Saturday, December 5, 2009

Couple of updates

I did forget to update on how Akila's date night went- it was super FUN! We went out to dinner, and then to Cinderella at Children's Theatre, which was my favorite play I have ever seen there- I highly recommend it! It was absolutely hilarious and very entertaining for Michael and I as adults, and for Akila.

Akila was very well behaved during dinner, the play and our trip to Target for her to pick out a toy. This is the routine on date night for each kid, dinner, an event and a toy. She was also good for about the first 10 minutes after we got home, and then the junky behavior kicked in. But a few hours of joy with her were really appreciated and needed.

She also did come home on Thursday with mascara and eye liner on, thankfully that is all she had brought to school so she wasn't into the full fledged hooker look. My make up has found a new hiding spot, and hopefully it will last for a few months before she finds it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Make up

That title could have several different meanings. But I am going to talk about facial make up. Akila loves it, is obsessed with it, and when she gets her hands on it, usually ends up looking like a hooker. I always have to hide mine. It has been in a drawer in the bathroom underneath some towels for about a month. I always have to find a new hiding spot. I could lock it up in the kitchen or something, but our little gun safe is pretty full already.

I was doing a short training on customer service to front desk staff this morning at Children's Clinic and I needed to leave shortly after I got the kids on the bus. I had done everything but put make up on before they left. I have only been wearing make up regularly for about 4 years. My mom was big into make up and not leaving the house without it on, especially lipstick. I still can't handle lip stick, but as I have gotten older, I have learned the benefits of make up on an aging face. My mom would be so proud.

Anyway, I went up to put on my make up, and it was almost all gone. Akila was kind enough to leave the case, and the foundation, but had taken almost everything else. Not a huge deal, but it was a day when I would really have preferred to have some make up on, since I was leading a training and all!!! And I don't have any spare or back up anywhere, when I have tried to do that, she always gets into it!!!

I am pretty sure she brought it to school, as I can't find it in her bedroom. When she came home from school yesterday, I found a $5 bill in her backpack. Later in the evening I asked her where she got it from and she said a lady at school gave it to her. She must think I am a total idiot. :) I asked what lady and she said the lunch lady. I said that I was going to school today and would ask the lunch lady about this. I also reminded her that I will not get really mad if she tells me the truth so I can return the item to the right owner, but that I will get mad if she lies. She then told me it was Zeke's chore money.

I was quite relieved to find that she had not stolen it from someone at school. Zeke has been a cleaning machine lately, wanting to do chores all the time to earn money, which I am happy about of course. My favorite chore to give the kids lately is folding and putting away laundry, it is their least favorite, mine too. I would rather clean the toilet. Zeke has put his money in a wallet and I keep finding it all over the house. I keep telling him he needs to keep it in the safe or Akila will get it, but he has not been listening. I think he will now.

She should be home any minute, I can't wait to see if she is wearing any make up. It is going to be a fun night!!!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Exhausted

I am tired today. I went to bed at midnight after getting a lot of work stuff done. Was sleeping really peacefully at 2:00 until Akila woke me up and wanted to know where the movie case was. I got her some meds to help her fall back asleep and went to her room with her. She was too bored to fall asleep though. A fight ensued. I remained patient, for awhile.

I tried tons of different things to help her calm down and fall asleep. I asked if she wanted me to rub her back or give her a massage. I put her music on, I said I would lay down with her, I said she could come sleep in our room (which I rarely do), I offered rewards for if she fell asleep, I was so desperate to go to sleep that I even told her I would paint her bedroom this week if she went to sleep.

All the while, she is crying, getting louder and louder, swearing and refusing to even close her eyes to try to fall asleep. I think I was patient the first 30 minutes, then I slowly lost it. Michael came up and we tag teamed, for about 10 minutes, then I returned. I was able to get her to settle down (after she had woke Imani up), and I laid down on the bed with her and told her the story about the day we adopted her. We laid there for awhile, but she did not fall asleep. She started to say that she didn't want to close her eyes because she was scared of bad dreams. I prayed with her, I talked about dreams and how they aren't real, all that stuff. Nothing helped. I finally gave up after nearly 2 hours. I went to bed. She went downstairs to watch movies.

I fell asleep around 4:30. She woke me up at 5:40 to ask me if she could sleep in our room on the floor. I said yes. Then I got to listen to her laying on the floor eating something out of a crinkly bag. I finally got up at 6:00, which is an hour early for me and very painful.

The worst part of the entire night, was poor Imani. When I was close to thinking that Akila had fallen asleep, I hear Imani calling for me. Well, I was getting super annoyed with IMANI at this point. Akila was nearly sleeping and Imani was calling my name. I couldn't believe it. I finally went into Imani's room and she asked me in a very sad voice if Akila really wasn't going to get any Christmas presents because she heard dad say this during his tag team turn. She was very upset about this and didn't think it was fair because of Akila's "brain problem".

My response was bad. I said that I didn't know, but that she didn't need to worry about it. I almost had Akila to bed and I needed Imani to be quiet so I could get Akila asleep. I hugged her and told her I loved her, and then I went back to get Akila to sleep. I sat on the floor in Akila's room with my head on the bed, and I could hear sweet Imani in her room crying. I started to cry. Then Akila asked if she could get up and saw that I was crying. I actually thought this might help her to try at least to fall asleep. No luck.

I went into Imani's room, and apologized and held her for awhile. I pray that this is not a start to a bad week. I know for sure it is going to be a rough day, for me at least. I am exhausted.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today

There is no school today, and the day has gone well I am glad to report. I spent the morning unbraiding Akila's hair, and rebraiding it. I just took a shower, and broke the news to Akila that tonight is her date night. Michael and I are taking her to see Cinderella at the Children's Theatre. She will also get to choose where we eat dinner, and a toy at the store. I was thinking of waiting until an hour or less before we leave, but decided to let the cat out of the bag.

Typically, we have a great time on her date night. She is one on one and has all of our attention, and is getting her way- so her behavior is usually perfect. My nephew Tyler is babysitting the rest of the group and they are really excited about that.

We got the tickets on the Children's Theatre "Pay What You Can" program. I think the way it works, is that a Monday before the opening of one of their productions, you can call the box office and refer to this program. You name your price, a minimum of $1/ticket. Each family can get up to 12 tickets in a year. It is a great deal. I named $10/ticket, which fits into our budget much better than the regular prices, especially if we are taking the entire family.

I will try to remember to report on the night tomorrow. I am really looking forward to it. I always see on this night, who Akila really is. Who she is without all the odd behaviors that are a result of the brain damage. It is really a blessing, but it is also a little sad. It makes me think of how much easier Akila's life would be and what she could do in her life, had she not been damaged by alcohol in the womb. But, I am going to be thankful for this evening and the opportunity to spend good time with Michael and Akila. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Patches

Akila has a teddy bear that she is obsessed with, it is a huge comfort item for her. I have tried for years to have her stop taking it or her blanket before the bear, with to places that we go. She is much better lately, it usually stays in the car without a fight. But I have learned that it really helps to keep her calm, so I have stopped fighting it most of the time.

Since we got Hibeam, it has been a struggle to keep the teddy away from him. When Akila is walking around with the teddy, Hibeam jumps up and grabs it and a tug of war begins. It doesn't help that Akila teases him with it and sometimes gives the teddy to the dog. I'm not sure how much life is left in teddy. we have sewn up several holes in him lately, and Ms. Kathy has as well. Well he got a couple of big holes in him this week so I actually sat down this morning to patch him up.

Let me preface this with a couple of facts. First, I am not crafty or creative. Second, I hate trying to be crafty and creative. I don't like to sew or do stuff like this. I admire people who do. Here is my finished product:
As I was sewing, I realized that this patch was a little symbolic. We had a very rough day with Akila on Sunday. She woke up at 4:00 am, and was bouncing off the walls. On the way to church, she was in her super loud mode. Sometimes with her sensory processing issues, she is like this, and it is very frustrating. After church, we had to drive Imani to a birthday party in St. Paul. Akila was just manic in the van. We went out to lunch while Imani was at the party, she was manic. The whole day was just plain tiring. She was so loud, and just did not ever get the message to tone down her voice. So this patch on the mouth, is making me laugh.

And then, look at where I had to put the next patch. I will say nothing else.


