Monday, March 18, 2013

Mar 18

Today was the first day back to school after the March Break. Last night, I was expecting a lot of crying and fuss from L, but it wasn't too bad. We've had a couple of small episodes over the past few days when he was realizing the reality of school was upon him soon, and he would get angry, despair, or even hit his head. Last night he stalled a lot, but we didn't have tears at least.
This morning was difficult, as I expected. He didn't want to get out of bed, and refused to get dressed until I threatened him with taking away his favourite cereal, Lucky Charms. Oh how I hate that I've resorted to feeding my children that crap, it's just pure sugar. But right now, I feel like any small thing that makes my life easier in the mornings is worth it. I don't know how long it will last though, I'm sure the novelty and fun will wear off soon. It won't be much of a "treat" after too long.
We've yet to come up with a new prize for an incentive. I'm not sure how to take that - that it's good that my son wants for nothing, or that it's sad that he has so much he wants for nothing.
Ok, I guess it's good, because really, he doesn't have EVERYTHING, it's just that the things he wants aren't wanted enough to make it worth his while.
Actually, there is something he wants very much right now, but I can't afford it, nor can I commit to keeping it. It's an ongoing cost.
He wants....
A lizard.
I'm fine with him having one - when he's older. It's not because I'm squeamish or anything, it's just that I don't want to be the one to have to take care of it when he doesn't want to anymore. And also, we had to give up our guinea pigs because of the ongoing cost of them, and a lizard is about the same financially, even more with the start-up cost.
Tonight he started his new cooking class. He had a great time, and even said he made a new friend. I'm happy he's enjoying it, I was so worried he'd feel uncomfortable, or it would be all girls, or the chef wouldn't be good with kids, or that he'd hurt himself and be completely turned off. Thank god it all went smoothly. And the chef seems great, and has his own daughter in the class too.
As far as other stuff, I've been forgetting lately to give him the St. John's Wort. It's been more sporadic, but I've been wondering about side effects. He's had a few headaches lately, which he doesn't normally seem to get, but maybe three or four in the past few weeks. He's also getting some random hives, which seems to happen to him without rhyme or reason, my rashy boy. So I'm left wondering if these are side effects, or just coinciding with some airborne allergen. DH's allergies have been worse lately, so I wonder if he's reacting to the same thing, or if its this remedy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mar 13

