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#601 of 913 Old 05-29-2006, 12:19 PM
 
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I'm back with an idea for you Bearsmama, which I thought of when reading Maureen's post about talking about the storms and about the storms coming on. I read this really neat idea in that Kurcinka book about sleep. She was talking about finding ways to talk to children about emotional tension, and describing her method. She brings to kids' homes a wineglass (b/c it's the right size, you could use something else) and the ingredients for a homemade volcano. She uses vinegar colored red, baking soda, and also cotton balls. She invites the child to think of things that make him/her happy and then things that frustrate them (going through all sorts of difficult emotions) while also inviting the child to drip the vinegar into the glass. Then when it's nearly full, she invites the child to scoop a teaspoon of baking soda into the glass-the volcano then erupts, and there's excitement about that, then she asks the child if they ever feel like that inside. Then she asks: "when you're feeling all bubbly inside, like the volcano, what makes you feel all soft and good inside like this cotton ball?" And when the child says something, they drop the cotton ball into the volcano glass, dropping three more in as the child thinks of three more things. The bubbles are gone, the glass is filled with just vinegar and cotton balls. Then she asks the child to drop one more spoonful of baking soda in the glass, and it fizzles but doesn't bubble over: she asks the child why they think it didn't bubble over. She explains that it's b/c of the cotton balls, and explains that when the child feels all bubbly inside they can ask for their "cotton balls" (hugs, rest, whatever helps the child).

I thought this was a neat way of helping a child understand and/or articulate what's going on inside when they start to feel that emotional storm coming on. I haven't actually done the volcano thing with my dd (keep forgetting), but reading this has led me to have some creative and interesting discussions with her (when she was calm) that later helped during some times when I could see her storms coming on.

I think Maureen is right about just riding it out, but letting go of trying to fix it and embracing riding it out is not so easy-it's a tough habit to change, this wanting to fix.

Gotta run.
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#602 of 913 Old 05-29-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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Hi everyone...


Bearsmama, I just wanted to touch on this part of your post. And Maureen may be able to elaborate a little more on this from a developmental standpoint, but I've read before that at Bears age it's not always easy for them to separate that their actions are not who they are. I know we've gone thru this with Cole and it worried me to death. It was still happening at the beginning of his school year and he was 5 1/2 at that point. So maybe this is more about where Bears is in his development. I'm sure we could expect a child that has heard he's a bad kid would have issues, but knowing that isn't how you parent and it's not how Cole was parented, I have to believe that cognitively, the distinction is hard to make. I tried to use a lot of examples with Cole about myself and how I screw up but am not a horrible person for it. Whether that helped, I don't know, but he is past that stage now and we're on to different stuff. I just know that having him think he was bad, or worrying that his teacher (or whomever) would make that impression upon him devestated me when I'd tried so hard to make sure he knew he was a GOOD kid. It helped me a bit to know that for some kids, it just takes more time or maybe more explanation to get it.

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Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Anyhoo. Tonight after 7 hours in a car and little to eat and craziness we're finally in bed (me and the kids) and about to go to sleep. And Bears starts talking about how he thinks he's a "bad kid". My heart sank. Just sank. And tears welled up in my eyes. I tried to have him share with me as much as he could about where this feeling was coming from. I have NEVER used those words with him. So I'm like, hmmmmmmm? Anyway, he's extrapolating that his actions are who he is. And with Bears, there's a lot of running interference to be done in an attempt to "positively discipline". So, it seems perfectly connected to me that he would assume that his actions that are "wrong" are who he is. Just sort of blew me away.

Okay, just wanted to offer that up while I had a moment. We've finished the school year (OMG we made it) and I'm trying to keep them busy thru the adjustment period. Talk to you all soon ...
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#603 of 913 Old 05-29-2006, 10:17 PM
 
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You know, the other thing about being a "bad" kid... maybe it is ok that they aren't proud of all of their behavior. Maybe they should be somewhat disappointed with themselves. Perhaps we need to talk about how they can make ammends when they feel they have been bad. I think developing a conscience is complicated. I think a parent telling her child he is bad is very different than the concept a child applies to themselves. Remember- I am not a big fan of self-esteem. I don't want kids to think they are perfect, I want them to know their strengths and their weaknesses in some form of appropriate perspective. We all get so afraid we have destroyed their sense of worth. I suppose we need to give the kids the same messages we are working on- that they have challenges and struggles bigger than other kids.

Maureen
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#604 of 913 Old 05-29-2006, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ladies, once again, you inspire and amaze. And not with BS. With the real-deal.

Maureen-I really like the weather analogies a lot and I just put up a post-it note on the kitchen cabinet that reads: Survival and Recovery. Just to help me not to expect too much during the bad moments. Two other things on my mind here-About the depression thing-I think that this part pertains to me, actually. I have this very fatalistic part of my personality that has had to learn (and relearn over and over again) that that the bad moments are not forever. I have never had any clinical depression-and I think part of that is biological, of course. And the other is that I can usually get myself past these parts in a decent amount of time. But that part remains and I'm working on helping myself and my kid accept and deal with those hard, emotions.

Emblm-It's comforting to know that you've been thru this with your Cole. It think you're right-I think that this has a lot to do with being 4 1/2. But like you said, it killed me and still does to actually hear and re-hear these words, "bad kid". This is what I've worked AGAINST for his entire life. I've never said this-I've actually gone out of my way NOT to make things in his life feel black & white, good or bad. I want him to be okay with the "grey" areas. Sort of what Maureen says. Like, yes, he should have some guilt or moments of pause to consider how his behavior is affecting everyone else.

