Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Trying to keep up with life...

I've been trying to figure out why I've had such a tough time updating the blog lately & it seems mostly to be that I'm tired. I've been just keeping up with life for the past few weeks (months?) & yesterday I simply didn't do a very good job of that, either. There is no question that life in this particular corner of the New Republic is very difficult when I'm too tired to cope, so I'm working on it... I went to bed an hour earlier last night & that's a start. I think that I've been staying up too late every night partly because I'm getting my fill of necessary quiet time & partly because I've not found it much help when I do go to bed earlier, since I don't sleep soundly. I was reading an issue of Newsweek featuring menopause that Charlie brought home from work for me & it was very interesting & informative. I think that the sleep issues I'm having are very much due to menopause issues- case in point was this morning, when I woke up at 4:59 with a hot flash & had to throw off the covers, I was so hot. Then I dozed off, & thne woke up because I was freezing... This happens nearly every night at some point. Charlie & I are quite sure that the fibromyalgia I was diagnosed with last fall is due to menopause-related sleep issues, too. It is actually a comfort to know that this will all clear up in time. But I have to find strategies to cope NOW. Having 2 people in this household who are undergoing hormonal changes at the same time is not very good timing, since Brendan's flashes of adolescence can conflict mightily with my flashes of menopause, with poor Charlie left holding the bag. But it's what we're doing, so we have to figure it out.

There is fun stuff going on, as can be seen in the photo of Charlie & Brendan enjoying the snow. Brendan adores the snow & plays out in it nearly every day. The kids next door joined the fray on Sunday & they all (including Charlie) had a great time. Another activity that we all enjoyed over the weekend was watching the movie It's Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Charlie found it at the library last week & had fond memories of watching it as a kid (it seems they showed it every Thanksgiving Day in Pittsburgh...) so he brought it home. We started watching it Friday evening with Grammie & it took us the rest of the weekend to finish it, since it was over 3 hours long (it was on 2 vhs cassettes). It is hysterically funny- one of those early 60's movies with nearly everyone known to early tv & old movies in it. Brendan ate up the slapstick & I had fun identifying the actors (an amazing number of cameo appearances). I think Charlie enjoyed the trip down memory lane... :)

The not-so-fun stuff has Brendan really wrestling with the OCD/tics these past few days. They would hit him (& us) unexpectedly & leave everyone gasping for breath afterward. Many things were triggering them, so we couldn't really adjust the environment to help out. He had a really tough time on Saturday with japanese lesson. We'd missed a week because Tomoko was out of town taking an exam that she needs to finish up her masters degree. Things started-out all right with lesson last Saturday, because Brendan asked her to come upstairs to read some of his legos to him (his Sentai Fortress lego has graffiti in hiragana on the walls, & although we can sound out the letters, we don't know what it says...). Unfortunately, when they came down I agreed to let Brendan bring one of the legos with him "so his hands have something to do" (which is a legitimate need of his), but the lego kept falling apart, which not only distracted him, but triggered a tic... I released him to Charlie so Tomoko & I could continue lesson, but he had a rough time until Charlie put "Mad. Mad World" on, which was a good distraction. Brendan's difficulty with japanese lesson led me to decide to ask his school teachers if I could come in & do japanese with him once a week. He's exempt from spanish class because he's taking japanese, so he has time, & I'm beginning to think that his tendency to think of school & home as very separate things is getting in his way when it comes to learning japanese. When I checked this idea out with Brendan we was (surprisingly) enthusiastic... I also asked him this morning what would help with our Saturday lesson with Tomoko, & he decided that his green squishy ball (shades of Kristina's Charlie) would be good to try, so we will this Saturday.

On Sunday he & Charlie took down some pictures in his Sunday School room that had been triggering him, so he was able to stay in the classroom most of time on Sunday, although I guess he wasn't very interested in participating in the activity for class. Sigh. One (perhaps strangely) comforting thing is that, when Charlie chatted with one of Brendan's teachers about how class is going, it became very clear that Brendan wasn't the only, or even biggest, problem child in class. With Brendan, at least, there is a sense of what's going on with him & that we're working on it. Not every kid with behavioural "issues" has that going for them (especially the ones who don't seem to have "special needs"). Actually, similar issues seem to be occurring in Brendan's class at school, too, so it would seem to be an age-related thing. Charlie were talking last night about how amazed we are by Brendan's teachers, coping so well with so many diverse personalities & "special" needs (not just the IEP kids, either :). It's just not an easy time of life for kids...

