Tag Archives: 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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Burn Out, or?

It’s hard for me to tell. Am I becoming burnt out, or is it PTSD? Am I overwhelmed, or is it SADD looming on the horizon?

I have triggers, and the resulting irritability and hypervigilance feels like being burnt out, or overtired. Today I was not a master of my irritability.

Oldest Son, when picked up for an appointment, informed me that his brother had physically hurt him (squished his face and poked his head while squeezing the back of his neck) on the bus. He did not understand why. Middle Child explained to me it was because Oldest Son wanted to read a book that was not offered to him, but rather was offered to Middle Child. We went over the definition of bullying. We went over the fact that it was never okay. He gave his apology. We agreed that they do not sit together on the bus anymore. But it settled in, the picture of Middle Child bullying his older, autistic brother, and it disturbed me deeply enough to make me impatient the rest of the evening. I cannot afford to be impatient, because I am supposed to be modeling empathy for these children, not barking at them to stop jumping around.

Or I am impatient from being burnt out. I have three to six appointments a week for the boys. I need to sign them up for extracurriculars, too. I am stressed out about my parents both succumbing to dementia, thousands of miles apart, without any medical care. I am working hard to keep the boys on the right behaviour track, with their relationships and with their school. I have to address each issue and talk them through mistakes, while modeling behaviour and solutions. Sometimes it is too much, and I long for a day where I sleep in and read books and bake all day.

I think I ought to get to the thrift store and get some fiction. If the mechanic manages to fix my car tomorrow, I will.

It could be PTSD. I found out our abuser is doing fantastically well, and is probably making money hand over fist. It makes me feel ill. And frightened. It is on my mind every minute. Money equals power in this country. Power in such hands is terrifying.

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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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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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Too Much

The other mothers in the complex are fighting with each other over parenting and child safety.

My father has dementia, and no one has told him or his doctor. He has a wife, so my hands are tied.

My mother is coming for a visit. She is never happy visiting me. I am always on edge when she comes, waiting for her to explain to me that I am not doing enough to show her a good time. Because I have children and a job. The first time she did this I was a few days post partum and could even not sit down yet. She had her friend yell at me over the phone, and she stopped when I pointed out to her that I could not walk, much less tour the local museums or go out to eat with a newborn in whooping cough territory with that horrible flu going around. You have to keep babies indoors the first six weeks in such places, said the pediatrician.

I enrolled in community college, and have to take the placement test.

My best friend has all the signs of prescription drug abuse, and in fact I never see her anymore, though I do get “drunk texts” from her and desperate calls from her son asking for help. She has a husband, so my hands are tied.

Two of my kids start a new school in a few weeks. I found out the local schools publish the kids in the paper when they get honor roll. I opt them out of everything, and still there is another security leak.

I am stressed out.

I need to remember to take my medication.

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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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Autism and Bullying

My son was kicked by some children in the neighborhood tonight. He tried to get up but they would kick his legs out from under him. He was more frightened than he was hurt, though tomorrow I am going to check for bruising because he said he could feel it and he often does not feel pain. Nothing showed on first inspection. This is sometimes an issue because when you think he should be hurt, he is laughing instead. You can see how this would escalate, though I do not know if that was the case this time. Another mother told me her son had been kicked by one of the other children before, and he kicks hard. I was holding him while he was crying, just after it happened, and as the perpetrators approached he cried more forcefully, becoming hysterical and saying he didn’t want them to come any closer.

That was PTSD. I could see it. Maybe he remembers his father kicking him, or kicking me. This is something to take to the psychologist tomorrow.

His brother tried to help during the incident by engaging one of the boys close to his size, and an older boy in the neighborhood who has known him for some years at daycare also helped a lot to get him away and find me (I was on the other side of the building with the other mothers). But the worst was that his best friend had joined in, she says she didn’t realize how serious it was. His brother said he was scared to do more than what he did. I need to ask him what more he thought he should do. I did tell him it would be good to run for me, screaming all the way, so I could help.

I just kept thinking this was his life. This is what I expect from other children when they encounter a child with special needs. I have to remind myself that others helped him, that others will help him. Every day I wonder if he will learn to be independent. He is okay engaging with people, he can pay for things and ask questions. It is the self care and the self preservation that I worry about. When I was his age I was getting beat like that at least once a day, by my older brother. I don’t know how anyone can watch a child cry so hard and not feel sympathetic. I don’t know how my mother always walked away. I don’t want him to become accustomed to such treatment, I want him to see it for what it is, and judge others by it as they should be.

I cannot make the world a safer place for my son. I can only teach him how to stay safe in it, the best I can.

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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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Feeling Awful

Our favorite neighbor, a boy the same age as my oldest, became upset with me tonight.
He is underweight. The doctor wants to get more calories in him. His mother has been trying to get him to eat more, plying him with sweets.
Tonight he was at my house for dinner time and he did not like what we were having. He ate nothing. When his own dinnertime was underway, I sent him home to get a bite, telling him to come back when he was done.
He was a bit miffed with me, but I told him again just to eat and come back to play. That we would wait for him.
He went home and threw an unholy fit. His mother was already exhausted. I felt awful. I went over there after it and I sat on the front step and I apologized and talked to him about his feelings and we cried a bit.
My son was sad that we could not have our usual time to play together with our neighbor.
I feel so responsible. I knew he was an EBD kid, like mine. I wish I had done something different so that this had never happened.

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