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!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Break - morning of Day 1

Ominous music!

Monday morning started with the arguing. No one wanted to get up. No one wanted to get dressed. No one wanted to do chores. No one wanted to eat breakfast. Kitty of course was the loudest and most argumentative (we didn't tell her about the star chart until Monday evening). I finally got everyone to do their chores (and Kitty to stop yelling at Hubby).

As usual, Bear got up without too much arguing, and disappeared into the bathroom. I do not know what he does in there for over an hour - nor do I really want to know. We're pretty sure he sleeps in the tub at least part of the time. About a year ago, he accidentally pulled the soap dish off the wall (for the second time) and the tile cracked when we tried to reapply it so we cannot use the shower in there - only the bath. And when I say "we" I mean Bear. No one else will use that bathroom - usually because it smells. The girls use our shower, and Ponito likes my big bathtub.

ONE and A HALF HOURS LATER (after much fussing on our part!) he comes out of the bathroom. Hubby fussed at him. We needed to get to work, and Bear hadn't eaten, gotten dressed, or done any of his chores yet. Everyone else was done.

Bear sat down in the living room and started to sulk. Hubby kept talking. Bear started demanding his "right" to be left alone when he was irritated. Hubby kept talking - trying to figure out what is going on.

Bear's time in the bathroom has gotten beyond ridiculous. He often goes to the bathroom just before we are all about to leave the house and doesn't come out for 45 minutes, of course making us late. Every morning he comes downstairs 2 minutes before the bus is supposed to be there. Half dressed, no shoes, no breakfast and no lunch made. Luckily he takes a special ed bus with only one other child on it, so they wait for him - every day. Talking to him in the morning is a sure way of getting your head bitten off - especially if you ask him a question or criticize him.

Bear of course brought in the kitchen sink to the discussion with Hubby (meaning he brought up irrelevant stuff, not discussed the dishes!). He avoided answering questions, got more irritated, and started accusing Hubby to deflect the conversation. Hubby didn't let it go. This was a long time coming. Bear got even more irritated, and then finally let a few things slip. He admitted to hiding to avoid being with family.

He admitted that he never tells anyone about his personal issues because he can "handle it" himself. He informed us he almost never admitted to having health issues (like hemorrhoids and not sleeping at night) - because doctors said nothing could be done, doctors didn't know what was wrong, doctors would just throw meds at it, he wished doctors didn't even exist, he already told us but we couldn't do anything about it anyway...

Bear told us once, a long time ago that sleeping meds don't work for long with him. We are therefore supposed to "know" that his sleeping meds don't work, even though he's never mentioned it to us. I mentioned to the psychiatrist at the last visit that I thought Bear was having difficulty sleeping, but Bear denied it. He also doesn't bother to tell us that he is only sleeping for 5 hours a night because, his Grandpa only sleeps for 5 hours so Bear has decided this is his "normal." And there is nothing we could do about it anyway... We informed Bear it is NOT normal for a teenage boy to only sleep 5 hours a night. He is not an ill old man. While we agree that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, he obviously NEEDS more!

For over a year, Bear hasn't told us he needs treatment for his hemorrhoids, because treatments "didn't work" when he tried it for 2 whole weeks while in residential treatment. Hubby told him that hemorrhoids most certainly can be treated, with surgery if necessary, but are caused by stress and anxiety- which Bear has a lot of, and doesn't deal with at all.

Bear admitted that he doesn't talk about his personal issues with anyone. He's "dealing with it" all by himself. He feels that unless someone went through exactly what he's been through then they can't help him. Therefore his therapist and Hubby and I are just irritating him because we always ask him questions. *sigh* Of course we ask him questions because he doesn't volunteer information! We also warned him, again, that he needs to stop talking to his friends about his issues. They are NOT equipped to handle them. Hubby pointed out that Bear's hemorrhoids are indicating that Bear is NOT "dealing with it."

While off on a tangent, Bear told Hubby that he's mad because Hubby doesn't spend enough time with Bear. For example, Bear has done all the book work to get his scuba certification (Hubby is a scuba instructor), but Hubby has never taken him for the pool work required to actually get certified. Hubby said this has been bothering him for a long time, but he hasn't wanted to certify Bear. Partly because Hubby sees this as his alone time (although he hasn't done any recreational diving in a year), but mostly because he can't trust Bear to tell him if Bear is hurt or something is wrong. This may have gotten through to Bear.

To get Bear to open up at all required a lot of persistence on Hubby's part. It's like poking a bear (pun intended - and one reason why I chose "Bear" for his screen name). Bear did a lot of growling and some yelling although no physical violence. During this ONE and a HALF hour conversation!, I hung around nearby (cleaning), but let Hubby handle the discussion. Partly to support Hubby, partly to hear Bear's responses so I wouldn't have to rely on Hubby to remember everything to tell me later.

At one point I went upstairs to check on the other kids. They were in the playroom watching Bob play PS2. This weekend I had finally told Kitty that she was no longer allowed to play with her Bratz dolls with Bob. I informed her that the dolls had "issues" and it was not fair or healthy for Bob to have to attend Kitty's "play therapy." Kitty argued a little that her dolls' issues with things like fire starting (*EEK!*) were not her own issues, but I was adamant. I told her I would be happy to play dolls with her. She chose instead to give all her dolls to Bob since Kitty was "outgrowing" them anyway. Bob was supposed to move all the dolls to her room. I had also informed the girls that all dolls with missing body parts that for some reason they were storing in an old fish tank had to be trashed. Also all the dolls they had colored with markers (alien dolls?) needed to go in the trash too.

I suggested the kids clean the playroom since they had nothing better to do, but that went over like a lead balloon as you can well imagine. The kids could of course hear the "conversation" going on downstairs. Kitty was a little distraught. She mentioned that Bear was working his way back up to residential treatment. I briefly reassured her that it was nothing like that. He is allowed to get upset (first time in the almost 1 1/2 year since he's been home from RT). I doubt she believed me though.

Finally Hubby and Bear wound down and we could leave, but it was now time for lunch! So much for getting everyone to Grandma's by 9am. *sigh*

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