There's some book that talks about kids' self-esteem. And that many parents believe that we have to "build up" our child's self-esteem. And that really, the deal is that they are born with everything they need. Like a full cup. We just have to be careful not to spill too much.

sledg-I really like the volcano analogy, too, and the visual experiment. We always say to Bears, "what can we do to help?", or "Do you need me to leave you alone?", "do you need to cuddle?". And sometimes even these words are too much for him during one of his storms.

oop-gtg. More when I can.

Thank you, friends. For continuuing this long-term conversation and friendship.
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#605 of 913 Old 05-30-2006, 11:38 AM
 
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Bearsmama, I do think that as Emblm said a lot of the "bad kid" stuff has to do with age. My 4.5 year old is always saying (when I'm frustrated with older dd) "but I'm good always, right?" And a part of me really cringes when that happens, because I don't want my kids to think I love them only because/when they do things I like. But I don't know that they are able to understand any differently. Heck, I wrap my own worth up in what I do instead of who I am a lot of the time. It's not all that easy to tease out who we are from what we do, if it's possible at all. Do we have a self that's contained and separate from what we do? (okay, that's going way off track)

I think my goal is to over time (a really long time) let my kids know (somehow) that I do love them no matter what. And maybe it's not so much the words I use but the knowing that even in the middle of the worst storms I'm there, and I'm trying, and I'll give the hugs if they want them, and I want to help. And maybe the storms, as terrible as they feel to me, aren't even the most important part. Maybe it's all the times in between that matter more, because there are more of those in between parts. And maybe there's no way of knowing which part matters most to my kids, because they're their own people. I think I'll find out when they're grown, when they tell me either how great I was or how terrible I was. I was saying to dh awhile back that I think maybe we won't be really good at this parenting stuff until we're grandparents. And then we'll be perfect.

And I'm thinking lately that I'm with Maureen on this: is it really all bad for kids to feel some regret or disappointment over their behavior? No, I don't think it's good for them to be overcome with shame, but don't we all learn sometimes from that yucky feeling we have after we've done something that isn't in line with our values/desires/needs/whatever-you-want-to-call-it? Is it really my job to ensure that my kids feel good all the time? Or is it more important that I help my kids learn, partially through my own example, that we can do things and feel badly but then learn and move on? That it feels bad, and it's a signal to attend to something, but it's not the end of the world?

And Bearsmama, I'm (s-l-o-w-l-y) learning that words during the full-blown storms are usually too much. Dd is 6.5 and I'm just now getting much better at reading her cues, or she's slowing down rather than escalating so quickly (or both), and I can often help with the words and whatnot just before it's a full-blown storm. KWIM? But still, once it's reached that point it's just sort of duck-and-cover and get through it. We can clean up afterward.
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#606 of 913 Old 05-30-2006, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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: Okay, although that does, in fact, sum up my mood, I put it there just to check it out.

Sledg-I really liked your last post (but I really like all your posts). I am learning to "duck and cover". That has been huge for me the past few days. But what do you do when you CAN'T duck and cover and ride it out? For instance, I cannot physically move Bears anywhere for him to have his storm. Nor can I successfully even move away from him. He follows, he torments. Tonight, he was hitting me, DH, and his little brother, just b/c he was tired and grumpy. And he is actually now making contact with us and it hurts! (he used to sort of raise his hands to someone, but not make contact with our bodies). DH tried to move him to his bedroom to so he could flip out there. That ended up with books, toys, etc., being thrown over the steps to the floor down below.

And what if those in-between times you mentioned are few and far between? Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. Sometimes I really look at our days, weeks, etc., and see that we've had more storms, more moments of chaos, anger, sadness, and generaly mayhem, then any good times. I said to DH tonight that Bears is like a pineapple: a lot of work for not a lot of yield. I know that sounds terrible. But the amount of energy & time, emotional heartache, mental energy, and stress it takes to parent him for one day to have so many nights end in the crapper? To have more incidents/blow-ups, meltdowns (my own included), for the rare good times? It just feels that our lives are completely and utterly out of whack.

I actually can't find much that's pleasant at all about parenting him, really. I don't think anyone but you guys here really know how incredibly hard-no-IMPOSSIBLE, our days are. Really. Yes, we're going thru a particularly horrible time. I realize that. But shouldn't we have *something* here that feels like it's working? No consequences work, very little works. I'm trying to ride it out. I can't believe I've parented him this long, actually, without running away. Which is really what I want to do. He has made me regret being a parent many days. Sounds terrible, I know. But there is just so little joy so much of the time with him that I wonder, where's the bone here? Is there any bone? He doesn't owe me anything. I know that. But I just don't know how we're going to survive him.

Thanks for listening.
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#607 of 913 Old 05-30-2006, 11:25 PM
 
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Oh Bearsmama

I have posted just once before to let you know that your child could've been mine at that age. In many ways, he still is (he is now 8).

I have so many times read your posts and thought to myself, "that's us, she's living our life" but usually I don't have the energy to post. And since you live with someone who sucks the proverbial energy / life out of you too, I know you know what it's like. Your whole post tonight really spoke to me, especially this part, which I have expressed *countless* times to my best friend:

"But I just don't know how we're going to survive him."

We have seen professionals who have ruled out any pathology. But this child is seriously hard work with all of his daily emotional fall-out, food challenges (sensitivites and allergies) mind-games, high-intensity and constant neediness.

