Stop and Stare…

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“I’m going to cut you with your scissors and you will be dead!  DEAD! 

Have you ever heard of a non-catastrophic catastrophe?

No?

Can’t say I’m shocked.  Considering I just made it up.

Well, that’s not true.  I didn’t make it up.  I put a label on something everyone does – or will do – or has done at some point in time.

We’ve all (unless you are completely immune to society – in which case I formally request participation in your drug study) had that day.  Where things just keep going wrong.  Something is constantly popping up – and you want to bang your head on the desk.  And all you can think about is how great it would be if something, anything non-emergent, but somewhat serious came up.  Something that would give you an adequate excuse not to deal with whatever you are currently, or about to deal with.

Oh my goodness, I have to go right now!  My daughter is seriously ill!”  No.  She isn’t.  She has a cold.  Mild fever, runny nose – she’ll survive.  But her misfortune just saved you from torture.

I have a lot of these days.  Where random things happen, and I sit there silently waiting for a little tiny asteroid to hit the Earth at just such an angle that someone sends me at text message saying they need me to deal with a major crisis right now.

I wish yesterday was one of them.  It wasn’t.  Yesterday was the day that made up for all of my lost non-catastrophic catastrophe wishes.  The ones that weren’t granted.

Instead of starting at 7am (which was the beginning of my marathon phone day), I’ll start at 10am.  Finally someone answers when I call a higher-up regarding the mess that has become Kaleb and school.  Finally.  Ooop.  Nevermind.  There’s nothing you can do for me.  Or want to do for me.  That department is better suited for that “sort of thing”.  What sort of thing?  Dealing with an undesirable situation in one of your schools?  Oh, right, it doesn’t matter.  Because it isn’t “no child left behind” – it’s “no child that fits in the parameters of an ideal student gets left behind” – and my child is pretty far from those parameters.

Do you think I’m an idiot?  I know my child perfectly well. I have also spent a significant amount of time and meetings with those people.  They have been nothing less than wonderful.   As you can see from the records – and from my previous six million messages, I have already been in touch with said department.  I do not have a problem with them.  They have gone above and beyond to try and help my child.  It’s your department I have an issue with.  It’s your people who have dropped the ball and allowed my child to regress as badly as he has.  Not them. You.  

But never mind.  Why am I talking still?  You’ve already transferred me.  Awesome.  Cause I totally didn’t want to talk to you.  I didn’t go out of my way or anything to get your specific contact information.  Thanks for that.

Repeat the story yet again when a new person answers the phone.  Am I aware that I probably sound like a lunatic, if not an all out bitch?  Yes.  I’m perfectly aware.  And I’m putting forth the utmost effort not to do so.  However, I’m frustrated, angry, scared, confused, and downright sick and tired of being treated like an idiot.  So my apologies in advance.  However, I’ve been very patient.  I have made certain that I have properly climbed the ladder that is the chain of command in this county.  And please don’t take this wrong – because I have had a great deal of help from that department – however, at this point, I do not see what they can do.  They most certainly do not have the kind of pull that is needed to accomplish what I am asking.  And I do not appreciate being shuffled from person to person like a deck of cards on the Vegas Strip.

Anyway.  I’ll get back to that (with some details – since I’m a ‘blogger’ now, should I call them ‘deets’?) in the very near future.

Like I said, it was just one of those days.  I’d planned on having a sort of “it’s raining so forget everything let’s just play” kind of days.  I ended up with a phone pasted to my ear, and a kid who only wanted to interact with me for three minutes an hour,  (save for one time in the morning when I got a whole fifteen minutes – that was super until I caught an Umi Zumi car to the face).

Kaleb came home from school and was… reserved.  Not quiet.  Not defiant.  Just… off his normal.

My sister stopped by partially to visit, and partially because she knew the ‘blue’ in my hair was now blonde and I am not  a good blonde.   She was fairly set on trying to dye the barbie out of my head (this by the way totally did not work, but was an adventure while it happened). I was thrilled to just take a few minutes to chat, while the kids played.

Or…… Not.

Kaleb starts in – with the insane attitude.  With breaking the most simple, basic rules – because as obsessed as he is with the rules – they don’t apply to Captain Attitude.  So, the third time he get scolded for something completely ridiculous (jumping on the trampoline while the little kids are on it – it’s not like we have a big trampoline, it’s one of those little exercise numbers; pushing, messing around on the slide) he gets sent inside for five minutes.

Bitch, whine, complain, moan, stomp inside, slouch and pout.

Repeat.

Only the second time, when he’s sent inside he slams the door.  I could not tell you the number of times it’s been drilled into his head not to slam that door.  Almost every other door in the house – whatever.  Do not slam the one made out of glass.  For four years he’s been told not to slam that door.  It’s glass.  It will break and you will get hurt.

Slam!  Oh, wait, he isn’t done.  Turns around, shoots me a look.  SLAM!  

COME.  ON.

Now I really don’t want to play bad guy right now.  I really don’t.  I just want to sit here and enjoy the fact that I’m not pacing around on the phone – because I am a pace-talker.  I am incapable of sitting still while on the phone.  My thighs actually hurt from the amount of time I spent pacing around this house yesterday (I do realize I’m out of shape – thanks for that.  I start Yoga tomorrow morning).

