The difficult arena of anger

Most days I’m pretty good at handling whatever my son dishes out. Some days I just feel like shouting at him or whacking him one! Fortunately I have enough self control now that I don’t actually go there. Today though, I very nearly called him something not so very nice.

I’ve been desperately trying to catch up on my studies and so have been spending time in my bedroom on the lap top. He’s been pretty happy in the lounge room with his Lego and his Dinosaur Train episodes or movies. He’s also been playing in the garden and just generally hanging around.

Around lunchtime I spotted him out on the lawn with a picnic rug and all his dinosaur toys. He was sitting in the sun and talking to them. It was so lovely I decided to put down my work and make us some lunch and take it out to the picnic rug. We sat together and had a lovely chat about dinosaurs and different time periods and thought about some new information we would like to look up and find out about. He was happy, I was happy.

After lunch I needed a little nap (this pregnancy is still really making me super tired in the afternoons!), and he asked if I could watch three of his favourite episodes of Dinosaur Train, which I agreed to do before my nap. So, now I had spent a good two hours with him, giving him my attention and talking about stuff he likes.

After my nap I started back up on my uni work. My son proceeded to keep coming in and out of my room asking me to ‘look at this!’ or just generally jumping around on the bed and making a nuisance of himself. I didn’t really mind though. That’s him and I’m used to working while being interrupted! Another hour passed and he complained that he wanted me to play with him. He wanted me to jump on the trampoline. There is no way I’m going to do that in my current pregnant state, so I suggested that I could read to him while he jumped. He liked that idea. I grabbed “The Complete OZ” that we are reading at the moment and out we went.

He had with him, a Lego caravan and trailer he had built that afternoon, and set it on a table near the trampoline. Unfortunately, the table was on an angle and the vehicle kept falling off. Provoked into a mad rage by the evil intentions of this inanimate object (and his madness at repeatedly placing the thing back on the slanted surface!) he picked up the vehicle and threw it at the ground hard enough to send Lego pieces flying in a million different directions around the garden!

I took a deep breath and calmly said to him.

“Hey. That reaction was out of proportion to the situation. It’s not OK to destroy things when you get frustrated. You need to take a deep breath and find and pick up all that Lego.”

Naturally he raged on a bit about how it was the stupid Lego’s fault, and how I was an idiot and needed to shut up. He was getting quite abusive so I got up and walked back into the house taking the book with me. I did manage to say a few more things on my past about getting himself back into control, and I might have mentioned that if he does that sort of thing when he’s an adult, he’s likely to end up in jail.

After five minutes, I looked out the door to see that he had picked up all the bits and was re-assembling the vehicle. He was calm again and doing the right thing. Yay. When he brought the vehicle back inside and placed it safely on the side board, I congratulated him on a job well done and picked up the book to read to him.

So I spent the next half an hour reading while he jumped on the trampoline and it was all great. Then I continued reading for another hour once we came inside as he was really into the story. By this time, I needed a break from reading and I had to start thinking about getting more work done and getting dinner sorted. So I committed a terrible crime. I said I was stopping now and that he needed to clean up the lounge room as it was strewn everywhere with his Lego and dinosaurs. Uh Oh.

Another rage came on him. He bounced all over my bed, complained about how he shouldn’t have to do so much work, and how he has to do everything around here. I ignored him studiously because he says that stuff to me a million times a day if I ask him to do anything! Then….. he decided to close the lid of my laptop…. bah bah… I lost it.

Well in the scheme of ‘losing it’ I guess most people wouldn’t even have noticed that I lost it. My face went red, my heart rate rose, and I looked at him and said,

“You little….” Yes, I stopped myself just in time. I didn’t complete that sentence. I then continued in a tight voice.

“Get out of my bedroom and do what you’ve been asked to do.” he left. I sorted out my laptop, and now he’s emptying the dishwasher (and moaning about how it was never his job in the first place and why does he have to do it). Phew!

I guess the point of this post is to try and remind myself and others that if you are the adult, you have the responsibility to control your own anger even in the face of someone else’s out of control anger, otherwise how can that little person ever learn that it’s possible? Then go and write a post about it later to get it out of your system! :)

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Too much thinking is bad for you

Well, as we approach the end of yet another year, I have had a lot on my mind. Naturally, we are all bursting with curiosity as to the gender of our new baby, but we just have to wait a couple more weeks, and then we can finally find out. We would all really love to have a little girl, but as with most people, we will be happy to have whatever we get, as long as it’s healthy and happy :)

I’m approaching the end of the Motown School of Rock programme now, with our Dress Rehearsal show coming up on Friday….eeek! This one has gone along a bit slower than usual and there are many songs where the band just doesn’t have it together yet, so it will be interesting to say the least. Hopefully, with one more rehearsal tomorrow night, we’ll somehow, miraculously pull it together!