He often also says "I'm bad, right?". He knows, deep down, that his behavior is intolerable even though I try so hard to not let him know the level at which he gets to me. And at night, guilt overcomes him and it all spills out.

A small clue to the origins of his behavior came when he had an IQ test administered. He was topping out the WISC-111 test - which means that with his extraordinary mind comes extraordinary emotional challenges. I have long suspected that Bears may be gifted since many (but not at all) exceptionally gifted children struggle with these intensely overwhelming emotions and often are extremely hard to parent and live with. Knowing this does not make the day-to-day challenges easier to live with, but it has given me some tools to deal with specific incidents. Books such as "Guiding the gifted child" by Elizabeth Meckstroth come to mind. We homeschool, so I have this kid 24/7, which is an additional challenge.

I don't know what I would have done if I did not have another child. I know that sounds terrible, but what she has shown me is that parenting is rewarding and fun. That you can give and receive affection - the non-violent kind. That I / we did not "create" my ds's temperament - he really was born that way.

Oh my gosh, mama, I wish you lived closer.
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#608 of 913 Old 05-31-2006, 12:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
I said to DH tonight that Bears is like a pineapple: a lot of work for not a lot of yield.
Oh dear- I am so amazed by your honesty. I am also touched that you trust us enough with those really ugly thoughts. I certainly had lots of them. I just hated him sometimes. I said horrible things. Sometimes I just gave up- which was probably the worst. He could feel that. It was worse than any words.

To tell you the truth... It was the depokote that kept us safe. Putting Nate on a mood stabilizer kept us from blood shed. He wasn't violent until 8 and I was a single mom- he was a big kid. I used to restrain him for hours, he broke windows and a chair and I got a bloody nose once and a black eye another time. He was scary to the dog, to my family, to the neighbors. I don't remember much of that time... I just have this horrible feeling when I read posts like yours. I remember the first time I had to call the police on my baby, the first time I had to leave him in a locked unit at the hospital.

I don't want to scare you. I just want to make sure you get the right help. He sounds very bipolar, or on the autism spectrum. I don't think we ever got Nate's diagnosis quite straigth- Tourettes was/is the best definition. But turning down his intensity was only accomplished with medication. Absolutely nothing I did ever made any difference for good or bad. Some days I could make him better for a little while and some days I was part of what was making him crazy but mostly it had nothing to do with me.

You also need to remember, that 30 years ago, kids like ours would have been sent to state hospitals for months or years. No one would have expected a family to handle this complex of a situation. I am not advocating that- clearly it didn't work either but at least professionals get to have some emotional distance. Parenting and trying to manage this kind of behavior is more than we should expect.

Sorry- I don't have much good tonight.... I just want you to know it really is horrible and unfair and scary and you are doing heroic work.

This is a bit off topic and I don't want to pry into family finances but have you all looked into applying for Social Security for him? (And this goes for other parents lurking.) There is some money and Medicare services available for disabled kids. It can help a bit and opens up some services you might not be able to manage such as PCAs (personal care attendents.)

Peace to all tonight. Love them, get a good night sleep and hang on for dear life.

Maureen

Maureen
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#609 of 913 Old 05-31-2006, 10:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
I am learning to "duck and cover". That has been huge for me the past few days. But what do you do when you CAN'T duck and cover and ride it out? For instance, I cannot physically move Bears anywhere for him to have his storm. Nor can I successfully even move away from him. He follows, he torments. Tonight, he was hitting me, DH, and his little brother, just b/c he was tired and grumpy. And he is actually now making contact with us and it hurts! (he used to sort of raise his hands to someone, but not make contact with our bodies). DH tried to move him to his bedroom to so he could flip out there. That ended up with books, toys, etc., being thrown over the steps to the floor down below.
Well, I sort of meant "metaphorically duck and cover." When dd is in a full-fledged storm, I can't put dd in a safe time-out that is physically apart from us (which I don't like to do anyway) and I can't take a time-out myself that is physically apart from her (which I sometimes really need). She won't stay apart from me. She follows me as if there's a tractor beam radiating from my *ss and she's caught in it. Screaming, yelling, throwing crap, kicking-completely non-redirectable, completely inconsolable. No reaching her. At all. At this point she's mostly not hitting/kicking us, but there's still the throwing and screaming. So when I say "duck and cover" it's sort of an internal thing-finding that spot of peace mentally, inside myself. You know, that zen spot you find when you decide "okay, this is happening, I can't stop it, but I don't have to let it bother me so much. It'll be over soon, and we can deal with it better then." This is where breathing and mantras come in handy, as does the awareness that what is happening does not have the power to rule me and make me feel anything. The power is in me. One moment at a time I can deal with it. One shriek at a time, one thrown object at a time. No thinking about the future, or catastrophizing about what kind of adult this means she'll be. Just this one breath, this one moment, just get through this one. Now this one. And then it's over (eventually).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
And what if those in-between times you mentioned are few and far between? Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. Sometimes I really look at our days, weeks, etc., and see that we've had more storms, more moments of chaos, anger, sadness, and generaly mayhem, then any good times. I said to DH tonight that Bears is like a pineapple: a lot of work for not a lot of yield. I know that sounds terrible. But the amount of energy & time, emotional heartache, mental energy, and stress it takes to parent him for one day to have so many nights end in the crapper? To have more incidents/blow-ups, meltdowns (my own included), for the rare good times? It just feels that our lives are completely and utterly out of whack.
I felt like this for years. Really. It's just this last many months (nearly a year?) that have felt better-and that's not because of anything particularly wonderful that we've done as parents, or because anything we're doing is "working" in terms of changing her behavior, but because she's maturing (that's not to say that I haven't found a lot that works to help me deal with parenting her, I have). And you know what? I wish now that we'd gone for help a long time ago. Of any kind, maybe lots of kinds until we found the right kind. But still, you know, those good times were evidence that there was hope. And also, I see now, evidence of this beautiful, wonderful child who just can't live as easily as other people do. I don't know. That's all I have to offer. s I think that with challenging kids it's all about getting the information, help and support you need to cope with parenting them. There's really no fixing or changing (though there can be some alleviating with the right help), so there's just getting what we need as parents to get through it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
I actually can't find much that's pleasant at all about parenting him, really. I don't think anyone but you guys here really know how incredibly hard-no-IMPOSSIBLE, our days are. Really. Yes, we're going thru a particularly horrible time. I realize that. But shouldn't we have *something* here that feels like it's working? No consequences work, very little works. I'm trying to ride it out. I can't believe I've parented him this long, actually, without running away. Which is really what I want to do. He has made me regret being a parent many days. Sounds terrible, I know. But there is just so little joy so much of the time with him that I wonder, where's the bone here? Is there any bone? He doesn't owe me anything. I know that. But I just don't know how we're going to survive him.
I have so felt that same way. There are still days I feel like I don't like her. There have been days I've actually thought that life would be so much easier if she were somehow just gone (and then totally felt like the worst mother ever, and felt totally guilty because I love her so much). I've hated her (guilt). And it really, truly sucks to feel like that. But we do survive, and we will continue to survive, and I think it will continue to get better. There was a time I didn't think it would get better. Ever. If I had to bet, I'd bet that it will get better for you too. He'll mature, or you'll find the help you need and he needs, or both (hopefully both, it sounds like you so need the help-of some kind).

