Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Major whining to follow

By 8:30 today, I was highly annoyed and in a bad mood. The morning was not psychotic, but it wasn't going smoothly. This is spirit week at school, and today is 80's day. This is not a good idea for elementary kids, they don't get the 80's!! Or appreciate it. I pinned the kids pants, the girls both wore my jackets, a letter jacket and a tennis jacket I have from high school (class of 87!!). They looked fine. But Hezekiah didn't like the shirt I picked out for him. I told him to wear any shirt. He got really moody and sulky. Couldn't get him out of it.

As I was making eggs, Raven, the 16 year old I mentor, called me as she had missed the bus. My kids were fighting in the background, I told her to figure something out and that if she was being irresponsible, she needed to find a way to school and said goodbye. I have a meeting with her today at 12:45 and with her school counselor to talk about her grades and credits. Shortly after this call, I realized it was about time for my kids to get their snow gear to head for the bus and Hezekiah still wasn't dressed. I yelled at him to get a shirt on and started yelling at everyone. Then I gave up and said I would drive them to school. I called Raven and said I would give her a ride to school too and to get ready as we were leaving shortly.

The kids were getting their coats and stuff on so I went out to start the van and brush the snow off. Akila was dinging around with the stupid fake nails she was now wearing on her finger nails. I told her to stop it and take them off as she can't wear them to school (she did yesterday as I wasn't on top of it and didn't notice). I finished brushing the snow off the car and the kids weren't coming. I went in to get them and Akila was dinging around with gluing on a nail again. I lost it.

The other 3 kids went out to get in the car, and I tried to get Akila to put the one finger nail down that she was trying to glue on. We ended up in a chase around the dining room table. I thought I was going to blow out a vein I was yelling so much. Michael was up in the bathroom and I yelled up to him to get down if he wasn't in the shower yet. He was in the shower and didn't come. I chased her around the table for several minutes, finally got her, ripped all the fingernails off her and threw them on the floor and dragged her out to the car. It was a proud moment.

When I got outside, with Akila in tow, the other kids are standing outside of the van. The dumb van doors haven't been opening in the cold weather and they have to go in the front door or the back door and climb over seats and get them all messed up. They hadn't figured out to just climb in and were standing there freezing. Got them, and Akila wouldn't buckle and I couldn't reach her since the dumb doors wouldn't open. So I yelled again. She yelled back, which is normal. Except this time, she did something I knew was going to happen soon. She called me a "stupid F-ing mom".

So I of course yelled some more. I told her I would be throwing all the finger/toe nails away today, and that she would be in big trouble when she got home. We then drove to Raven's. Although she now lives in a different place as her mom evidently left and moved to Chicago a little over a week ago. So she is now staying with some random person and sleeping on their floor. Another story that is sad. She wasn't ready when I got there, although I had clearly told her to be ready. So she got yelled at too.

Got the kids dropped off, drove home, picked up Michael and drove up to Brooklyn Center to pick up his car that was stolen and has been gone for 3 weeks. It has taken nearly two weeks to get it fixed. I think our insurance is only going to cover the rental car for the first two weeks, even though it took longer because they wanted a steering column from the junk yard instead of a new one, and it took 5 days to be delivered to the station. And then it doesn't match the right color, and Honda had to order a new cover or something that took 4 more days to come in.

So, the car is finally done. We paid for it, the lady walkie talkied the guy twice. He then said they had to charge the battery and it would take a few minutes longer. It is a new battery. What???????????!!!!!!!! I go outside to wait in the rental car. Micheal finally comes out and says they broke the car and are giving him a loaner. The guy said he broke the handle inside the car that releases the hood. But I wonder if it wasn't something more. So we still don't have our car back.

I was planning on getting stuff done between 8:00 when the kids leave on the bus, and 12:00 when I leave for the meeting with Raven and her counselor. I got home at 10:30, took a shower, and came here to vent. Michael thinks Akila shouldn't get to go to dance tonight for swearing. I said it wasn't fair to punish me and the other kids. Ha. I don't think it would be a good idea for Akila to be home tonight. Not after last night and this morning. Not when I am in the mood I am. Pray that the ride to dance is calm. Pray that I don't yell. Pray that Akila doesn't use the F word. Pray. I am.

