Tuesday, February 26, 2008


We had a pretty good day on Saturday and Sunday was going OK as well; until we went to our school's bowling fundraiser event Sunday afternoon. I really need to plan these things better, seriously. The kids all bowled the first game and had a lot of fun. It didn't take too long so we let them bowl a second game. There were a ton of school families there, it was a great event. After the first several frames of the second game, Akila lost interest and wanted money for the vending area. I hate vending areas. It would be one thing if they were made up of actual video games, as they were when I was a kid. But almost everything in them are those ridiculous claw games and things like them, that even have Ipods in them to sucker the kids into putting their money into them. Dumb. Anyway, Akila wasn't taking no for an answer and was obsessed with the games. She started hitting, kicking and all that fun stuff. When she saw that we were going to follow through on the threat of taking her out to the car, she mellowed and bowled a few more frames. Only to eventually wander back over to the vending area.

Well, by the time it was time to go, she was in a pretty good rage and wouldn't put her shoes on. It took both Michael and I to put her shoes on, one of us holding her legs so she wouldn't kick us. Michael was holding her firmly by the grip leading her out of the bowling alley, as she is trying to kick, hit and eventually bite his hand. It was a lovely scene for the other families. Once in the van, it got really fun. Not a fun ride home. Thankfully, she did calm down right before we got home and went down for bed fairly well.

But, she awoke at 1:00 a.m. again and was up for the rest of the night. Wow, that is not fun. Imani was also up from about 1-4 a.m., poor thing. I was a zombie yesterday, but not Akila. She was wide awake and very cooperative in the morning before school. Was in a good mood after school too. Maybe the key to her is 4-5 hours of sleep only. NOT.

I brought the kids to dance last night and on the way home, as soon as we got in the van, Akila was being mean and irrational. Yelling at Imani for speaking at all. Calling her names, being totally rude. About a few miles from the dance studio, I pulled off on a side road and yanked her out of the van, closed the door, and made her stand on the side of the road until she thought she could get back in the van, keep her mouth closed, stop yelling and calling names. She was not happy. She finally said she was ready, we got back into the van. As she was buckling, she started in again. I got out of the van, yanked her out again and stood outside for awhile. When we got back in, she finally quieted down. She is very stuck in this mode that "everyone is bugging me", that is what makes it OK to yell, call names, hit. The hilarious thing, is what bugs her, are the things she constantly does to all of us. Ha.

She went to bed OK last night and slept through the night, praise the Lord.

Monday, February 18, 2008

We're Back

I decided to leave Lutsen last night at bedtime. The idea of getting up this morning, packing and driving 4 plus hours while the kids were bright eyed did not sound fun; plus I like night driving. But I did not like it last night. After we hit Duluth, we also hit a windy snow storm the entire way until we arrived in the Metro. I could barely see the road for most of the way, and I was going between 40-50 mph at the most, which is painful for a speedster like me. We got home just after 1:00 a.m. and my back was aching from the stressful driving. Akila did not fall asleep. Wow. But, she was very good and I am so thankful for that. I am also thankful that she slept today until 11:20.

She did have a pretty difficult time at Lutsen. Juli has 2 teenagers, and 2 little girls, Eva who is 8 and Isadora who is almost 7. The added stimulation was just too much, I guess. We swam each day, in a pool which seemed toxic. We would swim in the morning and we would be the only ones in the pool and it worked out. Then in the afternoon, there were lots of people in there and the steam from the hottub and something else, made it steamy and weird, to the point where ours eyes burned (even if not swimming) and the kids were all coughing. Two of them threw up. Strange.

Akila just wanted to play one-on-one with Eva the entire time, and couldn't understand why Eva wasn't interested in this after Akila pinched her and called her names and was just down right mean constantly. The 12 of us were packed in a two bedroom condo which was beautiful, but there just wasn't enough space to have some seperation, which is key for Akila.

Each morning before school at our house, I keep Akila upstairs to get ready and even eat breakfast, while the other 3 kids are downstairs. I run between the two groups. This keeps the most peace. August and Jade, Juli's teenagers, each had a friend with them. I'm sure they are wondering what in the world my problem is. It is always interesting to see people's reaction to Akila's behavior's, and our response to her which is different to how we respond to children who's brain is not damaged from alcohol. It is a constant struggle within me to get over the looks and judgement, because honestly, I have judged many people over my lifetime who may have easily been struggling with an FASD child. It is another lesson the Lord has been working on with me, to stop being so judgemental.

