Saturday, November 30, 2013

Getting ready for day at a time.

We spent the morning decorating our tree, putting up the ornaments and hanging Christmas things around the house.  Other than a few broken ornaments as we were hanging them, things went relatively well.  After the decorating was a different story!  Matthew somehow thought it would be a good idea to chase his brothers around and throw a glass ornament at them.  This of course resulted in chards of glass ALL over the living room, in blankets, in the carpet, all over the coffee table and stacks of papers.  James of course proceeds to run through the broken glass to tell me resulting in bleeding feet.  Then Matthew began the lying, he didn't do it, nobody did it, the dog did it, Joel did it...blah, blah, blah.  I have to admit this one pushed me over the edge, we had JUST gone through what a pain it is to clean up the broken ornaments when we were decorating the tree. We had JUST gone over the fact that the broken ornaments can hurt somebody.  For goodness sakes you are almost nine years old, don't throw crap!!!!!!! 

Deep breaths momma, deep breaths.......

Ok onto our gift giving this year.  I am not going overboard this year.  For the first few years the boys were home I bought tons of stuff, partly because it was fun and partly because of the guilt factor of all the crappy Christmases they had before me.  However, they don't take care of their stuff, they don't appreciate anything, and it just ends up being a total waste.  This year I am only buying four things each:  Something they Want, Something they Need, Something to Wear, and Something to Read.

Something they Want:  I told them I was only buying one fun present/toy each.  Surprisingly so far they have been totally fine with it, maybe it will hit them on Christmas, but I'm sure they will get tons of fun stuff from my family.  They each have put in their requests.  Matthew wants a new Nintendo DS, but this would be his 5th DS in three years.  I happened to have found the extended warranty I purchased on his last one, so I just shipped it off to be fixed for him...shhhh, don't tell him!  I will be "giving" it to him for Christmas with the new Pokémon X game I bought at GameStop (It was used so I saved 20 bucks and the man shrink wrapped it for me so it looks new!) and the Pokémon 'skin' to put on his DS.  James wanted BeyBlade stuff which I had found a bunch of on clearance last summer and Joel wanted drums, so I ordered a VTech drumset off Amazon.

Something they Need:  There really isn't anything the boys "need", so I decided to get them lessons/memberships for this category.  Matthew is getting a family Zoo Membership, James is getting a online subscription to ABC Mouse, and Joel is getting ice skating lessons.

Something to Wear:  I hit up Gap's Black Friday sale of 50% off everything and got Matthew a new sweatshirt and James and Joel got new super hero sweaters.

Something to Read:  I have been on the look out for really nice hard cover new or like new books at goodwill.  You cant beat it at .50 a book!!  I have found some REALLY nice classic new hardcover books for each of the boys this year.  I even found a couple of series of books for Matthew that he has been wanting.  I splurged and bought the new Diary of a Wimpy kid book for Matthew.  He has been reading like crazy lately and that makes a momma proud!

Christmas Eve we always get new pajamas and a movie and of course there will be the stockings on Christmas morning.  This year I have some dollar store items and will be getting gift cards for fast food places for the stockings.

Now I just have to stick to my guns and not buy all the good deals I see :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

I Spy Jars and a GIVEAWAY

Today's Art Therapy Thursday (or Friday since I'm a day late due to Thanksgiving) are these adorable I Spy jars!


About a week ago while at the grocery store I was conned into buying these cute little Apple juices by one persuasive three year old.  We were about to head up to New York for a lunch get together with some other "trauma moms" from Orlando.  This would be a four hour trip up and a four hour trip back for lunch, crazy right?!  BUT oh so worth it ;). Anyway, we had to pick up some snacks and these made their way into my cart.

(This picture is of the plastic bottles, our grocery store only had glass....I'm keeping my eye out for these!)

I decided these little bottles couldn't go to waste and found the perfect craft to put them to use.

I had picked up several different beads at a craft store awhile back on clearance.  You will need letter beads and an assortment of others.  I had soccer balls, footballs, baseballs, and animals.  I also had some sequins that I thought would look great.  

