Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LOL Moments

  You can't have kids and not have those Laugh-Out-Loud moments when you hear what comes out of their mouths.

Levi is sick again, second round of strep throat, third round of antibiotics. On Monday, on the way to the doctors office, we stopped to get gas. He saw a bumper sticker that said, "My boss is a Jewish carpenter" and wondered what it meant. We began to talk about jesus, the fact he was Jewish and why they killed him. Levi looked very concerned and told me, "Wow, that is way harsh". LOL!

Today at school they are having a food drive. I packed canned goods into bags and carefully instructed the boys what to do with them. As we pulled up to the school, I asked them to tell me what they were supposed to do with the food, and Seth pipes up, "Find hungry people and give it to them". LOL!

Our turtle had laid an egg a while back. According to Google it takes 60-75 days to hatch. We were cleaning the cage this weekend and couldn't find the egg. I think that it might not have been fertile and she ate it. Levi busts out with, "Oh no, our turtle is a cannibal!" LOL!

Ahren ended up on Red on the behavior chart in school on Friday. That is a drop of 2 levels and not good. I asked him what happened, and he proceeded to begin flapping his arms and stuttering something about quiet time and Christian and then dissolved into giggles. Once he got serious, I made him tell me again. It took 3 rounds before I finally got it. "I was flapping my nap towel and Christian's head kept catching it". (Interpretation: He was spreading his towel out and kept putting it on Christian's head) LOL - but not in front of him. Oh that poor teacher!

And it's not only the little ones, the big kids do it too!

Kaytee called me one day and told me she needed her Visa number. I told her to look at her card, it was on there. She asked me what card? I told her her VISA card. (Duh!) Then she told me, no not THAT Visa, the one she needed for her application to Texas A&M University. Totally stumped now, I had her read the question to me: If you are a resident alien, please provide your Visa number here. LMAO!!! (She's gonna kill me for this......)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time Flies

  When you don't hear from me in a while it is safe to assume life is just a little bit extra busy and I am feeling overwhelmed. Here are some of the things adding extra load to my days:

Peri Brynn's birthday was October 10th. She turned 5 years old. I managed to not shed a single tear that day, but it still hurt terribly and my mood suffered for many, many days. Five years since we accepted her referral. Five years since I headed to Guatemala and held my 6 day old daughter in my arms. I feel completely defeated and devastated. Yes, there is hope now, and things actually look much better. We may actually be bringing her home....some day.

Seth has started a new type of therapy. Two hours one-on-one every Monday afternoon. This is a combo of ABA (Behavioral therapy) and attachment therapy. He has gone twice and we are starting to see some big emotions surfacing. I have to be super-vigilant and watch his facial expressions and actions very carefully. As soon as they begin to show I need to be right on him, helping him with them and getting him to let them out. It's exhausting.

Halloween - I have always LOVED this holiday! I love to be scared, I love to dress up, I love CANDY! Yes, I am just a big kid. But, for my little guys, this is a horrible time of year. This year I am doing things a little differently. We are making home-made costumes. I have talked and talked about the scary costumes and what they actually represent. We have visited the costume aisle many times to explore how the scary things are just plastic and rubber and make believe. We have now gotten to the point Ahren doesn't scream bloody murder the second he sees a Halloween decoration. I think we are going to do the neighborhood church Trunk-or-Treat. Only non-scary costumes allowed.

It is a daily balance to keep Ahren from getting constipated. Add to that the fact that he has been on 2 rounds of antibiotics which give him liquid stools and you have potty disaster looming. Our school has been awesome. Each day they take him to the nurses office twice a day to potty, then communicate to me what the 'outcome' was. I adjust fiber and meds accordingly each night. I also give Probiotics during and after each round of antibiotics.  Recently a friend told me that Zinc helped her son with his oral hypotonia, so I have also added Zinc daily. Oh, and he was diagnosed with Asthma and is using a daily inhaler-type med. He still wheezes first thing in the morning, but the rest of the day is much better.

Levi - this boy is amazing. He is reading at 250 wpm and comprehending it. I spent an hour with his teacher the other day and she told me she has never had a second grader who could read like this.  They have set up a program where he is pulled out of class every morning and sent to a special reading program where he is doing 4th and 5th grade work. He loves it and it helps him keep from getting bored. They had a big assignment for the month of October. They had to read a book, do a report and make a hat that represented the book to wear in a parade around the school. He picked the true story of the sinking of the Titanic. He ended up reading 2 books on it and doing research on the computer. He designed his hat and we helped him make it. The hat ended up 2 feet tall and was the prow of the boat sinking into the water after the ship broke apart. His report had actual photos of the survivors in Lifeboat #6 as they were rescued by The Carpathia. And yet, getting him to sit down and do his homework every night is a huge battle.

Work - oh my how I LOVE those kids I work with. I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but heck! There is one special little blue-eyed blonde headed sweetie who has totally stolen my heart. When I first met him he never smiled, never laughed and seemed totally disconnected from the world. His mama is absolutely an amazing Mama-Warrior and works tirelessly to heal her child. In a matter of months, he has become a smiling, laughing and yes TALKING little boy. He is now mis-behaving and understands what he is doing. (You should see the sly little glance and smile he gives as he does what he knows he isn't supposed to) He also is showing his own sense of humor, pulling little jokes and laughing at them. I look forward to working with him every week. There are many other patients I adore and am challenged by. The range of patients I see is so wide and varied. Grown-ups with traumatic brain injuries, children with cerebral palsy, kids with dyslexia, and on and on. I receive advanced training every Wednesday morning for 3 hours and have learned so much. We coordinate with other therapists, too, OTs and PTs and ABA's. We design our therapies to synergize with theirs. It takes a lot of effort to pull it all together but it is so worth it and so much more effective. I still have a huge soft spot for kids on the spectrum.  Seeing them bloom is the most rewarding thing ever, and knowing that I might have played a tiny part in that is amazing.

