Tired and worried

I’m tired. I’m happy with things, mostly, but so very tired. Colt has decided he’s not going to sleep at night anymore. We send him to bed early each night so he can play a little while as he unwinds. He usually takes his ipad and plays minecraft for a little while, then we take the internet activities away (have to shut down the wireless – the child will sneak out of his room after Dayne and I are asleep and then locate his ipad or ipod and play on it again!). His toys are put on shelves and his apple products are taken to our room, a soothing music CD is put on and he is told to go to sleep. Sometimes he does, but then wakes up a little while later and starts to play again. Sometimes we are up ten or fifteen times in the night trying to get him to sleep….it’s not that he isn’t tired…he just forces himself all the way awake when he wakes up as he sees it as his opportunity to ‘stay up and play all night’. I even tried letting him get it out of his system a few weekends this summer but he was SO freaking grumpy the next day it was unbelievable. School starts next week again and he simply cannot stay up all night and then cope with school in the morning. It’s hard enough helping him manage his behaviour when he’s well rested and somewhat focused. :S

He’s already ramping up to disobey at school as well.

“Mom. What will happen if I won’t do my work this year?”

“Well, you’ll get into trouble like you did last year.” I try leaving it a bit open and ominous to see if it makes him think twice.

“But what will happen? Will I get grounded?”

“It depends on how you behave, Colt.”

“Will I get suspended again and get to stay home or at Mrs. K’s?”

“Colt, let’s not talk about this. You need to work on following school rules by not swearing, not running out of class and doing your work when you are asked to.” I attempted to reason.

“I’m not going to do my work.” he replied.

Well damn…we’re here already are we? I don’t know what to do anymore. Positive reinforcement no longer works very well with Colt…when it comes down to it, whatever he would have earned for following the rules becomes meaningless in the moment for him. Negative drivers don’t work either…he just breaks down and asks for the punishment immediately. In fact, if you don’t dole it out he’ll do it for you.

“Fine. I’m going to get suspended and in big trouble and get grounded and spend the entire day in my room with no toys.” Then we find ourselves struggling to make him understand that the punishment should dissuade him from breaking those same rules over again, but it doesn’t. He just accepts that the behaviour causes “x” punishment and that’s that. There’s no thought there about stopping it or controlling things inside him, coping differently. He wants to swear when people piss him off on the playground and he’s going to do it no matter what happens. He doesn’t want to do his school work and he won’t, no matter what happens. It’s a tough place to be when we are trying to help him through.

He won’t eat lunch at school…usually only eats a few bites of whatever we give him. He gets hungry and cranky and still doesn’t eat. We tell him and his teachers to make sure he eats lunch, he says no, they can’t get anywhere with him and he ends up eating a quarter of something in front of the principal who then calls me to discuss him not eating his lunch. I’m exhausted already, just thinking about it….and those are the good calls too. I’m dreading the ones where I’m forced to try to talk Colt out of or into something on the phone with the entire office listening over speaker (the school office, I mean).

I’m trying not to stress over this. I mean, I’m not actively stressing or worrying about it endlessly because I don’t want to make Colt’s anxiety over school even worse but what do you do when you’ve run out of tactics and tricks? I tried to talk to one of the OT’s at work to see if they had any ideas but they just told me things I already knew and have put in place years ago. I tried to tell her that but she wouldn’t listen….so in the end I thanked her and just let it go.

“Yes, thank you, we figured out the visual schedule when he was five…..” *sigh*

So now we are trying to set up appointments to take Colt regularly to the psychiatrist to see if therapy helps. Every time we have to leave our jobs to take him to an appointment we get in trouble. I’m not allowed to take vacation for things like this in my new role so I’m stuck taking unpaid days when I have to be off….Dayne isn’t even allowed time off for this stuff at all so he takes unpaid sick days. Between that, daily calls from the school, managing Colt’s behaviour and then my own job and health on top is sounding impossible this year…I’m just so much more tired this time around. I wish I could be someone who stays at home to clean and cook and run the kids to their appointments, rather than forcing my body through 8 hour days to get home to clean for another hour then fall asleep the moment I hit that couch. There’s so much more to do in there.

