Fun at Disneyland

Fun at Disneyland

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Treading Water

Things with Blake continue to improve. He is certainly less aggressive and less likely to throw a tantrum. He isn't over the top hyper. He is eating well and sleeping great. The only remaining issue is his persistent negativity and oppositional attitude. That's a tough one because even with everything else so much better, the negativity is very draining on us all.

It's sad to say this, but he's really hard to like much of the time. It's like having Stalin in my house. Our own little dictator. I know that engaging him when he is arguing isn't the right thing to do, but it's so difficult not to. it's not like I can ignore him or say "Asked and answered. I'm done discussing it." and he'll just give up. No, no, no. I'm not sure "give up" is in his personality.

Some people have pointed out that the personality trait of being persistent is one that will help you in life. And I really hope with all my heart that it does work to his benefit someday...but right now, it's really tough to see that silver lining.

Christmas was fun. The kids were happy with everything and we had a really nice day with family. I am excited for January 1st. It's my 37th birthday and I am throwing a champagne tasting party. It's been a lot of fun to put together and I am really looking forward to it! No children, no worries for a night. Just yummy bubbly drinks, music, fun and laughter. Just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, December 24, 2010

One week now of no ADHD meds

I think it's better. I don't see the wild look in his eyes anymore and I am seeing more personality in the last 2 days, less aggression and dare I say it...more cooperation. He is still on the Intuniv, which we increased from 2 mg to 3 mg last Monday. Monday and Tuesday, he took a nap in the afternoon, so I was not happy that the med was apparently making him tired, but it was only those 2 days and he's been fine since.

I have no idea how things will be for him when he goes back to school. But, frankly if he is less aggressive, has more personality and doesn't have to deal with the cruddy side effects of those stimulants....then I don't care if he is wiggly, talkative and impulsive. He is lucky to be so bright and I am confidant that his smarts will help to compensate for his lack of focus.

The children's crisis responsive team came out this week and talked with us. They were helpful, and said they thought we were on the right path by having him evaluated by UCLA (not until June 2011, but still....we have an appointment!) and also agreed that having a behaviorist come into the home to work with Blake and with us would be very helpful. I have contacted someone that was recommended and hope to hear back from her next week.

Tomorrow is Christmas and I am always a little sad at Christmas time. My dad died in a car accident when I was 12 years old and it was 2 months before Christmas. I still remember that empty and lonely feeling all those years ago and it always comes back a little bit this time of year.

But it is nice to have hope and to have the love of my family. I am really a very fortunate person to have those things. Blake is doing well. James is providing the comic relief when needed and Baby L reminds us that love is really all you need.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 2 of no ADHD Meds

Not so great here. There have been many, many "fires" to put out with Blake. It seems as soon as we deal with one, another crops up. Just this morning he went into a rage because we told him he needed to take a shower. Then another rage because I said he had to write a (short) letter of apology to his dad from his raging tantrum last night. Then after the shower he lost it again when he discovered that I had cleaned up his toy guns last night and taken them away (as I had said I would if they were left out again.)

I know that we can prevent tantrums from happening if we just allow Blake to rule his world and have no boundaries, but that wouldn't be healthy for anyone. I believe we set the rules and boundaries with love and compassion and frequently allow Blake to collaborate with us when we have an issue. When possible, I allow him to have a voice. But sometimes, something needs to get done or a rule is broken or he doesn't hold up his end of the deal and that's when things go south.

Another thing that's been really tough is my husband. He really has come a long way in his parenting and can often talk with Blake and diffuse a situation. But when it doesn't work out, he gets really frustrated and angry. Then I get angry at him for that and he's angry at me for blaming him, and there's just a whole lot of blame and guilt and bad feelings. I could never do this alone. I truly appreciate my husband and know he loves our son tremendously. But it's not easy to do this with someone either......

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day one - No ADHD meds

Blake has had a fairly good week. No majorly explosive tantrums since Tuesday, but I do notice that both my husband and I give him a TON of chances instead of being firm with the rules and boundaries. I know that's because we're afraid of his reactions. And I know that's not good in the long run.

