Patience

J loves to say, “you know patience isn’t my strong suit. ”

Today I’m empathetic. Unfortunately I think what I usually say back to him is, “I know it’s not but you have to be patient anyway. ”

Trying to keep my mind off the things that have a longer timeline today.

Comic relief

Little j is naturally funny. Especially when he isn’t trying to be.
It is red ribbon week at school and every day has a theme. He was especially excited about mustache day. He let me draw one on with a blue marker. When I picked him up he told me that lots of kids had them drawn on but he thinks he was the only one with blue. He also said he wished it was mustache day everyday so that he could choose different colors and styles to draw. I made him scrub it off just before our scout meeting. He says this is his serious mustache face.

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I’ve been trying to convince him it’s time for a hair cut. I think part of the reason he doesn’t want one is because he gets a kick out of styling it after his shower each night. Here’s his grease lightening/Elvis look.

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Too bad he can only get his hair to do fun stuff when it is wet. As it dries it gets crazy and he had no interest in styling products. Also, he takes night showers so his hair dries while he sleeps… Recipe for hilarity in the morning.

One Day

J had an unbelievably rough start to the week. I will confess that it wasn’t all his fault (and I feel horrible about it.) Sunday morning I wasn’t feeling well so I got up long enough to tell the boys what they could do for the morning and what they needed to do if they wanted electronics later. Then I went back to bed. Monday, I got a call pretty early in the day that J was not cooperating and didn’t want to work. I kind of expected that since we spent a tiring weekend at the State Special Olympics swim meet. They said he wasn’t out of control but that he was really agitated and refusing to do anything but read or talk about animals. Then Mrs. S picked him up like usual. When they got back to her house she wanted him to do his work, he wanted to nap. Somewhere along the way he got out of control. Really out of control. If you’ve never seen it, it is hard to imagine. It is actually hard for me to remember because it hasn’t happened at home or with me in several years. But he was a raging tasmanian devil. Things were flying, he was screaming, etc. S tried calling me and putting me on speaker phone and all he did was hiss at us. I ended up having to leave work early and when I arrived there was another adult from across the street also coming over to help. It was bad enough that she’d had to call for back up.

When we got home I noticed his morning meds still sitting at his breakfast spot. That is when I realized that he also didn’t have any the day before. Morning is now when he takes his anxiety/OCD meds. I had him take it right away and then sat him down to start catching up on all the work he had missed. He was a blubbering mess for a couple hours. He slowly got his work done and he also slowly returned to himself. We got a lot of work caught up, he did his night time routine and then wanted to go to bed a little early. When I tucked him in, I prayed over him extra peace and then sang a lot of songs to him. He wanted to know why I was singing more than one song and I reminded him that when he was little (and often had day long fits) I would sing him off to sleep. He wasn’t happy about it so we agreed that I’d just sing one more.

3:40am I was woken up by the dog. I got up to check on things and found J in his room on a handheld device. He’d already lost electronics through the end of the month for the Monday stuff. Add another day.

Tuesday morning before school he seemed fine. He took his meds, I triple checked. He promised it was going to be a great day and that he’d do his work. It wasn’t. He took a really long nap at school and only did about 10% of his class work. S said he was pretty wound up when she got him. I told her she could put him at my house for the last bit of time I’d be at work and for everyone’s safety, she did. He called her every few minutes to tell her what adventure he was imagining and she knew he was fine. (Side note: We’ve been slowly letting the boys stay home alone for short periods of time. They seem to do very well with the rules that come with the responsibility.)

When I got home we got right to work on catching up with the work. S and I were texting and brainstorming since he seemed to be doing better out of school this week. We needed something big to turn his week around. Since it seemed he really wanted to be away from school, I put that out as a reward. In the mornings he goes to a traditional teacher led class but in the afternoon, he does online courses with parapro support.

The deal was this: Go to your regular classes, stay awake, participate with a good attitude and if you can do all that, I will come get you before lunch starts.

12:45am I woke up from a dream and saw a light on in the hall. He was up getting a snack and books. Tucked him in again, reminded him of the deal.

This morning we went over all the desired behaviors. I also reiterated that me picking him up was not for fun but so that he could do his online work in the comfort of home.

I am happy to say it worked. He got to come home early and then we put in about 3 hours of work online and doing homework. He still has more homework to do because we didn’t get to it earlier this week, but today was successful. He navigated his two classes even when there was a slight change in the schedule. He stayed awake and he behaved appropriately. I’m hoping this broke the cycle. I’m hoping he remembers what a good day feels like and how nice it is when your teachers and support staff and mom are proud of you. Sometimes One day is all it takes.

