7:45pm rolled around earlier this evening and found me at home with my stomach in knots.
D had a rough day today. In fact today was one of the worst days we have had in a while.
EVERYTHING required ten times more effort than it should have. Diego’s frustration threshold was the lowest that I have seen it since he started the Risperdal.
When he has hard days like today, in addition to the major lack of impulse control, he walks around with a pained expression on his face and his language is out the door. When I try to talk to him, his replies are brief…fragmented…or he will start to ramble at a frantic pace about dinosaurs, his guinea pig Chum Chum, or the dog he has at his father’s house…Hazel.
So my plan was to be as cheerful as I could when I announced that it was time for bed. As I walked up to him he threw himself on the ground and yelled “NO BED!”. I had hoped that the timer would help a bit, but it hadn’t.
I was in for a long one tonight.
I ignored D’s yelling and laid out his PJ’s and his pull-up so that they were easier for him to put on. Once he saw them laid out his immediate reponse was “can’t do it.” I tried to encouraged him, I told him that he was such a big boy, I told him that he was a pro at putting his pajamas on, but nothing worked. His anxiety was through the roof and he needed to control something. Part of me just wanted to dress him for bed to avoid the meltdown, but I knew that I couldn’t do that.
Diego knows how to put his PJ’s on and I would be rewarding bad behavior if I had done it for him.
It is my job to teach him that disruptive behavior isn’t ok.
So I had to hold my ground.
Unfortunately this gave me the pleasure of scrambling for ways to motivate him to get them on.
He haphazardly tried and would cry out “my hands can’t do it!!!”
I cheated a little bit and helped him here and there. My logic was that maybe if I gave him a little control that it would calm him enough to put the shirt on by himself. Finally he was ready, and then he looked at me and said ‘snack’
I don’t think that I have mentioned Diego’s obsession with snack food on here yet. Getting him to eat a real meal is virtually impossible. Initially I thought it was the Risperdal causing an increased appetite, but when I took a minute to think about it, D’s snack obsession was budding prior to the Risperdal. To manage the obsession, we set a number of snacks that he can have before and after meals. I know it sounds drastic, but I make sure that he is getting enough to eat, and have found that it is the only way he will stop asking for a ‘snack’ every 5 minutes.
I’m not exaggerating.
Every 5 minutes.
Tonight I told him that he could have 3 snacks before bed. The amount varies based on how much he ate for at meal time, if he barely eats then we increase the number of snacks.
He had all 3 snacks.
When I reminded him about this, he lost it. I caved a bit and offered a few animal crackers, but he didn ‘t want those, he wanted a fruit leather.
We were out.
When I told him this he started crying louder. I offered the animal crackers again but he wasn’t having it. At this point it was obvious that nothing was going to make things better and I walked him to his bedroom. I let go of his hand and went to turn his blanket down and that’s when he started smacking and punching himself in the face. I held his hands down so that he wouldn’t hurt himself and ‘ignored’ the rest of the tantrum. After a few minutes he stopped trying to hit himself and calmed enough for me to kiss him goodnight. Once I left his room and sat on the couch, I allowed my body and mind to relax. Nights like this drain every bit of emotional energy I have. They leave me very tired and so sad. About ten minutes later the crying started again, I let it go until I heard him smack himself. When I walked into his bedroom he was banging his knee into his nose and eye, he told me he wanted to see his blood. I was at the point where I didn’t give a shit about rewarding bad behavior, I just wanted him to stop. I crawled into bed next him and gave him some deep pressure input by wrapping his blanket as tight as I could around his body. Eventually this calmed him enough for me to cuddle next to him. He kept crying and saying that he ‘didn’t want to hurt himself but that he couldn’t make his brain stop.’
It broke my heart to hear him say this.
I didn’t say anything to his comment, I mean what am I supposed to reply with in that emotional moment? I think that I will address it with his therapist and see if she recommends anything.
Without words I kissed him on his forehead and let him rub my ears until he fell asleep.
There is no moral or real point to this entry tonight.
I just needed to get this out.
It shouldn’t be this hard, it just shouldn’t.