Monday, March 29, 2010

Banana bread

I think that after just two weeks, Akila's new med already needs an adjustment. The Dr. said this might be the case. She has been a bit more explosive the last 4 days or so, but still nothing like a few weeks ago.

Right now, she was watching Sid the Science Kid on PBS. Sid must have been making banana bread. Akila wants some. Now. We don't have any bananas right now. She is throwing quite a fit about it. Several things are broken, and I am bummed we are starting the first day of spring break off like this. I should have known better.

I could run to the store right now and get some bananas, but I don't want to. I don't want to get everyone dressed to make the trip. Our two neighbors slept over last night and the other three kids are all playing nicely with them. I told Akila we would get some bananas later today. She wants them now, did I mention that?

I finally got her distracted after 25 minutes of perseverating on the bananas. That doesn't sound long, but it truly is. Trust me.

On a side note- Sid the Science Kid is a pretty cool show. But I don't like it. He is always doing these really cool science experiments and things the kids can try at home. Akila has thrown many a fit over the show and wanting to do one of the projects. If we don't have all of the items necessary, or if we don't have the time to do the project right away when she has watched it, she goes ballistic. What a great show for neuro-typical kids.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Angel Food Ministries and coupons

We have been trying to cut down on our grocery bill the last 6 months or so and I have found several websites and programs that have been very helpful.

One program that I used today for the first time, is Angel Food Ministries. It is a ministry that is dedicated to providing food relief and financial support to communities throughout the US. It is not an income qualified program, it is open to everyone. For $30/month, you can purchase a box of food and here is a sample menu:

  • 4 lb. IQF Leg Quarters
  • 4 oz. Beef Back Ribs
  • 1 lb. 80/20 Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 lb. Breaded Chicken Tenders
  • 1.5 lb. Bone in Pork Chops (4 x 6oz.)
  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey
  • 18 oz. Stuffed Manicotti (Cheese)
  • 12 oz. Smoked Sausage
  • Betty Crocker Seasoned Potatoes
  • 7 oz. Cheeseburger Dinner
  • 16 oz. Green Beans
  • 16 oz. Baby Carrots
  • 2 lb. Onions
  • 1 lb. Pinto Beans
  • 1 lb. Rice
  • 7 oz. Blueberry Muffin Mix
  • 10 ct. Homestyle Waffles
  • Dessert Item
You can purchase as many boxes as you would like, and they have other options, such as meat boxes, fresh fruit and veggies, etc. I picked up our box today from a church in Minneapolis and it was very slick. I ordered it probably 3 weeks ago. What a great program!! They have many locations around the country, and several in Minnesota.

Also, I have been using the website, PocketYourDollars. It is a site where a metro woman takes all the main ads from each Sunday, Cub, Rainbow, Walmart, Target, CVS, etc. She scours the ads for what are good prices (and she knows her stuff), and she then links coupons to each sale price.

I have been getting a lot of stuff for free, things we use and need. She says that she never pays for toothpaste or deodorant anymore. She never pays more than $1 for a box of cereal, and I am talking about name brand cereal. I have gotten lots of cereal for .50 or less. For our family of 6 grocery bill has been under $75 most weeks since I started using these resources, some weeks under $50.

If any of you do start to use the pocket your dollars website, let me know and I can give you a few tips that would have been helpful to me when I started. It can seem a little overwhelming at the beginning, but it really is pretty easy and worth the savings.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scared to blog

I have been scared to blog this week about this new medication and the effect it has had on Akila. I am just floored at how calm our week has been.

She has been on it for 2 weeks, and I have not had to restrain her once. She has not hit or kicked me or him even once, a huge change. She has been better at school, and her attitude at home has been much better. We still have our issues, but she is not turning every piddly issue into a major meltdown.

I am not dreading spring break next week like I usually do. I am actually looking forward to it. I have been planning on going over a book series on sex and puberty with the girls at the beginning of the break. I like to do this when there is distance between when Akila hears the info and when she goes to school. She is less likely to be completely obsessed with it and telling everyone about it.

