February 16 – The week in review

Ana, Hannah and Drew on vacation last year

Ana, Hannah and Drew on vacation last year

This has (thankfully)  been a very uneventful week with Ana. There were a lot of noises and the transition from school to home was rough (not sure why) but overall it’s been good.

Ana had one typical, text-book, RAD moment this week. We, as in my husband and I, have been struggling with her yucky noises and not reacting to them, so we enacted a new rule – yucky noises are allowed outside and in Ana’s room only. This is for everyone’s sanity! She is allowed to make quiet noises in the rest of the house but if she starts with the obnoxious noises we tell her she’s welcome to make all the yucky noises she wants, but she needs to move downstairs (to her room).  No anger. No frustration. We even smile when we say it.

This has really thrown her for a loop since SO MANY battles have focused on her noises. I was waiting for the boundary testing to begin, and begin it did this week. As usual, Ana waited till I was super, über busy to push. I was frying bacon, holding a fussy baby, comforting a crying toddler and refereeing Hannah and Drew and Ana started her noises. I nicely told her to go down to her room. She said no. So, still being nice, I escorted her down to her room. Before I even got back to the bacon, she was back upstairs, yucky noises in tow.

I took her back downstairs, less friendly this time. She followed me back up.

I told her she could not come back up until her noises were out of her, and I’d let her know when that was. So she stood on the top step and yelled.

At this point I knew she had won. I had two choices. I could ignore the noises because I was busy (the win goes to Ana) or I could spend my time chasing her down the stairs every other minute (win for Ana because she had my attention). I could not think of any other way to remedy the situation.

I admit, I gave up. I put her downstairs and ignored her.

Since then I’ve done a lot of reflecting and found my flaw in that situation. I should never have allowed myself to get in a situation where I could not drop what I was doing and attend to Ana. I got off my plan.

We now have one of Ana’s classroom assistants who is coming to help me a few hours each week. I need to allow her to help me more so that I can focus on Ana when the need arises. It is hard, though, to rely on anyone, and my kids aren’t used to it.

On a good note, Ana did something totally NOT RAD like this week as well. She was in a fit on the way home from school, kicking and screaming in the van and accidentally kicked Hannah, who in turn could have won an Oscar with the performance she put on.

Ana really felt bad. Sincerely, totally, 100% felt bad that she hurt her sister. She hugged her and calmed down. I was so proud of her!

There is hope, after all.

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February 9 – I was right (I hate when I’m right)

I need to read this book

I got a call last night from Ana’s dad that she took her cast off. Apparently, her step-mom was working really hard to not get upset when Ana did her normal, awful things. So, Ana upped the ante. She had climbed into Drew’s bed (not allowed at dad’s house) and step-mom, rather than yelling at her, said, “Go ahead, Ana. I don’t care. If you want to be in Drew’s bed, do it,” and walked away. Next thing she knew, Ana threw her cast at her.

Score one for Ana. THAT definitely got a reaction!

As usual, this is causing discontent between me and my husband. His philosophy with Ana’s dad is when they have her, anything she does is their problem, not ours. I can’t do that. She is still my daughter and I am still the expert on her. So, I called her surgeon and arranged for dad and Ana to go to his local hospital and get a temporary cast put on until she comes home today. My husband says I did too much. But, seriously, what was I supposed to do? Ana’s dad didn’t think it was a big deal at all and even asked if she really needed the cast.

So, today is damage control including a trip to the ER to get another cast put on.

And, as usual, my husband and I are at a stalemate. I truly envy (even though I know envy is a sin and am working on that) couples who have ‘normal’ kids and never even have to deal with these types of issues. How lovely life must be for them.

Feb 8 – This week has been pretty good (cross my fingers, knock on wood)

September 2013 - This captures Ana's great personality that so many people never see

September 2013 – This captures Ana’s great personality that so many people never see

I hate to be optimistic, but so far things are going well. We’ve had a lot of snow which means a lot of snow days but Ana has handled it well and hasn’t gotten on my last nerve. One new practice that is working better than I imagined is making her say things on her iPad (since she can’t talk).

For instance, when she keeps asking about visiting her grandparents, I have her say with the iPad, “I want to visit Grandma, but I cannot today.” Or if she starts talking about going to daddy’s house, I have her say, “I want to see daddy today, but I cannot visit until Friday.”

I think it is working so well because I’m acknowledging her request AND giving her a reasonable response. It also is great practice for her using her iPad with complete sentences instead of just nouns and verbs (a skill we’re diligently working on).

Other than that, she’s had a few meltdowns – nothing major. We’ve began telling her to go ahead and put holes in the wall and she can fix them when her stepdad gets home. That has seemed to stop the destruction.

We’ve also eased up A LOT on noises. For our sanity we’ve had to put restrictions on where she can make her ‘yucky noises’. She is allowed to make all the loud noises she wants in her bedroom, the living room and outside. Everywhere else in the house is a quiet noise zone. So far, it is working. Also the car is a quiet noise zone. If she decides she needs to make loud noises while in the car I pull over and let her get out to make all the loud noises she wants. I do not get angry or frustrated which deflates her little plan with the yucky noises. I have also started building time into my car trips for this so the frequent stops won’t interfere with appointment times and the like.

While it feels good right now that all my scheming is working I, of course, realize that I’ve thrown Ana a curve ball and she is sizing up the new situation so she manipulate it as soon as possible. I have doubt she will be successful. But until that day arrives I will enjoy my relative control over her. Then, I will readjust.

Such is the story of my life with Ana.

February 1 – Stop the noises!

An illustration of Ana's Yucky Noises

An illustration of Ana’s Yucky Noises

My biggest problem, currently, with Ana’s behavior is how to get anything accomplished when dealing with the rest of the world. She makes these awful noises, purposefully, to annoy the crap out of everyone within earshot. My husband and I have agreed to basically ignore them at home in the hopes they will diminish (someday soon!) but other people DEFINITELY react to them and are rightfully bothered.

For instance, the phone. When I get any phone call Ana begins with the ‘yucky noises’. Now, according to our plan she is to always be with me – no time outs. And she is cool with that. 100% cool. But, when I get a phone call I have to take, and she is making yucky noises and the other person can’t hear me, what do I do? I’ve tried putting her in her room, but she flips out and begins trying to punch holes in the wall with her cast. Then, she gets herself upset and negates all the hard work we spent the day doing.

Sigh.

If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them. This is one manipulative cookie I have!

When we are out and she starts the noises one of us takes her outside or to the car. That works well, but the phone is a different story all together, and she knows it.