This year, Dayne plans to take Colt to an after school club dealy at the YMCA. I know his intentions are good but we barely make it to swimming lessons once per week. It will likely tire Colt out though and then he might sleep better…or the added social pressure after being at school all day, then in a crowded babysitters place, then in a new environment with more kids he doesn’t want to be around will overload him and be too much. Either way, I just want to sleep through it all.

In happy news, my thumb continues to improve so I’m very happy with that. I can see how resting it like this (I’m keeping it splinted all the time) will really help it heal. Dayne brought home a neoprene brace for me last night to sleep in and it’s so comfortable. I ended up waking with no pain in my hand thanks to that kind gesture. So thankful for the wonderful things in my life even though I’m tired these days.

I would so love to crawl into my covers and doze off for a day or two right now. I’m tired from waking up to make Colt go back to sleep and then waking up to Dayne yelling at him from our bedroom. I jumped about two feet in the air at one point, from a dead sleep.

“FOR CRYING OUT LOUD COLT GO! TO! SLEEP!” Dayne hollered about a foot from my ear. Geez…

We’re looking into herbal sleep aids this weekend. Will see where to go from there. I would rather try to exhaust Colt before I medicate him to sleep. If he’s going to go on meds, I’d rather it be a last resort. He’s only ten.

I should have taken tomorrow off to catch up before we have to hit the ground running on Tuesday morning. Thank heavens for a long weekend…one extra laundry day. Baah.

Happy about my thumb. Gonna hang onto that one today to get me through the afternoon.

A small sliver of hope

Well now. I’m feeling a tiny bit (dare I say it…) hopeful. ? Maybe. I’m terrified to admit this in case I jinx it all and kick myself later, even if there is no such thing. *sigh* Ah well, might as well. Maybe believing it will help bring it into my life.

One of the therapists I work with gave me a consultation on my thumb. She spent a lot of time feeling around the joint structure and offered me some tips and advice on what’s going on from her point of view. First, she said it wasn’t likely to be gout, which is what I was thinking. She said there is much more swelling, inflammation, heat and uric acid crystal formation with gout. I was thinking along those lines only because I have intermittent issues with my toes where they are so sore in the joint I cannot move them on my own or by force. Sometimes even socks are too much to bear. I’ve never had the upper joints click and lock though, which turns out to be the key here.

She told me it looks like ‘trigger finger’ (or thumb) which is actually an issue with the tendons rather than the joint. She pushed and pulled on my actual thumb joints and there was no pain at all (Hooray! I nearly cried from relief when she did that and I felt somewhat normal joint function beneath her fingers). If the pain is being caused by tendons (the sheath that covers them sometimes becomes inflamed or damaged) then there’s a very decent chance I can heal the injury. The simple thought that this one small thing might actually get better is making me so happy… :D FINALLY! Something that can actually get better! lol. Yaaaay!

She did a full joint assessment for me as well and said that there was a fair amount of arthritis present in my hands but my thumbs feel better than the rest. She made me a little splint to wear at night (for now, more often if it doesn’t start helping right away) to immobilize the thumb joint and told me to use it for at least six weeks to allow the tendons to heal. I clench my hands into tight fists at night, usually gripping my blankets and pulling them to my neck (safety/comfort thing) and she thinks that is what exacerbated or caused the wear and tear. I wore it last night and after one night the improvement is remarkable.

I went to the bathroom after she gave me the once over and had a little cry. Will this actually go away?? This one little pain in the ass hurt that pops up whenever I try to do anything with my hands? It seems possible and that just has me over the moon. I tend to accept each new pain I experience with stoic acceptance that this will be the way I feel from that point forward until I die. I have to remember that sometimes, things will heal and go away. (WOW!!! Seriously. Wow.)

So I am going to treat my poor thumb very gently and will wear my splint as often as I can. Movement (or clicking the joint forward and back) makes this condition worse so rest is the key. I can’t wait to see how much better it feels in a week or a month! Only one night and the improvement is so remarkable I’m in shock.

This brings me to another thought I’m not willing to believe in quite yet. If I have tendon issues developing in my hand….maybe (just maybe) some of the other pain I have that is yet undiagnosed might also be related??? I have pain in my toes, elbows, knees, and ankles that seems to have no cause. It’s not related to the arthritis, not related to anything, as far as anyone can tell. No one can say where it is coming from and they all decide to call it ‘nerve pain’ because my back is the most likely culprit for referred pain. What if some of that is my tendons too? Holy shit….if *any* of it can be attributed to tendons I might be able to get this pain down to a more-manageable state without having to gobble down more narcotic medication.