My boys

I mentioned that my boys both made the honor roll and were honored last week. Here are a few pictures of the little cuties. In the first one, it is pretty hard to see Hezekiah, but I have a picture of the both of them also.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honor Roll & Suspension

My boys were both honored at school this morning for making the honor roll. This is a new thing our school has started this year at the elementary level. They got long sleeved t-shirts that say "I am the Definition of Ambition" on the back, and have the school name on the front. They were adorable and I was very proud. ( I will try to post some pics soon)

Then, the call came this afternoon that I have been knowing for years would come. Akila got in a fight after school on the bus, before it left school property. I had to go pick her up. She is suspended for tomorrow and is kicked off the bus the rest of the week. She says that the boy told Imani to shut up so she slapped his face. He pushed her down, she went back at him and they got into a smackdown. Akila is tiny, this boy is much bigger than she is, I love how she has no clue that she has no business hitting a kid that could squash her in a single step.

Anyway, I have told her no computer or TV or fun for tomorrow. Only chores and homework. I anticipate a very problematic day. I am not looking forward to it. She has been having a rough week. Her aide at school has said that Akila has gotten more lippy and full of attitude with her lately, I knew the honeymoon phase would wear off soon, although I hoped and prayed it would not.

After I picked her up from school, I brought her straight to dance class. The entire way there, she was full of attitude and I thought I was going to have to pull over and get out of the van to take a few breaths to calm myself down, but we made it. When I picked her up after dance, she was much more appropriate and knew that she should not be pushing me. She was polite on the way home, and went straight to bed, I was very relieved.

We talked about other choices she could have made when she thought this boy was disrespecting Imani, but I don't think she really gets it. When we got in the van after dance, she said, before I brought it up, "Mom, I'm sorry for fighting with that boy. I just couldn't control my anger". It was a good reminder to me that she needs time to process things, and I need time to control my anger. It was an interesting day- to start the day going to the school for an honor, and to end the day with a suspension. I wonder what they think of me at that school sometimes!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is this week over yet?

Well I sent Akila and Imani to school on Wednesday. Imani had not had a fever since Sunday and Akila had not since Monday night. And neither was acting very sick, meaning that they had high energy and Akila was her regular sassy self.

I got a call about an hour into school from the nurses office. Akila had a 99.3 temp and was complaining about her tummy. I talked to her and told her she could make it through the day. She was definitely not hit as hard as the other kids by the H1N1. I got another call at about 12:30, she had a temp of 100.5. Nuts. I went to get her, brought her home, took her temp and it was normal, and she was acting normal (I mean what is normal for Akila, not the typical brained child). But an hour later, she did have a 99.6 temp.

This H1N1 has been a hard one to figure out. The temp goes away for over 30 hours, and then returns. Looking back, it did that to all 4 of my kids. So Akila stayed home on Thursday, as well as Hezekiah. Hezekiah had no temp since the ER on Monday night, but with his pneumonia, I wanted to keep him around still.

On Wednesday night, I had a little tickle of a cough, very tiny. I of course got paranoid, and for good reason. On Thursday, the cough progressed. By Friday morning, I was a wreck, just in time for all 4 kids to go to school, thank goodness.

I spent the day in bed, with a fever and the aches and chills. When the kids got home just before 4:00, they had free reign of the house as I was at my worst part of the fever. Well, sweet little Akila took advantage. She was being so good, if I had been in better shape (and really cared at that moment), I would have known she was up to no good. She basically went scavenging through the house.

She went into the basement, which she is usually too scared to go into because of the cobb webs, but not now- she was on a mission. She found where I kept the make-up bag. This is a bag full of cheap make-up that I will use as a reward for her. She is so obsessed with make-up and wants to do it all the time, so it is a great reward. She went into several other areas that are where I stash things and got into all kind of junk. Her room looks like a tornado hit it. And still, I don't care.

She gave me the space I needed, and for that I am grateful. She even made herself some scrambled eggs. Michael got home about 6:00 and got to spend the evening cleaning the kitchen and messing around with the kids. I actually cooked real meals on Tues, Wed and Thurs evenings. Thursday, I was feeling rotten, but knew it would be good to be filling the frig with more left overs.

I could not sleep at all last night,and I didn't want to get up and clean or do things that would spread my germs onto kitchen plates and such. I was suppose to get a flu shot today, but I guess I won't be able to. The ER doctor told me that 97% of the flu cases being seen are the H1N1, this is why they're not testing for it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

phone book & med apron

I should probably clear out the memory phone book on our home phone. Akila has figured out how to use it. So I am sorry if she called you yesterday and left an incoherent message about our families flu struggles.

I just got a call from our friend Emily. Akila left her a message yesterday about how sick our family is. Not sure who else she called, hopefully she did not call 911 this time to alert them to our woes.

I have to be intentional about what I wear today, or I have to start wearing a medicine apron, like one from home depot with pockets. I am just walking from room to room, taking temps, giving out meds, juice, having the boys trade being nebulized, and charting all of their meds, fevers, etc. I bought a ton of Tylenol and Motrin last night at CVS so I should have enough to get us through this bout.

I called our clinic this morning and they are faxing in a Rx for Tamiflu for Zeke to CVS. It is kind of weird that I can't get it for the girls, but they don't have asthma. Zeke is the only one who woke up with a fever today, which means nothing I have learned. The really good news is that everyone slept pretty well last night. I was only awakened once by Zeke, so I got good sleep- and they all slept in later than normal. Praise the Lord.

Monday, October 19, 2009

4 kids + crud = H1N1, and 1 tired mom

We have had quite the whirlwind weekend. Started out the long MEA weekend with the kids sleeping over at Aunt Tara's and Uncle Dan's. Michael and I went out to the Melting Pot (my fav), to a movie, and out to breakfast and shopping on Friday. Picked the kids up at 5 pm on Friday, drove the boys to a friends house for a sleepover. The girls and I went to my friend Juli's for a birthday party for her 10 year old, Eva. Imani was complaining of a sore throat and little cough. No big deal.

Picked up the boys Saturday morning at 11 from their sleep over, and Hezekiah was sleeping. He got in the van, and he looked like a zombie. I had been assuming in the friend's house, that two nights of a sleepover in a row had worn him down. As I was driving them home, I could tell by looking at him that he was sick. Got home, took his temp, 104.4. Imani was out running around the neighborhood, playing like nothing was going on. I took her temp, 102. 5. And the fun began.

The two of them were sick all day Saturday, and Hezekiah has asthma so he was making me nervous. I watched him very closely. Sunday morning, they woke up and both had a low grade fever that went away by 9:30 am. Although Zeke woke with a low grade fever on Sunday. By Sunday evening, Zeke's was a bit higher. Imani and Hezekiah were playing fairly normally, but still had sore throats and coughs. I planned on keeping all 3 home today and sending Akila to school. Akila woke up with a 100.0 temp, so they all 4 stayed home.

Imani had no fever when she woke up, neither did Hezekiah. Zeke had a low one, and so did Akila. Imani played normally and was bored out of her mind. Hezekiah laid around. Zeke played, Akila drove me nuts. Is it bad that I am tempted to not five her Motrin so her fever stays a bit high so she lays around quietly? I won't do it, but I am tempted. Just being honest. Hezekiah had been complaining that his chest hurt, but he has not been wheezing, or having any outward signs of breathing issues.

This afternoon, around 3:00, I took Hezekiah's temp again. It was 102.9. He had not had a temp for over 30 hours. I called our clinic. They said to bring him to the ER. I hate the ER. I know that almost everyone does, but I have bad memories of it. When we first adopted Zeke, he was a little preemie who was sick, and we spent about a month at Children's Hospital. Two ER visits for him, one for Hezekiah. About 17 nights total in one month overnight at the hospital. Long waits in the ER, during February, the respiratory distress season. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

And as much as I love Children's Hospital, their waiting room in the ER, is horrible!!!!! They are opening a new ER in 9 days, couldn't this plague have waited 9 more days? Anyway, Michael came home and Hezekiah and I headed to the ER. Waited for 2 hours. Saw a triage nurse pretty quickly, who didn't hear anything when she listened to his chest. This along, with Hezekiah pleading to leave, and the long wait with a room full of very interesting people, made me think hard about leaving (there were two women with a 3 year old waiting to be seen as a sitter had tried to put hot sauce in the little girls mouth, and it got in her eye. Her eye was a little swollen on the bottom, but that was it. They were on their cell phones carrying on to friends that nobody had flushed her eye out even. Ugh).

