Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Alive!

I have been a very bad blogger lately, which means I have been absolutely swamped!!! Lots of Dr. appts, and tons of work to do for Dance Endeavors (I have been making our summer brochure, sending out statements to over 100 families-and dealing with the aftermath, and trying to learn a new program for maintaining our website---- all of this for a person with very little organizational skills---scary). Not to mention trying to get ready for California, we leave tomorrow morning. Just breathe Barb!

We have had many ups and downs since I last blogged. Last weekend, my friend Lisa and her husband Rick took Akila for a night to give our family a break. Lisa picked up Akila on Friday morning (there was no school) and I went and got her on Saturday morning. Our kids don't really know each other as we haven't had a playdate for probably 3 or 4 years, which is to their benefit; Akila is much better for people she doesn't know well. I gave Lisa as much advise as possible and it went pretty well. Her two little girls are super sweet and soft hearted, so it sounds like Akila made them cry several times with her meanness she has been displaying a lot, but other than that, it went pretty smoothly.

When I was picking her up, I went through her backpack before we left (while she was not in the room) and found the little girls digital camera in a carrying bag. I gave it to Lisa and told her to hide it. Akila came upstairs shortly after and Rick came up and told her that her shirt and slippers were downstairs and not to forget them. She went and got them and came to put them in her backpack. The shirt was all rolled up, obviously with something in it. I was really trying to avoid a major rage so I took the backpack to the kitchen to get her meds, and found a bikini rolled up in her shirt. I put it on top of their frig and told Lisa where to find it.

Later that afternoon, Lisa called to tell me it wasn't their bikini. Bikini's are something Akila is obsessed with, and we don't allow them in our family. She is just too obsessed with anything that shows too much skin. I figured they were from my friend Juli's house and asked Lisa to describe them to me and their sizes, I had noticed that they were not a matching pair. She did and told me that the brand for both pieces was Land's End. Then a light went off and she remembered that she stopped at Land's End after she picked up Akila. Akila had stolen it from the store. Aaaahhhhh. In all my advise, I had not mentioned not to bring her to a store or to watch her like a hawk if she did.

I went and picked the bikini up this week and brought it back to Land's End. I told the clerk that my daughter with special needs had stolen this last week and I wasn't sure if I needed to return it, or pay for it, no problem either way. He was like, "Ooooohhhhh........ooohhhhhhhhh," then said well I'm sure I have the mates for these and started looking in a closet. He came back to look at them and then said, "you know what, I'm sure I'll find the mates and I just want to thank you so much for your honesty. I will take care of this. And thanks so much for your honesty". I said, "Thanks for being so understanding and I am very sorry this happened." He thanked me again and I left, very relieved it had been handled so well.

Now, I could have brought Akila there and made her tell them, but I honestly don't think she would have been able. I couldn't even get her to tell me about it or tell me where she put the price tags. Not to mention that I am swamped this week.

Have I mentioned that I am swamped this week? OK. So on Monday, I get a call around lunchtime from the school nurse. She had Akila and heard that we were going to the Dr. today. I said not until afterschool though. She said that Akila had a fever of 100.5 or so. Great. She had been totally fine that morning. I went and got her and she seemed fine to me. Got her home and she had no fever. This is also the day Zeke went to a friend's afterschool and I was going to get lots done (Zeke has 1/2 day preschool). So much for that. She took her temp about every ten minutes all afternoon and never had a fever or acted sick.

We went to our appt. with a Developmental Pediatrician at 4:00. The entire time in the exam room she was obsessed with the staff taking her temp, as she was convinced she was very sick and had a high fever, which I had been listening to all day. This is always while there is no nurse or Dr. in the room. Then the Dr. comes in, we talk awhile, then he goes to examine her. He says, "this will be the easiest Dr. appt. you have ever had. You don't have to take your clothes off, no shots....." I knew we were in trouble. He said the "shot" word. No, it is not what you're thinking. Akila loves shots, she is obsessed with them and she begs for them when we are at the Dr. She started begging for one and he was quite confused. I explained that she loves them and he kind of chuckled. He then said, "Well maybe I can arrange that" and laughed a bit and said no quietly. Well I was done for. She kept on saying every few minutes, "arrange it, arrange it". He kind of ignored her.

The rest of the time, she was in what I call a controlled rage. When he wasn't looking or when she was behind him, I was getting evil looks, she was swiping at me and was furious. When we were done and the Dr. left the room, she refused to get her boots and coat on and nothing I said was phasing her. I finally grabbed all her stuff and left and went to the lobby. Thankfully, she didn't destroy anything and followed a few minutes later but she was even more mad now. The walk to the car and ride home were not good. Let me just say that I am glad that a week ago or so, I switched her booster seat to behind the passenger seat as she had been behind mine and she kicks it non-stop when mad.

