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.

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.

FASD neighborhood

I think I have written before about the fact that my next door neighbor has also adopted four children, she is a single mom (wow, I hope I never have to do this alone). Her oldest daughter is 15 or maybe 16 and has FAS.

We have had a few episodes over the past years where this girl has attacked my kids. She will do this not when the kids have done anything to instigate the attack, but just when she is mad about something else. After dinner last night, I heard her mom outside yelling at her and came to our front door. Three of my kids were in the door looking outside. They said that the teenage girl was attacking her little sister and the mom was trying to get it under control. They were on the other side of their house so I couldn't see anything. I was going outside and trying to figure out if I should go out (this mom is very private, unlike me!).

Three girls who live at the other end of our block were playing nearby and all of a sudden, the enraged FAS teenager (trying not to use their names), came running out from the side of their house and started to chase these girls. I got my kids in the house and then started to chase the teenager (her mom has some health and physical challenges so I knew I could run a bit faster-good thing I have been working out a lot). It was quite the scene. Two girls, 4 years old and 7 years old running down the block scared to death, a very large teenager chasing them, me running behind her, and her mom way behind me. Right when I was about to catch up to the teenager, in the girls who were running front yard, the teenager fell and I got down next to her and held her down with one of my arms and started to calmly rub her back with my other hand.

The girls who had just ran into their house, got their parents who came out, wondering what in the world had just happened. They have lived there maybe a year, and are a challenging family. Had a recent drug bust at their house. At this point, the mom of the teenager arrived and was crying and told the parents that her daughter has special needs and that she has called the police so they can take her to the hospital.

Unfortunately, this poor mom has been having to call the police probably once a month on her daughter. She has gotten to be too much to handle and gets too aggressive. I'm not sure what is going to happen. I helped and went to pick her other three kids who were at a Boy Scout picnic. In the meantime, Akila was going through the roof!!!! She was completely nuts over the entire situation and I was trying to explain it to her, she was quite scared. The bummer, is that I told her the police were going to take the girl to the hospital, which I wish I had not said. Jail would have been a better answer. Akila loves the hospital and wants to go there all the time. She loves IV's and shots and all that junk. I could see her head spinning. I was trying to explain that it was not the kind of hospital that she is thinking of. She didn't get it. She honestly thinks it would be fun to go to jail. Unfortunately, I think some day she will probably find out the reality of what it is really like.

Things are heating up in the hood. I think with the weather, and the economy, it is going to be a really hard summer in North Minneapolis. I called 911 three times last week in one day due to suspicious behavior. A neighbor did end up getting robbed by some people I called the police on, they didn't get here in time. Urggghhhh.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


It has been awhile since I have posted. I finally took some pictures off of the camera and put them on my new laptop, so I will post a few of them. Life has been hectic at our house, as normal. Akila had a really good night tonight, which is all relative I guess. The main issue was that she called a girl "retarded" at dance tonight, but that is not bad considering her behavior lately. I have to email the girls father tonight.

She has been in an after school program 3-4 days a week, and that honestly has made our evenings much more controllable. It is nice too, as I either have one or two kids on those days after school, and we can have more time together this way (all the kids are doing one after school class).

I need to whine a minute, but I will start it off with good stuff. I have posted about this earlier, but I have not had even a tiny headache since the beginning of January. It was not my new year resolution or anything, but it would have been a good one. I just didn't think it was realistic then. Over three months with not even a hint of a headache, wow!!! You all should be on vitamin D, I love it!!!! Take at least 5,000 mg.

But, vitamin D has not helped with my cold sores. I usually get them every couple of months or so, and I got a whopper of one this week. On Monday night, I was at a PTSA meeting, and I thought I was getting a sore throat as my ear was hurting when I swallowed. After I got home, put the kids to bed I sat my lazy bumm down in front of the TV. As I was sitting there, I started to get shots of pain in my eye socket. My eye socket. Then in my cheek and the side of my face. It was quite bizarre. I went to bed early, but did not sleep well. I kept on waking to pain on the left side of my face. Finally, in the middle of the night, it dawned on me that I was getting a cold sore.

I have gotten cold sores since I was a teenager, and I have only had a handful of them that really hurt, I mean really hurt. And this one does. It is a whopper. My face has hurt for two days now. Weird. I have tried Lysine, and other things, but not had much luck. All of my cold sores have come with some minor pain, and some major aggravation!!!!! But I think this one is the most painful ever. I think my hubby thinks I'm losing it, as much as I have complained about this honking sore on my lip. Can't blame him, I think I whined less when I had my 9 surgeries.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

Here Akila is feeding a cow on our fun spring break trip to Iowa.

My boys are helping to babysit my former student Erin's baby, Patrick

Imani and Akila in their Easter dresses.

Akila being a goof ball and watching a movie in our bathroom. I think she likes the heated floors.

Imani is standing in front of the giant picture on the back doors of our school (which face Hennepin Ave).