Monday, June 30, 2014

Breaking the Rules

After last Monday's bad behavior before the vet appointment, I moved the dog cage upstairs and avoided Colin the next couple of days. I decided to go to the grocery store Thursday and asked Colin if he wanted anything. His demeanor was pleasant and instead of "Shut Up!", he asked if I could pick up some modeling clay. Colin seems to be interested in animation and apparently wants to try his hand with "claymation".

I said "Sure" and then went a step further and asked if he wanted to come along. I got a "No" and the start of a "Shut Up" when I gave him a "Do you want to press your luck?!!!" look and left for the store. I ended up finding modeling clay in the art / school supply isle and picked up two packs.

Upon coming home and giving my son his requested clay, he ended up setting up his studio on the family room glass table. I started to request he move to either the basement or to the linoleum floor in the kitchen but decided to leave well enough alone. Glass can be cleaned and we will be replacing the floor and carpet in the (hopefully) near future. I did try to warn about the puppy getting into his stuff and voiced concern about clay getting in the carpet. I was met with a dismissive attitude and decided to take my leave.

Friday Morning

I came down to take care of the puppy and was not happy to see that all the clay and clay creations were left out on the table. I could also see that some clay had gotten on the carpet. I carefully packed up the clay into a plastic tub and moved the "story boards" up out of the way on the kitchen counter where the pup could not reach them. At "potty-time" I could see from the bright green specs in Sumter's poop that some clay was consumed.

Hubs was working from home and I called home later that morning to check and see if puppy was being taken care of. I found out that Colin was still sleeping at lunchtime so hubby fed Sumter. I have noticed that Colin appears to be staying up late and sleeping in later each day. We will have to try to rectify this issue.

Starting the Weekend Early

My sister's oldest son just got back from college and we wanted to show him our new puppy. I am trying to bring Colin out to her house weekly and called to arrange a time. It was almost 2:00 on a sunny Friday afternoon and I had my UPS packages ready for pickup.  I decided to take the rest of the day off and go out for some pool-time.

I forwarded my work phone to my cell, took my shipment to a business neighbor for UPS pickup and was home by 2:30.

Colin was still in his room. His dad was unable to get him up. I called down that I was home and going to leave shortly for Aunt "P"'s house. He needed to get a move-on if he wanted to go. I started to pack up my things as well as the dog's and my son magically popped upstairs for a shower and to get dressed.

We had a nice visit. My only real concern was that it was impossible to keep Sumter away from Otis, his dog cousin. I felt like a "helicopter mom" constantly warning Colin to keep the dogs from rough play and I was constantly separating Sumter for some "time-outs". I have a feeling I will be in trouble with the vet if we need to get new hematoma drained.

Colin seemed more relaxed than last week. He told me he was up until 5:00 a.m. working on his project. He also mentioned that he needed a haircut. My sister even noted that my son called me "Mom".  The ride home was so pleasant, I decided not to spoil the mood by voicing my concerns about his staying up late and leaving a mess.

Unfortunately when we got back home, my son noticed his stuff was moved. We had a bit of a heated discussion and there went my day without any "Shut Ups".

Saturday Movie Night

My middle son had invited a couple of friends over for a movie night. Colin had agreed to move his stuff out of the family room so Friday's disagreement was short-lived. One of the benefits of having company is that we have motivation to clean.

We are also expecting my husband's family, who will be in town next week, for a visit. Our living room was filled with garbage bags and plastic tubs of clothes and school supplies that Colin came home with. I've been wanting Colin to start going through his stuff so that I know what we can keep and what to give away. Opportunity came in the form of a "want".

Colin asked his Dad for a set of $60 headphones for his computer. Dad said "Yes" if he would first go through his things and sort them for me.

Done & Done! Another victory!

After coming back from the electronics / computer store, and having a quick dinner, Colin spent the rest of the evening in his room.

Too Cool For School

 Another late night meant another late morning.... make that sleeping into the afternoon. I spent the day catching up on chores and leaving Colin alone. When it was time for Puppy School, Colin refused to go. He told his Dad that he knew more than the teacher.