Just so no one feels left out, Kaytee and Ashley are awesome, beautiful, independent women and I fear for the men that fall in love with them. It is not easy to keep up with those girls! They are too smart, too driven and too focused to make life easy for a man. I am loving it!!!!!! I don't think their Step-Daddy is going to have to 'clean his guns' for these girls.

Oh, and for my sweet hubby, who I am still crazy in love with. I love you more than CHEESE!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

RAD induced Paybacks

  First, I want to clarify that I do not write about what goes on here to brag, complain, seek sympathy or embarrass anyone. I write because I would never be able to handle some of this if it wasn't for the people who went before me and shared their stories. It was only through reading their blogs and talking to them that I even had the courage to tackle a traumatized child. So I share what goes on here to pay it forward. Oh, and it helps me put things into perspective. Poop just seems so much FUNNIER in type. LOL!

  So this past Monday I met with Seth's teacher and the counselor. The counselor has a 30 year old son who she raised for a family member. He came to her as a terribly messed up 10 year old and they spent many years dealing with the fallout of RAD. She truly GETS it and we are so blessed to have her a tour school and backing us up.
  The first couple of weeks at school went really well for Seth. He loves school, is the first one ready every morning and is learning so much. He is making lots of friends and seemed, on the surface at least, to be settling into the new routine. Then the fires came and we were all thrown for a loop. No school for a week,  bouncing back and forth between me taking them to work, Daddy picking them up, or me staying home. Things were a bit crazy for all of us. One day they announced at 6am school was cancelled, which left us NO time to make a back-up childcare plan. But, again, everyone seemed to weather it pretty well. Still, I have been on high alert watching for signs of anxiety and stress.
  During this time we were battling Ahren's bathroom issues. He got a HUGE amount of attention at school. Escorts twice daily to the nurse's office, Mommy having to pick him up early (I got the other boys too so they weren't left out), etc etc. Well, you can guess where Seth's little mind went, and actually it is a pretty normal response to a sibling getting so much attention. He calmly announced to me that he would 'probably' have an accident too. (Is anyone as boggled as I am that he would actually TELL me this?) I tried to spin it how proud I was that he didn't have 'accidents' anymore and how grown he was and that I just knew it wouldn't happen to him.
  Well, that worked about as well as handing him a roll of TP and saying 'Go for it!'. The very next day he had an 'accident' in his pants. (Note: the 'accident' was actually a tiny smear of poo about the size of a dime) He didn't let any of the kids in his class know he did it, just the teacher. Of course when he got home he was announcing quite loudly and proudly. We talked calmly about it, again stressing the positive.
  During these few weeks we also began to find small items in his pockets and backpack that did not belong to him. Each time we asked nicely about them and he hemmed and hawed and gave us various stories. Thank goodness this kid is terrible at lying! I began collecting the items and told him I needed to help him return them to their rightful owners, and that it was against the rules to bring toys to school and exchange them. I did not accuse him of stealing, just made it about a school rule and that the 'other' kids would end up in trouble for having them. If they gave them to him, then he could be in trouble for having something at school.
  This is when I made the appointment to meet with his teacher and the counselor. We spent an hour last Monday going over the behaviors he uses, how to spot them, how to talk to him, all the ways we could think of to make him less anxious and more successful emotionally. The teacher shared that she had heard him telling disturbing stories to the other kids, stories about a brother who was murdered and things like that. (All un-true, for the record) She wondered at the time, but now saw that it was another sign of his anxiety. I made sure Seth knew we were meeting, and was even there when he came back to the classroom after lunch. I wanted him to know that we all were there to help him.
  Well........on the surface he was so happy to have the attention, but deep down he was angry and afraid we would get to close to his real feelings. So he began to SHOW us how he really felt. In school he acted up at quiet time, disturbing the other kids, and then on another day decided to chew up paper and spit it on the floor. Each time when she asked him about it he wouldn't tell her the truth. She never accused him of lying but did tell him she knew the truth and he had to drop his bear (behavior chart). For me he saved the big guns. He pooped his pants in the evening 3 times this week. Once we caught him before he could change and twice we found the poopy drawers hidden, but not so hidden we wouldn't find them.
  Here is the part I like. I sat with him today and asked very nicely what was happening. he told me that he kept waiting too long when he was outside playing and that's why he had the accidents. (It took a while to get there, along with many denials that it wasn't him. Too bad he is the only one who can wear underwear that small) So, I sweetly told him that it was my job as his Mommy to help him be successful so I was not going to let him play outside this week. That way he would be closer to the potty and wasn't that wonderful? Oh goodness gracious the wailing and crying that followed. Nooooo, he wanted to play outside. Could he earn it back? I told him he wasn't in trouble, it was an 'accident' so I was just HELPING him. I had to step away for a minute and Chris and I laughed so hard hiding in the laundry room and listening to him wail. We weren't laughing at him, just amazed at how his little plan had backfired so wonderfully on him. I love these therapeutic parenting moments. Sometimes it just comes together in such a way that they teach themselves a lesson, and those are the BEST lessons.
  His wailing lasted about 10 minutes and there was not one single tear involved. Then he sniffed loudly a couple of times and jumped up smiling and ran off to play, having forgotten all about why he was so unhappy. My guess is that each evening when we remind him he can't play outside he will act like no big deal and play happily inside, safe in the knowledge that Mommy and Daddy are his safety net.