Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When Will I Learn?

I am a slow learner. Every training I have attended, and all the books I have been reading on FASD, say the same thing. Do everything you can to avoid the rage situations, because once they have started, it is usually impossible to stop them. Every once in awhile, I can get Akila distracted, but usually it is impossible to stop her anger. I have recently figured out that one of her "triggers" is that she gets frustrated when she can't find something. I guess this happens to me as well. I actually had our Christmas cards done by Halloween (scary, I know- and very unlike me). I cleaned my kitchen in early November and put them somewhere. When I was ready to address them, I could not find them for the life of me. After 2 days of tearing the house apart, I finally discovered them, right in front of my nose. Anyway, back to Akila. She seems to misplace something a minimum of five times a day and comes to me for help. I remember doing the same thing to my mom. "Mom, have you seen my purple corduroys (I had 7 pair of purple pants in junior high)?", "Mom, have you seen my Chuck Taylor peach high tops(yes, the ones I wore to prom)?" My mom's replies would always be something like, "I didn't wear your pants, I didn't use your racket", etc. I have said the same things to my children. I don't say this to Akila.

I usually try to help her walk through in her mind where it could be. "Where did you last use it?" "What rooms were you in with it?", etc. This usually frustrates her as she just wants me to walk around the house and look for it. I usually don't want to do this as I am in the middle of something. I almost always end up having to do this though, and this is after her frustration hits a high level and some name calling and other yucky behaviors have been exhibited. Why don't I just take the 3-5 minutes immediately and walk around with her and help her find it?? It would be so much easier. This is why I think I am a slow learner.

Yesterday, Christmas day, we were at Dan and Tara's house (Michael's brother). Akila couldn't find her teddy bear- I tried suggesting where to look, which set her off!!!!! Basically, from this point on, she was a pill the rest of the day. Quick to anger and full of attitude. Her first instinct lately is to call people names like "dumb head", "big head" or "stupid head". I have been reading Ross Greene's book the Explosive Child the last few days. He says that swearing is what some kids use when they are frustrated and can't find the right words, it is like a dogs bark. When you step on a dog's tail, they either bark, bite or run away as they don't have the language to describe to you why they are mad. The damage to Akila's frontal lobe makes it very difficult for her to verbalize her anger, and this combined with her lack of impulse control, result in her explosions. I only dread the day when I am no longer called a "dumb head", but something much less tasteful.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dance Parents, Beware

We had a fun evening at dance class tonight. We were trying to get packed up after class and Akila was acting suspicious. I was asking to see her shoe bag which she was refusing to give up. A small struggle occurred and then I finally got her into the staff room to check out the bag. Sure enough, she had someone else's ballet shoes and not her own. They were much cuter of course. Couldn't get out of her who's they were so we will have to wait til next week. She also had her friends street shoes in the bag and didn't think we would notice as this girl had no shoes to wear home. After I took the shoes away without even getting mad at her, she of course went into anger mode and was yelling "I hate you, you big head" and other sweet nothings into the crowd. It cracks me up to think of what these parents must think of me as I basically ignore Akila.

On the way through the parking lot, she was still yelling and mainly at Imani who she also started to hit. So as usual, I finally lost it. She was sitting down in her seat and I grabbed her by the coat and pulled her out of the van and started to chew her out. I broke her candy cane she had received in class and told her she had not earned it and threw it in the parking lot. Not a very proud moment. The nice thing was, that we drove home in silence instead of listening to hate filled rants like we did on the way to dance. Next time I see litter in a parking lot, maybe I will wonder if it was a parent on the edge who threw it there in the middle of their own rage.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A New Week

I am glad for a new week. Last one was long. Two days after my last post, I woke up with some kind of stomach bug and was a mess all day. Michael had to work very late and didn't get home until 11 p.m. Thankfully, Akila was pretty great all night. She got home and did about 15 minutes of raging which is pretty much her routine lately. Walks in the door sobbing and emotional and nothing helps. Just have to wait her out. She said she didn't feel good either (which I have been hearing a lot lately???) so I had her come in my room with her blankie and watch a movie since she was sick, while I laid there dying!!! The test I was waiting for would be when another kid dared enter my room, she is usually very territorial about this. Thankfully, she was fine with it and all 4 kids watched movies all night in my room and colored, while I laid there dying-did I mention that yet?

