Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to explain...

It is so hard to explain what our home life is like. Late afternoon/evenings are just crazy lately. We are in a bad stretch lately. Well, maybe always. I am losing track.

The smallest thing will throw Akila into a fit. Here is a little taste:

  • She was looking for a red pencil sharpener. It is her favorite one, the only one that she will use. But of course, she can never keep track of it. I was trying to help her find it, but while I was looking, she was calling me every name in the book, pushing me, and hitting me. When I told her that I would not help her look if she acted this way, this only escalated her behavior. The name calling, the hitting, the pushing, became worse and lasted much longer. 45 minutes. Sharpener was never found.
  • She was bored, 5 minutes after getting home from a hair appt. I suggested several ideas for her to do, several which were things that she could do with me. Each thing I suggested, like playing with Play-Doh, I was shouted at that she does not like to do that, and called a name. I then told her that I would not give her ideas and would not speak with her until she could calm down and speak respectfully. You may be asking why I didn't send her to her room or remove her. This totally does not work. She will not leave, and this is usually not a good idea anyway. Nothing I was suggesting was a good idea. Today was obviously too hot for outdoor activities, but other days when in the same mode, I have suggested that we go for a bike ride together, go to the park, do really fun things, and she still yells and says no. It is like nothing is going to satisfy her at that moment. She is in the Oppositional Defiant mode. This lasted for about 30 minutes, and then I had a 15 minute break, and then another 15 minutes of the same.
  • She then went to her bedroom for awhile, and came down to me all sweet as pie. I knew I was in trouble. She started to him and haw and had a great idea. "Mom, if I'm really good for a week, and don't hit, or kick, or push, or call you and dad names and am really good, and promise that I will do that for a week, can we go and buy fake fingernails right now?" CRAP. I knew I was screwed. She was acting all sweet and nice. It was all I could do to not smile and start laughing. I sat there silently, said a quick prayer, tried to figure out the easiest way to say no, and went for it. I told her that we are on a spending freeze (I have been telling the kids that all the time- Michael's job ends on Aug. 15th and he is currently in a job search-please pray!) and that we would not be able to at this time. We are only able to purchase things that are necessities, I explained- and this is true. True to form, she went apes. Started calling me names, hitting. She perseverated for quite some time on the nail thing. She does have some fake finger nails from some old sets that are mismatches, and we eventually went and found them. This finally appeased her. 30+ minutes.
  • I was cooking Lo Mein for dinner. She came into the kitchen and was about to ask if we could order chinese for dinner when she saw what I was making. She lost it and went nuts as she wanted to order chinese. I explained that Lo Mein is a chinese dish, but it was not what she wanted. She got quite mad, and we went round and round on this one. 20 minutes (not bad)
  • During one of these rants, she told me not to talk to her, so I stopped. Two seconds later, she said "Stop blowing me off. You're not even cool. Stop blowing me off," very angrily. I explained that she told me to not talk to her. This made her furious, so she hit me.
  • I don't think that I have blogged about this, but it has always been interesting to watch her use racial slurs during her rages. Initially, it horrified me, now- I am use to it. It would look quite odd to a stranger- to see a black child call their white mother the N word. One minute she calls me the N word, the next minute she is calling me a stupid old white woman. But the best, is that lately, she is threatening to call President Obama to bring back segregation so she doesn't have to be by me. Then 10 minutes later, she wants to cuddle on my lap (a 7th grader mind you). It is quite hard to bite my lip and not say go ahead, call the President. I'm sure he would be quite impressed. I do find it quite interesting that she is actually able to put together the high level comprehension that segregation would separate us, especially when she is disregulated during a rage. I suppose I should be impressed. It is really hard not to laugh when she says that one, and I know that is not the right response, but it is better than wanting to hit her!!!
  • Getting her to bed lately is an absolute nightmare. She will think of everything she can to have a problem with at that point in the evening, no matter what routine we have just gone through. Her biggest one is that she is scared to sleep alone and wants to sleep in our room, or have one of the kids sleep with her. None of them want to sleep with her. That is why years ago Michael and I moved into the sun room so she and Imani wouldn't have to share a bedroom as it was so difficult on Imani. So she sits and goes on and on about how she is scared of robbers. I pray with her, tell her the alarm is on, Jesus will protect her, we are here to protect her, etc. But she is just nutty about it. The next minute, it is a different issue. Then she thinks about the next day and all the stuff she does not want to do or wants to do (this has nothing to do with if we have discussed the next days activities or not-we have already done that). She usually sits in the hallway and refuses to go into her bedroom. So we stand in the hallway, and have a power struggle. I have tried incentives, taking things away, nothing seems to help. I have walked away and left the area. This inflames her. She escalates big time and follows me and gets violent. So I stand in the hallway, try to remain patient and get her in her room. I usually just go into her bedroom and do some reading or picking up and she will eventually come in and when she does, she is ON FIRE. But at least I have now gotten her in her room. Often she comes in hitting and pushing and we end up in a restraint, as I just can't take it anymore. All the while, the other 3 kids are across the hallway listening to this mess. We go round and round. There is a whole bunch of exchanges that make no sense. Like normally, if I turn her fan on before she is in bed and under the covers, I get yelled at. Well, last night, I got yelled at for not turning her fan on right away. I explained that normally she likes me to wait. I was then called a name and yelled at some more. There are between 10-20 or more little exchanges similar to this, and by the time that I get out of her room, I am emotionally and physically exhausted. And usually I am not done. 50% of the time or more I will have to go back in. I usually try to just stay upstairs, and maybe tidy up the bathroom or something until I know it is safe to go downstairs. I find that I am less patient if I have gotten downstairs and she calls me back up. It is hard work climbing back up those stairs don'cha know! Although I have started to read a book to her once she has finally settled down and stopped calling names. This has helped as she usually falls asleep while I am reading. Bedtime with her is taking anywhere from 45-90 minutes.
Anyway, these are just a few tiny examples of some of the things that happen around here each and every day. I didn't even write about a huge explosion that happened last night that involved ice cream being intentionally thrown on Michael and lots of other craziness. It is weird to look back at how "easy" it was a few years ago, and to think of what it will be like in 6 months, or 3 months. It is kind of scary as a matter of fact.


mindfulness said...

Hugs to you. My days and evenings used to be as you describe and are much better most of the time now. How exhausting for you and how hard this must be on your other children. Most people have no idea what daily life is like with a child with such challeging behavior.

Jess said...

My son is 11 1/2 yo and already the hormones are kicking in...Puberty sucks! lol