(I don't have time to proof or re-read this, excuse me if it doesn't make sense)

Update: 2:45 pm. I got back a little while ago from meeting with Raven and her counselor. I saw Akila and she was sweet as pie to me and seems to have forgotten our rotten morning. I am going to do the same. :) I have asked the neighbor boy to watch the three of my kids while I drive Akila to dance, which will make the drive much more tolerable. A funny thing also; when I got home after the car adventure, there was a voicemail and caller ID showed that the school had called. I was sure I was going to have to go get a sick or something fun like that. It was the nurse's office on the voicemail. My heart slowed down. She just wanted to let me know they were running low on Akila's meds. Whhheeeewwwww.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nails




I know that I have written several times about Angie and all the time she spends with Akila. Typically, she takes Akila out every other week. Last night, was the third day in a row with Akila. Wow. Saturday and Sunday, she was helping with all 4 kids, last night she brought Akila to a movie and dinner.

On Sunday, Akila was pretty snotty and rude with Angie, last night she was great. Angie brought her to the dollar store and let her pick out two things. Of course, Akila came home with fake nails, but they were fake toe nails. Angie said she tried to steer her to other areas, but I know how Akila works. I also knew there would be no sleep until these dumb things were on her toes. Even when I explained that she couldn't wear them to school because they wouldn't stay on with shoes. None of this matters to her FASD brain, she just can't comprehend what I was saying, nor does she have the patience to wait.

The nails were not stick ons, and they did not come with glue. So Akila found the glue stick. She has used this with fake finger nails in the past with some success. It obviously didn't work. So she got the Elmer's glue. We worked on them for about 15 minutes, and then I got her to bed. She didn't get her Melatonin until after 8 pm when she got home, so it would be awhile before it kicked in to help her fall asleep.

She walked up to bed on her heels. I had to get a pillow for her feet. I also had to carefully put her blanket on her without touching her feet which usually have to be tucked in. She was so concerned of the toe nails falling off, that she actually stayed in bed, didn't move, and fell asleep fairly shortly after that.

Here are a couple of pictures of her, and her lovely toe nails.

So I thought we were doing pretty well, she fell asleep; until 4 am. She woke up at 4 am, probably to go to the bathroom, or just had a moment of wakefulness. She remembered the exciting stupid nails on her toes, most of them were probably off and on the bed, so she got up. For the rest of the day. So did I pretty much since about every 20 minutes she was bugging me about something or other.

She woke up the other 3 kids by 6:15, they usually get up at 7:15. What is amazing about her early morning events, is that she is always in a very good mood. She was very cooperative and agreeable. I guess I should wake her every day between 4 and 5 am. NOT.

Tonight was an interesting evening. She was wired, loud and obnoxious. It was like she was on speed or some kind of drug. She wouldn't stop talking, made loud and annoying noises when she wasn't talking, and was just wacky. I walked in the dining room and watched her looking in a mirror and making loud noises. She realized for the first time that she could see the thingie in the back of your throat moving when she was being loud. She was fascinated. All evening. Check out this video (if it works, it is my first time trying a video).


video

If this video works, I will try to put another one on someday soon. Akila got ahold of the camera and was videotaping herself while I made dinner. Several very interesting clips.

P.S. I know that in the top picture, the wallpaper is still not removed in Akila's room. UGH!!! Did I mention that when we bought this house, every inch of the house but one bedroom was wallpaper, even hallways. The bathroom remodel is almost finished and then I will start on Akila's wallpaper. Or should I say, I will finish it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Catching Up

I got a funny call last Wednesday while Akila was at dance class. The teacher called me to say that Akila was having a hard time with her Asthma and needed her inhaler right away. Being the sensitive mom that I am, I started to laugh hysterically. I told the teacher that Akila doesn't have Asthma, to tell her to resume dancing, and that I would see her in an hour. I thought this was so funny. She has told several people this over the last week or so. My assumption is that some student in her class has been having to use his or her inhaler and Akila has noticed the attention they have received. Nice. Like she doesn't have enough medical challenges already.

