Panic

September 14, 2010

I’m having a hard time shaking the sad today.

Pretty much every morning going to school and church Hamhock says he doesn’t want to go and resists in all sorts of creative and various ways.  We deal with it by planning the mornings as best we can to accommodate the length of time it takes to get him fed, dressed, shoes on, and locked & loaded in the car to go.  Most of the time we’re late, sometimes we’re there on time, and sometimes we skip it all together.  But usually once he is wherever we are, he is fine and gets excited by all the stimulation and has a good time (even church. . .!!!).

This morning. . . not so much.  Ugh.

He.  Did.  Not.  Want.  To.  Go.  To.  School.

He had a 3-day weekend.  Tomorrow’s a field trip.  He made a new buddy last week. Lots of fun to look forward to.

Nothing.

I suspect that Moms of kids who are not strong-willed (no matter the cause – ASD, ADD, ODD, etc) often don’t seem to comprehend why you can’t just *make* your child go.  (At least that’s what it feels like when they tell me how *they* would do such-and-such).  Well, here’s how it goes when I try that approach:

I got Hamhock fed & clothed, with backpack ready.  He climbed on top of the roof of the car and said he wouldn’t go.  Normally he’s been responding to my 1-2-3 and time-out approach, but he ignored that this morning.  I kept trying to assuage his concerns, or answer his counter-arguments, and he kept digging in his heels.

It’s at this point that I get panicky.  It’s a feeling of complete panic, that I have no idea how to “make” my child get himself to school.  None.  It’s a feeling of complete out-of-control-ness.  And I hate it.

So. . . I said that if he didn’t start scootering/walking/biking to school that I would carry him there.  So I physically pulled him from off the top of the roof, carried him down the driveway to show him I meant business.

WRONG APPROACH, MAMA!

He simply started hitting and scratching and kicking me.  Just like a toddler.  I set him down and he started bawling and tried to run away.  So I chased him down to the corner and led him back to the car.  Then I just start ordering everyone around while raising my voice.  Remember out-of-control?  Panicky?  Yeah, that’s what it sounds like.

Finally he’s in the car and we’re driving.  He tells me he doesn’t want to get a “Think Time” (a time-out) for breaking a rule.  I reassure him that his teacher likes him and hasn’t given him one at all because he’s been following the rules every day.  He got one from different first-grade teacher (from the first grade pod) the first week for laughing at some other boys goofing around in bathroom (at least that’s *his* version of the story).  He doesn’t like the teacher who gave it to him.

Aha!  He’s feeling anxiety about an unresolved issue!  (Why can’t people just tell you what they’re *really* worried about?)  Makes sense. . . we had a few incidents last year where he’d get into a fight/misunderstanding/power struggle with another kid and if I went to ask both kids to say sorry and I forgive you, Hamhock would be good & could move on.  He needed to have some closure about this.

Duh.  I didn’t think about it.  Man, parenthood is tough.

Luckily, this teacher happened to be standing right by the door when I walked Hamhock to class, and he saw me start to talk to her.  She was very nice and understanding and wants kids to learn and follow the rules, but doesn’t want kids to be scared of her.  She said she would try to talk to him to clear the air about it.

Every day so far he has been very happy to see me when I pick him up after school and says:  “Mom, I didn’t get in trouble today!”  I hope today will be no different.

I just hate when it takes me a while to figure things out, when I don’t handle power struggles better, and when I feel sad the rest of the day. . .think I’m going to go get in a run, watch some Arrested Development, and clear my head before school is out. . .

________________

UPDATE:

Hamhock came home very happy.  He said the teacher talked to him and:  “She likes me Mom!”

I thanked her the next day, and all seems to have returned to right in his cute little brain.

Whew.

You’re a good boy!

June 28, 2010

I like to tell my boys often that they are “good boys.”

Most especially because Hamhock struggles often to follow the rules, keep his impulses under control, learn to deal with his anger, etc.  I want them both to know that even though the may make a bad choice, or do something wrong, that the choice was bad, but they are always good.

As I was walking through the hospital to visit my mom after her knee surgery this past Saturday, Hamhock called me from Gramma’s house.

Hamhock:  “Mom, I’m eating an orange!”
Me:  “Good for you!  That’s healthy.”
Hamhock:  “Can I hang up now?”
Me:  “Yep, have fun at Gramma’s.  Bye.”
Hamhock:  “You’re a good mom.  I love you!”
Me:  “I love you, too.”

So super sweet!  That makes up for the rest of the time when he gets mad at me and calls me a liar when something doesn’t go right . . .which happens at least a dozen times every single day (hurmpf).

So, I’ll take it, sweet good boy of mine.

Tantrum Time

December 22, 2009

This time, it was Superboy. We’re talking a very intense, rigid, non-negotiable all-out 4-year old tantrum.

Hamhock had parent teacher conferences with no school.  I wanted to drop Superboy off at preschool, and go to Hamhock’s classroom for the P/T conf.  Superboy knew what was going on, and he wanted nothing of it.  He dug his heels in and refused to go to preschool.  I realize that sometimes/often I have less patience for Superboy because I “expect” him to comply because he doesn’t have the nerological deficits that belong to ASD.

I finally dropped him off, heaving and with tears streaming down his face, with the preschool teacher.

But, I felt bad about it all day.  The intense, angry, panicky emotions I feel in those moments are just so horrible.  It makes me feel so out of control, while I was raising my voice to get Superboy to calm down and go to class, but my head is telling me to *not* raise my voice.  Hamhock kind of freaks out in those situations and he’ll start hitting me to stop me from getting angry at Superboy.

