This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom ( of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Candy Bars, Books, and Tantrums

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yesterday was not fun at our house. It started out ok'ish though. Given the overload of sugar in his system, I gave Chef extra time to sleep in in the morning. When he got up he wanted to make brunch (one of my favourite parts of a weekend!) and did up fried eggs and fried potatoes. We watched part of a video while we ate brunch, then Chef independently started doing chores. About five minutes later, Chef announced that he couldn't clean the bathroom because he only had one rag and that was in the laundry. "Where are the other rags?" "I don't know. I got rid of them" "How do you plan on cleaning the bathroom then?" "I guess I'll have to wait til the laundry's done" "That's not going to work." "(angry whining and escalating body language) Well, what am I supposed to do if I don't have rags??" "First, you can take the whining outside and deal with it there and not bring it back inside." Chef stormed out, stood outside for a few minutes, did some jumping jacks, came back inside when I motioned him in, and did the lunch dishes. While he had been outside, I'd noticed that more of my books were missing from my bookcase. After finishing up the lunch dishes, Chef came into the living room and said he didn't know what to do because he had to wait for the rag that was in the washer. I said that we also needed to discuss the matter of other books missing from the bookcase. Chef immediately stormed, angrily stating that he hadn't taken any books. I told him he could take himself back outside until he was ready to communicate appropriately. Chef tantrummed outside for an hour and a half. When he appeared appropriate and calm for awhile, I invited him back inside. I asked him if he was ready to communicate appropriately. "Yes." "Good, because at some point we'll need to talk about the books." "I TOLD YOU I DIDN'T TAKE ANY BOOKS!!" "Back outside til you're ready to communicate appropriately." Chef stormed outside and started throwing pine cones at the house, repeatedly repeatedly repeatedly ringing the doorbell, repeatedly kicking the door, banging his head against the living room window and making faces at me then screaming when I would leave the living room, yelling that he was cold, etc., etc. Chef tantrummed for at least an hour and a half that time. Once he was able to be back inside, Chef stated that he'd been taking books on his way out the door to school in the morning and hiding them in his lunchbag. Most mornings, Chef runs out the door at the last minute, and I am at the door with him then watching him from the front window til the bus arrives. Lately, however, I have not been right at the door when he comes in after school. The bookcase is right by the door and Chef wouldn't be hard-pressed to be able to slip out a book and stash it in the closet to take somewhere later on. If I am downstairs when Chef comes home, he does a personal check before going upstairs (he usually goes upstairs for a rest after school); if I am upstairs when Chef comes home, he does a personal check when he gets upstairs. We've stopped doing checks for each time Chef goes upstairs otherwise, but it seems to be time to start doing that again. Chef says sometimes he'll say he's going to clean the front entrance (about 5'x5') then hide something in the closet or in his niece's stroller then take it upstairs or stash it outside later.

Chef didn't bring up his laundry from the dryer yesterday. This morning he said he doesn't know where any of his socks are that were just purchased last weekend; I know they were in the hamper, but Chef said they weren't in the laundry room when he took the hamper downstairs. His runners had needed washing on the weekend and he was reminded three times in less than half an hour to put his runners into the washer. That didn't happen; he washed them outside instead. I asked him if he'd forgotten that he's tried that before and it doesn't work. He did work on his lunches last night without issue and actually agreed to take more in his lunches, including a dessert I made for him! This is highly unusual. I'm very thankful he was at that point yesterday. This morning, I packed his lunch into a large, clear tupperware container so it's easy for his school support staff to see what's inside with hopes that it will minimize some of Chef's stealing/stashing attempts. When the bus pulled up, Chef had only been starting to get ready the last few minutes beforehand and was not at all ready to go - though he had actually eaten part of a breakfast! He walked out to the bus barefoot, wearing pyjamas, carrying sandals, his lunch, his jacket (the one that he's kept in the storage room since I bought it for him in summer; it finally got promoted to being brought upstairs and being used!) and a wrinkled outfit he'd pulled out of the dryer. He didn't give his lunch to the driver, and often hasn't been, which usually translates into him eating it on the bus.

I'm a little tuckered out today; actually, a little more than a little.

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