Our children go to Children's Clinic in Minneapolis for all of their medical needs. We have a Pediatrician I absolutely love, Dr. Paula Mackey. She invited me to be on a committee last month that is called something like a Medical Home team or something like that. It is a state funded program that is working with clinics to help them to better serve families with special needs kids. I have been to two meetings and they are really interesting.

The teams from the different clinics from around the state, are suppose to come up with little ideas to improve their care, put them into action, research the results, and report them at the conferences so all the teams can hear how it worked. The project my clinic started (before I was on the team), is to send dictated notes to special needs families after a visit to the Dr., so we would have a very detailed summary of the appt and all that was talked about. What a great idea, Akila hasn't had an appt. since they started this, but it is a great idea.

I talked about having some kind of way of giving the front desk staff info to give the nurse and/or Dr. before they call you back. Like info that I don't want them to say the word shot or injection during the appt. (for the opposite reason that most would need this info relayed, Akila throws rages if she is not going to get a shot); or that I would prefer that they not bring us into the exam room until they are ready for us, as keeping Akila's hands off all the instruments and stuff, is not fun. It is much easier to wait in the waiting room where there is a better variety of toys and nothing to keep her out of. Some families with special needs kids, need to get them into the exam room right away because of immune problems and all the germs and stuff.

Anyway, we are working on ways to improve these kind of issues for families. The majority of other parents on the team, mainly have kids with medical needs, and not behavioral issues like we struggle with. I get to go to a conference in January with all of the clinics, and I am looking forward to it. I also get paid for my time at meetings and conferences, which is a great bonus. It is nice to be at a clinic where they care and are trying to make things easier for families. I love Children's Hospitals and Clinics!!

We had a great weekend, in great part thanks to Angie and Emily. Michael and I had tickets to the Guthrie to see Shadowlands on Saturday night, and the two of them babysat (Emily's husband Jesse came for part of the night as well). Then on Sunday afternoon, Emily and Angie took the kids to the Bell Museum and swimming at the Y for several hours so Michael and I could get some Christmas shopping done. When they brought them home, they brought pizzas. These ladies are a huge blessing to our family. My kids were totally wiped out last night, put them all to bed by 7:30 and did not hear a word from any of them. It was beautiful!!! Thanks Angie and Emily!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Police

Our neighborhood is under siege. Our car was stolen two weeks ago(yes, the same Honda Civic that was stolen a year ago) and turned up last week, about 14 blocks away from our house. It is currently at the garage getting a new steering column put in. Yesterday, our next door neighbor, Grandma Kathy, had her house burglarized- big time.

She called us around 7 pm and said it seemed like her house had been trashed. I teased her that she thought I had been over there with my kids (I have been washing her windows for the last several weeks and go over there during the day sometimes). I went over there right away and she called the police. Her house had been totally ransacked. They had taken all of her kitchen drawers out and dumped them on the floor, and they did the same in her bedroom. You couldn't even walk. They stole her brand new Imac computer, some jewelry and other random things. And made a huge mess.

The police who responded were very nice and were at her house for quite awhile. We had to wait for the crime scene staff to come to do fingerprinting, so it took a long time. We ended up having a lot of time to shoot the breeze with the two officers. And somehow, FASD came up. Ha. My friend Juli gets sick of me talking about it with everybody, but I don't care. I had a captured audience, and we had a good conversation.

It was evident to me that they knew little to nothing about FASD. I told the office that in a few years, they would more than likely get to know our family well. As I told him about Akila, and FASD behaviors, he asked what I would do, how to deal with it. We had a really good conversation. He seemed kind of blown away.

Back to our neighborhood. A lady at the end of our block was burglarized at the end of last week, and she had some kind of expensive jewelery and lost about $35,000 worth of stuff. Holy cow. The police told me there had been 3 similar incidents on the block behind us, and a house one block away was broken into yesterday but the thieves ran when the alarm went off. All of this is happening during the day. I was gone yesterday for a few hours visiting one of my old students who had a baby, and this must be when Kathy's house was hit.

