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, August 3, 2010

Resetting Normal

Sometimes when I launch an updated version of a computer program I find that I can't transfer my old documents or projects to the new program. Sometimes they're corrupt. Sometimes they're so old the new program doesn't support them. Sometimes I found I've added features that the new program doesn't have so it doesn't recognize parts.

I used to have lots of time on my hands so I played with designing our house and interior decorating. I had a CAD (computer aided drafting) program that I'd purchased off a bargain table at a discount book store. I spent hours and hours entering exact dimensions, moving walls, figuring out how to put things at an angle or adding features so it looked exactly like our house. I quickly discovered I really liked it so I searched the internet and found some upgrades. We wanted to add on to our house so I felt really productive.

I decided I wanted to upgrade the program and discovered that the new version could do amazing things, but it wasn't compatable at all with the original so I would have to start over. I was having fun and I still had all the dimensions so I decided to go for it. Fun!! Then I had to reload the program a few times (changed computers), and I upgraded several times. Each time importing the old files and playing with them, tweaking them, and adding to them.

One day I decided to start from scratch and design a new space. I discovered that the latest version of the program I was working on had all sorts of features and abilities that I had not been able to access because I was working with the old project files. There were things I could and did add (like new furniture and surfaces), but some things were not compatable with what already existed, and some of them were designed to be used in the "building" process which was already complete, so they weren't even listed as options. The program viewed the existing options already in place as "customized." So most of the cool new options weren't listed because the program assumed I'd already chosen.
At this point we'd already used the program to add on to the house. I no longer had real access to a computer that would support the installation of the program (it used floppy disks!). And I no longer had the motivation to play with it all. So I just let it go.
I think of Kitty as fairly stable. She has her quirks and her moments, but she has improved so much that I don't tend to see them. Not only do I compare her to the "original document", but I compare her to her brother and since she is currently doing so much better in many ways I still see her as doing "OK." I've always made a conscious effort not to compare her to Bob and Ponito of course. It would not be fair as they are completely different kind of "files."
Now I'm wondering if I'm making a mistake. I have access to new and improved upgraded programs. Am I allowing Kitty to plug along limited by the constraints of my expectations?
The other day we were in my bedroom (yes, it's Hubby's too) going through the girls' wardrobes to figure out what was needed for school. Both girls have lost a little weight. I was also going through the storage bins of clothes (I've lost some weight too) and it took a little longer because I wanted to put them back away neatly. Kitty got bored. All of her jeans were too big. Most of them were dirty.
I told Kitty she couldn't leave the room until we were done. Since I was there to supervise I started directing her in putting away her clean clothes (she keeps her clothes in my room because she's not able to handle them on her own). Already a little triggered because she was restless, Kitty lost it. She snatched a pile of dirty clothes and dumped them in a laundry basket (including a shoe, a belt, and who knows what all.). She refused to pick up the shrapnel (a pair of tights, a couple of socks, a shoe...). After a few minutes of defiance she stormed out. A second later her door slammed and her radio blasted. I went back to what I was doing to give her some time to calm down.
A few minutes later I heard her begin sobbing. I've recently decided my PTSD flares when the kids have meltdowns or I get in a major argument with Bear, and maybe I'm having more trouble with that than with bipolar disorder, which might explain why I haven't been having too much trouble with having stopped the mood stabilizers - the kids have been fairly stable. So when Kitty began sobbing, I cussed a little under my breath and decided to ignore it.
Ponito came in and told me Kitty was crying and Daddy couldn't get her to tell him why. I told Ponito to tell Daddy to ignore it because she was just mad about being told to clean up.
Then I heard her in the hall saying I want my real family. That's when I knew she'd escalated even more and I went to confront her just before she walked in her room. I was pretty frustrated with her, but then discovered she was no longer upset about our disagreement.
Apparently she'd decided to call Biograndma (probably for sympathy) and one of her little sisters answered. Biomom had just recently told me she rarely went to Biograndma's because it was too expensive to travel. This was a shock for Kitty (and combined with already being upset triggered a major meltdown). She said she didn't know what to say to her sister and she hung up after a few seconds conversation because she thought I'd be upset with her talking to them while Biomom was in the house (this was against the rules in the past).
I finally got her emotionally regulated. I reassured her that I knew she could handle talking to the sisters with Biomom in the house and it was OK to call her sisters back, but not until she'd had a chance to calm down ("No, you're not calm yet."). Before that could happen we had to leave the house (Bear's therapy). She did get a chance to call though. Obviously having two events happen right after each other made this event much worse and she's already worried about starting high school in a few weeks.
I stayed home from work today because Kitty couldn't do her chores without major meltdown. Evil mom wanted her to put up a laundry basket of clean clothes (been telling her to do this for 4 days), pick up the plastic grocery sacs that had somehow gotten spread all over the pantry floor (her job was to clean the floor - she chose to interpret that as move the bags to one side, sweep, move the bags, sweep - but not put away the bags!), and it's her day to do kitty litter.
She's supposed to keep her floor picked up all the time, but she doesn't. She is so easily overwhelmed that several years ago we removed most of her stuff, but cleaning/organizing again was on my "to do" list because it's gotten pretty bad - especially under her bed. Still, there's a couple of piles of sand from volunteer work (it's a sand filled arena) and one of her pillows with microbeads had leaked all over the floors. I do think she's perfectly capable of handling a little sweeping.
So anyone got a manual of new upgrades and suggestions and whether or not I should completely reprogram or try to patch and tweak? *grin*


家唐銘 said...


Anonymous said...

Well, you know my answers, but here they are anyway.

Completely reprogram = NR.

Patch and tweak = OT and/or vision therapy. (OT is covered by insurance, vision therapy is not).

Lisa said...

I found myself looking at this situation in the school setting. My 12 yo son was a nightmare of behavior challenges when we got him at age 4 1/2. He had made so....much progress by the time he got to first grade (new school) that I didn't really realize how challenging he still was to others. I was sitting in an IEP and saying, "But, you don't realize how far he's come..." when it hit me that I was not finished yet. I assumed he'd just keep improving since I'd seen such dramatic changes, but I think he'd plateaued and I just didn't notice. I believe I was so shell-shocked from all of the negative behaviors, that I was just relieved most of them were gone. Parenting these kids is so much work (hard, hard work) that it's very tempting to just take a break and breath for awhile and believe things are ok - and they may be "ok", but I guess we do owe it to them and our families to keep striving for higher levels of functioning.