Not much is going on this week, as it's March Break. L has been fairly even-tempered for the past few days. Today was a little different though.
I'll start with a small back story. Awhile back, L wanted to get a bird. DH and I both said no, absolutely no way.
He asked again, many times. He even went as far as to write a plea, of sorts. He wrote some reasons why he thought he should have one.
Great effort, but I still said no. Too noisy, too messy, too expensive, and guess who would eventually end up looking after it?
Yeah, me.
Eventually he gave up asking, but not without trying. God, he was like a dog with a bone! I seriously wish he'd put that much effort into his schoolwork!
Then the boys got their fish. R's been through three so far, due to some virus, I think, but L's is doing well. He's a rather friendly fish actually, and comes up to the side of the tank when you come in the room. Oddly, during one of L's bedtime laments one night, he said he wished he hadn't got the fish, as he can't stand the thought of when he dies. I can understand the thought behind it, but its no way to go through life, not loving anything for fear of losing it. Luckily he's not like that most of the time.
Lately, he's been on an "I want a lizard" kick. Because I couldn't handle the thought of the persistent pestering and subsequent sulking again for another month or two, I agreed that if he could look after Richerd (yes, that's how he spells the fish's name, and who am I to argue, after all,it's a NAME, and people are always making up weird spellings for names) properly for the year, he could use his Xmas/birthday money to buy a lizard. However, he has to buy it all himself, he has to look after it himself, and somehow, he'll have to figure out how to afford the upkeep of it too. I was hoping he'd realize the frivolity of it all, but he's been researching for days. I just hope he forgets about it after a few months.
Anyway, I agreed to take him to a store that specializes in reptiles and amphibians. It's a pretty cool store to go into just to look around, kind of like a zoo. We spoke to the guy who worked there, and he estimated that the start-up cost for the lizard (either a crested or leopard gecko for a beginner) would be between $200-$250, including the animal itself. That was our goal in going there, to get a price estimate, but L was grumpy when we came out. He said it was a wasted trip, but I said we got exactly what we came for. I think he thought he would actually get a lizard.
Later, at home, he was fine while he helped me cook dinner. But at bedtime, he started in with wishing time to go faster, and when I disagreed, he started.
"I hate myself!" at which point I was already out of the room to say goodnight to his brother. He said something else but I didn't hear it clearly.
I ignored him, and proceeded to go downstairs, and he called out to me, "Mommy?"
"Why can't I have a better life?" and I said I didn't want to hear that.
Now tonight, I know, is a ploy for attention, and likely a stall tactic too. But it's led me to the grand conclusion that he has to have everything instantly. He can't wait for a single thing. This goes for something he wants, an upcoming event, a celebration, and even for anything new he tries. He has to be good at it INSTANTLY. This drives me nuts. I said to DH that I don't understand why at this age he still has this mentality. Even the three year olds I watch have more patience than that. At nine, he should certainly be able to see the bigger picture - the benefit of delayed gratification, the need for practise to make perfect.
DH pointed out that this is a better question for the therapist, and I shall have to remember to write this one down. Why is he still acting like he's 2 years old in this way?
Perhaps it's my fault. Maybe I've spoiled him over the years. I certainly didn't do it intentionally. I do know better, but I wonder if I started off great, but became more and more indulgent towards him as time went on simply to avoid his moods and tantrums. I've never (well I hope I've never) given into tantrums, but with the thought of "pick your battles to avoid giving in in the end", maybe I just started to adjust things so he either didn't have to wait for them, or I adjusted it so he didn't even know about something too far ahead of time. Does that make sense?
Food for thought.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mar 9

Aaaaaannnnnnd....we're back.
To the same stuff, that is. The difficult bedtime, the sobbing and crying, the expressions of hatred, and the note-writing. I've yet to see what the note says, but I think DH is in there now talking to him (or the blanket more likely).
It's because he's tired, for one thing. Two nights in a row of really late bedtimes aren't conducive to a happy L. Last night, we went to a Toronto Rock game, which is professional lacrosse. We didn't get to bed until after midnight. And last night I let him go to bed without brushing his teeth, because he was so tired.
Tonight, we're late again since we went to my inlaws for dinner and then stopped for frozen yogurt on the way home at a specialty store that we don't have near where we live. L fell asleep in the car, and was sooooo grumpy when we had to get out and go to bed. The trouble started when I was brushing my teeth, and DH told L to go brush his, when L was already in his bed. Now, here's where I see one of those pick-your-battle things. I wouldn't have made him, just to avoid the fight, but DH did, and I had to back him up. So L stomped finally into the bathroom and shut and locked the door, and then wouldn't do anything else, shrugging me off when I tried to talk to him and say goodnight. DH finally went in there and scolded him for not listening, having to be asked MANY times to do it, and for being grumpy with me for no reason. He did brush his teeth then, and went to bed. DH followed, talking to him about listening and such, but L was sobbing a few minutes later.
Then I went into his bedroom, and talked to him. He said awful things, like, "I hate daddy," and, "he's an awful father". I know it's fatigue and anger talking, but that's so hurtful. He says daddy doesn't love him, and wishes he wasn't his dad.
Now, I have to remember how I said the same things to my own parents, my mother mostly. I think I was more of a teen at the time, and I'm not sure if I ever said them to her face, or if I just thought them or wrote them in my diary. I remember feeling those same things, so it comforts me somewhat to know that he is only in the moment, and he likely won't feel that way in the morning, after some sleep.
I hope so at least.
After he stopped crying, I told him goodnight, among other stuff like how much he's loved by us both, and he picked up pen and paper.
Uh-oh, I thought. Here comes the note. What's it going to say now?
Well, ten minutes later, he delivered the note to us, folded into a paper airplane and he had a small, almost shy, smile on his face. The note was mainly a drawing, with labels. It was stick figures of the four of us. L was being shot by DH, who was firing a gun at him, smiling. R and I are standing behind DH with smiles as well saying, "Yay".
I can't even begin to describe how this makes me feel. Many things.
Annoyed, even.
I don't understand it really. I don't know what it means. Does it mean he feels like he should be shot? Or that he thinks we'd be happy to see DH shoot him? Or that he thinks DH wants him dead? It's confusing.
And DH and I don't know what to do here. We are leaving it for now. To be honest, we're both too tired to deal with it anymore tonight. And L needs to go to sleep too, no more prolonged talks or crying sessions. But we don't know if it's the right thing to do. Should we go back in and question him? Or let him know how this makes us feel? And why was he smiling when he delivered it?
I do know one thing: I'm going to figure out with him tomorrow another incentive reward.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mar 7