I gave him every opportunity to go and right before I left, I let Colin know I was angry that he broke his agreement. We had a bit of a shut-up match and I told him that he was lucky I was not my sister. Aunt "P" would beat him! (not really but she is pretty scary when she gets mad).

I left with Sumter.

Class went well and I realized that it might be better that I take over training. When I got home, I called my sister to get her opinion and she was not surprised that Colin bailed. When she had a trainer at her house for Otis, Colin did not have an interest in participating in the training session. She didn't think this was a big deal. I've decided to let it go, other than leaving the crate upstairs so that Sumter would sleep in the family room instead of Colin's room for at least one night.

Colin may have felt guilty as he seemed to be in a friendly, chatty mood when I got back from the "Fun"damental Puppy class. My husband thought that our son might be trying to make up for his earlier bad behavior. Colin even agreed to go to bed earlier so that he could take care of Sumter today

Monday  (Today)

I called home around lunchtime to have my 16 year old make sure Colin was up and prepared to feed his pup. I was ready to come home and bring Sumter to my work but fortunately Colin came through.

I phoned home later this afternoon before I left work. I needed to stop at the bank and wanted to see if any of my boys needed anything at the store. I was surprised that Colin answered the phone and was fairly cordial. No one asked for anything so I went to the bank and then back home.

As Colin appeared to be in a decent mood, I asked if he wanted to go for his haircut tonight. He agreed but wanted to go as late as possible, right before closing. He seems to be concerned about running into neighbors or former schoolmates. He does not want to be asked about the past year and explain why he moved away and changed schools mid-year.I was careful not to speak unless absolutely necessary during our excursion.

Another bit of progress was achieved.

It is a delicate daily dance with the unknown. 

Two steps forward, one step back. I am so grateful that last year's rages have been replaced with "Shhhhh!" "Shut Up" and the now becoming rare "I'm gonna kill you" / "I know how to kill you".

The weird part is that we are not certain what triggers our son still has. He shows no visible signs. I've been able to use turn signals, air conditioner, wipers and radio in my car with no reaction. Colin has been outdoors when my husband was mowing the lawn. He has walked into rooms seemingly unaware of ceiling fans. Perhaps this is due to the great lengths we took to make fixes to our home.

I also sense that while Colin may be carefully hiding his aversion of certain sounds, his "shushing", "shut up"s and "I'll kill you"s may be an indication of triggered reactions. As our Psychologist told me, it is hard to know what Colin is thinking, we can only theorize. It is clear the time at Aunt "P"s has been extremely helpful.

It is difficult to know how much of our son's bad behavior is influenced by anger or what behaviors are trigger-induced.

What I do know is that having a puppy to take care of and a quiet room to retreat to has made a HUGE difference. I am encouraged that Colin is interested in computer programs for mapping (Call of Duty),  and in animation. He is also tinkering at the piano trying to compose a song (theme song for a script he is writing?). There is so much I would love to ask him but I know better. I need to be patient. If I am quiet and listen, I do get snippets of information.

Little by little.

All in good time.....

We are a work-in-progress!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday Evening Vet Visit

We had a Monday evening vet visit and I made sure to get home from work a little early to leave plenty of time to get there. It was time for his 3rd round of Lepto-Parvo Distemper... shots. We need these shots plus a couple of weeks before Sumter is cleared for being out at dog parks and in public.

Colin was being surly and after a couple of "Shut-ups", I told him that if he is going to speak to me like this, he can stay home. I took my time gathering up the puppy's accoutrement for the car ride and visit to give Colin a chance to come along. When I did not see any evidence my son was ready, I went alone with the pup.

The vet-tech took Sumter to be weighed, and came back announcing he was 17 lbs. (2 lbs more than last visit). She asked if we had another dog at home as it was noticed that he looked a bit "chewed up". I explained about the weekly play-dates at my sister's house.

