I have been dreading today all week. We had to bring our van into the garage last night as it has been running funny. That means being stuck in the house all day, which can sometimes be a disaster with Akila. I invited my friend, Janelle and a few of her kids, to stop over for lunch and a play date.
Akila was having a pretty mellow morning, which changed after Janelle, Katelynn and Malachai arrived. She has played nicely with Katelynn, who is 6, on some other occasions. Today, she was horrifically mean to Katelynn, from the minute they arrived until they left. It was a nightmare. Emily also stopped by as she and Jesse returned this week from their honeymoon. No matter, it was nearly 3 hours of non-stop issues, with Akila. She was screaming hateful things to Katelynn, telling her to shut up, and many other things. It was embarrassing, even though I know that Janelle is non-judging and very understanding- it is still not fun.
All this when I was coming off a good day. Yesterday, I had an hour and a half to run errands with no kids. My friend DeDe had my boys, and Akila had a program at the same time as Imani's reading program. It was peaceful.
When I arrived home from picking up the girls, there was a package on the steps waiting for me. It was a rubbermaid container that had a journal, pens, bottle of tea, trail mix, brownie, stress-relief shower gel, a book called "Story People" and a nice card with some very encouraging words, - and no signature. Whoever the little elf out there is, I would like to thank you!!! It was a very sweet thing, which really brightened my day.
The kids were very excited about the mystery package. Akila was telling people I had a secret admirer. This was upsetting Imani big time, which I could not figure out. When I was digging, I learned it was because Imani thought it was from another man. I told her it was from a woman, and then she thought it was really cool. Akila called Michael to tell him about it, and Imani kept screaming in the background to tell him it was not from a man. This was very important to her. Cute. Again, thank you whoever you are!!
Update: It is going to cost $3,000 to fix our 10 year old minivan, pray for us as we try to figure out what to do. Fix it, or jump ship. UGH!!
Today is chore day, and I hate it. It means kids who whine and a mom who loses her patience. I was in the shower this morning and Akila came in to go to the bathroom to go potty(yes, I have stopped trying to lock the door. We have two bathrooms, but Akila will only use the upstairs one with the shower, so everytime I try to take a shower in peace, it turns into a psycho-fest). She was asking me what we're going to do today. I told her that she would get to do a couple of chores shortly and explained the rest of the days activities. She of course was not happy and had a verbal explosion. I then said she only had to do 3 chores and she was then OK.
I wonder when I will learn to be specific. Hezekiah, my six year old, is obsessed with telling what the difference is between the term "a few" and "a couple". They obviously taught them this in kindergarten this year and he listened well. Akila will more than likely never grab this concept.
My friend, Angie, has been hanging out with Akila twice a month or so in the evening. Last night she had dinner with Akila, and then came and got my other 3 kids to go mini golfing. God bless her. Michael has been working late a lot and that is rough considering it is summer and the majority of our summer programs don't start until after the 4th of July. I went for a bike ride by myself, it was heavenly- and hot.
Angie said it went really well, other than the car ride to and fro. I hear you Angie!!! The van rides have been horrendous lately, I need to crack down. For me, normally, the challenge is Akila. Last night it was Imani and Hezekiah who sit together in the back row. They were feeling squirrley when they left, I should have known. It is so hard, because as kids, it is not unusual for them once in awhile to be all riled up and an extreme handful. But I wish I could teach them that I desperately need them to keep in line when Akila is, so we can once in a blue moon have some moments of peace. I almost would prefer them to have their moments when Akila is having hers (which is about 75% of the time, or higher). Although, I admit, it is really crazy and out of control when they're all going at it. But it is also so nice when they all 4 are behaving, which seems to only happen about 5% of the time. I'm probably underestimating, feeling the effects of summer already. I hope I make it to September.
We had some interesting conversations in the car yesterday. The kids are really into tattling lately, and I was trying to explain that you really only need to tell me if somebody is hurt or could get hurt. Imani asked if it counted if someone was getting their feelings hurt. Good question. I didn't know exactly how to answer it. This was literally minutes after Akila had been hysterically yelling at Zeke and telling him she hated him because he would not giver her HIS hamburger. I told Imani that was a hard question and that yes, if their feelings were REALLY getting hurt they should tell me. I also preceded to tell them that they kind of needed to get tough skin since their sister has brain damage and has a hard time controlling her anger. I said that she calls you names, says she hates you and all that stuff, but it is not true and she just has a hard time controlling herself. Akila listened intently.