Yesterday, Michael and I were at the kids school early for an awards breakfast for Hezekiah. He was recognized for being an exceptional artist, we are very proud!!! Emily got the girls on the bus. When the breakfast was done, we found the girls after they got off the bus and Akila told me she had a fever and the nurse wanted to see me. She hadn't even been there for 5 minutes. I went to the nurses office and the nurse said her temp was 99. something. I was like, you're kidding me! She is not sick. I told her she had no fever all day on Monday and did not seem sick. She took her temp again and it was normal, she was shocked. I said to send her to class and she did. Then, around lunchtime, I get another call, she has a fever just over 100 again. I wanted to scream, "stop taking her temperature!!!!!!!!!!!" I went to get her, when I arrived, she had no temp. I brought her home, no fever all day, and definitely not sick. Ggggrrrrrrrrr.

Well, that is enough for now. I need to get to work. Lots to do. Please everybody, pray for Emily in this coming week. It is going to be a long week for her and she is the best for being willing to watch my beautiful kids. We have a few overnights planned for Akila so Emily isn't too worn out during the week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

California, here we come!

Michael and I are going on our first vacation in over 9 years. Aaaaahhhhh. I can hardly stand it. We are going to California the first week of April. Emily, who is living with us, is a school nurse and that is her spring break. She offered to watch the kids and we jumped at the opportunity. I am a little bummed that it is the same week as the FASD conference in Madison I was planning on going to (and just received word that I received a scholarship), but there will be other conferences!!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Public Outings

Public outings are getting more difficult. After the bowling night two weeks ago, I am very apprehensive about going out to events. This past Thursday night, there was a rollerskating fundraiser for the school. It was also Michael's week to work late. Fortunately, our friend Angie was coming over to hang out with us for the evening. Angie emailed me over a week ago wondering if we might want her to come over on a regular basis and take Akila out for an evening. Let me think about it. NOT! I of course jumped at the idea knowing that Michael and I, and definitely the other 3 kids need a break more often from the chaos. Emily also happened to be home for the evening so Angie, Emily and myself brought the kids rollerskating. It went really well, Akila rollerskated the entire time. It got a little sticky when I said it was time to go, but nothing horrific. A year ago, I would have brought all four kids to an event like this by myself, but I don't think I can anymore.

Angie is going to come over every other week and spend time with Akila. I can't express how grateful I am for her. Emily has also been a great help and she has only been living here for one week. I am going to go through withdrawal when she moves out the beginning of June. Anyway, Friday night, Michael worked super late but we had a pretty good night. And then came Saturday. We had a potluck for the babysitting co-op we belong to, followed by tennis and then I was suppose to drop Imani off at a friends for a sleepover. I woke up to find out that Michael had to go into work for a few hours. He left just after 10 a.m. by which time Akila had had several rages over piddly things. I was quite seriously thinking of skipping the potluck but had RSVP'd for it and already made the salad. The potluck was at a church with a gym for the kids to play in and I thought this might work out so they could run around.

It was all going pretty well, we were jumping rope, playing basketball, running around. Only two other families showed up (there are about 15 total); poor advertising. Anyway, after we ate, the kids were playing in the gym and Imani has been doing some gymnastic flips. A girl reportedly wanted Imani to do another flip and Imani got shy and didn't want to. Akila freaked out and chased Imani down who came running to me for protection. I sat with Akila in the hallway explaining that if Imani didn't want to do a flip, that was her choice. She was hyper focused on wanting Imani to do a flip. It went downhill from there. Hitting, kicking, name calling. She could not get calmed down. Thankfully (I think), nobody saw our meltdown in the hallway. It was quite the scene. She was pulling all the coats off of the coat rack. Kicking boots, bags, and just generally losing it. I went into the food room, packed up our stuff, got the kids ready, and we left.

She was going ballistic in the car. Kicking my seat as I was driving, reaching over and trying to hit me (we have a minivan and she sits directly behind me, I may have to rethink this; maybe the roof?). I have a friend who has a spirited child and she told me a few months ago that when her daughter is acting up in the car, she pulls over, takes her out of the van and has her sit on the curb until she settles down. I tried this a few weeks ago and it kind of worked. I tried it again yesterday. It kind of worked again, but I don't think I will be able to do it much longer. I could see her looking around and thinking about running. That's all I need. To have to chase her down while the van is running with my other three kids.

