Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I don't want to have another afternoon like this.

I've had some pretty bad days in my life, but this afternoon may rank in the top 10. On the drive after work to get Roman, I got a flat tire on the highway. Suspect something metal that was covered by the snow that wasn't supposed to fall today, and then the forecast was quickly changed to 2-4". So I pulled off & into a parking lot, called a neighbor to come get me (and thanked her with some Girl Scout Cookies) & she thoughtfully got me to pick up Ro and then took us home.

I'm home not 5 minutes when the phone rang. Charlie's daycare. Shit. He bit someone yesterday but was provoked; today he was unprovoked, bit a staff member's kid, & not only broke skin but drew blood. They asked that we please come get him and he is removed from daycare for the next two days. Great.

So while Doug is trying to put my spare on the Aztek (did I mention we were getting 2-4" of snow?) I am driving on slush-ice roads to go get Charlie. Roman thankfully was invited to our neighbor's house. I get Charlie, call Doug - he can't get the spare off the dang carrier. The whatever-crank is broken. So he has to call our insurance company, who contacted a local tow operator who (long story short) patched the tire for us so we could at least get home.

Meanwhile, I take a screaming Charlie back home (he wanted his Daddy) and try to call our usual babysitter to see if he can babysit on Friday. Dinner is finally served to my kids at 6:30pm at night and consisted of oatmeal & leftover garlic bread. Don't even question me, at least they got fed!

So Thursday I have to stay home in the a.m., Doug in the p.m., and we do have a sitter for Friday. We also now are going to look into a different daycare. And the tire is going to be replaced tomorrow afternoon. Everyone is safe, warm, & fed (although not healthily).... that's all that can be hoped for, I guess!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yup, I've got a brother!

I don't mention my brother very often - we lead such different lives in different cities -but I can't help but sing his praises today! He's featured in his local paper. He's pursuing his passion and you've got to applaud him for that!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beautiful day, and it's all about Charlie.

While in the basement doing catch-up on my computer, right NOW, I hear birds chirping outside. So as soon as I'm done with this post I'm heading upstairs to read or do a little scrapbooking in the SUN! I love the first appearances of Spring, even though it's still February.

While I could tell you how great my trip was to DC or tell you that Roman continues to make huge strides and is FABULOUS to be with, today it's about Charlie. Charlie loves music but we've had a hard time finding videos that he likes. We've put in Laurie Berkner Band with just a passing interest, tried the Thomas the Tank Engine songs, and Charlie's just not interested. On an off chance last week, Doug grabbed our Volume 10 "Signing Time" video. It not only is sign language but has fun songs on it. We bought it for Roman awhile ago but it has languished on the shelf the past year or so. Oh my gosh... Charlie is hooked! Not only is he doing some signing, but Roman loves watching it too and they both respond to the songs (singing for Ro, dancing for Charlie).

Charlie asks for it by name too - "Alex & Leah" - from the 2 kids who star in it. And speaking of Charlie speaking... while I was gone his speech seems to have blossomed. Even Doug said it was like the light turned on in his brain. He's stringing a couple words together now, sometimes even three. We hear "Where'd it go?" or "Daddy go?", "Again - nose" (to hear me blow my nose again), "Mama up, up Mama" "more milk" and "more cheese".... the list continues. We're hoping soon he and Roman can have conversations so Doug and I can actually get a word in edgewise to each other!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's and break!

Today starts a whole week of vacation. Our district gives a whole week for "mid-winter break," something I never grew up with on the west side of the state but apparently is quite common here on the east side. I have volunteered to chaperone a group of 80-some kids to DC (well, there's only 8 in my group) for a whirlwind tour. We report to the buses at 6am Sunday morning, do 2.5 days full of fun, and drive back all night Tuesday night to arrive home crack of dawn Wedn. morning. Pros and cons of this is I miss Roman's 2 days of break, but at the same time I will truly enjoy having W, T, & F to myself. And exploring the capital with kids seeing it for the first time will be fun.

Speaking of... we took a field trip to Henry Ford Museum on Thursday. The kids say the funniest things, such as when we were looking at a camp bed used by Washington during the Revolution. We were looking through the glass and I said, "can you believe GW actually slept on that? Amazing!" A kid said, "did that really belong to him?" Another kid answered, "well duh, it's a MUSEUM." They were also really in awe when another teacher & I were reminiscing about our Simons, Merlins, Mr. Professor, Speak & Say, etc. We had to tell them those were our versions of video games and I swear, a look of pity crossed one girl's face.

As for all the love going around this weekend? My boys bought me a bouquet of pink tulips last week so I could enjoy them before I left. Tonight we're celebrating by having a favorite meal, red Jello jiggler hearts for dessert, & family movie night - "Up." Neither Doug nor I are ones for making a huge deal out of V-Day. In fact, the most memorable one is when we did something far different than acknowledge the holiday - we flew to Russia to meet Roman for the first time!