But I sure as anything can’t just let this go.  So I follow.  I’m not giving a time out (as the new time out chair is still in the car, unpainted, it’s raining – and you have absolutely NO idea what I’m talking about…). Take a deep breath.  Just go.  Go somewhere now.  Take a few minutes to calm down and adjust the attitude before you make bigger problems for yourself.  I expect you to come back to me in five minutes and calmly tell me why you are in trouble.

Riiiiiigh.  Should have known better.  It’s too late for the calm tactics.  There ya go.  I already had a serious dislike of this day.  Now it’s starting to gather some steam, and it becomes very clear very quickly that this is going to be a train wreck.

Without elaborating (because I honestly just don’t have it in me) – here’s the next fifteen minutes:

  • Bedroom door slam open (mom shrugs.  So what?  Daddy put that fancy little knob there so you cannot knock another hole in the wall.  Go ahead.  Give it your best shot 
  • Repeated door slam shut (okay.  Daddy and mommy both put a lot of time and thought into this new door knob since you all but descimated the last two.  If you want to treat your door that way – fine.  But you keep that up and we will remove the priviledge of being able to lock the door when you leave each morning)

*Now at this point he’s just being a jerk.  Yeah, go ahead and get mad at me – my kid was acting like a jerk.  He was having a temper tantrum.  This wasn’t a meltdown.  This was him being mean and trying to get a reaction.  I could see the meltdown building – because he was trying to get a reaction from me.  But at least like this I have some semblance of control of the environment.  If I were to walk away while this storm is brewing someone would end up hurt – and I know better than to walk away from this disaster.

  • Strips the bed (knock yourself out kid)
  • Beats on bare mattress with roundhouse from train station (okay.  Cool.  How ’bout this?  I put the mattress in the hallway, and when you’re ready to calm down and treat it with a little respect I’ll put it back where it belongs)
  • Throws bucket of Legos (congrats.  You made a mess.  Of your room.  I’m not cleaning it.  So you have fun with that.)
  • Dumps out entire Lego head.  (Whoo hoo!  You made a mess.  Again.  Don’t care.)

*Meanwhile, I’m sitting in the bean bag chair, trying not to react.  I can see the meltdown building.  I know something big is coming and there is nothing I can do about it.  My only goal now is to keep him from hurting himself or one of the little kids.

  • Starts to slam “Safe Storage” (a small chest of drawers by his bed we gave him to have a safe place to keep his most precious things in) against the wall (Nope.  I’m cool if you want to make a mess – because I seriously will not clean this up.  But I am not about to let you destroy the wall that was just painstakingly repainted for you)

*Mommy moves Safe Storage and goes back to the bean bag chair*

  • Begins to throw train tracks from train table (yep.  Look at you throwing things.  Yay you!)
  • Begins to throw train tracks from train table at mommy (really??  This is a good idea?)
  • Pegs mommy in the head with a nice, big wooden train track.

Mommy reprimands.  Mommy informs Kaleb that the next time she is hit with a single thing she is taking away the train table.

  • Kaleb goes to his bed.  He grabs the picture frame that sits on the top of his bookshelf headboard.  The one that says “bedroom rules”.  And he tries to smash the glass with his face.

I see what’s happening, and am able to jump up and grab him in time to stop him from shattering the glass with his face.  But not without a moment of heart-stopping panic.  You could have seriously injured yourself!!  What are you doing?!?!  

~~> insert meltdown.

For the next thirty minutes we fought.

Eh, not true.  He fought.  I sat in the beanbag chair holding on to him for dear life.  Because absolutely, no way, under any circumstance, am I going to sit by while he injures himself. Some scratches, bites, headbutts and elbows to the larynx later – he screams at me:

“I’m going to cut you with your scissors and you will be dead!  DEAD!

The quote above has been playing on repeat in my head for hours now.  This isn’t from a movie.  It’s not from a song.  It’s not from some idiotic online greeting card you copy and paste off facebook.  So, what is this?  This is absolutely, heartbreakingly terrifying.  Because it came from a child’s mouth – sure, that’s part of why it’s so frightening and sad.  But it didn’t come from just any child.  It came from our child.  Our beautiful, enigmatic, complicated child.  Who just wants to be loved, and wants the world to love him in return.  That adds to the gravity of it.  The fact that said child has no idea what this even means – that’s worse.  The fact that it gets stated in a different way a number of times in a limited amount of time – worse still.

My heart is sick.

I take a deep breath after this first outburst, while he thrashes and claws at me like some kind of hellcat.

“Okay.  Where did you learn that?”

“Here!”

“Here where?”

“Here!”

“Yes Kaleb, but where do you mean by here?”

“Inside my head!!”

I would like very much now to curl up into ball and cry at this point.  I’m doing all I can to fight tears – but this is seriously freaking me out.

I don’t even know how to process this.

Who is this?  Because he can’t be my child.  He just can’t.  No way.  My child would never say such a horrible thing to me.  <~~  enter previously posted about delusions.