We filled the jars up with rice.  You can dye the rice using food coloring but we didn't do that this time.  You will need to leave some space in the jars so they can be "shaken" around.

I had the kids each pick a color of sequins and dump them in the jar and then let them pick an assortment of beads to put in.

In Matthews jar we put the letters "RELAX" and in the younger two kiddos we put their names.

Once everything was in, we superglued the caps on, hopefully avoiding any curious hands from dumping rice everywhere.  The glass jars themselves may be a little iffy for a child prone to throwing things when upset, but were gonna hope for the best!  You could always use a little plastic water bottle instead if you're worried about it breaking or maybe you will be lucky enough to find the plastic version of these jars in your local store.
For now we put our jars over in the calm down corner.  The boys have gone over several times to play I Spy and find their letters or other beads.

In addition to using Art to help the boys and I connect, one other great way to communicate with children is BOOKS!  I love using books that are relevant to whatever a particular child is going through.  I've got a great give away for all my readers of a new book written by Ricky Martin.  The book is called "Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars":
"Santiago’s biggest dream is to perform on stage.  But when he doesn’t get the lead role in the school play, he can’t help but doubt himself. Encouraged by his father’s inspiring words, Santiago rebuilds his confidence and finds that with passion and dedication, you can achieve amazing things beyond your wildest imagination." - Amazon

What a great message for our kiddos, despite everything they have been through they can still reach their biggest dreams.  I hope you win and can enjoy it with your kids!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Skittles Game

The M&M games were a big hit with James and Joel yesterday, as well as with the Mobile Therapist!  I decided to create a few more games to have on hand, these ones use skittles.  Free printables for these games can be found here, which links you to google docs.
 This game board connects with our "Calm Down Corner" and relaxation exercises we have been practicing.  There is another game board for emotions located in the packet as well!

The basic directions of the game: Each person will receive a fun size bag of skittles. They will pull out a skittle and move their piece to the next space of that color.  They will then do the activity listed for that color and eat the skittle.  Whoever gets to the finish first wins!
Be sure to check out the M&M game!
If you want to follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas and activities click the Pinterest button on the right side of the blog :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

M&Ms Feelings Activity

My kids LOVE m&m's, they may or may not be used frequently as a bribe in our household.
I found this idea on Pinterest and it's been sitting around on one of my "Boards" forever!!  I've modified he original game a bit to fit my families particular needs and I think it turned out great!  We will be doing the activity on Monday when James' Mobile Therapist is out, so Ill let you know how it goes.

I've made two versions of the M&M game, the first one focuses on feelings and the second focuses on feeling Angry and calming down.  You will need to print out a game board, you could either print one for the whole family to share or print mini boards so each person has their own.  I laminated mine so we can use them again without getting them ruined.  Each person will need a fun size bag of M&M's or an assortment of 10 or so M&M's.  You can go around in a circle each taking a turn, pulling out a M&M and doing what the game board says.

 Here is a link to my post about our Calm Down Corner and strategies:  Calm Down Corner

Here are both games to download from google docs.  They are full page size, I just set my printer to print multiple pages to make them half or quarter page sized.

If you want to follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas, click the link on the right hand side of my blog!

Be sure to join us on Art Therapy Thursdays, for great arts and crafts ideas to use with special kiddos:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

PTSD and Weight Gain

Have you read this article about how PTSD could lead to sizeable weight gain in women.

"The women were asked about the worst trauma they experienced and if they had symptoms of PTSD. Symptoms included re-experiencing the traumatic event, feeling threatened, avoiding social situations and feeling emotionally numb. PTSD was defined as having four or more symptoms over a month or more."

Often times the "trauma" that we as mothers of attachment challenged children is referred to as secondary PTSD, although not an official diagnosis, it refers to the mirroring of PTSD symptoms that our children exhibit.  I think this is dismissive to what we as mothers have gone through.  I hear from families all over about the constant threats and violence that some of them have endured, often for years.  They have lived with locked doors, hidden their kitchen knives, installed video monitoring systems and developed safety plans.  They have been physically and verbally abused by their own children.  They have been isolated from the outside world.  Our homes and experiences have moved beyond "secondary" trauma. 

