Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Hate After School Time.

Let's just get one thing out in the open before I continue. Yes, I absolutely love my kids. No, I don't always like them. Do I have to like them? Absolutely not. That being said, I shall continue.

I see moms in all different groups I'm in saying things like "Oh, I'm not ready for little Johnny to start school yet!" or "Little Lisa starts Pre-K this year. I am crying so hard!" or even "I took Billy to school today. There were more tears coming from me than him. I don't know what to do with myself."

Meanwhile, I'm over here like "FINALLY. SCHOOL STARTS TODAY!" and "Oh thank God the kids are off to school." Not because I don't want to be around them. But, okay, well, maybe it's a little like that. Reminder, I do love my kids (reminder for you, or for me?!) but the nonstop fighting between them is enough to make even the sanest person lose it. I've tried ignoring them, I've tried redirection, I've tried punishments. Nothing helps. Especially not with AJ's problems.

Let me tell you, if you think that this is a discipline issue, then you are sorely mistaken. I invite any one of you into my home for a full day to see what we go through. Of course, I'm going to ask that you make yourself hidden because my kids are on their best better behavior when other people are around. The fighting isn't as bad. It stops the first time I tell them to stop it. They're more inclined to help out around the house. They don't bicker, or talk back.

Today, oh man. Today the advocate from Head Start came to do a home visit so that Gianna can go to school later this month. While I was talking to her, Sofia came home and immediately started acting up. She RARELY acts up. But sometimes, she just has to show off. And that she did. Immediately started being loud, being silly, and interrupting us while we were talking. Which then meant that Gianna had to start being loud. Eventually, I got them to calm down, but that was only the beginning.

Enter AJ. He comes home at 3:45. From that point on until bedtime (at 7:30), it's nonstop:
AJ, sit down.
AJ, do your homework.
AJ, what did I just say?
AJ, keep your hands to yourself.
Quit tattling, AJ.
Just be quiet for 2 minutes ... PLEASE!
AJ, stop yelling at Gianna.
AJ, stop chasing her.
Gianna, stop taking his toys.
AJ, stop yelling.

I literally mean, nonstop. Shortly after he came home today, he started his homework. That involved him cutting pictures out of a magazine for school. He needed to cut out things that he liked. Gianna sat next to him, just watching him. She did not touch him, nor did she say anything to him. He, all of a sudden, started screaming about her being there. He threw the scissors down, and stormed off. Gianna grabbed the scissors and set them back down on his magazine. He then flipped out because she touched his scissors (they were actually Sofia's scissors). He threw his arms in the air, and started stomping all over. After that little fit, he came back to finish his work. When he finished, he asked me to close the ziploc baggie with his pictures in it. While I was doing that, I asked him to pick up the pieces that he cut out and won't be using. Gianna helped him pick them up, and then he flipped out about that. He didn't want to walk allllll the way to the kitchen by himself (a whole 10 feet). So he decided to throw the little papers on the floor and then throw himself down.

After that episode was over, he picked up his mess, all while muttering nonsense. I ignored him. He started playing with his toys after that- Trio Blocks, wrestling figures, and his toy sword. When he turned around to ask me something, Gianna touched one of his Trio blocks. Because she dared touch it, he started flipping out, screaming at her and stomping around. She handed him the block back, and he snatched it from her. Which then hurt her, and made her cry. Because she started crying, he started yelling at her for crying, calling her a cry baby and a liar (denying wrongdoing is common with ODD kids). Since he chose to hurt her, intentionally or not, I made him put his toys away and sit on the couch. At that point, he started throwing his toys in the toy bin. Fine. At least they're being put away and he isn't hurting anyone. Once he realized I wasn't letting him up, he started with the name calling and attitude again.

I'm horrible. He hates me. He wishes he never came home from school (the feeling is mutual at this point, buddy!!). He's never coming home again (can I pack for you??). Blah blah blah. My only response to all this, is a very unenthusiastic "Okay. I'm sorry you feel that way. I still love you." After a few times of me repeating that, he eventually calms down. It's like something clicks in his head Oh, she still loves me. Maybe I should stop. It's like he's not getting the reaction he wants (he gets great enjoyment out of seeing me cry and beg him to please stop) so he just gives up. Or maybe the rational part of his brain kicks in to snap him out of his ODD rage.

What ever is going on, school seems to exacerbate it. He has recently had a med change, yet again, and is only taking them in the morning. It started as him taking Ritalin LA 40 mg and Risperidone 2 mg in the morning, and Ritalin LA 20 mg, Risperidone 2 mg, and Clonidine .10 mg after school (around 3:30 during the Summer). But he took them all at once one morning during the Summer, accidentally. It worked well, so the RN at the therapist suggested we continue. Since he's taking all those in the AM, they work for a few hours. So by the time he comes home, they've worn off, and all his pent up frustration and anger from the new school year come out. He lashes out at me and who ever is in his path. Which is why I hate after school time. My anxiety kicks up around 3:30. My shoulders and my neck tense up. I KNOW I'm in for a battle royale.

Our next therapy appointment isn't until the 30th of this month. I'm not so sure I'll be able to last that long. I feel every muscle tensing up when I know he's about to come home. I feel every bad feeling you could possibly feel, creeping up. It's just not a good feeling. The worst thing is knowing that I can't help him. His therapist doesn't do much for him. Unfortunately, she's the only therapist around that we can see. She has these "ideas" on how to help him- 1-2-3 Magic for disciplining (laughable, at best). Taking things away as punishment (he doesn't care). Redirection ... All things we have tried!! This is an ongoing problem, and I feel like I'm drowning in meltdowns and tantrums.

In the meantime, I'll just plug along and hope things get better. Or at least that the newness of school wears off and he calms down.

How has the first day been for you? Any meltdowns? 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I relate. However, I was so afraid of the after school meltdowns that I chose to go with an online charter school. This means that I don't get any respite from ODD behaviors. BUT, I also don't get that non-stop stuff between after school and bedtime. I worried about my ODDer refusing to do the schoolwork because I'm the one who was telling him what to do, but I managed to get him to believe that it's not me but the mysterious "people at the school" that decide what he has to do. So far, he hasn't figured out how to rally against people he's never seen, so he's actually doing the work! We have blow-ups every hour or so, but I can usually get him back on track fairly quickly. I don't think I could handle the constant afternoon/evening battles if I sent him to school!!


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