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Archive for the ‘autism behavior’ Category

*yawwwwwwwn* 

My Matthew alarm clock went off at 3:59am this morning.  This kid doesn’t miss a step when it comes to waking up before 4am.

As soon as I was convinced that he was wide awake for the morning, I stumbled into the living room and logged on to the Disneys Pixar’s Cars website.  Matt happily sat in front of the computer and I rolled onto the couch to get a few more moments of sleep.  I figure I  had about 15-20 minutes. 

So exactly 15 minutes later, I am awakened by a very loud shreik.  This is a familiar sound in our home so there really was no cause for alarm.  “What’s up, Matthew?”  I asked him.  Another loud shriek came from the dining room along with some cupboard banging.  I walk over and see what has triggered these “delightful” sounds.  “I HATE FOLDER!!!”  he screamed as he tried to tear his plastic homework folder in two.  It’s his favorite folder and it’s very important to him.  But when Matthew is  in a moment, such as this one, he wants to destroy things most important to him.  After destroying items he cares so much about,  he has immediate regret which then triggers another meltdown.  A way more intense meltdown. 

So there he was with his folder in his hands.  The  folder with so many special stickers that he earned from teachers. Stickers that he looked at every day with pride……..about to massacre it.  I quickly walked up and grabbed it out of his hands.   “This is not ok.” I said as I placed the folder up on the top of the book shelf. He then ran over and grabbed his backpack and before I could catch him, he chucked it out the back door into the yard and slammed the door. 

This is when I try to defuse the situation before he starts kicking and hitting. This moment is kind of a  grey area moment because all he was doing was stomping and screaming.  I grabbed the soft blanket that I usually wrap him up in when I am rocking him or doing deep pressure with him.  When he saw I was trying to de escalate the situation, he became even angrier and began kicking the cupboards, then me.  So once he does that, then all bets are off and I am forced to restrain him.  Not fun to do. Especially at 4:30 in the morning. 

After several minutes I ask,  “Matthew, are you ready to be safe?”  Once he gives me a calm “yes” then I let go of one arm.  If he swings it at me, pinches me, or pokes me, then I know he  is not ready and I have to hold him again.  But this time when he said “yes”, I knew he meant it since he did not try to hit me after I let go of his arm.   More than often, this is not the case.  More than often, he will say “yes”, I let go of his arm, and then WACK, I get nailed. My reflexes have improved and I can now catch his hand before getting hit. 

After restraining him, he stood up and I took him to the couch, wrapped him in his blanket and rocked him.  Success.  Now he is in the bathtub as part of his regular routine.  His backpack still outside. Oh well, I’ll have him get it later.  Maybe as soon as he gets out of the bath before he dries off since it’s freezing out there.  That’ll teach him 😉  Ok, I probably wont do that, but interesting idea, hu? I still can’t figure out what set him off in the first place.  That’s what I get for sleeping while he is awake.  Good morning all!!

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One of the biggest weaknesses I have is asking for help.  I have been that way most of my adult life.  Is it because I am a perfectionist?  Haha!  Couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have friends and family members who are perfectionists and it would have done me good to have them rub off on me a little. 

I think a lot of it is pride.  Being forced to admit that raising kids can take so much out of a person,  so that at the end of the day there is nothing left.  It doesn’t matter if you have special needs kids, or typical kids, or 8 kids, or even just one child.  It can be absolutely draining.  Anybody who is a parent can understand that.  So why then is it so difficult for me to seek some respite every now and then?  It’s available to  me. I have so many people in my life who would step up in a heartbeat to give us a break. But I’m stubborn.

Yeah, yeah I know, I know….’taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your family….blah blah blah.’ 

I practically have to have a staged intervention before I can finally accept the fact that I am not supermom. So that is where we are today.  Matt’s volatile behavior was getting worse.  The only time things were peaceful was when he was asleep.  But he doesn’t sleep long. He wakes up 2 sometimes 3 times in the night and then for good at 4:00am. Sometimes even earlier. So once he is awake, I know he will stay in the living room and play quietly for 10-20  minutes so I don’t have to get up just then, but I can’t sleep. What if he sneaks outside?  What if he’s climbing on the counters?  What if he found the stash of fruit snacks and gold-fish crackers that I hide from him?

So then I’m wide awake.  What happens is after several days of this routine, the lack of sleep catches up and I can’t function. I have no energy.  But no matter how much I am dragging,  Matt doesn’t slow down with me making it even more draining and pretty soon I am running on empty. This is where our “Village” comes in.  

A month ago, John’s parents, step-parents, my parents, my brother, aunt, cousin, and friends….overwhelmingly offered their time and energy to watch and care for the boys so that John and I could enjoy our planned trip to Hawaii.  These are the people we know we can count on whenever we need a break.  We are very fortunate.

But the help didn’t stop after the vacation was over.  John’s mom and step-dad insisted that Matthew spend the afternoon and night with them 2 times a week for now on.  It was difficult for me to accept such an offer for two reasons: 

One reason is I know how much work he is and that his mom would be the one getting the 4:00am wake-up call. 

Second and biggest reason that I had a hard time accepting their offer was pride.  I kept thinking to myself, “Great, I can’t even raise my kid 7 days a week anymore. I have to send him away because I am not strong enough to handle it. What kind of mother am I?” 

With John’s encouragement, I agreed and it has been the best thing.  Being away from Matthew isn’t the best thing but sleeping past 6:30am…..is just blissful!  This morning is one of those mornings I was able to sleep in till 6:45am and I have so much energy today. I get look forward to sleeping in on Wednesday too. 

The other great thing about it is that there is more quality time for just Alec.  We can enjoy playing Wii games and I can help him with his homework without being interrupted by one of Matt’s outbursts. 

So anybody who has a great support group of people, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask.  Take it, because you truly are taking better care of yourself and your family.

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Dancing in the sniper tower

Wake up at 4am–check

Make coffeee—check

Tell Matt to put his clothes back on—check

Shut the bedroom door so that Alec isn’t woken up by a potential Matthew Meltdown—check

Matthew has added a new activity to his regular rigid morning routine. You see, we have this extra story in our house that comes off the second floor.  The stairs lead up to a small room and in that room, there are several windows  that display a fabulous view of the neighborhood and mountains.  This is one of the features that attracted us to this home.  We love this tower-like room. Although we don’t call it a “tower” because that seems a bit pretentious.  So we call it a sniper tower. Oddly enough that seems less disturbing to me 😉 

For the past 3 days Matt  has enjoyed going up to the sniper tower to listen to Christmas music and dance.  Sweet, isn’t it?  The thing is, he doesn’t want to go up there unless he has an audience.  That’s fine, I always enjoy watching him dance.   But now we are on day 4 and if I have to listen to the mind-numbing tune of Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song one more time, I’m gonna throw myself off this sniper tower.  

But Matt and I made a deal.  I would go up and watch him dance to 2 songs, if he would be patient and let me drink my coffee without having a meltdown.  So instead of complaining, I guess I should be glad to have another form of leverage that will encourage positive behavior.

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