The vet noticed several hematoma on the inside edges of Sumter's ears and suggested that we have those drained to prevent scarring and deformation. I agreed and could hear my baby yelping as his blood blisters were drained. I was told to keep Sumter away playing with the other dogs for 3 weeks to give his ears a chance to heal. He was then given a nasal vaccine as well as a shot in his rear.

His next appointment was made and then we went home for dinner.

Health Scare

After dinner, I took the puppy out for his "potty break". I started to notice that he was becoming a bit lethargic. Sumter came in and slurped up more water so I knew I'd be back outside in another half-hour.

When I lifted Sumter up over the baby-gate for the next "potty" he yelped in pain. It seemed like his under-side was very tender. He was moving very slowly and would plop to the ground every few minutes. He also was not peeing or pooping as usual.

After a coversation to the on-call vet, I found out that it is not unusual for a dog to have a reaction like this after the shots. If he was not improved by morning, we should bring him in.

Fortunately the next day, Sumter was recovered and back to his hyper-puppy self.

We are a work-in-progress!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Doggie Play Date and 1st Day of Puppy School

I called my sister Saturday to make arrangements for another play-date. It is important to make sure Sumter is socialized and Colin seems to enjoy spending time at the house. Colin and his "dog cousin" Otis seem to have a bond and Colin loves to show off his new puppy.

Sumter is full of energy and loves to play hard with the big dogs. I enjoy hanging out at the resort-like property that is situated on 3 acres of land with a swimming pool and fun friends and neighbors that come to hang out. Colin gets a chance for pool time, video gaming and to catch up on cable-tv as we just have plain-old antenna reception. This is a mini-vacation for all 3 of us. It is also important for Colin to maintain a relationship with his former host-family so that he does not feel abandoned.

In addition to Otis and his bestie, Zoe, there was a visiting puppy, Burley, a 4 month-old golden retriever. The dogs played hard all day and Sumter made a new friend (pictured above bonding at the water station with Burley). 


Sometime during the early afternoon play-cation, the lawn crew showed up and we had the dogs take a temporary time-out. Colin disappeared into the house and ended up in a marathon video game session with his cousin. It is rare for the boys to play together and I was grateful for the interaction.

When it was time for Sumter's dinner, I went up to tell Colin. He was in "Shut-Up" mode and was especially rude to me in front of his cousin. Colin does not usually show his ugly-side in front of others as even told me he was going to kill me. I scolded him for "showing off" in front of his cousin, told him this was not o.k. and left. I then fed the dog and resumed my visit with my sister and her friends.

We stayed for dinner and after a long day, it was time to go home. Colin was uncooperative when told to finish up his game and pack up. I told him I would be leaving in 5 minutes with the puppy, with or without him. I then set about packing up the car. After I packed up, I stopped to visit with my sister and her next-door neighbor who stopped by and Colin came out to the car.

I was ready to take off and Colin started to spew his angry messages toward me. I stopped to take a "moment" and my sister looked up and asked what was going on. I rolled down the window to let her know I was having a "time-out" and would be leaving in a minute. My nephew took the opportunity to have a few "words" with his cousin and stuck his head through the open window.

He used some "choice language" and called my son out. My nephew told my son that if he wanted things to change, HE was the one that needed to change his behavior. When the lecture was over, I silently mouthed the words "Thank You", rolled up the window and drove home in silence.

I called my sister when we got back home. I wanted to make sure she knew that while we don't speak like that in our house, I really appreciated her son stepping in. Colin needs to know that the rest of the world won't put up with his bad behavior. I found out that her son had Colin in tears. I did not want to look back while the confrontation was happening, nor did I allow myself to peer into the rear-view mirror during the ride home. My sister thought that perhaps the lawn crew helped trigger the bad behavior and her friend thought perhaps we overdid the visit and should have left earlier. Hard to say what goes through my son's head and I don't know if given the chance,  I would have done anything differently. This is all part of the process where I use my "mother's intuition" to guide me.

The rest of the evening, I avoided all contact with my son and took a well-needed break, that my "intuition" demanded!