Finally, in my general ramblings, I need to point out that Roman has finally gathered the courage to go back to Costco. we haven't been there since he broke his leg but we're running low on paper goods. It took us bribing him with a smoothie, a churro, and then going to the shoe store afterward to get him to agree to go to "the evil store." I applaud his bravery. :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Emotionally wounded.

So we got Roman's official psych. report on Tuesday. There weren't any real surprises in store there, but it was something to see it in writing. After describing all the tests and giving many examples of his behavior or answers, it came down to these diagnoses:

1. Insecure attachment. Sure, since the minute we brought him home. Officially, she states: due to "...multiple placements with multiple caregivers within the first 10 months, lacks stranger anxiety, is clingy & anxious about sleep but does go to his parents for comfort. Testing suggested his internal model of caregivers was harsh & unreasonable with perceptual distortions." More on that in a minute.

2. Post traumatic stress disorder with perceptual distortions. This one surprised us although it's probably where the anxiety stems from. She states: "Fears are often ingrained, deep seeded, and come from a place the child does not recognize. There is a tendency for him to fear the worst. Roman has excessive worries, bad dreams, is hypervigilant, avoids thoughts and feelings... Perceptual distortions cause a child to misinterpret cues & the intentions of others... illogical conclusions." Once we saw it in writing, sure, this makes sense.

3. ADHD secondary to early neglect & possible heritability. This was absolutely no surprise. Just chat with his teacher a few minutes. She states: "Lab measures showed impulsivity & dysregulation... restlessness... positive at home & school."

As for the perceptual distortions, this was interesting. There were a couple things she did such as having Ro draw pictures or tell a story based on a silhouette picture. In the story part, Roman consistently told stories (this is straight from the report) about harsh & punitive caregivers, unreasonable and who gave extreme punishments when the child made an accidental mistake. They never nurtured or consoled the child. Examples he gave of caregivers were: Not consoled when a child has a bad dream, when the child is injured and in pain it is immediately life-threatening. The mother leaves him to take care of another child. Whenever there was separation or reunion themes they were described without emotion, while his physical behavior became very dysregulated (crawling under the table, for example).

When he drew a nest, there was an egg just about to hatch but it was all alone. The daddy had gone to get a worm for the baby bird. There was no mom. When he drew a bridge, it was to Mackinac Island. He drew himself, me, and Doug in the car with a dog. No Charlie. He put sharks in the water.

So.... so. We've got a pretty sensitive, emotionally challenged little boy here. It was recommended we see a psychiatrist who could talk to us about possible medications to curb the ADHD & anxiety. Makes me sad to see a boy of 6 being considered for that, but on the other hand he's practically out of control at school now, with 2 of 5 days being "good." The other day the teacher had to separate him from 2 groups and even give him a new seat at a different table. She walked him to the office herself so she could have a chat with Doug when he picked him up early, too. First & second grade are SO important to laying the foundations, I can't stand to think what will happen if he can't get himself under control.

and lest you gentle readers think that it's "all Roman" Doug and I have been in some intensive chats with the therapist as well about our parenting styles & what Ro needs vs. what we're used to. All kinds of adjustment happening around here!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Just doing a drive-by.

Wanted to check in as it's been so busy I haven't had time to update much. Last weekend Doug went ice fishing and so I packed up the kids and visited my parents. Had a good time, went on the new carousel down by the beach & the new Curious Kids area as well. Charlie was pretty amazed with the carousel. He was very serious about it. Roman got a "girly" horse (with butterflies) but dealt with it quite well. :)


We have started physical therapy on Roman's leg/knee as well. He is so hesitant to bend it because it might hurt, that he's causing more problems - he walks stiff-legged. We have been to the office twice and done exercises at home. It's hard work for him, but that's the point! In social news, he's going home with a friend on Friday on the BUS. This is a huge deal for him, he loves it.
Charlie, well, I miss him. I've been so busy with a couple meetings this week, and taking Roman to PT, that I see him only about an hour or so a day. It makes me very sad. I think while Roman's at his friend's on Friday Doug and I will do something with Charlie. New 2-word phrases are coming all the time, and while he still doesn't have a ton of words, we're able to understand everything he says... pretty much.

Me? I'm plodding on the Simple Abundance path. Writing my blessings down, trying to stay centered and calm. It was difficult last week, & a bit this week. I do better when I can come home each day from work and putter. Doug and I are trying to embrace the simplify & declutter theme. We have scheduled time to clean out areas of our home that are really bothering us. This evening, for example, was the kitchen cupboards. I got to all but the food & junk cupboards. Surprising how much room we really do have when we purge & rearrange.

We also have reclaimed the living room as our own and made it toy-free. Toys are now stored in the kids' rooms or the basement, depending on the level of excitement. It's been nice to have a room in the house not covered with Legos. We still have a long way to go - the basement storage room is scheduled for Saturday morning. Not to mention all the closets and under-bed areas...

We got the official report back from Roman's testing yesterday, but I'm still mulling it over in my head. Will share what's appropriate when I can wrap my mind around some things.