A few minutes later, Zeke gave Akila the rest of his hamburger that he did not want and she was sweet and telling him he was the best brother in the world. I tried to point out to her how mean she was when she didn't get her way, and how nice she was when she got her way. It went in one ear and out the other. Fun.
I have issues. Many of them. One, is a strange one, that I don't find many people have. I am almost always on time, if not early. Strange, hugh? Even with 4 kids, I'm usually early for most things. I blame this on my dad. I remember when I was young, my dad always sitting in the car waiting for my mom on Sunday mornings before church. It drove her nuts, and she was rarely late for anything, it was just that dad liked to be early, for whatever reason. I, of course, was sitting out in the car with him.
When I am running late for something, I am nervous, tense and annoyed- I hate that feeling. Last week, the first two days of Gymnastics, we arrived about 10 minutes early. Why do I do this to myself??? I hate it. 5 or 10 minutes is a long time to chase kids, let alone Akila, around and try to keep her out of things she should not be touching. The final 3 days, we arrived right on time. One day, we were 5 minutes early, so I got gas and we were a few minutes late, which I was internally anxious about. I know, I'm weird.
I always do this, not only for gymnastics. I have to stop doing it. I just read a book last week by Liz and Jodee Kulp on FASD, and Jodee was saying that they always arrive late and leave early (she was talking about family events, but I get the point). I can't count the times we have arrived early somewhere and I end up driving around wasting gas while the kids are questioning if I'm lost. They think I get lost a lot more than I actually do.
As a matter of fact, I think that this issue of mine about being early, is the reason that I do most of the driving in our family. I have a pretty good sense of direction and know my way around the Twin Cities really well. If I go somewhere once, I almost always can get there again. Plus, I have been early to so many things, and found myself driving around to shoot the time then, and explore the area. I had a superintendent I worked for once, who told us to take a different way to the schools we travelled to each time to learn more of the community. Good advise actually, I did learn a lot.
Arrive late, leave early. This needs to be my new motto. Or at the least, arrive on time, especially when dropping Akila off for an activity which gives me and/or the rest of the family a break. It would be a mortal sin to be late for such an event. :)
All four of my kids are doing a gymnastics day camp this week in the afternoons, and they are loving it. Yesterday, when I went to pick them up, Akila was wearing a pair of shorts over her leotard (which were not hers), and a leotard underneath her leotard (which was not hers). I had her go into the bathroom to take the stuff off.
The gymnastics school has a little room where they sell clothing. It is hard to keep her out of it. They also have a lollipop tree on their counter (25 cents a lollipop). She has been obsessed with this since we visited there the first time. Today, when I picked up the kids, they had the clothing room door closed and locked, and the lollipop tree behind the window on the counter. Two days of Akila and they have learned something. I was relieved.
Last night, at bedtime, I was outside helping Akila gather up her toys and put stuff away. She and the neighbor girl are very into playing with dolls and using our double stroller to play with. She has a diaper bag for her dolls she was using and acting suspiciously with. Turned out, she had over 20 cigarette butts in it this time. I wish I had remained more calm.
Tomorrow morning we see the Psychologist. It has been going OK, last week was very interesting. I had given Akila a piece of gum as we were walking down the hall to the Dr.'s office. After a few minutes with the Dr., Akila told me she swallowed it and wanted another piece. I told her at the end of the appt. she could have another one. She didn't like that answer and started to slap my hands-she was sitting on my lap.
She kept on insisting on new gum and I said no, which made her very mad. It was good for the doc to see a tiny glimpse of how mad she can get. And it was a tiny glimpse. She continued to slap my hands, ignore anything I said, ignored him when he was trying to get her to settle down. I told her she needed to go sit on the other chair if she was going to be hitting and mean. She wouldn't listen. The doc suggested I stand up, which I did. Didn't help. He then had me step into the hallway until she could calm down and agree to follow my directions. After 4 attempts on her part to have me return to the room, it finally worked. I came back in and asked her to sit on the chair for one minute which she did with some serious attitude and head rolling.
As she was sitting there for her minute, he asked me how often she responds like this, 50% of the time, 1/3 of the time, or what. I said over 80% of the time. He asked what kind of consequences we have tried, time outs, loss of privileges, etc. I said we have tried almost everything to little avail. Time outs don't seem to work very well. He said this week we will work on time outs, because they can be such a useful tool.