Ill take it a step further and say that the majority of moms I know go beyond Secondary PTSD and meet the criteria for full blown PTSD.  Yes, our children may have PTSD and we very well may mirror their symptoms.  However, the longer you live with a child who has experienced trauma the more direct and indirect trauma you receive from the child.  I can confidently say that even though our home is relatively free from direct trauma, threats and violence at this time, the effects from the PTSD that I suffered early on are real and still something that I am working through.

I encourage you to take a look at the PTSD criteria, read over the article and discuss it with your doctor.  I know I for one am totally blaming my weight gain on definitely has nothing to do with my love of cheese fries and hatred of exercise!

Take a look at the DSM-V criteria for PTSD: (link the following definition was taken from)

Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event that meets specific stipulations and symptoms from each of four symptom clusters: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. The sixth criterion concerns duration of symptoms; the seventh assesses functioning; and, the eighth criterion clarifies symptoms as not attributable to a substance or co-occurring medical condition.
Two specifications are noted including delayed expression and a dissociative subtype of PTSD, the latter of which is new to DSM-5. In both specifications, the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD must be met for application to be warranted.

Criterion A: stressor

The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, as follows: (one required)
  1. Direct exposure.
  2. Witnessing, in person.
  3. Indirectly, by learning that a close relative or close friend was exposed to trauma. If the event involved actual or threatened death, it must have been violent or accidental.
  4. Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to aversive details of the event(s), usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, collecting body parts; professionals repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). This does not include indirect non-professional exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures.

Criterion B: intrusion symptoms

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the following way(s): (one required)
  1. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories. Note: Children older than six may express this symptom in repetitive play.
  2. Traumatic nightmares. Note: Children may have frightening dreams without content related to the trauma(s).
  3. Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) which may occur on a continuum from brief episodes to complete loss of consciousness. Note: Children may reenact the event in play.
  4. Intense or prolonged distress after exposure to traumatic reminders.
  5. Marked physiologic reactivity after exposure to trauma-related stimuli.

Criterion C: avoidance

Persistent effortful avoidance of distressing trauma-related stimuli after the event: (one required)
  1. Trauma-related thoughts or feelings.
  2. Trauma-related external reminders (e.g., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, or situations).

Criterion D: negative alterations in cognitions and mood

Negative alterations in cognitions and mood that began or worsened after the traumatic event: (two required)
  1. Inability to recall key features of the traumatic event (usually dissociative amnesia; not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
  2. Persistent (and often distorted) negative beliefs and expectations about oneself or the world (e.g., "I am bad," "The world is completely dangerous").
  3. Persistent distorted blame of self or others for causing the traumatic event or for resulting consequences.
  4. Persistent negative trauma-related emotions (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame).
  5. Markedly diminished interest in (pre-traumatic) significant activities.
  6. Feeling alienated from others (e.g., detachment or estrangement).
  7. Constricted affect: persistent inability to experience positive emotions.

Criterion E: alterations in arousal and reactivity

Trauma-related alterations in arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the traumatic event: (two required)
  1. Irritable or aggressive behavior
  2. Self-destructive or reckless behavior
  3. Hypervigilance
  4. Exaggerated startle response
  5. Problems in concentration
  6. Sleep disturbance

Criterion F: duration

Persistence of symptoms (in Criteria B, C, D, and E) for more than one month.

Criterion G: functional significance

Significant symptom-related distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).

Criterion H: exclusion

Disturbance is not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.

Specify if: With dissociative symptoms.

In addition to meeting criteria for diagnosis, an individual experiences high levels of either of the following in reaction to trauma-related stimuli:
  1. Depersonalization: experience of being an outside observer of or detached from oneself (e.g., feeling as if "this is not happening to me" or one were in a dream).
  2. Derealization: experience of unreality, distance, or distortion (e.g., "things are not real").

Specify if: With delayed expression.

