Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘Mother’

The Mother’s Day Thief

This Mother’s Day I really want to warn everyone about a thief running rapidly through families and obviously never satisfied with its heist. One that cannot be caught or stopped.  It snuck in so slowly, none of us noticed.  It was hidden in the normal aging process and we didn’t see it.  Shrouded in forgetfulness of the ordinary and cloaked by the everyday stresses that we thought clogged her mind.  The Alzheimer’s thief is slick, it’ll slide right by you and you don’t even see it coming.  Its cruel and unforgiving nature robs many special moments from the mind of the great.  It’s been around for a very long time, taking as it pleases and never giving back.

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It reduces the great person that was and steals their thoughts.  There is no sheriff to run it out of town nor warrant for its arrest.  There is no way to stop it!  It catches its victims off guard and like a parasite, leaches onto them and won’t let go.  It wraps its crusty hands around the mind of the unknowing gently at first – so it’s not noticeable.  Then over time, it tightens its grip until it has its grubby fingers in every crack and crevasse available.

An abomination… this disease is not satisfied with just daily forgetfulness. Oh no, it is the epitome of selfishness. It wants all memory, not just the daily or in-the-moment ones. It snatches them all until it has taken even the oldest and most dear.  It steals what we hold close to our hearts and leaves a breadcrumb of who the person once was.

I hate it.

I took my mother for granite for almost 30 years before suddenly, I understood her. We were finally able to share with each other and have conversations without argument. My heart gushed over with love for her and I began to confide in her more.  I began to trust her a way I never could as a child.  I finally understood her love for me and the reasons behind many of the things that she did.  I had to have children myself before I truly appreciated her and then suddenly – she is leaving me?  The horrible, selfish, hateful, nasty, unnecessary and under imagined disease it stealing my Momma and I feel like I just met her a few short years ago.

It’s not fair, but then….when is life fair?  I spent too much time wasted, not understanding her in this life.  I have violated my personal life motto: Everyday is an adventure. Embrace it.  I waited too long to embrace her and now she is leaving me…she is leaving daddy…she is leaving us all 😦   The last week I have spent in tears while my husband is away. I am ashamed that I am filled with so much regret that is self-inflicted by my own immature and stubborn mind of too many years.

I am glad we had the time we did get to enjoy each other. I still have Mom from time to time. She wiggles free from the grip of her oppressive thief and I suck up every available moment I can.  Every tiny moment of that time is engraved in my memory and it is wrapped in so many emotions – hopefully even if this thief comes for me, I will fight it long and hard. I hate you Alzheimer Disease! I hate you!!

Momma-tude

Momma-tude is the attitude of a Mother.  This Mom attitude is not one to be ashamed of but rather one to be admired. But, what exactly is a Mother’s attitude? It’s part of her personality. It makes her who she is. It helps define her in her everyday life. Momma-tude is also a common reaction or feeling amongst a group of Mom’s.  There are many types. Which one are you?

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Which Momma-tude are you?

The Accident waiting to happen Mom

Common phrases:

  1. Please stop crying before you drown in your tears.
  2. Get down from there before you fall off and break your neck.
  3. You know, chewing with your mouth closed prevents lock-jaw.
  4. You’re going to end up in the same type of trouble when you get older if you don’t learn from your brother.
  5. Don’t touch it. You don’t know where that’s been.
  6. This place is full of germs.
  7. Talk like that will get you arrested.
  8. Don’t try it…
  9. Foods ready. Come on everyone. It’s time to gain 10 lbs!
  10. That’s not a toy. Put that thing away for the next 20 years!
  11. What were you thinking?
  12. You are going to cause a nose bleed
  13. Just think about how bad that could have been

The Over-Protective Mom

Common phrase:

