This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


We were hoping that now that Kitty has friends at the new "school" that the meltdowns at home would decrease, but no such luck.

Got a call from the PDH's psychiatrist. She's been out of town for the last week and now the insurance company is pressuring her to make med changes (since obviously that's all that's wrong with Kitty. *sarcasm drip*). So she called me and started suggesting new meds?! I asked her if she'd discussed these with Kitty's psychiatrist (who Kitty can't see while she's in the PDH program, but has a lot more info about Kitty's past then I do and she has been in his care for over 2 years). Nope. She hadn't contacted him about Kitty at all. I mentioned that the psychiatric hospital had planned to change her meds until they discussed it with our psychiatrist, and changed their mind. I was fine with any changes she wanted to make - as long as she had discussed it with our psychiatrist first.

She'd said she'd call him that day (Bear had an appointment that evening so we knew she hadn't called), but she apparently did finally make the call this morning. We're going to be changing a lot of meds for Kitty. Wellbutrin for the depression (not supposed to make bipolar kids manic and decreases appetite so we might get rid of those extra 50lbs Kitty has put on since this Summer). She'll start that tomorrow morning. Early next week she'll start on Lithium for the bipolar and once that's in place we can start decreasing the extremely high dose of Trileptal Kitty is on - assuming it works of course. Then Adderall in place of the Concerta. Who knows?! Maybe this will help?!

We're still questioning whether or not the PDH is the right placement for Kitty. She is getting so much more aggravated during the day (stress is higher at this school because of the type of kids she comes into contact with), that she is coming home and taking it out on the family - much worse then when she was in public school. She is having a LOT more meltdowns at home. She has also started cussing a lot more (and not "naughty" words, but real cussing). Some of it could be the schedule change. Instead of leaving the house at 8am for school, she has to leave at 6:30am. That's a LOT less sleep, and with the added stress, she's probably not sleeping as well either.

She is often justifying her behavior with "I have issues" and "that's just the way I am." That does NOT make it acceptable behavior, but I'm not totally sure how to address it either.

Because of her PTSD (which is not really treatable by medication) once she is triggered into "Fight, Flight or Freeze" mode she is no longer rational and is reacting purely on instinct. If she were a small child and behaving like this (typical for those terrible twos!), I would just put her down for a nap, and try to eliminate whatever stress triggered the incident (food, tired, overwhelmed...). No long term consequences of course. The problem is, while at the time she is a small child emotionally... chronologically and in the eyes of the other kids (and later even herself) she is not a small child, and therefore should be held accountable for her actions. Every time she "gets away" with this type of behavior she sees it as permission to continue with it.

Because of the RAD (again, not treatable by medication), most of her issues are at home with her family of course, so all the extra therapy she's getting at the PDH is, I'm sure, helpful, but not with this issue. Once a week family therapy that's not conducted by someone who is very familiar with attachment disorders will not solve this "issue." I'm a little concerned that by admitting she has "issues" with family to this therapist that she will now reinforce her self-perception as someone who doesn't need/want a family. In other words it will become part of "who she is." Just like being a "girly girl" or "friendly."

In the 2 1/2 years we've had Kitty she HAS gotten attached to us. She does trust us not to hurt her (I think as evidenced by the fact that she will hit and scream at us - which she would never do with a stranger or Bear- aren't we lucky?!). She will occassionally admit that she loves me, sometimes will let me cuddle her and tell her that I love her, and will even sometimes that she loves Hubby, but it's rare. Most of the time though she denies that she wants to be part of the family, says she hates to be touched, and rages about how much everyone hates her. If we tell her we love her, the first word out of her mouth is "NO." Sometimes it's so hard to remember to tell her anyway. It's easy to convince someone you don't love them, but how do you convince them you do?! Just keep doing what we've been doing I guess.

Kitty has been in therapy more then half of her life. She knows and uses all the buzz words like, "I have anger management issues" or "I need to work on my behavior management." She knows what the therapists want to hear and she is EXCELLENT at changing the subject with tangents or other distractions.

I have no idea what our alternatives besides residential treatment would be, and I can't see residential treatment as being a good alternative for her. She is becoming more violent, but it seems to me that most of her issues are caused by her Complex PTSD (which being around agressive kids would aggravate even more, in addition to the fact that she's already afraid she's becoming "like her brother" - out of control and violent) and her RAD (which should alleviate significantly when she's not around the family as much, but certainly won't help her progress any).

Though keeping her at home is causing major problems too. Hubby is starting to feel like the warden again. Bear's PTSD is triggered by Kitty's meltdowns (last night he had to leave the house), and of course the other kids aren't getting a lot of attention (although they are not scared of Kitty like they were of Bear). I have to admit I'm highly frustrated because I feel a lot of pressure to "fix" everything. Mommy guilt makes me feel like there's a "right" way to handle situations or a "right" thing to say that would make it all better. My head knows that's impossible, but...

We had our second family therapy session today. Much of the session was just Hubby and I talking about our concerns to the therapist (who now reads this blog, "Hi, Mr. O!" - so I better watch what I say!). When Kitty did come in she started the session with this new quiet voice that I've only really heard her use with this therapist. He commented on the fact that he's never heard her use this voice before either.

Then, breakthrough! He started talking to her about an incident yesterday (she witnessed two girls coming to blows at the PDH) and what happened when she got home (meltdown with Grandma that involved cussing and yelling and then the same with Hubby and I that denegrated to hitting Hubby). The "real" Kitty started coming out. She talked about her hatred for our family, gave the therapist several "real life" examples of her vengeance issues (he'd been asking us about it), and generally showed him the side of her that only us as her family and a select few of her therapists get to see.

Not a very productive session, but for some reason I always feel a little better when other people see her acting like this, and how we respond (calmly). I often feel like "they" think it's all in our head or we are "provoking" it (by yelling at her or treating her badly). With Bear it was a lot easier because he was unable to control his behavior at all when he "lost it" so it wasn't always directed at us. Kitty puts up the charming, friendly facade that is so typical for RAD kids.

So now what? What are our options?

1. We can put her back in public school where at least there was less stress at school. She will continue to fall apart, but it probably won't be as fast.

2. We can stick it out with the PDH and hope that the med changes will take effect quickly.

3. We can move her to residential treatment and hope that the neurological assessments make a big difference (and she won't be home while they make med changes which would be easier on the family).

4. ???!!! I've thought about an attachment intensive, but she has so many other issues that would make that so complicated. And more importantly (unfortunately) this would cost a lot of money and time that we just don't have. I haven't found a local therapist willing to do an intensive. Most of the few I can find on the internet are in Colorado (not just a hop, skip and a jump from here!). I do have family in CO, but the other 3 kids need us too. Not to mention that she is now 14 so attachment therapy at this age is VERY difficult. Of course emotionally/ developmentally she is only about 4-5 years old so maybe that helps.

Purplewalls - thanks for the suggestion regarding TinkerBear. I am strongly considering it! Say hi to the ladies at the C&C board for me. In my 3 computer change this year I managed to lose my user name and password and I can't get it to e-mail it to me. *sigh* Will keep working on it! Do you know if the user name is an e-mail addy or a name? That would narrow down the choices some.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's better?