This feels like the longest week ever. Perhaps it's because this will be the first full five-day week at school L has had this year. I've been on edge much of the time, wondering when the crash was coming. We've had moments here and there, but no major breakdown yet.
Tonight may be different though. It's 8:30, and yeah, he's still not in bed. This is DH's fault.
Ok, that may be a little unfair, but I'm just so frustrated right now. All the progress I've seemed to make, all the small baby steps, are erased in one night of L being with him. I know he's not used to handling L the way I am, and he doesn't know all the ins and outs of dealing with homework, but come on. We are BOTH still his parents, and it's not like I don't share most details of what goes on during the hours he's not here.
I've had a trying week. Like I said, I've been on edge for one thing. And there's always the background worry in my mind, because he's not getting enough sleep, or eating right, or enough. And the kids in the daycare have been annoying, to say the least, and I must be going through some hormonal surge as well because every stupid thing is making me want to kill someone.
So we needed some more milk, and to pick up a few things at the library, and I NEEDED to get out of the house. L had a page of spelling homework left to do, and it can be difficult for him, so I left DH to deal with it for once. I needed the break.
I shouldn't have gone. By the time R and I returned about 45 mins later, DQ in hand for a deserved treat, L was in tears, sitting alone in the front room, and only halfway through the work. Work that should only take him 20 mins at most.
DH said he lost his patience with him. I'm sorry, but he's NOT ALLOWED to lose HIS PATIENCE!! Why does he get to do that? I've had to find reserves of patience somewhere deep within me when I thought there was none. You dig deep. You take a deep breath. You act calm when you don't feel calm. I'm angry now.
DH said he got annoyed that L wasn't listening (uh-huh), was whining (well, duh) and he said he wasn't going to help him because he didn't even want to do it. Um, what? Of course he didn't want to do it!!
So I ate my ice cream, then went to L in his room, and within ten minutes, we had the rest of it finished. Yes, I practically had to spoon-feed it to him, but you know what? At this point, I don't care. He did a lot of it alone, and after an hour and a half of it, I couldn't watch his misery any more. But I don't always give him the answers, just when I can recognize that he's gone beyond the point of being capable of learning or retaining any answers.
And DH doesn't recognize that, or realize it. If L is too stressed/upset/angry/tired/hungry/distracted etc, he doesn't retain what's being discussed or studied. You have to know when to draw the line.
I'm glad tomorrow is Friday.
After he ate his own ice cream, he perked up, but bedtime will be a different story. I've already had to hear once tonight how he hates his life, he wants to run away, and his teacher is "so mean!" I'm sure I'll hear more once lights are out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mar 6

