Monday, December 19, 2011

Meltdown Monday

So the boy got into some serious mischief today. The girl was taking her nap, and the boy went upstairs to "play". I was cleaning downstairs. After a while, I decided it was too quiet....and...any parents out there know where this is going? Yes. He'd gotten into my bathroom, gotten a bottle of shampoo, one of my cosmetic brushes and my husband's shaving cream brush, and decided to "wash" his model plane and some of his other trains. The model airplane was a gift from his uncle Matt (that he had made) and the black paint was coming off (thanks to all the frothy shampoo). Yeah. So, you can imagine the scene I walked into. Not to mention the shampoo wasn't the cheap variety. Well, I'm proud to say, I kept my cool. I wasn't happy, but I didn't lose it. I made him take a shower (he was covered in shampoo) then "help" me clean up the mess. So I took a detour on my afternoon plans, but, oh well. I guess that bathroom needed some cleaning anyway.

Move forward an hour or so. The girl is awake now, and I'm back to my original cleaning I was trying to do downstairs. The boy has decided he wants to play trains downstairs, but doesn't want the girl to touch any of his toys. He has also started freaking out (and I mean really flipping his lid--crying, whinging, hitting himself) because he doesn't like the "trains with faces" (his Th.omas trains). Now this might sound really freaky (and it is, it's disturbing when he gets like this) but again, I kept my cool. I remembered that he had really, really, really wanted some generic wooden trains we had seen at Tar.get the other day. He's also really into watching The P.olar right now, and, as you KNOW (if you are a mom of a boy who is obsessed with trains) that the Polar Express train does NOT have a face. After one time out to calm down after pushing his sister (to get her away from his assorted tracks, etc.) and some more crying, I was able to get him onto my lap....where I was able to get him to talk through his thoughts. (Do you like the trains with no faces because they are more like Polar Express?) He kept asking if we could go get some RIGHT NOW, to which I kept saying, "we are not buying any new toys right now, but we can ask Santa" (cue more crying). Eventually, after calmly taking all the trains "with faces" and putting them in a paper bag, where he couldn't see them, and talking through the scenario of Christmas, and gifts, and potential for new trains, and WHY he liked the trains "with no faces" right now ( and that we could go find all his no-face trains and make a train together, etc.,etc., he eventually calmed down. And, a little diversion later (making some cookies together, er, sort of) well, he was calm and back to playing nicely and being sweet to his sister.

We have not had a major freak-out like this in a while--they used to be an almost daily occurrence, and I admit, it shook me a little. However, I kept my cool (yay me!) which I can also tell you is not always the case, I'm just going to admit it. Sometimes he just goes on and on and on--he gets so STUCK on some weird thing that I just don't get--and he won't let it go, and he gets so furious, and....pretty soon there is steam coming out of the top of my head, and...well, it doesn't make anything better when I have my own tantrum. But today, I kept my cool, and everyone seems happy. Now, it is officially after five and I opening some wine. Yeeesssssss.

Oh, and Santa? I need some new cosmetic brushes for Christmas. Thanks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Babysitter Blues

My KINGDOM for a freaking babysitter!

Why is it so hard to find a good babysitter? I have been through the whole dot com thing several times. It is kind of a run around. We went through a couple of 'hopefuls' and then I finally found a wonderful young lady who was so great with the kids. She had super availability because she was doing on-line college classes, so she had a very flexible schedule, which worked out for me perfectly because I don't have set days or times when I need someone but, like, here or there, sporadically, like when I take a small floral gig or need to schedule a doctor's appointment. So, she was (almost) always available which was awesome! And my kids absolutely adored her.

So what happened? After she'd sat for us a few times, she asked if I could post a positive review for her on dot com, because she was trying to get more babysitting gigs. Which I happily did. And after I wrote my fabulous review, she was immediately hired pretty much full time by some moderately famous/rich family and now she's always working for them, even traveling with them on their fancy-ass vacations or whatever and never available for meeeeee!

Ugh. Why do I have to be so nice?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Boy, Part 3

....Post diagnosis....

We've been down a long road since that diagnosis. It was October 2010. I won't go into too much boring detail in this post, but I'll just bring you up to speed.

I started researching ADHD. The psychologist urged medication, but my husband and I were reluctant. She insisted that without gaining some control over his hyperactivity, she would not be able to work with him on a behavioral/psychological level.

We tried other stuff first. Diet changes. Acupressure. Chinese medicine. Fish oil, among other supplements. And lots of love.

Still, nothing made much of a difference.

In the end, we determined that we were out of ideas, and would have to give medication a try.

In the meantime, he was spiraling out of control at preschool, and they were starting to tell me they wouldn't be able to have him continue there unless things changed--soon. They knew about his new diagnosis, and were sympathetic. They supported me as much as possible.

I was also trying to get him an evaluation with the Board of Education Early Childhood Dept. to see if he was able to get special services. (Also called an IEP or, Individual Education Plan).

It took months to get our assessment appointment. But finally we got one.

