Monday, June 4, 2012

Q & A result time

1.  Do you want me to hold you accountable and ask you about your weight when I see you on 6/22? Or maybe I'll just tell you that you look great instead :).  

Well, being that I'll probably be devouring some goodies while there, I'll just take the look great statement.  See you soon!

2.  When a child is raging, what steps do you take to protect the smaller, more vulnerable children? Are they put in a safe place away from the angry behaviors? Also, are there certain people who you know will be safe when you are trying to "herd" the child? I would think that having too many people following that child around would just infuriate them even more. Do you & W sit down and talk to your children about how to deal with a rage and teach them how to stay safe and for the older kids, how to be helpful?

All of our kids are used to the rages when they happen.  We've explained the why and that it really is not in their control.  Typically, the younger ones immediately go upstairs.  That's where they've been told to go.  Older ones help me out w/ whoever is doing the raging.  Truly, we only have one that rages this way.  The other one is internally and gets more angry w/ themselves.  And unfortunately, now that some of my kids have gotten older, they want to tease during said rage and make things ten times worse.  URGHH!!!  And, since these now only happen once every year to two years, we're not having to do this like we were before.  When they were younger, we'd hold them down.  We were trained by a psychologist we went to years and years ago.  Hold therapy and if you do it, you MUST BE TRAINED.  As they've aged, you can't really hold them down.  So, it becomes more of a "herding" type thing to keep them in the yard and safe from harm at the same time.  Remember, anything in their path leads to potential danger.  Keeping them to our side yard away from tools, pool equipment, etc. helps immensely.  Reason they are herding in this manner is b/c the child does not want to face any of us at that time.  Avoidance.  They can't deal with it.  So, their instinct is to just run away from whoever is in their way.  With 3 or 4 of us out there, they can be cornered more or less to go in the house.  We do talk with all the kids about why this happens, how to help, what to do and what not to do.  I know some families who've had to call 911 in the past.  We have not.  Thank goodness!  At one point I did call our in home therapist person.  They are supposed to be available 24/7.  Got an answering machine.  URGHH!!  We found that therapy to be the most unhelpful.  Plus, you could only use it for 6 months.

3. How are the home repair projects going?  Very, very slowly.  We are really torn on wanting to do it all or wanting to sell as is.  Trying to fix what needs to be fixed.  IF we can not sell, we will be doing major renovations here.  Girls will move into the garage that we need to convert.  A garage will be built w/ unfinished space above it for potential use.  A fence will be put up to contain the dogs.  Oh, and most definitely a roof will be put on.  That will most likely have to be put on whether we move or not.  got estimates but waiting on Mr. IRS man.  For now, just cosmetic painting and repairing what needs to be repaired.

4. Do you have a floor plan picked out for your new house? 
If we sell the house (big if here), then we already know what we will build.  We will be building a big horse barn for our house.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The stalls are perfect sizes for rooms.  It would be a 12 bedroom home.  Roughly, 8300 sq. ft. w/ 5000 of that being finished sq. footage.  Land is mainly what we're looking for due to long term plans for the facility.  Not our home but the grand plans we are trying to accomplish by doing this. 

5. What is your favorite TV show? 
I really enjoy Castle on ABC.  Biggest Loser is another one I watch.  Oh, and when Warren and I need a laugh, My name is Earl or Futurama. 

6. What are your family's favorite recipes? 
Ghiradelli brownies homemade and baked meatballs.  I'll have to post them one day.

7. Do you make a big breakfast each day or does everyone fend for himself?  
During the weekends, we have pancakes, french toast or eggs.  During the week, I have a menu up for breakfast each day.  Typically, during the week it's oatmeal, yogurt, bagels or toast.  Always with fruit to go w/ it.  The only reason we have cereal as a choice recently is b/c I found organic cereal on sale at Wally World for .50 a box.  Otherwise, cereal is too expensive for our family to work.

8.   Could you please advise how to divide your hydrangeas?  We weren't sure we were doing it right.  We experimented about 2 years ago.  Been told to wait till after summer before you divide them.  I didn't do that this year so we'll see what happens.  We have huge hydrangea bushes.  They really are big and continue to grow each year.  I use no fertilizer on them whatsoever.  This year, there was clearly two separate plants so that's an easy decision. However, last year, we simply took a shovel and split it in the back where it wouldn't be as noticeable.  Branches broke and such but roots did not die and neither did the main plant.  I was able to get 3 other plants off of that one and put them in other parts of the yard.  Some say the plant will go into shock. I do think it did for a short period but after about a week, it was fine.  Now, when we do replant, we always make sure we have good dirt to put around it.  Our dirt is horrible here, literally clay in some spots.  A huge bag of miracle grow dirt is $5 at Sam's.  Good dirt and watered right away.  So far, this has worked for us.  This week, the one that was transplanted is clearly in shock but hoping it pops back up this weekend.  If not, I'm going to stake it.  It's not dead whatsoever but is leaning to one side badly.  Where it was, it was used to doing this w/ the sun.  Are we doing this right?  Not sure but I know none of our hydrangeas have died yet so must be okay.  LOL.

