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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.

per the nurse, but the ‘beeping’ has gone away anyway. I blame residual ringing in the ear from all his Halloween escapades.

And no crying at school either.  In fact, no crying at all so far (but he hasn’t gone to bed yet.)  I think I’ll be able to work up a plan with the teachers to accommodate any emotional sensitivity without catering to it, by using the school’s sensory room.

And I got an appointment set up today with a new counselor for the kids!  The old one had some vague medical problem, so she’s not working for now.

Check, check, and check. Physical, emotional, and mental well-being ensured.

So shortly after writing my last post, I was called to pick up Aaron from school because he was inconsolably crying.  The counselor, with her knowing voice, assured me it was the Adderall, and she’s seen it happen many times with kids on the drug.  Well, I’m not that sure.  I’m also probably reeeeeally hoping it’s not.

Other factors:

he still might have an ear infection (going to doc today)

he just had a visit with bio-fam the day before

he only had the Koolaid and piece of candy in his lunch right before his outburst

and/or he was tired.

So, right, realistically, it’s all of those plus the meds.  Even before he started the med, he’d been having trouble going to sleep without crying, but he usually was easily comforted and fell asleep quickly afterwards.  Lately though (like the last two weeks, so still before the med), it’s become 30+ minutes of loud wailing, and more than an hour in bed before he falls asleep.

And I suspect, knowing how much he loves adult attention, he had no reason to stop crying, what with the nurse, the counselor and his teacher all fawning over him.  Plus he got to go to the nurse’s office and they called me at home! What excitement – I’m sure he was eating it up.  In fact, on the way home, when I told him he had to stop crying if he wanted to watch a movie at home, he stopped it right then and there.  Hmmmm.  Not to say he was faking the whole thing, but….

So if I can get the staff to semi-ignore him if it happens again, maybe just send him down to the sensory room, hopefully we can nip this in the bud.

 

 

Love the spelling!

Aaron has been on an ADD med for 6 days now.  I’ve never had a kid on meds, believe it or not.  I was nervous at first, but as we waited for the prescription, I started to become more optimistic.  He’s got so many other issues, medical and otherwise, that taking away at least a small part of his problems seemed only fair.

So, I’m trying not to read too much into it, but he has seemed calmer over the past few days.  After school, he sat at the table on his own initiative and started cutting and pasting schoolwork.  And after dinner, he sat down with me and focused on writing practice with no problems!  I won’t say he’s like a new boy, because he still has lots of annoying habits and deficiencies that no med can fix, but it almost makes me cry to see him able to work like he did last night.

(That sentence above was a fill in the blank – I had him write “I like to get” and he spelled Reese’s Pieces by himself.)

Yes, blame it on NaBloPoMo.  If ever an abbreviation hooked me, it’s this one.

Not as if I don’t have material out my ears to blog about.  It’s the time, see, that’s a rare commodity around here.

So here’s a quickie:

Is the “beeping” Aaron’s been hearing since last night

a. a side effect of the ADD med he started four days ago?

b. an early indicator of ear infection?

c. an auditory hallucination (Lord, please help me if he’s started hallucinating…)

d. ringing in his ears from all the intense roaring he did while trick-or-treating?  Note that he was Spiderman;  I have no idea why the kid decided to roar/scream at every house.

For the time being, I’m keeping him on the meds.  Time will tell us soon if it’s an ear infection, and if he damaged his own hearing from his own silliness, well, I don’t know what I’ll do.  Ditto hallucinating.  Phone call to the doctor by the end of the week, I’m sure!

 

More like two fox and two ducks.  (Maybe it’s foxes?  Foxen, like oxen?  Whatever.)

The problem is,  Aaron and Allie were the ducks and their parents were the fox(es, en…) and I was in charge of them all.

The kids were at a supervised visit when I got a call from the supervisor that Aaron was having a medical issue.  Not life-threatening, but not good by any means.  So I called his ped and they, of course, advised us to take him to the ER.

Did I mention I was far from home, at an event with Daughter, and I didn’t have any of Aaron’s insurance cards or papers?

We arranged to meet at the ER.  I left Daughter with a friend of ours at the event – lucky she was there and I need to bake a loaf of banana bread for her for thanks.  I rushed home for Aaron’s paperwork, then rushed back to the ER.  I had, ironically, been just blocks from the ER at the above event.  Wait, that’s not irony, that’s just annoying.

