Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Tough Week, But A Better Weekend

We had a tough week.

Tristan was incredibly resistant to doing his homework. It took hours to do because he claimed that he didn't know how to do the math. I had to reteach him each step with every problem. With three children, I just don't really have the time to dedicate to teaching him like that. I'm trying a new approach; I give him beans to use to count the numbers. It seems to be helping out, so I'm optimistic.

Tristan was so high energy this past week, frantically running all over the place, randomly (and rhythmically) ejecting loud bursts of noise (usually roars.) I was so exhausted from dealing with him. I felt terrible because I just had no patience and ended up yelling at him a lot.

This weekend, I tried to make up for it. I let him lay in my bed with me on Friday night and I rubbed his back until he fell asleep. On Saturday, I let him come alone with me to Pennsylvania to purchase a storage unit for our dining room. He seemed really excited to leave his sisters behind. I let him get a donut from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and he chose what we ate for lunch, as well.

His behavior seemed to improve and I'm going to make an effort to spend at least a few hours of positive alone time with him each week. I know it sounds like such an easy thing, but being as busy as I am, I don't even really get time to myself, much less with anyone else. I think it will be worth it, though, because it did seem to make a difference this weekend.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New School

Tristan started at his new school last week. His school is absolutely wonderful. The teachers seem to genuinely care and seemed eager to understand Tristan's particular special needs.

I was worried I'd have to prepare for a battle, guns ablazin', ready to fight to get him what he needs. To my shock (and pleasure) none of that will be necessary (yet.)

Today, Tristan came screaming to me about this terrible insect on the fence. He described it as "yellow, with fang-things like this," (he put his fingers in front of his mouth like a tarantula,) "and it's like a bee, but no wings!" I ran over, thinking it must be a really big termite or something. He'd found a cicada shell. I pulled it off the fence and showed him how it was hollow inside; no bug! He was amazed and didn't seem to understand where the inside had gone. It's just so funny to me because I grew up with cicadas and never really considered it before. This is all so new to him that it's almost like I'm seeing it for the first time, too.

On Halloween day, we spent most of the day working in the yard. Tristan grabbed the broom and sat in the middle of a leaf pile. I asked him what he was doing and he explained that he was in a boat, paddling down the water. Sometimes his imagination just cracks me up. He spent the next half hour "paddling" frantically. He even got his little sister into the "boat" along with him. They ended up playing really nicely together in our front yard for most of the day.

I can't wait to see what little things he'll discover each day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Long Overdue Update

I recently had a family member tell me how much this blog meant to her. It really surprised me because I didn't think that many people read it, especially family members. I felt guilty because I've done you guys a real disservice in neglecting to update. I'm going to work hard to be better about that.

We've moved back to the mainland. I was really worried that such a drastic change would throw Tristan off, but he's handled it pretty well.

The week before we moved was a living hell. I understand why it was hard since his schedule was all screwed up, but he had some difficult behavior.

My daughter came downstairs one night after the kids had gone to sleep. She was crying and rubbing her eyes. When asked what was wrong she complained of vaginal pain. I had her lie back and examined her. She had a tiny abrasion. I figured it was from her itching (after all, five year olds aren't exactly champion wipers,) but she said that Tristan had used an ink pen on her.

I immediately woke Tristan up and talked to him about it. He, of course, denied everything, but when I told him Sofie said it was in the afternoon, he said "No, it wasn't! It was in the morning." He ended up being confined to his room the next day and has been under close watch since then. He is not allowed to play with his sisters unsupervised. If one of them is upstairs, he stays down. If he's upstairs, they're downstairs. It's exhausting, but it's what needs to happen for everyone to stay safe.

Now that we're back on the mainland, he really seems to be thriving. He's been playing outside almost constantly. Tristan is enjoying the cool weather and is learning new things about our new climate. Keeping busy outside really seems to help keep the bad behavior to a minimum.

Now the hunt begins for a new doctor. We close on our new house on Monday and will enroll the children in school that afternoon (hopefully, they'll start later on the same week.) I'm crossing my fingers we're able to find good doctors.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Damaged Door

We've had a bit of a set back. Honestly, I wonder that it isn't because he's just bored.