"Fun"damental Training

Sunday evening, Colin and I took Sumter to our first training session. There is only one other dog in our class and the instructor may end up combining our session with the class before us. The extra-attention was good for the first session. It was clear that Sumter has the alpha-dog mentality of his Shar-Pei genes and the exuberance of his labrador heritage. The instructor mentioned the importance of early training and could see that we have a smart puppy.

We worked on sit, down and started to learn heel and getting the dog to come when called. We did not bring enough treats but fortunately the school sells them and I bought a bag. I'm not sure how much of the lesson Colin absorbed. He has a mind of his own and does not listen well. He will be more of a challenge to train than Sumter.

When class was over, I had Colin take Sumter outside and I took a few minutes to explain our situation to the teacher. I wanted to make sure she understood why I was trying to be more in the background and give her context for any possible odd-behavior that might take place. (So far nothing out of the ordinary happened) She thanked me for the background information.

For someone who did not want unnecessary conversation, Colin was fairly verbose on the ride home. He made it clear he did not like the instructor and scoffed at her teaching methods and knowledge. I had to shush him a few times as I did not was to hear this negativity.

This was an interesting weekend, filled with lessons. Definitely a process!

We are a work-in-progress!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Living in Parallel

Colin and the puppy have been settling in and the routine continues. I take care of early morning - 6:00 a.m. feeding and potty duty. Hubs takes Sumter out again at around 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. and Colin is responsible from late morning to early evening. We all pitch in at night. I have been in weekly contact with our psychologist to report progress and to make sure we are on track. As there have been no real surprises this week, and progress will be slow, I made arrangements to call in two weeks or so, unless we have any issues.

One of the challenges is to have minimal conversations with my son and give him a chance to take care of his pup without being "hounded". When I get home from work, I want to know when Sumter was taken out last, if there were any accidents and other pertinent information. This is usually met with a "Sshh" and "No talking."  While we have not had any rages, we have been subjected to a few demon-like growls and a few times we were told, "I know how to kill you". I try not to react much other than shaking my head and smiling, "Really?!" I did mention the other day that he would not be able to live on his own if we were "gone".

Someone has to pay the bills and buy the groceries!

When told by my son that I had agreed that I would not talk to him, I mentioned that we agreed to talk about the dog. Colin countered that this was only to let him know whether we were able to adopt Donie / Sumter. Rather than get into an argument, I retrieved a laminated copy of my "Rules to Coexist" , slapped it down in front of Colin's place at the kitchen table and left the room.

I am realizing that I need to give my self breaks and leave my son alone as much as possible. I need to live in parallel as I have been with my older boys.  Colin will come to me if he has any questions or issues. I also need to relax a bit about the puppy. I worry that Colin is spending too much time on his computer and not as much with his "baby". The worst that will most-likely happen is that Sumter might have an accident indoors or spend more time in his crate than is ideal. I have to keep reminding myself to back-off and give my son a chance to be responsible.

After Sumter gets his next round of shots, I will start taking him for walks around the neighborhood. I found a Puppy Training Class on Sundays and let Colin pick the time. He is still committed to taking his pup to training and having me stay in the background. I am fine with that.

 Me-Time and Gratitude

Yesterday, I took some "Me Time" out of frustration. I took a short nap after dinner and had time to reflect. A few weeks ago, I would not have expected that we would be able to coexist in relative peace with my son. While we are not where we would like to be with Colin, things are not that bad.

I reminded myself that I have much to be grateful for and made sure to soak in the quiet time and be mindful of how far we have come. I will dedicate the rest of the week to making sure I take some alone time for myself and also to practice "mindful gratitude".

There is so much to be thankful for.

We are a work-in-progress.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Reintegration - Week 1

It has been a week since Colin came back home. The puppy is a lot of work and keeps us hopping however Sumter has been a godsend. Our new pup has helped ease the transition and has been a great team-building tool. Taking care of a puppy is as much work as a newborn baby and takes a "village" to raise it.

We have settled into a routine. I am an early riser, so I go down to Colin's room at around 6:15 a.m. and take the puppy out for a quick pee, feed him and then out again for another "potty" which hopefully involves a poop, as well as another pee. After lots of praise and either a walk around the house or a little play, Sumter goes back into his crate, until Colin wakes up to take care of him.

