Tuesday, March 25, 2003

What is Normal When A Child Has Been Through All Of This?

It is looking like I am making more of an issue about some of the things that are going on. Advice I get suggests that this kind of stuff is normal for a child who has been through everything our little girl has been.

I can't even imagine how hard this must be for such a little child. She seems to act like she understands everything that is going on--but, how could a little girl this young really understand what it means to get "new parents" and what it means to say "Goodbye" from your mother? On top of it all living in a Foster Home that it seems to be clear didn't fit her well. Or something--because if these were the kinds of things that were happening--no one bothered to get her help or even document it. To me there is a huge difference between tantrums that last a little too long--and the complete melt-downs we see.

I also notice that she reacts like I am going to back-hand her or something. She will flinch away when she is starting to act up--as if I am about to smack her. I have no idea where this reaction comes from--but, it wasn't noted in her file so apparently no one else has seen this? Or we are the first? This afternoon I was picking up the toys in her room and lifted her guitar up--she responded to me like I was holding it in the air threatening to beat her with it... ODD! And clearly Post Traumatic Stress. Clearly she has been hit with hands and things... We know she witnessed a lot of domestic violence. But, no remarks from the foster home about these kinds of responses. You would think that something like this would be documented.

Inappropriate Behaviors—Makala demanded that Tori and her boyfriend kiss each other in front of her…..of course they did not.

School—We had a meeting with all the ‘important’ players in the group—the counselor, teachers, special ed teacher and someone else—Basically the whole group seemed to miss the fact that I had some real concerns…. They presented us with a behavior plan…it was pitiful and of practical uselessness for what we needed. It is clear that back surgery was a failure--I still cannot feel my left leg or foot.

How long does a child have a tantrum? Isn't 4-6 hours a little long? And do most kids tear the house apart? Kick--bite--scratch--hit--spit??? Is this stuff normal for a tantrum? It is killing us and making it very hard to even want to be nice.... It all ends so fast for her and takes us hours to get over...We are tired and sort of feeling some deep anger toward her....Is is hard to see her good side right now it is hard to even see her as the pretty little girl she is.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Mom Takes a Tumble over the Baby Gate

During a -Tantrum Makala was out of control and mom needed to move to another room... and fell over the baby gate—Cannot feel my left leg..... or foot

What a horrible night!

It is clear the honeymoon has come to an end, and we are seeing what I believe are very extreme tantrums for a child of the age of 5 years old. While I do know that a certain amount of this kind of behavior is normal at the age of 5--what we see seems like a little 2 year old tantrum.

The hard part is that while Makala is in the middle of a tantrum it is as if she can't hear a word we say. When we try to talk her "down" she escalates and for a child of 5 she is not small--and her out-of-control tantrums are rather scary--and violent.

Tori and I also tried the approach of counting...1...2...3...and then offered a negative consequence if she would not get off the floor and stop kicking--but, that didn't work either because when we suggested a negative consequence (time out) she responded as if she was "already" in trouble--as if she had no chance to avoid the suggested consequences... So the tantrum changed from what the tantrum was about--to Not wanting a time out. ?

This behavior is so hard for me. I don't recall dealing with temper tantrums with my oldest son and Tori? And I also don't know if we are just reacting the wrong way? Wanting to help her adjust and deal with her emotions we thought maybe we are giving too much attention to the tantrums? Maybe we need to stop paying attention at all.

So that was the attitude I had tonight since we have been seeing 2-3 tantrums in the day I decided that I will attempt to ignore the negative behaviors and try to overlook the 68 pound 5 year old laying on the floor kicking--screaming and scratching her own arm.

Earlier in the day when she started over wanting to play outside after lunch (in the pouring down rain) I just let her go and said nothing and went about my business. It lasted for about an hour non-stop and all I did was pay enough attention to be sure she didn't hurt herself. Eventually she calmed down and just dazed into the space--sniffed a few times and slowly got off the floor.

I thought that was a great start and that maybe as the days go on I can help her learn some ways to calm herself down a little. But, as she got off the floor and started to play in the family room she came into the kitchen for something. I told her I was proud she got herself under control! I asked if she wanted a drink and she said yes.

After I gave her a drink I wanted to hug her so badly but I could tell she was still very hostile under her composure. She drank her drink and then walked passed me--and "Nudged" me in the hip with her shoulder--hard and rood for a child her age. I told her I didn't like that and it hurt me and asked her if she needed a hug. She said no--not from you.

Things went okay for the hour or two--both kids were up playing in the family room and Makala was watching cartoons... Tori got home from school and we were talking about her day--when Makala interrupted and asked for a treat. I let her know that I was getting ready to cook dinner and she could have a treat after we ate dinner...

Well that was it... She Hit the ground again... Screaming like she was being beaten or poked with a hot stick... Kicking the dining chairs...the table...the plants and scratching her arm and head... She was contorted and I could tell she was Not Going to Hear anything... So I walked to the laundry room knowing Tori was there and wanting to continue with my approach of "ignoring"... when Makala jumped up from the floor and ran at me... She knew I was going to take a break but needed me to pay some kind of attention to her tantrum.

She got up to me and grabbed my arm and scratched at it...not too hard. I took her hand off and went to move a bit faster to leave the room--and step over the baby-gate when the bottom of my foot caught the top of the baby gate and BAM! I hit the floor HARD. Instantly, I could feel something in my left hip or back hurt like Nothing in my life has ever hurt before...

We went to the emergency room...they cant tell anything of course, it is always Go See your doctor... By the time we stopped at the pharmacy for some kind of pain killer and got home, I could feel hot down my whole leg and twitching--and numbness moving from my foot up the back of my leg. Inside my left hurt the worst.

I can't believe this fall happened and I don't think that Ignoring her tantrums is what she needs--clearly? I am not sure what will work but it is clear that she doesn't need us to ignore her fits...

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