Where's the bone? Life is funny. Sometimes we go through these horrid things and we just don't see what's in it for us that's any good. And then years later, we realize what the good was, how we benefitted from what we went through and the gifts it gave us. And sometimes we get little, tiny glimpses of it in between the moments of pain. Either way, it's the hope and the tiny glimpses that keep us going, no? You still have the hope, I think, or you wouldn't be trying so damn hard. And you still have the tiny glimpses.

Gtg. More s
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#610 of 913 Old 05-31-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
And what if those in-between times you mentioned are few and far between? Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. Sometimes I really look at our days, weeks, etc., and see that we've had more storms, more moments of chaos, anger, sadness, and generaly mayhem, then any good times. I said to DH tonight that Bears is like a pineapple: a lot of work for not a lot of yield. I know that sounds terrible. But the amount of energy & time, emotional heartache, mental energy, and stress it takes to parent him for one day to have so many nights end in the crapper? To have more incidents/blow-ups, meltdowns (my own included), for the rare good times? It just feels that our lives are completely and utterly out of whack.
RE: the pineapple. Cole had a project he brought home from school earlier in the year where you had to pick a tree or fruit that described your family. I chose a pineapple. It seems to be so fitting.


Quote:
I actually can't find much that's pleasant at all about parenting him, really. I don't think anyone but you guys here really know how incredibly hard-no-IMPOSSIBLE, our days are. Really. Yes, we're going thru a particularly horrible time. I realize that. But shouldn't we have *something* here that feels like it's working? No consequences work, very little works. I'm trying to ride it out. I can't believe I've parented him this long, actually, without running away. Which is really what I want to do. He has made me regret being a parent many days. Sounds terrible, I know. But there is just so little joy so much of the time with him that I wonder, where's the bone here? Is there any bone? He doesn't owe me anything. I know that. But I just don't know how we're going to survive him.

Thanks for listening.
I have been where I didn't like Cole. Have wondered what it would be like to leave. Have not wanted to parent him at all - oh my the guilt. I've been known to reply in response to someone saying something about having kids stolen "they'd bring Cole back" and mean every word of it.

I do have to say though that, in retrospect, things have gotten better for us over the last year. Cole is now over 6 and at 4.5 I thought we might not make it many many days. We seem to be, well I seem to be coping better where he is concerned. I still have lots to work on but I do remember at 4.5 I was at the end of my rope. That's how I found this place. The bad days were out numbering the good and I felt desperate for something. I think sometimes the only reason I didn't flip out completely and make the ten o'clock news is that I knew deep down, I couldn't.

Ok, gtg for now ... the children are getting restless! Many being sent your way.
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#611 of 913 Old 05-31-2006, 02:17 PM
 
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Bearsmama, I came back because I've been thinking about your post all morning and I've been thinking about my worst times with my dd. And I'm wondering what it is you're needing right now. When I read your post I hear that you're feeling frustrated, discouraged, exasperated, exhausted, burnt out, resentful. I wonder if you're grieving a bit in some way. And I'm wondering if you're needing ease, peace, reassurance, empathy, appreciation, a greater sense of safety or stability, some nurturing, some control. I can remember feeling and needing all those things during our toughest times, and I remember not knowing how to get those needs met and not knowing if it was even possible to get those needs met. (At the time I also couldn't even articulate those feelings and needs.)

I can so remember the agony of the worst times, and feeling so alone. And I so want to help. But you're so far away. Know that I'm thinking of you.
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#612 of 913 Old 05-31-2006, 04:54 PM
 
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Hi all,

Not been posting much due to new baby & the demands of tandem-nursing: but I couldn't not respond to bearsmamas tough time right now.