Now, understand that I really like this guy and feel a decent connection. But, hello, time outs and FASD don't go too well together. We do them, don't get me wrong. But they by no way seem to help change her behavior. It just gives me, and her a chance to calm down and redirect-sometimes. Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what to say to him tomorrow when I am taught how to follow through and give a proper time out. Barf.
Right now, I am downstairs trying to contain my anger, or maybe the proper word, is disgust. For the second day in a row, I have found cigarette butts in Akila's room. Actually, yesterday, I found her outside with them pretending to smoke, with her friend. One other time a few months ago, I found a couple in her room. Can I say barf. I gave her the calm lecture, yesterday. Tonight, I lost it.
I went into her room to tuck her in and it smelled like cigarette smoke. She had been telling me about 45 minutes before how our new neighbor smokes. We talked about that a little bit, and how it is not good, etc. So with the extent that her room was stinking, I thought she maybe had gotten one of his half smoked still lit cigarettes. Turned out (I think), that it was only the butts still, she had 4 of them hidden in her drawer. Her room reeks. I admit, I am very sensitive to the smell of cigarettes, from the perspective that I HATE it!!! And how ironic, that this is the little girl who wigs over every little odor there is.
I realize that she will more than likely smoke when she gets a bit older, but I was hoping I had until she was at least 11 or 12. Ha. She is too obviously obsessed with all things bad, and especially if she thinks there is anything sexy about it, which I'm sure she does.
The other great thing, is that last week one day, I was letting her play some computer games while I was getting dinner ready. I was coming over to check on her every once in awhile. When I went down once, she had two porn sites up on the computer. Yes, I have asked several times for a program to be installed, but my husband is the type who likes to research, and this usually takes awhile. Too long. Anyway, we closed the sites out, talked about, she lost computer privileges.
The best part is how I found her 30 minutes or so later. Here she is:
I have been a bum on the blog lately. The last weekend in May was the big dance recital, and it was crazy busy. I was in charge of ticket sales (and other things), but had to sell about 2,000 tickets and deal with all of the issues that come with reserved seats. So glad it is over, it went well though.
Then the last week of school craziness including the kids missing the last day of school, Friday, June 6 as we traveled to Wisconsin for Emily's wedding. Akila and Imani were flower girls and it they both did a great job. Emily and Jesse got married at Devil's Lake State Park near the Wisconsin Dells which is where we stayed. The wedding was at 1:00 on Saturday, and the best part was when the park ranger was driving around the park announcing on their loud speaker that we were in a tornado warning until 1:45, this was at 1:20.
Many of you who have kids with special needs, may dread stormy weather like I do. I am assuming that it may have to do with Akila's sensory integration issues, but she goes berserk when there is really stormy weather around. She started mouthing to me (she seems lately to think that I am a gifted lip reader, and gets furious with me when I can't read her lips) something, I finally realized it was about the tornado warning. I mouthed to her that it was fine. The rest of the wedding, she spent mainly looking around the sky, with a little bit of fear in her eyes. She did come and sit with us for a few minutes and then returned to her post. She was actually doing a really nice job and not being too distracting. The best part was when she crouched down toward the end of the ceremony. I thought she was getting tired of standing (it was a pretty short ceremony), but later realized she was doing the crouch position they practise in tornado drills at school.
Michael had the camera and the picture above is the only one he got of the girls together, I will say nothing more about that. Today.
We stayed for three nights at the Wilderness Territory resort in the Dells area. There was something like 7 water parks at the place and we had a 2 bedroom condo with 4 TV's and a kitchen nicer and bigger than mine (that is not saying much). It was a blast, and the kids all did really well. Considering all of the stimulation, late nights and end of school year craziness, Akila did exceptionally well. We had a few meltdowns in the hotel, but all in all, it went really well and I am hopeful that we will do it again. Here are a few pics of the kids swimming:
Zekey in the yellow goggles
Here is Imani by the wave pool (which was a blast)
My name is Barb and I am a teenager at heart who is married to Michael, an Accountant. We have 4 adopted children, Akila-12, Imani-11, Hezekiah-10 and Zeke-9. I am a youth worker by profession but currently staying home attempting to manage our household. My hope for this blog is that it will help me to avoid cleaning my house (I actually don't need help with avoiding housework) and give me some serenity (I do need help with this). My oldest child, Akila, has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and that is what I will focus on in this blog.
Here are a few books that I found helpful on FASD. I also put the link for the lockbox that we have liked the most for locking stuff up. We have one with meds in it, one with knives and scissors. I like that it is electronic and I don't have to use a key. Each of my kids has their own as well.