Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Commando or Laissez Fair

 I am a woman divided. The issue of the bodily waste continues in both liquid and solid form. I have 2 very opposite ideas of what we could try. But which is better? How do i know without trying one and then the other? But if I choose unwisely it could cause WORSE problems. Here are the two ideas I am considering:

1) Commando Parenting: Lay out the expected behavior in clear, concise terms. Failure to comply results in a loss of a privilege in the form of anything that does not constitute the basic essentials. Food, water, clothing and shelter. Everything else is fair game. Privileges must be earned back by good behavior.

Why I don't think this will work: Traumatized kids have the constitution of a bulldog and can outlast any parent once they dig their feet in. I think this will create a battle in which I will lose, but he will too.

2) Laissez Fair Parenting: Ignore completely the potty issues. No comments, no discussions, not even blink an eye when bodily waste shows up in the wrong place. He knows it gets to me and that is his power. Take the power away, make it a non-issue.

Why I don't think this will work: he may feel unloved by me if I ignore this attempt at control and garnering attention. He may then escalate behaviors in an effort to get the reaction he craves.

So what works? I have no clue. Maybe a combo of the two? Not show him a reaction but also in some way acknowledge the issue? I made him clean up the poop this weekend and he was so happy to do it and begged me to take his picture. Say wha???? He was NOT upset, he was glowing. I didn't accuse him, just brought him to the bathroom and pointed out the poo and handed him the clorox wipes. You would have thought I handed him a trophy. So now is he going to do it MORE to get my attention or LESS because I was not upset. I really do NOT want to experiment to find the right answer.

Please, please, please, Parenting Fairies, reveal the answers to this frazzled mom.........

Monday, May 30, 2011

And more pix....

Easter Egg Hunt
That crafty bunny hid eggs all over our house!

 Little boy 6-pack. Pardon the pasty skin.....we are pigmentally challenged around here.
 Why can't they just smile for the camera??????
 Action shot!
 Oh the glare off that white skin!!!! I'm blind!!!!!
 Where are those eggs???
 Two pounds of hot mess all wrapped up in cuteness. 
 Going, going, gone! I had waaaaay too much hair. Thick, wavy/curly hair. Entire zipcodes could have resided in there.
 Remember when I said we had started Seth on supplements and the changes were dramatic? Well they were originally prescribed for Ahren and his neuro-muscular issues, but the doctor said to try them on Seth so we did. The first few days I could not believe how well they worked. Then they started to lose their umph so I added 500 mg of niacin, which also seemed to help at first. Then after about 5 days his behavior was worse and he was having trouble sleeping. I took him off of everything and he has returned to 'normal' levels of craziness. But....Ahren seems to be slowly improving! He went to a party at Pump it Up, the indoor blow-up jumpy things play place and jumped for the whole 90 minutes. The next day his legs were really sore, but he DID IT!!!!!! Normally he would have played for about 15 minutes and then sat and watched the other kids.

Here is what he is on: Neurobiologix micelized D3 drops, Advanced neurotransmitter support, Neuro Nutrients and neuro immune stabilizer.  The two middle ones are capsules that you open and mix into a drink with the D3 drops. The last one is a cream that you rub into the skin. So Ahren will stay on the supplements, but not Seth.
 Chocolate milk full of neuro supplement yumminess!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

And more pix....

Levi's end-of-the-year First grade performance. They did a play about being happy with what you have. It was adorable and sent a great message. Every child had a speaking part, too, which is pretty awesome.  Of course we got there right on time and we had to stand in the back there were so many people already there. It made it difficult to get good photos but I still snapped a million!
 Levi played the role of 'a gentleman'. 
 The show included a dance number Levi was in, and although he adamantly disputes this fact, he dance WITH a girl, holding her hand. 

 Waiting for his turn to speak. 
 We went to the third annual crawfish party at our friend's ranch out in the Texas countryside.  It involves lots of good friends, good food, and motorized fun. We took the boy's 4-wheelers so they could buzz around the pastures.
 I love this picture because it looks like Seth is riding a big 4-wheeler all by himself.
 This picture shows who was really driving. We are a bit crazy, but not THAT crazy. 
 Mother's Day with a pile of boys. You can only see part of Seth's left sleeve. Being the littlest one he ended up on the bottom of the dogpile.
 I got a pic with 4 of the five. Sadly, we didn't see Ashley that weekend. I miss that little booger!!!!!
Oh, and see that belly on me? Say goodbye to it. I joined the martial arts class with the boys and have lost an entire size in clothes and 10 pounds, not to mention quite a few inches. Kuk Sool Won is my new love!

