It has been a month since I last wrote a post on the blog. A month full of lots of great times and moments, but we are entering the tough season for Matthew and it is becoming obvious that his impact on the family is beginning to show.
This morning Jacob woke up and told me he had a nightmare, he said that he dreamed "matthew got mad". He then went to school and his teacher noticed he was "off", when she asked him about it, he told her that Matthew got mad about a cookie and Papa had to come help. I am assuming this was his nightmare because it didn't happen today, but I am sad that for him this nightmare was real. He is again seeing Matthew's anger, and his explosions. Three times this month David and Jacob have gone to friends houses because of Matthew's anger and upset. While I am doing a great job, and our sitter is doing a great job of getting David and Jacob out of the house when Matthew is exploding, I have to keep remembering that this is not enough.
It is not enough to assume that since they are spared the intensity of the explosion that it doesn't affect them. For Jacob, I am beginning to wonder if him leaving the house may be more challenging. At the house, he knows what is happening with Matthew, when he leaves, I worry that he is more anxious about what is going on and how angry Matthew is.
I am glad that Jacob's teacher pointed out to me that he is struggling because to me, as the adult, we are still doing better than we have been in a long time. The explosions are still less explosive. The intensity is less, and so my anxiety is not too high. I am realizing that Matthew is teetering a lot of the time and is on the edge of an explosion, but from where we have been in the past, things are ok.....for me as an adult who has some control.
For Jacob and likely for David, they are feeling the intensity bubbling and I have to be aware of their emotions surrounding life.
David is also struggling but for him it is not with behaviors as much as it is with scattered, disorganized thoughts and less control over his body than normal. His brain seems to be spinning and almost "on high". Tonight he could hardly form sentences because he was repeating sounds at a fast rate of speed. He spent his time at Hebrew school chewing on his shirt, and at school he was racing.
I don't know for David what all this means-
is there some underlying seizure like brain wave activity? maybe.
One of his meds caused him to have a kidney stone, so we stopped that med. Is this change due to that?
Do we restart it at the risk of a new kidney stone?
Is this a reaction to Matthew?
A reaction to his new school?
He doesnt appear to be able to tell me, but watching him struggle is so hard.
For Jacob I have been coping with the fact that I have to start working to determine what his learning challenges are. Jacob's learning is significantly delayed at this point. He is turning 7 and still struggles to identify all of his letters. His understanding of letter sounds varies almost daily. He has some comprehension of what numbers mean, but cannot consistently understand basic addition beyond +1 facts. Basically, the question that has to be answered is what is his IQ. If it is determined that Jacob's IQ is in the normal range, but his learning and cognition is below normal, then likely he has a learning disability and we will learn tools to help him learn. It will have an impact on his life, but with time, and great teachers, his potential is strong.
However, if it is determined that his IQ is below average, we will have to determine what has caused this lower IQ and what support he will need to continue on a path of learning. There is no obvious "cause" of Jacob's learning struggles, so the testing will hopefully provide some answers. Socially at this point he is a young, almost 7 year old, who like most boys, is immature, but his social struggles are no where near those of his brothers. My goal is to help keep his confidence and self esteem high so that we are not dealing with social issues and self esteem issues over time.
On top of all of this that I am trying to sort out, I am starting a new job next week. My goal is that this job will allow me more time with the boys- more time for reading, playing games, hiking and just being a family. My current job has me getting home very late each day, and that has caused a lot of stress this year for all of us. Hopefully the new job will allow me time to work with each of my guys on the skills that they need and to continue to answer the questions about what makes each of them tick.
The end of October is definitely the start to Matthew's rockiest time. My hope is that with the support of his respite workers, more time with me at home, and my parents living closer, that we will continue moving forward.
- 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!