Thursday Kitty came home excited about the field trip her school went on (she calls the partial day hospitalization program school because she does do 4 hours of school a day there and it's easier than explaining it to anyone). She's made friends with the girl that cursed at her the first day and told her she smelled like a litter box the second. It seems that's all it takes for Kitty to like a place - to have friends. Now she doesn't seem to mind school so much.

Over the weekend she was pretty calm. Took naps both days and no bed wetting at night. I put in a call to the school psychiatrist about changing her meds because she really is sleeping a lot on days when she is out of school, while still sleeping through the night. In January we'd changed her Geodon (which makes her sleepy) from all at night to twice a day. It didn't seem to effect her at the time, but now I'm wondering if we just didn't notice it. The other option is that she is sleeping to avoid the family.

Apparently the school psychiatrist has been out all week, but will be back tomorrow. They plan to make some med changes then. Yea us! (this is sarcastic by the way!) It always seems like their first instinct is to reduce something and then gradually add something else (which means we're stuck having to deal with her when she's on less meds and throughout the change - which may not even work).

Bear has spent the last week "fixing" things. I think we're going to have to have a new rule.

No "fixing" things without an adult present.

Now NONE of the kids' or hubby's bikes work. Bear somehow managed to break the chain on Hubby's bike and put it back together twisted. He spent all day yesterday "fixing" the weed eater so that probably doesn't work either. *sigh* Until we removed all electronics from his room we were always finding tools in his bed (he thought of them as weapons so he could feel safe), and deconstructed electronics all over his room. Little piles of screws, casings off and somewhere else, bits and pieces scattered every where - nothing was EVER thrown away and nothing worked ever again. Most of it didn't belong to him either. I found an old stereo, my laptop, tons of batteries, CD players.... if your headphones are missing assume Bear stole them and that they are already broken. Also assume that you will never be able to prove that he took them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kitty Meltdown - Restraint

Kitty hates the partial day hospitalization program (PDH). Did I mention that?! She certainly mentions it over and over and over...

Everything will be perfect if I just pull her from this program and let her go back to public school. She'll behave. She'll go to therapy. She'll never try to hurt me or herself again. She'll never cuss again. Just please... please... please... let her go back to her school where she has friends.

Tonight she wanted to go to the house of a neighbor girl who spends a lot of time over here with her sister. I've been telling the kids they can't go to this girl's house. Mostly because I don't trust Bear with the girl. Even though they've broken up, but also because I don't really feel comfortable having the kids out of my sight. Crazy I know, but even the healthy ones get into stuff I don't approve of at other's houses. Kitty especially though really doesn't need to be dealing with a lot of social issues.

Kitty did not take "no" well. She started yelling and cursing and slamming around the house. I thought she was going outside to run away so I went out front to intercept her and started to play with the other kids when I didn't see her. Bear came out very agitated because she was inside yelling and upset. I went back inside and found her locked in the bathroom.

She didn't answer when I knocked and I was a little concerned she'd find some way to hurt herself so I tried to unlock the door, but she held onto it. I told her I would take off the doorknob and she pulled the door open and threatened me with the shower rod (which wasn't in place because Bear broke the shower). She didn't hit me, but acted like she would. She cussed at me repeatedly. I kept trying to calm and de-escalate her, but would not give in on letting her visit the friend, going away, or pulling her out of the PDH.

She ran past me to her room, telling me to get away from her, but I told her she wasn't safe and I needed to stay near her. She ran into her room still holding the shower rod. She dropped it and opened her second story window (I presume to jump out). I reached out to hold her and she began punching and kicking me so we ended up in a restraint. *sigh* She tried to scratch and bite me, but for once calmed down fairly quickly. She remained in my arms with her back to me and we talked for quite awhile.

I explained over and over that I understand she's upset, and why she needed to be in the school, tried to give her some insights into her jealousy of Bob, and talked about her need for friends (and why the kids at this school may not have good social skills). She talked about all the cussing she hears, the hip hop music that's on the bus, the friend (boy) she made whose last day was today, how much she hates math...

I asked her to come down and help me make dinner. Bear was on the phone in the kitchen, and I foolishly reminded him that his chore was to clean the kitchen. Unfortunately Bear was still activiated and he went off on me about how big a mess everyone else left in room, especially Kitty (criticism upsets her more). He thought I shouldn't ask him to do chores when he did most of his chores, unlike the other kids (slam to Kitty again). Kitty immediately started asking to go outside and swing (calms her down), I wanted her near me till she was fully calm, but dinner had to be made and Bear showed no sign of letting up so I let her leave the room.

I'm getting tired of being fussed at by Bear. I've been lightening up on him, but he is not making it easy. I know, I know, teenage boys... Talked to the neighbor girl's mom. Bear, who'd been told he could not come to see her, skated by twice. We talked about why my kids don't come visit her daughters at their house. Her mom told me the girl came home with a hicky last week. Bear said it was the girl's fault?!

Why can't they stay sweet and innocent and only want Mommy kisses like little Ponito?!!!!

What's going on?

This is one I've seen floating around blogs recently.

Outside my window… sunshine, neighbor's falling down fence, bright green grass.
I am thinking… that I probably need to increase my anti-depressant again
I am thankful… for a loving husband, and a beautiful, healthy (physically) family.
From the kitchen… homemade cinnamon rolls!! I wish!
I am wearing… a big comfy Tigger t-shirt and jean shorts.
I am creating… a blog post about the PDH program Kitty is in.
I am going… crazy.
I am reading… "Step by Step Reiki." and "Because I said So" by Dawn MeehanI am hoping… that our finances turn around.
I am hearing… Marriage 911 on TV, and the cat snoring.
Around the house… all I can see is the clutter and mess.
One of my favorite things… sweet hugs and kisses and kisses from Ponito.
A few plans for the rest of the week… clean up the house, lots of therapy, put away laundry, therapeutic parenting, give Hubby some more attention, figure out ways for the family to spend more time together (Family Game Night on Thursdays? Company has to leave the house when we eat and by 8pm. Kids inside at 8pm. Park this weekend?).

Here is a “picture thought” I am sharing.

Edited to add: This is a variation on a Jackalope which is a mythical creature only found in TEXAS and surrounding areas. Jackalopes are a cross between Jack Rabbits and Antelopes. This one has a little partridge or quail added in (not sure which).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Confident but Stressed

We met Kitty's new therapist at the partial day hospitalization program (gosh that's long. I'm going to call it the PDH). He seems nice, but is not as experienced as we'd hoped and has almost no experience with RAD. He is a licensed professional counselor intern!

Family therapy was about 1/2 an hour of us summarizing Kitty and how she came to be at the PDH before Kitty came in the room. At one point the therapist commented that we weren't the typical parents he usually gets. While we did seem a little stressed we were also "confident."

I told him a little about my background: Bachelors in Psychology with a focus on child abuse and neglect, Masters in Social Work with a focus on Mental Health, worked in a residential treatment center, did homestudies for a foster care agency, worked with mentally ill adults - half of whom were homeless and "self-medicating" with illegal substances, taught behavior management to teachers of 0-5 year olds... none of it really helped a bit though. With the arrival of Bear and Kitty we got a crash course in RAD, PTSD, the juvenile justice system, IEPS and lived with it 24/7, plus, our experience with Bear and the trials of getting through his dealings with the police, school, aggression, intimidation and manipulation, cutting, running away and finally residential treatment.