This week, he was in a musical performance in front of his whole school and many parents...probably about 200 people! He played the trombone, which he's only been playing for about 2-1/2 months now. He did really well. I was proud of the trombone playing, but enormously proud of the fact that he did it and didn't get anxious like he has in the past when performing in front of people.

The local children's crisis response team is sending someone out this coming Tuesday to talk with us and with Blake. I hope this is the help we have been so desperately needing.

So, today is the first day of no ADHD meds for Blake. It hasn't been too bad yet, but he's been playing video games. When his time runs out on that, we'll see how it goes. I have already noticed that he's hungry and is snacking....something I hardly ever see during the day.

It's raining today and rain is forcasted for the nest 6 days. Ha, ha,ha. Didn't mother nature know I was not doing meds this week and that I needed the outdoors to help my son get his extreme energy out??? I guess we'll either be putting on the rain gear and dealing with it or using the inside bounce house!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On a Mission

Sorry…Not a ton of time, so this is the condensed version (Geez! This is condensed?)
Another rough day…
Dentist for James. He got 2 crowns and was so bothered by the Novocain that he cried on and off for 2 straight hours afterwards. I told him that I *had* to get gifts wrapped today to ship out for Christmas. He had to just be tough. I am truly running out of time with so much to do and I’m still playing catch-up from him being sick last week. But still, I felt major mommy guilt.
After school, Blake wanted to play video games (hmmm, that again???) He got mad, he wanted to play football; Dad said “No diving on the couch if you play football” Blake argued that he needed to dive on the couch and again, got mad, then it was time for dinner, he didn’t want my spaghetti, we told him to go to his room and he said NO! He’d just run away when we’d go to help escort him there. Seems like the temper tantrums are really increasing in frequency for sure. I am both looking forward to taking him off meds on Friday and also dreading it. I just need to stay calm. Sure…no problem. Can I have a side of some valium with that please?
I talked to a local crisis response team and they put me in touch with some resources that I’m going to check out. I would ideally like a behavioral therapist to come into our home and work with my son *and* our family. I would also like an occupational therapist to come in and help with Blake’s sensory seeking behavior, oversensitivity’s to brushing teeth, hair, etc, and also to help with his lagging fine motor skills. I am on a mission and I am going to get Blake the help he needs and we need. I won’t stop until I do.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Your Asperger Child: Emotional Regulation -

I though this was a great article about how anger is really a secondary emotion and that in order to get control over that, you must first be able to regulate your primary emotions. This is, or course, easier said than done. Blake needs a lot of practice building up these skills.
Your Asperger Child: Emotional Regulation -

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dominos on a bad day

oooooo. Bad day. Bad day. The kind of day you feel like every cell of your emotional and physical being is like little flat balloons, all out of air.

Looking back, I can see the combination that led to disaster. Sleepover last night at their cousins house + Christmas photos at Picture People (as if bringing children to a portrait studio isn't enough for one day!) + Home to play video games (and this is it until Friday, since the kids are only allowed to play Fri, Sat and Sunday each week) + Mom said to stop playing (gave warnings, then eventually had to shut it off) = Total and complete meltdown

Tonight, Blake tried to kick me and he threw things at me. Shoes (and I wear size 10, so they're no little thing!), my wallet. He was in complete rage mode. I responded like I never have before. I told him, "I am going to leave the house for a while. You won't take yourself away to cool down somewhere, so I am removing myself." James witnessed the whole thing and was upset, so I took him and Baby L and went on a little shopping trip to Big Lots. My husband stayed at home with Blake.

I was surprised to see that while I was in the process of leaving the house, Blake really did calm down. I took him by surprise and he didn't really know what to do. James, Baby L and I had a nice time shopping, Blake calmed down, had dinner, and went to his room to lay in bed and hang in his room for the rest of the evening.

I thought the day was on it's way to at least ending well. But when we put James to bed, he cried and cried about wanted to stay up later and needing us. We lay with him, took turns consoling him, but he just cried and cried. Until finally 45 minutes later, fell asleep.

I hate that tomorrow's a new day and that new day is a Monday. Yuck.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Even Steven

James was home sick again. Just a low grade fever today, but still. He got to play a whole lot of Mario Kart, so was happy about that. I have not given him his ADHD meds the past two days that he’s been sick and he’s done fine without them. As long as he does not have to focus on school, he really doesn’t need the medicine. Unlike Blake, who without the meds turns into a very noisy, very, very hyper boy that stimulates his brain by getting a rise out of people and acting manic.

