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, June 24, 2010

Trading off

Tuesday we had more of the same with Bear, but he did calm down so I let Grandma pick him up and take him to "Open Gym" at the church. I was hoping she'd supervise him a little more closely, but there was a miscommunication. Luckily his new girlfriend didn't show up after all.

I lost track of time so we were super late to everything including taking Kitty to meet her new psychiatrist. I hate being rushed! It's so hard on all of us. This psychiatrist is actually located about 4 hours away, but she talks to Kitty via a video camera and screen at our local MHMR! Of course we had to discuss everything in Kitty's files, so in a 1/2 hour period we talked about how Kitty came into foster care; Kitty, Biomom and Bear's diagnoses; Kitty's meltdowns; Kitty's hospitalization; developmental milestones (I'm not much help there) and past trouble with enuresis and encopresis (that's wetting and pooping on herself if you don't know), Kitty's meds and how well they're working.... Basically Kitty is pretty stable so no med changes.

Then Kitty and I rushed to see her attachment therapist. This was not a very upsetting meeting we didn't go over any majorly tough issues, but we did talk about how well Kitty was doing - which immediately prompted her to start asking for special privileges. In the past it's usually been seeing movies I don't approve of or getting to go to a dance. She asks for things a million times and I say No. After awhile she seems ready to handle something and I'll allow her to do it (not after she's been whining of course!). This week she wanted to dye her hair black. The therapist and I alternated over and over reasoning with her (her hair is beautiful as is, she can't afford upkeep...) with Mom said No, period. Ad infinitum.

Kitty seemed OK.

Wednesday, Bear was very well behaved. Hubby had told the boys he'd allow them to join his scuba class that night (yes I'm single parenting it this week while Hubby teaches).

Flash forward to this morning. Kitty hates doing morning aerobics. It's hard for her, she's not very coordinated, and I have to do a lot of redirection (she hates it when I "criticise" her). The last couple of days I've given her a choice. Aerobics with the family or jump on the mini tramp. She quickly learned that the mini tramp is not as fun as it looks, and mom still keeps her on task (she has to jump 20 minutes - it helps with her ADHD). Today she decided to go back to regular aerobics - and the whining continued.

Kitty woke up early (2 hours early!) and wasn't allowed to eat (fasting for some blood work the new p-doc wanted). She whined and complained all through the aerobics tape. Finally we were done and Grandma arrived so I took her to get the blood work done (she was totally fine in public!). Then it came time to do her chores. Today was cleaning her room. You've heard the phrase, "a lick and a promise"? If it were in the dictionary there would be a picture of Kitty next to it.

I've met many men who just don't see dust (you could write on all the furniture in Hubby's house even though he's basically a neat person). Personally I'm a clutter bug. My mom's family grew up in the depression and the phrase "waste not want not" doesn't even begin to describe them. I'd mention they were Scotch "pinch pennies," but I don't want to offend anyone and sound prejudiced.

Kitty's lack of feelings, emotional and physical, have always caused her to be messy and not appear to know it (milk dripping off her chin, blood dripping down her leg, encouraging kids to pinch her arm because she couldn't feel it, not being able to tell you when she last pooped....). We quickly taught her the meaning of the word oblivious. I have to say she's come a LOOOOONG way, but she still has quite a long way to go too.

Junk, clothes, shoes just drip off Kitty and then it's "out of sight, out of mind." (I'm having fun with the sayings today). She'll look at her room which I think is a mess, and see nothing wrong with it. She sweeps a room by waving a broom in the middle and calling it done. Chores have always been a cause of major meltdowns because we expect them to actually get done, when we say to do them (because "later" means never).

So yup, you guessed it, Kitty had a meltdown over doing her chores - and it wasn't even dishes!!

Of course I was supposed to have left for work hours before and was trying to get some e-mails written when she tried to turn the TV on (a privilege reserved for those who have finished their chores). Grandma tried to take over, but Kitty was having none of that. Mom was in the house so she claimed Grandma had no authority over her. My mom and I ended up double teaming her. Kitty's meltdown was inevitable, but it most certainly didn't help for her to feel ganged up on so I went back to my computer to let Grandma handle it. Kitty didn't like that either (she wasn't going to like anything at this point).

I did tell Kitty she was going to work with me which she screamed denials to, but did move upstairs to her room. Grandma offered to help Kitty finish cleaning her room and make her beds, but Kitty would rather yell at Grandma (7 minutes, we timed it). She threatened to jump off the second story railing (I ignored this - she likes to threaten, but was not suicidal). I told the defiant Miss. Kitty to finish up and get something to do because she was going to work with me. Kitty slammed her door and made her beds.

