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Interesting to note, Aaron has only had one or two accidents in the past month.  And even those two were almost not worth counting.  Effect of meds???

I don’t know what the deal was today, but Junior and Aaron were just at each other – they would provoke each other, which turned into screaming, which turned into louder screaming, and Aaron was even getting physical with Junior – not outright hitting, but bumping, flailing arms at, etc.  Very unlike him.  They were both totally at fault for all of it, but the physicality from Aaron and the ridiculous screaming from Junior were really pissing me off.  It was more than just usual fighting.  Hope it doesn’t continue tomorrow.

Aaron DID do something great today.  He had to have blood drawn.  Last time that happened, he required two nurses to hold him down.  He FLIPPED OUT, kicking, yelling, squirming, crying.  It was bad, but he had no forewarning.  So today, we started talking about it first thing in the morning, we continued to talk all the way to the appt, we even did a few dry runs of how it would go, and he did great!  He cried, he tried to move his arm a few times and almost (impulsively) grabbed at the tourniquet, but it was a drastic improvement over last time.  I praised him a bunch, and hopefully he’ll remember that praise, because we’ll need to repeat these blood tests a few more times.

Finally, Allie was sickish this weekend, vomited a few times, and thank God, it didn’t spread to anyone else.  And it just so happened we didn’t manage to get a hold of Mom and Dad until she was better, so I didn’t have to listen to Mom obsess over it.  I dread having anything even slightly unusual to tell her, just because of the repetitive questions that follows.

Something has happened to Aaron.

Something that makes him poop every day, sometimes more than once, in his underpants.

It started roughly two weeks ago, but I haven’t been keeping a very good diary, so I don’t know for sure.

While it is dang annoying, in the way poop in the wrong place can be, I haven’t stressed about the actual cause.  It’s been small amounts, not complete evacuations.  He doesn’t seem to notice until someone calls it out, and given his improvements in other areas, I figured he is just regressing a little in this one, and he’ll eventually get back to normal.  The simplest explanation is the most likely, I’ve always believed.

I was reticent to let Mom know, because I suspected, rightly, that she would way overanalyze it.  She frequently medicalizes problems and makes small issues much bigger than they need be.  It’s not quite pathological, but close.

So she’s discussed with me at great length that it could be stress (a minor cause, sure), his new medicine (unlikely), the medical problem that necessitated the medicine (very unlikely) and/or attention seeking (maybe, but he’s not the kind to seek negative attention.)  And she’s been discussing it every night for several minutes with him on the phone.  Aaron, the kid who usually stops paying attention before you even finish answering his questions.  Ay ay ay.

But I thought of something yesterday, and maybe we’re both wrong.

He takes his new meds three times a day, sprinkled on applesauce.  My theory is adding 1/2 cup applesauce a day to a small boy’s diet is too much on his bowels.  So we’ve switched to yogurt, and hopefully, in a few days, the pooping will have stopped.

Yesterday was an 18-freakin-hour day, and from waking til laying down, every single task I focused on was for someone’s else’s benefit.  Except maybe peeing, but even then, as they say, if Mama can’t pee, ain’t nobody happy.

So the parts of yesterday relevant to this blog: the visit.  We (Mark, Nikki, my three, and myself) had a visit with Mom and Dad.  Some time at a local petting zoo, and an hour at McD’s.  It was hot, but the kids were troopers.  Mom and Dad were great, but by the end, I was still sort of resentful at having to fit this into my already super-crowded day.

We also did the typical Independence Day activities: parade (kids had a lot of fun) and fireworks (good also; no one was too scared).  So every given part of my day was okay, but put it all together, and by 10:00 I was running on fumes (and still had in-for-the-week friends coming over).

So right, wah wah.  But then at church this morning, where Mark also pooped his pants (4th time this week, I guess that’s another post), our priest was homilizing on – you guessed it – sacrificing self for others.  It was good, exactly what I needed to hear to stay positive about life.  The problem is, I’m self-sacrificing by nature, so when I stretch myself too thin, I tend to get bitter and crabby, because I feel like I didn’t really have a choice.  I don’t feel noble and heroic because, look, I have to do this.  After all, no one else is.