From the moment we picked up Blake from school today, he was in a foul mood. His perceived unfairness at the fact that James “got to” stay home and play video games was obviously really gnawing at him. He also wanted James to have to make work up that he had missed at school and was so mad that he didn’t have any work given to him to do. (his teacher said they did a lot of tests the past 2 days.) No amount of discussion about the why’s was going to satisfy him, so we just got home and tried distractions. It’s exhausting having Blake want everything totally and completely fair and “Even Steven” all the time. Of course, it’s not possible, but since it’s one of Blake’s triggers for meltdowns, I am always very aware about it.

I made sugar cookies with homemade frosting and the kids all took a short break from the video games to decorate 2 cookies each. Blake’s best friend (and next door neighbor), Michael, came over and played with him.

I have to quickly explain my video game policy…my boys were getting way too obsessed about playing video games, so we had a family meeting and decided on no video games Monday – Thursday. It does make for a nice week. Homework gets done and not rushed through. Tests get studied for. There are not the endless video game arguments. But, it does make for a Friday in which that is all they want to do. I still don’t have the perfect system figured out. I would like to not have video games at all. I see a lot of harm in them. My husband thinks they are not at all harmful. The boys, obviously, would both play until their eyes fell out. I hate always being the bad guy about it. What has worked for other families?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sick one, anxious one, ornament grabbing one

We have been told that it’s possible that my son Blake, age 9 and in the 4th grade, could have a form of autism. Not officially though. PDD-NOS was mentioned by Blake’s ADHD Doctor (actually she’s a NP and I really respect her opinion) and also by my best friend who is in a school psychology program and is currently doing her internship. She said she did a case with a little boy that was so much like my son, it was eerie. He had Aspergers.

I wrote a letter to the school district today and requested that Blake be evaluated. Since he goes to a private school, I deal directly with one of the district head school psychologists, which is good. From ADHD/ODD to ADHD and possibly bipolar….we’ve had a line up of suspected disorders, but nothing really matches up. 

Currently, his being on ADHD medication does make a huge difference, so ADHD has to be part of it, but I know that with his many anxieties (ie. he sleeps in bed tent to feel safer, he has frequent trouble separating from me), his emotional overreactions to being told no, also to any criticism, to losing, his inflexibility, the way he shuts down when he wants to get his way and doesn’t get it, all this and more….I know there is something more going on.

It’s starting to sink in that he really might have something on the autism spectrum. It’s hard, because he does do so well with conversation, pretend, being social (not that he is a social butterfly or anything, but he’s not antisocial either….) and many other things. He’s super bright, gets all A’s, plays in band and loves it. (obviously with the losing thing, sports were out, but we sure did try!!! 4 years of trying different sports and approaches to handling his meltdowns when he lost or made a mistake, got “out”, etc.) This week, I have been going on all the websites and reading checklists until my head spins.

James was home sick today with a fever. Blake had a fantastic morning getting ready, but when my friend came to pick him up, he refused to go with her, went and hid and pleaded with me to take him to school myself. I’ve learned that when he gets into that type of anxiety frame of mind, that pushing him/bribing him/pleading with him never works. It always makes him worse and makes the whole ordeal way too emotionally intense (on both our parts!) So I apologized to my friend (Thankfully one of my dear friends BTW and Blake knows her well and likes her) and called X (our twice weekly housekeeper) who was able to come early so poor sick James could stay at home with her and I could take Blake to school. He went off to school just fine, but just apparently needed me to get him there.  

I just want answers. I want to know what to do to help him and I don’t want any guesses. I love this little boy with every ounce of my being and I just want to know how to help him be the very best he can be and to be who he truly is under all this.

Oh, and the ornament grabbing one from the title? Yes, you probably guessed it…14 month L thinks that really, the ornaments look better in her mouth and on the floor.

First Post

This is my first blog, so be patient with me. I decided to call it "We're Swimming in Alphabet Soup" because we sort of are. ADHD, ODD, ASD. It's a whole lot of letters from the alphabet.....but we are so much more than that. My kids are so much more than that....

This is our story.