Saturday morning I was fine. Praise the Lord!!! Yesterday, I went to the kids school and met with Akila's teacher and shared some info I have been learning on FASD. She is a fantastic teacher and so receptive to Akila's challenges. I know how many FASD families have to constantly "fight" with their schools for understanding so I feel truly blessed. Although I know this could change in the next few years as Akila's behaviors become more challenging. So far, she has yet to rage at school, which I am truly thankful for (as is her teacher!!!). My fear is that she will next year, as when a behavior becomes very difficult at home, it usually follows at school within the next 6-12 months.

A funny story from this weekend. Akila was getting really sassy and Michael sent her to her room to cool off. I went up there a bit later and found her with a tank top on and scissors in her hand. She had just cut the straps off in order to, what I call, "slutify" the shirt (wonder if that word will be in the spell checker?). She is very good at slutifying clothing and this is a constant struggle. We have very strict rules on clothing; no tummies can show, no bikini's, no short skirts, etc. But she of course, like a teenager, alters the clothes. Anyway, she didn't like my reaction. I said, "Thanks honey, now I can throw that shirt away." This of course infuriated her. I don't mind tank tops in the summer on really hot days, but if you could see my daughter walking around the house in a tank top with the way she walks and talks, it is like she puts on an entire persona when she is wearing something she thinks is sexy. It makes me want to vomit, especially when I think what might be ahead in our future.

I know that I really need to do a few posts on some specifics of FASD, as many of my family and friends are not familiar with it and the challenges it brings. My goal is to do this within the next week or so.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dr. Appt. & Flat Tire

Yesterday was one of those days. Zeke and I went to the kids school at 1:30 to pick up Hezekiah for both of the boys annual check up with the doctor. We went early to check in with the 15 year old girl whom I mentor and found out she was suspended for fighting. Not good. I also found out when I went in the office that the afterschool activities were being cancelled due to the snow. Which meant that I needed to get Akila and Imani out of school early to go to the doctor with us as well. So I spent a half hour tracking all 3 of my kids down, getting on boots and all the winter junk and then driving to Children's Clinic in South Mpls. Our appt. was for 2:15, we left at 4:00. Akila was bouncing off the wall in the little exam room, literally. She couldn't keep her hands off anything. They were all getting flu shots and were a getting a little worked up about this. Except for Akila. She loves shots--I am serious. Last time she saw the doctor, she did not need any shots and threw a fit and begged for one. She is a little nuts. So she is excited for a shot, and raging a bit cuz she wants a shot NOW. Hezekiah started to freak out as we got closer to the shot time, which was a new experience for me. None of my kids have ever pitched a fit over shots and not cried for more than the 3 seconds it takes for a shot.

I finally had to put Akila on my back, piggy back style when the dr. was talking to settle her down. Worked for a few moments, until she took out my hair clip and I couldn't see anything. We finally got out of there at 4:00 and it took 1 1/2 hours to get home. Usually takes 20 minutes. Did I mention this is at 4:00? My kids haven't had anything to eat since lunch. Thankfully I had some nutrigrain bars in my emergency stash which appeased a few of them. Two out of the four had to go potty about 45 minutes into the wait, but there was no way I was getting off that road. It was not a fun night. Got home, put a movie in, and skipped homework for the night-I didn't have it in me.

Even better, this morning, I have a totally flat tire when I go out to the van to go meet a former student of mine for breakfast (hi Kalpesh!). I call him and he was good enough to come and get me. This afternoon, I changed the tire and spent the evening trying to deal with lots of rages. Michael had to work late. It was a long night. I pray that tomorrow will be more mellow (as I sit at Tires Plus waiting in silence for a new tire).