Catching up in Pictures

Ahren now wears glasses and is getting Neuro/Sensory and Vision Therapy
He finished speech therapy and is still doing physical therapy
Goal: ready for kindergarten this fall
 Coloring Easter eggs with the babysitter. Why they like to crouch on the kitchen island to do everything is beyond me. And why they have the container of Ranch seasoning? Who knows....
 Awww, they made special eggs for the family.
 I see Kaytee and Ahren, Seth and Buster, even Aspen. 

 Apparently more than eggs got colored.....

 Guess what I found in my kitchen sink one day?
 This time it was Chris who rescued this one. He had fallen into a hole behind our garage and the dogs found him. (her?)

 After a bath in the sink and a quick examination to make sure he was healthy, we took him out to our pond and released him. This one is a red-eared slider.
 The Great Turtle Rescuer
 This is one beautiful turtle.
 Showing how far he can pull his head and arms into his shell.
 The Great Turtle Rescuer in his natural habitat with his trusty side-kicks. 
(Buster thinks he is a lap dog)

Last weekend Kaytee and Levi assisted me in a huge grocery run. Armed with the store ads, the coupon binder and lots of time we headed out to save some money. I am not one of those coupon magicians who walk out with $500 worth of stuff and spend only $3. I do not need 37 bottles of mustard even if I can get them for a penny each. I only buy what we really use and what we can store. I watched one of those coupon shows where the woman bought 100 boxes of cereal and all I could think of was how stale it would be by the time they got to the end of the supply. Buying it just because it is cheap is not wise. Saving money on something you really need is another thing. Just my philosophy. Feel free to bash me with your 400 cans of tomatoes.

So our final tally using the manufacturer coupons, store coupons and additional store promotions was...........................................................just under $140.   WOOT!

A Green Bum

  Ahren has never been dry at night. Well, occasionally he will have a dry night, but maybe once every couple of weeks. Normally he is soaked by morning. We do all the things you should do to help a child stay dry at night. Limit fluids, have him go last thing before crawling in bed, etc. It seems to have something to do with his muscle/neuro issue and is beyond his control. The normal pullups and diapers do not come big enough to fit him. He is 50 pounds and has a very round, full booty. The older kids style night time pants are expensive, still leak, and end up living perpetually in a landfill somewhere.

  So I set out on a mission to find a cloth alternative to this dilemma. I searched and searched and was having zero luck finding a cloth diapering system for a child this big. I found tons of awesome systems for smaller kids. Cute little diaper covers, all in one systems, pocket systems, pre-folds, pads, liners, but nothing in a size that would work.

  Then one day I found a website called clothdiapers.com. They had everything to do with cloth diapering and voila! They had XX-large training pant covers. I got two kinds, Scott Potty and Bummi Covers. Both are a waterproof cloth that is not like the old-fashioned plastic pants, but much softer. They have soft cloth around the elasticized waist and leg opening. The best part is they are big enough that he will be able to use them for at least another 2 years.

  So that solved the outside, but what about the inside? One regular cloth diaper is not nearly enough to soak up the volume of pee this boy can put out. I got a dozen cloth diapers and some really cool fasteners called snappi's and then I began to experiment.

  First night I used one cloth diaper as the outer layer with a folded cloth diaper in the front target area. Result: soaked sheets and an unhappy boy.

  Second night I tried the same thing but I stuck a large thin feminine pad in between the two diapers. Results: less wet bed but still wet and an unhappy boy.

  Third night, same two diapers but an additional diaper folded and placed front to back. Ahren hated this because it was too bulky between his legs. So I added a twist to the third diaper at the center of the crotch to make it narrower and he tolerated it, barely. Results: small wet spot on the bed.

  At that point I was ready to try anything. I experimented with a chamois-type towel in the front but it was too bulky. I tried various other absorbent items and methods of folding/wrapping/twisting the diapers, but I only succeeded in making him look like the stay puff marshmallow man.