I am sending you English hugs

My heart goes right out to you, and Maureen could not have put it better - you are heroic. The amount of soul-searching and agonising you have done over your little boy is so incredibly moving, I really feel your pain. It frustrates me think of some of smart, compassionate, funny, intelligent mama like you going through all of this and there are mamas out there with such 'easy' kids they take for granted.

I am sure wise old sledg is right too - in years to come you will look back and maybe understand all of this better and hopefully it will make some sense.

Sledg & Maureen your supportive posts to Bearsmama have moved me to tears. You are very, very special women.

Bearsmama, hang in there - I hope you things turn around and you have some good days.

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#613 of 913 Old 05-31-2006, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My Dear Mamas,
I have so much to say. But THANK YOU is the first thing that comes to mind.

Maureen-I read your post last night before bed, and I just cried and cried and cried. I read it aloud to DH and we were both very upset b/c it seemed like what you're talking about-bipolar disorder-is what we've feared in our hearts for Bear's future. During the okay times, I can see that Bears is going to be a challenge forever. He just will. Whatever it is we've always known that it will be tougher for him and for us. During the bad times, I think it will be grueling, grueling work for him and for us forever. And not just work, but understanding a disability of sorts, dealing with mental illness, etc. Last night's post, Maureen, really sort of encapsulated my fears. And I think, in retrospect, I needed to really read it. Just then, at that exact moment. I need to really face what our future *MAY* be. And I say *MAY* b/c we still don't know. He is still so young-not even 4 and a half years old. A baby. And even the last psych. that we met with said that anyone who says that they can dx a kid Bear's age with BP (or much else, for that matter) is not being truthful. And that the truth is: we just don't know. We don't know. A psych wouldn't know. And that not-knowing is sort of a symbol to me of this whole parenting thing. In many ways, it's all a crap shoot. Even with a kid like Bears. But reading your words last night sort of made me think of all the possibilities in a very real way. And the big possibility-the one that DH and I have held in our hearts-that he will (and does, currently) suffer from some depressive illness.

sledg-Last night there was only dark. Today, with puffy eyes and little sleep, I could see some light again. My boy was my boy again, not the embodiment of all my fears for him. He was my quirky, lovable, funny, sweet boy. And the only thing that changed was that I could see some light again. And that I had a sense that somehow we'll get through this. Somehow. Even if it's moment to moment, breathing. And me worrying and sweating and being anxious about his future-although a very legitamate fear-will get us nowhere. Just down that little, dark rabbit hole of what-ifs.

I felt a little bit stronger, today, too, b/c I spoke to someone I know whose brother is severely bipolar. This person knows Bears really well and we just talked and talked about her bro was at this age and how Bears is (some similarities but not a ton). But the main reason we spoke is b/c her family is really close. And I just needed to hear her talk about how her family is still all together, not fractured, open and loving, not ashamed at all of what her bro has and how it's affected her family. She's very honest and open. I just needed to hear, okay, if the worst case scenario happens with Bears, what does that look like in a family? How are they where they are today?
This is a young-ish family (the bro is 20). So all of this is still very present in her mind.

sledg-I'm not good with the quoting thing here, but I love all that you wrote and as always, it just all resonates with me so much. I had some glimpses today. I can see again. The guilt, shame, etc., is sometimes too much to bear. I never in a million years thought I'd ever have these feelings about my own child. But being honest about them sort of sets them free.

And sledg-I don't know what I need. Maybe some sleep. Some good moments. I don't think I can get all my needs met. I really don't. But I'm feeling everything you mentioned. Spent is a big one. I'm spent. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

emblm-So funny that the pineapple stuff keeps coming up. I love the hugs, and I need them. And I appreciate your perspective even two years out from where we are.

Michelle-Thank you. We've wondered about Bears, and whether or not he's gifted. He's clearly very bright, and I wonder how much this intelligence goes hand and hand with some kind of emotional strife to bear in life. My sis, who has struggled with depression her whole life, is seriously one of the most intelligent people I've ever met (like scary smart). We went thru this phase where we thought that giftedness really encapsulated all of Bear's issues. But then I thought that maybe I was looking for something positive to sort of cover up the truth of his troubling behavior. But the truth really is that these things could go hand-in-hand with each other, right? Like, these things aren't mutually exclusive issues.

Justine-I will take all your english hugs! Thank you.

Gtg-Dh needs the computer. I have much love for all of you. More when I can. I found a great quote today that came at the right time. I'll share it below:

The guts carry the feet, not the feet the guts.
Miguel de Cervantes
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#614 of 913 Old 06-01-2006, 10:59 AM
 
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Dear Bearsmama-

I am so glad that you are finding support here and again want to commend you for your bravery and openness. So many of us need this space.

Just one reminder... Nate had every symptom of bipolar- manic/depression. He was diagnosed and treated for it from 9-17. My mother is bipolar as is my uncle. I have an extensive family history for depression.

And Nate is not bipolar today. He isn't. No diagosis is a death sentence. And even my mom isn't nearly as crazy as lots of people's moms. And I love them and they love me and for the most part they are happy contributing members of society. I actually have them both pretty much raised.

I don't want to scare you but this does sound like a neurobiological illness and just want you to remember that parenting is not a very realistic solution. No wonder you feel overwhelmed.

Keep checking in... we are creating a universe that supports children no matter what their struggles. No easy feat.

Maureen
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#615 of 913 Old 06-01-2006, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maureen- This is where I get my strength. And a lot of knowledge, hope, tricks, tips, and most importantly, this is where I get to just BE and say what I really feel about parenting this boy. And man, I don't know what I'd do without it.