We just got a note from the school, and the school nurse is planning on doing a lesson on puberty on Friday- they are smart also, doing it on the last day before spring break. It is time, I know there has been some really goofy conversations on the bus about sex lately. I will spare you the details, but lets just say that the kids on the bus are not explaining things properly to my kids.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Akila woke me up this morning to tell me that she made dad cry because she was being so good. I was happy to hear this, but I really wish she had not woken me up to tell me. He said that when she got up, she asked to take her medicine. Usually, this is a huge fight, to get her to take her medicine. It has not been so the last week or so. But she has never asked to take it. He said he did actually get emotional.

Michael and I are both being very cautious, it is like we don't trust this good behavior. Do not get me wrong, we are so appreciative and enjoying it to the fullest, it just seems too good to be true. Since starting this new medication, we have not had one rage and very little swearing. This doesn't mean at all that she is acting like our neuro-typical kids. There are still issues. But they are minuscule compared to the rages of a few weeks ago. Compared to the explosions over the word no no matter how it is masqueraded.

She is actually playing Uno right now with Zeke, and it is going well (so far). I am amazed and so thankful for this really good week, and praying that it continues. It is amazing how much a few calm days affects my attitude. I have felt so much more peaceful and content today. I guess that it is pretty normal to feel on the edge when living in constant conflict.

Look at what my awesome husband got me today for my make-up. I am so excited to not have to hide my make-up in a new spot all the time and forgetting where it is.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good day

After an emotional night, we went and had some fun today. Michael took the day off, we went out to lunch where we could watch the Gophers lose, and then we went to the health club where we swam forever and then played basketball. Picked up pizza on the way home. No cooking for me, sounds good.

It has been kind of hard to explain cremation to the kids, the idea of burning Hibeam does not seem good to them. It is kind of hard to get.

Imani was wearing Hibeam's collar and dog tags last night, and it was freaking me out. Every time she was moving around in a room, I thought it was Hibeam. Akila brought Hibeam's leash to bed with her and was trying to get a response out of Michael and I. It is kind of like she doesn't have many emotions, at least not some that she is figuring out how to handle, so she is copying others.

I do think the new med is helping, she has been really good this week, and just has such a more positive demeanor. She seems happy, instead of constantly angry.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goodbye Hibeam

Our 10 month old puppy had to be put down today. We are all very sad. I don't think I have written much about him, as I was kind of in denial.

We have had aggression issues with him since the beginning. We got him on the 4th of July, and started a training class with him in August. The trainer noticed it right away and thought he might have neuro problems. I could not believe it. Seriously, a dog with neuro problems. You've got to be kidding me.

We worked hard, went to training, had some individual training with him, but he would not stop going "kujo" on us from time to time. It usually was when he had some type of food possession, a rawhide, a loaf of bread he had just stole off the counter, etc. If you got near him, he would attack you. Not bite you, attack. We thought we could maybe train it out of him. We could not.

A few weeks ago, Michael and I both agreed we would need to find a new family for him, one without kids. We were slowly going trying to figure out how to go about this, when he got sick this week. He has been throwing up (everywhere), for three days. This morning, I brought him to the vet. The vet was looking at his mouth, and Hibeam attacked and bit the vet. He has never done this, when he is not possessing something.

We put a muzzle on him, and the vet was trying to feel his tummy to see if he could tell if there was a blockage. Hibeam has ate no less than 15 socks over his short life. He often threw them up, and re-ate them, or pooped them out. You would think we could keep socks away from him, but the kids could never figure this one out. Anyway, even with a muzzle on, Hibeam was attacking the vet. He obviously wasn't biting him, but was very crazy.

The vet could not do an exam of the dog. We talked options. If he needed surgery, the vet was concerned about aftercare. The clinic/hospital could not do it due to his aggression, and we would have to force feed him some oral meds with no food for 2 or 3 days. That would not work. The vet said he would not let the dog near the kids while he is sick, due to his aggression. He weighs 50 pounds. The vet mentioned that a dog this size could do serious harm.

There would be no way to keep Akila away from the dog. We did not feel comfortable finding a new home for him, even without kids the way he attacked the vet, so Michael and I decided to have him put down. It was a really long, hard day.

The kids got home from school, we all sat down in the living room, and Michael broke the news. They did not believe us, they thought it was a joke. They ran to find him. When they saw me crying, they knew it was real. Imani took it the hardest, which we expected.