So, after two hours in the waiting room, we were brought back. The ER rooms were full, so we were in the Pre-Op rooms. Another long wait to see a Dr. Eventually, we learned that Hezekiah has H1N1, they did not test for it, but said it is pretty obvious. And it has progressed to pneumonia, as they did a chest X-ray. I was very glad that I did not leave earlier.

We were discharged at 8:50. Really, right before the pharmacies close? So I had to call Michael and have him look up the closest 24 hr CVS, and of course, it is in St. Paul. Over 6 hours later, we finally returned home.

Akila's temp was up to 102.something by bedtime, and Imani's temp was back, although it was low. Zeke still had a low one also. It is going to be a very long week. I forgot to mention that Akila threw up this morning once, and a little tonight, although she ate all day. Not sure what that was about. I read on Facebook, that in one 2nd grade class, 10 out of 20 kids were gone today. Hezekiah is in the other 2nd grade class. Crazy.

So, our house is basically full of the plague. I feel like we should put a red sign on the door or something. Stay away people, this thing is crazy contagious.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hopeful

Last Tuesday night was a rough one, when I had to restrain Akila 4 times. I have not really had to since, and we are restraining her anytime she hits/kicks/pushes Michael or me. She did today afterschool, when she was trying to convince me that one of Imani's shirts was hers, she kicked me.

I restrained her, and I used the basket hold restraint, which I could not remember from my restraint training from when I worked in the schools, but a friend gave me some pointers last week. This worked much better than the one on the floor, my knees are still recovering, seriously. And the beauty of this restraint, was that it lasted less than 10 minutes. I did not have my watch on though.

I am really hopeful that this means that her brain has at least momentarily learned something, and possibly two things. One, she hasn't been physically hurting us as often the last week, and number two, the restraint was much shorter which hopefully means that she understands to calm down so I can release her. One thing I have definitely learned about FASD, is that often when Akila conquers a new thing, it can stay for an hour, a day, a few weeks, or months, but rarely does it last forever. In particular, when it is a behavioral thing, it does usually not last forever. One of the books I have read and appreciated, has said that when you find a discipline technique that works, rejoice, and use it for as long as you can knowing that it will probably lose it's effectiveness at some point.

So, I am hopeful- and it feels good.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Being held hostage

I am struggling with the feeling that Akila is too often holding our family hostage. Her violent bursts of anger are not lessening at all, and the main advise I have heard and read from experts, is to try and avoid the "triggers". Well the main trigger, is when she does not get her way, on the most tiny little thing.

One trigger, is when Zeke chews with his mouth open. One trigger is when I call her honey (which I do quite often, but sometimes it makes her mad). One trigger is one of the other three kids is standing in the kitchen and she wants something. One trigger is when you ask her if you don't turn the music up loud enough in her bedroom at bedtime. One trigger is if you ask her if the music is loud enough. One trigger is if you don't tie her shoes tightly enough, even though she can tie them herself. One trigger is if she can't find her lip gloss. One trigger is if you give her too many carrots at dinner. One trigger is if you don't give her enough carrots at dinner. One trigger is if you ask her how many carrots she would like at dinner.

So often, there is no rhyme or reason to her triggers that we are able to discern. There are some which are pretty consistent, like if she is watching TV by herself, if another child tries to join her, there are guaranteed fireworks. If she sees any of her siblings playing with our neighbor girl, there are guaranteed fireworks. If she can't find her teddy bear, there are guaranteed fireworks.

These guaranteed fireworks, are things I can often try to avoid. Sometimes, this is where I start to feel like we are being held hostage. Like not letting the other kids go into a room that she is in if she is playing nicely, watching TV, or engaging in an activity. There is nothing worse than disturbing her when she is doing well. I work very hard to help her keep track of her teddy bear. If I have to pick her up from school, dance or somewhere else, if I bring the bear and have it waiting in the van, it puts her at ease instantly. I am even ashamed to say, that sometimes I intercept the neighbor girl before she has rung the doorbell, and tell her the kids aren't available to play. I just don't want to deal with the issues that it is sure to cause. I know, I am a chicken.

But some days, this is what it takes to get through. Some days, I am not emotionally prepared to battle, and try even harder to avoid the rages. Some days, I say bring it on. And I send Zeke down to play with legos (see previous post). So I do try to avoid triggers, and I try really hard to not make it seem like we are always giving her what she wants. In reality, on any given day, even if I have avoided many rages and let her hold us hostage to a certain level, there are still a million things that have made her mad and that she has not gotten. She is by far the most demanding of all of my children and the one who is always wanting or needing something. We have just hopefully been able to avoid as much raging as possible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tough night

The girls were playing nicely all evening. Until I let Zeke go into the playroom to play with legos. Dumb me. I thought it would be fine for him to play far away from them with something totally different. Well it didn't work. As he was too loud when he looked through the lego box for a new lego with each move. Akila kept on going ballistic, and eventually lost it. Michael had her upstairs and she was raging. Imani told me that I blew it by letting Zeke go down there. I love how she basically holds our house hostage, that is how it feels sometimes.

So I went up to relieve Michael eventually, and Akila hit me. So I got her on the floor and restrained her, the response we are trying lately to deal with her hitting and kicking. 28 minutes later, she finally settled down. I could barely stand up my knees hurt so bad. I put her in bed, and went to our room to fold laundry. She came in there carrying on about something and then hit me again. I restrained her in our room for 20 minutes, and then brought her back up to bed.

I went back to folding laundry, she came back, and eventually kicked me. Restraint #3, much shorter. Put her back to bed. She cam back, kicked me again. Restraint #4, shorter, but longer than #3. She is still upstairs carrying on. I think I am out of patience. Michael is up talking to her. I think she is going to calm down. I have been called every name in the book tonight, listened to curse words, been threatened (that she is going to kill me, jab my eyes out with her earrings, etc), kicked, pinched and hit. It has been loads of fun. And people wonder why I don't look forward to the weekends.

Sisters

On Sunday, Akila and Imani played with Barbies almost the entire afternoon and evening. They played together the whole day after we got home from church and lunch. It was so nice to see. I worked very hard to keep the boys away from them so they could have time together undisturbed. I talked with Imani about it at bedtime and she expressed how nice it was to play with Akila.

Right now, they are playing with Barbies again and once again, I am keeping the boys away. Our neighbor girl just rang the doorbell to play and I sent the boys out and did not interrupt the girls. On Sunday evening, when I was processing the Akila playtime with Imani, I was telling her how glad I was that they were able to spend some quality sister time together, and mentioned how well they seemed to get along. Imani said that Akila had been behaving very well, and that she imagined that daddy and I were very glad that Akila was "out of our hair". I dug a little farther, and what she meant is what I thought. She meant that Akila behaved well and dad and I did not have to constantly mediate and deal with her issues. I said that it was very nice.

What a mature 9 year old to be thinking about her mom and dad. This comment shows the various levels of how Akila's issues affect the other kids. They all worry about mom and dad and can see the stress that the behaviors put on us.

Today afterschool, Akila wanted to make sugar cookies to celebrate fall. This did not fit into the plan and schedule for the evening, and she did not take this well. There was some minor raging. About an hour later, as I was cooking dinner, Akila came downstairs and said she needed to show me something that was not good. She was telling me not to be mad. I asked her if she had spilled, she said no, come here. I followed her up the stairs to find this:

She had kicked a hole in the wall at the top of the stairs. When she is mad, over the most piddley thing, she will stand against a wall or door, and kick her foot against it. This has resulted in a hole in our kitchen wall, a small dent in our frig, a dent in our minivan, and now this fresh dent. I was very controlled, for once. She said that she was mad and couldn't control herself. I talked to her about how else she could have let her anger out, like squeezing the ball in the anger kit, squeezing play-doh, etc. I told her she would have to do several chores to "work off" this damage, and I returned to finish dinner.

This is one more reason why I need to keep plugging away at removing all the wallpaper in our house. When we moved in 7 years ago, the entire house was wallpaper, except for one bedroom. Even every inch of hallway. And when I say slowly plugging away, that is what I mean. I have removed wall paper from one bedroom, one bathroom, and a third bedroom but I still need to remove the glue from the walls and paint it. My next room will be the kitchen. It is a daunting task. I really don't mind painting, I just hate removing the wall paper. And I can't imagine removing it from the stairway hall where the new hole has been kicked. It has super high ceilings and will be quite the chore. I hope to finish Akila's room by the end of November. There, I typed it. Maybe I will do it now.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Last night, Sunday night, after we had all the kids in bed, I looked at the calendar and realized that tomorrow, Tuesday, is picture day. Aaarrrggh. Akila's hair was in no shape for pictures.