I’m nearly crying. I’m so hopeful….but I can’t put myself through that again quite yet. I’m going to take it day by day and rest the heck out of my hand….if it goes away after rest (or a steroid injection to the tendon, which was recommended by the therapist as a second treatment plan) I’ll reassess. There are lots of things you can do with tendons in a physiotherapy way. Wow. Wow. Wow. Fingers crossed (oops, right hand only! lol)

Happy me today. Happy me.

Narrow Scope

You know what makes me angry? Well, okay, let’s be fair, not really “ANGRY” but annoyed? I’m sitting here overhearing a conversation between a coworker and her husband on the phone (I can’t help it, she’s right beside me in the kitchen). She is telling her hubs that she’s worried about their daughter who is struggling with raising her two young kids.

“I just keep telling her it’s not forever.” My coworker says. “I can’t do much more for her. I made dinner and took it over four nights last week, cleaned her house and did her laundry on my day off while I watched the peanuts (her loving term for her grand-babies) and I’ve babysat for them five nights out of seven. Can we maybe take the kids for the weekend for her? She’s and *husband* are so stressed out and she calls me in tears nearly every day.”

Hmm. Okay. I get this….I know raising kids is not easy but holy hell, with that amount of help she should be able to at least take care of her own two kids! No one ever helped us…not once. The sitter we have now (who is an angel on earth, let me tell you) is the only person who has ever watched Colt after hours and it was a total of twice in his lifetime. Dayne and I have been out together alone maybe once…twice, possibly, in ten years. No one took him when he was a baby and screamed all the time…

Oh wait. There was a woman I used to work with..Nancy. She came to my house in those first months and took Colt from me…told me to go have a long, hot bath and read a book for a few hours while she took him for a nice long walk in the fresh air. (That just brought tears to my eyes – remembering that. What a wonderful woman she was. I’m going to have to look her up and let her know how much that meant to me.).

I know I’m being a bit judgmental here but the woman has her mom coming over to clean her laundry?!?! I’d pay a fair amount of money to get someone to do that for me. lol. How can someone not adore spending time with their little ones? I know it can be difficult at times; I know kids are exhausting and I know it can feel impossible, but this woman has two healthy, happy little ones who are growing and learning and blossoming into perfect little people. They don’t scream all the time or freak out when they go to Walmart or when things get out of place. They don’t break down because their socks aren’t flat on their feet and they don’t break her heart daily with their struggles. They have friends, go to birthday parties and have fun with their peers. One of them is in school and just got skipped ahead, she’s such a smart little girl. Pardon my French, but fuck you lady. You have nothing to complain about.

(Okay that was my judgmental little rant for the day. I know everyone’s situation is unique and I shouldn’t say these things but come on!! I’m going to see if this coworker of mine would like to adopt me. If Colt had one grandparent who wanted to love him, I’d be over the moon with happiness. Out of the four living ones, not one bothers to even send a card for his birthday).

*Sigh* People.

Out of my system, on with the day. :)

Happiest Boy

Colt had a great birthday! One of the best he’s had in his life, he told us over and over :) I have never had so much fun spoiling him with gifts and pizza and ice cream cake…he loved every moment. He even let us put up balloons and streamers, wanted to wear party hats…we actually got to celebrate his life, our precious boy. D and I couldn’t have had more fun either….it was magical. Every tiny thing we see as he grows and expands his world mean the world to us.

Oh and, I’ve decided to stop with the initials…it gets annoying having to monitor myself so much. I’m just going to use the full version of D’s name since no one knows him by that…so, for blog purposes, you will know him as Dayne.

I finally made my xray appointment for Friday morning so I can get my hand looked at. I’m fully expecting what’s always happened…”We see nothing wrong with your hand except for arthritic joints”. I guess it’s a good thing to have it on record but feels like such a waste of my time. Dayne is worried it’s something else but I’ll bet anything that no matter what’s going on, they won’t be able to do anything about it except give me more pain meds, which I can’t take and work full time. *sigh* I do need to check into it though…I can’t even hold slice of pizza with my left hand anymore. (Thank God it’s my left hand. I’m a tad worried about having to have surgery to fix whatever is messed up in there…how will I type while recovering? (I’m teaching myself to manage with one hand typing now to prepare, just in case).