  1. Oh honey, stop crying before you bust a blood vessel.
  2. (Catches mischievous toddler immediately as he begins to fall off counter.) How did  you get up there this time? One day you’re going to kill yourself.
  3. You will choke if  you chew with your mouth open.
  4. I need you to go to your room for your own safety.
  5. Ew, do you know how many bacteria is on the bottom of those feet?
  6. You don’t know who touched that before you.
  7. I know you didn’t just say what I thought you said.
  8. That’ll kill you…
  9. Eat. You need your strength
  10. That’s not to touch.
  11. You obviously weren’t thinking
  12. (Finger in nose) EW! *Squirts hand sanitizer on her hands first, then child’s.
  13. I’m gonna show you what I mean in a minute

The Sarcastic Mom

Common Phrases:

  1. Is that the loudest you can cry? Give it up.
  2. Climbing on the counter again? How’d that work out for ya last time?
  3. I don’t always need to see what your food looks like when you chew.
  4. Do you think you can raise your brother better than me?
  5. Keep that little footsie to yourself.
  6. Great, now  you probably have staph.
  7. Really? Really!
  8. Go ahead, see what happens…
  9. You don’t like to eat green beans? Well I don’t like to see you pick your nose at the table.
  10. What are you planning on doing with that?
  11. You really thought that would work?
  12. Digging for gold?
  13. I’m going to knock you into next week if you don’t stop

The Emotional Mom

Common phrases:

  1. *Sees baby crying & cries along*.
  2. (See toddler climbing on counter) Quickly swoops baby up and hysterically says, “you could have died!”
  3. I remember when you were first beginning to eat solid food.
  4. I don’t know where I went wrong. (cries)
  5. Don’t you love each other?
  6. When you were a baby, you touched everything.
  7. After everything I’ve done for you, I can’t believe you said that.
  8. P l e a s e   don’t
  9. I made one of everyone’s favorite food!
  10. You are too young to be doing that.
  11. I’m praying for you child.
  12. You are embarrassing me
  13. I can’t take this anymore

The in-yo-face Mom

Common phrases:

  1. Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about!
  2. You’ve been warned. You are not a monkey!
  3. Could you chew any louder?
  4. Do you want to be punished too? No? Then stay out of it!
  5. You think you’re a bully? Try that on me.
  6. Did you see a sign that said Touch Me?
  7. Oh no you didn’t just say that.
  8. I mean it!!
  9. Eat what I cooked or be hungry.
  10. Take your hands out of your pants!
  11. Use your head for something other than a hat rack.
  12. Do you want your friends to call you a booger picker?
  13. Don’t make me jap slap you

The Strict Mom

Common phrases:

  1. (Baby begins to cry) Zip it!
  2. (See Toddler climbing on counter) Time out!
  3. If you can’t chew with your mouth closed, go to our room.
  4. Go to your room. You are both grounded now.
  5. No Wi-Fi. Go to your room.
  6. Stop it.
  7. I heard that!
  8. No.
  9. Let me see  your hands. GO wash them again with Soap this time.
  10. Stop…no really, STOP!
  11. The next time you think of something like that, just don’t.
  12. (Smacks hand of booger picker) No
  13. oh…Oh…OH!! You’ve been warned

The Proper Mom

Common phrases:

  1. It’s okay to cry as long as you wipe each tear independently and before it has been on your cheek more than one minute.
  2. Our feet go on the ground.
  3. We chew with our mouths closed.
  4. Your interference was not requested to discipline your brother.
  5. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
  6. You look with your eyes, not with your hands.
  7. (Ignores anything child says that she is not proud of)
  8. We mustn’t do that
  9. Sit up straight. Don’t slouch at the table.
  10. I am ignoring what you are doing.
  11. Think before you act.
  12. My child doesn’t do that.
  13. Surely you didn’t just do that

The Extremely Religious Mom

Common phrases:

  1. Lawd help, that baby can feel the spirit!
  2. For Heaven’s sake, please stop climbing. I’m going to pray about this.
  3. Did you pray before you started eating?
  4. Honor your Mother and Father.
  5. Turn the other cheek.
  6. You better be asking for forgiveness if you touched that.
  7. (Shocked) You kiss me with that mouth!
  8. You’ll need to pray about that before you do it
  9. Speak when spoken to.
  10. You are going to go blind.
  11. I pray the Lord will be your conscience.
  12. God sees everything.
  13. I’m praying for you