Full diagnosis is not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately.

There are some really great therapies out there for PTSD, if your looking for more information I would check out EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and see if it might help you or your child in your healing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

If you all are anything like me you love reading other people's adoption stories!  You may remember Nia Varalos from the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, well she has recently came out with a book documenting her adoption story.  Nia and her husband first met their daughter when she was almost three years old.  The book tells her families story, "Some families are created in different ways but are still, in every way, a family."

I cant wait to read it!

Art Therapy Thursdays: Animal Sculpture

I found this weeks Art Therapy Thursday idea on Deborah Hage's website.  There is some really great articles on her site, its worth taking a few minutes to explore!

The activity involves the children making their own animals out of clay.  You can pick up the Sculpey brand clay at any craft store. I got mine at Walmart for about $8.  This type of clay can be baked after the kids are done to make the sculptures hard.  You could use regular modeling clay as long as you didn't want the sculptures to be able to stick around for awhile!

I explained to the kids that they needed to make an animal out of the clay that they would want to become.  It could be a real animal or a made up animal, but it had to be 3D (able to stand up) not flat.  I also told them when they were done they would get to tell us all about their animal and why they would want to be that animal.

When they were finished I gave them each the opportunity to tell me all about their animals.  I asked some guiding questions like "What does your animal eat" and "Where does it live" if they needed help telling us about it.  It really was amazing the insight I was able to get by observing and interpreting their choices when creating the animals.

Matthew created an Elephant.  He told us he wanted to be an elephant so he would be big and strong and have sharp tusks that could defeat anybody.  This has been an ongoing theme for Matthew since he came to me three years ago, the desire to be bigger and stronger than everyone, "defeating" the bad guys.  Makes perfect sense given his history, clearly there is still a lot of vulnerability and feeling helpless here. 

James made an octopus.  When asked why he wanted to be an octopus he told us that he could swim after people in the ocean and catch them with all of his arms. This describes James to a "T".  He is an attention seeker and a hugger with some serious boundary/personal space issues :)  I can definitely picture him swimming around the ocean chasing people and hugging them with all those arms.

Joel made some rock thing that he called his "baby", cause....well, he's 3 and he liked to smoosh the colors together, LOL!

We had a great time together doing this activity.  The boys were all engaged in their own sculpture.  They had to ask me for pieces of clay so it gave us an opportunity to practice manners and sharing. 

I'd love to see pictures if you try this activity at your house!!  Feel free to link to your blog post in the comments!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Art Therapy Thursdays: New Blog Segment

Introducing a new weekly blog segment:

If you are new to my blog, let me give you the quick summary of my family!  I am a single mom who has adopted three boys through the foster care system.  I am still a foster parent so we may or may not have some extra children in our home at any time.  My three boys suffered a great deal of early childhood trauma before coming to my house due to abuse and neglect.  As a result of their trauma my oldest two have experienced varying degrees of difficulty forming healthy attachments.  If you want to know more about the effects of early childhood trauma and attachment resistance I encourage you to check out Beyond Trauma and Attachment, Inc. (BETA) at .  Parenting kiddos who have experienced trauma is unique and challenging but every step of progress they make is a huge blessing.  Knowing you played a hand in their healing is beyond satisfying, it is a comfort to your soul.  There are thousands of kids right here in the United States waiting for homes, it is not easy road and this whole parenting gig is not easy, but to that one child it matters.  I encourage you to look into foster care and/or adoption in your area.  If you have any questions I'm happy to discuss it with you!