He asked if Hubby had the same background as I do. Hubby laughed and said he was just an engineer, but I told him Hubby was not "just" an engineer. He's an incredibly empathetic, warm man.

Basically the therapist said that we should continue with Kitty's attachment therapist since we would only have family therapy once a week and that wouldn't be long enough to really address any issues.

Kitty spoke the whole time in a soft almost babyish voice. The therapist commented on it and asked us if that was typical because that wasn't the way she'd behaved in therapy with him. We assured him it was not, unless she'd just had a major meltdown or right before bedtime. Hubby and I think it was because she didn't want the therapist to know how she really talks to us. She's been reprimanded for it before by others (school administrators, therapists...). Doesn't make any change to her behavior unless she's still trying to charm the person (pretty much everybody but therapists and of course us).

He asked Kitty why she was there. She mentioned the suicidal threats. He asked her what she wanted from family therapy, she told him, "Nothing." She says she can take care of her issues by herself. She doesn't want a family, and therefore doesn't need family therapy.

Kitty had mentioned a skit she'd done with the other kids in group. The assignment was to act out how her family acts. She put "Bear" in the garage (he does spend a lot of time there or in his bedroom - he is RAD too), she put "Bob" in her room reading a book (pretty accurate, Bob is my sedentary child), "Ponito" was playing with a friend across the street (again pretty accurate), "Hubby" was upstairs on his computer (he does tend to hide when he's stressed and stare at his computer trying to figure out how we're going to survive), and "I" was in my cubby (this was the one I disagreed with, I haven't been in my cubby in months, but I do watch TV and work on my laptop when I'm not making dinner (that's how I hide).

So that evening I focused on interaction with the family, particularly with Kitty. She spent most of the evening in the back yard. When she came into the family room Bob and Ponito were playing a game and invited her to join in, but she refused. Within minutes she was headed back outside. Hubby told her she had to stay in the room with us for at least 10 minutes. I think it was the longest 10 minutes of her life. She sure made it the longest 10 hours of our lives.

Seriously. I feel guilty that we don't spend a lot of time together, but I also have to acknowledge that these guys are teenagers and they don't want to spend a lot of time with their parents. Even the healthy ones.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Partial Day Hospitalization

Friday we finally had an appointment with the partial day hospitalization program. I'd been trying to get hold of them all week. It was a 3 hour interview with Kitty there the whole time. We discovered that evening that she hadn't taken her morning meds. Can you say hyper? Because she was referred by the hospital apparently it was a given that she'd get in (wish they'd told me that at the beginning of the week).

She started the program on Monday. There are 4 hours of school and she is in therapy for several hours (group, individual and family). Still no PE, but they have a ropes course and a gym they can play in. In the Summer they have a pool, assuming she's still there in the Summer of course. We disenrolled her from public school on Monday.

It is very far away, but they have a van that picks up the kids in the North. Big problem?! We have to have her at the van stop (20-30 minutes away) at 7am. Before she didn't have to be at school until 8:30am, and it was a 5 minute drive.

Kitty seems to be doing OK with going to bed a little earlier and getting up earlier, but no one else in the house is! Hubby is taking her to the van so he's having to get up almost an hour earlier then usual. I'm having to get up about an hour earlier and be dressed and ready to go so I can get Bob to school. The big problem is that Kitty is LOUD! She sings, talks loudly, stomps around, slams cabinet doors... She's not even aware she's doing it and doesn't seem able to stop, but no one in the house can sleep through it. The rest of the school year is going to be loooong.

Kitty seems to have many opinions about her new school. She told Bob and Grandma that it was nice, and she liked her teachers and made some friends.

In a 45 minute meltdown (luckily no physical aggression) she told Hubby and I that she hated the new school and was scared of the children (as wells as no one in the family cares about her, she's a bad person, and it's not her fault - because she has "issues" that excuse her behavior). I talked to a nurse during the day, when I'd discovered Kitty had left her lunch in our car, and she said Kitty seemed scared and upset. Usually Kitty is all smiles and super friendly to new people so this was surprising. Kitty got in trouble for talking during a quiet time, "teasing" a boy with physical threats, and not fully participating in therapy.

One thing I like about the new school is not only do they have point sheets at school, but they have them for the time at home too. With a large space for comments. Hopefully this will lead to good communication.

I've spent the last 2 days updating Kitty's timeline. Oh my goodness! It ended up being 23 pages single spaced 11 point type! It does have just about everything we know about her in it though. Cast of characters: biofamily, therapists, adoptive family, schools... and a brief description of everything we know about Kitty; moves (that took up a whole page right there), hospitalizations, meltdowns, reasons for meltdowns, consequences... I included a lot of Bear's information because Kitty was usually at the very least a witness to his issues.

I even included a description of a pre-meltdown conversation.

Happy Birthday Kitty

My girl turned 14 on Monday. We didn't end up making a big deal out of it since she'd just gotten out of the hospital the day before. Monday night we had pizza for dinner (her fav). I'm sure the birthday, first anniversary of her adoption day, teacher changes at school, visiting Grandparents, hormones and who knows what else helped contribute to her most recent meltdown.

One of her gifts was a pair of Heelys. She loves them! I am learning how very uncoordinated she is though. Shopping the other day she landed Kersplatt on her backside many times. Luckily she hasn't broken anything. I ended up holding her up and dragging her along for most of the trip. Dang I'm old and out of shape!

I forget how incredibly coordinated Ponito is. He whips around on his Heelys and never had to learn how to use them. He just knew. He's being very sweet to Kitty trying to teach her how to use them.

He's probably going through a growth spurt himself though because he actually had an accident on his Heelys last night. Said he ended up doing a flip over his hands. He scraped his left palm and all the knuckles on the back of his right hand. The worst part was a slice off the side of his ring finger. His hands (OK his whole body) was filthy so we had trouble getting him cleaned up enough to treat his injuries.

Bear goes through medical tape faster then you can say greased lightening so of course we had none. I ended up covering Ponito's hands with a web of bandaids, which of course weren't going to stay on. We don't have any of those elastic bandages either (Bear again!) so I ended up using one of my old wrist braces to hold it all on. I'm sure the school was thinking WTF?! I did send him with a note explaining that it was just cuts and scrapes and not a wrist injury. In my spare time I need to buy some tape and elastic bandages and hide them.
My life is weird.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's been a long week

Monday was a school holiday so Kitty and all the children went to Grandma's house. Bear complained the whole time there was nothing to do there. Grandma has detected chewing tobacco on his breath repeatedly and he is VERY angry at her for confronting him on it. He denies it completely and called me just furious. I let him go for a walk to cool off. He ended up calling and telling me he was going to be longer then he had permission for. I let him know he needed to come home now. He still ended up being very late.

I seriously considered homeschooling Kitty for the last 6 weeks of school. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS we found an alternative. Kitty had a tiny bit of schoolwork from last week that she hadn't finished at the hospital because she didn't have the textbook she needed. She knows we are planning on enrolling her in the new school (partial day hospitalization) so of course she didn't want to do any schoolwork.