In this instance, it was all in front of the elementary school in the playyard.  Ugh.

Superboy’s got a tough road.  Hamhock is intense and demanding and bossy, all as wonderful benefits of having a brain wired with ASD.  Superboy loves and looks up to him as little brothers do.  We expect more of Superboy, and are probably more lenient with Hamhock as we pick and choose which battles to fight.  It’s tough.

I’ve noticed that Superboy wants to follow Hamhock’s lead.  Hamhock says he doesn’t want to go to school?  Superboy says he doesn’t want to go to school.

I just hope both of my boys will someday forgive me for the mistakes I make, and have good lives in spite of my shortcomings as a parent.

Well, I’m beat.

September 6, 2009

Whew.

First week of school under our belts, and I’m purely exhausted.  Getting Hamhock anywhere ON TIME is a challenge.  Doing it 5 days in a row is going to be exhausting.

And, I suspect it is for him, too.  Everything he does requires a lot more energy, focus and determination for him to get through.

I’ve been praising him every day for following Mrs. Larson’s rules, and telling him he’s earning extra credits (following our Nurtured Heart Approach by earning credits for following the rules).  We cashed in all his credits earned on Friday for a new video game.  I love seeing that flicker of excitement in his eyes, when I tell him that we need to count his credits because I think we’re getting close to enough to be able to purchase a toy/game.

I suspect we’re going to be buying lots of rewards to get us through each year. . .!

Huh?

April 20, 2009

I’ve been so excited by the better behavior and no fighting or hitting since we started the Nurtured Heart Approach to discipline, that I’ve let some of Hamhock’s dietary resctrictions slide.  Both boys have been so excited to “spend” their credits on treats (and eventually working up to earning a toy) that we’ve gotten in the habit of getting some sort of treat every day.  That means, we’re at the local Chevron once a day – getting anything from Bubblicious cotton-candy flavored gum to a bottle of Sprite, or getting cotton-candy at the zoo, and we’ve even gotten a a doughnut at Banbury Cross.

I keep watching him to see how all that horrible high-fructose corn syrup, chemicals, preservatives, and red dye #40 are affecting him.  So far it seems not so much, and his behavior has continued to be balanced by the Nurtured Heart Approach.

Until now.

Saturday night he started stimming out of his brain.  Not alot, only maybe 30 seconds or so at a time. But it freaks me out.

He hums this cute little monotone song, shakes his head back and forth, kind of rocks his body and his eyes look up back and forth, like he’s staring at some awesome Pink Floyd laser light show.  When I ask him what he’s looking at, he’ll smile sheepishly and then just act normal.

He did it today in our church pew, and then again during Primary closing exercises.  Again, only for about 30 seconds, and he comes right out of it when I engage him.  But it just looks so “autistic” that it freaks me out (sorry if that offends anyone).

I just want my kid to look, act, seem, and be normal – you know?

But then, – and here’s the “Huh?” part – he says the most sensitive, emotionally connected thing I think I’ve ever heard him say:

Tonight at dinner Foo was reading the paper.  He saw the obituary of someone he knows, and exclaimed in shock:  “Oh my gosh, this man is dead!”  Hamhock turns to him, pats him on the back and says:  “I’m sorry Dad.  But don’t worry, everyone will come back to life someday.”

Can you believe it?  That shows such emotional connectedness (to pat Foo on the back, immediately after Foo’s exclamation), and then to say something that will help, and that he’s actually been listening in church (yay!).

Wow.

The other day I tried to tell him how we couldn’t just go over to play at a neighbor boy’s house because his grandmother is very private and kind of chewed me out one day while my boys and her son were playing in their backyard and I was hanging out back there supervising.  I tried to tell him in simple terms by saying that his grandmother is a mean lady and doesn’t want us to play in their yard.

Hamhock responded:  “Well, maybe we can make her feel happy or something?”

So so very sweet, and again shows emotional connectedness and understanding.  So maybe the once-a-day treats aren’t so bad?  Either which way, we’re cutting them out and I’m going to go back to being a stricter mom.  Only healthy treats from here on out.

Here’s hoping I can stick to it when those big baby browns plead their case. . .

Toys R Us

April 14, 2009

For the first time the other day, we went to Toys R Us and we didn’t have a huge meltdown or tantrum to buy a toy (I usually avoid this store).

But I kept reminding Hamhock and Superboy that when they earn enough credits they’ll be able to buy a toy.  I can’t believe how much fun we had looking at all the toys and talking about all the ones they wanted to save up for.

It was a far cry from the days of begging, tantrums, and finally me buying a toy out of sheer exasperation, after being hounded and hounded to go to the darn store in the first place!

Time for a Time-Out

April 14, 2009

Yesterday we went to the zoo with Hamhock’s friend from preschool.

I recently found a discipline approach that works for us:  The Nurtured Heart Approach to Transforming the Difficult Child, and it has kept me in awe when it works everyday.

Hamhock pushed his friend while they were climbing the rocks by the giraffe cage, and I immediately ran over.  Before I could whisper in his ear, he said:  “I know!”  I whispered anyway, “That’s a time-out.  No pushing.”  He came right with me to a quieter rock and sat down for a few seconds for his time-out.

Afterwards I said:  “Next time, you can say:  ‘Can you move please?'”

Later on, as we were walking to the playground, past the elephants and monkeys, all 3 boys were climbing on a the rock wall.  I completely caught Hamhock saying to his friend who was in his way:  “Can you move please?’!  I couldn’t believe it!

I gave him lots of positive recognition right then and again when I gave him his credits before bedtime.

He was fixated on whining about getting an ice cream all day, though.