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!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Y'all!

I think this was one of the best Christmases we've ever had.

I loved all of my presents (even though I chose all but a small few! *grin* ... or maybe because I did! *grin!!*)

The best present ever? Grandma and Poppy gave us a new (to us) van!! We finally have a vehicle that seats the whole family!
My dad and his wife gave us several hundred dollars before Christmas to buy presents with, so the kids had a great Christmas too. No one got iPhones or iPods (except the one Bear stole - but he doesn't get to keep that one), but even if we had a ton of money they wouldn't have gotten them anyway. The kids are tough on electronics and I don't think they need that kind of stuff anyway.

The second best present? I think we've finally found a med combo that works for Kitty.

Her behavior wasn't perfect, but she's doing great. On Tuesday, her doctor bumped up her Abilify and the difference is astounding! No meltdowns, no whiny fits that someone got a better present (see last year's hair highlights meltdown). When I forced the kids to do a deep clean when doing their chores (sometimes sending them back five times or more - which in the past has triggered mega meltdowns), Kitty was able to handle it with no more complaining than any of the other kids did. Usually something like this is perceived by her as a criticism and she just can't handle it.

She's been genuinely affectionate. She's seeking me out. She offers to help even though there is no direct reward. She lets me touch, hug and kiss her without her express permission! She takes redirection and criticism (she put dirty clothes back on after a shower and was really stinky and I told her so). She even handled washing dishes! by hand! when it wasn't her job! just because I asked! without screaming, crying, or meltdowns!!

Developmentally she's still about age 7 (yes, I've bumped her up from 4-6 yrs) so she is still delayed, but this is not a bad thing attachment wise. 7 year old girls can hold Mom's hand in public (well, not at school or where her friends might see her but still!).  She's nowhere near caught up to Bob, but no more line of sight supervision. Right now the girls are down the street visiting with a neighbor girl.

Perfect timing on the new car and Hubby starting his new job. Now I can work a little longer while Grandma deals with the little kids and I can leave work in time to pick up Kitty (and Bob) from middleschool. This gives me another 45 minutes at work, and saves Grandma a ton of driving (we'd decided that she would go to our house and pick up Ponito from elementary school -and three days a week she picks up my niece and nephew, then she'd have to take all the younger kids with her to meet the girls at school, take the girls' friends home - aren't they sweet to volunteer Grandma to drive all over the neighborhood?, then come pick me up at work and take us all back to the house).

Now Grandma can stay and hang out with the littles and I'll go pick up the girls. That way I get the after school chatter. You know that time when they have their guard down and they're stuck in the car with you so you hear actual stuff, without having to wait for it all to come out in therapy.


The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

First, congrats on finding working meds. Thats wonderful and also on the van too. I just got my second on and they are so convenient. I never would have guessed how much I appreciated all that space until I had it

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Wow, that is amazing to read about your daughter! How fantastic!!!

We rented a minivan on vacation and well.... it was awesome. Like the other commenter said, I never would have known how great one could be had I not been in it!

Anonymous said...

Yea! on the meds. I pray they keep working for her w/ minimal side effects. You know, I take abilify when I can't control my thoughts - not that I'm thinking really wacko stuff, but that I can't switch from bad topics, and they cycle around and feed off themselves -- exactly the kind of thing that Kitty might have been trying to control by walking and talking outside.

And a van? It took me forever to give in and get one. I'm real "green". Right. Don't make me give it back, ever!

marythemom said...

I tried Abilify once with no effects. My understanding is that it works best when combined with at least one other med. I find brain chemistry fascinating. What works for one person has horrible or no effect on others, and sometimes they just stop working at all after a couple of years.

This is my second van. We had a Toyota Sienna once, but sold it to pay for the lawyer when our contractors took off leaving us with house additions half done and still open to the outside. At the time we only had 2 kids (but were hoping to adopt more soon) and I felt like a total soccer mom. I love my new van now!