Today she sat and did a tiny bit of the work, but then hit a section she didn't understand and refused to go on. Grandma was a science teacher so I suggested Kitty work with her on the area she's having difficulty with, with me sitting right there. Kitty couldn't stop yelling at Grandma and refusing to work - very ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). I tried sending her out of the room to swing or listen to music or anything. I stayed calm and insisted that she could not speak to (yell at) Grandma that way, but she couldn't control herself. Finally Grandma left to pick up Bob from school.

Kitty ranted on and on about school and how much she hated it. She hates the classes and teachers. Not sure if it was the fact that the honeymoon is over or if this is sour grapes. Rejecting others because she feels rejected.

When Grandma and Bob came in, we ended up having Bob help Kitty with her school work (because they are in the same grade and this class is Kitty's only mainstream core class, the girls are covering the same subjects). I did tell Kitty if she even thought about giving Bob the same attitude she had with Grandma she would be in big trouble. They did beautifully. Bob is a pretty amazing kid.

Kitty was off task all day today. She started to watch several movies, but ended up leaving after about 10 minutes to play outside.

Time for bed. I forgot to take my meds this morning which I do often. This usually gives me a major headache by 5pm, and I go take my meds. This time it's not alleviating the headache.

Hugs and prayers y'all!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oy Vay what a day!

Happy Easter!

Our Easter present was getting our girl home. We were told to be at the hospital at 9:30am. Luckily all the other kids were farmed out so we got to sleep in a tiny bit. I hate going to church on holidays anyway - it's so crowded and emotionally unconnected.

We met with the social worker to finish a Safety and Crisis plan form with Kitty. That was actually kind of interesting.

She had to identify her stressors:
-- someone telling me "no"
-- people getting things I don't have or I want - jealousy
-- certain movies
-- people bigger than she is, particularly men (but Bob is included in this)

She had to note how she could prepare for the stressors:
-- take deep breaths.
-- have other people remind me to stay calm and take deep breaths when the answer will probably be "no."

Some things she could do to reduce stress and help her calm down:
-- swing
-- walk around in the back yard
-- use mini tramp (we'll have to get a new one, ours broke)
-- listen to music in her room
-- have someone to help her, that is listening, being calm and helping her feel safe

One answer I thought was particularly interesting was who her support people were. At first she listed biofamily in Nebraska, but I nixed that. I told her it had to be people here. She avoided choosing Hubby or I, even though she was told she could pick us. Finally she chose me (but I was her last choice). She also chose Grandma and I told her to choose one person from school so she chose one of the behavior specialists.

Support people help her by:
-- talking to her
-- listening
-- pulling her out of the situation (class, the room... away from whatever/ whoever is triggering her)

Safe places she can go:
-- her room
-- the backyard
-- her teacher can call the behavior specialist to pull her out of the classroom.

This form took us about 15 minutes to complete. The psychiatrist was supposed to be there at 10am so we could talk to him quickly about the possibility of pulling her out of school. Kitty had also had some lab work that came back a little off so they wanted her to be assessed by the doctor before she left (she has a slight bladder infection).

The psychiatrist didn't show up until almost 11 and then had to go straight into an intake meeting with another family. When he finally finished we discussed our ideas about school being such a huge stressor for Kitty. This is the second time in 3 months she has been hospitalized. He agreed that pulling her from school sounded like a good idea. Hubby mentioned that he didn't think her staying home with me was a good idea.

The psychiatrist mentioned partial day hospitalization. We'd looked into this for Bear, but he'd been too agressive and unstable (this was just before he was admitted to residential treatment). We had talked about it, but were concerned Kitty would be exposed to kids who were very mentally ill and this would scare/stress her even more. The psychiatrist assured us that this program was designed for kids who were leaving residential treatment and that kids who were aggressive or severely ill were disenrolled. The program goes on through the Summer if needed so it sounds perfect.

The psychiatrist told Kitty that she would be pulled out of public school. I thought for sure she would pitch fits (she'd wanted to be in public school so badly when she started mid January), but once she determined she didn't have to wear a uniform she seemed fine with it. We'd known the honeymoon period was ending, but hadn't realized she had already started to flip to hating school. Today I'm trying to arrange an intake assessment. We saw the school when we were considering putting Bear there, but Kitty hasn't.

12:30pm - 3 freakin' hours after we arrived we were finally finishing up the paperwork and able to take Kitty home. Only 20 more minutes to get her suitcase "out of hock, " and we were on the road headed to my sister's house for a family lunch. Delicious!

Kitty was very huggy and came to check in with me several times. She mostly played quietly by herself. (My nephew and Ponito are 6 months apart in age and thick as thieves. My 6 year old niece adores Bob and the two are inseperable. Bear played Wii and had warned us the day before that he was going to be bored.)

I tried to fill Kitty's prescription for her antibiotic, but the pharmacy was closed for the holiday. We ended up at Wally World looking for birthday cake, cranberry juice, and Benadryl (found out the hard way that Bear is allergic to fire ants - and bee stings). Came home and watched Bedtime Stories (cute, but not as cute as I thought it would be).

Bear's current girlfriend and her sister came over and later in the evening my dad, step-mom, and sister and her crew showed up for birthday cake (which everyone was still too full from lunch to eat much of). Kitty liked her gifts (Heelys, a watch and a bag from us, a nice card from the grandparents and $20 from my sister to spend on her wardrobe).

After bedtime (8:30 for Kitty, 9 for everyone else) Bear of course tried to start a conversation. That just irritates me no end! I know he doesn't go to sleep in his room, but parents deserve some downtime. He wanted to complain about his girlfriend being jealous of the girl Bear dated while still in Nebraska 3 years ago (who has since moved to Canada). He wanted to let me know how bored he is going to Grandma's house because there's "nothing to do." He almost demanded to have Grandma watch them at our house (so he could hang out with his friends/ girlfriend).

I gave him a little relationship advice (which was mostly - you're only 15, remind the girl that neither of you are ready to get married to each other) , and told him tough toenails on the Grandma thing. She is wonderful for watching them all day for free (and has been doing so for years) and I am not going to make her do anything.

Friday - more therapy

We had no school on Friday so the kids spent the day with Grandma. When it came time for Bear to go to therapy we couldn't reach them. We decided to "take" Bear's visit with the therapist. Bear did get hold of us just before the session started, but we decided we needed the visit more then he did.

The visit ended up being mostly about me. I am not dealing with the overwhelming stress well. The increase in anti-depressant has helped though. Hubby is extremely unhappy about my considering doing the homebound tutoring with Kitty. He thinks she'll drive me over the edge.

We did discuss Bear and my relationship with him. He is doing amazingly well, but I find myself still angry and dissociating from him. Hubby and EMDR therapist see him as connecting/ attaching to the family and I just don't see it. There is a strong possibility that MY issues with men and attachment are coming into play here. This was suggested by both hubby and the therapist.

Saturday I tried to focus on looking at Bear through loving eyes. He really has grown (emotionally) and matured a lot. I'm trying hard to lighten up and connect with him. I've been giving him more freedom and less direct supervision. He's been attending mainstream classes outside of his special school for 3 months now with no major problems that we know of. I didn't think he'd make it 2 weeks.