Yesterday, Tristan had one of the worst tantrums he's had in a while. It's doesn't even get close to the ones he had about a year ago, but he still managed to tear up his bedroom door. At the time, I thought he was throwing toys at the door, but he told me today that he was punching it.

He kicked his sister and I told him to sit in time out. He refused, so I gave him a choice. He could go to time out or go to his room. He refused both. I had to call our neighbor over to watch the girls while I handled Tristan. He kicked and fought all the way up the stairs.

I finally managed to get him to his room. He usually rages for a little while, then calms himself down. When he's done raging, he knocks on the door to let me know he's ready to come out. He didn't knock and I went to check on him. That's when I discovered the door.

I was aghast at what I found. I simply couldn't believe he'd torn up another door. The door will cost $150 to replace. We're moving away in a few months and the housing office isn't going to want to fix that, they'll just replace it.

I know it doesn't look like much here, but remember, my seven year old made those with his fists.

When I found it, he hid from me in his closet. I didn't yell at him or spank him or anything.  I was just so stunned. I quietly told him how upset I was and that he would not be coming down from his room for the rest of the day (it was about 4:00 at the time.) He ate his dinner in his room, then put himself to bed.

This morning, C went into Tristan's room and removed all of his toys. He's grounded from video games for two weeks. We have a chart with money values on it and he will do chores to work off the $150 for the door.

Honestly, I'm not really sure what else to do. I can't decide if it's too harsh or not harsh enough. The last time he tore up the door, he was six and was very ill. We didn't make a big deal out of it because he ended up going into the hospital. This time, he's old enough to understand and face the consequences of his actions.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Brief Update: More ASL and A New Wooden Sword

Well, I am way overdue for an update here.

Summer's already been really long and it's just been a few short weeks. I've been working hard keeping Tristan as busy as possible.

We're still going to our ASL classes. It's moving very quickly and it can be hard to keep up. I think it's been easier to get Tristan to understand what I'm wanting from him when we use sign along with telling him orally.

We implemented a sticker chart for him. He earns one happy face every hour that he does a good job. He decided that he wanted to work towards earning a wooden sword like his best friend has. He worked very hard and ended up earning that wooden sword! He was so proud of himself.

Obviously, we can't keep bribing him with new toys, but I thought maybe we could offer him things like extra one-on-one time with Mommy or Daddy, doing whatever he wants to do or time with the Wii.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First ASL Class

Our first ASL class was last night and it was a total hit! Tristan was fascinated by the other hearing impaired kids.

The class was taught by a deaf woman. She didn't speak, but instead taught through a combination of signing, gestures, written words and pictures. At first I was a little worried since I have no ASL, but I think it really helped me to understand all the nonverbal cues in ASL.

It's not just moving your fingers, it's using your whole body, your face included. When signing "hot," you make a face like you burned yourself. "Eat up" is gestured while your mouth makes the motion for "up," or swallowing, whatever way you look at it.

The positioning of the fingers and hands is so important. A single finger out of place or an extra motion can change the meaning completely.

We're just taking a basic class right now, but after we move, I want to enroll in another class to expand what I'm learning now. I am really enjoying the class and I really think it will help Tristan to see the words as well as hear them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ASL, Summer Programs and Chocolate Cake

We start ASL tomorrow! The School for the Deaf called me back last week and offered family classes in American Sign Language for Tristan for $50. I immediately accepted. The only downside is that the baby can't go and I had to find a sitter for her. The classes are in the evenings, so bedtime routine is going to be messed up, but I'm willing to do that once a week to help Tristan communicate better.

Ms. C., the play therapist, highly recommended that we find a program for him this summer because he'll get bored with unstructured time and that could be a trigger. It's looking like there's no way out of shelling out $1000 over the summer for the program.

I should have a final decision made about summer programs by the end of this week. I think he'll be going to Kama 'aina Kids, which has offered to take him on without the aid on a trial basis. I think he'll be just fine as long as he's kept busy.

Tristan's been relatively irritable lately. Tonight, we went out as a family to The Cheesecake Factory. Tristan did so well. I looked him straight in the eye and told him how well he had done. He smiled, then asked for some chocolate cake. I don't usually get deserts at restaurants, but made an exception because of his excellent behavior.