I’ve also been getting on with my university degree this study period, and am approaching the end of this ‘Creative and Professional Writing’ unit. One more unit starting on the 7th of December and then I’ve finally completed all the first level subjects for the Bachelor of Arts in Literature. Yay! I’ve learnt a lot in this unit actually, and although I haven’t had the amount of time I would have liked to spend writing and practicing what I’ve learnt, I have a lot of great stuff to think about. I was also surprised the other day to receive an email saying that I’ve qualified for a Commonwealth Supported Place for the degree through Open Universities. Basically it just means I can officially register for the degree and the fee is waived, plus I will be eligible to put the fees for the course on HECS (which is a delayed payment system through the Australian Taxation Office). I qualified because all the units I’ve studied so far have received Distinction or High Distinction marks. I think the one I’m doing at the moment, the best I’ll get is a Credit because I just haven’t spent the amount of time on it that I should have. Now, while this is a great thing, it’s also scary. So far, I’ve just been picking up one unit at a time whenever I feel I can manage it. If I accept the place, I have to do at least one, preferably two units each study period, even though I’ll still be registered as a part time student. That could start getting tricky next year with a new baby. Lots to think about!

Of course the main time consuming endeavour in my life right now though is our son. While, he is still improving all the time, there are still moments of extreme anger from him, albeit nowhere near as strong or as often as in the past. He also is a lot less likely to follow through on his violent threats these days, which helps! The main concern at the moment is how hard it is to get him to do anything that resembles school work. I’m getting much better at allowing him to learn naturally and just following his interests, but as a person who likes to do their learning from books, and cement that learning by writing it down, I find it really hard not to want to make him do the occasional bit of writing and answering of questions in a workbook. I’ve also read that it’s really important for learning and brain development that children sit down and physically write with a pencil on paper, so I don’t like that he only likes to type or listen or watch to learn things.

To be fair though, he is a really great reader for his age, both independently and reading out loud, and he definitely understands and retains what he reads. I have noticed though, that when he watches a documentary or a Youtube clip, he really retains a lot more of that information than if he has read it. It’s a tricky thing this homeschooling!

Tomorrow we are driving out to who-knows-where to a homeschooling family who run a thing called ‘Farmschool’, where we will be spending the day learning about Dam health and Water bugs with a group of other kids. I think he will really enjoy that, as they have very knowledgeable people teaching the kids all that stuff and they actually get to see it all in action and be outdoors and doing things while they are learning, which is perfect for ADHD brains! I’ll try and give a nice update of that sometime next week.

For now, it’s off to do some uni reading, while my boys are our playing Putt Putt golf together :)

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It’s been a long time

It’s been a long time between posts lately. I’ve been extremely sick with ‘morning’ sickness. Every day I’ve felt like throwing up continuously through the whole day and couldn’t eat anything to give me energy. That meant that if I did one small household task during the day, I then had to sleep for an hour!

Finally this last week I’ve been able to eat actual real food. I am not just over 14 weeks pregnant, so the sickness seems to be settling down some. I’ve been able to eat a small amount of meat and fish. I’m pretty OK with most fruit now as long as I go slow and sit down afterwards (it sounds so ridiculous when you actually ‘say’ it out loud!) and I’ve been able to get out of bed a bit more, which is a relief to everyone in the house!

On Sunday I performed 4 songs in the Big Music Motown School of Rock show at the Crows Nest Fair, which was a lot of fun. I’ve been struggling to rehearse with having no energy to speak of, and basically after my Monday night rehearsals, I had to sleep all day Tuesday to make up for it! Fortunately, I should be able to start fitting in a little bit of practice at home though now that I can eat.

It’s five more weeks before we can find out the gender of the baby, which we are all very excited about, and this weekend is our son’s ninth birthday. NINE! Yikes, how did that happen?

He’s been struggling lately. I can only assume that the effect of completely being off Risperdal for over eight weeks is starting to kick in. He’s very argumentative, surly, rude, anxious and angry all the time. Unfortunately, it’s causing quite an unsettled mood in our house. There is also the fact that I haven’t been able to give him the usual amount of attention during the day because I have been in bed and either asleep or sick so much. Poor little guy.