He informed me that he wanted me dead, or was going to make me dead a number of times.  And each and every time I held him tighter.  Because I know my kid.  This isn’t my kid.  I don’t know what or where or who he got this from – but this isn’t my kid.

Finally, finally, he calmed down.  We sat together, and I asked if he knew what it meant when someone is dead.

“I don’t know.

Of course you don’t.  And you shouldn’t.  Because you’re five.  At five years old “forever” is an impossible concept – because at that age everything important to you is forever.

But you just wished me dead five times in three minutes.

I straighten up the things in his room that I moved – with a reminder that I meant it when I said I wasn’t going to clean the mess he made.  He tells me he knows, and very calmly sets to putting things right.

He’s right back to his sweet self.

And I am sick to my stomach.

All I know is that I’m heartbroken.  I’m scared – for him.  I’m just…

at a complete loss for words.

Which seems to be a running theme in the world of Monsters.

 

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Send Me On My Way…

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Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like the Trunchbull from Matilda?

Only, it feels kind of like the roles keep getting reversed.  They’re big and I’m little.  They’re right and I’m wrong.  And apparently, there really is nothing I can do about it.

As of right this moment there are so many different emotions waging war with me right now my head is on the verge of exploding.  However, before I get into the main reason for this – allow me to tell you about Mason’s hearing test – just to set the tone for our afternoon.

At first he was okay.  He wasn’t thrilled to be there, and kept waving his arm toward the door, yelling in Masonese “This way!  This way!”

He did alright when she ran the test to check his middle ear for fluids etc.  He was less happy when she left to go to her little booth and closed us in the little testing room.  When she started the second test, talking through a speaker on each side of the room, he responded appropriately, looking to each speaker as she spoke through it.  Then came the beginning of the end.  The tones/noises.

Mason is sensitive to sound.  We know it isn’t a hearing problem – but a sensory one.  Some days he just can’t handle noise.  Some days he’s fine, but more often than not if something strikes a nerve, you’ll find him sitting with his hands on his ears and his eyes squeezed shut.  If it gets really bad he’ll tailspin into a meltdown, all while covering his ears.  I was so concerned with him freaking out over the room, the stuffed animals banging on drums, and the all of the other little things that I remember sending Kaleb over the edge, I completely forgot about the tones.

Enter tailspin #1.

Not a meltdown, not yet.  But he curled into himself.  So deeply, and in such a way I had never seen before.  Hands over the ears immediately.  Chin tucked to his chest, body curled, eyes squeezed shut.  He wouldn’t even give me the slightest response.  I spent a few minutes trying to coax him back out, and as soon as he finally started to come back to me she played the tone again.  Come on lady, really?  You can’t give him a minute to regroup?  Immediately he curls back into himself, pushing back against me as hard as he can.  Okay, clearly this is not going to work.

So, she attempts to get the reading by placing something in his ear instead.

Enter tailspin #2.

Otherwise known as a complete meltdown.  Screaming like he’s on fire, ripping the thing out of his ear, thrashing against me, crying hysterically… yep.  We are done.  I hope you got enough info lady cause I am not doing that to my kid again.  She did, luckily.  She said by all appearances his hearing was just fine – not counting the sensory issues.  Poor kid was still sobbing when I got him to the car.  So, I did what any overindulging mother would do when her child was just tortured by the nice lady in the audiology department…

I bought the kid a happy meal.

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So, we came home, we ate, we played for a little while, and the Mini Monster went down for a nap.

The next thing I know, my phone starts ringing…

Da da da da da da da duh da….

Freakin’ Darth Vader.  It’s the school.

Look at the clock.  What the heck??  It’s 2 o’clock, he can’t possibly be suspended.

“…we need you to come pick him up…”

Of course.  Heaven forbid this day improve.

Wake up Mason and run out the door.  Get to the school and Kaleb is completely shut down.  What the heck??  He won’t look at me.  He won’t speak.  He’s just sticking his tongue out, making throat noises, and breaking crayons.  I haven’t seen him like this in quite a while.  Certainly not this bad.  The principal is there, along with the vice principal and the teacher.  I’m already having a hard time not being angry, just looking at my kid.  So, when the teacher walked me through what happened, I wasn’t seeing red, I was hearing red.

They were in line, walking.  Kaleb wanted to hold the hand of one of the little girls in his class (he’s enamored with this kid, has been talking about her relentlessly for months).  So he reached his hand behind him to hold her hand.  Was told “No” because (for some reason or another) it’s against the rules.  Well, Kaleb continues to hold her hand.  And the teacher reaches over and physically removes his hand.  Kaleb immediately reared around and hit the teacher in the chest.

I’m sorry, because I’m going to be unsensitive right now.  But seriously?? What did you expect??  It is not a new fact – you do not initiate physical contact with Kaleb unless he is visually receptive – because he will react in a most undesireable manner.  And by that what I mean is – he will physically lash out at unwanted physical contact.  If you were literally just around the corner from your destination, why on earth would you risk a giganitc meltdown over something so small?