Kitty called Friday while we were at therapy and talked to Bear. I don't know what she said to him, but he was highly agitated by it. He says she asked a lot of questions he couldn't answer, and was very upset that we didn't see her or talk to her all day (we were in therapy during both visiting times). Bear insisted repeatedly that she was not ready to come home. I think he was feeling very frustrated that we were not listening to him. Of course the reality is that we have no control over when she comes home. That is entirely at the discretion of the hospital.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Economic woes

After meeting with the attachment therapist on Friday Hubby and I had some downtime. The littles were all at Grandma's (school holiday) and we had no major appointments for awhile. We'd spent a little time at work in the morning and sent most of the staff home (we hadn't given them Good Friday off, but they had very little work so we told them to go home when they were done). We still haven't been able to pay them for the first of the month, but we've been meeting with banks, brokers, and factoring agencies trying to get some funding to tide us over. We have 2 huge contracts coming up if we can just make it through the next month.

Wednesday we ended up temporarily laying off half the staff. We can't afford to pay them their back salaries and don't have enough work right now to keep paying their salaries. In less then a month we'll be busy again, but for now we're just digging ourselves in deeper.

It's been such a long year.

No visit :-(

Kitty's visiting hours are 12 to 1 and 5 to 7pm. Wednesday and Thursday we had appointments at the hospital so saw her at times other than visiting hours. Friday though we had therapy appointments across town during her visiting times so didn't get to see her or talk to her. She was very upset by this.

Kitty called the house to talk to us in the evening, but we of course weren't there. She got hold of Bear. I don't know what she said to him, but he was pretty upset by it. He claimed she asked a lot of questions that he couldn't answer (being asked questions bothers him a lot anyway). One of them I know was when she would be released. Bear has been repeating often that Kitty is not ready to come home and should not be released.

Attachment therapist (AT) therapy

Our first appointment was with the attachment therapist. She has been working with Kitty for over two years. We talked about ways I can help Kitty when she is feeling that someone is taking things away from her or that we love the biokids more than her.

Kitty is chronologically almost 14 (her birthday is Monday), but of course because of her issues and trauma she is developmentally only about 4 years old (when she's not in a meltdown of course). She'd gotten up to about age 6, but has been regressing a lot lately. Of course the biokids are much "older" and have many more responsibilities and privileges. Kitty feels this is incredibly unfair (as do the biokids -for different reasons of course).

Kitty is always telling me that the difference in the way we treat the children means I love them more than her. I anguish over trying to explain it to her without making her think I am putting her down. I find myself trying not to treat the other children special in any way and keep things "fair." Which of course is NOT fair.

The AT gave me some insight into my feelings and some words to use... the gist of which was a lot of sympathy and reassurance. "That doesn't feel fair does it?! " She also suggested I lighten up a little. For example, I haven't been allowing Kitty to watch a lot of movies because they trigger issues. She suggested I start allowing them, but only with me there to help regulate her. To stop the movie if she is getting upset and help her calm. To sit with her, possibly even in my lap.

We talked about some alternatives to help Kitty. One thing I suggested to reduce her stress level was to pull Kitty from school and homeschool for the rest of the school year. Hubby thinks Kitty will make me insane (OK, more so than I already am!). The AT thought there are a lot of advantages to his plan, including reducing Kitty's stress and reestablishing the bond with me. We'll need this to be the recommendation of the psychiatric hospital though or the school will not allow the homebound tutoring we'll need. Plus this way we can blame it on the hospital to avoid Kitty's resentment about being pulled from school being directed toward me/us. We haven't been able to get hold of anyone at the hospital to request this though.

We also talked about Reiki and tapping. The AT is very interested in Reiki (and has plans to become trained in it). She thinks it would be wonderful for me, Bob, and other members of the family, but is concerned about using it with Kitty as it involves laying down (might cause issues for Kitty), but more importantly she is afraid that it will help Kitty open up. Just like EMDR seemed to have opened a big can of worms for Kitty (that she is still unable to process), we're afraid that Reiki would do the same thing. I did go ahead and pick up a book about it at the Half Price Bookstore tonight.

Therapy and more therapy

After meeting the psychiatrist the first day Kitty was there, we found out from Kitty that the hospital hadn't given Kitty her night meds (despite repeated reminders/requests on our part). We even had the meds in their prescription bottles there. So she ended up not sleeping well the first night. Very frustrating.

Kitty is on a dose of Trileptal (3000mg if that means anything to you) that was so high they called us, the pharmacy, and her psychiatrist to confirm it. The hospital psychiatrist informed us that they were going to reduce her Trileptal to a dose that is appropriate for her age and size, and were thinking about adding or changing her to Abilify. After much discussion between her regular psychiatrist and the hospital's psychiatrist we were informed that they decided to make no med changes.

Of course she is doing well in the hospital. The social worker/therapist said she will probably be released this weekend. Most likely tomorrow. We now know that insurance rarely pays for more than 4 days so we weren't surprised (this time). We've heard nothing since, but last time we got a call at about 9am informing us we needed to pick her up by noon. We're assuming it will be the same this time.

Yesterday we had "family" therapy. We basically explained a little about what brought Kitty there again (it's only been 3 months), and what we guessed she'd been saying in therapy (She's afraid her sister because she can beat her up, her little brother is spoiled rotten, we love the bio kids more...). Let's just say we hit it on the head exactly (and then we clarified the distortions in Kitty's thinking). The therapist ended up saying what a great job we were doing (nice to hear, but frustrating because that's what all therapists say when they don't really know what to do with our kids.).

The therapist asked what we wanted to accomplish with this session. Truthfully we don't have a lot of expectations from hospitalization anymore so we just told her we wanted to try to get Kitty to understand that she needed therapy. She brought Kitty in. Kitty hugged Hubby and I (yea!) and then asked if this meant she wasn't going to get snack. (sigh! That's my baby!). (The therapist reassured her she would). Kitty was sleepy and distracted most of the time. Not completely dissociated, but close.

The therapist did most of the talking. She pretty much told Kitty she needed therapy and that she needed to participate in therapy. I was actually fairly impressed with the therapist's handling of Kitty. Kitty of course agreed with everything the therapist said. As soon as the therapist appeared to be done, Kitty got up, hugged me, stumbled over Hubby and hugged him on the way past, walked out of the door and shut it.

Apparently we were dismissed. The therapist seemed a little surprised, but this was the second day in a row that she'd done this to us so Hubby and I just looked at each other and laughed a little. (that's our girl!)

