Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One Small Victory

Sometimes small victories feel really big.  Especially when the victory was over a year in the making.  
Royal has an angry side that is rarely seen outside of our home.  Mostly his anger is just frustrating to live with, but every now and then it's scary. 
That's when I think, "If he acts like this when he's my size, what will I do?  I won't be able to physically restrain him." Scary. 

One day, in desperation, I called my friend Jen. She's trained in this area.

"Oh My Gosh, Jen help me!! What do I do when his anger is violent?  How will I do this for years to come?"
The face of a disregulated child
This is what she suggested knowing he needs to learn to control himself before he's too big to be controlled.  "Choose a place that is far enough away to give both of you space, but close enough to keep an eye on him." I chose the step next to the window (thinking it may be calming to look out and see cars driving by).  "Next, say in a loving but firm voice, 'Go sit on the step and when you're ready to talk to me I am here for you."  She emphasized that I should not choose the amount of time.  It's up to him to know when he's calm enough to interact in an acceptable way.

Easier said than done.  At first when he was sent to the step, he'd jump up after 5 seconds just to be sent back again and again.  Often he'd yell mean things.  More recently he huffs a lot and whispers mean things (mostly about me or Hiyab) to himself.  Only a couple times has he used the step on his own (and those times were to escape trouble that he deserved to be in).  

Yesterday, Hiyab hit him on the hand with a wooden sword and it hurt.  He was mad.  He grabbed his hand, growled a little, I braced myself for him to attack her. 

Drum roll please...
He ran to the step!!! All by himself!!

On the step he cried an angry cry, but he stayed there until I talked to Hiyab about what she'd done and then came to him.  I was so thrilled.  I hugged him, told him how amazing that was, told him how proud I was of him for following the steps (no pun intended).  He was happy too because Hiyab "finally" got in trouble and he didn't.  
The face of a goofy happy child.  YES!!

Maybe he can do this after all.  I know we need at least 357 more good choices under his belt before I feel okay but for now we have one. 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Anxiety

     Thanksgiving went pretty well this year for Royal.  He had a few moments of getting overwhelmed, and nearly exploded once or twice.  I planned ahead better then last year.  He had gluten free stuffing, gravy, cookies, and pumpkin pie so he didn't feel left out.  Also, he got an entire turkey leg (which he requested weeks ago) to himself and was allowed to watch two movies in a row after dinner.  When I said no to the third (it was already after 9pm), the anger rose but I talked him down and got him into bed.

Table for 19

     Christmas is just three and a half weeks away and I'm beginning to panic. So much stimulation, so many new gifts, so many treats, so many opportunities for him to loose it.  Last year I chose to let him eat whatever he wanted during Christmas break - including gluten.  I thought, "Maybe all the anger is because he feels left out.  If he gets to do everything everyone else does, he'll be happy!"  Big mistake.  He was also trying a new medication. Bad idea.  He and I had a month of full on raging lunatic Hell.
     Thinking about it makes me want to cancel Christmas all together.  No party, no gifts, no treats.  A trip to Hawaii sounds good. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I have a husband and five other children who adore this special time of year.  For them it is the best time of the year - they are all about Christmas.
We look pretty normal.  Lol.
      But they don't bear the brunt of Royal.  He saves 90% of it for me.  I'm his target audience.  I get the dirty looks, the rages, and the hateful words.  I'm special.

Friday, November 21, 2014

He's Done. He's 18.

People are always telling parents how big their kids are getting and reminding them of how few years they have with them, etc.  I think the intention is to make them appreciate the little time they have and just how quickly kids grow up. 

It's true, the time goes by fast- it seems like just yesterday that we brought Harrison home from the hospital.  We thought for sure someone would notice we had no idea what to do with him.  Then soon enough he was riding a tricycle, and later wore a wet suit everyday just because it was awesome. Before we knew it he turned 10, and a couple years later picked out his own cloths at Old Navy- dark jeans, an argyle sweater and a tie. 

But other events seem like a hundred years ago- like when he refused to eat anything that wasn't white unless it was a hot dog, or when he pooped in his underpants for six months after potty training. 

Fortunately he now eats anything- even beans and ketchup if he must, and is fully potty trained. He can even do all the things that I stressed out about, like read and write.  He has other skills that just happened along the way. He can make a sandwich, dress himself, do laundry, drive a car, and make friends! He's fully cooked, my job is done. 

Happy 18th Birthday Harrison Tennessee Stanley!

I'm pretty excited about this new phase of life.  He's still in high school so I can't drop all the rules right away, but it's fun to not have to "make him obey" my every command.  He knows what we want for him and from him.  He knows what we think and believe.  I love to hear about his ups and downs and cheer him on.  He is his own person, and I really like him.

The new question we get is, "What is Harrison doing next year?"  What you really mean is, where is he going to college?  My answer to you is,  we don't really care.  I know this sounds a bit lackadaisical but we believe the next few years will be about learning to work and pay bills, manage his own life, build friendships, and work on his comedy routine. 

And, ya, he's going to college.  He'll be living at home with us for at least another year though because he likes us and doesn't want to start life with a bunch of debt. 

I'm happy with his choice.  Keep making good choices Harry.