On top of that – the teacher knows Daddy left for work yesterday.  This is the first rotation where Kaleb is really aware of what is happening, and it’s been hard on him.  He’s got all of these emotions rolling around in him that he doesn’t even know how to define, let alone handle.  I told her he would probably need a week or so to get back to normal.  He had a difficult time with this transition before now.  This time is different.  It’s harder for him because he understands that Daddy is gone, but he isn’t able to grasp the concept of why on a level that makes sense to him.  He’s just repeating what we tell him.

He’s going to be more volitile because he’s at war with himself.  So, congratulations.  You just unleashed the Kracken.  Prepare to have your ship sunk.

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They got him back to the room and he went into complete meltdown mode.  Hitting, kicking, screaming, scratching, spitting.  Completely out of control.  They “restrain” him for the second time this week.  Call me to come get him.

So, there we are.  I’m furious.  Not at Kaleb.  Because Kaleb is not at a point where he can control his reactions when he hits that level.  I’m baffled by this.  I’m frustrated, and sad because I can look over at my child who is so shut down he didn’t even realize I was there at first.  Even with Mason yelling for him.

We leave, the car ride is spent in silence.  It doesn’t take a professional to see that my kid is not at all ready to talk.  We come home, he gets his Blankie, goes to his room for a few minutes, comes out with his “yesterday cup” and asks politely for some milk.  As much as I want to give him some, and let him go relax, I also really need to know what happened from his perspective while it’s still fresh in his mind.  So, I tell him I will give him some milk when he is ready to talk to me about what happened at school.  He tells me to read his referral.  I tell him I don’t have his referral – the school does.

He gets upset at this, and tells me he needs to make a referral for me to read so I can read what happened.  I stand in the middle of the kitchen stunned.  And angry all over again.  This is what my child is learning?  Are you serious?!

He goes over to his art desk and writes up his referral.  Would you like to know what he brought to me five minutes later?

"Kaleb spit, hit, and kicked, and also stuck his tongue out."  That's how he read it to me.

“Kaleb spit, hit, and kicked, and also stuck his tongue out.” That’s how he read it to me.

Insert Mommy Meltdown #1.

There goes another little piece of my heart – broken for my child.  He reads this to me, and just stands there expectantly.  What do I do with that?  Yes, those are bad things to do.  But why did you do them?  I want to know what happened in your world to cause that to happen.

I coax him about his day, leading up to this point.  He tells me he wanted to hold ____’s hand, and Mrs. ____ told him no, but he wanted to hold her hand so he did and Mrs. ____ took his hand off her hand so he hit her.  We talk about this for a few minutes.  I asked him what he should have done when Mrs. _____ said No.  He told me he shouldn’t have done it, but ____ is his friend.  We continued along this train for a while, until it was clear the conversation was exhausted.   I asked him what happened next.

I’ll tell you what happened next.  My five year old child repeated verbatum the words that were spoken to me when I picked him up.  They weren’t even his own words!  I had him repeat it.  I asked him questions.  Not a single variation.  By that time I was at such a loss I just waved him off to go play with Mase and Leah.

What do I even do with that?  What can I do?  School lets out in a month – what would be the point in exacerbating an already unpleasant situation when he’ll be in a new school next year?

I don’t know.  What I do know is that all three of the kids have been determined to make me crazy.  Mase is still so overwhelmed from his hearing test that he’s crying over Every.  Single.  Little.  Thing.  Hands over the ears, dramatic drop to the floor followed by what sounds like a dying fire engine.  How is that not hurting your ears????  Kaleb and Leah are switching between perpetrator and soother – it’s making me want to cover up my ears.

Yeah this is one of those days where I keep flip-flopping from feeling like the Trunchbull, to feeling like the little girl with the pigtails who got tossed out of the school yard.

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Anyway, now that I’ve written a novel, and have probably sounded both really pathetic and completely insane – I’m going to get the demons… ahem, children ready for bed.  Thanks for actually reading all of this!

The Worst Day Since Yesterday…

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Yesterday was the kind of day that shatters me as a mom.

One of those days where you end up on the verge of tears for hours until the dam finally breaks and the flood comes rushing out at the slightest thing.

Calling my boys “The Monsters” has become a something so light and common place in our lives, I forget sometimes why the nickname started.  Yesterday reminded me of exactly why Kaleb is the Monster Man.  He was absolutely, unequivocally horrendous yesterday.  And while the past few months haven’t been a walk in the park – we haven’t had a day that bad in a long, long time.  

The biggest problem for me though?  Wasn’t that he was being a jerk (yes, I did just call my five year old a jerk.  If you were here yesterday you would understand).  It was that he was such a jerk, I couldn’t tell when the stubborn, back-talking, mouthy, bad attitude ended and where the meltdowns began.  I didn’t know what to do or how to react.  Nothing was working.  Nothing was working.

Talk, conjole, yell, discipline, ignore, hold on to – I did all of that and more.  But it just kept going.  On and on.  I’m bruised.  I’ve got scratches all over, and bite marks to match.

Who is this MONSTER  and where the hell did my kid go??

Everything was fine when he got off the bus – happy, excited, a little flighty, but overall, I’m like yay for good moods!  I had been cleaning (with very little help from the Mini-Monster) basically all day – Daddy’s parents get to town to visit today.  So, Daddy was painting and I was in a cleaning frenzy.  I was working on the office, and asked Kaleb to clean off his art desk.  It’s completely covered with paper, books, and miscellaneous nonsense that does not belong there.