Bad Parenting

Well, I haven't had enough energy to post this week. First, I have to admit something I did on Sunday that I don't think I am proud of, haven't decided yet. Akila has been really into a lot of ridiculous raging in which she tries to step on my feet and swipe her arms at me (basically hit me with an open hand) and other goofy things. It is really fun. Especially when I will agree with her on something and she will psychotically yell at me to stop saying that. I think what? I just agreed with you. I bring that up and she yells more. She just wants to yell. Good times. Once in awhile, it is so ridiculous that I actually can't hold it in and I laugh. This of course infuriates her. So on Sunday, I started copying her. I yelled the things back, kicked the furniture, stomped on her feet, etc. She couldn't stop laughing, and then would get angry, which I would copy, she would laugh, then get angry, I would copy, etc. I was like a 5 year old. It was great. Not. But when she laughed at me, I would say, "You see, it is hard not to laugh when someone is acting like this, isn't it Akila?" Anyway, I must admit that it did get her out of her rages a lot sooner and that is usually my goal. So I may keep trying it, although I know it is not what the parenting books say to do.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Sex: F"

I just remembered something funny from our date night. I had my driver's license out at the restaurant and Akila was looking at it. She wanted to keep it and we had a mini struggle over it. She was looking at it very intently so I was trying to read it with her and explain the info to her. She was holding it tightly and I finally realized she was intentionally covering up some info with her thumb. I moved her thumb and it was the "Sex: F" part of it. I started laughing so hard. I was trying to explain to her what that means and she couldn't believe I said the sex word. It was pretty funny.

Date Night

Wow, I wish every night could be date night. We do date nights with our kids about every nine months or so. One kid gets to go out with mom and dad, pick a restaurant, an activity and one toy. Michael and I absolutely love these nights as the kids are always on their best behavior and are so fun to be with. Tonight was Akila's date night and she was heavenly!!!!

We went to the Mall of America and she chose Tony Roma's to eat at (with a little planting from mom). It turned out to be a great place as she loves barbecue and chose ribs and ate half of dad's barbecue chicken. Next, we rode rides which I love!! It is great that she and Imani are now tall enough to go on the big people rides. We rode the Timberland Twister (my favorite), the Mighty Axe (Akila's new favorite), the Ripsaw and the Log Chute. It was super fun, Akila and I screamed our heads off!!! Dad watched (he is not much of a rider, well, not one at all).

Then we went to Build A Bear Workshop for the first time and she got a bear. She was an absolute delight to be around all night and it was hard to not constantly be trying to point that out to her and talk about how we would always like her to behave in this way. Of course, we did a couple of times, but restrained a million times. It was an awesome evening and a gift from God to remind us how pleasant Akila truly is when her brain damage is not getting in the way. Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And Again

Well, my earlier post was about stealing, and so is this one. When the kids got home from school today, I had to immediately leave for an appt. with the Neuro-Psychologist to find out results of tests she had done with Akila earlier this month. The kids got home at 3:35 and my appt. was at 4:00 at Children's Clinics. I had my coat on and bags on my shoulder.

Akila ran in the door and started to run up the stairs, with her coat and backpack. She said she had to go to the bathroom but it was very suspicious. I asked her if she had brought her extra coat back from school, she said yes. I told her to throw her backpack down so I could put the coat away. She refused. The sign that she had stolen. I asked what was in her backpack that should not be. She fussed, raged a bit, then said a purse. My heart sank. I thought, she has stolen the teacher's purse. I opened her backpack and was relieved to find a little girl's play purse, still a serious offense, but somehow I was relieved it was not an adults.

The purse does have several dollars in it and Akila of course fumed that I took it away from her. I felt bad for Paris, the young man who was sitting, as I left to hurry off to the doctor. I am still thankful that she has not figured out or tried to steal from a store yet, I know that will happen some day. By the way, did I mention that in all the fuss with Akila, I set my bags down and forgot all the paperwork I needed to bring with to the dr. appt?? I was very happy about that-NOT!

