see the psychiatric nurse, our scheduled appointment happened to be set for the same time as Middle Son’s first ever school concert! Had to cancel that one!

She thinks there is far more PTSD in play than we suspect, that the ADHD and the ASD are perhaps contributing less to the concentration issues than the PTSD symptoms are.

I buy that. I cannot remember anything, anymore, and I cannot keep my own concentration going long enough to finish a board game, which is something that I feel guilty about.

There is not much else to do about it, though, than what I am already doing and increasing the meds a bit. She made notes on our Thera Tapper, she had never heard of it before. I am so glad that I own one. It stops meltdowns, I swear.

I start Middle Son’s medication increase this weekend, so I can monitor him before sending him to school on a higher time release dose. This will double my cost out of pocket for the next few months, but it is the best option, and he deserves that. I am effectively making a car payment until my deductible kicks in.

Oldest Son will be doubling his medication and I do not anticipate any negative reaction, nor does the nurse, so I already upped his this evening. This will treat his PTSD more effectively, so it should help with his anxiety, too.

I am grateful I haven’t got a husband to pester me about cost or criticize the treatment plans that I have going for them. I can spend my money and my life on my kids, freely, and answer to no one about it except the professionals. As it should be. Thank goodness their father is not here to steal the money that I need for medication and enrichment classes.

School is nearly out, and Middle Son had far less trouble this year than I thought he would. I am also profoundly grateful to all the doctors and therapists and teachers who helped us get here.

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Exhaustion

For three weeks I have been dealing with boxes. My PTSD got so bad I was just packing two or so a night and then trying to de-stress. I did pretty well, I only got exasperated a few times with the children on the day of move and the day after.
But my body is completely in revolt. I am accustomed to full body aching, I have had osteoarthritis since before I was legal, but this is nearly getting the best of me.
I am bone tired. My feet will not stop hurting. I have still so much to do, and right now I just cannot.
I picked out the wrong rooms for the kids, changed them around, and it was not as bad as I thought, but I did lose a day by it.
I got beds for both my sons, from a sweet girl whose family did not need them anymore. I am very lucky with furniture, I just do without for a length of time and eventually someone asks me (not knowing that I am without) if I can use x, y, or z. She wouldn’t take payment, so I am going to get her a giftcard to somewhere, and one for her father, too, who set it all up. Nothing over the top, just enough so they know I mean it. Now I have enough beds for everyone in the house, and if I wanted a bunk bed, I could have one. Tomorrow I have to get all accessories and the boys will be in their cool new room.
When I moved to this town I sent eleven boxes by mail and then took a plane with three checked bags and three checked car seats.
I don’t know what happened. Eleven boxes would have been much easier to pack, and easier on my back.
I want to be done, to have a lazy day where I clean up whatever needs cleaning and then I organize my calendar and to-do list.
Where I do not have to decide against doing something because I am working myself into exhaustion. I thought having movers would make it a breeze, but I forgot about unpacking. I have to buy some furniture, I am unpacked enough to know that I need a pantry. I need a lot of things, actually, so many that I keep forgetting what I need.
In the last few days I have caught myself writing the letter S backwards at least three times, as if I have forgotten how to do it, and indeed it did take me more than a minute to figure out how to get it right. I hope that means nothing. I just want fourteen more years before I lose my mind. I just have to raise these kids to competency and then insanity can take me where it will.
I am very tired and sore.

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