Insert an hour and a half of complete chaotic nightmare.  At first all I can think is where the hell is this attitude coming from?  Seriously.  I didn’t dare speak to my mother that way until middle school.  He’s got the attitude of a thirteen year old girl.  And it absolutely stops us in our steps every single time it rears it’s angsty head.

So aside from the abject refusal to take a time out for chucking a Lego car across the living room at Mason, he flips their play table, upends a couple chairs (okay, they weigh all of two pounds, it’s not like the fact that he’s flipping them around is shocking, or even new – it’s the vigorous attitude he’s got while he does it), screams, kicks the sliding glass door a couple times, and then starts spitting.

SPITTING.  Since when does my kid spit?  All over the chair.  At me.  At Mason.  You’re joking right?  I inhaled too many fumes from my little canister of Clorox Wipes right?  I’m hallucinating?  Well, the kick to the shin just pulled me out of that little delusional wish.  He’s completely out of control.  And I can’t make heads or tails of it.  All this?  Over what?  Why?  I don’t understand.  I can see you.  You’re with me.  You know what is going on, what you are doing, and you are in control over yourself.  Why are you doing this?  Why??

That’s about as far as I got – because I had to sit on him to keep him from going after the dog.  Then Mase.  And he’s screaming, and spitting, and biting… it’s like he’s gone rabid.  I’m stunned.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m getting scratched and punched and slapped.  And I’m just sitting here, keeping him down with all I have – because if I let go, something really, really bad is going to happen.  And the way he’s raging – I’m just not sure I’d be able to stop him once he got some momentum back.

He starts screaming at me because he’s not a chair.  Well I’m not a punching bag!

Doesn’t matter.  All I need is for some of the rage lining his face to relax enough that I can trust him not to seriously injure someone.

In the meantime, my niece gets dropped off, takes one look at us, and runs for the hills.  I knew she was a smart one.

Then Kaleb threatens to cut me.  WHAT??  What did you just say??  What the hell just came out of your mouth?  Where did you hear that?  Do you even know what that means?  What is happening to my child???

I’m trying with all I have not to cry – because I just don’t know what else to do but sit here, wrapped around him like one of those velcro stuffed monkeys.  I’d already had a bad arthritis flare up in my hips, this – totally not helping.  Between the emotional pain, and the physical pain, it took every ounce of self control I had not to burst into tears.  Then Daddy came out to try and help, and a few tears slipped.  He tried his turn – conjoling, talking, reasoning, threatening to not finish his room – he got the same “Nah nah nah nah BUH” crap Kaleb had been spewing at me for the better part of an hour.

Finally, finally this nightmare comes to an end.  He calms down – we talk for about thirty seconds before I decide I really need some air and let him go play with the kids.  And all is fine.  For thirty minutes.  Until I discover all three kids in Mason’s closet making the mess of the century.  Considering the amount of time it took me to get that mess organized the first time around, I am not happy.  I’m not seething angry, but I’m definitely not pleased.  I want all three of them to clean the mess up.  Either you play with the toys or you find something else to do.  Dumping them out on the floor and laughing is not playing with the toys – it’s just mean at this point.

Mase and my niece both start picking up – and I’m helping – I don’t expect them to clean it all up without some encouragement.  Kaleb flat out refuses.  Sits there with his arms crossed glaring at me, “No.  I don’t clean.  You clean.”

You have got to be freaking kidding me.  After all we just went through?  You’re doing this again?  I can’t just let this go.  I can’t just sit here while you act like a hellcat because… well I don’t know why you’re acting like this.  But I can’t just let it slide.  Help us clean up, or take a five minute time out.  “NO.”

Enter meltdown number two.  It is now four thirty in the afternoon, he’s been home for just over two hours and yet again I’m sitting on him to keep him from harming something or someone.  This was basically a repeat of the last episode.  Conjole, reason, demand, yell, ask, plead – please.  Please stop this.

Another hour goes by before he’s finally calm enough to take his five minute time out while I wash dishes.  He sits in the chair and he spits.  He hits the sliding glass door.  He kicks the table and chairs.  But his bottom stays in the chair, so what-the-hell-ever.

I throw the meat in the sink to thaw for dinner and start to pull stuff out to prep.  He wants a snack.

No.  I’m making dinner.  If you eat dinner you can have a snack.

What’s for dinner?

Salmon and veggies.

Insert meltdown number three.  He wants chicken and veggies.  Suddenly he doesn’t like salmon (something he has consistently enjoyed forever).  Now I’m done.  No more.  You can sit your happy behind in bed, where it is quiet until it is time to eat.  The problem with this theory?  He doesn’t actually have a bed right now.  He’s sleeping in our bed while we re-do his room.  Fine.  Put him in our bed, tell him to take the time to calm down and stop misbehaving, and leave the room.  To hear something crash against the wall approximately 4 seconds after I pass the threshold.

Oh.  My.  Freaking.  God.  Now what??