Colin usually covers lunch and dinner, however, hubby will pitch in with an occasional potty run. I fill in as necessary.

Friday night after work, I brought Colin and Sumter out to my sister's house for a visit. I wanted to pick up the rest of my son's belongings and give the pup some playtime with his dog-cousin. It will be a few more weeks until we are cleared to take Sumter to public places. He needs his 3rd round of vaccinations and time for his immunity to kick in.

My sister's dog seemed to miss Colin. Last time her dog appeared to be a bit jealous of the puppy and was a bit "snappish". This time went much better. My sister's friend brought her dog over and we had a dog party! Sumter even went for an "accidental" swim. A good time was had by all.

My sister commented that Colin seemed much happier and more relaxed in my presence than when he left for home. I'd have to agree!


Body Language

The trick to housebreaking a new puppy and reconciling with our son is the ability to look for visual cues in body language. Before coming back home, Colin was clear about "No Talking" to him unless it was of utmost importance ( "Political Emergency", "Going on Vacation for a Week".....). We are trying to leave our son alone as much as possible. I've come to realize we've been doing this with our other teenage boys (16 and 17 year olds) who seem to value their privacy, locked away in their rooms.

During the week, Colin is left alone with his pup for several hours when my husband and I are away at work and the older boys are either at swim practice, ACT/SAT review classes or at their respective jobs. My husband is able to go into work late morning or on some days, work from home so we do have a little data to be able to gauge how our son is handling his "baby". It is clear that Colin loves his dog and seems to be stepping up to the challenge. When our son needs a break, he will crate Sumter to avoid an "accident" and so that he can have computer time.

I have learned to avoid speaking to Colin in the morning and try to let him speak first in the afternoons and evenings. When he asks a question, short answers are best. Any other response is usually met with a "SSShush!!" or a "No Talking!". We have been getting short bursts of conversation from our son if it involves something he needs or is passionate about.

One of the hard parts for us when dealing with our son's sound-processing disorder is discerning the difference between "bad behavior" due to anger and "reaction-induced behavior" due to a trigger. As far as I can tell, the "No Talking" is due to residual anger left over from the past year's unfortunate events.

We have discontinued Colin's weekly therapy sessions that took place at my sister's house, however, I will continue my weekly phone sessions with our Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist. When I spoke to the good doctor a few days ago, he told me we were on the right path. He believes that while our son, may not have needed as long of a "vacation" from us, the stay at my sister's was an integral step. The psychologist feels that we would not have been successful if we brought our son directly home from the Psychiatric Hospital.

I would agree. I also believe that we would not have had the relatively smooth transition in bringing Colin home and back into our lives if not for our rescue dog. As cliche as this might sound, Sumter, our adopted "fur-boy" has rescued us!

I am filled with gratitude and hope.

We are a work-in-progress!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Another Milestone-Breakthrough-Minor Miracle

Post To Parent Support Group - Sunday, June 8 at 10:19pm

So today has been a weird day. Last night I took care of feeding and walking the dog as Colin was refusing to let me speak to him and did not feed the puppy when I asked. (he said he was responsible and would do so, but I was not willing to wait to find out as it was getting late for dinner).
Yesterday my middle-son turned 16 and was gone most of the day and night. This morning I promised to go with my Birthday Boy to Tim Horton's to buy donuts. He asked Colin if he wanted to go and he said yes. The 16 year-old has his learner's permit so he drove and I was careful not to look at or speak with Colin. My miso-son later came with me and his puppy to PetSmart to pick up a few more things. We had a few tense moments where I was either given a look or asked not to speak to him. Other than that really not so bad. Again I was careful not to make eye contact and kept conversation to bare minimum.
During the day he has been good about taking the dog out for "Potty" and cleaning up an occasional accident. Colin ate in the kitchen and seemed a bit more normal as long as we did not overdo the contact.
Later that day, I was shocked that when his 16 year old brother asked if he wanted to come out and join us for dinner (16 y.o.'s birthday), Colin agreed. There were ceiling fans in the restaurant but the only distress my son showed was if I made eye contact he would glare at me. (I did get growled at once or twice before and after the restaurant - made me think of The Exorcist).
Right now my middle son is playing video games in the basement with Colin. It seems like Colin is trying to rekindle his friendship with his brother.
I moved the dog crate to Colin's room and told him the dog could sleep there if he is able to leave the dog in for the night at bedtime. I'm not too concerned as the floor is linoleum with a $100 carpet remnant for a rug.
Much more progress in just a day than expected. I know we will have our challenges and setbacks but tonight I want to wallow in amazement and gratitude. It could have and should have been so much worse.
Time for cake soon!
Thanks for all your prayers and good thoughts!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Week in Transition