She has wanted a dog as long as I can remember. The boys both started crying also. Akila looked at all of us crying, and tried to kind of fake cry. She did have a tear run down her face, but that was it. She was more watching us all to see how she should react. Then she disappeared. I went to check, she was on the computer looking for a new dog.

When she was done on the computer, she got into me email, and emailed my brother that Hibeam died. She then went outside, and door to door to tell neighbors. She then came home to call everyone we know. Sorry if you got a call. She has told random people walking by our house.

When I think about her age being between 4-5 years old, it makes sense (she is 10 chronologically). This is similar to how the kids acted when my mom died 5 years ago. Developmentally, they weren't old enough to really react in a deep way. All I know, is that I am ready for a new day. This one stinks.


Today is the last school day of the week. The kids just left for school, and we finished up 9 school days in a row of no morning issues with Akila. Praise the Lord!

Yesterday, I picked her up from school and she was in a fabulous mood. I could not help but think of what a change it is from just 2 or 3 weeks ago, when she had an angry look on her face before she even got in the van and was horribly crabby each day when I picked her up. I drove her to my friend Juli's house who brings her with to dance class. She stood in the driveway with a huge smile waving goodbye and yelling that she loves me. I turned the corner, pulled over and texted Juli that Akila was in a really good mood and told her not to ruin it!

Juli said that she was talkative and good at her house. She usually just stands around quietly, picks her skin, or tries to steal stuff (even before the last medication we tried that was a disaster). During dance, the teenager I hired, Laura, started working with Akila. Everyone said it was a huge success- Juli said it made a major difference.

I picked her up from dance, she was still smiling and happy. At home she was in a good mood, and went to bed just fine. Now, we may just be on a good cycle, she may have just had a particularly good day (which she has from time to time), but I am truly hoping it is this new medication, Risperdal. She started on it on Saturday and it is something you start out the first week with a lower dose, and work up.

Don't get me wrong, I know last night will not be every night. I know that meds do not make things that much better. But if it has some type of impact on her and makes her moods a little better, I will be so grateful. She deserves it, not to mention the rest of the family. I was talking to her about how much fun she was having because she was in a good mood. She agreed. I am not even dreading the day off from school tomorrow like I often do.

Maybe Akila just had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I know I was in a good mood yesterday with the sun shining and warm temps. :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

School conferences

We had conferences tonight, and we had mostly really good news. I will start with reports on the youngest and move up.

Zeke, 1st grade- is reading at end of 2nd grade level, doing great. Great kid to have in class. Is going to get more challenging spelling words.
Hezekiah, 2nd grade- getting too chatty and not living up to his potential, went down in math. But is still really high and doing well, just some areas to work on.
Imani, 4th grade- super star report. Imani has always been a very average student and has never been a very strong reader. Well, in all the testing, she has shot up and is doing great in all areas. She is a fantastic student, and for the third year in a row, we hear a teacher say they want to clone her. Me too. :)
Akila-5th grade- on all of her testing, she has also gone up and is closing the gap. This was so great to hear and is truly a testament to her paraprofessional's hard work. I have noticed that the school work Akila is bringing home, is filled out and makes sense. This never happened in the past. The aide (I would use her name but don't have permission, so I will refer to her as the aide) helps to keep Akila focused in class, and helps to complete her work. She often takes Akila into the hallway to work on a project after the teacher has given instructions. She is fabulous and I can't tell you how much I hope she works with Akila next year.

Michael was prepared tonight and wrote jokes out on little note cards and put them in all the kids desks. He did this last October and they loved it. It was a nice night and was fun to hear that ALL of our kids are doing well in school.

A gift

One of the gifts that the Lord gave to Michael, is the gift to teach. He is great at doing homework with the kids, explaining detailed steps. He taught me how to drive stick shift and nobody else had been able. Most wives have a hard time learning something like this from their husbands, as you can often feel like you're being yelled at. But Michael is good at this stuff.

I told Michael how I was frustrated last week with the kids lying. Imani had told me that she had brushed her teeth and I knew she had not. When I confronted her on this, she admitted it and I talked with her about lying and the impact it has on others. She did not really get it.