So tonight, after her soccer practise, I combed out the french braids and gave her a bath. As we were getting lotion on her, she realized that she has hair growing on her privates. Oh please pray that she does not have to tell everyone at school about her new growth. After this new revelation, we got her hair done, although not to her liking. She of course wanted some kind of extravagant style that I can't really do, and especially not when there is not enough time. So we struggled on this point for awhile.

Then at bedtime, she wanted me to find her lip gloss that is in a fake pink plastic cell phone. She had it yesterday, but had no idea where it is n0w. As I was calmly asking her and trying to help her trace down where she last saw it, she was exploding and calling me an A-hole, multiple times. So I did not look for it, which really set her off.

After I got her in bed, and boy was she mad, she called me back up a few minutes later as I had forgotten to turn on her night light. I could have kicked myself, I know better. But when I got there and turned it on, she wanted it off. I left it on not understanding her and then she yelled crazily at me when I walked out. I then turned it off. After awhile, I had to go back up there, to have a discussion about if she has ever slept without a night light. I said that she use to all the time when she was young and she disagreed with me. So i agreed with her. No sense arguing with someone who is completely out of their mind at the moment.

On Saturday, Michael was out running errands and I ended up restraining Akila for over 30 minutes. Our new strategy to her hitting, kicking and other physical violence, is to restrain her. This was the longest one, and I could barely stand up when it was over and bend my knees. It is so emotionally exhausting, and she was pretty calmed down when it was over, but I didn't want her to go back into the red zone, so I suggested we play with Play-doh. We did. I can't tell you how hard that is for me to sit so soon after an emotional hour, and play with her. I know this is shallow and little of me, but all I want is at least a 15 minute break at this point. But leaving her alone, would not work. She would instigate something with the other kids, or get "stuck" on something else.

I can't even remember what set her off. Oh yeah, it was that she wanted to play with the neighbor girl, who was outside playing with Imani. She always wants "alone" time with this girl, as she is jealous of Imani. I tell her that this child can choose who she plays with and I can't make her play with anyone-although sometimes I will set it up so Akila does get "alone" time with her. Imani and Maria are open to Akila playing with them, and they do sometimes all 3 play together, but it usually doesn't work. So when I was telling her that she was welcome to go outside and play with Maria and Imani, but that it was Maria's choice, Akila started kicking and stomping on me-and the fun began.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roller Skating

Last night was a rollerskating family event for the PTSA fundraiser, and I usually dread these events. A few years ago, at the bowling night, Akila was out of control, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Michael was working late, so I was on my own and I decided to go for it.

Actually, at the rollerskating one, Akila is not bad until it is time to go and we don't stay until the end, which is 8:00. That just puts the bedtime schedule way too off and really messes us up, especially Akila. So I made it quite clear to all the kids that we were leaving at 7:30. I also told them that if they changed out of their roller blades, and were good cooperators, they would get $1 to either save or spend on the dumb cheap toy things they have at their toy counter.

So yes, I bribed them, but hey- it worked!!! Even Akila did not throw a fit. It was great. I did give her a half a pill of the Clonidine that our Dr. said we could try in the evenings, not sure if that helped, I have just tried it a few times and I think it is helping a bit.

Our biggest problem was on the way home when Imani, who sits next to Akila (and Akila does not like her to sit next to her), tooted. You would have thought that Imani had just smacked Akila or something. Akila went hysterical and I couldn't help but laugh, which did not help. Especially when Imani was saying that she just really "had to go toot toot". Thankfully, it happened not too far from home.

Last weekend, Akila went to her first slumber party and only had one problem according to the brave mom. Michael and I and the 3 kids had a nice peaceful evening and went out to dinner. Yesterday, when Imani was praying, she thanked Jesus for Akila going to the slumber party and allowing us to go out and have some peaceful family time. The kids take turn praying before our meals and they are pretty consistently praying for Akila to control her anger issues. Most of the time, Akila smiles when they say this and it makes her feel special. Tonight, she didn't really like it, although she held it together and did not explode during the prayer.

It is so interesting listening to children's prayers. I have been trying to pray more that God would help us to learn how to better deal with Akila and her anger issues, which is something I genuinely want!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School meeting and soccer

I went and met with Akila's teacher and her one-on-one aide this morning to fill them in on Akila. I was really looking forward to the meeting as I would like to get to know them better and also help them to know where we are coming from. I was also a little tiny bit nervous, for an odd reason.

You know when you get something really good, and you're really nervous that it is going to get taken away or that you will lose it- that is kind of how I feel about the full-time aide. One teacher commented to me this summer that she was surprised that Akila was getting an aide-she of course has never had Akila in her class though. And Akila's behavior in school is nothing like how crazy it is at home, which I pray continues to be the story. So there is a little part of me that was nervous for this meeting and thinking that they might already be wondering why she needs an aide.

This was not the case, and I am so relieved. I'm relieved for a couple of reasons. One, because I don't want to lose the aide- of course! But number two, is that this shows how good they are! Her aide was saying that Akila is so distracted all the time when the teacher is doing her lessons and talking to the class, and that she has to re-direct her all the time and help her a lot. She was wondering how she ever learned anything by herself in past years. Wow, what a relief.

Akila has already started to tell her fantasy stories. She told the aide that I'm pregnant and her teacher that we have a daughter in college. I laughed. They are both excellent and I am so happy, I think that she is going to have a good school year.

Our school has a new name, FAIR School Downtown is the new name. They have a new after school option that is a soccer team for 5-6th graders. Monday was the first practise which we missed due to the Dr. appt, and today was the first game. It was pretty funny. You could tell that it was pretty much the first time most of the kids had played soccer- it was Akila's first time. She did great! They had her on defense and she is such a go getter. Some other kids were more hesitant and afraid to get close to the ball when it got crowded, but not Akila. Her no fear factor helped her out today.

She doesn't get all the rules too well, and I'm sure there will be challenges along the way, but it was fun to watch her today. The game was at 5:30 and she is still wired. Not sure if I'm going to get her to sleep tonight for quite awhile still. She keeps telling me she is bored each night after lights out. I keep explaining that she is suppose to be bored as she falls asleep. She doesn't get it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dr. appt

Yesterday, Akila had an appt afterschool with our Developmental Pediatrician. He is very nice, and I think he is probably pretty good at what he does, but I get the feeling in my stomach deep down that he does not have much of an understanding of FASD.

I had to make this appointment months ago and I purposefully made it in the afternoon so he could see her when her meds had worn off. Her behavior was not super bad or anything, but she was definitely bouncing off the walls. About halfway through the visit when he and I were talking, he told me that at this pre-adolescence stage that Akila is in, is when they usually see kids growing out of the "hyper" part of ADHD, but "obviously Akila has not hit this stage yet", he said. I looked at him kind of puzzled, and asked if even with her FASD being the primary condition (and ADHD and other things being the secondary ones), if she would be expected to outgrow the "hyper" part. He didn't think that should be a factor.

What? Are you kidding me? From everything I have read and from all the trainings and conferences I have attended, I have only learned how much more difficult it is going to get. I know this can sound to the "FASD in-experienced" parent or person like a pessimistic outlook, but it is realistic and necessary in our life to know what to expect. Things are getting more difficult and will continue to.

I told him about how much more violent she is getting both physically and verbally, and his response was that she is getting bigger. I do know that there is no magic answer or solution to our challenges with Akila, but I was hoping for a little more than that. In the middle of our appt., Akila started to perseverate on the fact that she was hungry, and boy did she ever perseverate. She started to try to dig through my purse, and found an Airhead, which is like taffy or something like that. She ate that. I'm sure he was impressed. Dr., I don't know why she is so hyper???

When the appt. was over and we were heading out of the exam room, she remembered her issue with hunger, and started getting very loud about it. I told her that after we got the other 3 kids out of the Sibling Playroom (Children's has a free child care basically for siblings while you have an appt or a child in the hospital-it is the best ever!), we would get something to eat. She didn't like this, and pushed me and was getting very loud. We were in the elevator and she was demanding food immediately. I said go ahead and eat this hand railing then, because I have nothing to eat. I asked her if she would like me to rip up the carpet in the elevator for her to eat, as I had nothing she could eat. She gave me some funny looks, and actually stopped focusing on her hunger- for 30 seconds.