After a week of living in parallel with my son and stalking the rescue group, I finally got word on Friday, that "Donie" was ours. I was at work when I found out and called my sister to tell her the good news. She went up to Colin's room to hammer out an agreement before I committed.

My son said he would pick up poop, walk the dog at night (I'm guessing to avoid lawn mowers and neighbors who might inquire about his absence), and he would take the dog to training (I could come along if I did not speak to him).

He would make the drive to Kentucky to get the dog. I was not to speak to him but he was o.k. if my sister and I talked to each other. He was told by his aunt that he needed to "act normal" at the shelter.

I then committed to picking up our new family member on Saturday morning and put some very basic rules for coexisting to paper. I used Google Docs and emailed a link to Colin so he would have a chance to review and edit if needed. (as suspected, he refused to look at them) I also made several copies and laminated them.

Living in Harmony with Colin

This is a list of rules for co-exisiting in the same house.

1. Room in the Basement - must be kept clean and free of food. During the week, t.v. must be off by 10:00 p.m.

2. Meals must be eaten in the kitchen with plates taken to the sink. We moved the refrigerator to the garage, no turning it off.

3. Conversation can be kept to a minimum but must be polite and civil. Yelling, growling or name calling is not o.k.  If you have a problem, either write a note or tell us in person.

4. Therapy will not continue if not desired as long as we can co-exist peacefully. Dentist and Pediatrician appointments are necessary.  

5. Personal hygiene is important and regular showers are required.

6. If we get a dog, there are conditions for ownership.
    a. Must be able to pick up poop on walks and help keep the yard clean.
    b. Dog must go for training
    c. Must help care for dog

Post to Parent Group June 8 at 3:04pm

After a just over 2 hour ride (each way) ( my sister drove us in her conversion van; her dog came along) and an hour wait, we brought home a new puppy. I was able to bring my son and the puppy home last night and we are all adjusting.
Potty-training a 10 week-old pup and reintegrating my son back into our home is gonna take some work. Definitely a process. But I am noticing small amounts of progress.
We will leave shortly for the pet store to pick up a few more supplies. While we face a long road ahead for reconciliation and healing. I had feared things would be much worse.
Some people WANT a dog. We really NEEDED this puppy. He seems to have a calming effect. He is a Shar Pei - Lab mixed breed and Colin renamed him Sumter ( as in the battle of Fort Sumter). He wanted a German name and as much as this is not a name I would have picked, it somehow seems fitting. The next four years will be a battle..... stay tuned!

Monday, June 9, 2014

About Last Week

A lot has happened in the past week and I've been a bit overloaded. I am a week behind in my posting so bear with me.

After our first breakthrough on Saturday night, May 31, Colin went back to his "selective mutism" and avoidance where I was concerned. Sunday morning, I left a message about Lennox, the puppy Colin found on PetFinders. I heard back later that morning that he was already adopted out. The rest of the day, my nephew ran interference giving me Colin's other choices for me to inquire about. My son also sent emails to the rescue groups.

 While many parents might have taken their child back home as per their request, I did not bring my son home on Sunday. For starters, his new room in the basement was not yet finished and our psychologist was on vacation. Before he left, we set the end of the week for Colin's homecoming. I'd been advised to stick to a schedule.