I did address the issue with him the other day in the car on the way home from trampoline class where he had refused to cooperate, and he been quite rude to the coach numerous times. He was demanding that I get him McDonalds, which wasn’t going to happen, and he started getting angrier and more aggressive the more I denied him what he wanted. He started shouting at me,

“Just get me what I want and we won’t have to have this trouble!”

I lowered my own voice to a very calm tone and gently said to him,

“Sweetheart, listen to yourself for a second. That is absolutely not the way children should speak to their parents. It’s not normal for you to speak to me like that either. Something else is going on in you and it’s not because you aren’t allowed to have McDonalds.”

He removed his croc shoe and started hitting my arm with it. Still shouting that there was nothing wrong except that he needed a different family because both myself and his dad are just mean all the time and never give him anything and always get him in trouble. Hmmm…

I calmly informed him that he was wrong, and that he need to consider that he was over reacting and that it was due to the fact that his brain works differently and that it’s not medicated now. I suggested to him that either he needs to start being aware of that and trying to do something about it, or we can get him some medication that will help him if he feels he needs the help. Then, once I’d let that settle in and he started up shouting again because I drove past McDonalds, I very deliberately raised my voice to a loud but not angry tone and said,

“That is enough! You do NOT speak to your parents like that! You know it will not get you anywhere, and it is unacceptable. Now, pull yourself together and STOP IT! You will eat whatever I make you for lunch and that’s it.”

He went quiet, he looked a bit angry for a moment and I thought he was going to back chat like usual, but instead he kept whatever he was going to say inside, and in the very next breath, he spoke to me calmly and respectfully!

We got home, I made him a ham and cheese toasted sandwhich, he thanked me politely and happily ate it. So I praised him for calming himself down so well and getting his tone and attitude back under control.

It’s tricky though, for him, me and his dad.

Hopefully we’ll all get around it one way or another. :)

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There is still kindness in the world!

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Well some of you may remember a few weeks ago I had a bit whinge about not being able to get my son into a trampolining programme…anywhere. Due to his inability to sit and listen and follow instructions it was deemed unsafe for him to try such an activity. While I did completely understand where they were coming from I was still frustrated at the exclusion my son faced when his physical body and intelligent mind are up to or beyond his peers. Anyway.. I digress. Guess what?! Well I’m going to tell you.

I received the most heart warming email about a week or two after I had made the inquiries at the sports center/gym. One of the coaches there had been talking to the fellow I had emailed originally, and she remembered the documentary and my son. She also  has a son who is gifted and sensorally (don’t know if that’s a word!) sensitive. She told me she knows how hard it is for kids like that to participate in a group activity and that she felt it would actually be really stressful for my son as well as just that it’s hard on the coaches and other kids. She then said that she would like to offer to coach my son privately at a little gym nearby if I was interested. She just needed to check with the owner of the gym first about cost  and times etc.

As you can imagine, I was really touched and very grateful. Originally the cost was going to be quite high (private lessons and all), but I had already decided to just try and find the money in order to give him a go. Then she came back and told me that they had agreed on a much lower price for the first two trial lessons and then a reasonable on going rate. I was so happy!

So I took my son to the first trial lesson two weeks ago, wondering what this lady would be like and how she would handle my son and his particular ‘issues’. Well, I needn’t have worried. She was so great with him. When he got mad, she just calmly dealt with it and redirected his attention. She then spent extra time at the end of the session just chatting with him and trying to get to know him better. Not only that, but after the session, she actually sent me an email telling me how she thought he went (physically etc) and whether I had any thoughts on how she handled him and what she could do to help him out more! I couldn’t believe it!

So the second session, he didn’t follow the rules, jumped off something onto something else and hurt his ankle, but she didn’t tell him off or remind him that he needed to follow the rules (which I annoyingly did btw!). She just kept going and showed the right amount of concern for his ankle. He became quite rude and grumpy with her after that, but she spent the time again afterwards chatting with him and learning what he likes. She realised quickly that he’s very clever and she used scientific terms to describe many of the moves and positions for trampolining, like talking about inertia when he changes the position of his arms. He thought that was pretty great. I  later found out that before her job as an angel of gym  and trampoline coaching she was an astrophysicist!

So there you go. Now my boy can go and do trampolining classes, and I am so grateful to both his new coach and also the owners of:

Moving Bodies (http://www.movingbodies.com.au/) at Mount Kuringai for allowing these sessions to take place.

You see, you just never know who you’ll touch in this world. Who you might inspire to help you and who might inspire you to realise that it’s not all that bad!