Theft Cycle

Stealing is what kind of brought us to the diagnosis of Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder (ARND) for Akila. We had always known there had been prenatal exposure to alcohol, but weren't sure the impact. Akila has always had issues with ownership, trying to sneak toys home from friend's playdates, taking stuff from my jewelry box, etc. Then in first grade, she started stealing like crazy. One week, she stole on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each night we had a talk about stealing, how it makes someone feel, etc. Consequence each night. Thursday night, I told her if she stole the next day, that her beloved blankie (which she was obsessed with) would go in the garbage never to be seen again. She came home on Friday with a ten dollar bill. Most of her theft had been a pencil, lip gloss, etc. So, bye bye blankie. It hardly phased her. I thought this would tear her apart as she was so obsessed with it.

The next week, she was stealing again. This is when I figured out that something was seriously wrong. I talked to the school psychologist who said they normally didn't see this in kids who "had" enough and that they usually saw this in kids who lived in shelters. I did some Internet digging, and learned that this was a common thing with kids affected by alcohol. Having worked in education, I had received some training on FAS long ago, but didn't know anything about FAE/ARND or that kids could have it without the physical features. As I looked at the list of behaviors, I immediately knew Akila had it.

Anyway, she has a pattern of being very cyclical in her theft. She usually doesn't do it much at the beginning of the school year, but usually, right around November when she is getting comfortable with her new classroom and the new teacher, it begins. Sure enough, it seems to have started yesterday. She came home from school saying that she stole some gum from her teacher. At bedtime, I found 2 pencil erasers and a key chain in her pocket which are not hers. She admitted that she took them from someone. A year ago, this would have set me off!!!!! I am in such a better place now to deal with this knowing how her brain processes things like this. She will still get a consequence and we will talk about it. But I now can deal with it so much more calmly. Information is truly precious.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Glitter Lotion

Just thought of one more thing. Akila has horribly dry and ashy skin and she HATES getting lotion on. We have been fighting a lot about this the last few weeks. Her skin is pretty sensitive and we can't use the perfumey or fun kinds of lotion. But tonight, in all my wisdom (yeah right), I put some glitter in the Eucerin lotion and put it on her without a fight. It was a proud moment for me. It probably won't work tomorrow, but I can't ask for too much now can I??

Fake Fingernails

God bless my little girl who loves all things "Fu Fu" as I call it. Akila is obsessed with all things having to do with fashion. She loves clothing, hair, make-up- all the stuff I could really care less about. Anyway, today, she gets off the bus, walks in the door and wants to go to the store to buy fake stick-on fingernails. I asked her who she saw on the bus with some on and she told me a teenager. I tried to talk to her about how they looked and things like that. She knew I was trying to distract her or throw her off course and just kept on insisting that we go immediately to buy some. I told her we would put them on her Christmas list but that wasn't good enough. I told her we could not go buy some and the tantrum started. There was no distracting or calming her down. I told her she would need to go to her room if she could not calm down and stop screaming, kicking furniture and name calling. She did not listen. She would not go to her room. I then calmly, dragged her up the stairs to her bedroom and told her she could not come out until she calmed down. She raged in there for awhile, eventually came down and went back in on how I should buy her some to make her happy. I "brought" her back to her room and she eventually came back and kind of followed me around giving me what I call, the "Satan look".

We had dance class tonight so I had tried several times to get her to change into her dance clothing but she would have nothing to do with it. It was almost time to go, I got her changed, and then 10 minutes before we had to go, she decided we should stop at Leann Chins for dinner on the way to dance. This is a treat that she loves which we only do once in awhile as it adds up financially. I told her that we could maybe do it next week before dance, if she could control her behavior after school and that her behavior had not been good enough to go there tonight. Tantrums started all over again. I thought we might miss dance tonight (and we did the last two weeks due to my tonsillectomy). We made it, miraculously.