Today, I had to bring Hezekiah and Zeke to the Dr. and I was paranoid to leave my house. I wanted to hide our laptop, but the thieves at Kathy's house went through everything. They went under her mattresses, moved furniture away from walls, pulled drawers out , went through her basement. Before I left, I hid our laptop in the bottom of a basked full of dirty laundry. Hope the thieves aren't reading my blog.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Opposites

I was just reading Torina's blog and she made me think of something I have wanted to write about. Akila also has Oppositional Defiant Disorder and we have found that one of the most successful ways to get her to do something, is by asking or telling her to do the opposite. This can sometimes work with any kid, but it can often work really well with a child like Akila.

For example, every school morning, Akila gets ready in our bedroom and watches a little TV. Just to keep her separate from the other kids and to keep her calm. I bring up her meds to her in a little cup with some water, set it down by her, and tell her that she needs to wait and take it after I make my bed. I then make my bed, watching her out of the eyes in the back of my head. She takes the meds every time, and then when I'm done, I yell at her to hurry up and take it. I then am "surprised" to discover that she has taken it already.

You would think this would wear off, but it has worked all year, nearly every day. FASD brains are amazing. On most days, I will go downstairs and yell up to her that when I come up next, I will want her to get dressed. This then makes her motivated to get dressed right away so I will be surprised when I come up. And it is more effective if as I am walking up the stairs, I am coarsely warning her that I need her to get dressed right away. And once again, i am so surprised when I come into my room.

I feel like it is when they are babies, and at some point, you get really sick of playing peek-a-boo, but they could play it forever, long after you're bored with it. That is how I feel. Yet, I love it, because I love the end result. No power struggles, and a fairly calm morning. That is my goal. A calm morning. They have been going pretty well this school year, and for that, I am very thankful.

30 Minutes

Last night was dance. The kids get home from school at 3:35 and try to leave by 4:00 for dance, which is about a 25 minute drive. Akila got her dance clothes on and I was getting snacks ready for the ride. I even had Cheetos, which I have refused to purchase for a long time due to prior issues. Each week before dance, Akila wants to stop at a gas station and buy Cheetos, or some kind of treat. I think we did this once, my mistake!!! So needless to say, we often have a major rage over this.

Yesterday, she came downstairs with her dance clothes on and two quarters that Michael had given her this weekend for shoveling. She shoveled without being asked to and did a great job. Well she wanted to stop at the gas station to buy something. I told her no, I had Cheetos, we didn't need to, didn't have enough time, it wasn't enough to even buy anything anyway. Well, this didn't matter. Major meltdown. Major.

She wouldn't leave the house and get in the car. I had a brief moment of thinking we would just skip dance then. It was brief. Dance is for 3 hours, and she does really well once she is there. It is the getting her there that is the problem. We have a dance studio about 8 blocks from our house in Minneapolis, but we drive to Bloomington for free dance since I work part-time at the studio.

I finally got her in the van, she was sobbing and raging. Often, this will just last the first 5 or 10 minutes, which doesn't sound long. But trust me, it is. Yesterday, it lasted the entire drive, which took about 30 minutes. She threw everything at me that was in range, and swung her teddy bear up to hit me while I was driving. I had to pull off the highway and wait a bit until she could calm down. The entire drive, I just prayed, tried to stay calm (which I failed at a few times), and kept telling myself that I would have a 3 hour break if I could just get her there).

I of course ended up having to take the money away from her. I told her multiple times that if she could not calm down that I would have to take the money from her and not give it back. I called Michael while I was driving so he could hear her, and told him to never pay her again for anything. My friend Juli, her dance teacher, called while we were driving, and she said "For gosh sakes, just stop at the gas station". I did not. I wanted to.

Akila was saying that she was going to leave the dance studio and go to the gas station a block away or so. Thankfully, when we got to dance, she heard it was "splits" day. This is when those who can now do the splits, get a candy bar. She turned into little miss sweetie pie at this point. Told me she loved me, hugged me, she poured on the sweetness. This is after 30 minutes of sheer terror in which she called me every name in the book, told me she hated me, told me daddy is good and better than me, and a whole host of other things. I smiled, kissed her and told her I loved her too. I do love her. But this is so hard to show when I'm so annoyed!!!!!

When the kids and I rode home, it was a nice peaceful ride, Hezekiah even commented on how quiet it was.