The whole way walking through the building to the Sibling Playroom, she was going nuts on the food thing, very loudly. We walked into the playroom, she saw a doll house and wanted to play with it for awhile. I said what about getting some food for her hunger issue, and she said, "I was just playing. I'm not really hungry." Aaarrrggghh.

Then the fun began of trying to get her out of the Playroom. I let her play for 10 minutes, but the other kids were getting hungry. I guess I should have been more organized and brought them a snack to eat from school to the clinic, but I had come straight off of the lake on my friend Juli's boat (I know, you feel really bad for me now). I figure I have all fall and winter to try to clean my house, and only a few days this fall that are nice enough to be on the boat with her with no kids. It is so peaceful. Once again, we worked almost the entire time. She should really write that boat off, we work more on it than anywhere else it seems like.

I finally got her out of the Sibling Playroom by telling her that Hibeam (our 4 month old puppy-who weighs over 30 lbs already), had been home alone all day and we needed to get home to him. Otherwise, I think we would have had quite the brawl to get her out of there. I was glad she did not have pockets on yesterday, or she would have for sure tried to steal these little people that went in the doll house she was playing with.

I have a meeting tomorrow morning with her new teacher and the full-time aide who is working with her to fill them in on Akila and her issues. I have to get prepared for that later today. I am so glad to have my kids at a school that has been so open to Akila and working with us as a team. What a blessing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School. aaahhhhhhhh

I have been very happy this week and you all know why. School started on Tuesday, and I spent Tuesday and today on my friend Juli's boat. Today was gorgeous. I know you may not believe this, but we worked 75% of the time on the boat. We had our laptops and cell phones, and called dance parents to do some switching around of classes that were cancelled, and I inputted tons of registrations that I have been procrastinating. We even trolled around one bay today until we found a house with unsecure wireless. What a weird world we live on. My dad (who passed away 11 years ago) would not believe that I can sit in the middle of a lake, call people, email people and look up the news. Crazy.

The kids have had a great first three days of school. Akila has a full-time aide who I met briefly on Tuesday and I really liked her, as well as Akila's 5th grade teacher. I am going to meet with them both next week to discuss Akila and her issues. As well as she does in school, is about opposite of how she is doing at home. She is in this crazy name calling, hitting/pushing/smacking/throwing phase that is just out of control. Over the most tiny little thing.

Last night, I was putting her to bed. All things were good. I was trying to anticipate all the little things that she asks me for as soon as I get to the bottom of the stairs. Turn the fan on, turn the music louder, is the night light on, etc. So as I was walking out of her room, I asked if the music was loud enough. I do this most every night. If I don't, I'm for sure called back in. Her answer was this, "duuu-duuuhh-duuh-duuuh, dodo head. You stupid freakin old woman. You're such a retard, etc. etc. " It went on and on and on. I can sit and explain until I am blue in the face that a simple yes or no is all she needs to say. That she is being rude and is going to lose whatever privilege I choose at the moment. It does not matter. When she is in this mode, there is no getting her out. It is nuts. It is driving me nuts.

But even worse is the hitting. By the time she is finally sleeping each night, Michael and I are deflated sometimes. It is amazing what 30-60 minutes of complete wackiness can do to ones mood. This was by far the most challenging summer in our family, and Akila was in a lot of programs. But when she was home, we were all walking on egg shells trying to avoid and prevent the next outburst, even the other 3 kids. They have gotten really good at trying to prevent the outbursts.

I need to re-evaluate the bedtime routine, it is not working. We usually put the other 3 to bed first, and then Akila right away after them. I am thinking a little more time before we put Akila down might be even better. Give them a chance to fall asleep before she gets to yelling and gets out of control. They are pretty hard sleepers and would sleep through a lot of it. I feel so bad for them trying to fall asleep as they listen to their sister spewing every name in the book and throwing stuff out her door or down the stairs. What a lovely way to fall asleep. This is a little part of the reason why I can't go to bed early. I need a few post-Akila hours to mellow out and be able to wind down to sleep.

Anyway, I'm back. I hope to be more regular with my blogging now that the kids are in school and I am close to being caught up with dance registrations.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good, bad, good, bad, etc.

Today started out really well. We have 14 days until school starts, and these last two weeks, we are all out of programs. Akila slept until 9:50 this morning, it was great!!! She had a busy weekend. She woke up in a good mood, and was really good this morning. So at about 12:30, we decided to head to the health club to go swimming at the outdoor pool.

We have a mini-van, and Zeke use to sit in one of the middle seats next to Akila, until over spring break when she popped him and gave him a gusher of a bloody nose. He did not want to sit by her anymore. So the boys both sit in the back in booster seats, and Imani usually sits in between the boys. Some days, Imani wants more space, or wants to sit in the middle seat as it has a fan that blows directly on it. Today she sat down in this seat, which set Akila off big time. She went into full blown raging, and we had to pull over multiple times on the way to the health club.

Usually when she is raging in the car, she settles down by the time we get to Highway 100. This probably takes about 7 minutes or so, and that is a long time to be driving with a child raging. But pulling over and trying to wait her out has not proven successful. Anyway, today, it lasted the entire way to the health club, which took about 25 minutes. We got to the club, and she was fine. We swam for about 3 hours, and she was great. I knew we were close to hitting her limit, so I asked if she wanted to go into the child care center at the club which she loves and usually asks to go into when we are leaving the pool. She jumped at the chance. I checked her in and the kids finished up swimming, about another 45 minutes.

When I went to get her, one of the workers pulled me aside and said Akila had been really mean to a little girl, was calling her a loser and giving her the L sign on the forehead. She had been rude and disrespectful to the worker as well. She has never really had any issues at the health club, so this was a bummer. I went in to get her and she was being extremely rude. We got into the lobby area of the child care center where my other 3 kids were standing next to a growth chart seeing how tall they are, when Akila went up to them yelling that they were doing it wrong and pushed one of them, and they fell like domino's. Imani got up and lightly pushed Akila who barely even moved from the push.

Akila lost it. She went after Imani full force and I had to step in front of her. She kicked, hit me, and went nuts. I was holding her arms down, while she was trying to bite me, continued to kick me, slap my arms, etc. I sent the other 3 kids into the hallway, my back was to the check in desk where I'm sure the child care workers were staring at us. Nothing I could say to Akila was de-escalating her. She would not calm down. I finally grabbed the bags, held tightly to Akila's arm, and forcefully guided her out of the child care center. Imani had to walk behind us as Akila was still trying to get her.

The child care center is in the back of the club, so we had a long walk to get out of there. All the while, Akila is yelling, I mean yelling, hateful and mean things, and kicking and trying to bite me. I'm sure we gave some people lots to talk about at the dinner table tonight. Towards the exit, when passing the cafe, there were samples of ice tea they were handing out. This miraculously distracted Akila and she was fine the rest of the way out and through the parking lot.

Then in the van, she started raging that she was hungry, although we had been snacking all afternoon at the pool. I offered some more snacks, but she wanted to stop and buy some food. I said no. She then raged the entire ride home. As we were driving, my leg was stinging a bit, and when I looked at it, I saw a huge bump had risen on it. Very nice.

We got home, and thankfully Michael was home and out front with Hibeam. I told him to get her away from me as I needed space. It has been a rough night. 14 days, 9 hours and 41 minutes to go.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Triathlon

Oh yeah, I forgot to say my big news. I did a triathlon last Sunday. Yes, I am crazy as I trained for one week. Not the smartest move. I had been really good Jan-June at working out, and then summer hit, my stress level rose, and I stopped exercising. I so wish I were one of those people who exercise when I'm stressed. I eat.

My friend Juli and I talked in May about doing the Green Lake Triathlon in Spicer, right next to my hometown of Willmar. And talk was all we did. Then two weeks ago, Juli tells me that she signed up herself and Jade, her 14 year old for it. I decided to do it. Then I changed my mind. Then I decided to do it. Then I changed my mind. It was late Saturday night, one week before the tri, and if I waited any longer, the entry fee would have been $10 more. I clicked yes and signed up.

