Monthly Archives: June 2015

Clutter Clutter Everywhere

I broke my hand 5 weeks ago and the family has done an awesome job of keeping up with the household chores, but the clutter is getting out of control.  Piles of paper, stacks of stuff, bits and pieces of things no one knows where to place.  It begins at the door where we enter as mail, permission slips, reminder notes, newspapers, lunch boxes and shoes are strewn, then in an effort to tidy, the items move to new locations. They migrate to a different room and get neatly placed and stacked….until someone needs something and a search ensues.  Piles get dug through, dumped, re-stacked in multiple places until an item is found and the piles are abandoned only to be picked up again, placed in baskets or on tables in the hopes of this clutter finding a home.

My inability to lift has made this whole process even more challenging as i have to only lift one piece of clutter at a time.  Slowly pondering and placing again.  My daughter comes weekly in the hopes of me freeing some of these things and getting them out of the house, but they come in faster than I have the ability to chase them out.

So, yesterday, I saw an article online: 10 Ways to Rid Your Home of Clutter.  I promptly read it in hopes of changing.  The moment I hit the “print” button, I realized what I had done.  In the hopes of clearing clutter, I created one more piece of paper to place on one more unstable pile.  As quickly as I could, I hit the red X on the printer and aborted the mission.  My work here is done.  Yesterday I freed myself of one piece of clutter by recycling the half printed article on Clutter.  It may not look like much, but It’s a start.

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The Stomp


Paul has just stomped upstairs again….and with his weight issues, his stomp now rattles ceiling fans and causes strain to the wooden spindles on our stair rails.  You know, those 6 spindles we have left that my husband strategically placed so you wouldn’t notice the 8 missing from when he grabbed and snapped them in half stomping upstairs before.  He stomps off and I sit and stew.  I am very aware that I don’t want his behavior to steal any more moments of my life today, but It’s hard to not allow yourself to be angry.

In hopes to find some inspiration on my computer, I search documents under the Paul file.  Information I’ve saved for days like today.  Tidbits of helpful hints, journal entries pouring out my frustration and notes taken on books I’ve read.  I found some interesting notes dated September 18, 2005.  Yes, almost 10 years ago.  They were notes on When Love is Not Enough by Nancy Thomas.  Now, I want to be clear, I don’t agree with everything she said, but her book changed my life.  After reading about Reactive Attachment Disorder, I finally recognized Paul.  Up until then, I just wasn’t sure what we were dealing with.  He had delays and limitations, he had strengths, yet weaknesses and though quirky and awkward in some ways, he was gifted and talented in other ways.  He was extremely social which ruled out some disorders, yet he didn’t seem to understand interpersonal interactions.  He just didn’t “get” people, though superficially, he could converse with anyone at a very early age.  After reading this little blue book, I decided I had to try and change the way I was parenting.  I didn’t have a new plan,but I knew the old plan was not going to work.

So, some 2005 notes I made….some declarations that I intended to keep.

I have committed to being the boss.  No arguing, no getting angry.  (Oh, that looks so easy on paper!)

I will make Paul pay retribution for damages by doing 25 cent chores.  (This idea is laughable!  Never worked, never will work! Not to mention at 25 cents a pop it would take years and years to pay for all the damage!)

I will stay in control by not letting things escalate.  (Well, on a good day, I can stay calm and try to accomplish this, but I personally have no control about how others in the home escalate.)

I will focus only on the positives. (With Herculean effort, I attempt this, but some days the positives are so deeply buried in negatives, it is a challenge.)

I will NOT deal with the negatives he shares with me. (Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.)

I will do more intentional bonding & loving. (I’ve been intentional and so has he at rejecting my good intent.)

I will not leave Paul unattended &/or unstructured.  (Did I realize that would still be the case at age 16?)

I will not engage during nonsense questions. (Really? Did I even think that was possible at the time?)

These “commandments” were the first time I put on paper a strategy in dealing with this chaotic disorder.  After the initial writing, there are notes from April 2006 and August 2014 that suggests that nothing has changed and these goals are still good, though maybe a bit lofty.  (Lofty since I’ve been working on them for almost 10 years.)

So, he’s still stomping away.  I’m still dealing with it.  Is it perhaps time to write a new set of notes?  Maybe ones where I cut myself a little slack and accept the things I cannot change?  I’m glad they are written down for me to review.  They calm me during the storm to see that I am not entering into these battles willy nilly.  I have studied, I have prepared, I have planned.  He may win a battle here and there, but I still intend to win this war!

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This weekend, my kids are coming home.  For a precious 36 hours I should have all 5 of my kids in the same place at the same time.  I cannot wait.  I doubt they can understand my anticipation because I can barely understand it myself.  What exactly will it look like for them to be all here?  Something special?  No, not really.  Actually, I hope it looks very normal.  I expect to see unpacked bags in the living room, bagels left out on the counter and wet towels on the floor of the bathroom.  I will be barely able to follow a conversation as each one speaks over the other and their volume has to increase with each story told. I see the TV on, the iPhones in their hands demanding their attention and they will try to scramble out of here to meet friends, not holding the visit sacred.