The Hypochondriac Mom

Common phrases:

  1. (baby crying) Please stop crying before you get another ear infection!
  2. Ahhhhh! You could’ve broken a bone!!
  3. I hope you don’t chip a tooth chewing like that.
  4. It’s not emotional healthy for you to interfere in your brother’s punishment.
  5. Stop. One of you will bruise.
  6. Quick!! Wash your hands!!!!
  7. Great!!! You said it.
  8. Stop before you die
  9. Did you wash your hands?
  10. Go wash your hands!
  11. You didn’t think this through, did you?
  12. Get your finger out of your nose, do you even remember where it’s been?
  13. You could’ve been killed

The Everybody’s Mother

Common phrases:

  1. (crying child) Oh, come here baby…you need a hug.
  2. Get down (said with BIG eyes).
  3. It’s rude to chew with your mouth open. (said with a smile)
  4. Best stay out of it.
  5. I don’t want to see that again.
  6. Did I just see you touch that?
  7. You want to repeat what you just said?
  8. I wouldn’t do that if I were you….
  9. Eat supper with us 🙂 Sit down. Now!
  10. What are you expecting to find down there?
  11. Next time, you may want to think about it before doing it.
  12. Need a tissue?
  13. Not good

The Gentle Mother

Common phrases:

  1. (Child crying) Oh honey, it’s not that bad. I love you!
  2. Gently sweeps child off counter and to the floor- Be careful darling.
  3. Close your mouth to chew sweetheart.
  4. Although it takes a village to raise a child, I am doing just fine.
  5. Hands are for hugging, not for hitting.
  6. Now now, we must not touch.
  7. I’m sure you don’t mean that.
  8. Stop. Please don’t.
  9. I hope you like what I made.
  10. Could you go do that in your room?
  11. Your mind is powerful. Think before you speak or act.
  12. (Hands tissue) Blow your nose.
  13. Oh no. I can’t believe you would do that.

The Frustrated Mother

Common phrases:

  1. You think crying will save you?
  2. (Toddler climbing on counter) Squeezes eyes closed then back open. Hand on hip. Get DOWN.
  3. Ew, close your mouth to chew.  I don’t want to see that!
  4. I don’t need your help parenting your brother!
  5. If you make me get up, it’s going to be 100x worse for you.
  6. Good grief, if you don’t stop touching everything, we are going to get kicked out of here!
  7. Did you just say that?
  8. I’m serious as a heart attack!
  9. You MUST wear pants to the table.
  10. Stop playing with your p*nis
  11. What were you thinking? Oh wait, you weren’t!
  12. Stop eating your boogers!
  13. You are going to wish you never did that

No matter which you identify with the most, you are still a mom and probably under appreciated a bit.  Here’s to all the Mommas out there.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

***Special Thanks to my friends who gave me some of this golden material. I love you, you hot Mommas!

Apples to Apples

She called me the other day to tell me that she had gone to her first cousin’s nursery.  As I mentioned in a previous article she loves flowers. It’s something that gives her peace, tranquility, and gives her a productive way to pass time. She was really excited about the availability of herbs there. She exclaimed happily, “there’s Rosemary, mint of all kinds, cooking herbs like basil and Sage – bushes and trees. Your heart will be happy when you see everything.”  Before I realized it we had been talking over the phone for over 20 minutes! The best part was that she could hear me. It was a two-way conversation. 🙂 She and I have not had very many two-way conversations in the last couple years. Her hearing has been slowly leaving her for the last 15 years. And over the last couple years it’s been so bad when she calls, she just tells me something, can’t hear my response, then she’ll just hang up when she’s finished talking. 