With that background out of the way, my kids love arts and crafts of any kind! They beg to break out the glue, glitter, and scissors and I cringe at the suggestion.  Do any of you know how MESSY boys are???  My sons teacher calls him Houdini due the amount of mess he can make in mere seconds.  So how do I solve this dilemma, I turn this arts and craft time into a learning opportunity.  We have Art Thursdays at our house. It is almost as popular as Pizza Friday!  This means that Thursday afternoon/evening we have a craft.......well they think it is just a craft.  In reality the "crafts" that I pick for us to do serve many purposes.  First, we do the "craft" together to encourage some family bonding time.  Fun, no pressure bonding time is GREAT for our work on attachment issues.  Second, we focus on the kids using positive social skills, if you want to participate in the "craft" you have to use manners and be kind to one another, passing the materials, encouraging one another, and focusing on the task. Third, the "crafts" focus on therapy type things (so official sounding right 'therapy things'), feelings, self-image, social skills, trauma, etc.  There is always a hidden goal to the activities.  Despite my randomn unsuccessful attempt to get into Johns Hopkins University and study Art History, I know little about art or therapy!  There are some GREAT activities out there that you can do with your kids, especially if you spend an insane amount of time on Pinterest like I do :). Sometimes are activities are more "therapeutic" than others, the point is just to get the discussions and thoughts started.  Many times when I have thought the activity was a disaster, weeks later one of the boys will mention it in relation to something they learned.  Melts your heart!  

Each Thursday I will be featuring a craft or art activity that you can use in your home.  I'm hoping you find them as fun and helpful as we do.  Feel free to link up an activity or ask questions in the comments!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doctors Visit

We went to the doctors office today for my boys' annual physicals.  I also needed physical forms filled out for our foster care license.  We get to the part where they tell them to undress and leave on their underwear. Apparently none of my kids were wearing underwear............REALLY??!!!!!  Oy vey, I give up!

ETA:  Shortly after this the neighbors came over to tell me one of my lovelies had thrown a stick of butter in their yard.  They found their dog eating it and were afraid he would be sick.  REALLY???? BUTTER?????

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Calm Down Corner and Command Center

As I am mentally preparing to head back up the mountain with my middle son James, I spent the week making a "Calm Down Corner".  There were a few reasons behind having this corner.  First, I'm trying to develop a positive parenting approach with James to help with his underlying attachment issues.  Spending so much time focusing on everything he is doing wrong and being upset with him is not helping either of us with bonding and increasing self image.  We had been using the typical "Time-Out" with him, but it never resulted in any changed behavior.  Instead his anxiety increased exponentially and it turned into a battle of wills.  If I am trying to teach him to change his behavior I need to focus on his anxiety first.  Then we can focus on the actual behavior. Which brings me to the calm down corner.  We are working on a variety of strategies he can use when he gets upset or anxious.  I have placed these in the calm down corner with the hope that he will be reminded to utilize these skills to get himself back under control.  Once everyone has calmed down then we can discuss the behavior, what he can do differently next time, and then coming up with a way to repair any damage to relationships he may have done.

Here is the "Calm Down" Corner side.  It is located on the landing of our stair case.  This wall contains the calm down strategies and the other wall is out "Command Center".

 We are working with James on identifying emotions and picking up on emotional social cues.  I put this emotions poster in the corner so he can point out what he is feeling throughout the day.  Above the Emotions Poster is our House Rules which are Be Kind, Be Respectful, and Be Safe.  No matter what they are doing wrong I relate it to one of these rules.  For example if they are jumping on the couch I say, "That is not safe".  By focusing on these three words I believe we have seen a lot more understanding from my younger boys.  Less Talking equals More Listening :)

Here are larger print outs of the Relaxation Books I have talked about previously.  There are eight relaxation techniques that are kid friendly.  James really likes the Lemon one where you pretend to squeeze lemons with your hands for ten seconds.  Next to that I have a print out of a rose/candle to practice deep breathing.  I have the boys pretend to smell a flower through their nose and then blow out the candle through their mouth when we are "breathing".  Behind that is a printable to keep track of taking 5 breaths in the shape of a star.  I cant find the link for that one, but will add it if I come across it again!

Here are a smaller version of the relaxation cards that we can grab and take with us outside or to the store.

This is our calm down box, inside we have a few books about being angry, some I Spy books and a few little other things I will show you in the next few pictures.

We have a few glitter bottles that you can shake up and watch the glitter.

Here are balloons that have been filled with Play-Dough.  We drew sad and mad faces on them.  They can be squeezed like stress balls.  So far they are a favorite in the corner.
This was just a dollar store lacing activity.