It’s school holidays now, and next week he’s off to his favourite thing in the world….OT Social Camp! Yay. :)

Oh, and I’m still sick and useless growing this baby :(

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Quote of the week

I currently have a very bad cold coupled with morning (all day) sickness….

Son: “you being pregnant is really paying off!”

Me: “why?”

Son: “Because daddy is going to come home early to play with me, I don’t have to do a lot of schoolwork and we get to stay in bed all day! It’s awesome!”

I guess it has been an enjoyable week for him!!!

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A quickie so you know I’m still alive!

Eeek! I haven’t done a post for so long I’m beginning to wonder whether I even know how to write any more!

We’ve had a lot of exciting stuff going on around here. My son went on his first group excursion recently to the Australian Museum for the ‘Science Fair’. We met up with a bunch of homeschooled kids and parents and the group was taken on a tour around the museum to do various different workshops to do with sciency stuff.

I was so impressed with him and how he behaved. He wanted to leave about 5 minutes into the first workshop, but I managed to keep him on track and he even participated in the activities, albeit with a bit of ‘attitude’. Each session was an hour long, and some were more interesting than others. By the end, he was exhausted and over it so I let him leave early. If you ask him he’ll say it was crap, but I did see him get interested at least twice :)

During one session about nature, he was chosen to come up the front and answer stuff, and then he couldn’t stop. It made me laugh because the lady running it was very ‘old school’. She tried to make all the kids sit in a tidy group on the floor in front of her and then greeted them with ‘good morning children’. The homeschooled kids of course weren’t really used to that sort of thing and just looked at her blankly, before a few of the older ones mumbled ‘umm… good morning?’. She didn’t really know what to think. She handled my son quite well though by saying,
“Now, I know that you are very clever, and you seem to know a lot about this stuff, but it’s very important to allow the other kids a chance to answer.” He took that quite well and just resigned himself to making frustrated noises when people took too long to answer, or got the answers wrong. It did show me though just how much he knows and how much quicker he gets a concept than many other children older than him.

So, now our son is completely off his Risperdal. He’s having trouble sleeping at the moment, but I guess that’s to be expected when he’s been used to having a medication that puts him to sleep. He needs to re-learn the skills required to put himself to sleep and turn his brain off. He’ll get there. He is definitely quicker to get angry at the moment, but he’s also doing really well with understanding that he has to bring it back himself. He even explained to the other kid in his social OT group today that…
“I’ve just finished taking a medication that helps me stay calm and so I might get angry easily. But for now I am feeling good and happy, even though the medication was helping me with that before.”

Awww. It’s so great that he understands what is happening to him. I guess our explanations are helping with that too. Shame the same can’t be said for my explanations of the multiplication tables! He just doesn’t seem to get that concept at all!

The other good news, that for now I’m hiding at the bottom of this post so that only the most committed readers will get to it is…. I’m 8 weeks pregnant! Yay!

The son is very, extremely excited and has already read the pregnancy book I have and now proceeds each week to tell me what’s happening. I’ve been throwing up a lot and falling asleep a lot and feeling generally crappy and unable to eat anything except apples… but that’s all part of the ‘fun’ I guess.
So that means that I can’t go on our long planned and saved for snow boarding holiday next year :( The boys are still going, they’ll just go in January instead of March and only for four weeks instead of six. The baby will be due early April, so I’ll get some peace and quiet at the end I suppose!

All I need now is for someone to kindly purchase my parent’s house in Denver Colorado so that they can get on home before April to meet their second grandchild and take the first on away when he’s bored :)

That’s it for me for now folks!

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Rocked the Disco!

I’m trying to get some time to convert the video files from my show into a format accepted by WordPress, but things are busy right now! Let me just tell those who’ve been waiting to know, that the show was awesome!

We got grooving and shaking and the crowd was dancing and singing along almost the entire time! The coach singled me out as ‘going off’ and said I was a ‘stand out’ on the night!
I had so much fun with a great group of people, and am really looking forward to the next show.

I learnt that my voice gets tired when I push it hard and although everyone else still enjoyed the show, I was disappointed that by the time I got to my big song, ‘Lady Marmalade’, which I can really belt out and sing awesomely, my voice was a little pitchy and actually completely failed on the high note at the end! Oh well. The rest of the band knows how well I can sing it, just the crowd didn’t get to hear it! That’s life I guess. Still, quite a few people said that they loved my stagecraft and that I got people dancing and having fun, and that if I hit a couple of bum notes, no one really noticed because I hit way more great ones.

I’ll upload a couple of videos as soon as I can.

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