She’s in her eighties now.  She and I had a very rocky relationship for the first 20-25 years of my life. On my side it was a love/but-don’t-want-to-be-near-you thing from time to time & on her’s it was a love/frustration thing.  I’m quickly approaching my 40th birthday in a few days & maybe this is why I’ve chosen to write about her.  It’s therapy for me. It’s an understanding of who I was as well as who I am now.  I don’t think that 40 is old, but I’ve always thought of it as a halfway point in life. Now that I’m here, I realize how awesome she is and I was never able to see that before.

Edna Hensley

Mom, me and my brother – around 1980

By age 40 she had already lived a very eventful, energetic, entertaining and absolutely amazing life.  She taught herself to play guitar when she was about 10 years old by watching the older gentleman in town play. She was fiercely independent and generally self-taught in just about everything. She had worked on the farm, went out with her sisters, was a waitress at Blue Circle, and sewed at Standard Knitting Mill. She had a couple of short-lived marriages, experienced living independently, and enjoyed attention as an entertainer. She met Dad in a club (he was the entertaining musician of the night) & joined up with his talent to hit the road as an entertainer. She recorded in Nashville and was courted there by some big-time small names.  She used her resources & connections to boost & mold Dad’s career. When she realized some of the contractual deals he had made in the music industry, she took over and became his manager of sorts. She started negotiating his deals.  With her resources, resilience, and intellect they made a lucrative living.

She married  for the rest of her life, for better or for worse, in 1968. She was 33 years old. She had always wanted children but for some reason biologically could not bear any herself. She prayed and she had almost the entire city praying with her – that she would have children. And one day, in 1976, her prayers were answered.

There was a phone call from a lady that they knew on the south side of town. This lady said if you still want a child you can have my youngest, but you have to come and get him right now.  Dad went to pick up the ugliest baby boy in the world, who would become my brother. (If you ever read this dude, you know I love your ugly face.) They had him for several weeks when they received another phone call from another lady. This lady said to them, I’ve heard that you wanted a baby and I’m on my way to the XXX Home for Children with both of mine. To make a long story short, this is where I come into the picture.  There’s an argument over whether I was two-and-a-half or three months old at the time, regardless I was a baby. I was a pretty sick baby, so she leaned toward my experienced Aunt Evlou to help for the first few nights.

At 40 years old she adopted my brother and I. At a point in her life when other people would be considering retirement, taking it easy, trying to finalize how they want to enjoy the empty nest years, she became a parent. I never gave it much thought in previous years, but now that I am approaching that very same age I realize what a heroic feat that was!

At this point in my life, I am very close to the empty nest years. I cannot image chasing a little one around and changing diapers at this age! Most of mine have moved away and I only have one teenager left at home (on a daily basis) – who will leave me soon I’m sure. I am considering the future, and how I would love to retire one day. I’m dreaming about buying an RV and traveling, or purchasing the boat my husband wants and sailing up & down the coast for a few years. I’m considering how I want to rearrange the rooms in the house and could create an office and workout/hobby room in those empty spaces. My Mom was considering how to convert a music studio into a nursery and buying formula, diapers, while seeking parental advice. I wake up in the middle of the night to text messages asking me for gas money; she woke up in the middle of the night to check on two infants breathing.

To be continued…

 

I’m not like her, am I?

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Noticing the changes that occur in all of us as we grow older is chilling. It’s a reminder that this life is not forever. It can also give a subtle reminder to enjoy each day as though it were our last.

My mother was always very happy while she was working in her flowers. My grand mother was the same. I also very much enjoy all the time I get to spend outdoors and my flowers make me happy too. Isn’t it funny how we become so much like those who raised us? Some say that they are nothing like their parental figures, but if taking an honest look, we all become like them in some ways.

There was a day when I would cringe and possibly fight someone if they said, “You sound like your mother.” I was very young then. I have a birthday fast approaching and will be nearing the mid-point in my life. These years, especially the last 4-5,  have been my pinnacle period where I have been happy, satisfied, loved, content and enjoying the day-to-day. I have also come to understand my mother in ways that I never thought possible. So now that I can see her with different eyes, I feel it a compliment if someone compares us.