Then on Sunday, I began to train. I could run 1 1/2 miles without stopping. In May I could do 3. Ugh. The tri consisted of 1/4 mile swim (scary), 12 mile bike ride (ok), and a 3 mile run (not good). Needless to say, the swim was by far the hardest, and I did the breast stroke the majority of it. The bike ride was the easiest, although looking back I should have tried to go faster. I was just taking a nice bike ride and trying to recover from the swim. I could have pushed it more. The run was hard. I made it one block before I had to walk. And then I walked on and off the rest of the way.

I came in 272 out of 278 and I am glad for those 6 people that were behind me. :) It was the hardest thing I have ever done physically, and I think I will try it again next summer with a little more training- for the most part, I can only improve!!!

I'm ready

I added a countdown clock to my blog for the first day of school. I am so ready. I was at the school yesterday for a meeting, and the teachers all thought I was crazy as I told them there were 25 days left. Can't wait.

I have not been blogging much, as it has been nutso at our house. Not to mention that it is dance registration time so I am spending hours on the computer everyday and have no energy left to blog on the computer as well. Why didn't anyone tell me how much work puppies are? Hibeam is our first dog as adults for Michael and I, and we don't really remember many of the details of training them, since I"m sure our parents did the majority of it. Hibeam is doing well, and is adorable. And tiring me out. I honestly did not know that I had to get up in the middle of the night to let them go potty. Nice.

Akila has one more week of summer school and then we will have two full weeks of nothing. I am a little nervous for those two weeks. Hopefully it will be really nice out so we can be at the beach/pool a lot, or at some friend's cabins. Anyone out there??? :)

Akila has been going through a graffitti art stage that I am not really appreciating. Here are a few pictures:

This first one is a sewing table that was my mother-in-laws. She carved her initial in it. It is trully a family heirloom now. The kids don't even know there is a sewing machine in it, and I'm not going to tell them. I like them to sew with Grandma Kathy!!!

This is on our deck railing, Prince is the name of the dog that is in the yard the deck overlooks.


This is on the outside wall on the deck.

These are just a few lovely scratches on the stair railing going upstairs.

As I sit at the dining room table, I see some words carved in the side of the table as well. Too lazy to take pictures and post them also.

Akila turned 10 last week. We are going to have an overnight slumber party with a handul of girls next Friday night. The other 3 kids are going to Uncle Dan and Aunt Tara's for the night. And the best news, is that a group of teenage girls from the dance studio are coming to help, and I think they might stay over also. This is so cool, as I need my teenage fix! I love teenagers. I know that will change a bit when I have four of my own, but I have always loved teenagers. And these young ladies are really fun.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Good week

As I posted, we had a rough week or two in a row. This past week, Akila was pretty good- praise the Lord!!! I am really thankful for this in particular due to the fact that I had low energy and was not running at 100%. The puppy has been wearing me out, emotionally and physically.

Toward the end of last week, Michael had been noticing that Hibeam has had several moments of strong aggressive behaviors, and he was worried about it. I kept telling him that I thought that was fairly normal. On Sunday, he and Imani brought Hibeam to a puppy training class at Petsmart which goes for 6 weeks. The trainer, who is really good, noticed Hibeam's aggressive behavior and talked with Michael after class. She said that it could be neurological and to be prepared for that. She really wanted us to know that, especially since we have kids. She said to bring him in the next night for a consultation with her.

Michael was quite freaked out by this. We talked late about it on Sunday. Our main feeling being, that can we handle a dog with neurological issues and a child with them as well, did it make sense, etc. Hibeam is a really cute and fun puppy, but he once in awhile goes "kujo" on us, mainly when he has something he really wants, usually food related. Like a rawhide. He gets into this serious growling and biting mode if you get close to him at all- it has really scared the kids, and the few times I have seen it, it has actually made me a bit nervous.

We had the consultation on Monday night, and it went really well. She said she recommended giving it a few weeks, and showed us several training things to do with him. He is a super smart dog who picks up really quick on the training things. He has had a better week and we are really hopeful, we would all be devastated if we could not keep him-and especially Imani who has wanted a dog obsessively for years.

Then, on Thursday morning, we wake up and he is sick. He had started with some mild diarrhea on Wednesday, and on Thursday, had real diarrhea and a wet face from drooling to the point where he was laying in a pool of saliva. He was not eating. Brought him to the vet and learned he has a viral infection. He is on meds, and seems to be getting better, but it is hard to watch him like this, and a lot of work!!!

Akila is still struggling with keeping him in the mud room or kennel if he is not being played with or watched, although she is doing a little better with it this week. Imani had a sleepover at a friend's house on Thursday night. After we dropped her off, Akila went into hysterics sobbing that she wanted to go on a sleepover. I explained (for the hundredth) time, that if she was invited by a family that mom and dad approve of, she could go. She doesn't get this. Then she finally realized her best shot may be to have someone over to sleepover.

We tried calling one friend but got no answer. Then we realized that Maria next door would be a great option and thankfully, that worked out. Akila and Maria played very nicely together, and had no issues. It was very nice. I do have to say, that it was kind of heartbreaking when she was crying, as it was just a reminder of how socially out of it she is. Imani has several friends who invite her to do things and Akila does not have this, for good reasons. I am also really thankful for Imani's friends, as their parents are pretty understanding of the fact that we cannot very often do things at our house due to the Akila factor.

Hezekiah is doing great and pretty much back to normal after his tonsil surgery. We are just waiting for some really warm weather so we can get out on the lake or to the beach. I was telling my friends this week, that if it is not going to be warm enough to go to the beach or the pool, then bring on school. The beach and pool are the only things that get me through summer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Much going on

Well things have been quite crazy at our house the last few weeks. Here are just a few highlights:
  • We got the new puppy, July 4th.
  • Akila went to camp for 5 nights, and did really well
  • The same night Akila returned from camp, my brother Tony, his wife Joan and two of his three kids, Lori (14) and Tim (17) came to stay at our house for 4 nights (from Virginia)
  • Michael had a birthday, happy birthday Babe!
  • Hezekiah had his tonsils removed, last Thursday and is still recovering
  • I have been working quite late each night on the dance fall brochure
  • Akila has been having a very difficult time behaviorally
I think I missed a few things, but that is plenty. Akila did a really nice job at camp, and has had a very hard time returning home. She definitely needs structure, and I just can't provide that at home all day and night. She started her summer enrichment class last week by Stages Theatre, a Wizard of Oz class at our school. I had to actually physically restrain her twice today which I hate doing as much as she hates having it done.

She is having a very difficult time with the dog. She can't stand it when the dog cries or yelps, like it does when it is in the mud room or in the kennel. The rule is, that it has to be in one of those two spots when someone is not playing with him or watching him. She can't stand Hibeam being locked up, it seems totally unjust to her. So she keeps letting him out, not watching him, and he of course poops or pees in the house then. Another rule is that he is locked up while we are eating since we can't be watching him and don't want him jumping up on us as we eat. She can't handle this either. She shoves her food down in a split second, goes to the family room, lets him out, and then goes outside to play, leaving him unattended.

We have sat her down, calmly talked to hear about the dog rules, the reasons, etc. But she just doesn't get it. Even if the dog is in one of his two spots, and isn't upset, she can't stand it. Her hysterics has been making the dog cry even. It is going to be a long first few months while she gets use to the dog rules and he gets trained.

I signed all 4 of my kids up for a membership at the newly remodeled YMCA in north Mpls, it is great. $30 annual membership, and it is open from 11-8 in the summer, you can drop the kids off anytime and they are fully supervised and structured (swimming, exercising in a really cool arcade that only has exercise fitness machines, gym games, arts and crafts, etc.). Akila loves it, and we just started going last week. This is where the three kids were going to go while Hezekiah had his surgery last week.

Akila was at the Wizard of Oz program in the morning, and I picked her up to go to the YMCA, which she loves, remember. The entire drive, she was raging that she didn't want to go. I explained that she could not come to the hospital as they said siblings are not allowed (not that I would have ever had her come with), but she loves hospital stuff. She didn't care, she wanted me to bring her home and she would find Sarah, our neighbor girl, to babysit. I said I wasn't going to pay a sitter when she could go to the Y and have tons of fun. She went nuts. And did the entire time, even at the Y. We finally got out of there and got to the hospital.

I went and picked the kids up at 6:00 (they were there since 11:30) and brought them to the hospital to see Hezekiah in recovery-he really wanted them to see his IV and I knew they would love it too. Michael stayed with Hezekiah while I got the kids. They all 4 loved seeing each other at the hospital. We left about 7:30 and all got home at 8:00, to discover that Hibeam had gotten out of his gated area and peed and pooped all over the house, and chewed up a few things (not too bad though). So Michael and Imani cleaned up potty messes while I got Hezekiah situated. Akila went into rage mode and the evening was out of control.