During dance class, I briefly overheard 2 moms talking about bullying in the class and one said she was going to talk to the instructor about it. I tried to talk to her to see if she knew who was doing the bullying but she didn't seem to have a name. I know that over a month ago, Akila called a little girl ugly on the girls birthday. Lovely. Even more lovely since I am the behind the scenes Office Manager for this dance studio which is owned by my best friend. I talked to my friend tonight about talking to the instructor more on how to handle Akila. It's always something.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Akila and the Bee

Many of you have maybe seen the movie "Akeelah and the Bee", it is one of our favorites, of course!! Today is the day after Thanksgiving and a good time to reflect on what I am thankful for. There are many things and by reading this blog, you may not think that I am ever thankful. That is because this blog is kind of my venting avenue, and after a short while, I have found it to be quite therapeutic. I especially appreciate it when people post comments as I then know that people are reading my rants and for some reason, that feels good. Enough on that.

Some of you know this, but Akila is an excellent reader. I am so thankful for this. She enjoys reading and has never really struggled with the concepts. She is also a gifted speller- go figure (Akila is in 3rd grade)!!! She amazes me in spelling, and she seems to enjoy it as well. The really nice thing with this is that it is something we can praise her for -legitimately. I am going to try to post my first picture, I took one of her spelling test from last week. All year, she has usually been getting one wrong which is awesome and we praise her for it. Last week she got them all right and walked in the door from the bus with a giant smile and on a total high. She was excited the entire night from that spelling test-Praise the Lord!!! It is of course hanging up and probably will be all year. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Akila loves it!!! The girls name is Akeelah Anderson, so close to Akila Clark!!!

I am also thankful for my family. Last night, I was laying on my bed with all 4 of my kids watching the Incredibles and I felt truly blessed. We had spent the day at Grandma Kathy's having a Thanksgiving feast (that is what my kids love to call it) and the kids were pretty well behaved. As we are at the beginning of the holiday season, I start to think a lot of my mom and how 3 years ago, she started to rapidly go downhill. As a matter of fact, the day after Thanksgiving is when we were at the "good" Oncologist who told us that mom had already surpassed her life expectancy for her diagnosis, and probably had only a few months left. It is interesting how these dates stick in my head. It was the year after mom died that we figured out Akila has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). I wish we had known when mom was alive as Akila drove her nuts! My understanding and patience for Akila have grown tremendously since we figured out her FASD (and it still needs to grow). I think it would have helped my mom be more patient with her as well. I will stop rambling now. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! P.S. I also had to post a picture of my kids since I figured out how to upload the pictures! Hezekiah is on the far left, then Akila, Imani with hear arm around Zeke who has the cheesy smile.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Week-end Wrap-Up

Saturday was getting to be a very long day. I was quite thankful when Ashley came to get the kids just after 4:00 to take them to a movie and dinner. When they returned, it was very interesting to hear Ashley say that there was a noticeable difference in Akila's behavior from late last spring when she brought them out, to now. I have been feeling the same thing. Although, I usually feel that about every 3 months, Akila's challenging behavior has progressed and she is more difficult to deal with. I think this will be the pattern for the rest of our lives. One of the things that can drive us all crazy, is Akila's loudness. If anyone has figured anything out to get children like this to stop yelling, I would appreciate any suggestions. Akila is quite sensitive to smell and sounds, but is the loudest child herself. Go figure.

Today, Akila was at Anna's apartment getting her hair braided for nearly 4 hours (it didn't take quite that long, she had breaks to play with Amari). Needless to say, it was rather peaceful at our house this afternoon. It is always fun to pick Akila up as she is very excited about the new style she is sporting. Remember, Friday morning she was raging and violent over wanting a new hair do. So tonight, at bedtime, she lost it as her head is a bit sore from the new braids. Bedtime was not fun. She was on an emotional roller coaster, upset about her hair hurting, upset about not wanting me to leave her room, upset because she wants fake fingernails for Christmas, and on and on. She was practically manic. I didn't know if I would ever get out of her room. Thankfully, I did.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Silly "Little" Rages