On Sunday evening, Michael had the whole family come into the dining room with their bibles. He had 8 paper plates on the table upside down and a jar of quarters. He told the kids there was money under one of the plates and asked them what question they would ask mom and dad to find out which plate the money was under. Imani said she would ask which plate the money is under. He said right. They would take turns asking mom or dad which plate it was under. They left the room, we put the money under a plate and they came back.

I was to always give them the right answer, Michael would always give the wrong answer. After just 3 or 4 turns, they realized to only ask me. They were all accusing Michael of lying and said they did not trust him. We then had a discussion about lying, and how it affects your trust. He then gave each child a notecard with a bible verse on it and they each looked one up and read it out loud. We then discussed lying further and prayed about it. It was great.

When we went upstairs to go to bed, Imani seemed burdened. She asked me if there was an old lie, and they told the truth now, would there be a consequence. We had talked at length about if it is better to tell the truth and get a consequence, or to lie and not get an immediate consequence. I told her it all depended. She started to cry and we went into her bedroom. Last week, Akila had said that one day on the bus, Imani had been asking another questions about sex that were innappropriate and Imani denied it. I could tell she had been lying.

Well, this is what she wanted to confess. I had her tell me what they had talked about, and I then corrected the answers she had been given on the bus and told her she could ask me these kind of questions anytime, as long as she got me alone first. I forgave her and we prayed again. It was beautiful.

I think Michael is planning on doing something like this each week, and I am really glad!!!! I have a list of topics to request including obedience, attitude and work ethic.

I sometimes wonder

I sometimes wonder if it would be easier if all 4 of my kids had brain issues. I sometimes worry so much about the other 3 kids and what impact Akila's behaviors may be having on them. We try really hard to give them some kind of normalcy in their lives, but the truth is that their lives are anything but "normal".

I pray that the Lord will bring them through their childhood and make them stronger and more compassionate through living with Akila and her FASD behaviors. I pray that they do not grow up and resent Michael and I and wish that we had done too many things differently. We do a lot of things to try and give them some specialized attention, here are a few:
  • Date nights with just one kid, twice a year for each kid (including Akila)
  • Michael brings one kid out to breakfast often on Saturdays
  • My friend Angie takes Akila out every other Monday night so we can have time to focus on the other kids
  • I try to get some friends to take Akila for a weekend once in awhile, although it only happened once last year (thanks Lori and Curt!). This is mainly the only time my kids can have friends over for a sleepover or play date (if Akila is home, it is all out war, even if she has a friend over too)
Does anyone have any other ideas of things that they do?

Michael and I need to be better at making sure we have time together. It is getting more difficult to have babysitters over and this is hard for us. In the past (meaning just 6 months ago), we usually averaged a date between just the two of us, every 4-6 weeks. It has been much less often lately. Need to change this. Michael's brother Dan, and his wife Tara, usually take all our kids twice a year for an overnight, which is awesome. They did in October, and I remember still sleeping until 10 am and being shocked when I woke up.

We are wanting to take the kids to California on a vacation (we have only had one real family vacation and it was when the kids were 6 months, 1,2 & 3 so it doesn't count-we had to go to Florida to finalize Zeke's adoption). Michael is really nervous to travel with Akila and is nervous that she will ruin the vacation for everyone. I understand where he is coming from, but I think we could make it work. I would like to bring an extra person with to kind of be Akila's PCA. They could have the majority of the daytime hours off to themselves while she is medicated, and then help us out in the evening hours. It would work.

Akila has had 7 really good mornings in a row now, and I am so thankful for that. But it is amazing how one little thing can ruin that. As the kids were getting coats and backpacks on this morning, I was letting them know that I would be picking them up. Hezekiah asked if I meant Akila too (silly question since the reason I am picking up is because of her). I said yes and he got a silly face and did a double thumbs down, right in front of her. Well this set her off, and getting her out the door was not as smooth as I had hoped.