BP-My sis has struggled with clinical depression on and off her whole life. And in retrospect, I believe my mother had depression, too. And probably some other members of my extended family. That said, my sis is a fully functioning, professionally successful person and talented, creative, etc. I say that b/c I get what you're saying: This may be a future dx, but it's not a death sentence. In the darkest times, I feel that heavy burden of Bear's future being a "sentence". But after I read your words, and remember those of my friends and family that have some sort of mental illness and remember that, duh, they are all doing just fine, thank you very much.

And my DH and I joke that we're the only ones we know who AREN'T on medication for something at the moment! I really think depression, anxiety, etc., are even more rampant than we realize.

It is comforting to know that Nate has "outgrown" much of his problems and coincidentally, the BP. Which I've been told happens with many of these neurobiological things in kids. Thank you for reminding me that I'm tryign to parent my way through something that parenting can't really help.

Anyway, I have loads more to say, but my little one needs me. I have so much love for all of you. I've said this before, but if you would have told me before I had Bears that I would find this community of women that I don't even know IRL that I could share these moments, these feelings, this life with, well, I would have thought you were crazy. I am amazed where our lives take us. And that somehow I found all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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#616 of 913 Old 06-02-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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A few recent posts have made me think about how having subsequent children after a challenging first can open our eyes to, honestly, just how BAD things were/ are. My daughter, now 18 months, is by no means perfect- she doesn't sleep ever, hates the car, and spent her first six months crying. But since she was a year old, she's been pleasant and often fun to be with during the day; she's made me realize why so many people adore little kids and want to have big families. I never would have understood that if my son (now 5) were my only child!

I hate comparing the two, but it's impossible not to. Seeing how comparatively easy life CAN be with a toddler brings up a lot of regrets about how our lives COULD have been so much better for the past several years, if only kid 1 had functioned more within normal range. I'm generally able to shrug my shoulders and tell myself, "well, that's not what we got," but sometimes it's hard-

And I'm coming from a place where my oldest is much much better now, and our lives with him are very manageable. It would be so much harder if, like some of you, he were continuing to be soooo demanding after the "easier" child was born-
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#617 of 913 Old 06-02-2006, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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srain-Thanks for your reply. And yes, this has been our experience, too. Thank GOD we had a second child. Thank GOD, Thank GOD. I remember an old neighbor of mine watching me fret and worry with Bears running around the front yard of my old house, near the street. And she said, "You need to have another child to stop worrying about that one". And I think there is some truth to that. Not to mention that our second is an enjoyable, "normal" kid. Even lately, our second (who will be 2 yo in August), has been having tantrums. You know, over the "normal" things: not being able to do everything himself, not being able to have everything that his older brother has, etc. And my neighbor this week has actually said she was "sorry" that we're going through this with our toddler right now, b/c MAN, it's hard to hear a little one cry and scream. But you know what? I take all of his stuff in stride. This week, he has seriously cried for hours and hours if I actually added it all up. But along with that comes all the amazing parts of who my little one is. He's bright, cheerful, joyful, actually. Incredibly affectionate, funny, easy going, understands ALREADY about cause and effect, etc., etc., etc.

Now, Bears was a completely other story, as you know.

So, my DH and I really enjoy our second child in a way that we haven't been able to do with Bears. I really hate to compare, but it's almost impossible not to. The differences are actually striking.
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#618 of 913 Old 06-03-2006, 09:30 AM
 
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Oh, man! I totally agree about subsequent children opening our eyes. When my son hit the age at which things became really difficult with my oldest dd (3), it started to become so clear how different she was-how really difficult she was to parent. And now with my son being 4.5 and my little one being 2.5, and seeing them both having normal tantrums and normal difficulties where it's just not a big deal at all in any way-well, in a way it's just such a huge relief because it's becoming more and more clear somehow that what's going on with my oldest really isn't my fault. KWIM? I figure if I were that bad a parent, they'd all be some kind of mess. (right? ) And since I'm no longer stuck in this idea that it's my fault and I have to fix it with just the right parenting, I am beginning to see now how to get through it. I'm feeling more at ease with it all. And it also does help, too, that maturity seems to be helping my oldest.

It is so very hard not to compare, because the differences really are soooooooo striking.

YK, it's also heartbreaking in some ways though, because our oldest has taken so very much of our time and attention. I feel like in some ways we've missed out on some time with our younger ones. But then again, maybe all parents of more than one child feel that way sometimes.
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#619 of 913 Old 06-03-2006, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sledg, I am laughing after reading your post b/c I feel the exact same way. All I need to do when I'm feeling really down on myself is look at my youngest. On the good days, I can see that if I really was that terrible of a parent, he'd be a mess, too! And he's just not. In any way. It really does make one see the true struggleof the challenging kid. And, the small bonus is that it is a relief. A tiny, tiny relief.
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#620 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Night terrors, bed-wetting, tantrums, OH MY!:

Yes, I had to invoke the spirit of Dorothy to fully communicate the craziness of my challenging kid lately. At least my sense of humor is back today.