And so began my 7 hours with Aaron, Allie, and their parents.  Even after that much time together, I don’t understand them.  I don’t understand how they think.  But I do see their patterns and issues.

I understand now why Aaron asks questions over and over and why he interrupts conversations all the time.  Because his parents ignore him and don’t notice him talking.  Or if he’s talking to them, they will completely interrupt him to start talking to someone else (about something completely different.)  He gets verbally confusing messages from his parents, and I can see the gears grinding in his head, trying to figure it out.

Example: Mom hands him a book that is too difficult for him to read, and tries to get him to read it to her.  She tells him “You can do it!  You can read it!”  She’s doing it in a positive, encouraging voice, but the problem is, positive encouraging voices don’t make a difference to the fact the kid can only read about 10 words.  And I could see the confusion and conflict on his face that he couldn’t or didn’t articulate.  Actually, he did try to tell her he couldn’t, but she completely interrupted and overrode him, repeatedly telling him he could.

That would be hard enough for a typical kid, but for a kid with developmental and neurological problems, it’s so sad to watch.

So at the time, the logistical problem was that they technically weren’t supposed to be alone with the kids.  But there’s only one of me.  And sometimes I have to go to the bathroom.  So rules were briefly broken, but I wasn’t even comfortable going to the cafeteria to get dinner without them, so I just suffered through my hunger until I got home at 10:30 pm.  (The hospital staff was cool enough to let me have New Baby there in my Moby, so I was also nursing away my energy during those 7 hours.)

They complained a lot about their victim status and how much the caseworker hates them.  I just let them talk and tried to sound neutral to it all.

They also revealed some personal info that doesn’t help their case.  Minor, but perhaps telling.

Finally, the doctor we were waiting for showed up, said “Yep, do xyz.”  And left.  Seriously, he didn’t even need to lay eyes on Aaron; he could’ve just called us from where ever he was.  I think it was Canada, from how long it took him to get there.  Anyway…

The icing on the cake?  I could’ve left 20 minutes sooner, except Dad FELL ASLEEP in another part of the hospital.  So asleep he didn’t hear his phone ring over and over.

And that really typifies the parenting issues in this case: if it were just this one thing, there wouldn’t be a problem.  But it’s a million things just like this.

The doc hasn’t called, so Aaron is still med-free.  The more I examine his behavior in terms of a disability or medical diagnosis, the less inclined I am to want him on medication.  I’ve also been pointedly letting his parents know that his behavior has been very good at our house – I’ve been told they were the ones pushing most for medication.

On a downer note, I’d gotten a visit approved by the caseworker for this weekend, then thought she would call the parents and the visit supervisor to inform them.   Of course, she never said she would, so the parents and supervisor never knew and the kids missed out.  I feel really bad.  And it adds more fuel to the parents’  “we’re the victims here” fire.  (They never miss a chance to tell me how lousy she is at communicating with them.   She’s not stellar, but then again, all they have to do is call.)

 

Actually, it’s a four-letter acronym.  ADHD.

First of all, let me repeat how weird and varied Aaron’s neurological symptoms are.  They seem to have affected him cognitively, socially, physically, and every -ly you can think of, but there’s no one diagnostic box he fits in.  And I finally saw his developmental eval from last year – they ruled out a lot.

On top of that, in the past six months, seven discrete entities have reported to his pediatrician on his behavior/symptoms, often times conflicting one another.

All I can say is Aaron’s behavior is NOT disrupting our home to a substantial degree.  He has his issues (clumsiness, repetitive questions, slow learning) but our household is not on edge because of them.  We have and will continue to handle his challenges no sweat.  His teacher also agrees that his behavior at school is NOT an issue.  And actually, his teacher, with 30+ years of experience, doesn’t even think he has ADHD.  I trust this teacher a lot too.

The ADHD initial consult was with his mom and dad.  If they reported to the doctor the kinds of behavior I’ve been hearing about from their household, there’s no doubt the doctor would prescribe something.  So now I get to find out if he’s going to stick with his diagnosis OR admit the initial problem might have been parenting and environment.

And if the doctor insists on prescribing something, I get to find out how much discretion foster parents get in refusing treatment.   Luckily, I think the caseworker leans more toward not medicating him unless necessary.

Aaron’s a mystery.

Apparently, he has no real medical diagnosis for his developmental delay.