I of course got down on Hezekiah and said thanks so much for the help. After they left, I sat down and prayed for forgiveness and will ask Hezekiah for forgiveness after school. I get mad at him or one of the other kids, expecting them to act like an adult and to think ahead as to how their behavior will affect Akila. But the truth is that they are kids. They are somewhat "normal" kids, and I know that our family dynamics are hard on them. I wonder if it would be so hard if they all had more issues. I do wonder. But I also know, that it would be extremely nutty around here if they did. The Lord made them all 4 perfect in His eyes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Raven, my little sis

I mentor a young woman who is a senior at my kids school ( my kids go to a really cool K-12 school, FAIR Downtown School), her name is Raven. She calls me her big sista, and I don't think she is referring to my rather large back side. :) I have been working with her for 4 years, since she was a freshman.

Raven has had her ups and downs, and does not have a lot of support in her personal life. I won't go into details. But I truly love this young woman. She is amazing, and she has come through a lot in life and has had to deal with a lot on her own. She has always struggled in school, not because she doesn't have the brain capacity or anything, she is really smart. She has just never had the support, someone telling her to get her stuff done, someone telling her to get to bed, etc.

But, this year, she is kicking butt! I am so proud of her. The two first quarters, she passed all her classes, she has not done that since I have known her. And she passed them with good grades, not D's, which is not an acceptable grade in my book (right Raven!?). She has grown and matured and is doing so much better. I am so proud of her. Did I say that yet?

Raven came over today and relaxed Akila's hair and styled it for me, and Akila is in heaven. I'm a little worried she won't sleep tonight. I took a few pictures of Akila and Raven and I want to post them here. I have high hopes for Raven. She is a beautiful, intelligent young woman who can go far in this world. She just needs to accept this, believe in herself, and keep working hard. And not settle for the life she has always known, but focus on the life that she wants.

I also had to add a couple of pictures of the other 3 kids. One they are all doing homework in, the next they are doing chores together. Good stuff.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bummer end to the night

Akila really had a good week. And I am going to try to forget about the last hour plus of the evening, cuz it was not fun. Not fun at all. She has learned some new swear words, let's just put it that way.

I was at school helping out in Zeke's class today, and when I finished, i had 45 minutes before Imani's classroom play was to begin. It just happened to be the start of Akila's lunch. Our school has a campaign called "Think Twice" which is about being kind and respectful. When a student or staff finds a student doing great things, they write their name down on a card and what they did that was helpful or respectful, and they do drawings like once a month or so.

Akila's name was drawn today. She won a $20 gift card to Target. She really had a pretty good week. So I grabbed her out of the lunch line and we went through the skyway system (their school is in downtown Minneapolis), and went to get some pizza. It was really nice. She was in a super great mood, smiling and holding my hand. It was precious.

She was good afterschool, and I made the decision to go to Target right away so she could spend her gift card. When she has money, it burns a hole in her pocket, and we are all miserable until she spends it. So I wanted to avoid the issues. It worked.

We had a basketball banquet tonight for Hezekiah and Imani. I wanted the whole family to go. Michael I think would have preferred to stay home with Akila knowing it would be hard for her to handle. We ended up all going, and she did pretty well. Until the car ride home. It was not fun.

When we got home, I had her take her meds right away and gave her some time to veg out while we got the other kids to bed. When it was finally her turn to go to bed, she was super tired, but totally lost it. Totally. Did I say totally? I mean TOTALLY. Michael and I both had to restrain her. She called us the N word tonight. Interesting. And several other things. It was a really good reminder of why we don't do church on Wednesday nights. A boy from the basketball team's mom has been picking up our boys the last two weeks and taking them to Awana's at a church and they love it. My boys love it, and she has said she will continue to do it. I am thankful beyond words to this woman.

It took forever to get her calmed down and settled down enough to sleep. But, I am going to focus on the good school week we had, not the last hour of it. I am still thankful.

So thankful

I am truly thankful and amazed at how awesome my God is. He knew that we needed a good week. Thank you Lord.

The last 3 weeks were horrid. This week has been good. I am thankful and want to let you all know, that we just finished 5 days of calm and peaceful mornings. This is after last Friday, I cried the entire way home from dropping the kids off at school and on and off throughout the entire day.