At this point, there was no way I wanted to attempt tennis, which she was fuming that she was not going to do. We dropped off Imani and came home. The rest of the afternoon was full of ridiculous rages. At one point, she was with Jesse (Emily's fiance) in the dining room coloring. Zeke came in to color also. She went nuts as she usually hates it when one of the other kids enters a room she is in (we need a bigger house). I went in to try to help but she was getting quite upset. I was going to have Zeke go into a different room to color (sometimes, it just isn't worth the fight, especially on a day like yesterday) so we were grabbing a baggie with some markers for him. Akila started to freak out because the bag had 2 yellow markers in it. Now understand, she has a huge tub full of markers she is using with plenty of yellow markers. But I take out the additional yellow marker (this drives me nuts, I feel like I am giving in to every stupid little thing, but sometimes, I will do things I normally wouldn't to avoid a rage), and this of course isn't enough. She now seems to think that the bag of markers is hers that I am trying to have Zeke use. So I grab 5 different colored markers out of the tub for him and this of course isn't going to fly with her either. Poor Zeke; what a ridiculous situation to have to watch.

I finally have had it and she goes into a full fledged rage. Hitting, kicking and the whole thing. I tell her to go up to her room to take a break for 2 minutes and she refuses. I drag her upstairs. She comes right back down. Raging because I have turned on the timer and she doesn't want it on. I turn it off, tell her to go back up and I will let her know when the time is up. It probably took close to 30 minutes for her to take her time out.

And so went the entire day. She raged over ridiculous little things. During her anger, she always says that people bug her and make her so angry. It is our fault for making her angry. She kept asking why "I was trying to make her angry". I asked her if it really felt like I was "trying" to make her angry, she said yes. I told her that I never try to make her angry, but that she just gets angry over too many things. This only made her more angry. I must stop trying to make her angry.

This morning has been a rough start as well. Oh well, we had a pretty good week last week. Another one will come again soon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Yesterday I met with Kelly from MOFAS and we had a great meeting. Several things came out of the meeting. One was that last night was the last night in the Family Seminar Series that MOFAS puts on for families to learn about FASD. They were having a parent panel and before our meeting, a parent had to back out of it. Kelly asked me to be on the panel, and with the help of Emily who is now living with us temporarily (this is Michael's week to work late), I was able to say yes.

For me personally, it was a great night. I have been searching all year for a support group of people who are living with FASD and have had no luck finding one. The other thing that came out of the meeting with Kelly, is that I am helping to start up a support group in Hennepin County and our first meeting is going to be on Thursday, April 17 from 6-8 p.m. at Harrison Recreation Center in North Mpls. YEY!! Email me if you would like the details. I am really excited about that. But back to the parent panel; it was so nice to hear other parent's stories, struggles, triumphs and advise. I was the green parent on the panel, the other 3 have older teens or young adults and have been living with it for years!!! The evening reaffirmed for me that it would be great to have a regular support group so what great timing that we have one planned.

P.S. Be impressed everyone, I finally learned how to link something in my posts (MOFAS).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pretty Good Weekend

Our weekend went pretty smoothly, and for that, I am very grateful. We needed a good one. We once again finished Akila's homework on Saturday which we have done now for over a month. It has made a huge difference in bringing down the stress during the weeknights. Michael brought Akila out and about on Saturday afternoon running errands and she played with Barbies most of Saturday evening, very nicely.

On Sunday, we tried out a new church, one we had been to well over a year ago and it went pretty well. We sat in the back row and I was thankful for that as Akila was hitting and kicking me quite a bit the first half. She was upset that Zekey was being too loud and he needed to be "shushed", but he really didn't. But she had it in her head. I finally had to bring her out in the hall but we were able to re-enter and by the time the sermon came, she was great. Opposite of what you would expect, but I prefer it that way. We went to lunch afterwards and when asking the kids about what they learned, she was the only one who could repeat any of the sermon. It was really cool, she actually heard a good deal of it.

The church we had been attending, has children's church and the kids leave prior to the sermon. This is something that is very helpful, especially due to Akila's behavior. But the church wasn't feeling right. We are praying this one will.

Akila's special ed teacher emailed today saying that Akila had a good day and she was pretty good tonight as well. It feels nice to be able to say that. I'm not sure if I have mentioned in this blog yet that Emily, who is our past babysitter, current friend, nurse, fiance to Jesse and many other things, moved in with us yesterday. She is getting married the first weekend in June and her lease was up end of February, so she needs a place to stay for 3 months. We are thrilled!!!! The kids love her (as do Michael and I) and an extra set of hands and eyes is always helpful. She is staying in Imani's room and Imani is in with the boys, which they all 3 are excited about. Akila is not too excited that she doesn't get to sleep elsewhere, but that would be a nightmare! I told here she could on some weekends.

I am meeting tomorrow morning with Kelly from MOFAS about starting up a support group for FASD parents in Hennepin County. Looking forward to that. I am also going to attend a FASD conference the first week of April in Madison. Lots going on.