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

Here she and dad are a few months before they adopted my brother and I

 

 

There are stories that aren’t appropriate to hear when you are young that fall on your ears as you mature. Your parents had a life before you. Their personalities and previous life experiences might impress you if you take time to listen.

My mother was a beautiful young lady that turned heads everywhere she went. She had an appeal about her that attracted many people. She was also very forthright and spoke her mind. She was called blunt, uncaring, hard, and mean. She was a savvy business woman who knew what she wanted; this drive and desire overflowed into all she touched. She was obsessed with continued learning and was enthralled by conversion with someone well-educated. She was firm yet loving and she was stern yet compassionate. She had some less desirable traits as well, but don’t we all?

The thing I admired her most for was taking me in. She was 40 years old that year, in 1976. I was just a few months old.

To be continued….

1 year check-in O.D.D

This is the final article (part 12) of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3,  part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 , and part 11– I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the 1 year mark of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

The last article I wrote about Oppositional Defiance Disorder brought us up to the end of week 34 (7 months) after working with Knight on his O.D.D issues. I would like to skip ahead to the 1 year mark and share with you the things that we tried that were successful and the things that failed.

Things Not To Do (Ineffective):

  • Reasoning: A child with oppositional traits will not deal well with reasoning. Although this has become a very popular parenting tool for the latest generation, this does not work well with a child with defiance issues. If a child has produced unacceptable behaviors and actions, reasoning with them to stop those actions and behaviors can back-fire. They certainly back-fired on us. Even when you are exhausted and totally worn out, you can’t give in to the idea of reasoning. (Example: “Why are you doing this? Would you please just not argue anymore if you get to go to your friend’s house? I can’t take it anymore!”  Bad idea. The child will sense vulnerability and will go in for the win. I’d rather not give examples of this. Instead, I’d prefer to advise against falling into this common trap. I fell into it once…and only once!)
  • Relinquishing decision-making to the child: Again, this is easy to fall into if you are very tired or physically worn down. When a parent or authority figure gives the decision-making over to the child, at first the child is happy and excited. Shortly afterwards, they become bewildered and insecure. A large part of their desire to be oppositional and defiant is due to a personal feeling of abandonment in their minds. Whether this be true (and often times is not), it is how most of these children feel. This feeling accompanies feelings of insecurities, low self-worth or value, and a feeling of being invisible in the world. In their minds, if they are making decisions, who loves them enough to make their decisions for them? (Example: After a particularly difficult event, the child could ask, “Do you want me to just leave for a while so I’m not bothering you?” Giving decision-making to the child, parent may answer, “Would you like to spend the night with a friend or stay home tonight? It’s your decision.”)
  • Waffling: Setting your foot down on a negative behavior is one thing, but then going back on the punishing result is another. This is waffling indecisiveness. If you are serious about your goal to change these behaviors, there is no room for waffling – even when you feel like you’re punishing yourself by the decision you made during the moment of heat. (Example: Very upset about some undesirable behavior at school, I “ground” Knight for 1 week. This made travel difficult, cut off the TV for me, I had to watch him while he mowed the lawn and did other work, and I had to hear him wonder aimlessly through the house making random noises to entertain himself. I was tempted to lift his grounding so I could maintain sanity…but I knew that would be my undoing, so I did not.)
  • Never reward a child with money: Where the thought of paying our children to be good came from… I will never know! It doesn’t work and Thank God that thought only lasted about 15 minutes! I think it was out of desperation maybe, but anyway, it did not work.