When I didn't immediately come to check on her made bed (Kitty's room is upstairs so Grandma tries to make as few trips up there as possible). Kitty got even angrier because I didn't love her. I know she feels abandoned when I don't follow her and help her regulate, but sometimes it's just too much. Kitty threatened to run away. Again I ignored the rant and continued to work.

Finally Kitty went out the front door. Truthfully I was hoping for this, because she'd already repeatedly screamed her refusal to get in my car to go to work with me and I (rightly) assumed I'd be able to get her in the car once she was out of the house. I'd already started shutting down my computer. I checked her beds and they were mostly made (horrible job, but better than bare mattress with bedding strewn all over. Kitty's flip flops were in the hall so she was barefoot.

Ponito was outside with a friend and he pointed me in the direction she'd started walking. A lady was pushing her baby in a stroller and she hadn't seen Kitty so I knew which way to turn at the next turn. I quickly found Kitty who had circled the block and was probably headed back home (she's not the bravest soul and was probably afraid I wasn't coming for her).

Of course she refused to get in the car and started walking away. I honked the horn to let her know I wasn't above embarrassing her (Sorry neighbors! Hope no one was napping!). I pulled out my cell phone and told her through the open window that I was calling the police to report her as a runaway. That worked.

When we drove right past the house she realized she was stuck. She kicked and hit the car, I informed her she'd be paying for repairs, she stopped. She didn't put her seat belt on (which she carefully pointed out to me), I told her she'd pay the ticket. I had a few moments when I was at stop signs and stoplights when I was afraid she'd get out, but she decided not to. She said she wanted me to get in a wreck so she'd die, but eventually put her seat belt on.

LOTS of "you don't love me"s, suicidal threats, and lots of "I want to go home"s. Not to our house, but back to Nebraska. I said this is home. Nebraska is not an option. She threatened to go live with her grandparents, I reminded her they want her to stay here, and if they took her that would be kidnapping. We talked about how legally, ethically and emotionally she is our child. I reassured her over and over that I love her and will not let her go.

She pulled out the "Home is where the heart is" and my heart is in Nebraska. I'm kind of proud of my answer, "Home is where the heart is, and you have pieces of your heart all over the country, in Nebraska, with your biofamily, and here with us - whether you're mad at us right now or not, your heart is with us."

When we got to work she refused to get out of the car. Luckily? it is a semi-cloudy day. Still this is Texas and it was noon, so she only sat out there a few minutes.

More pouting, discovered that the "4 foot rule" was in place, and was finally given 2 options. "Calm down and get out of my chair or I'll have you sit in the sales guy's office so he can watch you while I make lunch for me, since you didn't want any of the leftovers I brought for lunch." The salesguy is a very large, former military, former police officer who had a tough childhood and is an amazing guy who is pretty understanding of what the kids have been through. He's mentored Bear a little bit. He's got 4 daughters and would never dream of hurting Kitty, but she's intimidated by him nonetheless.

She did calm down, ate the leftovers, complained that she's still "starving," drew for a little while, cleaned up an overflowing toilet (she claims all she did was pee, but that toilet has never overflowed before - I told her she could clean it up anyway as there have been many times when she did make it overflow that she didn't have to clean it up), of course whined because she's bored (told her next time to listen when I say get something to do - she says there won't be a next time and I hope she's right!), and begged for me to call Grandma to come get her so she could go swimming like Bear got to (told her Bear was here for hours before I let Grandma come get him and he didn't fight with Grandma, threaten suicide or run away). Now she's laying on the floor with a blanket, even though she's "not tired." Hopefully she'll sleep until my conference call is over.

Now all I have to do is decide if I should change her meds, call her therapist (will probably just send her a copy of this post), or just blow this off as life as usual.


GB's Mom said...

I would write it off as more of the usual- she still seems to know when not to push any further. Not much fun for you :(

Jeri said...

Well this just tanks...having to deal with all the appointments, the job and the behavior...but, it's what Radical parents do. Just because it's what we do, it still gets very, very old. Hang in there, June is almost over....sometimes summer just bites. The great news is that she DIDN'T jump over the rail or even make a half-hearted attempt, she DIDN'T jump out of the car at the stop signs or lights, and she DID finally give in. Little, tiny, miniscule victories...better than none.

Anonymous said...

I'd say it is normal. Then again, I probably needed meds when I was a teen.

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