I am thankful that Michael and I were able last Friday night to go out to dinner (while our nephew babysat and was at home getting slapped by Akila), and talked about some concrete changes we could try to make to things go a little more smoothly in the mornings. I am thankful for a parenting seminar last Friday night (after our dinner out), and Saturday morning that was somewhat refreshing and motivating (it was mainly focused on parenting neuro-typical children, well not focused on them, just assuming that is what everyone has-but none the less, it was good).

I am thankful that our Dr. listened to (or read and heard I should say), my email about the new med and agreed we should stop it and try a different med (starting it next week). I am thankful that we have met our insurance deductible (we met it in early Feb), and when I picked up the new med yesterday, it was not an obnoxious price.

I am thankful that the Lord adopted me, and that he designed our family so beautifully. I am thankful for my husband and ALL 4 of my kids. I am thankful that the Lord is so good and knew that all 6 of us needed a week off.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm laughing

Akila just came downstairs again and wants to see a movie she saw a commercial about. I said that maybe she could earn it and I would think of a chart we could put together to earn it. And I mentioned that she has been pretty good this week and told her that I appreciated that. She smiled.

And then, she put her hand in her pocket with a funny look on her face. Oh no. I braced myself. Thankfully, it was just a pack of gum from which I had given her a piece of earlier and said no more tonight as I put it back in my coat pocket. She apologized.

I am laughing. I just asked where my coat is. It is downstairs under the couch. Along with 8 trillion dust balls, 4 trillion dog hairs, 6 trillion crumbs, and many other unspeakable things. Not sure why she had to put it under the couch. Good thing I spilled pizza on it today and it needed washing anyway.

.77 cents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Akila just came running down the stairs excited because Hom Furniture is running a commercial, all their furniture costs just .77 cents. Run to the stores people. Call all your friends!!! My foot is out the door.

I was explaining to her that it was probably not the case, and she was adamantly disagreeing. So I pulled it up on the internet. It is 77 cents to the dollar. Put your car keys down. I was trying to explain that just means roughly 25% off. She dazed at me.

She went back up to watch more Deal or No Deal, and just came back running down again yelling something about a warranty and you don't have to pay anything. I explained that means you don't have to pay anything when you pick it up, but you will be billed later for it. She is getting really mad at me for bursting her bubble. She was hoping for a new dining room table so we don't have to sit on folding chairs anymore. Would have been nice.

I hate commercials. We do not have cable and rarely watch anything but PBS. I have had a lot of fun trying to explain to her that your hair doesn't really look like that if you use that shampoo, or you don't really lose weight by taking those pills, etc.

On another note, we have been having a good week since stopping that new medication, thank goodness!!!!! We have still had rages and issues, but nothing like the three weeks on the med. I am very thankful, the Lord has answered our prayers. I was not sure if we could handle another week like that. He does know our limits and for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Posting pictures

I keep getting bugged about not putting picture on enough, so I am going to try and catch up. Here are a few:

The boys after my thrift store purchases on President's Day

The girls in my thrift store purchases on President's Day. I got 4 nice sleeping bags (Coleman's and Eddie Bauers), 8 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 hair scarves, 1 Columbia winter jacket, 2 kid wallets and several other things for $75.Two full days worth of laundry.

My handsome boys made the honor roll after the first quarter, this is a picture of them in the honor roll tshirts that say on the back "I am the Definition of Ambition".

I like Imani's smile in this picture.

Akila doing a hairstyle for me.

Hibeam taking a nap.

Akila sleeping with her mask on, I love it!

Akila made a playdough cupcake with a candle.

Hibeam in the spring mud (I know I should not say it is spring yet, but I am very hopeful). Not fun.

Imani reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. She finally likes to read. Yahoo!!

Zeke's big smile.

Hezekiah got new glasses this week. I should say, his first ever glasses. He is not liking to wear them. Shocking.

Changing meds

I emailed Akila's Dr. yesterday and said we needed to stop the new medication. He agreed. We are phasing her off of it this week and are going to try a new one next week. I am very relieved.

Michael and I talked last week about how to make the mornings go more smoothly and are trying a few new things. The main thing is that we are getting the kids up an hour early, instead of 30 minutes early, hoping that Akila's meds have more time to take effect before we have to leave before school. We are also being more hard core with Akila on the fact that she has to take her meds right away and does not get breakfast until she takes them.