The last day of preschool is tomorrow, and I have a feeling that a lot of the kids are having hard times right now-even the "normal" ones. Which makes me feel only a tiny bit better. Bears has not gone through a stretch of time like this in a while. Sure, we've had clusters of days, but this is going on a month that he has been out-of-control. Last night he wet the bed (which is something he used to do when he was going thru something). He's also woken up about 5 days in a row now with night terrors. So loud and violent (he wakes up everyone, and if we try to remove ourselves from his path, he follows) that I'm afraid someone will call the cops. The neighbors have heard it for the past few. They're just terrible, and although I've dealt with them before, I'm asking if anyone out there has advice for dealing with them? They scare the hell outta Bears, and subsequently, my little one is frightened by them, too. Last night, a few hours after his night terror, my youngest woke up scared, saying, "No, no, nooooooooo".

Another interesting point here is that my neighbor asked this morning if when Bears is finally through a really bad spell like this is he better on the other side. And the answer in the past has been YES. Hmmmmmmm???

So, it's been a lot of fun around here lately. Just trying to get thru it. I have my bad moments, my breakdowns, but today I'm feeling like I have more strength, more energy, more positivity to be Bear's Alpha dog through this. I need to fake it to make it here, ladies.

Hope all of you are well. Thank you again for this tremendous source of love and support for me and my family.

I think it was Winston Churchill that said, "When you're going through HELL, keep going." That's what I'm doing, ladies.
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#621 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
The neighbors have heard it for the past few. They're just terrible, and although I've dealt with them before, I'm asking if anyone out there has advice for dealing with them? They scare the hell outta Bears, and subsequently, my little one is frightened by them, too.
The neighbors or the night terrors (the advice and the scaring)?

I'm guessing the night terrors. Guess who has something resembling night terrors? Bingo! My challenging dd. Since infancy. I don't know that night terrors is an accurate term. When I did some research to figure out how to handle them, the description of both night terrors and of confusional arousals both seemed to fit. Either way, she's got a problem sleeping. She "wakes" yelling, thrashing, hitting/kicking. But really, she's not awake. Her eyes are open, and if we talk to her she does respond as though she's heard us, but I think she's in between being asleep and being awake. If we talk to her, the whole episode gets worse. If we touch her (especially to "restrain" her in any way, like blocking a kick or punch)-that's when it becomes a really awful, shrieking, violent (literally-hitting, kicking) episode. One night when they were all still sleeping with us, she was punching me and I was blocking and she was yelling and I got sick of it and picked her up and took her to her room. Worst thing I could have done. I cannot explain to you how bad the episode was that night. And once an episode really gets going (usually because we've been talking to her or touching her), it can last up to half and hour. The episodes happen more frequently when she's overtired, stressed, sick, busy day, day with conflict, been eating too much of certain foods.

(She also has nightmares, but she's fully awake crying for us when it's a nightmare, and we can console her (no awful episode) and sometimes she can tell us about her dream.)

The advice I've read, and what helps us here, is to first try prevention (keep her well-rested overall, reduce stress as much as possible, good nutrition). When she's actually having an episode it's best to just not interact at all with her. So no talking, definitely no touching. Once in awhile it seems to help if we simply say in a soft, soothing voice "you're safe"-but only once or twice, any more verbal interaction than that and we're making it worse. This is easier said than done when an episode is keeping others awake, but really it's better than making an episode worse (so it's louder & scarier) and keeping everyone up longer. Prevention, prevention, prevention. Sometimes you can't prevent, but you can alleviate. KWIM? So if something's stressing dd out, we do our best to help her relax/cope overall.

Off. little one is with the grandparents, the nephew has gone home (we babysit on Wednesdays), the oldest is at school-so it's just me and my son. Time for fun.
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#622 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 02:44 PM
 
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Hello mamas ... I've been busy with birthday stuff over the past weekend so I'm just now getting to the thread. My littlest guy turned 2 on Saturday!

Bearsmama, ... we don't have night terrors so I have no advice on that front. Cole has horrible sleeping patterns but never any terrors or nightmares, fortunately. His worst habit, and has been since he was able, has been to get up at random times during the night. Sometimes he woke us, sometimes not, but he would be up and playing or wandering thru the house just because he was awake. Also, I should say, I didn't co-sleep with the twins so he has always slept in his own bed. He's had a tv in his room though since he was 3 just so I could keep him safe. I figured if he was gonna be up, I felt better about him watching a movie and staying in his room than wandering thru the house and not waking me.

But going back to the first child thing... I guess my situation was backwards. My oldest is quite the angel. Always the child that is complemented on her behavior and is welcomed anywhere with friends. She was a really mature kid, even as a toddler. When Cole came along, lord have mercy! How could parenting two (well three in my case at the time) kids the exact same way result in one of them being so different?! Cy is like is sister, as is my littlest one. So I was really thrown for a loop because I expected Cole to be like Carson was ... and as we now know, that certainly isn't what I got! LOL
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#623 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sledg-I guess the English major could have worded that sentence a little better. The neighbors are scary, too (), but YES, I was referring to the night terrors.

Thank you for the advice. I have to read more thoroughly. I have snuck into the kitchen while the kids are quiet, and I don't have much time.

emblm- Thank you. And I don't know what I'd do if Bears came 2nd. I think it's almost better to have the challenging one come first b/c then anything else seems like a cake walk. More on your son's sleeping patterns, later...isn't it interesting, however, that many of these challenging kids have weird sleep things. Sleepwalking, waking, night terrors,etc? Hmmmmm?
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#624 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 03:52 PM
 
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Ditto for my ds on the night terrrors and while this phase of his life has passed now, an "interesting" phenomenon has taken its place: sleepwalking. The same thing has almost consistently induced both night-terrors and sleepwalking in my kid: the need to pee. So, we have to limit before-bed drinks at all costs or else we all suffer.