  For now I am going with the 2 diaper method and then adding either the third diaper or a feminine pad. I am getting better at getting them positioned and fastened the right way and we have gone several night with no leaks. I feel bad about using the fem pads since they also go into the landfill, but at least they are much smaller. In the meantime I continue to experiment. I have an idea on how to sew a pad using the diapers and a chamois material for extra absorbency. Maybe I should order a Sham-Wow???? I bet they never thought of that use for their late night marketing!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tough Times Around These Parts

  In order to try and get Seth caught up in weight we have temporarily taken him off his ADHD meds. The supplements we are using had fantastic results at first, then those slowly went away and now we have just a slight improvement with them. I also added 500 mg of Niacin a day but that has not made a difference.

  Add to this that I am working long hours and now Levi is out of school and the result is one completely unregulated little boy. The upside is that he has gained over three pounds. Yeah! The downside is that he has ripped the curtains and curtain rod off the window in his bedroom. He intentionally rolled a heavy office chair over his brothers as they sat on the floor playing, hurting both of them. He has been saying cuss words almost daily even though he knows they are wrong. He has broken, ruined, or otherwise destroyed many, many toys.

  The worst though? The absolute most AWFUL part? He has pooped on everything in this house. Toys have poop on them, the bathroom has poop smears everywhere. There is poop on his sheets, his headboard, many pairs of underwear, diapers, doorknobs, doorjams, shirts, socks, walls......  I walk around with a tub of Clorox wipes at all times. I also make him wipe it up if he is awake.

  The other night he got sent to bed early. He got up three times to potty and finally after almost 2 hours I told him to stay in bed. A little later Chris went to check and smelled that un-mistakeable odor. He asked Seth and Seth claimed he just forgot to wash his hands. Chris followed him to the bathroom and saw that he had poop all over his hands, so he checked his pants. Yep, full and very played in. He had laid in bed, intentionally pooped in his pants and then PLAYED in it, getting it everywhere.

  I was LIVID. Part of me just wanted to tear up his butt but I know that would be counter productive. (Oooh though, I wanted to soooo badly. Just human i guess) Instead, we got him cleaned up and I let him know how angry i was and how disappointed in him we were. Then I told him if he was that angry about having to go to bed and didn't want to go to sleep, he could stay up with me while I watched my shows. This entailed him sitting on the couch next to me, but I wore headphones to listen and he had no sound. (These were MY shows, not kid shows) He was not allowed to go to sleep. We sat there for a couple of hours and every time he started to close his eyes I poked him or made him stand up and jump around. I kept reminding him that this was his idea and he had showed me exactly how much he wanted it with that lovely poop. By the time I finally allowed him to bed he was miserable and practically asleep on his feet.

  After every episode (and there have been a LOT lately) we talk it through, but it is very fake on his part. I can tell when he is just saying what I want to hear and when he really gets it. So far all fake.

God, please grant me the patience, wisdom and grace to get through the incredible pooping party of 2011......

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Idea is Forming

  Sorry for no pix in a long time and very fast, short posts. You know the drill. Blah blah blah, new job, five kids, dirty house, etc etc.

  I have an idea forming in my brain. It started as I began my new job and several things all hit me at the same time. We work with a lot of kids who are special needs. Seems neuro-sensory problems and vision issues go hand-in-hand a lot of the time. Makes sense. The brain runs the visual system, so if the brain-vision connection is not working correctly, it needs to be fixed. That makes sense.

  What surprised me though, is that many of these kids with sensory integration issues or on the autism spectrum also have immune issues. They do not fight off infection, they react oddly to vaccinations (either no reaction or over-reaction), they have some sort of immune challenge.

  So what does that mean? It was long thought and somewhat still believed that immunizations had something to do with autism. The anectodatal evidence is that a toddler gets his shots, then immediately begins to show the symptoms of autism. Over and over again this would happen. Coincidence was not enough to explain it. So they thought thimerosol, a preservative in vaccines, was the cause and they removed it form most childhood immunizations. But....the rate of diagnosing autism spectrum disorders continues to climb.