9.   Can you please give some examples of when and how you were able to show your RADish kids how their behavior was wrong?  This is a tough one.  Many kids with RAD think they are the ones who are the victim and that they can do no wrong.  We use a lot of analogies in our house.  A lot.  We never, never talk to the child after a rage.  Never.  They are not in their right mind and it must be approached later at another time.  So, we usually pick the next day.  We explain we can't reward bad behavior and they do understand they are punished for what they did.  You can't let them get away with hitting, kicking, screaming, breaking things, etc. or they will think that is acceptable behavior.  Mental health issue or not, they MUST know behavior is wrong.  Society will not give them a break later in life, neither should we.  They need to learn right from wrong.  They must.  It's critical for independent living later on in life.

We sit for a long time explaining what they did and that if they lived on their own, they would have been arrested for assault or property damage.  Plain and simple.  One time, my RADish noticed a paper on the table I was organizing.  It had a list of all the characteristics of various disorders.  PTSD, RAD, OCD, FAS, etc.  I told B(to protect identity again) which dx were theirs.  They said I can change this.  I can change this. I can't do anything about this.  I said okay.  Not thinking they were serious.  This was THE turn around point.  They saw on paper what was happening to them and wanted to change it.  So, B hung it up in their room.  For all to see.  Friends and all.  I had nothing whatsoever to do with that.  Nothing.  B wanted it hung up to remind themselves to work on it.  And, they did.  Things started to change.  B even highlighted certain areas.  I was shocked.  I would have never have thought to do that or write it out like that.  However, makes so much more sense now b/c so many of these kids are visual learners.

Important thing is letting them know what they did was wrong.  Always whisper.  Do not yell.  Don't even talk loud.  It will escalate the situation. Go step by step slowly as most these kids have processing issues as well.  Typically, many of those with RAD also have multiple dx's from what I hear.  I know ours do.  Going slowly and making sure they understand is critical.  Put it in terms they can understand.  Repeat and repeat.  Also, we talk it over with them and find out what caused the rage.  We tell them next time if they feel it coming on to walk away to their "spot."  Let each one pick out a spot to calm them.  For ours, it's the hammock outside in the trees w/ headphones on.  Or older ones take a walk before it escalates.  They must have a place that they feel they have some control over how they feel.   Do NOT, do NOT let anyone follow them if they are going out to cool off.  It will show control.  Later you can talk about how you were happy they chose that path instead of the explosive one.  Hope some of this made sense. 

10.  what is happening with Alex lately? somehow he doesn't look happy.  You're right.  Alex is not as happy lately.  I've kept quiet for some time.  See, with some of our kids when they reach pre-puberty age, hormones have an effect with the meds they take and the changes they must go through.  It is a balancing act.  This is also the age where some mental health dx's can change.  This may be the case with Alex.  Don't know but we will discuss further w/ our neuro & physician.  I'm very thankful that he has Logan with him.  It helps immensely.  See, I started noticing this last year in school.  He was never invited to go to parties.  Not a one.  Never invited over some where to play.  No one from his class was really his buddy.  So, a lonely place.  This is typical with FAS kids.  Having a brother close in age and likes has really helped him a lot lately with some things.  However, he has other things to work out and this will take time.  In addition, I believe he's outgrown some of the meds he's on.  It was awesome to see him open up and play at Camp Cheerio and laugh down the water slide.  I know the upcoming trip will help w/ some smiles as well.  Years ago, Max was on the same meds.  It did take about two years for him to also get out of a "funk" as what I called it.  There is a strong med connection here w/ hormone changes during this stage.  You have to bear with it and just move forward.  Praying it is short lived.  Been about a year now. so we're about half way over the hump.  He's a great kid and really does have a great inner personality.  Just hard for others to relate to him I'm sure as the processing issues are so intense that half the time he does not make any sense when he's talking.  For us, it's normal but for boys his age, I know they'd probably not understand why.  Once again, FAS, the invisible disability hits hard.  This folks is also not depression.  It's not.  It is different & we have been through this before w/ our kids.  We know what is best and it will honestly just take time.  Anyone who sees him though, I'd love for them to just ask him what's up, how are you doing?  Things like that.  Believe it or not, I do think we're making progress and are on an upswing.  I have gone through this w/ all of my FASers thus far.  Though not all were on meds.  So still not sure if it is a med thing or an FAS thing or a combo.  I do know it is thankfully manageable and as parents you need to recognize what's happening and do what is best for that child.  Hope we're doing that. 

11. You have not told us yet what happened with his hair.(referring to Alex)  A while ago, Alex was lying to me about cutting his own hair.  Trust me, you could tell he cut it.  LOL.  So, told him we were going to have to cut it short.  He flew into a rant and kept lying.  Now, originally, we truly were just going to cut it to even it out.  But then Alex said something that none of us could believe.  "You're not cutting my hair like those stupid cancer patients!"  You could have heard a pin drop in that room.  Literally, all the kids backed up.  You could hear all the oohs and couldn't believe what he just said.  We've had relatives with cancer, friends, etc.  Kids know what it is.  The chant became loud from the sibs. What were they saying:  "shave it off!"  Alex at this point was distraught.  NOT about what he said mind you.  He still didn't realize how wrong it was.  No, he was distraught about him losing his hair.  His hair got shaved.  Not bald but to Alex, he was as good as bald in his mind.  We were beyond disappointed at what he said.  Yet, in that moment, ALL the other kids came down hard on what he said and were taking over on how wrong it was and why it was wrong.  All of his sibs were not happy whatsoever at what he'd said.  Ironically, someone on his team got their hair shaved for being in trouble as well though totally different story.  Point is, we had to shave his head anyhow to even out the horrible cut he'd done to himself.  Yet at the same time, it taught him a lesson. 

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