With that in mind, we kept to Monday evening's scheduled appointment with his therapist (the psych intern) and my husband. Colin also stuck to his routine of ignoring the therapist and running away from his dad.

I spent the day at work and came back to my sister's house after the session was over and Colin was in his room. I had dinner with my sister and her family and wrote a note to Colin about "Donie", his second choice puppy, to let my son know that he was still available and that our application was in the running.

Before I retired to my room, I slipped the note under the door, only to hear it being ripped up.

Oh well,... tomorrow is another day. 

Tuesday, I got up early for my commute and went to work. I left work a little early to avoid the worst of rush hour and got back to my temporary home right before dinner. My sister and I picked up Wendy's and I opted to eat outside to avoid conflict with my son.

My sister went up to Colin's room to have him come down to dinner and to alert him that I would be eating "al fresco" so that he could eat in the kitchen without my presence. My son told my sister that he wanted to talk to me.

Post to Parent Support Group - June 4

Last night my son spoke to me for the 2nd time. I've been keeping my distance as to not overwhelm him. When my sister told me that my son wanted to speak to me, I wasted no time going to his room.
From his angry glare, I could tell he was pissed-off. He started off with an angry rant about no more therapy (his therapist & my husband showed up for the weekly session on Monday.) Needless to say he was not cooperative in what will most-likely be the last therapy session for now

The rest of the rant was about the conditions for being able to speak with him. (Political Emergency, we're going on a week-long vacation, I have news about his dog....) When I tried to ask a question (What constitutes a Political Emergency?) He interrupted and barked, "I said NO TALKING!".
All I could think of was the Somali pirate in "Captain Phillips" telling Tom Hanks, "Look at me! I'm the Captain now!".
I was then dismissed.
I will be working on a "Peace Accord" tonight where I will hammer out our conditions, "We will..... if you......" ‪#‎Funtimes‬ ‪#‎ReconcilliationIsAProcess‬ ‪#‎MisoPeaceAccords‬

Friday, June 6, 2014

Finally a Breakthrough

Friday night ( May 30) I settled in to my sister's house for the duration of Colin's stay. This Monday would be the last day of school and I made sure with Colin's guidance counselor that if he missed the last day of school, he would be o.k.

I spoke with Colin's therapist before I came out for a strategy session as her boss, our psychologist, was on vacation. I told her I was going to change the routine slightly and not try to announce my arrival. Instead I would ignore Colin and let him approach me. My sister and I decided we would not continue the sick game of hide-and-seek but were concerned about what to do if he went missing before bedtime.

As per our discussion, my sister found Colin in the lower level and announced that I would be coming to stay that night. She told him we were not going to chase him and he was expected to be in his room by 10:00 p.m. She continued on, telling him that he didn't have to be in "bed" (he sleeps on the floor) but if he was not in his room, we would call the police.

Colin did not look happy and went to his room. Shortly after I arrived, Aunt "P" went to look for my son in his room. She has taken out the drawers in the bathroom to make it easier to open a locked door and harder for Colin to barricade  himself inside. After a search of the room, with no signs of her charge, she found him hiding under the bathroom sink with a towel over him. Aunt "P" acknowledged his presence and left.

When 10:00 p.m. came around, my sister looked under the sink, at first glance it looked like her nephew was still there. She lifted the towel and found two pillows. Colin instead chose to hide behind some soft flip-chairs that were pushed up against the window alcove. He was burrowed down, hiding under a blanket. At least he looked comfortable.

Saturday At The Park

Saturday Morning, my sister's friend Kathleen called her to see if she wanted to meet at the dog park for a play-date with their pups.  Aunt "P" gave Colin first right of refusal to come along. When he failed to respond, I went to the park instead. We stayed for over an hour and had a nice time. We came home with two dogs, my sister's pup and her friend's dog. My sister wanted to freshen up before we went out to breakfast.

She stopped in Colin's room to check on him. This time my son was hidden in the dark behind the bathroom door. There was a note on the floor. Aunt "P" had to turn on the bathroom light to read it.