  What if the vaccines did not CAUSE the disorder, but instead an underlying immune system issue was to blame? The vaccinations or even an infection could become the catalyst for progression of the other issues. And why is the rate climbing? Is it because we have now polluted our environment and added so many artificial components to our food that we have triggered our own bodies to revolt against themselves? One last immune assault and whammo, the perfect storm ensues. The neurological system becomes completely disregulated.

  What do you think? Tell me about your kids. Could there truly be a link here?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Slept it Off

  Well, little over-achiever fell asleep yesterday afternoon shortly after 3 pm. slept until 8 pm, woke up. ate a bite and fell back asleep right away. He slept until 7 am this morning. Gee, I wonder if all the effort to create so many 'presents' for me and hide them all over the house wore him out?

  Anyway, he is happy, sweet, and in a great mood. Although he spent a lot of time this weekend 'gifting' me, he was also very calm, not overly wild, and not fits or rages. Not quite as calm as he is on the best meds, but noticeably calmer, more controlled and regulated. Could these supplements really be that good? I am going to talk to the doc at my head office who suggested them and get more info. I am also going to see if we can sell them and mail them out or hook other people up with a distributor in their area. If they really are this good then I am going to share with all of you! There are different combos for different issues, and I need to learn that too. Right now Seth is on 4 supplements plus a childrens vitamin by the same company. Unfortunately the chewable vitamins taste like garbage, so we are going to switch that. Two of the supplements are powder I mix into his drink, one is a drop I add to his drink too, and those don't have a taste to them. The last one is a topical cream. No pills to swallow, no fighting to take them.

  I am hoping and praying and crossing my fingers and knocking on wood and holding my breathe. This could be a miraculous answer. Or too good to be true........

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Props to the Boy!

  Mother's Day, the one and only day of the year dedicated to those of us who squeeze babies out of our bodies, endure mounds of paperwork. more security checks than those who visit the president, months of delays, heartache and lost referrals, long nights with sick babies and long days with traumatized kids. The other 364 days of the year are clearly in honor of our young. This one day of the year is so full of importance and meaning and expectations.

  One small boy did not let me down. He went totally above and beyond the highest expectations. He pulled out all the stops. Really out did himself. He set the bar so high I don't know how he can ever top it. Just to be sure he completely overwhelmed me with his generosity, he started yesterday.

  My husband discovered 5 pairs of urine-stenched underwear hidden behind things while he gathered clothes for the laundry. Sweet as my husband is, he knew it was intended for me and silently washed them and never told me. Gosh I love that man! Unfortunately that was completely unsatisfactory to the small party boy. His special presents went un-noticed. To him, that is like throwing down the gauntlet.

  So today, he upped the ante. When I went to get him dressed today I realized the entire front of his underwear was crusty and yellow. I sweetly told him to take them off, deliver them to the laundry room and get clean ones. No argument from him, and that was that. We went to lunch at a local mexican restaurant that is family owned and run. Good music, great food and fun, fun, fun. Later in the afternoon I walked past the boys bathroom. What I saw was a pile of toilet paper on the floor, the roll of paper next to it with poo all over it. Next to that, 3 feet from the toilet, was a foot long smear of poo on the tile. I gathered the boys and asked them who might have had a little 'accident' in the bathroom. Levi looked me in the eyes and said not him. Ahren looked me in the eyes and said not him (plus I knew Ahren had done his one poo of the day earlier in a different bathroom) I looked at Seth and he began stammering, rolling his eyes all over, and swaying from side to side.

  I had an idea. I looked at the poo, and proudly proclaimed that since I am indeed a scientist, I would get my 'kit' and solve who the owner of the poo was using science. Seth immediately burst into tears. I told them all that if the guilty party would fess up right now, all they would have to do is to help me clean it up. But....if they didn't and I had to test it and find out, the guilty party would be in ENORMOUS trouble. Seth sobbed harder. I asked him again if he had made the mess. No, no, no, he was not the one.

  So I went and got cotton swabs, the special bottle of drops and the spray fixative. I swabbed the sample (Seth is by now sobbing like the world is coming to an end) I added the drops to wet the sample, and I sprayed on the fixative. The sample looked green under fluorescent light. Bingo! It was Seth's poo. By now Seth was purple in the face, soaked with sweat and beside himself. I announced that my fantastic scientific skills had solved the mystery!