The other wall has our command center, basically everything important goes over here!

We have a weekly verse that the boys can memorize for a prize and a Character Trait that we are working on this week.  I will emphasize this trait throughout the week, giving out high 5's or stickers when I se someone demonstrating it!

 Our bulletin board has the weekly menu's and calendar of appointments.  I also have an individual behavior sheet that is used when someone is working on something individually.  Underneath the board we have what we are praying for this week, I have six categories (Family, School, Church, Friends, Country, Other Countries).  We rotate pictures and pray for different people in each category.  The "Friends" Category includes not only neighborhood/school friends but I have also laminated pictures and descriptions of kids we have received from Compassion International, so we will pray for them as well.  The Blue Schedule on the side was something I had picked up from the dollar store.  I keep James and Joel's afternoon schedule there since that is when we have the most issues.  It includes picture cards for the activities.  The white board above is Matthew's board.  It lists his chore for the day on the top.  Then there is a checklist for morning and a checklist for afternoon things that need to be done.  This has really helped, instead of me nagging him about making his lunch or putting away his coat, I just ask him if he's completed the list!  Its helped eliminate some control battles as it is no loner me telling him what to do.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Treatment Plan Update

James' BHRS and Mobile Therapist were over yesterday morning to update his treatment plan as it is coming to its three month expiration. Despite some rather insulting, "So I read some articles on attachment and it said you should do X, Y, Z" comments, in the end we will be implementing more things I had requested. We will hopefully be using the time the mobile therapist is here to work on some social stories and social skills for making friends. Also trying to increase his time when doing activities without adult and peer attention, for example reading quietly for a few minutes so I can throw a load of laundry in!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Proud Mommy

Matthew was upstairs crying tonight.  Mom moment of the year:  It went on for about 20 minutes before I realized he was crying rather than singing, oops!  Apparently he had a horrible, no good, very bad day today at school.  I got a note that there was an altercation on the bus this morning and that Matthew had lost his recess because of it.  Matthew claims that as they were getting off the bus another kid punched him "for no reason at all" and he punched him back.  I'm sure there was a reason, although it wouldn't surprise me that Matthew didn't know the reason.  He doesn't pick up on social cues very well.  I figured this was the reason he was crying, so I went up to talk to him.

Matthew told me that he had brought his Pokémon cards to school today and his teacher had confiscated them.  I absolutely LOVE his teacher!!  The kids are not supposed to bring the cards to school, we have discussed this numerous times and he continues to try and sneak them to school.  I usually catch him.  Im so glad the teacher caught him because if he gets away with things like this his behavior quickly spirals downhill.  I cant say enough good things about his school.

Anyway, the most amazing thing about all of this was that Matthew was crying.  He wasn't turning this incident into anger and rage.  He didn't blame it on anyone or anything.  He allowed himself to be sad and disappointed without the whole "flight or fight" response I usually see.  We discussed how taking the cards was a bad choice, but that he knew what could happen if he did it and he still made the choice.  We discussed how it is okay to be sad and the important thing is to take this incident and learn from it so we don't make the same mistake again.  He was able to articulate that bringing the cards to school to show his friends was NOT worth the consequence and that next time he needs to think it through first.  He then said that the rule is that they loose the cards till the end of the year but that the teacher has given another student back toys the next day.  We were able to discuss and role play how he could talk to the teacher about this tomorrow.  He needs to be respectful and ask if he can discuss the situation with the teacher and see if there is anything he can do to repair his mistake so he can get the cards back.  We also discussed that it was up to the teacher and if she said no, then he needed to take the consequences with dignity.

Overall, despite thinking he was singing in his room for 20 minutes, I am so proud of our evening and how far we have come. 

Medication Approved!