Things To Do (Effective):

  • Maintain consistency at all times: If the result of good behavior is a specific reward, be ready to give that reward often during the good behavior. The same is true for the negative behavior.
  • Stand your ground: If you’ve decided that a particular behavior will not be tolerated, don’t allow minor events of that behavior to slip past you in the presence of others. No one likes to correct their children in front of others. We are afraid we will be judged as a failing parent or people will see that things are not a bed of roses in our homes. Regardless of this, all non-tolerable behavior must be stopped at the moment it occurs. It should be brought to the attention of the child and immediately remind the child what the recourse is for that negative event or behavior. (Example: Cursing was an issue for a bit and Knight thought he could get away with it in front of other people. He tested me. His correction was the same however. I would quickly say, “That is inappropriate.” and remind him what the consequences were. “You just lost your phone for 2 days when we get home.”
  • Be firm not only in correction, but in love also: The same as you need to catch the negative behaviors immediately, the same is true for catching the positive behaviors also. It’s very important in the O.D.D. child’s mind to hear when they’ve done something good. This doesn’t mean constant praise and pats on the back though. A verbal acknowledgement like, “I’m so happy today. You haven’t had an outburst. You’re doing so well. I love you.” Or “I’m proud of you this week. You’re doing great!” “I am looking forward to your progress next week! You really impressed me this week!”  Hearing things like this go a long way in changing defiant behavior. The otherwise invisible child begins to realize that he is not actually invisible at all.
  • Create and support an open dialog: If a child feels like everything they tell you will get you all riled up, they will stop telling you things. Maintaining a reliable open dialog will allow the child to feel as though they can safely share things with you without judgment. If you’ve maintained consistency, they will already know what type of correction you may use, but they will be more willing to share with you what is going on in their universe.  Children like to share how they feel and what is going on in their daily lives. If they are not sharing with you, they will share with someone else.
  • Evaluate your home’s structure: Do you really have routines? Are those routines healthy? Do most of your family habits emphasis togetherness or individuality? A unique balance of both contribute to a successful family life. Sometimes it helps to have someone from the outside of the family to take a peek at your home life to get an honest observatory opinion if you need help evaluating.
  • Don’t let the small stuff go: By allowing the lesser bad behaviors to be overlooked, the defiance in a child with O.D.D will grow into a large outburst. Handle each issue as it arises (while at the same time, picking your battles wisely).
  • Don’t overwhelm: In the beginning, it’s easy to want all negative behaviors corrected at the same time, but this can overwhelm the child and cause further defiance. Pick your battles wisely. As you triumph over each hurdle, celebrate and then move on to the next as you continue to re-enforce the previous.

Knight now bears no resemblance to the child he use to be. I am proud of him. The behavior modification plan we put it in place – worked! 🙂 I wish you all luck if you are tackling this problem with your child too. It’s an ongoing process. May God give us continued strength!

Holidays, ODD & family visits

This article is part 11 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In the last article I shared Knight’s journey up to week 26. He was not doing the best with authority figures (especially in school) but I didn’t mention his grades yet. Before he came to live with us, he was a low C to high F student. He had failed many of his classes in the other schools he’d attended. Now, he was doing better. The average grades he was bringing in were high B’s. Occasionally his grades would slip to low C’s or high D’s if he got lazy about turning in his work. We would issue reminders about his grades, offered him weekly updates on his progress and coax him into catching-up. By the end of his courses though, he would finish with a low A or high B. He really was doing better in this new environment.

Jumping forward to weeks 28 & 29, Knight completed 2 weeks without getting into trouble at school. I was extremely happy for him and attempted to shower him in praise. He was continuing his attempt to join the football team, but we didn’t have his paperwork complete at that point. He was pretty much benched to the side lines. His coach carried continued discipline into each practice and game if he’d been disciplined at school.  Football was good for him and in a few more weeks,  he would be cleared to officially join the team.

Knight was still hanging out with his friends and going to church regularly. He had attended Church camps, outings, retreats, and other special events  (which were all incredibly expensive). He would often speak about the Lord after these events and about how God was touching his heart. His friends were also encouraging him to stop cursing and doing the vulgar things which he had grown accustomed to in his previous life. Let’s face it, our kids will act one way around us and then another way around their friends. It happens. It’s just the way teenagers are. I was not blind to this. I was happy however that the friends he had picked were good enough to also issue him gentle reminders when he got out of hand in these areas.