  Seth now broke and admitted it was his poo. (No shit Sherlock, pun intended!) I asked his Daddy (who was trying sooo hard not to laugh out loud) what punishment the guilty deserved. Hmm, we decided we were both so mad that we just didn't know WHAT to do to him! He sat there in his misery on the couch while we discussed many serious consequences. (OK, we might have had a little too much fun with that part......but hey, this has been going on since Christmas and I am so OVER it!) We finally decided to send him to bed for a nap. He was asleep in less than 5 minutes and has now been sleeping for 90 minutes.

 While he was sleeping, I discovered 4 more urine soaked pairs of underwear hidden, plus a pair of short. Several were still wet. See? He really did out do himself. How one small boy can produce that much urine in 24 hours amazes me. And to think, it was all for me. I am soooo touched.

P.S. The 'KIT' was a vial of eye drops, Q-tips, and a small sample size bottle of hair spray. I am such a CSI!!!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Operation Chub Chub Update

  First, let me tell you that going without any meds is HARD. He is doing a fantastic job of holding it together most of the day, but be evening he is a hot mess. He absolutely cannot control himself. He twirls and spins and bounces on the furniture. One moment he is upright and the next upside down. he has absolutely ZERO impulse control. Yesterday he was caught standing at the top of the slide peeing on his brothers head below. (Poor Ahren, he thought it was raining....LOL!) In desperation I talked to the head doc I work for at the neuro-sensory clinic. She recommended some neurological supplements to try. She said they may not be the total answer but they could help. I was ready to try anything!

  I loaded up on the 5 supplements she recommended, each bottle a 2 month supply for a child his size. (Dosage depends on age/weight, so a bottle goes a long way for a teensy guy like him) We started them today. One is in drop form, one chewable, 2 are capsules you empty into food (he never even noticed so they must not taste bad) and one is a cream you rub into their skin. I dosed him this morning and said a silent prayer.

  This afternoon I had a doctors appt so I took him with me so they could weigh him.  I knew what our scales at home said, but I wanted a direct comparison. Unfortunately, last weekend was cold so he was wearing jeans and today was HOT so he had on shorts. I am sure that affected his weigh in. The great news is he is UP 1.6 pounds in one week! (I knew he was also recovering form being sick so that is really not that amazing. I think his actual gain from his baseline is more like a pound.) Pretty good!

  You know what the absolutely amazing, stupendous, fantastic, miraculous news is? He was totally calm, quiet, polite and well behaved. He sat quietly on my lap and then moved to a chair. Then we dragged him on several errands and grocery shopping and he was perfect. The doctor even asked me what I had done to him, and when I told him we were going med free he was dumbfounded. He wants me to show him the supplements because he has never seen anything like this before. I am not convinced yet, because I don't believe anything could work that well the first day.........but, maybe, just maybe, we have figured out something. If his brain chemicals are off, and we can right them with this type of neurological support, well then HOORAY.

  I am going to wait a few days to tell you what they are exactly, because I don't want everyone to run out and buy expensive supplements and 2 days later I say, Uh Oh, My bad. If he continues like this for the next few days, I will hook everyone up!!!!!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Operation Chub Chub

Seth had a doctors appointment Saturday morning. It was a routine re-check for his ADHD meds. 

He's a Goofy Goober

  The first surprise came when they weighed him and he was down a pound. He seems so much bigger to me, but he did have a cold last week and that might explain it. The next surprise came when they measured him. She got 45 inches. He was only 40.5 inches in December, so she measured him again. Yup, 45 inches! I guess I didn't notice because he has been wearing shorts. Sure enough, size 5T jeans are highwaters on him! That's 3.5 inches in less than 5 months. Wow!

  The doctor was very concerned about his height to weight ratio. He cut his dosage in half, told us to not medicate him on weekends and try to fatten him up. We have one month to get his weight up or they will have to switch his meds.

  So Operation Chub Chub begins. I got a gallon of chocolate milk, a quart of heavy cream, protein powder, eggs, cheese, tofu, real butter, fresh rolls, dark meat chicken and anything else I could grab that was fattening in a healthy way. He will be getting 5-6 small meals a day, plus as much milk and juice as he will drink. No sodas, no koolaid, no sugary non-healthy drinks that fill him up but add no value.

  Yesterday was Day 1 and he ate like a champ all day. Twenty-nine days to go.