The whole tic thing seemed to come to a climax of sorts yesterday. Brendan began the day with severe difficulty coping, although a bright spot was that he dressed quickly & had no difficulty getting out the door. Tics/thoughts bothered him at breakfast, though, & only got worse in the car on the way to school, & I found myself swinging from compassion to exasperation. He truly was at the mercy of the tics, though, & kept moaning that he was cursed... When we got to school he barely held it together long enough to put everything in his locker, then made a run for his box... The kids have been bringing in big boxes to be used to make the sets for their class play & Brendan has adopted one of them as his safe place. He barely fits in it, but does manage to get the top flaps folded over him so that you can't really tell if he's there or not. Cherie explained that he only seems to need it at the beginning & end of the day, when things are pretty chaotic. It's good that he's found a safe place, although one kid was indignant that he was using it, rather than it being for the play sets, & evicted him with great explosions of noise from Brendan, until it was explained that the teacher has given Brendan the box & plans to replace it with another from home. Another classmate, however, made Brendan a locking mechanism for the box out of paper clips, so his taking up residence in it is not universally frowned-upon by his peers. When I came back upstairs (after managing to do my greeting gig for a little bit, trying hard not to worry about him) Brendan was still in the box, but when I went to kiss him goodbye he was ready to move on. Cherie was wrestling with her computer, so I left Brendan engaged in rescuing her :) Before going downstairs I checked-out the idea of having japanese at school & she thought it was a great idea, so I'll do some preparing during the week & start going in on Fridays after lunch to work with him on japanese. This could be a lot of fun...

Outside of a much-needed trip to the chiropracter & trip to the asian food store (also much-needed :), I spent my day mostly doing laundry & trying to rest up for when he got home from school. We've been given another InuYasha infusion, so I'm gratefully pre-watching to find episodes that Brendan can see. We're getting toward the end of the anime series, & luckily most of the hyper-violent stuff seems to be behind us.

Brendan was back in his box when I went to get him, but extricated himself & was pretty mellow on the way home. He played Adventure Quest peacefully, watched some InuYasha with me, & then did more AQ. It wasn't until the hour or so before dinner, when he was on an AQ break, that the tics started in again. By the time Charlie came home Brendan was a mess again & I was not coping well, partly because he was very touchy on top of being triggered by everything in sight. As he sat down at the table, he compulsively put some candy in his mouth just as I was serving dinner & that put me over the top, so I told him to take it out & he sat & sulked & wouldn't eat. I felt bad, but angry, too. Charlie & I sat & ate (rice & edamame- Brendan's favourite) in silence, until the atmosphere lightened a bit, then I started talking about InuYasha & encouraging Brendan to tell dad about one of the episodes we saw. That helped, but he said he had a tic about eating, & as Charlie & I tried to sort it out with him, he ended-up on the floor, rocking & moaning. I was afraid he's put his head through a cabinet while rocking, so I sat on the floor & pulled him into my lap, & that seemed to break the tic & he was able to sit up & talk to us. He wanted to play AQ, so we let him & first brought him his evening meds, then got him to agree to eat his dinner at the computer. It wasn't optimum, but I really wanted food in him, to help him feel better emotionally (he & I seem to have similar blood-sugar issues) & so we did it. For the rest of the evening he was fine, even having a giggling good time playing ExoForce with dad before bed & listening quietly as I read to him afterward. Charlie & I talked afterward about how difficult it can be to set boundaries (behavioural & otherwise) with a kid who can fly off the handle at any moment. It would be very easy to spoil a kid like that... I usually end-up doing the opposite & setting him off because I have very high standards for behaviour, & then of course we have to pick up the pieces. It is a very puzzling situation.

This morning, although he awoke with a big groan that did not bode well, Brendan was in pretty good form. I pretended to be digging for buried Brendan treasure as he huddled under the covers, & he came out to get dressed in a cheerful mood. He was fine on the way to school & I left him at his locker to go open the door for everyone, since we were running slightly late (due to more snow falling overnight & the road conditions being variable). When I came back upstairs he was, gasp!, sitting at his desk typing on his alpha smart (something he hasn't wanted to do, because of OCD thoughts, for ages...). He showed me what he was writing (a fake advertisement, for a school assignment) & wanted me to read it. It was Brendan-silly & -witty, with a touch of 10-year-old grossness & he was delighted with it. :) (I did suggest that he might want to remove the reference to fecal matter, but maybe I'm just a spoilsport.) In all, it bodes well for this school day. He'll be happy when he gets home, too, because I was able to pick up my cleaned & ready-for-action sewing maching this morning, so we can finish working on his wizard robes. Then I really have to get some sewing done for Charlie's birthday... February 6th!! I am also cranking out knitted shawls for our church service auction (while watching InuYasha- never a wasted moment :) & would like to make another for my mom's birthday (February 12th!!!), so staying well-rested is going to be key...


At 11:51 PM, Blogger kristina said...

Get lotsa rest!

A friend of ours has a son (now middle school age) who has AS, OCD, Tourette's, bipolar and recently wrote to us, and I thought about your good-hearted and great-spirited descriptions of Brendan and of all you do together. Sometimes I feel it's just getting from one moment to the next with minimal fuss.......and soaring when the situation seems right. I like very much reading about how you and Charlie and Brendan are all so much a team, a trio, really like Jim and Charlie and me----it takes three!


Post a Comment

<< Home