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.

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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.

Sweet moments

J is often grouchy in the morning. He wasn’t feeling great last night or this morning so we stayed home from church. Now he is doing a little better. He came to lay down with me and said, “can you set your phone timer for five minutes? ” why?  “cause that’s the amount of time I’m going to snuggle with you before I go to eat breakfast. ”

Parenting tip: I know he really isn’t feeling well when I say, “okay we’ll stay home but no electronics. ” and he agrees. Works for those times when the symptoms aren’t visible or measurable.

Should I be worried?

Just went to tuck in J and found him asleep on the bathroom floor. When I tried to ask him what he was doing in there, he mumbled some nonsense about “secret spy hiding.” I tried asking him again as he was walking to his room and he said, “Oh, I’m just going to sleep in here, ok?” This morning he was up at 4 something and yesterday 5 something. If he has spy missions on the brain, I should probably be worried about the middle of the night. 

Time for some counter ninja attack measures.

Sometimes

Boys just need their moms. One got in my bed before going to sleep last night. The other one at dawn. All for no other reason than they wanted to be close to me. I’m savouring this moment. There might come a day when they want to be as far from me as possible. For today I will stay trapped in the middle and not worry that I’m missing my workout.

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Edited:
And then they wake up. Talking and dog piling. I even got a “you’re the best mom”
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What do you do when…

You have kids who stayed up too late watching a movie and then wake up too early on a Saturday?

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Put them to work pulling weeds.  We had to get the yard ready anyway for a cub scout family swimming party.

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And if you have to be stuck at a railroad crossing in the middle of the day, it is always more fun when there are cool things on board.

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It’s been a long but good day. Tomorrow we get to relax in the afternoon since we did the chores today to get ready for the party.

Beach Boys, anyone?

Ever since I saw Jersey Boys Broadway show in June, I’ve been using the Beach Boys Pandora station to motivate me for my morning swim workouts. There’s just something about their easy summer vibe that makes me want to dive into the pool. I stopped checking the thermometer earlier in the summer so that it wouldn’t be a deterrent from jumping in. So now I get up early 2-3 weekdays and both Saturday and Sunday, plug the iPod into the speaker and just start swimming. Hopefully if the neighbors can hear it, they don’t mind.
Grace likes to lifeguard by running along side the pool as I swim. She almost always stops at the halfway point to make sure I take a breath. Sometimes I want to fake drowning just to see what she would do.  A couple times a week, J is also awake at that time. He likes to come out and either read in the hammock it sit by the pool and try to talk to me in between laps. It has been good for him to start his morning off with relaxing.
I never thought that both he and I could have better days just by starting them earlier instead of snoozing later.

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How to outwit the night ninja

Step one: put a time lock on the computer
Step two: remove all remotes from living area.
Step three : remove Wii sensor bar
Step four : if the sensor bar has already been hidden by the ninja, take the A/V cable instead.

The night ninja was probably banking on some insomnia Netflix watching. He’s going to just have to go back to sleep bored.

The secret unlocked

For years J has struggled to get up for school. I chase him around the house waking him up from unusual places multiple times in the 40 minutes allotted for getting dressed, hygiene, eating breakfast, packing his backpack, etc. For the same amount of years electronics has been forbidden before school. It was reserved for children who had a good day at school and got their homework and chores done.

Earlier this week, by some miracle,  both kids woke up before their usual time bright eyed and bushy tailed. They were both ready more than 20 minutes before we needed to leave. J was starting to show signs of slowing down. I’ve learned that if he falls back asleep at home after being ready or in the car, it is an uphill battle to keep him awake at school. So I let them each have 10 minutes of computer time while I finished getting ready. We were all happy and there was less yelling that morning.

That night before bed, J asked if he could have computer time the next morning if he got ready early. I told him yes as long as he also slept through the night and didn’t try to sneak electronics in the middle of the night (that is a whole nother battle at our house). He agreed.

This morning little j was ready almost 30 minutes early.  J was ready 10 minutes early. He gave me a little grumbling when I tried to wake him up but as soon as I mentioned computer time for kids who are ready early, he was wide awake.

I did have to add a new caveat to this though. On the way to school he started yawning and saying how tired he was. I reminded him that he was wide awake just a few minutes ago.  So computer time before school is a treat  but if he is going to fall asleep in school it will have to stop.

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His current obsession is the maps app. He is checking possible routes for a package he ordered and the shipping info says has been delayed.