Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gotta love it....

Still struggling with Corazon's inconsistent behaviors. If something is worrying/bothering her, I cannot tell what it is yet. In addition, Corazon in in this stage where she is trying on "normal" kid behaviors (not the nice ones) with a RAD-like, need-to-control-everything, twist. Our biggest current issue is that she has to argue with everything I say because I am "wrong." Dozens of times each day she will find some seeming inconsistency or error in what I say or do and then she will crisply tell me that I am wrong. She will enunciate each of her words with a drama and flair that would be comical if it weren't so annoying. This morning for example she was helping me get breakfast and asked if she should get the yogurt out. I said "no we don't have any yogurt y'all would like." She said "mom, you are wrong. We do have yogurt." I repeated what I said verbatim and asked her to get the toast started. Instead of starting the toast, she went to the refrigerator, opened it, walked over to where I was and put her face right in front of mine and slowly said "Mom, you.are. wrong. We. do. have. yogurt!" I stopped what I was doing and said, "ok, what do you want to do about it now?" She said "I really wanted yogurt and I just wanted to tell you that we have yogurt because you said we didn't and you are wrong." I said "ok. Now what?" So she asked if she should take it out and put it in a bowl. I said "sure." She put the last of the yogurt into a dish while I finished putting the rest of breakfast together for everyone. As they got seated I put the bowl with the last of the yogurt in front of her and walked off. She nearly fell off her chair as she exclaimed "why are you giving this to me, I don't like plain yogurt!" I said "I know, none of you do." She said "I know but I thought you should give it to someone else not me." That made perfect sense to me. Guess who did not enjoy her breakfast?

She has taken to doing certain things that should be no big deal except that they are irritating because she needs me to be her audience. For example, she will chatter on and on about "nothing" just like her friend down the street. When they are together it is silly and fun and annoying and too loud but not atypical of normal girls their age. It's not a big deal except that in Corazon's case it never stops. Never. She does it whenever there is an adult within earshot and she does it really loudly. She will interrupt me a dozen times in a 2 minute conversation with someone else to chatter about random disconnected things. If I check her and send her off she starts talking in nonsensical syllables, loudly, and then laughing. She then gets lost in this and seemingly cannot stop. She will do this for hours until she annoys everyone anywhere near her but she will keep it up as she follows us around because it's no fun without an audience, I suppose.

Then there's the pouting. Her friend "pouts" whenever she doesn't get her way so Corazon has taken to pouting. Of course, she now pouts about everything and at everyone--siblings, parents, other adults. If I ask or tell her to do something, she frowns and pouts. If she has to do something she doesn't feel like doing at the moment (schoolwork), or has forgotten to do (brush teeth), or needs to do (stop yelling at me)... she pouts. If I hand her something she needs to put away... she frowns and pouts. All the while she stands there pouting at me. The more I notice it, the more she does it. I tell her to stop or else...and she continues to do it. So finally, thanks to the wisdom of another RAD mom (thanks Christine) I was reminded that "prescribing the problem" could help. Silly me. I have prescribed the problem dozens of times but somehow I managed to not even think of this in dealing with the pouting and nonsense chatter. So starting Saturday, I gave her pouting time and chatter time every. single. time. she did those things. Guess chatter since yesterday morning. And the pouting seems to be diminishing by the hour. Now if I can just figure out how to fix her need to tell me/show me I am wrong about everything. I am thinking I could prescribe something but just not sure how to do that yet. Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

About that shoe...

It dropped. What is it about writing about the good stuff that makes us regret it?  Corazon has been a major challenge since I last wrote here. She is now in a "no thinking required" mode. If it requires any thought, she wants no part of it and she "can't" do it. Doing schoolwork is impossible. She can't remember how to add, spell, write, or read unless it is something that isn't supposed to be her business. She has been at this for about a week. In spurts she rallies and pulls something off, otherwise, it's not pretty. Chores? She can't remember how to load the dishwasher, clothes dryer, make a bed, fill a water bowl for the cats, change a litterbox, etc. She. cannot. do. it. We have tried tapping, rubbing, exercise, brain gym, practicing patience (aka strong sitting), cuddle time, and it doesn't work. She is battling for control over every. little. thing. Even when I don't engage in the battle. She is in battle mode. She cannot brush her teeth, comb her hair, dress, etc. unless she has over an hour and even then she has "forgotten" some important step. Eating a meal takes hours. Seriously. I have asked her what's on her mind and I hit a blank wall. She is clearly distressed but doesn't know why (or won't share). Her tone of voice with her younger siblings is terrible. She is mean, rude, bossy, just plain obnoxious. If there's an expectation she cannot meet it. If I am not supervising her she is getting into serious trouble. I don't know what is going on with her or how to help her snap out of it. She has gotten better about talking about what is going on for her but right now what I get is "nothing" and "I don't know." To make things worse, C. has been away (which is usually when Corazon does better) so I haven't gotten much of a  break. I am at the end of my rope with her right now but we are riding it out as best we can.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reflecting on Corazon...

We have been home for a little over a month now and the dust seems to be settling. I must admit I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as RAD behaviors go. Corazon has done remarkably well most of the summer and even in the transition home. While we were away we celebrated her 10th birthday with a "luau." The most amazing thing that happened is that she held it together the entire day--throughout the prep, during, and after. There was NO fallout. None. at. all. That is amazing. More importantly there weren't even any "bumps" or redirection. She seemed so happy and relaxed. Of course it helped that there weren't too many other kids besides close family and she was able to "ignore" her need for adult attention. We just had a great time!

She is growing so much and so fast and in some wonderful ways. I am aware of the pushes and pulls that are more "normal" than "RAD" much of the time. She still struggles with trusting us to know what is best and her need to control and dominate almost every situation still surfaces. And the DRAMA and "forgetting" how to do things is still a big issue. Her need for attention (any attention) is still high and she doesn't seem to distinguish between positive and negative attention. There are still days she is so dysregulated that she cannot function but there are many more days when she can pull it back together. Her sense of herself as a "good person" has grown but she still has doubts. She will ask me if I like her or if I think other people like her and she truly cares to hear the answer (although I don't think she always believes that she is quite likable.) When she loses it, there are more genuine emotions and feelings expressed and the fact that she can articulate them is HUGE. Managing those emotions and feelings is tough for her but we are so much farther than we were a year ago. It is possible to see that she is actively WORKING to counter her RAD and be a more typical kid. She asks questions like "do I do this because I have RAD?" or "If I didn't have RAD would I do this differently?" and she will say "I wish the RAD would go away already!" at times when she recognizes the struggle. Her attachment to me is secure (anxiously) and is growing towards C. although she views C. as a threat and competition for my attention.

All in all she is doing so very well. I have been trying to write my usual birthday letter to her but am at a loss for the right words to convey all that I see and feel. My guess is it will appear here whenever I do finish it and hopefully before she turns 11! When I think about where we have been with her and how far she has come I can't help but be a very proud mama.

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