And then were denied services.


The next step was that I went into Mother Bear mode. I contacted a parent advocacy group and gained as much information as I could. I scoured the internet and read through the entire IDEA act. I went over the heads of the local BOE department I had been working with and went to the county. I sent a letter to everyone on the board, and the head of the education dept in Sacramento. I included a portion of the IDEA act wording in my letter (just to let them know I knew my rights--most importantly, that they were legally bound to do a reevaluation at my request, and to respond within a certain amount of time). I collected documentation from his psychologist, his preschool and his pediatrician. Finally, my phone started ringing and apologetic people within the System told me our case would be reviewed. Our reevaluation included a comprehensive psychological workup as well as a speech assessment, in addition to the cognitive testing.

Our new assessment was that Handsome would require special services in order to attend preschool, and that he would receive an IEP. I felt a huge relief and sense of accomplishment. Finally, things were turning around and we would get some help. The only bad thing was that by this time it was the end of the school year and I had had to pull him out of preschool in February. We would have to wait for the new school year to start in the fall before we would start receiving services. He had essentially missed out on an entire year of preschool.

Flash forward to the summer, when my husband started interviewing for a new job--and was hired by a big company out of state. In July we realized we would be moving, and I'd have to start all over again with the finding him services and getting him into school.

Luckily, to my utter astonishment and happy surprise, Nevada had their act together much more than our home town, and after a bit of leg work, his California IEP was reviewed and accepted and he was given a place in our local Head Start Program.

In the meantime, we have also tried several different meds, and he is currently on one that, while it doesn't "cure" all of his symptoms by any means, it does help, with minimal side-effects.

With the help of the amazing team at his school (teacher, special ed teacher, speech therapist, psychologist and, most recently, occupational therapist) Handsome has made AMAZING progress just since starting school in late August.

To say I am a fan of the Head Start Program, and of the Clark County School District is an understatement. I am WOWED by the support he is receiving. A far cry from our previous experiences in California.

Our most recent progress was that he was diagnosed as being 'tongue-tied'. This was brought to my attention by his school speech therapist and school nurse. After his pediatrician confirmed it, we had the procedure (frenulectomy) to correct it (just last week) and he is doing great. I am anxious to see what his progress will be like with his speech therapist.

We have come a long, long way. And, I am a believer in a Bigger Plan that had led us here- from me shutting down my business (originally reluctantly but it gave me the ability to be at home with these kids and gave me the freedom and clarity to do all this leg work) and THEN that lead us to our big move to Nevada--where the System has been very good to us.

Now the baby is waking up from her nap and I have to go... more later!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Boy, Part 2 -- I'm Just Going to be Honest, Here

I am going to say some things here that I have never said in a public forum before.

But before I say any of it, please know that I love my son. I love my children more than anything... The day my son was born was, up until that moment, the very happiest day of my life. I have loved him every day since and my love is fierce. He is a treasure and being chosen to be his Mommy and Daddy was a incredible gift. What I am about to reveal is not to complain or look for pity in any way, shape or form. I am just telling a story. This is what happened to us, to him, to our family, and I wish I had had the knowledge then that I have now to help my little boy sooner. So if anyone can benefit from this, then I hope this helps.

There was a time, amazingly not that long ago, when I cried on a daily basis. After I had shut the doors of my business and decided to stay at home full time (with a second child on the way, and the economy not doing my business any favors) I really got to spend a lot of 'quality' time with Handsome. No more program. Just him, and me. Mister was gone at least 13 hours a day thanks to his awful commute and demanding job at a start-up company. I was all alone with a toddler, who, frankly, was out of control. And, me, myself, my hormones--also out of control (during 3rd trimester of pregnancy and, for a while post-pardum).

It was bleak.

This time, that was supposed to be so wonderful: the last month of my pregnancy, the anticipation of the birth, and then the newborn phase--bringing our baby home, Handsome becoming a big brother....

But it was not that way at all.

Things only got worse after Grace was born. I know some sibling jealousy is to be expected. I know extra acting-out is normal. What transpired was beyond anything I considered 'normal'.

At one point, his rages were so severe, we (I) was so unable to control him--I really feared for his sister's safety. We had to put a latch on the outside of his sister's door, so that we could lock it from the outside to prevent him from getting in there when she was sleeping. Or from just getting in there and messing up her stuff. But mostly I was afraid of him doing something to hurt her.

It also was a fact that when he misbehaved, we were unable to put him in 'normal' time outs. During his rages, holding him was not an option. Not if you didn't want a broken nose. I have had a tooth cracked and I've got the veneer to prove it. He would not stay in his room or in any given spot for a time out. There was no way to help him gain control, or learn the lesson of bad behavior=consequence. He would just scream, throw, hit, flail, launch his body at you with amazing force. We got to the point where we had to take everything--every toy, every book, everything out of his room, until all that was left was his bed, his blankets and his stuffed animals. That way he was left with nothing he could throw, or anything he could hurt anyone (or himself,...or the house) with. We put a lock on his door, too. It was the only way. Please don't write me hateful letters. We were beside ourselves. We didn't know what else to do. At least this way he had somewhere to go where he was safe, and I was safe, Grace was safe, and he could cool down (eventually). There was one evening, when my husband and I held each other, me sobbing, and sat frozen in horror and disbelief as he raged away in his room. What was happening to our little boy, our baby? Were we the worst parents in the world? Was there something really terribly wrong; would we have to hospitalize him? Institutionalize him? What could be done? Surely a family could not survive this.

