Bloggy Moms

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sometimes Mom Can't Fix Everything

Recently I wrote about my  mended relationship with Princess. You can read about it here, if you missed it. Today Princess learned that not all relationships can be mended. It was a tough and painful lesson.

For the last few months Princess has asked me to set up a play date with her really good friend. She does not attend school with this friend nor do they attend the same church. So she has not seen her on a regular  basis since they were both in the same class in second grade. This child really clicked with my daughter. I envisioned them being life long pals but alas that may not be  the case.

They are not in the same place they once were. Her friend moved away for a bit. Both Princess and her have left the school that they first met at. Then there's that little incident over the summer that has really kept them apart.

When Princess was really struggling last summer, there was an incident with this child, her family and my daughter that did not end well. It was one of those things you wish that you could have a do over for. Unfortunately it happened and there is still fall out from it to this day.

When Princess asked me to set up the play date with this friend, I did not expect it would be as hard as it was for her to move on. I have called, texted, stopped by,  and sent a private message on Facebook to the child's mother. I let her know that we are sorry for the unfortunate incident and that Princess is doing much better now. When I stopped by the house, the mom seemed like she was genuinely happy that I stopped by. She assured me that her daughter would be coming over for a play date soon. All of these contacts were made in the last two-three months.

I told Princess that the difficult part of her challenges are that she may lose friends over them. Not everyone is able to move on and forgive. It is what it is.

Today on the way to the todc (therapist) for Princess's weekly session, she again asked about a play date with this friend. I told her again that I had reached out to her friend's mom but that nothing had come of it.

Once we got to the todoc's office, I informed Princess that I was going to go in the session with her for a bit. Once in the room, I explained the situation to the tdoc. I told her that I needed her help in explaining to Princess that this friendship might be lost.

We talked with Princess about it for a bit. Then the waterworks started.  I think she used up about half of the tdoc's Kleenex. The tdoc said, "If your tears could talk, what would they say?" Princess replied, "I'm just afraid she won't want to be my friend any more." Then later on she said that she probably scared them and they might be afraid something like that would happen again.

I consoled my daughter through her grief. I felt helpless knowing there wasn't much I could do or say to make the situation better. This was one of those times that I just offered up a hug and a shoulder to cry on. I even told her that I was sorry that I could not make it all better. Oy those boo boos when she was a toddler were a piece of cake to fix compared to this.

Then the tdoc suggested that Princess write a letter of apology to this friend. She told her that she may never hear from her friend again but she was doing the right thing by apologizing. Once we got home from the appointment, Princess watched a short TV show to relax her. Now she is working on her letter without any reminders from me.

One thing I did express to Princess was that since the incident last Summer, she has changed so much. Her father and I are proud of her.

It is rough being a mom. I hope we don't have many more days like this but I know that when we do, we will tackle them with God's help and with our Village of support.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Mended Relationship