Hello everyone. Today is day 5 post surgery, and I am starting to come back to life. Pain is still pretty substantial but the meds help- especially at making me tired. Yesterday morning was an interesting one. Michael got the kids off to school all week so I could sleep and I could hear he was having a "fun" morning with Akila (most are like that-actually, they have not been as bad since we started the Melatonin). She came into my bedroom and stood by the foot of my bed demanding that I comb out her hair and put new braids in it- a minimum 3 hour project. I said we would do it this weekend and that there was not time before school. This was not an OK answer. She started to lose it, and none of my words were going to calm her down. She raged, hit my legs with her teddy bear, spewed many hateful words and finally left as I just lay there dead to the world. It was a very peaceful way to wake up. I learned today that dad then had it out with her about wearing shoes to school-we are very demanding parents.

Today, she is having a hard time because Imani is at a friend's birthday party. I was laying on the couch (which I have been doing a lot) telling her we would have a friend sleep over next week for her. Of course, she does not understand next week. It was nearly time for her to leave for tennis which she did not want to do as she was too upset. She stood next to me on the couch raging about everything and nothing. I eventually had my eyes closed and my hands over my eyes (trying to stifle my headache) when she started yelling at me to stop looking at her. I asked her if she wanted me to look at her (since I wasn't) and she raged that she didn't want me to look at her. I said I wasn't which made her rage more. It was really fun. She obviously just needed to get some emotions out and had no idea what she wanted.

Anyway, I am very thankful that Ashley, a previous co-worker, is coming to get the kids tonight to take them to dinner and a movie. It will be great for them to get out as they have kind of been stuck in the house all week with me. I am ready to feel better. I must say a big public thanks to Emily for watching my kids all week until Michael got home from week. She is truly a blessing in our life!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The tonsils are gone, and a whole bunch of pain has been left in their place. It went very well, Akila only came into my room 2 dozen times or so last night, but it was fine. She is a child who is very obsessed with all things medical. She is extremely loving and caring when someone is hurting. I was telling my nurse yesterday who gave me my IV, that Akila loves IV's. She has to have them once in awhile when she gets dehydrated. She gets bouts of vomiting about 3 or 4 times a year, and about once a year, we can't get it under control and end up in the ER. She loves it. When we go to regular Dr. appointments, she begs for shots and throws little fits when she can't get one. It makes it very easy to take her to the doctor.

I just also need to mention how much I love Melatonin. Kari Fletcher mentioned it briefly in a training she did a few weeks ago and I had never heard of it. Akila has always had a very difficult time winding down at bedtime. We do bedtime by 8:00 p.m. and she was always up til 10 or 11. This is partially why we rearranged our bedrooms recently. Mike and I are now in what was once our sun room so Akila could have her own room. Anyway, I researched the Melatonin, ran to CVS and got some the next day, and Akila has been sleeping within 15 minutes of bedtime each night, and has only once gotten out of bed and went right back. This has changed our lives in the evening, it is so much more peaceful. Praise the Lord. Thanks for great advise Kari!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Big Day

Well, I am going in bright and early tomorrow morning to have my tonsils removed. I am not looking forward to this for several reasons. The obvious one, PAIN. I'm not a big fan of pain. I had to have 1/2 of my thyroid removed in September due to a silly nodule on it, and they say this goofy surgery is going to be 10 times as hard of a recovery, due to the pain. Great, looking forward to it. But, I am also a bit anxious about the kids and how my recovery is going to affect them. Akila is quite addicted to me and I don't think I will have any patience to be around her for several days. Emily (our old sitter who is now like a dear family member-who also got engaged yesterday-congrats) is coming over each day to watch the kids until Mike gets home, but I know Akila well enough to know she will not be able to leave me alone. I pray that I will have the patience to deal with her if I need to (if-ha ha). I also pray that Mike will have the patience to deal with the kids pretty much alone each night.