But it isn’t really sacred.  It is home.  It is supposed to be comfortable, casual and feel just like a warm fleece bathrobe after a bubble bath.  I hope they walk into this house and breathe a sigh of relief.  Not noticing anything special, but just noticing home.

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.–Isaiah 32:18

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2o Fridays until Christmas!

20 Fridays until Christmas.  Seriously?  I just saw this post on Facebook.  20 Fridays until Christmas?!  What was that post supposed to motivate me to do?  Panic? Shop? Bake?  Laugh perhaps?  Let’s see, what did it make me do?  It made me think.  In 20 Fridays I wonder what I could accomplish.  I could start now and do a bit of Christmas prep each Friday and be ahead of the game come December 25th (which actually IS a Friday.)  Or, I could spend each Friday doing the Spring cleaning I intended to do in the Spring.  Maybe I should spend the next 20 Fridays working on the New Years Resolutions that have fallen by the wayside.  I could learn a language, take a class, learn to paint, start exercising.

But what will I really do with the next 20 Fridays?  I’ll live.  Yes, I’ll spend the summer Fridays preparing food for the weekend at the River, the fall Fridays will be full of finishing up the school week and ferrying kids to football and soccer games, Thanksgiving will come and I will stress over there only being only 3 Fridays until Christmas.  (Wow.  Only 3 Fridays between Thanksgiving and Christmas and Black Friday definitely won’t count for Christmas Prep.)

So, instead of stressing or even pondering any longer how many Fridays are left until Christmas, I think I’ll just live through the rest of This Tuesday, This Wednesday, This Thursday and try to fully ENJOY This Friday and every other Friday until December 25th.

Thanks Facebook friend for giving me this thought.  Happy Friday….oh, and Merry Christmas in case I run out of time to wish you that later!

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Reactive Attachment Disorder – Respond don’t React to the Diagnosis!

By the time you reach a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder in your child, you probably have already been researching how to manage a lot of other diagnosis.  You’ve been trained in strategies that may work for Autism or ADHD or any of the other things doctors originally thought could be your child’s problem.  Once Reactive Attachment Disorder becomes your focus, it’s time to leave those strategies behind.  Buy a new note book, clean the slate and start over.  You are now going to have to start again.  However, you don’t want to overREACT to your new situation….you simply want to RESPOND to this new information.

How you should RESPOND when you begin your journey into the world of Reactive Attachment Disorder.

R – Realize that what you have done so far isn’t necessarily wrong, but it will probably not accomplish the desired behaviors.  Throw out the charts and systems and re-think a new plan.

E – Expect to be uncomfortable with the suggestions of your trusted BSC or therapist who understands RAD.  These new ways are unique and different and though you want to scream, make consequences and demand respect, you may need to step back, give up some control for a bit, and approach the struggle in a much different way.

S- Seek out new friends.  Find others in the battle and talk to them….often!  Your friends and family often do not understand the truth of your home, but there are lots of us that do.  You have probably already lost some friend because of your child’s behavior, so you are in the market for some new ones anyhow!

P – Put time for you in your calendar.  Your child and his needs will take up a lot of time.  Visits to the therapist, psychiatrist, school & doctor take you away from home a lot and TSS hours may fill up your family time at home.  Put yourself on your calendar.  Plan something relaxing or reenergizing to do outside the home…since stress is often inside the home.

O – Overcome the guilt of not understanding sooner.  RAD is very complex and strange.  We often attempt to manage it in parenting styles that just won’t work.  It’s not your fault that this kid doesn’t respond to the methods other kids do.  We all do the best we can with what we have where we are…most of the time.  Cut yourself some slack and overcome the guilt.

N – Never allow your child to come between you and your marriage.  The way you deal with this diagnosis will pit parent against parent on its own.  Don’t allow your child to play one against the other.  Having a child with special needs is very difficult and it will require one parent to be on top of their game at all times.  Don’t let the child win by getting you both riled up at the same time and fighting against each other AND the child.  Recognize that your RAD kid would enjoy the control of causing you grief in your relationship and strive to never allow this to happen.  (NOTE:  I said strive…this is a tough one!)

D – Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel successful when you go to bed at night.  I have read many books and techniques and I have tried many of them.  Some are just not a good fit for me.  If I go to bed hating the person I was all day trying to implement a “system” I learned in a book, it will simply not work for me.  Sometimes I feel better when I give in, sometimes I feel better when I fight the battle to the end.  Ultimately, though, the only behavior you can guarantee to change is your own.  Do what you need to do to make yourself feel successful.

In all honesty, REACTing is much simpler than RESPONDing, but I think if we can be aware, take a moment to breathe and think, we can ALL respond in a much better way.

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