The note said " Stay Out! (srsy) I'm not talking to her, and I'm not talking to you until she leaves!"

 My sister smiled and announced that I would be staying at the house until it was time for him to go home. She then turned off the light. Both dogs were upstairs near the bedroom door so she brought them into the bathroom. As they greeted Colin with licks, my son could not help but smile. There was a definite change in his demeanor.

"Is Kathleen here?" (Colin likes my sister's friends as well as their dogs)
"No, but she will be over in a bit"

We then left the dogs and my son and went out to breakfast.

Lazy Day

After breakfast, Kathleen came over and we hung out at the pool until mid-afternoon. There was a graduation party in the neighborhood and the gals needed time to get showered and ready to go. Before my sister and brother-in-law left, it was suggested that I send out for pizza for my son and nephew. As far as I knew, my son had been in his room the whole time on a hunger-strike.

Later that evening, around 8:00 p.m. I asked my nephew to see if Colin wanted pizza or Wendy's. I fully expected a negative response but was surprised to hear he wanted Wendy's. I also learned that my son had eaten chips, pretzels and pop earlier in the day. Apparently the hunger-strike was short-lived.

My nephew did not want to come along, and assured me that Colin was too busy watching t.v. to notice that I would be the person bringing back dinner.

When I came back, I alerted my nephew that I would be leaving their dinner on the kitchen counter and I would be eating alone in the game room. I took my salad down to savor in private. When I entered the room and turned on the lights, I saw a bags of chips, pretzels and an empty Coke Zero can. I was surprised that my son had chosen to risk this as I must have been in the lower-level steam-shower when he came down.

I ate slowly and meditated to give the boys enough time to eat. When I finally came back upstairs, I was greeted by the sight of empty bags and containers littering the counter. I was relieved that dinner was a success.

Time For A Breakthrough

I decided to spend the rest of the evening reading and using the internet on my Smart Phone while lounging in the family room. As I was settling in, just before 10:00 p.m., I noticed my son making his way down the stairs. He marched over to the fireplace and turned to face me, holding a neon-green piece of paper like he was ready to make a speech. This was the first direct communication in over 7 months.

He mumbled something about ready to leave and proceeded to rapid-fire announce a list of demands.

1. We will never speak of this past year ever again.

2. No more Swimming (swim team)

3. No more Piano (lessons)

4. (I didn't catch this but I think it had something about being home-schooled)

5. We leave TOMORROW!

He then handed me the paper. I looked at it and saw a name (Lennox), address and phone number. This was in a town over two hours away. I was confused and thought he found a foster family that would take him in. I looked at my son for an explanation. I was in shock.

It turns out that Lennox was a puppy he found on the internet through PetFinders. I asked if I could see a picture of the dog and he told me he had it up on his laptop. I felt an urge to hug, cry, and have a "moment" with my son but instead I quietly followed Colin up to his room. I wanted to be careful not to spook him.

As my son adjusted the laptop to show me "Lennox", he pointed to the screen and slowly moved away to the farthest corner of the room.Colin had already emailed about the dog and wanted me to call them right away. I looked at the time on my phone and it was 10:15 p.m. and told him it was too late for tonight but I would do so in the morning.  I could see my son looking down at the ground as he answered my questions and from reading his body-language, I decided to take my leave.

Immediately I ran to the lower level to call my husband about the breakthrough. He was encouraged but concerned that our first communication was a list of demands. I reminded my husband that Colin was told (by my sister on our behalf) that he could have a dog upon returning home. This meant that our son was coming to terms with the inevitable. Bringing him home would not be as horrible as feared.

I was asked about the specific type of mix of breeds of the puppy and in my excitement, I did not write them down. I went back up to see if I could get another look.

I knocked and asked if I could come in to see the dog again and I could hear my son mumbling that it was still up on the screen. When I entered the room, I noticed that my son was missing and the door to the bathroom was closed. I quickly jotted down the information I was looking for and left.

We all have a lot to process......

We are a Work-In-Progress!