Have a great Wednesday my friends. xx

A brilliant sun rise on a special day

It’s Colt’s 10th Birthday today. TEN. Ten YEARS…holy smokes does time ever fly. Last night while I wrapped his presents D blew up balloons and hung streamers. We did this for him last year and he told me he was looking forward to it again…so of course we complied! He’s never liked a fuss made over him but this year he really seems to be enjoying it :) D and I woke him together, softly singing Happy Birthday and he opened his eyes with a grin.

“I can’t believe it! I’m double digits!!” he cried.

God I love that boy more than life.

He and I had a nice cuddle on the couch while we watched the sun come up and he listened patiently while I told him the story of our first morning together, which I’ve told many, many times. Colt and I started our first day together sitting in a very quiet room in the hospital next to the window. We watched the sun rise together, he and I, and it was peaceful and exciting both. He hadn’t quite started his 2-year scream fest so I had a moment to stare at the lovely little being I had created magically inside me. I loved him, even then.

We’re having pizza and ice cream cake for dinner and I have to figure out how to craft a ‘party hat’ out of napkins. He saw something online that made him want party hats…lol. I was going to hit the dollar store on the way home but I want to be as early as I can be so he gets his presents ASAP. He’s so excited. I loooooooove buying him gifts he adores….Birthdays aren’t quite as grand as Christmas but they are my second favourite by far.

I’m so proud of Colt. I’m proud of his strength and courage, his adaptability and willingness to change, grow, expand. I’m proud of his effort to be and do good in the world.

This morning when he came down the stairs and saw all the balloons and party decorations he gave us a lovely gift. It’s very cool when you get to see some of your own efforts to be a good parent reflected in your child.

“Mom, Dad, please come here and listen to me.” he said, very serious like. “I want you to know how much this means to me and that you did a very good job decorating the house. You should both be very proud of yourselves for doing such a nice thing for me. Give yourselves a hand!” and then we clapped.

What a wonderful morning that was. Makes me remember how very lucky I am to have this boy in my world. I can’t imagine life without him….wouldn’t want to! He has brought so much love and light into our lives…I am humbled and filled with happiness that this child is a part of my heart.

Happy Birthday sweetest of all the sweet peas. I love you from your toes to the top of your head. Thanks for watching the sun rises with me and for all the memories in between. xox

Autism, growing up and my broken heart

A day I’ve been dreading since the day my Colt was born has finally arrived.

Last night before bed Colt was suddenly in a terrible mood. He had been playing a game, happy enough until he was told it was time for his shower. Immediately he turned sour and adversarial.

“Colt, it’s time for your bath babe.” I said.

“No.”

“Come on, no argument. Just go have a quick one and get it over with.” and off he went, but grumbling all the way.

When he was done he came to my side and asked for a hug. Hugs with Colt are not very common and when he does give them out they are usually brief. One time in his life before last night, he climbed into my arms. He was three and had pneumonia. He crawled across the living room floor to me and curled into my lap like a kitten, feeling so sick. And then last night…

He was still being snarky and miserable, contradicting everything I said with a negative answer. I ignored it and held him tighter, told him I loved him each time he opened his mouth and he didn’t pull away or push me back, he just lay with his head on my shoulder, griping from there. We sat like that for maybe ten minutes (D had stopped to watch it was such a rare occasion) and then Colt explained something to me that I didn’t know he felt so clearly. He has *never* in his life offered such clear and personal information so it was a stunning moment; one I found myself rather ill prepared for.

“Do you like me?” he asked in a small voice.

“I like you very much, in fact, I love you!” I replied.

“Some people don’t like me, you know?”

“Really? Who doesn’t like you sweetheart?”

“Arlen from school” was his answer. “He doesn’t like me and that’s why I was swearing so much at recess last year.”

*Stunned silence on my part. D’s jaw hit the floor.*

I found myself completely unequipped to deal with what was said. I’m calm, rational, and direct with Colt and almost always have an answer to his questions or concerns. This one though….it was so honest and clearly expressed….it was wonderful, but heartbreaking at the same time. No one wants to see their kid hurting and trying to deal with unpleasant people in their world.

“Does it made you sad that Arlen doesn’t like you?” I tried but it was the wrong approach and he got all defensive and didn’t want to talk anymore.