My 8-year old ds has up until recently been known to pee on the living room mat, into the dishwasher, the trashcan....all while sleepwalking I can laugh about it now, but it was pretty weird at the time.

I agree with sledg on the no-talking thing while in the throes of a night-terror, but sometimes we had to pick him up and carry him to the bathroom to pee even though he was hitting, kicking and shrieking like a banshee, eyes open, speaking in gibberish and completely "not in his body", so to speak. Once the bladder-pressure was relieved, he would settle right back into a deep sleep with no memory of it in the morning. Trying to reason with my kid was the absolute worst thing we could do as it would incite him to previously unattained levels of hysteria.
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#625 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 05:08 PM
 
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Michelle (hey, I'm Michelle too ), that's interesting about your son's needing to pee. That is something I never would have thought of. How did you figure that out?
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#626 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 05:18 PM
 
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By intuition / 6th sense, really! Once we took him once to pee and he calmed down nearly instantly, we tried it again the next time, of course. And that still seems to be the trigger.
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#627 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 07:07 PM
 
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Ahhh, the magic of intuition.

I had another thought, thinking about the sensation of a full bladder as trigger and imagining how that sensation could partially (but not completely) rouse someone and lead to one of these sleep episodes: My dd has been having fewer episodes since moving to her own bed and I think part of the reason for that is that she's not crowded and bumping into someone (thus partially waking) every time she moves in her sleep. This was part of our decision to move everyone to their own beds-she was having multiple episodes nearly every night, and since we were awake so much because of it we noticed that the episodes often (but not always) coincided with her movement and bumping into someone.

It is interesting that it seems that so many challenging kids have odd sleep issues.
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#628 of 913 Old 06-07-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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Not much time tonight ladies... exhausted!!! but I just sent my first kid for a full blown sleep study. I have worked with he and his mom for a few years- he's 10 now and nothing seems to really help much, doesn't really fit any clear definition but we recently decided we had to check out his sleep so he is going to the University Sleep Center overnight with mom to measure sleep patterns. I will certainly let you know if they are any help. My worst fear is that they will diagnose him with a sleep disorder but not really have much to offer.

Nate's sleep was often an issue- he also grinds his teeth something horribly at night.

Off topic... can I tell you he is in love with a 24 year old single mom!?!? Boy am I ready for that? I love that he is taking it so seriously- very aware of how his relationship with her impacts the little one. Wow... I did good with this one.

Maureen
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#629 of 913 Old 06-08-2006, 01:55 AM
 
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TEAK has night terrors, too. Thankfully, they are far less these days, but they were horrendous for nearly two years. I totally agree that trying to restrain her or move her were the worst things to try and greatly prolonged the episodes. Three things helped us. The first was doing the whole stay quiet and calm thing with a few murmured reassurances. That worked if applied at the exact right moment. Another thing that worked even when things were full-blown was to recite a very familiar book to her softly. Somehow, the pattern of the words permeated when nothing else would. I can't tell you how many nights I sat there reciting Eloise. I think I still have all 87 pages of the first book memorized. Number three is music. We play the same cd for her every night as she falls asleep and turn it off when we come to bed. On bad nights, it plays all night long and if we turn it on during an episode, she calms. Somehow both familiar words and music reach her when no amount of other attention will.
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#630 of 913 Old 06-08-2006, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,
Wow- so much good stuff here on night terrors and lots else this morning.

Funny-Bears grinds his teeth, too. Not every night, but sometimes there is a pattern of a few days where I hear it on an off all night long.

Michelle-Very interesting about the full bladder. The other night, he had a horrible night terror AND peed in the bed. Within an hour or two of each other. No night terror last night, but he peed in the bed again. This is a problem on many levels-the first of which is that we co-sleep still, and well, a wet bed is not fun for anyone at 3:00am. I'm not even sure I could escort him to the bathroom when he's either dead asleep or having a terror. How did you manage that?

Also, Bears still sleeps in these pull-up type underwear things (he actually knows how to stay dry, but I really think it's a comfort thing and I'm just letting this one go for now). Anyway, I actually bought a different kind of them the other day-ones for younger kids b/c I couldn't find the ones we normally buy. Lo and behold the first night with the younger kid pull-up on and he pees out of his diaper all over the place. It's almost like he was regressing a bit b/c of the reminder of the old diaper? Maybe I'm connecting things here that don't make much sense.

sledg-Can you tell us how you successfully moved a long-time co-sleeping kid? Bears says that he will sleep in his own bed "when he's 5". Well, I've been ready for him to be in his own space now for ages. I think the lack of space, the bumping into everyone, rouses him. And of course, everyone else. Some nights he sleeps solid as a rock, and others it's like he's crying out for more space. He has his own twin bed in his "official" bedroom, but has always slept with us. I think my little one is ready to sleep on his own, but Bears is resisting. And the whole arrangement, quite frankly, has wreaked havoc on everyone. It has not always been a good thing. Any suggestions from your success with your dd?

And Maureen-When I see the link to your parenting center I find myself humming that old song, "Midnight at the O-a-s-i-s...". It's so refreshing to hear how sensitive Nate is about his girlfriend's child. I wonder, does Nate still have sleep issues as an adult????

Anyway, ladies, today is Bears last day of preschool for the summer. I am a little bit frightened about the next few months with much more unstructured time. I have to put my thinking cap on. He's doing the local community cap for a few weeks in the mornings, but other than that, NO PLANS. Which usually means chaos. Thinking, thinking, thinking...
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