March back there, put him back in bed, walk out again.

For him to pick up the same picture and throw it again.

March back there, put him back in bed, walk out and close the door.

For him to open the door, slam it, and open it again.

Just shoot me.  Please?

This of course escalates quickly into another thirty minute wrestling match.

More beating the crap out of mommy while mommy tries desperately to figure out just what is going on.  And fails to come up with a single reasonable explanation that doesn’t include possession and an exorcist.

Eventually he calms down, and I limp my way back to the kitchen to finish making dinner.

Put dinner on the table – insert meltdown number 4.

I.  Can.  Not.  Do.  This.  Again.

I just can’t.  I don’t have it in me today.  I do not have the emotional or physical wherewithal to take another bout in the ring with this kid.

Daddy recognizes this before I can even say anything, and he takes over.  Thirty minutes later, Kaleb is still raging, and Daddy is as frustrated as I am.

Kaleb’s Lego Police Station from the hospital has been sitting on top of the popcorn machine for a couple weeks now.  It’s safe up there, he can see it, but Mason can’t touch it.  Well – it was safe, anyway.  Until Kaleb takes the box it’s sitting on and chucks the entire thing across the kitchen.  Right then I felt like I was going to drown.  In Legos.  Confusion and anger.  More anger at myself for being so angry and not having more patience.  Sadness.  Frustration.  You name it – I was a rainbow of emotion, not a good, pretty rainbow either.  A rainbow that got swallowed by a storm cloud.  I just wanted to sit down on the floor, amid the hundreds of Legos and cry.

But, alas, there were two other little people to chase down.  Mase decided he was done and put himself in bed.  My niece started to pass out at the dinner table – so I put her to bed.  Then I sat down with Daddy and Miss Lisa and ate my dinner (which, at least, wasn’t half bad).  Got Kaleb up off the couch where he’d planted himself after the Lego showdown, and talked him into cleaning them up.  Talked to him for a few minutes about why he was in so much trouble – again.  Got his milk, took him to bed, had a good hug and “I love you” moment – because I needed that.  I needed to make sure before he went to sleep how very much I love him – even when he makes me want to hide in a closet with a box of tissues, a keg, and a straw.

Still, the tears didn’t come.  Until quite a few hours later when Daddy and I were talking about something completely unrelated – something that in no way should have been emotional.  And I just burst into tears.

Daddy gets kudos for not showing (much) how baffled he was – and for letting the flood gates open.  I woke up at 4:30 when Kaleb came out and crawled onto the couch.  He leaned over, gave me a kiss, rolled over and went back to sleep.  If I wasn’t so tired I probably would have cried all over again.  Because he’s so freaking sweet when he wants to be.  He’s so easy to love, and so hard to understand.

It makes me crazy (er).

This morning was typical, no sign that yesterday was a complete nightmare.  That is, until you look at the bruises all over my legs, and the fact that my arms are like jelly.

Now, Granny K & Grandpa Dave are here to visit.  And I’m having miniature panic attacks every twenty minutes or so.  I don’t know what to expect with him – I have no way to anticipate what’s going to happen.  Plus, it’s going to take significantly longer to finish his room than we originally thought – and we’re going to have to put him on an air mattress in our room.  Because Mommy’s hips and Daddy’s back cannot take much more of the couch.

I just hope today is a better day.  I still have a bit of clean-up to do.  I’d like a nap.  I’d like to know what to do with my child.

Oh, and btw, he was suspended again Tuesday.

That’s a story for tomorrow.  I’m going to go chew a couple packs of gum and clean up the Special K cereal that Mason dumped all over the power wheels jeep.

But just in case today is not a better day, a friend of mine (you know who you are) should not be surprised if I show up on her doorstep in a couple hours to steal their kegerator.

‘Till tomorrow, folks.

Oh, crap, one last thing –

There is officially 100+ people who follow this lunacy.  Thank you to all of you.  I was going to wait to say something until I wrote my 100th post (which will be in the next week or so I believe), however, that’s kinda rude of me.

So, thank you all very much, for continuing to fall down the rabbit hole with the Monsters.

Back To School Again…

“You can’t win, you know.  You can’t lie in front of the bulldozer indefinitely.”  He tried to make his eyes blaze fiercely but they just wouldn’t do it.

Arthur lay in the mud and squelched at him.

“I’m game,” he said, “we’ll see who rusts first.”  ~ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (written by the sorely missed Douglas Adams)

Arthur Dent laying in front of the bulldozer

Arthur Dent laying in front of the bulldozer

That’s what I’m starting to feel like when it comes to dealing with the school systems.  Like I’m laying front of a bulldozer that is trying to knock down my house to make room for a bypass.

Only the bulldozer is the administration, and the house is my child’s entire academic future.

Am I being a bit dramatic?  Maybe.  It’s happened a time or two before.  But nine suspensions – NINE since Christmas is a bit dramatic as well.  Especially when you’re talking about a five-year old pre-schooler with autism.  Don’t tell me you “tried to implement the intervention behaviors” and then turn around and tell me you’re suspending him because he refused to go to music class!  Maybe it was too much today – maybe he was overstimulated and couldn’t handle the noise.  Who cares what the reason is at this point – stop suspending him!!