I immediately stopped and just cuddled him. I told him it hurts me when people don’t like me as well but said I learned that the only people who really matter in life are those who love you, not the ones who hate you. It was short and sweet and he listened but didn’t respond.

Minutes passed and he was still attached to me. “Daddy and I will always be here for you Colt. Always. We will always love you exactly as you are.” I said it hoping he understood. I didn’t ask though, just kept cuddling and telling him he was very, very loved in our little family.

So there it is. He now definitely understands what’s going on. He knows that he is different, he knows that he can’t change that no matter how he tries and he knows the pain of being judged by people. I know we just go on from here. We will talk to him this weekend a lot…come up with a game plan so D and I can tackle the school system again, as we have to do every year to set things up to keep Colt moving forward. This Arlen kid is in his class this year along with another kid who used to call him a “retard” and told him all the time that he didn’t belong there at the school. This little shit is the one I was worried about, not Arlen. I wish he had been able to express this earlier… Poor guy. :( He’s been struggling with this a long time, I think.

So my heart is aching for my little boy who is trying to cope with the world around him. I want so badly to take this away from him. I want to be able to fix it. I was never able to fix anything that hurt him and the feeling is so dibilitating and helpless. My ten year old has already well learned that no matter how we love him, we can’t make his world much better than we already do, his dad and I. It’s so unfair. I’d give anything to be able to help. All I can do is love him and that just doesn’t seem like enough.

Sad day here. I’m happy that he talked to me, if only very briefly. I’m thrilled that he was able to put that together but then saddened again when I think he must have known this last year and he chose not to say anything. He would swear, we would ask why and he’d not answer at all. We assumed he couldn’t articulate it. We assumed wrong. Again. This parenting shit is tough. I love this kid so damn much.

Ah well. It’s Friday. I’m going to try to fill his weekend with happiness, as much as I can. It will make us both feel a little better and a little is better than not. Right?

My spine hates yoga (taking it one day at a time)

Last night I did my yoga workout for the second day in a row. I’m rather proud of myself (I know, how lame…lol. Two days is a victory for me!). I have done yoga in the past and I wasn’t surprised to find it much, much harder now. The added weight along with the years of not really getting enough exercise have made things difficult but I know it will get better the more I do it. The trouble is that yoga of any type (stretching really) causes my neck to flare up terribly. Two days in and I was a mess last night…burning pain through my neck and shoulders even though I didn’t stretch my neck at all and was very careful with my upper body. I’m modifying the poses to ensure I don’t put much pressure on the really weak parts of my spine. I’m doing a waist/leg focus workout too so it shouldn’t have affected my neck so badly, or at least I didn’t expect it to.

So I didn’t sleep well. I woke with a screaming headache every few moments (it seemed) and it got so bad early this morning I woke seeing double. The other weird symptom was that my thumb was killing me and when I massaged it a bit I realized that it was hyper-extended backwards (the opposite direction to the one that causes pain). That’s a bit weird. Today I’m sore as hell…not in a good way either. My muscles are fine but my bones are not. I’m not sure what to do about that. Muscle relaxers don’t help bones. Narcotics don’t seem to help either….nor does advil, of course. Feels a bit hopeless, this, but I’ll keep at it for a few weeks to see if it dimishes. Not much else I can do. I’m in pain anyway so I might as well get some exercise right? It’s just really hard to do something that is supposed to be good for you when you know it’s going to make your life hell for the next few days. (Hmm maybe I’ll switch to an every other day schedule. Might be less taxing on my bones).

School is getting close to starting again and Colt’s anxiety is up. D and I had a great chat the other day about his anxiety. D was always a “MY son will not be medicated” sort of dad until the last year or so when he was forced to see exactly how much Colt struggles without help in some things. Anxiety is big one and, strangely, he seems to have the same reactions I did as a child. Interesting because I figured my anxiety was caused by the abuse. Strange, seeing yourself in others. I’ve never had the experience prior to Colt coming into my life.

The anxiety in Colt is manifesting as grumpy defiance. He will say “NO” instantly before doing as he is told, even if he has every intention of doing it. He’s pushing and trying to stretch boundaries…normal for this age, I know, but the circles his little mind goes in are making things even more complex to sort through. Poor kid. I wish things could be just a little easier for him, but then, that’s nothing new.

Time for a stretch and a coffee.

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