Nothing but real

I’ve heard it said a lot lately that people often compare their worst real life days to the best of someone else’s facebook. (which leads to low self esteem). I, however, aim to make you feel good about yourself. I don’t hide the bad stuff. Here’s my theory on that, if I’m having a rough day (usually with J ) I’m probably going to need your prayers. I’d rather have that than to “look like a perfect family. ” I don’t share all my (personal) lows, I’m not an open book. I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the events but I do put them out there.
•••••••Before I sat down to write this, I had dinner at my parent’s house. Thank goodness my dad and mom decided to cook some comfort food not even knowing what kind of day I’d  had. (biscuits and sausage gravy with warm chocolate pudding all from scratch)••••••••••
Today was one of those days. J and little j went to YMCA care since I had to work all day and didn’t have any one to watch them at home. This is the same care I used for both of them last year after school and this year for little j. This is the 3rd week of break. With that said, this is not a new place or situation for J. Today he didn’t want to go outside. He got physical with the staff, they restrained him, and then at some point he ran away. He ran around the school (where the YMCA operates) and eventually ran out the front gate and across the street.  I got a call when the incident was over to let me know he was fine and safe and calm. Then I got a call a couple hours later. The staff had called their supervisor and the supervisor said that if it happens again,  they had to call 911 because by the staff leaving the other kids it put them out of ratio. Most parents would be upset, I’m not. Here’s why, I can use that info to my advantage. When it was time to pick him up I told him about 911 bring called. I asked him what he thought would happen. He said he might go to jail. With further questioning he’s decided that he would rather not go to jail and that he doesn’t have money to pay for bail. I’m hoping that’s enough to scare him straight for Thursday.
Stop now if you don’t want TMI….

I hate that he reacted that way. It was in no way the right thing to do. Normally it would mean a stiff punishment. I’ve decided to go easy on him. He’s got some other stuff working against him. Poor kid has been cycling through constipation and diarrhea for a month. He gets backed up for several days and then it explodes out of him. The longer it takes the more his behavior spirals. I’ve been able to link his worst days in the last 4 weeks to the end of the constipation cycle. And his 2 worst of the worst have happened on the day before the full moon. He’s always been most agitated that day every month. This kid’s body is so sensitive that I don’t think his brain can process the emotions properly with his gut out of synch and the gravitational pull.
So we talked to his psych today, made a few minor changes, had an evening of no electronics and we are spending the night at my parents house with the intention of some fun in Phoenix tomorrow. Praying that Thursday he’ll be more himself and have a great YMCA day.

Something for everyone

This weekend we crammed as much variety into 48 hours as was possible. Friday night little j “camped ” in the backyard at Mrs S’s.

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Then we all met at the bowling alley for practice (Special Olympics ). Little j loves bowling but he has struggled to find a ball that is the right weight combined with the right finger sizes. He’s been bowling with a ball too heavy for him just to fit fingers in but then his thumb can’t reach. So I decided that if he agreed, I’d get him an early Christmas present. Originally I was going to get my Nana’s ball redrilled for him but it turned out to be too heavy. So the pro shop owner gave me a good deal and we got him a new ball.

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He loves it so much that he has been practicing in the living room.

After bowling, S and I took all the kids to Olive Garden. They all like pizza, pasta and bread sticks so it was a winning place. S and I got to indulge in grownup food too.

Our big surprise for the day was to take all the kids to the reptile and amphibian show being held at the Expo center. It was a big hit. J talked with several people about things he knew and he even learned a few new facts.

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We saw thousands of reptiles but J’s favorite area was the one with all the dangerous and venomous snakes. He had me take pictures of his favorites. He could tell me which book or movie he learned about the creature in and an interesting fact.
3 of the kids left with S to go to swimming practice. I kept the 3 who wanted to look at more creatures.

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We had a pact that no live animals would be coming home. I’m proud to say I was able to resist. It was definitely easy to say no to J’s requests for a baby green anaconda.

Sunday after church time we went to the local science center and planetarium.

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The boys played in the exhibits until the afternoon planetarium show started. It was a Magic Tree House adventure with Jack and Annie in space. They weren’t sure they’d like it but it was really cool in the planetarium dome. Afterwards, we went down to the marine discovery lab. J latched on to the college student running the lab and traded facts with her for quite awhile.
Sunday night I decided to be spontaneous and offered up bowling and pizza. Only little j wanted to go. So we asked some friends and headed out to the alley to play.

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We stayed way past the kids’ bedtime but we all had fun. I even managed to have some luck and not be completely terrible.

We still have one more week of fall break. I’m hoping for at least one more day of fun before school gets started again.

Warp zone (or who wants to make a Halloween dream come true? )

Last night J came out of his room and told me he needed to write some stuff to Captain Barnacle. I wasn’t really paying  attention except to notice that he had his special pen that has a 3d fuzzy bird body on it (a gift from his elementary school parapro.) Lately he has been writing down summaries or verbatim dialogue from his favorite shows. I don’t discourage it since any initiative he takes towards handwriting instead of avoiding is a good thing. So, when he was done writing, he told me he needed an envelope. I asked him where he was planning to send it. He said he needed the mailman to send it through a warp zone to Captain Barnacles. After much discussion about how our local post couldn’t do that, I compromised and told him to put it in my work bag so I could mail it from the office.

After he went to bed, I got curious and decided to see what he wrote down. Turns out he wrote an original letter. 

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This morning I asked who Captain Barnacle was. I assumed he was from Jake and the Neverland pirates and thought it might be an easy costume. I was wrong. He’s from Octonauts. Also, even though J acknowledged that they are animated fiction, he is fully convinced that a warp zone could bring them here.

If you perhaps get the letter in the warp zone, want to dress up for Halloween, and trick or treat with the boys, let me know. The octonauts link above will take you to meet the characters, but for reference here is captain barnacle.

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