About Me

I am a single mom of three amazing boys!  All three of my sons entered my family through adoption.  All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

a good day

A good day can have so many aspects to it......to each person and family it will be a little different. For us, today was a good day.

Today, we played a game as a family for 30 minutes! That is often something that I dream of and today we made it happen!

Today the boys watched a movie together for 25 minutes and they were able to be pretty independent and enjoy their time as brothers.

Today David and Jacob laughed and played in the playroom- they pretended they were running a restaurant, and each boy had a role- jacob was in charge of the money and David was in charge of cooking

Today we spent time at the library and we each left with books to read.

The boys have been asking me why my skin is white and their skin is brown- it has been a question that they are each asking, and that they have each asked repeatedly. I am not sure what kind of answer they are each in need of, but the typical answers I have tried:
- all of us are different and being different makes us special
- I love your skin, it is so beautiful
- and pointing out other people we know who have different skin colors has not helped put an end to the questions, so I decided I needed to find a book to read to them so we scoured the library for an appropriate book.

We spent 30 minutes tonight reading these books, talking about the books, and sharing our thoughts. Matthew listened to both books with lots of interest. Taking in the information, and chewing on all of it. Jacob, in true Jacob style, listened and moved and danced through the entire second book- while he is the one asking the most questions, I am not sure he knows what answers he is looking for, so he did his best to bring levity to the topic. David, loves all books and seemed to enjoy both books, but said very little.

We will read more books as we continue to chew on the issue of skin color and race and what makes our family. And I will hope that each time we read, we will spend the quality time that we spent together tonight!

Today was full of the boys loving each other, being happy together and me enjoying life as a mom. For every single one of these days, it makes the days of challenges that much easier to cope with. and for all of the days of struggles, it makes each of these happy days just that much more special.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It isnt a permanent solution......

See until you have lived a week in my family, I don't think it is fair for anyone to judge. Unfortunately, as people try to help and be supportive sometimes what is said repeats over and over and over in my head. Sadly, the things that repeat are never the positive comments, they are the ones that lead to questions. The comments that have me questioning myself constantly.

To catch you up, we have not had a very smooth last few weeks. When Matthew is doing well at school he is struggling at home, and when life at home is great, I am getting calls from the principal, so essentially it seems like Matthew can keep his behavior under control in only one part of his life at a time.

This weekend, we suffered through 6 intense outbursts. The first one was bright and early Saturday morning. The rule at our house is you need to stay upstairs until mom is out of bed. matthew and I had a deal that if he stayed upstairs, and out of the food until I got out of bed, then he could buy lunch on Tuesday at school. Part 2 to the rule is that I can be woken at any time. I don't care if it is 4 AM, if he wants to go downstairs, he is welcome to wake me up.

When I got out of bed Saturday morning at 7, and Matthew was downstairs I knew it was likely that there was a problem. Sadly, I didnt expect the problem to be that he had eaten an entire box of ritz crackers. When I reminded him that this meant he would not be buying lunch at school, he exploded for over 30 minutes with a tirade of threats and curses that would put the average sailor to shame.

We then continued on with our day with some pretty good success until the afternoon when we went to the pool. Some friends of ours went to the snack bar and Matthew asked a few minutes later if he could go to the diving board area. I said yes, and didnt give it too much thought. Then I looked over and saw him hovering over my friend's shoulder drooling over the fries. That didnt really bother me too much, sure it isn't polite, but it isn't that unusual for a 9 year old to drool over fries. However, what I saw next was unsettling- Matthew was picking up fries from the ground and eating them. I hate that he needs/wants food this badly. I hate that he doesnt understand that socially this is not ok behavior.

I called him over to me to tell him that he could not eat off the ground and that now he would need to stay with me at the pool, and we were again into a massive explosion. he was cursing and hitting things, and so I told him he would need to stop or we would leave the pool. Even with support he couldn't stop, and so we left the pool with him screaming, and pulling at me and cursing.

Meltdown number 3 happened as we were celebrating Father's day with my dad. I thought it would be fun to take the boys and my dad to a Valleycats baseball game. We were doing pretty well, and then it was time for the entertainment between innings. The valleycat mascot was driving a little car around the field and throwing t-shirts, and I encouraged matthew to go try to catch one. After they were all done, and I called him back to our seats, I noticed he was eating popcorn. He had asked a perfect stranger for some of their popcorn, and they said yes....now question number 1 is, what stranger says YES? question number 2 is, what child thinks this is appropriate?
Sadly, because I felt like Matthew HAS to learn these rules, I told matthew that his behavior was unacceptable and I told him I would not be purchasing him a snack at the game- now before you feel like I overreacted, you should know, he already had a hotdog, fries and some kettle corn at the game, so it isn't like he was being deprived. Unfortunately, there was no way for Matthew to understand this, and what ensued was 45 minutes of screaming and yelling and out of control behavior.

So basically, you can imagine the other 3 outbursts- essentially Matthew wanted something, i said no, and he exploded.......
at work today one of my co workers asked how Matthew was doing. I said, things were up and down and that I had called the hospital again to see if it was possible there was a bed available. I cannot live with him being aggressive. He is not safe when he is being aggressive, I am not able to parent him, and it is unfair for the other 2 boys to live like this. My best hope at this time is that the doctors at the hospital can find a medication for him that works. The hospital is the best opportunity for this to happen because they can keep matthew safe while they do this, and they can observe him 24/7 and make medication adjustments.

My coworkers response to me saying I was in touch with the hospital was "that is not a permanent solution". Of course that isn't a permanent solution. At this point i don't know that there is a permanent solution. In the best of al worlds we find a medication that helps Matthew control his emotions and behaviors and we live a normal family life.

However, I also cannot put my other boys or myself through living like this- it is the worst thing ever to see a 4 year old afraid in his own home. I don't know what the solution is. there is not guidebook that tells me. All I know for now, is that my hope is on finding a medication that helps Matthew so that we can go back to being a family that lives in peace. Where I can say no, and he can cope with that. Where I can go to sleep and wake up knowing that he has stayed asleep all night, and he is making good choices.

if anyone knows of a permanent solution, I am always ready to listen....but until then, I hate that I again have doubts, that I again don't feel secure and that again we are living life constantly one small step away from an outburst.