Skipping ahead to week 32, this was the last week of the first semester for him in his new school. He had made it 4 weeks without acting out at school, but continued to tell me everyday that 2 of his teachers “hated him” and “had it out for him”. He was doing well in those classes though. On the last day of school, we all received a surprise visit from his mother. She drove in from out-of-state and said she wanted to take him for the Christmas break. He wasn’t ready to go just yet. She was traveling to another state also to pick up her daughter and agreed to swing by in a few days and pick him up on her way back through.

Knight left with her 2 days later, early in week 33. We allowed him to open some of his Christmas presents early since he would not be with us until after the New Year. We were all sad to see him go. Both of my boys kind of moped around while he was gone. They really did miss him. It was a realization for me that they truly had accepted him as part of our family now. Maybe they had done so much earlier than I realized? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell through all the arguments, disagreements, complaints from one boy to the next about each other. I was seeing obvious evidence of this now though.

Knight called often while he was away. He would give me an update on how he was doing (if he was being good to his mother and sister), and would tell me if he successfully avoided an outburst of anger. He also called to say that he missed us. By the end of the first week, he called to ask when he could come “home”. I reassured him he was not being punished and that his mother would be bringing him back soon – because school would start back soon. He said he wanted to be home by New Year’s Day so he could celebrate with us. I cried after our conversation. I’m not sure why I cried though. Maybe because I missed him too?

On the last day in week 34, Knight returned home. It was New Year’s Eve! He would get to be with us for New Year’s Day after all 🙂 A few days after Knight came home, Knight’s father received a call from Knight’s grandmother. Knight stayed at her house while he spent time with his mother and family. She remarked about the significant change in Knight. Actually, she was amazed that he was not the same boy at all! She said, “I’m not sure what you are doing with him, but keep it up. He was the most respectful child! He was a pleasure to have and he’s practically unrecognizable. You’re doing a good job. I’m proud of that boy!”

Even though this was not told to me, I found encouragement in her words. We were doing something right if others could identify a significant difference in him. I was happy for Knight and especially happy to have our family all back together again. 🙂

School Trouble – Oppositional Defiance Disorder

This article is part 10 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 , part 8 , and part 9 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

As I mentioned in the previous article, Knight just started a new public school and had been warned about the zero tolerance policies related to defiance and discipline. Unfortunately, in week 22 he began to have issues. He came home complaining about some of his teachers. They were the bad guys because they fussed at him for distracting others in the classroom, talking, or being loud while the teacher attempted to teach the day’s lesson. Here’s how things went.

In week 16, Knight was continuing to make friends and had plans to spend the night over at some friend’s houses. He behaved well in other’s homes we were told.

In week 17, Knight developed interest in a church where his friends were members and begged us to go there. I had not been to this church in many years, but I knew what they believed, so we allowed him to go. He was in teenager heaven 🙂

In week 18, Knight began to share his total excitement with us and tell us how happy he was to live with us and happy about his “new” life. We continued to encourage Knight and reminded him daily (and our other boys) to complete their homework!

In week 19, I had noticed a significant difference in our overall family life and noticing the difference in each boy individually also.

In week 20, Knight was still attending church and visiting with his friends pretty regularly. Most of his behavior issues had disappeared and our only real problem was his occasional back-talk.

Ups and Downs

We experienced a slight set back in week 21 when Knight had a slight blow up. He blamed his behavior on being tired. He found himself grounded for a few days. His behavior changed and his punishment was lifted a day early.

Early in week 22 Knight called me from school and told me he was in trouble. I asked him what was going on. He told me he had been suspended for 4 days out of school. He also mentioned that, “He didn’t do anything” and that it “was not his fault, it was someone else“.  Sound familiar? We were literally about to ride this same coaster again! It seemed as though only a few short weeks had passed since we had begun to work on taking ownership and responsibility for actions with him. He had done great – until this.

This left me puzzled. 😦 He seemed to do better with authority figures that he got to know personally. Life cannot be lived this way though. It would be impossible for Knight to get to know every single authority figure in his life personally.

