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All posts for the month April, 2014

I just don’t know.

Published April 8, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Baby girls been suffering a lot lately with anxiety. The slightest thing seems to send her into a tizz.

A few weeks ago there was an incident in school, baby girl decided to help herself to someone else’s lunch, and when I say help herself I mean literally. She leaned across the table put her hand in to a child’s lunch box and helped herself. I believe she did say ‘thank you’. I found out because the little girl told her mum, who in turn spoke with the teacher. Baby girl got her 2nd shame invoking yellow card. Her teacher was very good though, she talked to me before hand and asked me how best to handle the ‘yellow card’ situation with baby girl. She did her best to keep it low key and reduce as much shame as possible. She even made it more of a ‘time-in’ type punishment and invited baby girl to help her do some jobs in the classroom, rather than the normal ‘time-out’ type.

Then last week baby girl helped herself to a snack from a box kept in the classroom. The only reason I know about this is because she left the evidence in her coat pocket, without which I’m sure she would have gotten away with her crime.

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Its not the first time this has happened, in fact I’m sure its happened more times than we know, she’s just not always getting caught. Its not a new thing either, its been happening on and off for the last 3 years. Sometimes its chocolate, sometimes its milk, sometimes its crisps, she’s really not that fussy it seems. Baby girls always had issues around food but in all honesty the majority of her food issues have been around control, so she would refuse to eat, or be fussy, or slow, or messy etc she’s never been one to over eat, hoard or gorge food. She has also over the years become more and more obsessed around food, so if someones eating she becomes distracted by it, if we’re going out she wants to know what/where we will be having lunch etc.

When baby girl was in nursery she’d often come home with someone else’s painting. ‘That’s not yours’ Id say, ‘but I liked it’ she’d reply. She never seemed to acknowledge that taking something that wasn’t hers was wrong or that the person it belonged to might have been upset, no matter how hard I tried.

Its been the same with stealing food. She’s never shown remorse for taking the food, but has shown regret once she’s known she’s in trouble. Each time its happened I’ve asked her why and she’s very ‘matter-of-factually’ replied with ‘because I like them’ or ‘because I wanted them’ or ‘because I wanted to try it’.

Then there’s been strange goings on at home. She’s become quite the story teller, making up ridiculous and elaborate stories that are obviously untrue, generally with the emphasis of making herself look like some sort of genius or hero. She’s also been up to her old tricks in the bathroom mixing potions and playing with things she shouldn’t. In the same way that she shows no remorse for taking food and pictures, she also shows no remorse for her stories, or spraying perfume all over mirrors or spreading toothpaste all over the bathroom, or tipping shampoo’s into the sink or playing with the bleach covered toilet brush (yuk!!), her only regret seems to be getting caught, which is always inevitable because she’s rubbish at hiding the evidence, in fact, she doesn’t even try. Its been a while since we’ve seen these unpredictable and toddler like behaviors, so why are they back? I just don’t know.

She’s also been showing me anxiety around change in general, and this can be anything from a different brand of food on her plate, to changes to her daily routine right through to simply driving a different route somewhere. She doesn’t totally freak out but she does become anxious. In fact sometimes I’ve asked her ‘whats the matter’ and she told me simply ‘its just because its different mommy’. She’s also showing me lots and lots of ‘what if’ type worries. ‘what if a fly comes in’, ‘what if I don’t like it’, ‘what if she’s not my friend ever’, ‘what if I cant do it’, ‘what if it rains’ ‘what if I get told off’ ‘what if its wrong’ etc etc. So much worry for such a little girl, where is it coming from? I just don’t know.

Then there’s her sleep, or lack of it, she’s always been such a good sleeper, its always come so easy for her, but lately things have changed. She’s taking longer to fall asleep, she’s waking much much earlier and she’s getting up throughout the night once, twice, sometimes 3 times. ‘I’ve had a bad dream’ she says, although she’s never able to tell me what about, monsters & crocodiles is all I ever get and I suspect that’s to just be a fob off. So she’s tired a lot of the time as well. Are the sleep issues her sisters have genetic? or is this anxiety, or is the lack of sleep the reason behind all the anxiety? I just don’t know.

There is a lot of things happening in school at the moment which is resulting in a lot of visitors, She has told me that she doesn’t like it when there are visitors in school. She says they look funny, have no hair and stare at her, I’m sure they don’t but she feels they do. I mentioned it to her teacher and they’ve been trying to reassure baby girl when there are visitors in school, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. She just hides her anxiety in school and brings it home. Is she anxious because there are strange people in the school, or because it makes her day ‘feel’ different? I just don’t know.

