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, January 5, 2011

Sissy - teeth

While at the hospital, the staff decided that we needed to speak to Sissy with short, one-word cues when addressing her morning and bedtime routines. Or we could do a chart. [1] The thinking was that too many words spoken to her is what is triggering her rages.

*speaking like Junie B Jones which WG is devouring at the moment*
Yeah, except only I already knew that, see. And like I'm not already doing that everyday, all day. Because, yeah. I have already learned this something like 19 million times from the other 19 million people that think they know what to do with Sissy. Yeah, only the joke's on me, that's why. Because they go home to their normal lives and I go home ... with Sissy.


For several years now, we have spoken to Sissy like this when giving directives:

Sissy. Brush your hair.
Sissy, teeth.
Sissy, shoe laces, fix them.
Sissy, bed.
Sissy, bra.
Sissy, soap.

Then we use a check system. I say one word while holding up a finger for each routine. She says "check" or hesitates. FYI - a split second hesitation for Sissy = I didn't do it so I'm thinking of a lie to tell you that is believable. So before she can lie, I prompt. "Say only 'check' or 'no'" and a huge frowny, grumpy, pouty face = crap, mom knew. But I don't flinch. I don't let a muscle move on my face. I just staunchly continue calling out routines she should have done. If she didn't do it, the finger on my hand that represents the routine stays up. After we get through the entire checklist, with one-word commands, I one-word prompt her for whatever routines she forgot. If she did them all, I say, "Excellent job remembering all of your routines."

Let's say she comes back from the bathroom claiming to have brushed her hair and it's still a rat's nest. I say nonchalantly, "Check the mirror, make sure that's how you want your hair to look for school today." After the second prompt, 95% of the time she comes back with it brushed correctly. The other 5% I let her leave the house looking like that. Whatever. She wants to look ridiculous, that's her issue.

Ya'll, I'm not kidding, I use more words, vocal inflection and verbal overtures when speaking to my dog. Because I breathe and exist, I trigger her. So the less of me I put in her face in the morning and at bedtime, the less she's going to get royally pissed at me for suggesting that she, oh, I don't know. Heaven forbid, use soap to wash the spaghetti sauce off her face. I know some of my readers are thinking normal kid stuff and ordinarily, I'd agree. Except your kid probably doesn't need a padded room and v.istaril while she rages it out for 2 hours because I didn't believe her when she returned from the bathroom still covered in spaghetti sauce and bold faced lying that she washed AND used soap. It takes only me raising an eyebrow to launch her tirades.

So yes. I use the hospital's suggestion of one-word commands. Yes, I use the therapist's suggestion of praising the good behaviors and ignoring the bad. And yes, Sissy still rages and gives me behaviors.

And then there's mornings like today.

Which started with her alarm going off and her refusing to get up. So I warned her that I'd yank the covers. She didn't budge. I yanked. "Get up. School day." I did the same with the other two. It was tough waking them all this morning. All got covers yanked after a prompt. All got threats of no Wii for two days (the big present they got from their grandma - leverage!!!). Sissy actually got TWO covers yanked because while I was yanking blankets off the other two, she got another blanket. Classic kid move. So I did a classic mom move and yanked that one too.


No biggie.

They all got up and like zombies, we all moved about the house doing our morning routines. With one exception. Sissy had to do her RADsing payback. See. That's where it's different than with normal kid stuff. AB and WG moaned and groaned and then got over it. Not so with Sissy. GRUDGEcity. Vengeance. Vehemence. Loathing. Seething. How dare the horrible, despicable, disgusting, vile, putrid mother-figure demand that Sissy wake and then take covers when she refused? Mother must be punished for her abusive behavior.

I'm not kidding. Somewhere in Sissy's brain, that is the message playing over and over. Only, poor kid, all that brouhaha nets her nothing but more problems for herself. It started with the hair. We were doing the "checks". I could see visually that the hair was ridiculous. Her pants were hanging down to her groin, her bra was hanging out of the v-neck of her shirt and she was wearing questionable footwear for a PE day. This is how she pays ME back. Of course, when I called off, "Hair?" she didn't flinch and said "Check." I moved on to the rest of the list and didn't flinch only I left up that finger on my hand.

"Check the mirror and see if that is how you want your hair to look for school today." But like an idiot I added the off-handed "your pants should be worn around your middle. please fix them."

She angrily yanked them up and the game was on.

lie, lie, lie, lie, scream, holler, insisting that she'd brushed her hair correctly. I just said, "no stories, just check the hair." She hollered from the bathroom that she wasn't telling me any stories, blah, blah, blah. She came back from the bathroom with her hair done quite nicely. I said, "Your hair looks nice like that." then she wanted to keep playing her game by chattering on and on and on and on about why she had to do her hair that way after she went back to the bathroom, blah, blah, blah. I said only, "Sissy, breakfast"

Shut down, she played the I'm a mentally challenged kid card and had to be prompted to eat 10 times. She'd space out, staring into some far off land, tongue protruding, hand suspended in mid air dripping milk on the table. "Sissy. eat."