So, today has been a pretty good day. Akila slept in, had her meds, put some makeup on me (we exchanged Christmas presents finally with Juli's family and they gave Akila a little girl make-up case), did her entire homework packet and has been playing pretty nicely. Only one major melt down and that is pretty good (although the day is not over). I'm glad we came home last night, even considering my back is still aching today from the drive.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Check Stamp

My good friend Juli invited my 4 kids and I to go to Lutsen for the long President's day weekend with her and her 4 kids, and 2 of her teenage friends kids. Sounds fun, yet not. The idea of an over 4 hour drive with Akila and my other 3 kids, did not sound appealling. The solution, I would drive the 4 teenagers and my two middle kids and Juli would drive Akila, Zeke and her 2 little girls. My van would leave first as Juli couldn't leave until later after her 2 little girls had a ski lesson on Friday night. She had Akila and Zeke at her house for an hour or two before they left. She has had Akila over a lot and knows her very well.

During the hour and a half at Juli's house, Akila of course stole a few items (always does, or tries to), and found Juli's dance business check stamp and stamped Juli's entire bathroom- counter, toilet, floor, cabinets, mirror, etc. They all read "for deposit only". Luckily, it all came off-Praise the Lord. Juli was talking to me today about the anger she felt when she discovered the remodeling Akila had done and couldn't fathom the emotions we deal with her regularly. Not to mention that she has seen Akila being horribly mean the entire time we have been here. I will blog about that later.

As I am sitting here, totally wiped out and ready for the long weekend to be over, I realize more than ever that we truly need to start applying for Social Security/Disability or whatever it is called to try to get some PCA and/or respite support. The other 3 kids need a break. I am tired. Vacations are tiring.

P.S. For some stupid reason, the spell check on my blog dashboard isn't working this week, so my entries will be even more raw. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rough Night

Wow, I'm tired, and annoyed (to be brutally honest). Akila got home from school yesterday and was in her normal raging mood. She went up and down all night and actually ended up just rage/sobbing the majority of the night. I laid in bed with her for quite awhile to calm her down at bedtime; I even had to sing to her to calm her down which I haven't done in years. And then she got all wound up again. But eventually fell asleep, but not for long.

I went to bed about 10:20 but was still awake at 11:45. Then at 1:15, Akila came in our room. I brought her back to bed and she returned several times. She could not sleep and wanted to watch a movie. I couldn't get her to lie down and rest. Eventually Imani heard the disturbance and woke up. I put Akila back to bed. She came in my room just after 2 wondering if she and Imani could go down to the play room. I said no, she needed to sleep. Put her back to bed. I had to go there several more times as she was getting loud, making noises. At 3:30 Zeke came in our room to say Akila was in the boy’s room waking them up. I went back and put her in her room, I lay with her for a bit but she wouldn't stop talking. I finally let her keep the light on and read. But she kept on making noises, turning her Baby Alive doll on who laughs quite loudly. Ugh. Finally, I think around 4:30, I told her to go downstairs. Then I had to go down there a few times and tell her to quiet down as she was singing along to a movie at the top of her lungs.

I did not fall asleep after the 1:15 awakening. Imani woke up around 6:45 and went down and Akila immediately started yelling at her and being mean. I got up and tried to calm her down. I had to drag the boys out of bed as they were tired like the rest of us. It is spirit week at school and today is super hero day. Over the weekend, we cut out large letters for each child's first name and hand sewed them onto one of their shirts. Akila wanted hers on a dress and I couldn't talk her out of it. But, of course, this morning she didn't want her "A" on a dress, but on a shirt. I calmly told her we didn't have enough time to take it off and put it on a shirt, and she went into a lovely rage. It was great fun. She wanted to wear some pants under her dress which I said was a good idea and then she wanted to tuck the dress into the pants. Didn't really work as the dress is a long, thick dress. She was quite upset. She then decided to wear a skirt on top of the dress. So she basically looked like a super freak instead of a super hero, but she did settle down finally.