Finally, a friend of mine, who had seen these things first hand, who had known Handsome since I brought him home, a friend who knew me, and loved me, gave me the encouragement I clearly needed--to call my insurance and find a psychologist, NOW who could evaluate him. She even offered to come and watch him and the baby just so I could sit on the phone and make the necessary calls and endure whatever hoops they made me jump through until I got an answer and a name. Which I did. Against everyone else's advice (he's too young to be evaluated. It will pass. It's just a phase. He's just 'all boy'. He's 'spirited'.) I made the appointment, and I started the long process of righting this ship that was clearly capsizing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Introducing the Rug Rats--The Boy, pt. 1

THE BOY CHILD (part one)

First, is our son, known on my old blog as "Handsome Man". Well, I think the name is pretty apt. He is one handsome guy. Of course, I have nothing to do with how handsome he is, from a genetic standpoint. He became 'ours' through domestic, open adoption in 2007. His beautiful Birth-mother E., and his handsome Birth-father, M., get all the credit on his good looks. We have a very open relationship with E., and her mom and dad, too. We've had several visits. Unfortunately, thus far we haven't really had much contact with M. He is just not in a place in his life where my husband and I really feel comfortable with Handsome Man having contact. But, time will tell. I guess I am kind of waiting to see if M. reaches out (he has our contact info and he is also still in contact with E.) but eventually we will have to make a move and see if we can establish some more contact. But so far, the relationship with E. and her family has been really comfortable, I only wish we got to see them more often (they live in a different state).

This is a picture of him after his new haircut, this past summer, before he started his first day of school. I love how impish he looks. I was so excited that he was starting school! (Probably more excited than he was!) It had been a long journey to get to this point (and I don't just mean the journey from California to Las Vegas.) When he was 3 (he's 4 now) I had enrolled him in preschool back in California. Let's just say it didn't work out too well. During this time I was also pursuing an evaluation or a diagnosis. I just knew something was 'off'. And considering he had been 'asked to leave' his first daycare at the age of 2, and then at the age of 3 I was getting called in to talk to the teacher after school, like, EVERY day, well...yeah, I figured something was going on. Not to mention I was pretty much brought to tears on a daily basis because I just didn't know how to parent him. We had so many conflicts. I was really scared that either something was really 'wrong' with Handsome, or, something was really 'wrong' with me, and I was just not made to be a mother. I was doubting myself so much and I was so confused and saddened. By October 2010 we had seen a child psychologist who did an evaluation over several visits and concluded that he had ("severe") ADHD along with ODD. The diagnosis was hard, confusing and scary (because I knew nothing about ADHD/ODD or what to do next) but it was also a relief because now I had a real professional tell me I was not crazy, and that raising Handsome was going to take more than your average color-by-numbers parenting.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Ah, the obligatory First Post. Thanks to any of my readers who have followed me over from my old blog. I felt like now was the time for a new, fresh start. So many things have changed recently: career changes (staying at home for me) a move to a new state for a new job (for hubby). New surrounding, new house, new friends (still working on this one) new everything. And, since we (most likely) are leaving our family-building days behind, and are just working hard at making the family we have work, (i.e. trying to not mess up my kids too badly, and also to keep my sanity on a daily basis) it seems like it's time for a fresh start for the blog, too.

On this blog I'll probably talk about parenting (the good, the bad, the crazy), the struggles of raising a child with AD/HD, my adventures in creating a new life in a new state, and whatever miscellaneous thing I feel like talking about. Sounds pretty boring, huh? And, although this is not an infertility blog, per se, I expect the topics of Infertility and Adoption to creep in here, because both have forever changed my life, my mindset and my priorities. Through our struggles to create a family, I have learned many things. I have learned to be more compassionate toward others, and to have more patience with people--you never know what someone, some stranger, might be going through. You just never know. So, I give people the benefit of the doubt a lot more readily. I have become more sure of myself, and learned how to be my own advocate. Everyone might have thought I was crazy, but I couldn't let it go: I had to keep searching for the answer to my infertility. I finally found a doctor who listened to me and didn't just write me off. Leaving no stone unturned, I stumbled over the answers I sought, and I became pregnant in 2009 with my daughter. Then, I had to learn how to fight the System to get help for my son. I'm not the doormat I used to be. I am very open in my real life about Infertility and Adoption and raising a child with Special Needs--and I will talk anyone's ear off about any of it. I'm probably no fun at parties.

So, thanks for stopping by--I hope you'll stick around. What's your story?