We’ve looked at other options – they aren’t feasible.  For both financial and logistical reasons.  Which really doesn’t even matter – my child has a legal right to be given an education by this school.  The federal government placed him in the school.  I didn’t.

 

So, now instead of cleaning out the garage – which is what I had planned to do while Mason was down for quiet time – I’m throwing on my glasses and I am going to sort through every single piece of paper with my child’s name on it.  I’m going to gather every bit of evidence and ammunition in my paperwork arsenal, and I’m going to prepare for battle.

Because I’ve finally had enough.  Congratulations administration – you woke a sleeping giant (and you probably couldn’t have picked a worse week to do it).  I have played nice.  I have gone through every proper channel.  I have climbed my way up the ladder and the chain of command like a good little girl.  I have requested all of the right meetings and all the right tests.  I have hopped, skipped, and jumped for you people, and I am done playing nice.

… There, now I feel better!

Bruises…

We, as parents, know how to take a few punches.  If your kids are anything like mine, you know I mean that literally as well as figuratively.  We take the blind left hooks that life throws our way with barely a flinch – because that is parenthood.

Raising a special needs kid is kind of like stepping out of the boxing ring and signing yourself up for the Ultimate Fighter.  You have no bloody idea what you’re doing, and you’re probably going to get the snot beat out of you.  But you’re sure going to have fun anyway.  Because raising a kid with special needs is like being an adrenaline junkie.

Every time you turn around there is something HUGE.  Monumental, unexpected just waiting to peek out and say “gotcha!”.  Little things become big things – big things become Mt. Rushmore.  Seeing a smile.  Hearing “I love you”.  These are the things we live for.  The adrenaline rushes.  The highs.  The jumping from airplanes (which, by the way, I did pre-kid and LOVED), the I-never-thought-I’d-do-this moments.  That kind of rush is unique.  It’s addictive, intense, all encompassing, and it completely rocks your world.

Then your adrenaline stops pumping.  The rush wears off.  And suddenly you can feel those bruises.  Those beaten and battered parts of you that you were able to ignore before.  And unlike the real life adrenaline junkies – you can’t just walk into a doctor’s office and say “fix me”.  Because there is no fixing you.  You’re not broken – you’re just beat up a bit.  And you most certainly can’t let anyone see just how beat up you are.  So you paste on your PTA face and brave the world like some sugar addled Mary Poppins.

But it’s the deep bruises that nobody else can see that get you in the end.  At the end of the day, when you are blissfully alone, in the quiet (even if this means hiding in the closet – which post-kid I’ve done a time or two), that’s when the pain sets in.  The deep, searing, all encompassing pain.

The fear.  The worry.  The guilt.  It eats at you in the dark.  Am I doing something wrong?  But look how far we’ve come!    Did I do something to cause that?  Did I say that?  Do I sound like that?  Do I make that gesture?  What if this is as good as it gets?  Am I strong enough to take that?  Am I doing enough?

Well I clearly can’t be doing enough – if I was, they would see it, wouldn’t they?  People would see how spectacular, brilliant, funny, and all around wonderful my kids are.  

And that’s where I get mad.  Screw them.  If they don’t see it- that’s their fault.  If all they see are the bruises – the little spots that don’t fit in with what they deem to be ‘good’ or ‘normal’ or right’.  That is on them.  Because my kids take special to a whole new level.  They are beautiful and charming.  They are (sometimes a bit too) energetic, insightful not-so-little miracles.  They bring light to every dark space in my world.  When the fears creep under my closet doors and I start to question everything, they show up, with their special Monster capes, and they make it right.

My kids are different.  Take it or leave it.  If you haven’t got the time to see just how incredible they are – I don’t want you around them.  Because they need people to help polish them, to make them shine brighter.  They need people to give them feathers, so they can grow wings and fly further.  What they do not need is closed minded assumptions.  They do not need to be underestimated – because boy is that ever one serious mistake.  If you can’t love them, they won’t love you.  And you’d be missing out on a one-of-a-kind beautiful, brilliant love.

A love that is completely worth every bruise.

 

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I Wanna Be Sedated…

My day was totally all “Whoo-hoo me!” until the school’s number popped up on my phone, and it went down the toilet faster than one of Mason’s Matchbox cars.

When the alarm went off this morning I had to use a virtual crowbar to get myself out of bed.  Mason was once more up way too late, and as a direct consequence, so was I.  Despite the fact that my eyes were trying so hard to close I actually thought they were going to melt out of my skull, I didn’t go back to bed (I know, right?).  Instead, I remembered that a class on nonprofits I signed up for starts today, and I sat my caffeine laced self at the computer.  Where I did my first lesson, and my assignment before Mason woke up.  On a roll (really-lame-but-still-awesome-because-nobody-can-see-me fist pump)!  Then it’s the typical stuff.  Diaper, clothes, breakfast, yell at the dog for eating Mason’s breakfast.  Yell at Mason for giving the dog his breakfast.  Thank the universe silently for strong coffee.