Friday morning wasn't any better. Michael was getting Akila off to the school bus as I had been up a few times giving Hezekiah medicine and letting the dog out. Hezekiah had come in early and fell asleep in bed with me. Akila came in asking me where her dance sweatshirt was. I said I didn't know. She raged, hit me, called names, etc. I didn't move as Hezekiah was sleeping on me and even her hysterics weren't waking him up. Thinking back, I probably could have readjusted him and gotten her out to deal with, but come on!!!!!! After 5 minutes of being crazy, she left and slammed the door. Then she returned 10 minutes later raging even worse because dad had told her to get her shoes on and it wasn't time yet. She wanted me to go tell him it wasn't time yet. She went on and on for quite awhile like this.

After Hezekiah got up, I went downstairs to see my husband looking and feeling like I do 75% of the mornings- deflated and wiped out, by 8:30 am. All weekend she has been acting very poorly. I am praying for a peaceful Sunday.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Welcome Hibeam!!!

Well, I have been upgraded (or downgraded depending on how you look at it) from psycho mom, to psychotic mom; we got a dog. Yes, we are crazy; we actually got a puppy and he is the cutest puppy ever!!! His name is Hibeam, which is the first letter of all of our first names- bizarre, I know. Hibeam is a GoldenDoodle. Here are some pictures:

Hibeam is a very smart dog we have learned, he already has learned to sit on command. :) The kids and I were in Willmar for our annual two night stay at the Poss families on Eagle Lake and we got home on Saturday afternoon. Michael picked the dog up on Friday and spent the first night bonding with it. The kids did not know, so it was a surprise when we got home yesterday. They were quite surprised. Imani has been begging for a dog for years, and she said that she felt like she was living in a dream.

Of course, it did not take long to be fighting over the dog. Akila is very good and kind with animals, but like everything, she goes the the extreme and hyper-focuses on it. When the dog is sleeping on the floor, she yells at anyone who talks in the same room, no matter how much we explain to her that it is OK. She sits next to the dog and yells at the others when they try to pet it, saying that they are hurting him. We anticipated this of course, but it is still annoying.

We dropped Akila off this afternoon at Camp Ihduhapi in Loretto until Friday thanks to my friend Lynne who donated the week camp to us. This is really good timing for a couple of reasons. First off, I am stressed to the max with her after travelling to Willmar with her for the past several days. We had plenty of issues. Second, it will be nice to have these first days with the dog without the drama that Akila brings.

We brought Hibeam with for the car ride which took about 30 minutes. He is of course not use to the car so he was crying a little bit and had just a few minor issues. Akila couldn't stand it. She was whacko the entire car ride. The last five minutes, she even started to cry because she wanted Michael to hold the dog instead of Imani and the dog was doing fine. Then she started to act sad about going to camp. I was getting nervous thinking we might have a scene brewing. Thankfully, when we arrived and brought her into her cabin, she got really excited and was ready for us to leave.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Great summer program

Well I am so happy to report that our summer has been going really well. Vacation Bible School was a huge hit last week and the program at a local park that Akila is in from 11-4 each day is great. She loves it and the staff person is excellent. She has gotten to go swimming at the local water park every day, and done lots of fun things.

The other kids are really happy to be home and playing together or with neighborhood kids, and I have been getting stuff done. Yesterday, when it was extremely hot, I spent the afternoon in Akila's bedroom peeling wallpaper. Why you ask would I do this on a hot day? Because there is a window unit air conditioner in Akila's room, and because I have to return the wall paper steamer to my friend in Willmar next week when we go there for ther 4th of July. I always need deadlines to get things done. I have had the steamer for over a year.

On Monday, Akila skipped the park program and we went to Zeke's beach, Cedar Lake (all my kids middle names are after Minneapolis lakes). It was great!!! The water felt great, they swam and played nicely for several hours. Zeke and Imani even caught a fish in their bucket. They tried for at least two hours, and their patience finally paid off. They were very excited. Akila found a few snails, which she was quite excited about. I read a book. It was lovely.

Akila will be going to an overnight YMCA camp July 5-10, I am excited for her. She is on cloud nine as she has always wanted to go to a camp. It will be a nice respite for the rest of us as well. Most people don't understand, that when I say our summer has been going well, that doesn't mean that we don't have a million issues with Akila. That doesn't mean I haven't been hit and called names. It mainly means that the majority of her rages, have been short lived and not escalated into full blown blow-outs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer update

Last week was our first full week of summer, and it went pretty well. No huge issues, but plenty of little ones-especially with the chilly rainy weather. This week, the kids are signed up for the first of three Vacation Bible Schools (VBS), from 9-11:30 each day. Akila is signed up at a program at a local park that is a partnership with the YMCA, a program all summer from 11-4 for free. Yes, I said free. It is one of the benefits to living in the hood and having your house broken into all the time. You get to find some really cool free programs.

Akila is excited for the program, I hope she likes it. I know that I do, and so do the other kids. They have been playing outside all afternoon with the neighbor kids and there has not been a single issue. No hitting, no name calling. It is really nice. After a full week together 24/7, we all needed a break from the issues Akila brings into our family. And as an added bonus, Akila gets to hang out tonight with Angie. What a great start to the week.

Thongs

I took the kids to a Lifetime Fitness outdoor pool yesterday, we do this a lot in the summer as it is included with our membership, so no pool fees. And the pools are really nice, zero depth, waterslides, etc.

I was sitting on a chair reading, and Akila came over to ask for her goggles. I gave them to her, and saw something crazy as she turned around to walk to the pool. She had intentionally pulled her swim suit up her butt cracks to make it look like a thong. Being a great mom, I yelled at her, kind of loudly, but not super loud, to pull her suit out of her butt crack. She turned and gave me the "I've been busted look" and jumped in the pool.

I started to look around to see who at the pool was wearing a thong suit, but didn't see one. I do remember seeing one last year and being kind of grossed out. Later, when she came back, I asked her where she had seen somebody wearing a suit up their butt crack. She didn't want to talk about it and kept looking behind me. I think the person was right behind us, I never got up the courage to look. Hopefully I made them feel as dumb as they looked. Nice.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nice post

Here is a link to a blog that I like, and I really like this post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Imani, the shy one??

Imani is my daughter who is fairly quiet and comes off as shy most of the time. She is very well behaved, and when meeting a new person, is pretty quiet. She is not the child that you would expect is a good performer. But she is. She does well at her piano recitals, and is pretty good at plays as well.

Today after school, she wanted to use our camera that takes short videos, and I agreed. Last week, our grandma Kathy gave us a stack of three Guidepost magazines, and I noticed last night that Imani had put them in her bedroom drawer for some reason. Well, she decided to make an infomercial for the magazine today, and it is hilarious, especially if you know Imani. It is about 3 1/2 minutes long, and I don't even know how to edit it to be shorter. So feel free to stop it after a minute or so, but I'm sure you will agree with me on what a cutie pie my daughter is.


video

School support

Akila has had a great school year, by far her best yet. I am super happy about this, but I wish I could say the same about home. At home, each year gets worse. But I am very thankful that she is doing well at school. I do know that will more than likely change at some point. But I have to share something that may shock many of you, especially those of you who are parents of a child with special needs.

I got an email today from Akila's teacher requesting me to come next week and meet with her IEP team and the Special Ed Director. Sounds scary doesn't it? They want to meet to talk about the possibility of a para in the future for Akila. Should I say that again? The school has initiated this. I can't tell you how thankful I am for all of the support and acceptance that we have gotten from our school. I know tons of parents who have had to fight tooth and nail to get support for their kids, and I have not hit any resistance.

I'm not sure if they are talking about next school year, the teacher mentioned trying to think ahead into middle school, which Akila is one school year away from (she will enter 5th grade next year). But I really appreciate opening up the discussion. Akila's behavior has not been too rough this year, but I think that academically, she is often pretty lost and this is the age where most FASD kids start to plummet as the curriculum gets more abstract. I am just tickled pink that I get to work with a school team that is proactive.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Personal "Recital" Assistant

We don't qualify for a Personal Care Attendant (PCA), and I desperately would like one. I have checked out all angles, and it would be cheaper for me to just hire a sitter to hang out with her when I need it, but can't really afford to do that very often. The dance recitals were this weekend at Dance Endeavors, the studio I work at that my friend owns, and the studio that Akila takes dance at. So Akila was dancing 4 dances in two of the three recitals.