Today Hubby and I went to therapy with the attachment therapist at 11am and then at 5:30pm saw the EMDR therapist (who isn't seeing Kitty anymore, but is still very involved with the family and is starting work with Bear). More on that next post. Hubby is finally ready to sleep.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Psychiatric hospitalization

I don't know if you can see it, but this is the bite mark from Kitty last week. And the cabinet door she kicked in.
Today Kitty escalated during therapy. Our therapist is amazing and kept her calmer then I could have, but at the end Kitty still threatened to kill herself if we didn't give her what she wanted. She admitted that she didn't mean it and it was just a saying, but she says it often. We've told her many times that it's not acceptable. We've often confronted her with how seriously we have to take this every time she says it.
The therapist asked if Kitty had made a plan or thought about how to kill herself. Kitty said no. When the therapist asked if Kitty could commit to being safe though, Kitty said "probably." The therapist asked several times and Kitty treated it like a game. Finally the therapist got through to her that we were serious and would have to have her admitted again to a psychiatric hospital if she really couldn't promise she could be safe.
Kitty admitted to having suicidal thoughts. She could not commit to being safe. She agreed that it was a good idea to be admitted. Hubby took her to the hospital. We engaged the child safety locks on the car doors and she was OK with that.
The therapist pointed out how much she's distancing herself from us. Something is definitely making her worse. School is a big part of that, but she'd already been going downhill for months.
Of course if you ask Kitty what's wrong, she'll tell you we don't love her. We don't trust her, and most importantly we love the other kids more than her and won't give her what she wants.
She is one seriously mixed up kid. Her world is soo distorted. She thinks family is evil and everyone in our family hate her. If she's told no or thinks others are getting something she's not, she just can't handle it and feels unloved and threatened. She doesn't trust us at all. She also has NO CLUE that she has issues. She denies it completely. If we point out our concerns then she just promises she'll never misbehave again if we'll just let her have whatever it is she wants right then (watch a movie I think is inappropriate, have a big birthday party, go to the school dance...).
So Hubby's birthday was spent dealing with the bank and our business finance issues all day, getting yelled at by our daughter for a couple of hours and then spending 5-6 hours sitting around admitting our daughter to a psychiatric hospital.
Happy Birthday Sweetheart! I love you!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bob meltdown - warning, mega-whining!

Sunday we were supposed to eat lunch at the park with both my parents and their spouses, my sister and her kids and of course my kids. Hubby was teaching scuba.

Saturday night after dropping off the kids at Grandma's to spend the night (I love this!), I got a call from Poppy (step-dad) saying that plans had changed. My sister decided to have lunch with ex-husband while our dad was in town to "supervise."

Alcoholic ex-husband just got out of jail and hopefully hasn't had time to completely fall off the wagon, as usual. Whenever Daddy is in jail (often), my sister tells her kids that their dad is very sick (which he is) and in the hospital (which he wasn't, although he has been - alcohol-induced hepatitis, bulemia, facial reconstruction after a bar fight, and of course, rehab...). She never takes them to jail/prison(s) to visit. So they are excited about seeing him. They are 6 and 9.

I worry that she is keeping this from them. They don't know better then to get in a car with him or let him take them somewhere. They probably feel abandoned by him. I guess it's better than constantly running him down (verbally - although the other has possibilities too!).

So anyway, I got to sleep in! Yea! Right up until 8am when my step-mom called to make sure I knew about the plan changes. *sigh* She thought I'd be awake getting ready for church, but Hubby had the car so I couldn't go. Of course I couldn't fall back asleep so I got up and puttered around. Even worked out a little!! Of course I pinched a nerve in my leg that has left my right thigh tingly and kind of numb and my neck totally out of alignment (saw our cousin the chiropractor this morning).

The kids were all upset that we weren't going to the park after all so my sweet parents (Grandma and Poppy), bought us lunch at Subway and took us after all.
Bob had other plans.
(Side Note: Bob apparently had pancakes for breakfast, 3 frosted sugar cookies, one bag of jelly beans, and "some candy" all before lunch. Don't know if that had anything to do with what happened, I'm just sayin'.)

Bob didn't want to go to the park. Bob wanted to stay home and veg in front of the TV. Bob wanted me to know that if I didn't let her go home, she was never going to eat again. Bob wanted a foot long instead of a 6 inch. Bob wanted to get her drink before her siblings. Bob wanted to tie her uninflated skinny balloon to her fingers and use it like a slingshot to torture her little brother. Bob wanted to keep her balloon even though I told her to give it to me. Bob wanted to start cussing and screaming and refusing to give me the balloon. Bob wanted to run away or die (not sure which). Bob wanted her stuff back. Bob wanted me to leave her alone. Bob wanted me to die. Bob wanted her necklace to not be broken.

I continued to calmly ask for the balloon. I gave her a choice between giving me the balloon now and getting it back in the future, or losing the balloon. Bob chose to keep yelling at me. I repeated her options and informed her that her choice in the matter would be made for her if she didn't choose. Bob chose to keep yelling and shove the balloon in her pocket so I couldn't get it.
I calmly opened the side door of the van and again asked for the balloon. Bob chose to keep yelling and cursing. I took away Bob's purse and pillow. Bob informed me that there was nothing I could do or take to make her give me the balloon. I reached out and held onto her necklace that she had on and informed her that she needed to give me the balloon because there WAS something I could take if I needed to. This is not her necklace by the way, just one I found a picture of that looks similar.

After screaming and cursing some more, Bob chose to gouge her nails into my forearm and that's why I went ahead and broke her necklace. At which point she hit me with a right hook to my cheek and then burst into angry tears. I managed to restrain myself from hitting her back. Poppy pulled up and Ponito and Kitty (gratefully I'm sure!) climbed into his car and went on to the park.

Bob was furious that I broke her necklace. I informed her that her necklace was not important, relationships were. Her necklace could be easily fixed, her relationship with me was not as easy. I asked Bob AGAIN what she was upset about. After raging some more about the necklace she told me she was miserable and I just didn't care. I knew that a lot of this had to do with her not being able to go to the private school because we didn't have the money. I sympathized a little with her, but now that she was rational I was also able to enlighten her to some reality.
Fact is she is beautiful, smart, healthy and friendly. (Just use your imagination to intersperse her denials and crying throughout this conversation). She has friends at school. She is making decent grades. She has her own room, nice clothes and plenty of food. She is allowed to attend school, there's not a war going on, she has a GOOD life.
By then I was pretty upset too. This has been a long week (ok, year) for me too. I challenged her to prove that she had more to be miserable about then me. She mentioned the private school of course, and her difficulty with some of her subjects, hating having to run in PE...
Then I probably made a bad choice and decided to list MY reasons for being miserable (owing back salary to our employees; hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to everyone; no income for over a year; no mortgage, credit card or bank loan payments in 4 months or more; knowing I need a biopsy for the possibly cancerous growths on my thyroid, but not being able to afford the deductible; knowing that my daughter wants to go to private school, but not being able to afford it; knowing all the children want extra-curricular activities like sports, but not being able to afford it; dealing every day with children with severe emotional problems; dealing with children who think it's OK to hurt me by biting me, hitting me and clawing me...
So we both stood there and bawled for awhile. Poor Grandma was stuck listening to it all (I know it's hard for her to hear what's going on with us and know that she can't help - financially anyway, emotionally and with the kids she's a huge support). Finally I reminded Bob that she'd had a lot of sugar and her blood sugar had probably dropped and was making her feel worse. I encouraged her to drink some of her soda and asked if she was ready to go to the park for lunch. She was.
At the park she had stomach cramps as we got out of the car (I reassured her that they were probably from the upset and hunger). She allowed me to put my arm around her and support a little of her weight (now that she's 5'9" and 160lbs there is no way I can support more than a little of her weight anymore!). As we ate our lunch she sat next to me and leaned on me. Yet another crisis over, and we're good again.
Of course now I have brusing and a bite mark on my right arm, gouges all over my left arm, and a nasty sunburn on the back of my neck from standing in the sun while Bob and I had our "discussion." I look like I was attacked by dogs. Both girls are acting as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened and it's all forgotten.
Bob is my biodaughter. I know for a fact she didn't grow up with the same trauma that Kitty and Bear did. I also know for a fact that she has a strong genetic predisposition for bipolar disorder (I have it, my mom has it, my maternal grandfather and all 6 of his siblings had it - all the males in his family committed suicide). Hubby's family has no documented cases of depression, but I can tell you that Hubby has probably been clinically depressed for most of the years I've known him.
Bob has always been "spirited." The book Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka was the only reason we survived her terrible twos! (which started at 17 mos and ended at age 4!). Hubby thinks the reason we clash so much is because she's a lot like me and was genetically programmed to be able to push my buttons. He's probably right. The other children really can't get me riled up at all, and sometimes all it takes is a stubborn glare from Bob.
A few years ago, when we started having issues with Bob again (long before we started the adoption process again by the way!) we just decided it was hormones from early puberty (the doctor told us when she was 8 that she would most likely be starting within 6 months). Now she's 12, still hasn't started her menses, and is just as full of attitude as most of the special needs teens that I hear about on adoption blogs and forums. Some of it is probably that I have high expectations for her, and I know that. She's so big for her age it's easy to forget that she's younger. She's VERY smart too. And she can be kind, responsible, helpful and generous when she wants to be.
So my dilemna is:
is this (finally) hormones; is this learned behavior from Kitty and Bear (after all they "get away with it" all the time); is this PTSD from the stress of the last 2 years; is this just her personality; is this bipolar disorder (I started showing signs of depression at about her age)
... and what do I do about it?!!
Our insurance doesn't cover psychological testing. We've put Bob in therapy before (most recently when the kids first got here) and it turned out she only wanted to go to spend more time with me (and get treats like Kitty - I used to bribe Kitty so she would talk in therapy - hey, it worked!!). We can't really afford the co-pays for the current therapy sessions, let alone more.
What we're doing now though is not working and I just can't take any more stress.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

