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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Anger. Again.

Today Chef attempted to make black bean brownies. He's frequently talked about this since I initially showed him a recipe and suggested he talk with a friend of mine about details because the recipe I'd come across didn't explain whether or not to drain the can of black beans required.

Chef did eventually ask my friend when reminded, and I don't recall whether it was my friend or Chef who'd written down the specifics of the recipe, but Chef happily came home with the detailed recipe in hand.

Chef's attempt at black bean brownies didn't work out today - at all. After  close to an hour, the contents of the pan were still extremely soupy. When looking at the pan, I asked Chef if he'd followed my friend's instructions about draining the beans. Chef already had that dark, angry look about him when he growled a "no" in response. I thought about how to handle the situation - the "soup" could be put into a container and used in smoothies I supposed, but I knew very well that Chef wouldn't  relax until he'd inhaled the chocolatey mixture and the last thing he needed would be to have all those ingredients marching through his system in one fell swoop. I told him we'd have to dispose of the brownie soup, explained the reason, and said he could try again  another time using the full recipe. Chef kept saying he could just cook it longer. I shook my head and  started to say that we all have times when we're trying something new and it doesn't work out, but Chef stormed off in a huff.

Since that moment, Chef has responded with that same dark, angry cloud to almost every interaction this afternoon and evening. Right now, he's outside snarling after I told him it wasn't acceptable to leave feces in the toilet bowl - his initial response was that it wasn't his fault because he thought he'd flushed. I said I understood that but that it was still his job to make sure the bowl is empty, especially when there's a sick person in the house. Chef started yelling and spitting words and continued verbally escalating as I walked away. I know Chef well enough to know this was a sign that he wasn't going to calm on his own. I turned and put my finger to my lips with a quiet "shhh, calm" but to no avail. I put my finger and thumb on his top and bottom lip, accompanied with "shhh, calm" and he immediately pursed his lips together and he immediately became quiet but started bobbing his head up and down and sideways. I stepped away into the next  room and reminded Chef that he needed to clear the toilet and deal with his anger immediately and if he couldn't do it inside, he'd need to take it outside - he flushed, stormed down the hall, put on his outerwear (something he wouldn't have bothered doing in past years!), screamed at me, and slammed out the door.

Chef went for a short distance at a half-jog sort of pace, came inside and was still not calm enough to be inside so went for a run then came in and actually apologized and was able to have a reasonable discussion over what had happened. He's now calmly folding paper cranes. This is a very, very quick turn-around for Chef, who has often held onto his frustrations for hours/days - I'm hesitantly hopeful this is a sign of growth and positive things to come regarding managing frustration/disappointment/anger.

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