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.