I spoke with him about the importance of doing as the teachers ask while in their classes. We talked about respect and if he was to receive respect he had to give it first.  He said everyone hated him and that all his teachers were out to get him. Everyone else was causing disturbances in class too according to him. He simply was the loudest and the one called out for it. He neglected to tell us he was the leader of the disturbances though. (This we discovered through speaking with his teachers that “hated him”.)

Knight’s father was very upset that he’d been suspended. I haven’t told you all the details of the suspension, but let’s just say that the things coming out of his mouth were directed toward a female and were totally not tolerable (again – here is that zero tolerance policy). Knight and his father were told that there could not be a next time in this offense category. A next time would take him completely out of all public schools.

Knight went back to school in week 23. Knight was warned again about the zero tolerance policies (both at home and at school). Knight said he understood. Weeks 23 & 24 seemed to be getting back on track, until week 25. Knight came home from school with an in-school suspension slip. He had made noises in class (distractions) and when called down, he back-talked the teacher. He served out his sentence at school and was grounded at home from all electronics. (I took all power cords and chargers instead of the actual devices. He got to slowly watch the batteries drain knowing he could not reconnect or charge anything.)

Week 26 produced more issues. After that first horrendous event that resulted in out of school suspension, the school had agreed to evaluate him for an IEP. Knight was placed through a series of tests. He spoke with a psychologist and so did his father. All of Knight’s teachers were interviewed and all of his previous school records were being reviewed. The 2 previous schools he attended had him in *special* classes for learning disabled children because of his inability to control his anger and outbursts. Knight was not learning challenged or disabled though. That was obvious to this new school, but not his father and mother. Outsiders looking in can see things differently because they are disconnected from emotions surrounding circumstances. Basically, Knight had been given a free ride for many school years and this school was simply not into free rides.

I asked Knight if he remembered me telling him that this school would not treat him any differently than any other student. He said he remembered. I explained to Knight that he had no choice now but to begin accepting responsibilities for his actions and needed to put self-restraint he was learning into practice at school. I don’t think he liked the idea, but knew what I was telling him was true. He spoke of how much he loved the friends he’d made here and how much he wanted to stay. I told him only he was in control of the outcome. He understood he had to change his defiant personality and learn how to be compliant at school just as he had done at home.

It was tough for him. It was in the nature that he had developed over time to be defiant of everyone and everything in every situation. Showing him examples of how he had been able to do it at home allowed him to see how it was possible to do it at school too. I asked him if he was defiant at church. He said he was not. I asked him if he defied his football coach. He said he did not. So, he’d mastered 3 settings and saw that it really was up to him to master the 4th one – school!

Birthday & A New School – ODD

This article is part 9 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 , and part 8 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In Part 9 we enter into weeks 14 & 15. Knight had a birthday, turned 15 years old,  and started a new school. He enjoyed his birthday and was super happy to get more clothes. [I’ve never known a boy to love clothes & shoes as much as he does. Hahahahaha!  🙂 ] He received gifts from his mother, aunts, grandmother, father and the boys & I. He picked his cake at the store and we had a little party for him. He liked it as far as I could tell.

Starting a new school was nerve-racking, yet exciting for Knight. He had been granted an opportunity to re-invent himself. Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break. Even though his home life behavior was improving, he soon fell into the same ole’ troublesome issues at his new school. I warned him again that their was a zero tolerance policy bad or defiant behaviors at the school we enrolled him in. He did well. He chose his classes wisely, made up some missed credits, and immediately began making friends. He also wanted to play football. I took him for his physical and he passed with flying colors.

He was the first one up each mornings. He would get dressed & then make himself breakfast. Then he would wake up his brothers. As his brothers were getting ready for school, Knight would be finishing his cereal and putting his bowl in the sink.

He was the first one in the car to go to school and he was the first out of the car when we arrived. He was excited. He was flourishing! I was so proud of him 🙂

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