Not much to report today, the past week or so has been fairly even. We did have an issue last night because L brought home homework for the first time in awhile. He was the one that brought it up, and said he had to do it, so at least he was taking some responsibility for his schoolwork. But it wasn't without lots of crying, whining and anger, and even banging his head, which I ignored. He was SO annoyed to have homework, SO annoyed and put out that this one teacher DARED to give him this assignment.
For the record, it was a small piece of writing he had to do, a response to a "Dear Abby" letter about smoking. It must be some media literacy unit they're doing on smoking, or drugs, or something. Really, the assignment wasn't that big, but he insisted that EVERYONE else had been given more time, and that he JUST found out about it. I don't know how true that is, he has missed a lot of school and could have missed the original assigning of this thing, but he also might not have been paying attention either. Whatever the case, it certainly wasn't an unreasonable request to have it finished by the next day, which he stated HAD to be done, or he "would get zero, AND have to stay in at recess to finish it!!" He just couldn't believe the audacity of this woman, lol. He couldn't believe he'd have to take a zero and then finish it anyway. I, however, could completely understand the discipline behind that, not that I told L that.
Anyhow, when he finally settled down, and he had his brother's and my help, he started to write, although it was a slow process and lots of stalling because of random side conversations. Then suddenly, after two sentences, he had to go to the bathroom. Now, this kid is a typical male that way - he'll spend AGES on the can!! What the heck do men do in there?? I cringed because I was thinking, great, another stall, but I can't say anything because maybe he really does need the toilet. Then I had an epiphany! I told him to take the work into the can with him, and when he came out ten minutes later......
Hallelujah! (I can hear the chorus now...)
Why did I never think of this before? No distractions in the bathroom,no one to bug him, nothing else to do!
Maybe I'll start giving him laxatives, haha....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5

Yesterday was L's appointment with the psychologist, and I'm left wondering, "what the hell did we have to pay $150 for that for?" It doesn't really seem fair. I mean, I know the woman has to get paid, and I'm sure she earns her exorbitant fees somehow, but all that happened was that she took a basic history (of course) and make L cry over our dead dog, thereby earning herself a black strike-through on his list of people he likes. She also told DH that he needed some kind of psych testing or evaluation, which is going to cost $300 and isn't until a month away.
Couldn't she at least have given us some sort of suggestions? Interim-type stuff?
This is my first experience dealing with any kind of therapy so I don't know what to expect. Of course, I didn't expect a miracle, and I did expect that this will take more than just a few visits, but I don't know, I was hoping for a little more. Even just something like, "I've seen this kind of thing many times before, it will all be alright, and I have a good idea of where we will go from here."
But no.
Maybe he's an anomaly to her. It doesn't give me much faith right now in the whole psychology profession. I hate that you almost have to shop around to find the right fit, the right person to help you. We can't afford to do that! It will be so frustrating to find out in 10 months that she wasn't the right one and that she isn't helping and we need to start over. Gah!
L didn't like her, apparently. I'm sure it is because she brought up Vader, and he doesn't like to be reminded of that.
On top of that yesterday, I had a note come home from the school "inviting" us to send L to an after school numeracy program. Basically, math help group.
Um, what? L has A's in math. So I was very confused. After emailing a friend (her son is L's BFF in his class) she said that B never got the note. Weird.
I had to ask L if he'd failed a math test that I didn't know about, but he said no. So I wrote a note and had the teacher call me.
I was actually kind of mad too. Beyond the confusion about what his mark may or may not be, I was angry that I've been telling these school people that L has all this anxiety about school and schoolwork, and then we get something asking him to be a part of an after school group that would make him be in school an extra three hours per week??!! It's like they're not even listening.
So I did talk to the teacher today, and she said that she thought that even though his mark was fine, he might benefit from being there in the social situation with his friends, that he might enjoy it because it is something he is good at.
I get (sort of) what she is trying to say: that he would like it because he'd be so much better at it than everyone else (I think), and some of his friends would be there.
Ok, so here is why that is SOOO not right!
  1. He hates doing stuff he already knows, it's "BOOOORRRINNNGGG!!"
  2. He hates homework. Especially math and spelling homework. Doing extra work is NOT going to go over well, no matter what subject it is really.
  3. Friends might be there, but that doesn't make it a social situation! They're there to learn! To get extra help. I hardly think the teacher in charge would appreciate socialization!
  4. He has HUGE anxiety about school people!! Therefore, my life would be HELL if I had to hear every Monday and Wednesday night all about how much he hates his life because the next day was math-help-day and he had to be at school until 5. 
Good to know though, that he is doing fine in math at least.
Our reward/incentive/puzzle piece thing has come to an end. L has earned all his pieces now, so tonight I get to take him out to Home Hardware to choose out a hammer, gloves and goggles. Yay, lol.
We will have to choose something else, with stricter parameters I think, because for what it's worth, it is helping.
Things generally have been somewhat better. I have some theories why:
  • It's March now, gloomy February is over, and I can't deny that that is something that affects a lot of people. 
  • He has had a full week+ of the St. John's Wort, perhaps it is helping?
  • There haven't been any projects or much homework coming home (I KNOW this is a huge part of it!)
  • He is healthy, and we've also got back on track with vitamins too.
He is signed up now for the cooking course, thanks to my dad, and he is looking forward to it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mar 4