"wha? huh?"

FYI - I hate her dumb bunny game. HATE it. HATE HATE HATE the dumb bunny game. I don't let on though. Can't let her know she's got my number. "Sissy, pay attention to your food or got to school hungry. I don't care. If you're done eating, clear your place."

whine, scream, grumble, complain about all the things she wants to do with her food and the milk in the bowl, etc. "So eat." was my reply. "Then clear you place."

angrily huffing, throwing bowl in sink, but rinsing out milk cup. "Thank you for remembering to rinse your cup" (we have a one-cup rule every day to minimize the number of dishes in the sink. Sissy notoriously forgets to rinse out the milk which means she has to have another cup later)

"Teeth time"

she glowers at me. "Go."

6 minutes later she is covered in toothpaste and presenting to me the toothbrush with toothpaste on it to verify that she has indeed, applied toothpaste to her brush before brushing (seriously. we have to do this. every single time. or she'll fake us out. every single time. 10 years of this ya'll. it's getting old)

and that was the end of my resolve.

"Sissy. why did that take you 6 minutes? I'll tell you why. Because you didn't want to brush your teeth and you don't like that new toothpaste so you applied it to the brush and washed it off over and over and over even though we've told you to wet the toothbrush BEFORE putting on the toothpaste because that is what you do. you wash off the toothpaste. Now you've got toothpaste all over your shirt and you will need to change it. And you still haven't even brushed your teeth."

screaming, lying, gnashing of teeth, rage, rage, rage.


damn damn

"This is what you do Sissy. I am your mother, I know how you think. Just brush."

more two year old crap.

"I will always tell you the truth about your behavior so you can accept it and change it" (didn't actually say these words this morning but I have said them to her in situations like this many, many, many times)

my ears were ringing and The Dad was chiming in. AB and WG were getting irritated and letting us know. Finally,


she got the job done, changed her shirt (which actually matched the pants this time - we learned long ago not to even TRY to prompt her for matching outfits - it's an exercise in futility). WG complimented her on the new shirt choice. I agreed and said, "The purple in the shirt even matches the purple pants"

And I got them all to school. Sissy got in the last "word" but huffing and stomping out of the van at the car rider lane and ignoring my "have a nice day, see you at 3:30" [2]

AB will be getting a quarter reward AGAIN today for being best behaved in morning routines. Another snarky parenting trick - don't verbally mention the offending child's behaviors, just publicly praise the child(ren) that demonstrate the behaviors you're looking for. But watch out. Be specific - "Thank you for remembering all your routines without prompting and with a good attitude" and be prepared for the RAD to say "HUH? I DO THAT TOO!!!" or some other equally it's all about me response.

Day 2 and it's RAD hell. With two new teachers after christmas because one had a baby and the other went back to college, how long do you think it'll be before Sissy returns to suicidal threats and self-harming and we're back at the psych ward? Here's a hint before you guess, next weekend she gets respite which is what she claims was the reason she got so upset.

My guess? Last week of January.

I'm already feeling a little kitschy and twitchy myself.

[1] OK, sorry, but ROFLMFAO! Chart? CHART?!? O.M.G. We have charted the ever loving stuffing out of that child and the only one that changes their behavior is ME. Yeah, that's who and I'll tell you why. Because Sissy could give a flyin' flip about charts, incentives and behavior mod. Sissy thinks charts are visual white noise to be ignored post haste. They actually suggested Sissy carry it with her to the bathroom so she could monitor herself. HA! This for a child that won't monitor wiping her own butt so she smells like poo and pee 10 minutes after showering (because she won't monitor herself for using soap) So MY behavior changes by learning that Sissy CAN'T HAVE BEHAVIOR MODIFIED BY CHARTS

[2] this is once again, another therapist request. Some are concerned about the separation anxiety during the school day and that sissy needs to be reminded that come hell or high water, I will be back when the dismissal bell rings. So I say this. every damn time we get to the damn school. and it doesn't do a damn thing. but because the damn therapist asks me if I do this damn shit, I do it, dammit.


GB's Mom said...

Sorry for the tough morning. It makes Hope's Jello caper sound like a walk in the park!

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

UGH! I'm thinking that next Monday will be relatively the same. Thank God mine have uniforms removing PART of the morning hell!

FosterAbba said...

I'm sorry this morning was so rough. Our school hasn't gone back yet. We'll see how the transition goes, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. One word cues, huh????
Okay... here goes;

The Waggoners said...

ugh. sorry for your rough morning- thought you were writing about our morning for awhile, then your's took the prize.
Thank you for your honesty, for sharing, for putting a smile on my face, for knowing indeed I am not alone in the crazy mornings.
I love the one word cue 'Orlando' think I will keep saying it to myself :-)

Ranger said...

I saw this today - totally irrelevant but I thought you could use something that might make you smile. Hugs.