I couldn't find a picture of a strange looking bald man with clothes so this will have to do!

I couldn’t find a picture of a strange looking bald man with clothes so this will have to do!

There’s the girl in her class that she has become totally obsessed with, they don’t get on, they clash I suspect, but baby girl is utterly distracted with everything this little girl says and does. Is she feeling rejection because they don’t get on? I just don’t know.

What is all this and where is it coming from?
Is this control? compulsiveness? general anxiety? mind blindness? Aspergers? Autism?
or is this something different? I just don’t know.
Is this all associated with school? Is it all about home? Or is this about her life in general? I just don’t know.

I don’t have a social worker to call for advice, or a therapist to go over things with (and all that’s a story for another day), there is no Educational Psychologist supporting baby girl and our GP has never met her, so like always I just have to try and figure things out for myself and work out the best ways for her teacher to try and support her in school.

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At the moment though, I’m just picking up the pieces as we go, because I just don’t know.

The Family Meeting

Published April 6, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Things are pretty grim here right now.

None of the girls are sleeping too well at the moment and that does not make for a happy day. There’s a lot of anxiety related goings on.

After crying on Mr FO5’s shoulder again this morning we decided that we’d have a go at holding one of those ‘family meetings’.

family-meeting

So we sat down in a circle with the girls and talked about what a meeting was and why we were going to have one.
The all looked very excited at the prospect of something new but none of them wanted to go first.
So Mr FO5 went first and he talked about the way things have been lately and how its been making him feel, I went next and I talked about how hard I was finding it to understand what they want/need when they don’t actually tell me, things like being hungry, having a headache, being worried about something, not liking something, having shoes that hurt their feet, the list goes on.

Baby girl went next, she talked about the new ‘social skills group’ that she’s been attending at school and how she was feeling anxious about what they were going to be doing in this weeks session. They’d been told they were doing something different apparently ‘and I’m confused about it Mommy’ she said.
Big girl and middle girl were reluctant to share anything still so baby girl grabbed the opportunity to share something else. ‘well, its my car seat, its not very comfortable really and it makes my bottom ache’ she said, whilst holding back the urge to laugh, a lot, I suggested we got some little cushions to see if they helped.

Girl Confused

Seeing how easy it was and realising that mommy and daddy might actually do something to help, middle girl told us about something she’d been worried about. There is a boy in her class, he’s an angry boy, he’s been asking to play with middle girl and her friend and they’ve been reluctant it seems, the boy has reacted by shouting and getting angry and threatening to have his dad beat them up. Middle girl has been worried about this. We had a talk and I assured her that no one was going to beat her up and that I would speak with her teacher about the threats the boy has been making. We also talked about the boy and how he might be feeling. Middle girl is angry, she suppresses her anger for now, but its there, bubbling away under the surface. I suggested that maybe this little boy didn’t have anyone to play with and was feeling sad, but like her, perhaps he didn’t know how to show his ‘sad’ so instead got angry. She seemed to understand.

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Big girl was still reluctant to share anything but we encouraged her. After lots (20 minutes) of umming and ahhing and a few trips to the bathroom for each of them we were about to give up when finally she opened up ‘I dont like it on the playground’ she said, we asked her to try and explain why ‘Its just that sometimes I don’t have anyone to play with’, she said. Friendships have always been difficult for big girl, she’s autistic so social situations can be very confusing for her. We talked about the children that she thinks she’d like to play with, which are also the children her teacher has suggested she play with, she goes on to tell me that whilst she does play with them at break times, often they’re not on the playground at lunch times because they’re on ‘dinner duty’. I didn’t have a solution to offer her because I don’t really understand the lunch time situation fully but I did promise her that I’d speak with her teacher and see if we could find a solution, she seemed happy with that. I’m also going to ring the Autism Outreach Team and see if they can offer any advice, I hate to think of my big girl feeling lonely at school.

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We returned the conversation to the issues that Mr FO5 and I had raised and asked them if they had any idea’s about what we could do about those. Baby girl reeled off a huge list of all the wonderful things they could do to make everything better, and her sisters dutifully nodded their heads in agreement. We ended the meeting there with some pinky promises to try our best and said we’d have another meeting next week to talk about the changes we’ve made and how things are going.

pinky-swear

So that was our first meeting, the pleasantries between the girls lasted around an hour before the bickering continued.

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