The recital is just over three hours long, isn't that ridiculous??!!?! I have finally talked my friend Juli, the owner, into changing the recitals for next year so they aren't so long! Yahoo. Anyway, the dancers have to stay in a backstage class room the entire show. This is impossible for Akila, it is hard for most kids, but impossible for Akila. Normally, she comes out a thousand times and finds me at the ticket table where I am managing all the logistics (tickets, concessions, flower sales, volunteers, etc.). This drives me nuts as she is very demanding, and can't wait until I am done talking with a parent or customer. It looks really bad when she comes up and calls me a retard in front of a parent.

So this year, I hired my 14 year old neice Natalie who dances at a studio in Lakeville and has for many years. She knows Akila, and is experienced in recitals and the back stage stuff. She brought her make up kit and did Akila's make-up and just did a fabulous job with her. And it is hard work. Keeping up with Akila is seriously hard work, and at a dance recital, she is hyper to the max. Natalie was awesome and made the recital so much less stressful for me, and so much more enjoyable for Akila. Thanks Natalie, I love you!!

Here are some pictures, the first two are of Akila and Natalie, and there is a picture of Imani with Akila as well at the bottom:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

After school rage

Akila walked in the door today in a huff. This morning, she woke me up at 6:15 and needed help on the computer. I usually wake my kids up at 7:15 to get ready for school. I went downstairs to help her, and Imani and Zeke were up. Akila had woke them up, don't know what time. Michael was in the shower, and when he got out he told me that he got up at 5:30 and Akila was already up. After they left for school, I went into Akila's room and found potato chips, and the mini DVD player. I think she had been up for quite awhile.

Normally, when she does this, she doesn't seem to be affected the next day. Today, she was. She walked in the door in a rage, and she was taking it out on Imani. I got Imani away from her, and could not get her to calm down. I was freaking out inside as tonight was the K-5 concert at school and all four kids were singing at it. I couldn't imagine Akila going, in the current state. I tried several angles to talk her down. No luck. Sent her to her room to calm down, which doesn't really work either, but I can't stand being around her for very long when she is like this. She was kicking and hitting me, and was totally out of control.

I wanted to try and give her some medication that the Dr. has said we can try in the late afternoon, Clonidine. She was refusing to take it. She was like this for quite awhile. I finally got out the camera and was trying to capture her rage and I am trying to upload it for you all to see a little taste of a rage. By the time I got the camera, her rage was not as severe. She had started to perseverate on wanting clear fingernail polish, which of course we don't have. We have every color under the sun, but the clear stuff we have has glitter in it and she wanted clear. What next.

The video is about 4 minutes long and you don't really see her much as I was trying to stay clear as to not get kicked. At one point, I'm not sure if you can tell when she is in her room and the door is closed, she is kicking the door. Also, all the stuff on the floor are things she has thrown at me (not that there isn't crap all over on the floor at our house). In the end, she is mad that the camera is on, which I guess I can't blame her for. I have the hardest time not going into the red zone with her when she acts like this. My natural instinct is to yell at her and get really stern, which only escalates her behaviors. Many people might watch this and say that I am being too appeasing. I say live with her for two weeks and then tell me what you think.

She did eventually take the medication, and it did seem to help her calm down. We made it to the concert, they all did really well, and we snuck out as soon as they were done singing, which is when Akila was starting to lose it. On the way to the car, she went nuts a little once again. She was calling us a new name; pompous morons. That made us laugh.



video

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thrift store bargains

Today, most thrift stores have a 50% off sale, and my favorite thrift store is Unique Thrift. I went early this morning by myself (I highly recommend against bringing kids to these sales, it is a zoo), and I hit pay dirt. My boys especially were in need of summer clothing, but I got some for the girls as well.

Here is what I got:
  • 14 pairs of shorts
  • 6 swim suits
  • 14 shirts
  • 4 pairs of shoes
All this for $95, which averages out to $2.50/item. Not too shabby. Then, we took the kids to lunch at Rocky Rococcos Pizza as I hadn't been there since college and we discovered one in Brooklyn Center. On the way home, we passed a ARC Value Village Thrift store and stopped in, with all 4 kids. I had a hard time finding shorts for my girls this morning as they are all too short, and I hate short shorts!! Akila loves them, Imani hates them.

The girls were with me going through the clothing racks, and I found a nice pair of jean shorts that were almost knee length, and had some cute decorations on them. I showed them to Akila, who didn't like them. I was about to try to talk her into them when Imani said, "I like them, can I have them?" This was enough for Akila to pounce on them and decide that she like them. Akila went on to look at a different rack, and Imani came up to me and whispered "you're welcome". I almost started laughing and crying a the same time.

Imani knows full well that Akila has horrible taste in clothing, as she always chooses "slutty" looking clothing. Imani almost goes overboard the opposite way. She has some athletic shorts, that are not too short, but aren't knee length, and she won't wear them because they are too short. For some reason, I once was going to argue with her on this. I caught myself and stopped, and said a little prayer of thanksgiving to God. How cool is that? Imani is helping me with Akila. She is one sharp little girl. I am very thankful for her.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let the weekend begin

Tonight, I was in the back yard of my next door neighbors house, talking with her as Zeke, Hezekiah and Imani were running through her sprinkler(looked cold to me). Akila was in the house watching a movie, it was probably around 8:00, which is normally bedtime but we were staying up a little late due to the holiday weekend.

Akila came back to the yard yelling at me wondering why I wasn't coming when she was calling me. I had put a microwave popcorn in the microwave for her before I went outside. Evidently, it finished, and she wanted me to bring it to her in the family room. She yelled forever, which I did not hear, then she came outside to find me and yell at me. She of course walked right past the microwave. She normally makes the popcorn all by herself. As a matter of fact, she made scrambled eggs tonight all by herself, we weren't even in the kitchen and did not know she was making them. I like that! She is pretty good at it.

Anyway, she went ballistic. She was yelling and completely off her rocker as she wanted me to come inside and get the popcorn for her. I talked to her about how she could do that on her way through the kitchen to the family room, but she was far too over the top and couldn't process what I was saying. It was not pretty.

Eventually, I got her settled back with a movie and later I was back outside. Akila came outside and wanted to run in the sprinkler a bit and she did. Then she wanted to go inside and take a warm bath. I said good idea, you can go get it started, or ask dad to help you start it, or wait until I am done talking to Kathy and I will start it. This set her off. She wanted me to come inside and immediately obey her every command. She started pushing and getting violent. I eventually had to take hold of her arm to guide her into the house, as she was trying to bite me. I sent her upstairs and said to get ready for bed as she was done for the night. I went outside to get the other three kids to come in and get ready for bed.

Outside, I could hear Michael inside having it out with Akila. Summer is hear. All of our neighbors get to hear our fun episodes. We probably should invest the thousands it would cost to get air conditioning to avoid being reported to child protection. After Akila was in her bedroom, and all four kids were in bed, we sat in our room and listened to Akila spewing out hatred at the top of her lungs for a good ten minutes. Lots of name calling, a little swearing, and a lot of mean things. I told Michael that we should build a bedroom in the back of the family room so the poor kids don't have to hear her yelling horrible things. I also pointed out that it won't be too long before she is throwing the F-bomb and other inappropriate language around. The teenager years are going to be interesting. That is for sure.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Loving learning

All four of my kids are pretty fond of school, even Akila- at least most days. She does have days that she doesn't want to go to school, but it is usually because she is in a bad mood. The others are always excited to go to school.

But Zeke, LOVES school and LOVES learning like nothing I have ever seen. He is only in kindergarten and we are so hopeful that his enthusiasm continues. Like I said, all of my kids like school, and they all did in kindergarten. But Zeke is different. He loves it, and especially the learning part.

I was at a meeting tonight, and sat by his teacher. She told me that they she got out some math books today for the first time (I think they usually have just had worksheets and stuff like that, not text books yet). Zeke went up to her later and told her that he was so excited they got the books that he accidentally cried. He then went on to explain that they were happy tears. How cute is that?? What kids cries when given a math book? Well, I probably did but only because I hated math. My tears were not happy ones when it came to math.