I went to school and had lunch with my girls today, brought them Pizza Hut pizza from Target. I got there a few minutes too late and they had already gone through the line and gotten sloppy joes. But they didn't eat the school food (of course), we all ate pizza. Then after school, I asked each girl individually if they had any surprises in school and they both were able to say that I surprised them at lunch with pizza. At dinner, I asked the girls what they had for lunch for daddy's sake. Imani said "pizza", Akila said "sloppy joes". I asked Akila again several more times, and she kept answering sloppy joes. I asked her if that is what she ate. She had to think for several seconds, then answered pizza and remembered that I had been there. Her memory issues are sporadic but are thankfully not one of her major problems. They just pop up like this once in awhile.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Braiding Hair

Imani's piano recital was lovely yesterday, and thankfully it was only about 35 minutes. Imani is a great pianist and seems to really love it. Right before it started, Akila was beginning to lose it! The recital was at 3:00 and this is typically the time when Akila will start to fall apart if she is going to (miraculously, she doesn't every day- there are blessings everywhere). She made it through the recital while bouncing on Michael's lap, I thought the pew might break. During the refreshment time afterward, she was totally hyper and not listening. We were suppose to leave it to go out for Hezekiah's birthday dinner, at Olive Garden, his choice. The entire car ride, I was saying to Michael that I thought maybe Akila and I should go home as she was obviously losing it. He said, no we will do this as a family and I will just take her out to the van if need be. Well, I'm glad he decided that. It was a rough meal, she went to the van only once, but was close several more times.

After getting home, I was able to spend nearly 3 hours coming weave out of Imani's hair. My back was aching big time by the finish of that project. Now I just spent 2 hours braiding it tonight (my children are African American so it takes awhile to do their hair-especially since I am not and have had to learn how to do their hair, and am not very fast. The good thing is you don't have to do it for about 2 weeks). Of course as I was just about finished with Imani's hair, Akila came upstairs and started throwing a fit wanting me to do new braids for her (I did hers last weekend). I explained that wouldn't work but that we would next weekend That was not good enough. Crying fits followed which I tried to head off. I took a break from braiding and tried to distract her, but there was no going there. So I finished braiding Imani's hair with the volume turned up on the TV so we could hear it over the screams. One of the hardest things for me in dealing with Akila is in watching my non-affected kids have to put up with so much junk. It is amazing how patient they are and how they rarely hold grudges. I am sometimes still mad and turn and they are playing with her after she just smacked them really hard. They all 4 teach me so much.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Soda Shower

I have spent the good part of today cleaning our mudroom. I noticed yesterday that the floor was really sticky and I asked Michael if he knew of a can of pop exploding in there. He said yes, Zeke had dropped one but he had wiped it up. Then today I noticed that the walls are sticky, as is the closet door and as I looked closer, everything in the entire room has been sprayed with pop. Michael said he didn't think it was the one he had helped Zeke clean up as it didn't really spray. Shortly after this conversation, Akila came in and said "Mom, I'm going to tell the truth. I "accidentally" shook up a can of pop and sprayed it in here." I said, thanks for telling me (as I fought the urge to yell like the psycho mom I can be). I had her help me to clean it for awhile as we talked about why it was a bummer that she did this.

Unfortunately, it was Sprite-which is invisible. I wish it were a Diet Coke so I could see where to clean. I'm still not done, have mopped the floor 3 times and it is still sticky. Of course, if I was more organized it would not be as major of a clean up. There was junk everywhere in there (bike helmets, nebulizer supplies, boombox, phone books, etc.), just lying on the floor. Coats hanging on the wall hooks have to all be washed. Thankfully we are going out for dinner as it is Hezekiah's 6th birthday today (after Imani's piano recital).

Martian Child, or FASD???