But if I can connect my suffering to a greater good, well, it tends to reduce that bitterness.  Bitterness morphing into grace, and grace sustains.  (It’d better, because nothing else is getting me through another of Mark’s accidents.)

Anyway, sort of digressing.  Mom still hasn’t come up with any good ideas on how to increase supervised hours.  The only person she came up with sounds a lot more like a very casual acquaintance, and a busy one at that, so I don’t know if anything is really going to come of that.  The whole situation is to the point where it’s stressing me out, because part of me wants to offer to supervise more hours, but a whole lot more of me knows there are lots of reasons not to do that, and all of me is sad for Mark and Nikki.

Another fit last night from Mark, but at least it made sense. After wetting himself twice after school, he pooped in his pants right before bath time.  I told him to go in the bathroom and clean himself up.  Thus, he threw another hour-long fit.

Okay, so I guess there is more to it than that.

He was already slightly upset because I let the girls (23 months apart in age) bathe together while I wouldn’t let him and Junior (37 months apart in age).  I floundered a bit in my explanation; after all, I couldn’t just say “No, because of problems in your past and therefore we can’t trust you won’t sexually act out here.”  So instead I ended up arguing with him on the details of the age and gender differences before I finally realized, duh, just to not let anyone bathe together.  I know it’s what we really should be doing anyway, just to be safe, but darn it.  That adds another 20 minutes to bath time.  That wasn’t the answer he was looking for though, so he got annoyed at me.

Then he pooped himself.  I didn’t pamper him, coddle him, or give him sympathy.  I said “Clean your bottom and then get in your bath.”  He spent the next 40 minutes crying and screaming that he couldn’t do it.  At various intervals, I went back in the bathroom and asked him why he couldn’t, but he didn’t really have an answer.  So finally, I made a choice that turned out to be a bad one.  I told him if he didn’t clean himself in 5 minutes, he couldn’t have the friend over on Saturday that he had invited.  That got him crying even harder, and in retrospect, I realize he was too emotional to react logically to that motivation/threat.  But you know, once ya say it, ya gotta follow through.

So after 5 minutes, I walked in, put him in the tub, screaming and kicking, and showered off his butt.  (The worst thing is that the drain is slow, so the poopy water started backing up, and boy, Mark didn’t like standing in that.)  After getting most of it off, I got him out, told him to clean up the rest with toilet paper, and he did, albeit crying and slobbering.  Then straight to bed.

And just as he got into bed, Husband came whistling in the door, fresh out of a class on positive communication with foster children.  He uttered a few magical words imbued with love and care, and Mark calmed down immediately.  I sat downstairs in the kitchen, trying to will my blood pressure lower.

So the interesting things here are two:

  • I’m not doing anything differently than I was the first week he was here, but I’m framing it differently.  The first week, if he had an accident, I spoke soothingly, told him it was okay, got him wipes, got him his new clothes, and generally stayed positive.  Now, I act unsympathetically, and have him do all the work.
  • This particular tantrum, I found myself getting fed up.  The zen patience was gone, and the cold, steely exterior kicked in.  I was sick of his behavior, and while I wasn’t going to yell and scream back, I was going to get hard.  It might’ve actually been better;  I’ve noticed when I’m too glib or calm while he’s upset he thinks I’m making fun of him or belittling him.  So it might have helped him to see I do have reactions, but he was too hysterical to notice.

Anyway, it was draining.  I hate to think of him this upset, because I doubt he was like this a year ago.  When I spoke with Mom about the first rage he had, she was shocked.  I don’t know how I’ll tell her about this.  Being away from his mom is screwing him up, and it makes me start to question his need to be here.  At this point, he’s safer in the state’s custody,  but…what? What am I trying to say?  I’m not really sure.  There are a LOT of facts unknown to me, and I try hard to trust the judges and case workers.  I guess entering foster care is just not fair, right?

And then the kicker on all that, this morning he woke up dry!  The first time in two weeks!

but this one for no apparent reason?  Mark claimed he didn’t notice having to go until the poop was in his underpants.  I could go looking for causes, like he hasn’t talked to Mom in 24 hours, but instead, I think I’ll just move on.

He’s certainly doing a lot better than his first week here, so I’ll just keep that in mind.