I’m looking forward, sort of, to learning all about autism, neurological disorders, and what he has been assessed and evaluated for.  I guess it’s sort of a feeling like “Well, I’ll solve the problem! I’ll figure out what’s wrong with him!”  Never mind the myriad experts he’s seen in the past.

Realistically, I should just focus on his day-t0-day parenting.  For that, I’m relying a lot on Lisa, his former foster mom.  We’ve talked on the phone some more, and she is very helpful.  Luckily, she’s also a lot like me in terms of how she parents.

Unfortunately, it seems Aaron is not going to be as independent as I would expect most of my kids to be, including foster kids we’ve had in the past.

So far, I’ve learned he doesn’t really know how to pee in the toilet well (getting it other places besides the bowl, including his pants) and he has trouble with bowel movements, accidents and soiling.  He also forgets to wash his hands.  Ewwwwwwww.

Last night at dinner, we learned he doesn’t really know how to use a fork or knife that well.  He does try, but often holds them the wrong way and moves them in the wrong motion.  Given his way, it seems he would just shovel it all in with his hands.  Again, ewwwwwwww.  There was a lot of food on the floor last night.  And his hands….wow.  Did I mention he doesn’t notice when he needs to wash his hands?

Finally, there’s that trying too hard thing and the need for repetitive instruction.  One thing I really want someone to tell me is if it does any good when I, ahem, raise my voice.  Obviously, I’m not screaming at him, but if it’s third time in 30 seconds I’ve asked him to put away his book, does it help him if I say it more sternly?  It certainly doesn’t really help me, so if I can know that staying calm is more effective than revealing my feelings, I’ll try the staying calm route.  You know, because some kids do respond better if they realize the parent is frustrated.  Aaron doesn’t externally seem like that, but there is enough of a spark in his eyes that I wonder.

So, Lord, grant me some patience in the coming weeks.  I believe this placement could be a real joy in my life, as long as I can keep some perspective and remember I can’t fix everything.

Oh MAN.  I guess some of it is I’ve just finished recovering from the intense, but brief, bug that Husband now has.  (And so I had to go tuck him into bed just now, while after my vomiting, I had to clean up after myself and continue to supervise five children.  Okay, that ‘supervising’ did turn into three hours of old “Magic School Bus” tapes while I slept.)

Right.  So the visit yesterday went really well.  I met Mom face to face, and enjoyed talking to her.  I hate to let on too much to the caseworkers and such, but our relationship so far is great.  I actually enjoy talking to her, while the other moms have merely been an obligation I didn’t mind too much.  I don’t think we’d be friends IRL, but for bio-moms, she’s awesome.

She gave the kids a reasonable amount of presents.  Some of the things were a little weird/crappy (really hard paint-by-numbers for Mark, a dress-up outfit for Nikki that’s obviously too small) but somehow I doubt reunification would ever come down to that.

They got a book from dad, who I found out is NOT supposed to have our phone number or contact with kids – we’d gotten a brief phone call from his jail a few days ago.  Whoops!  Mom apologized profusely for giving him our number, and I guess I believe she didn’t know, because he had phone contact with Nikki and Mark at the relatives, so why not now?  I’m half-tempted to argue they should have contact, but I also like the idea of the fewer people with our phone number, the better, and maybe there’s something about him they know that I don’t!  I think he gets out within a few weeks, so I guess we’ll be okay until then.

I also need to get them both into the doctor to check on this rash they’ve had since they arrived.  It’s worse on Nikki, covering her lower abdomen, one shoulder, and her thighs.  It looks sort of like staph (and we’ve had problems with that more times than I want to think about) and sort of like pimples.  It doesn’t itch her, and I’ve got no clue what it is.  She came with a steroidal cream from early this summer, but it obviously hasn’t worked!  Mark has a small patch on his neck, but it looks different, so maybe it’s not even the same thing.

(Because I’m so paranoid, I did a quick search on various STDs, and it seems none of them have symptoms like this.  Whew!)

Plus we scheduled another visit with Mom for next week before school starts, so that’s a four hour time commitment that will pay me $35 (50 cents a mile, baby!).  And I had to schedule the psych eval for Mark (mid January, another morning of school he’ll miss) plus another worker came by today for a visit (because Marge is in another county, one of our county’s workers does the monthly home visits.)

So looking all this over, I guess none of it is usual or everyday, but when I combine it with my usual and everyday, plus all five kids home from break, I’m just not finding enough time to finish anyth