Day 3, and it has worked well so far. I am sure not all mornings will go smoothly, but hopefully it will help a little.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Walking the tight rope

I feel like we are so often walking the tight rope, just trying to hang on and avoid a rage. Akila was on edge last night, but we were able to avoid a major rage. It could easily have gone the other way and almost did.

The reason it almost went the other way; the DVD remote was missing. I searched and searched. Could not find it. She was getting elevated and did not like any of my other suggestions. For some reason the DVD player in our bedroom does not work unless you have the remote, a dangerous situation. She could have watched a movie downstairs or on one of our laptops, but these were not good options, "Dummy!". I suggested that we could play a game or cards. Not good options, "Dummy!".

Eventually, I finally found the remote and I almost kissed it. Major rage avoided. We did not fall off the rope last night, nor this morning. Praying that we stay on it tonight as well.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Slapping the sitter

Michael and I went to a parenting seminar at our church on Friday night and Saturday morning. Our 19 year old nephew babysat. Davis is a student at the University of Minnesota so we picked him up at the dorm and he stayed over night last night. He has babysat 2 or 3 times this fall.

I tried to give him the heads up on Akila, and last time he babysat, she was pretty challenging. But her behaviors have escalated so much in the last month, it is hard to prepare someone for it. We went out to dinner before the seminar, and Davis called about a 1/2 hour after we left. Akila had been slapping him and throwing things at him, and he was wondering what he could do.

This broke my heart. She has shown disrespect and been challenging for sitters before, but has never gotten violent with them also. She was also swearing. The great thing, is that it didn't really throw Davis off, he was just wondering what his options were. I told him to restrain her. He did, and texted us about 20 or 30 minutes later and said all was good.

How cool is that? Not that she was hitting him, but that he was able to deal with it and not too phased by it. He said he is willing to sit again in the future. Now that is love. We love you Davis, and appreciate you and the maturity that you have shown working with all of our kids!

(here is a really cool picture I found of Davis on Facebook- isn't he cute??!! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Worst morning yet

We had a rough morning, again. I let the kids all sleep in and drove them to school. After two nights in a row of Akila getting up by 4:00 am (maybe sooner, this is when I heard her), she was very tired looking last night, bloodshot eyes and all. Akila took her meds and got ready OK, but as we were going out the door, the other 3 were already out the door, she wanted to take a Nintendo DS with her to school which is against the rules.

She went nuts. I said she could bring it in the van, but leave it with me when we got to school. No go, she went into the red zone. Kicking, swearing, went out the front door and kicked it and dented it a few times, went to the van and started kicking it but thankfully did not leave any more dents. She would not get in the van, so I got in. She finally got in, but climbed into the front passenger seat to try to go out the passenger door, went out that door and fell in the snow bank. The door was open, she grabbed one of the kids piano books on the seat and threw it into the snow. She was refusing to get in, calling names, swearing.

She grabbed the snow scrapper and threw it at me, and then grabbed a 1/2 full water bottle. She realized it had water in it, so she took the lid off of it and threw it at me so water sprayed all over the dashboard. I, acting like a mad child, took it and poured the rest of the water on her. Proud moment. This infuriated her even more. She jumped in the van lunging at me, kicked the gear shifter thingie on the van and I thought she had broken it for a minute. I could not get her to calm down, and at this point, I was not calm anymore.

Eventually, she finally got back and into her seat, hit and kicked me a few more times, then threatened Hezekiah as he maybe laughed a little. When we finally were able to pull away from our house, I realized that Hezekiah was quietly sobbing in the back seat. Thankfully, Imani had chosen to sit in the far back in between the boys. Hezekiah was leaning on Imani, and crying.
Eventually, Zeke was also leaning on Imani with a sad face. After about 5 minutes of silence, Akila started talking normal like nothing had just occurred.

Then, we got to school. We pull up in the alley where the buses drop off, and are in the middle of the buses (this is where parents drop off also). The other 3 get out, Akila stays back thinking that I am going to give her a piece of gum. On mornings where she has been cooperative, she gets a piece of gum on the way out the door. There was no way I was giving her a piece of gum today. She went nuts again. Kicking, hitting, swearing. The sliding door is open, kids are walking past, and she could care less. A teacher is at the door, and I am sure she must have seen some of the scene.

