Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two steps forward...

We were successful in postponing the forensic interview -- Little Ham is not in the mood to talk to anyone besides "normal people" which means he blew off his interview with our social worker, refused to talk to his therapist, and so on. He seems to have decided he is cured all by himself.

Of course, he isn't.

We are beginning to spot mis-wired neural pathways from his troubled past such as:
  • Trust -- he has no idea how this works
  • How to disagree in a constructive way -- right now it devolves immediately to screaming
  • How to be friends with family -- it's a constant struggle for power, as if that is all there is to being in a family.

 It will be a long time before he realizes that there's no "winning" at family, you just get to be together. The constant struggle for victory is very draining on the rest of us. Some of it is age -- we see this from Hamslice, however Little Ham has an extra dose of it.

I have learned though, that the key is "small doses of Mom." If I decide to spend a super fun all day interactive day with these boys, they resent it almost as soon as I begin. Their day is spent finding fault with everything I do, and blaming me for all things in the universe.

Days work better with Mom at the computer, checking in with the boys from time to time, and the boys do their thing. It's an adjustment, but I am also realizing it's the key to a little freedom for me as well. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

3 month check in Part 2

We have made a lot of progress since our last post.

Today, Little Ham got new glasses (the prescription he had from Colorado was WAAY out of wack). All of the reading avoidance and issues with him rubbing his eyes and having red eyes seems to be cleared up in one easy step.

We also had a therapy appointment, where the therapist said she sees clear attachment with Little Ham and our family, and she sees no signs of RAD anymore. While he is still traumatized, which will take a long time to heal, he definitely considers us his family and wants to be with us.

 We have also learned that the medication Little Ham came here with is not prescribed at a useful dose level, so we have the option of stopping medication if we choose to do so -- it isn't doing anything now, and we would have to really mega dose to have an effect. We have some thinking to do.

The tantrums and running away and door slamming and breaking stuff seems to have subsided for the time being. The therapist thinks this may have been is 'ultimate test' to see if he can make us get rid of him. Because we didn't crack, he is relaxing into the family. (maybe.)

Meanwhile Hamslice has learned so many social skills that he is actually surviving and (dare I say thriving?) at camp Puh'Tok and he wants to invite people for his birthday party. I am still breathless at the news.

The two boys have also become relentless Pokeman players, and they know all the cards and levels and attacks and... whatever else Pokeman do. It's really interesting to see them working together on the game.

Friday, July 01, 2016

3 month update - The Face of Fury

We have learned of new abuse in Little Ham's past, so now we are working with Gilpin County to make sure the documentation is all there. We have had calls with the sheriffs office and will talk with Little Ham's lawyer next week. This poor dude, what *hasn't* happened to him.

As far as the family goes, we have developed a kind of gallows humor that takes us through Little Ham's many tantrums. My suspicion is that he has been treated as "uncontrollable" and has managed to escalate his tantrums to whatever level is needed to get what he wants.

Sound familiar?

So he is not sure what to do with a family that does not respond to tantrums of any scale. Lately, he has gone to such lengths as 'running away' where he stands in the yard and waits for us to chase him. And we don't. So then it's this eerie scene where we are all sitting inside, and then this face appears in the window. The face of fury. And he bangs on the doors/windows to get us to chase him. Which we don't.

Eventually he comes in when the tantrum is over and sits next to us like nothing has happened. Except he is very sleepy. These tantrums exhaust him, so he generally takes a cat nap within a few minutes of calming down.

While the tantrum is happening, Hamslice, Hambone and I sit still and talk about our day, with only a few references to the fury happening in or outside the house. Basically we just wait until it's over and then we can go back to our day together. After bedtime though, sometimes Hambone and I do imitate the scenes a little, because it is hilarious and we need to blow off steam.

The tantrums are beginning to subside, due to lack of effectiveness. On the flip side, when Little Ham does something well, he gets good rewards. He is realizing that one way of behaving works much better than the others. But I think he is also really attached to the tantrums, and needs them every so often.

So we aren't sure this will ever really end, but we are enjoying the times in between.