On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Work cut out

ugh, ugh, ugh.

and more ugh, ugh, ugh!!!!!

stupid, annoying, pain in the royal arse, RADs is.

Conference with Wonder Girl's teacher this morning. Her school behaviors are greatly improved and her teacher wants to remain contact with her throughout the summer so Wonder Girl feels safe about school, connected and confident. Her teacher has seen much of the anger and fear and knows that school is a safe place for Wonder Girl to not only learn but to talk about what really troubles her. Then, her teacher offered to write a letter to the RTC to let them know how greatly Wonder Girl was affected by her sister's issues and that is would be in Wonder Girl's best interest if Sissy did not come home until everyone in the family was better. She will also put details in the letter that marks Wonder Girl's improvements. I want to jump up and kiss her! awesome teacher.

Since Sissy's 4th grade teacher is directly next door to Wonder Girl's classroom, I popped my head in there and 4th Grade teacher, having taught at an RTC for 10 years before this job was all head-nodding-agreement that a return for Sissy right now in the middle of the school year would not be prudent, especially since her classroom size has increased in Sissy's absence, citing the decreased classroom size at the RTC as being very helpful. She agreed that homeschooling may not be the best option for Sissy either (and then gave me a gentle nod, acknowledging that it wouldn't be good for me). She was very concerned that the standardized testing be completed while Sissy was at RTC and not back home and said she'd write a letter saying so. i said, "hold on, Wonder Girl's teacher is writing a letter too! Let's just send them together." We both smiled.

Yes, even at home, people are fighting not just for Sissy's success but for all of us. Do I want her home? Yes, I can honestly say now that I'm starting to miss her but she's not the only "patient" in this equation. There are four other people in this family that have not had 24/7 therapeutic and psychiatric assistance to recover the last 9 years of hell. We're on our own but thankfully, we have teachers in our corner fighting for our best interests as well.

Then a hurried drive home to do a teleconference with Sissy. Boy oh Boy did she pull out all the stops. What's worse is her therapist completely MISSED IT! and I wanted to shout, "Hey therapist, this, right now, what Sissy is doing? RADS!" And for one brief minute during Sissy's completely fake coughing fit, the therapist actually got up and got Sissy a cup of water (OMG! OMG!!! I was smiling and trying very hard not to laugh because ... wow. Sissy COMPLETELY played her) Anyway, as the therapist left the room I wanted to look into the webcam and say, "So Sissy, up to your old tricks, I see."

But I didn't. *pat self on back*

No, Sissy continued with her ho-hum-What?-you-said-something-mother-i'm-sorry-I-didn't-hear-you-wait-what?-I-don't-understand-what-you-said game and I just smiled and bit my tongue because I was like mom, don't do it. Don't let her get your goat. Stay calm. breathe. Don't you dare laugh. wait it out, Sissy will get bored and be honest about how she's really feeling

And then she changed the subject about 100x and she kept giving me the i-don't-care stare and I kept smiling sweetly back at her and held my hands in my lap and pinched myself so i'd behave correctly.


Sissy admitted that she was sad that both of her roommates would be leaving this week, getting their discharges for various reasons (not necessarily because they were better, mind you) and that she didn't get to go home yet. She asked, "Next week?" and the therapist (THANK GOD!) stepped in and said, "No, i don't think it's going to be next week."

"oh." was Sissy's reply.

And I watched her face and for just a millisecond, barely perceptible to anyone but my keen mother's watch, her eyes betrayed her and she showed true emotion! Then, like a flicker, gone and she returned to her death glare and fake affectations toward illness and verbal communications that she was worried that I might die (which she said with a smile). Immediately followed by a correction from the therapist that I was fine which Sissy chopped off midsentence and began a baby-talk, garbled attempt at redirected discussion to what was happening in her school day that she would be very excited about because it was going to be "the best day ever!"

I concluded the conference with a reminder, "when will you talk to me again?"

"um. Monday when you come for TL."

"no, Sissy, i don't know if I can do a TL on Monday. When will we talk on the phone again?"





Blank stare because she knows when she's supposed to call us as part of her therapy. Then mumbled after the therapist prompted her, "sunday" which was followed immediately by her high-pitched fast talking baby talk and a quickly swiveling chair movement, "I wanted to talk about that. it's too hard for me to remember to call them. I want to go back to mom calling me."

"No Sissy, you can do this," answered her therapist. "It needs to be important to you to call your family."

long, angry face. you know the one. When the eyes go dark and if it was a cartoon drawing, daggers would be coming out of her eyes? yeah. that one.

And I smiled sweetly and said, "Ok Sissy. Times up for today. I love you and I'll talk to you Sunday!"

and I termintated the teleconference.

PHEW! SAFE! I managed to get through that RAD moment without triggering her AND without losing my cool. Now, can I do that in person when she returns home? Good God Almighty, I'm terrified.

So, in case you wondered, this post should be proof. NO. RTC absolutely does NOT treat RAD. Period. Getting a good Rx plan? Yes. Neurofeedback? Yes. Teaching coping skills? Yes. Building confidence in academics? Yes, if the student is willing to learn. Reintegrating to home life? no. Helping the abused family at home recover? No. Recognizing RAD for what it is? No.

oh well. I can enjoy it for what it is, respite. Boy, do we have our work cut out for us when she comes home!

1 comment:

marythemom said...

"I managed to get through that RAD moment without triggering her"

Maybe it's because I read ahead to the next post, but don't you WANT to be triggering her? Isn't part of the problem that the RTC isn't seeing her aggression and issues? We made this mistake and they sent our son and daughter home because they weren't showing a need to be there.

Mary in TX