James' medication was finally approved by the insurance!  I originally was hoping to start with Intuiv right off the bat, since we've already done this whole medication dance with Matthew and that was what worked for him.  I knew the insurance probably wouldn't go for it, but we tried regardless.  As expected it was shot down and we finally landed on Tenex, which is the same as Intuniv but not extended release.  I didn't see much success with it with Matthew, however he was on several medications at that time.  We will try it with James and see what happens.  He will take it twice a day. We started this morning before school, he stayed for "Lunch Bunch" so I didn't get him until 2pm.  He seemed tired (which never happens) when I picked him up.  He said he sat real still during circle time and thought the medicine helped.  Here's hoping it will make a difference.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Relaxation Books

We have been working with James on Deep Breathing and Relaxation. I avoided this as long as possible, as I was pretty much in denial that we were walking down this attachment road again.  I kept telling myself it was JUST ADHD, not attachment issues.  I feel like I just climbed over a huge mountain dealing with these same things with Matthew and we were finally down the mountain walking on flat land.  Just as you think the journey is getting easy another mountain comes into view.  There is a lot of mental preparation you have to go through to make another journey over the mountain.  You cant turn around cause you've got a mountain behind you, so your only option is to go over.   Ive been living the last few months on the flat land of the mountain trying to avoid the climb.  At some point you know you have to climb that mountain to ever get on with your journey.  I guess you could say Ive accepted it at this point and am gearing up for the next few years of teaching basic social skills and family values.  Given that I've already done (am doing) this with Matthew I have a lot of tools and no what to expect.  However I'm always looking for new strategies!  I found this great blog with tons of ideas.  My favorite was the relaxation books.  I made one and have been working with the boys on practicing these skills. 
Jaw: Chew That Carrot
Now, pretend that you are trying to eat a giant, hard carrot. It is very hard to chew. Bite down on it. As hard as you can. We want to turn that carrot into mush! Keep biting. (Hold for 10 seconds). Good. Now relax. You’ve eaten the carrot. Let yourself go as loose as you can.


This totally inspired me to finally put together our "Calm Down Corner"!  Im almost finished and will share pics with you soon :)

Update on James

James has been working with a BHRS (Behavior specialist) and Mobile Therapist for about three months now. I really like them, they don't totally get it, but nonetheless they have given me some things to think about and implement at home.  We've focused our house rules on three things:  Be Kind, Be Respectful, Be Safe.  Ive tried to stop talking as much and just focus on these three rules.  So instead of a long rambling lecture I just say, "That's not safe".  I think it has been helpful, not so much with James actual issues, but helpful when trying to wrangle all three boys and in a general household control and structure way.

Im still waiting on James' medication to go through the insurance.  That has been a complete debacle of back and forth, however I think something should come through this week.

We had a three month check in with the counseling agency in order for insurance to continue funding the BHRS and Mobile Therapist.  Once again I had to go through James' life story.  Why cant these people just read the freaking file.  After talking for awhile I mention that at one point Matthew was diagnosed as RAD.  A big sigh of relief came over her and she said "OH so you wouldn't be SUPRISED if I tell you I think James has some attachment issues?!"  LOL surprised??  NO.  She proceeded to tell me in front of both Matthew and James that I had taken on a "burden" and they were "brain-damaged".  I was livid at that point, I really cant stand some of these therapists! She then proceeded to tell me how I should parent him with a one page summary sheet, cause you know, she went to a training once......

Whatever, over and done with and insurance approved therapy for the next three months.

James has been doing better than expected in preschool.  There have been a few incidents like choking a peer and hitting the teacher at the beginning. It seems as though he really wants friends.  The other kids in the class will not play with him when he is "rough" and will flat out tell him.  He seems to get that the other kids don't like it, but still struggles with what behaviors he can replace it with to get them to play with him.  Despite this the kids seem to quickly forgive and invite him to play.  He has trouble focusing and listening during group time.  He is more apt to try and push his chair into the person next to him or look around the room.  Im hoping the medicine will help with this.  He is "behind" academically, but does show interest in learning things that seem fun to him.  Right now he likes writing.  The teacher thinks it is more so the fact that they get to work one on one with her, which I'm sure is true, but works for me.

We've got a meeting Wednesday with James' BHRS and Mobile Therapist to update the plan of action for the next three months.
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