Then it’s on to the pain-in-the-ass part of the day.  I’m in the middle of a spring cleaning / having a garage sale / get this crap out of here /  sort of overhaul throughout the entire house.  Basically what this means is:  every room in the house is ripped apart, closets have exploded, bags and boxes filled with clothes, toys, and other random junk are being piled in the garage and just waiting to be hauled out.  I got the living room ripped apart pretty well, and I think I got everything I wanted out of there packed up (of course, it still looks like Geoffrey the Giraffe came and threw up a mini-Toys-R-Us into our living room, but that’s not my fault, Mason did it).  Today was tackle Mason’s room day, and while holding out hope that the little cleaning elves would hit the living room for me.

Again, rocked it!  Except for the part where I walked directly into the latch part of his gate and spent a good thirty seconds cursing the world and wondering if I just splintered the bone in my thigh.  The rest of it was pretty good.  Mason wasn’t so sure, or so happy, but I was.  I finished up right at nap time (do I rock or what??), put him down for nap time and decided to grab a salad, since it suddenly occurred to me that living off of just coffee doesn’t really work that well.  I make my salad, check on Mason (down for the count!  Yes!), plug my phone in since it just yelled at me that I had 3% life left, and sat down to eat my lunch.

I took one bite.  ONE FREAKING BITE of my salad and the phone rings.  I walk over to it, look down at it, take a moment to contemplate if beating my head against the wall would make the instant headache I have come to associate with that number go away, and answer the phone.

“Hello.”

(*Note, I did not say – Hello?  I was already defeated)

“Ms. Purvis, this is Mrs. —  with ——- Elementary School.

“Yes.”

(*Again, note the absence of the question.  I already know who you are lady.  Even if I wasn’t on the PTA and hadn’t met with you multiple times, you’re the unlucky soul who calls me when my 5 year old autistic pre-schooler is being suspended.  Again.  No need to intro-freaking-duce yourself.)

“I have Kaleb in my office”

(*Was it really totally necessary for you to tell me that?  I can hear him screaming in the background. Nobody knows that scream better than I do – believe me.  Just give me the relevant information so I can have my mental hissy fit on the way to go get him)

“and we need you to come get him.  He’s been having a problem today with running off, and we’ve had to post guards at the doors.  There are two of us in here with him now, and we’re barely able to keep him in here.  Can you come get him?”

Okay, now first of all.  Did it not occur to anyone SIX MONTHS AGO when I informed them that he was a flight risk, to keep an eye out?  I know, I know, they can’t do everything.  But seriously, he’s five.  There are two of you in a room with only one door.  Please tell me how you cannot manage to keep him in the room.  I’m frustrated.  I’m angry and scared, and really freaking frustrated.  This can’t keep happening.  If you continue to send him home every time he gets away from someone he’s going to start pulling that crap on purpose because he knows mommy will come get him.  What would happen if I actually had a job out of my house?  I’d probably lose it.  We’ve been down this road.  I’ve requested a personal aid before- someone to stick to him like glue.  But it has never happened because nobody deemed it necessary.  I’m willing to bet that stance has changed.  ANYWAY.

I hang up the phone, looking longingly at my already wilting salad, wake up the child who never sleeps, throw him and the umbrella stroller in the car, and off we go.  Get to school, they know me, I know the routine.  Sign him out (just write trouble because I never know if it’s going to be a suspension or not), get the kid and go.  Only Nooooo… this time they want me to go to the back.  Um, say what?

I walk into the conference-like room attached to Mrs. –‘s office.  In it I find Kaleb, the vice principal, the teacher of the blended ESE class next door to Kaleb’s (the two classes have a lot of interaction – but mostly what I hear is headlined in my mind like “Kaleb Seeks New Targets!”  Freakin’ read all about it.), and a woman I’ve never met before.  After I am told how much worse he’s been lately (I’m sorry, you think??  He’s been suspended twice inside of a one week period of time.  And here I thought he was getting better.), and I’m told the accounts of the day – all the while Mason is less than thrilled in the stroller, and Kaleb is acting like someone shot him full of monkey juice – I am informed he is once again being suspended.  Again, I make the request for a personal aid.  I inform them that I am trying to get him an emergency meeting with his neurologist – which would be much easier if his pediatrician’s office wouldn’t slack so much – and we’re trying to figure out what is going on.

Then I am handed a piece of paper.  A recommendation for Behavioral Services (of course it’s provided by the one medical establishment in this entire state that has traumatized the child so many times he won’t willing take medicine).  And not just any behavioral services.  Emergency Psychological Services because he is a danger to himself.  Okay, so let me get this straight.  You people want me to take him here and have x,y, and z poked, prodded, whatever – because he is a flight risk and a danger to himself.  Yet, you will not approve the bus dropping him off in front of my house (which drives directly past us every morning and afternoon) even though I have specifically requested this changed twice because he is a flight risk who poses a danger to himself?  Glad to see we’re on the same page.

So, long story shorter.  Kaleb is suspended for two days – that should certainly make my appointment to sign the paperwork for Mason’s evaluation SO much fun tomorrow morning – Mason is NOT napping, and knowing that my salad was just about compost, I’m sitting here eating a double quarter pounder and a large fry.  Just f*ing shoot me.