It was a long night. I then was sending a text to the high school girl I mentor telling her that our house was too chaotic and I was too tired for her to come over today. Well, a texter I am not. It takes me forever to compose a text message, I wasn't paying attention, and Zeke missed his bus. OK, no big deal, I can drive him before I head to the dentist to get a crown made (can you say ca-ching). But I guess that won't work as the battery is dead on the van. Ugh. I was able to flag down our neighbor, Kathy, who comes and jumps me. Bring Zeke to school, plenty of time to make the dentist. Car won't start again at Zeke's school. Ugh again. I hadn't driven it long enough to fully charge the battery. Make a few calls, finally get a hold of my friend, Margie, who is going to nurse her 7 week old first and then comes to jump me. I called the dentist to reschedule, again.

Basically, it has been a rough start for a Wednesday, I pray it gets better. Zeke and I are going to need a nap this afternoon to try to get rid of the horrible headache I have. I emailed Akila's teachers and I pray that Akila has good day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Hello everyone,

I once again have been absent from blogging for awhile. I almost have found that when I have a lot on my mind, I end up blogging less as my brain is on overload, or something. I just came from the kitchen where I am cutting up veggies to make the Chicken Dumpling soup that Kari has listed on her blog (thanks Kari, I like recipes with pictures). As I was chopping, I was praying and I felt inspired to write.

Many of you know that Michael and I have been apprehensive to say the least about trying medications for Akila. I once worked in the schools and saw too many kids medicated who just didn't fit into the box that society wanted them to fit into and we immediately jumped into medication instead of trying other things. We know of a family who has 4 kids whom we know well, and all 4 kids are on meds, and probably one should be.

Anyway, this brings me to prayer. We have obviously been praying for all of our children since before we met them, before they were even born. And we have been praying specifically for assistance with Akila and her many needs. We pray daily in thanksgiving that the Lord brought Akila into our family as He is brilliant at showing us our weaknesses and shortcomings through our dealings with her. As well, He shows us our strengths and makes our marriage stronger through the challenges we face daily. We pray for healing in Akila's brain, for her to make better choices, for her to be slower to anger, for her to accept Jesus as her savior, and many other things. But mainly, we pray for guidance and direction in helping us to better deal with her. The Lord made her and she is a beautiful little girl full of love. When my mom was dying 3 years ago of cancer, I came to a point of acceptance for the direction God had planned for the end of her life and the focus of my prayers changed from healing her body, to healing her soul (which I had been praying for all along as well). I prayed for her soul, and for her comfort during pain. I do believe in miracles, and I know that if the Lord so wanted, he could completely heal Akila. But this is usually not His plan in situations like this. Doesn't mean I'm not going to pray for it as I do not know what His plan is. It does mean that my prayers will focus on giving us the tools we need to deal the best with Akila to help make her a successful, healthy person.

The major tool is prayer. Some of the other tools we have used are behavior charts, time-outs, loss of privileges, PATIENCE, love, understanding, respite, date nights, routine, comfort items, gum, and many others. After much prayer and research, we are also trying medication. A little over a week ago, we started a month long trial and it has been amazing. We first tried it on a Saturday and it is suppose to work for about 6 hours. During this 6 hour period, the children had chore time. Normally, this is a huge struggle with Akila, even if I do her 3 chores along side of her. This day, it was not a problem. She finished her chores in record time and wanted additional chores to earn extra money. She did 3 additional chores and asked for more. I couldn't even think of any more so she suggested she clean up my room. I said OK, and how about we work on your homework when you're done. Side note- the word homework usually triggers an enormous tantrum of humongous proportions. She said, "OK," with glee in her voice. She finished picking up our room, we sat down and did her entire packet of homework (due the next Friday). Then we worked on her spelling words and finished the homework from the previous week which she had not completed.

The entire time the meds were working, she did not call one name or try to hit or hurt anybody. She did not act tired or zombieish. She was like herself when she is in a good mood, which we seriously have not seen much of lately. It definitely is true about the 6 hours, because at the 6 hour point, she started name calling and raging the rest of the night. We go back in a few weeks and I think they will add a 2nd dosage after lunch. After one week, it has been going very well. The school has reported a huge difference in her behavior and her learning. When I did her homework with her, we were doing some worksheets on comma placement. We had been doing these for several weeks and she was not understanding the concept. This time, she was understanding the concept and applying it by herself. At this point, I believe that this medication is an answer to prayer. By no way has it "cured" Akila, but it has made her more successful at a whole bunch of little things throughout the day. She is very proud of herself and her behavior. And so are we.