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!

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