I had a pretty good day on my birthday yesterday. I am now 39. I don't mind telling everyone how old I am because I know I don't look my age.
My stepmom, my sister, my 6 year old niece and my daughters and I all went to the mall and had a fun girl's day out. I never go to the mall. I'm too used to buying clothes for $1.99!

The Christmas gifts (blouses) my parents had given the girls were too small, so yesterday they got to pick out new tops at the mall. Because my stepmom and sister were with us Kitty was well behaved, at the mall anyway.

It's funny seeing Kitty around my niece. In a lot of ways they are about the same age. My niece doesn't really like Kitty though. She prefers Bob (which makes Kitty a little upset). My niece loves that Bob can pick her up and carry her (something my sister can't do anymore). Plus, Kitty frequently has issues with body odor (although not so much lately).

We spent the morning cleaning the house for when my stepmom came to visit. This would be the first time she's seen the house in a year so I wanted to make a good impression. In the past I've had Kitty help with the cleaning, but she ALWAYS ends up having a meltdown, and after the one she had a few days ago, I decided not to deal with that again. Since we reduced Kitty's chores recently she doesn't have any downstairs chores so I just had everyone do their downstairs chores that they didn't do during the week. This meant Kitty didn't need to do anything.

She still did some whining and crying. Mean old mommy had asked her to bring down her dirty clothes and pee soaked blankets so I could wash them. (The pictures at the top are how her room looked AFTER I had her bring down her laundry. All blankets on the floor are pee-soaked. *sigh*) Hubby didn't think I should take her with me, but I wanted to give him a break (his birthday is Tuesday). The boys went bike riding with my dad.
We shopped for 4 hours!
Hubby had to take Ponito to a slumber party birthday party. Bear mowed a neighbor's yard so earned some cash. It will be interesting to see how fast he burns through the money he made. Unfortunately my mom thinks she smelled tobacco chew on him so I'll need to seach all of his stuff again. *sigh*
I made cheeseburger quiche (family fav) and blueberry and rhubarb pie. It wasn't done until late so we didn't get the kids to Grandma's house to spend the night until after 9pm! Bob started begging for me to take her out of school early on TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing day. She'd thought they had an early release and had made plans to go visit the private school. She got angry with me and then started sobbing. She missed her friends at private school and I was mean for not taking her out of school so she could visit. *sigh*
Date night with Hubby, but it was late. We rented and watched a movie (I don't even remember what it was) and then went to sleep.
Hubby was teaching scuba and had to be there at the crack of dawn. I got to sleep in, but was called at 8am to tell me about the change in lunch plans that I already knew about. Couldn't go back to sleep of course. *sigh*

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kitty Meltdown

We have got to figure out a way to get Kitty more therapy treatment (her attachment therapist only has an opening every other week). We’ve done about all we can with meds and she refuses to participate in EMDR therapy so we’ve had to drop it. I’ve been dealing with my own depression and stress so I haven’t been able to devote as much of myself to helping her as I would like. I’ve increased my medications so I’m better able to handle her, but I’m still not 100%.

Yesterday Hubby had a meeting so I was taking care of the kids by myself. She had another episode that led to a restraint, property damage and some pretty severe bruising on me (she of course is totally fine). There were many triggers, so we’re not totally sure how to handle it from here.

1. Kitty had stayed home sick with a sore throat.
*Change in routine AND she doesn’t feel good.
2. I told her she wouldn’t be able to go to my sister’s house last night for dinner because my dad and stepmom are visiting and his health is fragile (I didn’t want her to get him sick).
* Jealousy because everyone else got to go, and more importantly FOOD – Grandma S doesn’t cook with whole wheat noodles and has sugary desserts.
3. She rode in the car with Grandma to pick up Bob from school and Bob insisted Kitty move to the back seat (they take turns sitting up front and consider it a huge privilege).
*Issues with Bob getting something she wanted

4. Because she’d gone with Grandma, Ponito turned off Kitty’s movie and I wouldn’t let her start it again right when they got back because Ponito was in the middle of a show
* Issues with Ponito getting something she wanted
5. Once Ponito’s show was done she started her movie again. The minute she came back in the room (she’d left while Ponito’s show was on) Kitty started arguing with me again to get to go to eat Grandma S’s spaghetti and for me to punish Bob for her behavior in the car. I continued to refuse. She began cussing and yelling.
* Cussing is something Kitty only does when she’s out of control. I think it scares her. I also think she was escalating because in her past if she pitched a big enough fit she got what she wanted. Each meltdown we’ve had seems a little more extreme then the last one because we are not giving her her way.

6. I let her know that she was demonstrating that she was not capable of watching “The Addam’s Family Reunion” after all. I’ve taken away most “scary” movies because they upset her, though she insists that I’m wrong of course.
* I really do think the movie could have triggered some issues.

7. She was not calming down and was getting irrational despite my remaining calm and trying to keep her calm. I finally put her in the FAIR Club.
* Definitely fear. Being put in the FAIR Club triggers her every time too.

8. Kitty left the room angry and stormed upstairs to her bedroom. I didn’t go after her.
* Issues with me. I’m sure she saw it as I don’t love her.

9. Kitty found the phone number of one of Bob’s best friends from the private school while in her room. She thought Bob didn’t have it so she dialed the number and invited Bob to talk to the girl. Bob did.
* Bob didn’t act appreciative (because she already did have the girl’s number). I’m sure this triggered an issue with Kitty because she wanted Bob to be grateful.