Yes, I've been terrible lately about updating. But no news is good news, right?
Well, not so much good news, but more like, same-as-ever news.
I'll start with Friday. I had a meeting with the school social worker. She was very nice and understanding, and took many notes. She asked lots of questions, and I tried to tell her as much as I could. The meeting was a little over an hour long, and the principal was nice enough to lend us his office. At the end of the meeting she gave me a few suggestions, just a few, since she doesn't know us well at all yet. She stressed the need for physical activity, and I'm on board with that, only money becomes the issue once again here. She told me about a couple of programs called Jumpstart and Health Star that fund low income families so their kids can participate in activities. She also pointed out that getting him out of the house in social settings is better than letting him be home all the time, so non-physical activities are good too.
Duh, I guess I should have realized that. I mean, I do know that, it just never occurred to me oddly enough. Because of our financial struggles lately, we decided that if there really wasn't anything particular L was itching to do, then we wouldn't push for it and so he hasn't been enrolled in ANYTHING at all lately. I mean, why bother when you really can't afford it anyway, right?
So in the newspaper on the weekend I saw an ad for the local cooking college, and they do a class for kids, ages 8-14. It's two hours every Monday night, and they get a chef hat and jacket too. I like that there are older kids in the class, so I know it won't be babyish and that they'll just make cookies and stuff. The girl on the phone mentioned fresh pasta, which is cool. That sounds right up his alley.
So here's the thing....

It's $350.


Yowza! Yeah, I get why it's so expensive, I mean, there's food to cover, and clothing, and the classes are two hours long as opposed to the usual hour for various activities. But still....

DH is going to try to see if his Nan will help us out.
So back to the social worker. She is going to speak to L's teacher, and then I'm to call her after L's appt tonight with the psychologist. She wants to know what her plan is so she doesn't make any suggestions that go against it.
Which leads me to tonight. DH is taking L to his first psychology appt. It's at four, so I can't go since I'll still have kids here, but I wish I could go. I'm almost tempted to have DH record it so I can hear too.
On Friday, I also picked up some papers and forms to fill out for L's tele-psychiatric session with Sick Kids. The session can't be booked until these papers are filled out and returned, and there's a lot! Even his teacher has to fill out one. I was reading the papers telling us about it, and I didn't realize until then, that it's a one-time only thing. You have an interview, the psychiatrist makes suggestions for you to follow up on with your family doctor or paediatrician, and thats it. Weird. We also BOTH have to attend, so that means another day off for me at some point. Hopefully we'll have plenty of notice, but then that means a long wait for it. Lol, it's a catch-22, isn't it?
Behaviour wise, L hasn't been too bad. The incentive thing seems to be working ok, he's almost reached his goal of hammer, gloves and safety goggles. I'm not sure of what he'll pick next, but I'm going to be sure it takes more effort to get it. Things are somewhat better, but not even close to where I want them to be, especially in the mornings. And bedtimes are still late too.
Last night it was crying over our dead dog, who passed away two years ago. Again, not a normal reaction, I think, to be grieving so much for a dead pet, especially one that died so long ago. And Vader wasn't even that important to him. He barely paid attention to him when he was here. Another issue to work out.
This morning he was slow to get ready, but without too much whining, and there was communication, so that's positive. I'd like him to speed things up a bit, get out of bed when he's told to, so that is something to work towards.
Next week is March Break. I'm happy about that, but also not. I'll be glad to not have the daily fights for a week, or to have to make lunches either, but then it will be like going backwards again. Getting him back to school after a week off at this point will be horrendous.