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.


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.