Wow, it is true. Once you're starting to "get" FASD, you see it everywhere. I went with my friend tonight to see the movie, Martian Child, and she eventually was annoyed with me as I kept saying, "He probably has FASD- he has a lot of the symptoms." Not to mention that I couldn't stop talking about the FASD conference and all I had learned. It is hard to understand if you don't have a child who is affected or have not been reading up or going to trainings. My mind is spinning.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cheetos, Again

When will I learn. I must banish Cheetos from our lives. Yesterday morning, when trying to get the kids ready for school and myself ready for attending the FASD conference, Akila decided she should bring an entire bag of Hot Cheetos to school. I rarely buy Cheetos but someone shared some with her on the bus on Monday and she was begging for them and I used them as a reward. Dumb mommy. Anyway, I said I would put some in a baggie for her to take and have at lunch but she insisted on the whole bag. I explained why that would not be a good idea (inside fully knowing that she would be eating them on the bus, in the hallways, etc.) and that she could only bring a baggie. This was not good enough for her. I told her it was her only choice and tried to change the subject, distract her, ask her about the bump on her head or the cut on her leg (she is completely obsessed with all bumps, bruises and scraps)- but there was no heading this rage off. It was the worst one she has ever had. I just stood there watching her, thinking "I am going to this conference today no matter what Girl!!! I need it to deal with you better. How am I going to get you on the bus in 20 minutes." Yes, 20 minutes. Doesn't sound long, does it? But it really is when you are dealing with a child in full rage mode. She was whaling at the top of her lungs, on the floor screaming, kicking over furniture, shouting very hateful things, etc. I was worried that I might not be able to calm her down enough to get on the bus. Right as it was time to go to the bus stop, she finally conceded and would go with the baggie of Cheetos instead of the entire bag, but left out the door with a huge attitude saying that she hates me. My neighbor, Kathy (the lady who I have adopted as my mom), arrived right before this to watch Zeke before his bus came (so I could leave for the conference). She saw Akila's attitude and tried to hug it out of her. Wish that would work.

Needless to say, I was very relieved that she went. I went to the computer very quickly and sent her teacher an email warning her of our horrible morning and saying I hoped it would not spill into her day (yeah, right-dream on Barb). On my way to the conference, I had to call my friend Juli to vent about my morning (and it was only 8:00 a.m.). As I told her the story, she said to me "Isn't Cheetos what she called the police over a few years ago?" Ah, my memory sometimes blocks things out. In 1st grade, Akila came home from school and someone on the bus had shared Cheetos with her (what's up with this kid on the bus and Cheetos-I should look into this). She wanted me to go to the store immediately and buy her some. I told her no and she of course protested. About 20 minutes later, I received a call from the Mpls police saying they had just received a 911 call and had a hang up. I apologized and went to talk to Akila. She said she called the police because I wouldn't buy her Cheetos. I don't think I will ever again. Lock me up.

My First Entry,

Hi everyone,

My first entry, I am so nervous. First a disclaimer, a writer I am not. I will not even attempt to proof my entries or use good grammar-hopefully this thing has a spell check or you're all in for a treat. My husband, Michael, and I have 4 adopted children. Akila who is 8 and in 3nd grade, Imani who is 7 and in 2nd grade, Hezekiah who is 6 and in kindergarten and Zeke who is 5 and in High 5 Preschool. Akila is my alcohol effected child, she has ARND. Our children are African American and we are white. We got them all between 5-10 weeks of age, none of them are related by birth.

So, basically we have 4 children, ages 5,6,7 & 8. Yes, we are a bit crazy. I think this blog will probably focus on our (or should I say "my"-as I doubt Michael will do any posting, although he is welcome to) challenges with Akila. Obviously these challenges involve the entire family.

Yesterday, I attended a FASD conference in St. Paul which was excellent!!! I learned a good amount of stuff and made a few connections. It is quite overwhelming to sit in the audience and listen to the true facts of FASD and how many of our children we are actually screwing up. It is also motivating and I can feel the Lord in the last two or so months nudging me into greater involvement with the FASD movement. I am learning as much as I can to see how I can fit into it, and how it can fit into our lives. I know a fit will become obvious shortly. Prayer is a powerful thing and I can feel the Lord working in our lives big time right now.

Anyway, I think this is enough for the first post. I will write one about a Cheetos incident I had yesterday with Akila shortly.