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.


Reba said...

I love those kinds of parenting moments too. I take full advantage every time they present. I appreciate your makes me not feel so alone. Each day is a little better here but I won't lie, life is challenging. My kids are challenging...some more than others. :) So thank you for sharing what work for you!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

isn't it amazing, the quantity of bodily fluids these kids can produce! Too bad it's not an ability that could result in a paycheck someday.
I did a similar thing with my daughter... she didn't know when she pee'd herself, why she didn't feel it, etc. Well if you don't know, you better be on the toilet for 10 of every 30 minutes just to be sure. I'm helping you! You said you don't know!