 If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know that I recently resigned from teaching to tend to all of Princess's needs. Yesterday we were in the neighborhood near my former school. It kind of made me sentimental about my teaching career. Princess was in the car and asked me if I miss teaching. I told her that most days I do not. Then I asked her if she knew why I am not teaching any more. She said "So that you could help me." Wow! She gets it. I asked her if she liked that I was home more. She replied in the affirmative. Then she went on to sing my praises. When she was done, you would have thought I should have won the mother of the year award. I was in shock and awe.
For many years it was not like this at all. To say that I had a strained relationship with my daughter would be putting it mildly. I know that many parents of kids with mental illnesses will tell you that they have a tenuous relationship with their child as well. If I am honest, when I was working, it was easier to work all day than to be home with Princess. I could ignore all of the issues at home while I was teaching. My workplace became an oasis of sorts.
I also knew that my husband had a very special bond with our daughter. Princess told me many times that she loved him more than she loved me. I was happy that my daughter had such a special daddy but was sad that Princess's relationship with me wasn't even close.
For six weeks in late 2012 Princess and I spent a lot of time together while she received outpatient treatment in a neighboring county. It was too far to drive back and forth every day so we stayed at a hotel during the week nights and drove home on the weekends. We spent a lot of 1:1 time together during that time. I believe that was when our relationship really began to heal.
As time has gone on and I am able to be more available to my daughter we have both learned to appreciate each other more. I have learned many things about my daughter. I learned that it is important that she knows that I am there when she gets off of the school van every day. It is vital that I am there to assist with her homework.  It is paramount that I am able to have the time to email her teachers and staff members about concerns. It is significant that I have the flexibility to stay home with her if she is sick or did not get a good night's sleep.
Recently Princess had a bad case of the stomach flu. I was up from 12 a.m.- 6 a.m. with her. When I was teaching, I would have either been stressed about missing work the next day or woke my husband up to ask him to take a shift for a few hours. Since I am now home full time, I did not have those concerns.
I understand that not all parents of kids with Special Needs can stay home but for us it has proven to be highly effective. Another mom of a Special Needs kid put it this way "My child only has one childhood. Right now she needs me in it more."
There are many factors that play into why my relationship with my daughter has been mended but I believe the number one reason is just being able to be there more for her. For that I feel blessed and grateful that I listened to God when He told me to make Princess a priority.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Reason for Hope

I have wanted to share all of our good news but wasn't sure how to go about it but finally am taking the plunge. Please know this is my experience. All children are different and respond to psych meds differently but since my daughter has done so amazingly well on this new medication. I felt compelled to share about it with you.
I've blogged in the past a little about out journey so far. You can read more about it here .
In December of 2012 we started our first of many new normals but Princess was stable. Unfortunately the medication that made her stable also made her crave food especially carbs. She ballooned up to over 100 lbs by May of 2013. Her pdoc weaned her off of that med with the hopes of starting a new med soon. Well becasue of an insurance snafu we did not get to start my daughter on a new medication  So last summer Princess was in and out of medical facilities over the course of two months trying to get her meds just right. She would get discharged and be home a few days then would end up having to go right back because she would become so unsafe.  Some  parents with children like mine have coined the term "Street and Treat." That was very true for us. For a while I felt like I was living in the movie "Groundhog Day."  My husband and I were seriously considering a Residential Treatment Center because things had gotten so bad.
In September we were finally able to get Princess in a therapeutic day school that the public school agreed to pay for but she  was still very sick.
In October when we were at our wit's end, our pdoc suggested we try this new med she had heard about at a conference that she recently attended. She said that it had been used to control behaviors in kids like mine. It had been used for a long time in Parkinson's patients but just recently in kids. With nothing to lose I agreed to try it. I was scared to death that this was not going to work and we would eventually end up having to place my child  in an RTC in a few months. Well lo and behold it was the wonder drug.
I cannot begin to tell you what a difference this drug, Amantadine, has made in my daughter's life! She is like a different child. She can attend and focus. She her acts of aggression are considerably less frequent and shorter. Her executive functioning has improved dramatically. Her SPD issues are almost non existent. The change in my child is so dramatic that I cannot believe it is the same child. It is like her behaviors were getting in the way of us being able to see who she truly is inside.
Even when she was stable in 2012, she was nothing like what we are seeing now. Her teachers are noticing as well. I can honestly say that I am enjoying spending time with my child. I no longer dread when the next rage is coming.
Two additional benefits are that we have decreased her other meds significantly and she has lost all of the weight she put on. We were able to go off of one med and are dereasing another. It is the pdoc's hope that eventually Princess will only need to be on one or two meds in addition to Amantadine.
I'll end this by saying that if any of what I am saying sounds intriguing to you, I encourage you to ask your child's doctor  about considering Amantadine for your child. I'm posting some links to some studies/ research about Amantadine if you are interested. Here's one. Here's another. The second link has the information about 1/2 to 2/3's of the way down the page. The facility is a highly respected residential treatment center in Texas.
We had almost lost all hope. We are beginning to dream again.
Never give up!