When I left the school, I cried all the way home. This new level of violence and raging, is something I have no idea how to handle once it has began. I know the best answer is to prevent her getting into the red zone, but sometimes, you can't prevent it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Found: Dance PCA

I am so relieved and excited, a dancer has taken the position to work with Akila during dance class, and Akila loves her! Her name is Laura, and she was the teaching assistant in Akila's class last year, here is a picture of the two of them:

On Wednesday nights, when I pick up Akila from dance, I bring her evening meds and have her take them at the studio so they have kicked in by the time we get home. I usually try to have one of the teens give them to her as she then does not fight the meds (we are having epic battles to take any kind of meds, including melatonin).

Last night, Laura volunteered and brought her the meds. When she was leaving the room, Laura said something like, "she is my favorite kid in the world". Laura has always liked Akila and sees past her querks and oddness that can freak some people out. I am so thankful that she is willing to help out with this so that Akila can continue with dance. Thanks Laura, you are my hero!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wanted: Dance PCA

Akila's dance teacher is my best girl friend, Juli. She says that Akila's behavior is to the point of where she has to have someone with her in class, a PCA or aide of some type. Akila keeps leaving class, and rifling through everything in the studio and stealing stuff, is having a hard time staying in class, and is often mean to the other dancers.

I could just have her quit, but I really don't want to take this from her life. She is a pretty good dancer, when she pays attention. She has natural abilities and enjoys it. The other three are good musicians, which Akila has struggled with because of her dispraxia and other issues. I could stay with her during class, but that would not work well. She does not respond well to me in the evening, and it would be a constant battle.

Immediately following Akila's class, is a teenage class and I had the teacher announce tonight that I would like to hire one of them to be Akila's PCA during her classes. I am keeping my finger crossed, as I really do not want her to have to quit dance. We always say that we have 3 musicians and 1 dancer. I want this for her. I really do.

She had a tough behavior day at school, which I am guessing is somewhat tied to her lack of sleep and the excitement of skiing all day. They couldn't get her to take her meds until 2:00 pm, which mean that she had several hours on the trip when the meds had worn off.

On the flip side, I had a pretty energetic day considering the small amount of sleep that I got. Yey!!! I received a packet, or should I say catalog, of paperwork from the state as the second phase of the medical assistance application. Worked on it for 2 hours last night, and a few hours today. Not fun. Having to dig through records and find her Apgar scores for goodness sakes. I don't remember. And lots of other info that is really unnecessary, in my opinion. Well, I am off to bed at a much earlier time than I am accustomed to, but the energy is gone.

Up since 4

The boys came into our room at 4:03 this morning saying that Akila keeps coming in their room. I went upstairs, no telling how long she had been up. All three of the other kids were awake. I think Imani is the only one in the house who fell back asleep. She even woke up the poor puppy.

She is suppose to go skiing today with her class, I think she is just too excited. It drives me nuts when she gets up in the middle of the night, although I know she kind of can't help it. But what really drives me nuts, is when she wakes the other kids up intentionally. That she can help. I cannot talk Imani into sleeping with her door closed and/or locked. That would help. I think one of the boys got up to go to the bathroom and left their door open and unlocked last night. I realize she might then pound on their door to wake them up, but I really doubt she would do this, at least not every time.

This will give me some time to get my grocery shopping list ready for Rainbow Foods. Today is double coupon day and they are allowing 10 coupons today instead of 5, that is a potential savings of up to $20, as you can use coupons up to $1 off. Wahoo!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

School refusal

Does anyone out there have any approaches that worked on dealing with a child who refuses to go to school? This morning, Akila decided that she was not going to school. I tried to be calm, explained why she needed to, what would happen if she didn't, etc. Didn't work.

Ended up threatening, taking away items if she did not get her coat and shoes on to go to the bus stop. No new summer clothes (which she is already obsessed with), can't go out with Angie tonight, etc. Eventually, she went but it was not pretty.

I know that someday, and maybe in the near future, I will not be able to coax her into going. What do you do then??? One of the many questions I am struggling with.