10. Bear started insisting that Bob get off the phone so he could make a call. I fussed at him, saying Bob had a right to talk on the phone too (he’s on it almost all the time!). In the meantime, Bob accidentally knocked off Bear’s glass which shattered. She and Bear started arguing over who should clean it up. I told Bob to clean it up.
* Kitty was in the living room with me while this was happening in the kitchen. When I raised my voice to tell the children in the other room what to do I’m sure it felt like I was yelling which I’m sure triggered some issues – even though I wasn’t really yelling and it definitely wasn’t at her. Plus, Bear was being bossy and “parenting” which again even though it wasn’t directed at her, triggers issues. The glass breaking probably surprised her as well – I know it did me!

11. As Bob started to hang up, Kitty wanted to talk to the girl. This is Bob’s best friend and she didn’t want to share so she said no (according to Kitty “really meanly”).
* Kitty is so jealous of Bob and her friends. She feels that Bob is poisoning girls’ minds against Kitty (which Kitty does often to Bob). She can’t stand it that Bob is not miserable and friendless. Plus part of Kitty's identity is being the "friendly" one and she hates it when Bob does anything that is in Kitty's baliwick.

So long story short (ha ha!), Bob stormed off to her room and slammed the door. Bear was on the phone. Kitty went into the kitchen, opened the sharps drawer, pulled out a pair of scissors and held out a chunk of her hair like she was going to cut it off. I stood nearby, but decided not to interfere. When she realized I wasn’t going to stop her, she held the scissors to her wrist, and paused again. When she realized I wasn’t going to stop her, she said "I know something I do have the guts to do" and ran to the stove. Last big meltdown she had, she’d threatened to burn herself on the stove so I stepped a lot closer, but again didn’t interfere.

Kitty tried to turn on the burner that didn’t work. Then she tried other burners, but turned them past the lighting point (gas stove) so they didn’t ignite. There was some gas being released so I turned them off and asked her to stop, but didn’t stop her physically. Finally she got one to turn on and immediately turned to a nearby cabinet to get out some spaghetti. I turned the burner off. She began threatening to burn the house down and saying she wanted us all to be in it. She kept turning the burners and I kept turning them off. She finally grabbed my arm and tried to bite me. A little more struggling and I felt I needed to restrain her. I tried a standing basket hold, but she began kicking me, and then she deliberately collapsed to the floor so I held her in a sitting basket hold.

She of course continued struggling and trying to scratch me. At one point she was able to bite me and I wasn’t in a position to break her hold so we sat there until she let go on her own. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt so while it did break the skin and of course bruise severely, it didn’t bleed and I don’t have to worry about infection. She also managed to kick out the door of one of the kitchen cabinets. I was able to move her away from the other cabinets before she could do any more damage.

When she finally calmed down and I let go of her wrists, she stayed in my arms for quite awhile. We discussed why she was angry. I tried to point out that just like she often feels like Hubby is yelling at her, even when he isn’t really, it’s the same with her issues with Bob. Bob is just acting like a normal girl. It’s the way Kitty is perceiving it that is distorted. We talked a little about jealousy.

By the time Hubby got home Kitty was calmer, but still trying to make me let her go to the grandparents. I left the kids watching TV (not the movie and they were calm) and went upstairs with Hubby to tell him what happened. We decided that he would be the parent to stay home with Kitty because I needed a break (and it’s my family that’s visiting). I was a little worried about leaving Hubby with Kitty, but he was right. I was pretty shaken up. Hubby called Kitty upstairs and asked her to turn off her radio. She immediately started pitching a fit. While standing in her doorway, trying not to keel over from the reeking pee smell. I noticed a used sanitary napkin on the floor. I know it’s been over a week since she had her period so I told her she needed to pick it up. She almost had another meltdown.

Hubby convinced me he would be OK (and we were already almost half an hour late to my sister’s) so I left. He said he asked Kitty to pick up her dirty clothes, which she did – although not the pee soaked blankets, but otherwise left her alone. When we got home Kitty was already in bed. She did get up and ask me to tuck her in and sing her a song, which I did.

Kitty apologized to Bob this morning, but then was right back at it. Bob has about had it with Kitty’s behavior and I don’t blame her. Bob reminded me that I had been giving all the children candy when they had to deal with issues like this (I thought it might bother Kitty enough to get her to quit if she saw everyone else getting rewarded- I forget whose blog I saw this suggestion on). Unfortunately someone got into my candy stash and ate it all. Probably Kitty since the missing candy was her favorite and according to Bob it really bothered her. I think I’ll bring a treat home for them. Or just mention in front of her that they all got 2 pieces of cake with dinner last night (Kitty only got one).

I realize a lot of this is fear based, but we have reduced the stress as much as we are able. (She has almost no chores, and nothing that Grandma has to enforce after school, she’s not in EMDR therapy anymore, I keep a close eye on what’s going on in school and intervene where appropriate – she had a boy “picking” on her so we moved her to another part of the classroom). The honeymoon is starting to wear off at school though. She’s no longer thrilled to be going and willing to behave to make sure she can stay (that was her choice not mine by the way – I would never MAKE a child behave to get to go to school).

I know that at least some of it is manipulation and control on her part. She often talks about how much freedom she had as a child (no chores, no bedtime, no food restrictions – cheesecake for breakfast and junk food all the time). She firmly believes that if she pitches a big enough fit she’ll get what she wants. This scares the snot out of me! She is escalating more and more rather than realizing that we say what we mean and mean what we say. She WANTS to go to residential treatment.

What do I do with a 4-6 year old who looks and thinks she’s 14?! We talk about her having issues and that’s why we don’t allow her to do some things that her “little” sister is able to do, but she is in total denial about it. She needs structure and love, but she is fighting us on both. She wants everyone, especially Bob and Ponito, to be miserable like she is and was. If I love Bob and Ponito and treat them special in any way she is jealous and demanding equality.
There are some things that Bob and Ponito have earned and are capable of handling that she just isn’t - (overnights with friends, staying home alone for short periods of time, getting to read books or watch movies that Kitty can’t handle, buying Bob new shoes because her feet have grown again, letting them stay home with Hubby when I go shopping, using the microwave, later bedtime…). Sometimes I just give in and don’t let any of them have something (for example, listening to anything but Christian music), because one or two of them can’t handle it, but I can’t do that with everything.

I’m so frustrated because not only am I not getting through to Kitty – I know she feels totally unloved, but by trying to make it feel more equal, I’m actually depriving the other kids of the things that make a happy childhood. Suggestions?!!!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's been a week

Thank you all for your concerns about me. I've been in a depressed funk and have been having trouble making myself post (and/or doing anything at all).

My doctor increased my anti-depressant, but it doesn't seem to be enough yet. Tuesday I went back to work and did manage to get a little more motivated. (Monday Bob stayed home from school with me - tummy ache).

Work is picking up. We've got several new contracts. Not in enough time to meet payroll though. Had to tell the whole staff yesterday that we can't make payroll this week. Realized on my way to bed last night that I had forgot to take my meds. Bad day for that!

Today I'm home with Kitty (she has a sore throat and a hacking cough - not strep thank goodness). She's probably contagious so no dinner with my dad and step-mother tonight for her (Dad's recent bout with pneumonia has made him very susceptible to illness - although he's on antibiotics for his bronchitis that put him in the ER this weekend).

Everyone is doing fine (except me I guess). I'll try to be better about updating y'all.