Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Finding Balance

It's been a few weeks since my last post. School and the puppy have been keeping us busy. The biggest challenge we face is in finding balance.

The Dog Park

I've been taking the dog to work since right before school started. It has been a bit stressful but is getting easier. The Dog Park is my saving grace and I try to take Sumter daily. Colin only came with us once and is no longer interested in coming with us. The park has become my evening therapy and I have met lots of nice people. One of whom I found out knew about Misophonia!

Post to Parent Group -  September 25

I was at the dog park last night and was talking with one of my new friends. In the course of the conversation, I had mentioned how and why we got a dog for my son. Turns out this gal's sister has Misophonia (recently self-diagnosed). Poor kid's parents don't believe her and treat it like bad behavior. The sister is now out of the house, away at school and does not have a relationship with her folks.
I was so surprised that my friend heard of Miso, I talked her ear off! I recommended the book "Sound Rage" as well as "Hardwiring Happiness". I do sometimes wonder how "rare" this disorder is.
My friend was impressed with the steps we took to help our son and said that he will appreciate this when he is older. I truly believe this and feel the same with the parents in this group. While life is tough right now, our kids will come to realize and hopefully be thankful for all we have done.

 I often wonder how "rare" this disorder really is and believe that "Misophonia" is such a strange disorder that most people are reluctant to talk about it.


School Daze

Colin has been adjusting to school with a few "bumps" along the way. The biggest hurdle was with Honors Algebra II. There are only a few Freshmen in this class and it is taught like a college course. Homework is assigned but not handed in or graded. It is up to the student to keep up. Colin took this as a free pass and was not doing the assigned work. Needless to say, he bombed the first test... And the second. It was "French II all over again!

Both of our older boys went to work on getting their brother to drop down into Algebra II. Colin still seemed reluctant to drop so I put a call into his guidance counselor. Thankfully Colin decided to drop down to the regular class. Just in the nick of time!

My husband went to "Freshman Parent's Informational Night" at the school and had a chance to speak with the principal. The Dean assured him that Colin is in the right place and like a "pig in mud" where school is concerned. He really seems to be thriving. My middle-son concurs and told me that he was surprised how well his baby brother fits in. We are pleased that our son is in the best place possible for his education.

Whose Your Daddy?

We recently went to a picnic for the high school swim team which will start right after Cross Country ends.
All three boys plan to swim this season and attended.True to form, Colin kept his distance from his dad and I.

Each of our boys sat at a table with their classmates. As the program began, it started with the boys introducing themselves and their parents. My senior was brief and used first names only. My junior used our full names. When it was the freshman table, Colin went first. He used his full name and then introduced me as his "mom, Bonnie". When he went to introduce his dad,  he paused.  "And this is my Real Father, ..."

We laughed it off but I was curious what he meant by that. My middle-son found out later that this was a dig at his eldest brother who acts more like his parent than his sibling. Unfortunately, we are dependent on our older boys to help with Colin until we can improve communications.When I get frustrated, I try to remember how far we have come in just a few months. We are in a much better place that I would have expected.

As always..... We are a work-in-progress.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Labor Day Weekend - Time to Reflect

Labor Day Weekend gave me some time to reflect. It's been just over a year ago that I started this blog to chronicle our journey.  This year's Sunflowers help serve as a reminder that we made it through a year. A very challenging year. A year that despite all the drama, we survived and have come through stronger and hopefully wiser.

Colin has made it through the first two weeks of school. He seems to be doing fairly well other than Latin and Religion where he will need to buckle down. I found out through my eldest that Colin made Jazz Band and have had to hide my excitement. Our miso-son faces some challenges in Cross Country where he has picked up a bit of time due to a year of relative inactivity and starting the team late. He has missed a few practices due to a few schedule conflicts (study tables and the "In The Know" quiz team) The first two meets, Colin was one of the last to cross the finish line. At least he finished, and continues to persevere.  After this weekend's meet, Dad took him for new shoes which seems to have helped. He is starting to drop time in practice and should have a better run for this weekend's meet.

There have been no rages to date, although Colin still has a bit of unresolved anger toward my husband and me. We are still subject to "shushes" and "shut-ups" and have minimal interactions with our son. He seems to be fine with his brothers and his communications with them seem fairly normal. Unfortunately we are dependent on our older boys more than we should be where Colin is concerned. Our eldest makes sure Colin has his Cross Country clothing, as well as his school gear before ushering his baby brother into the car. Our middle son also has been coaching his brother on school affairs. We are very lucky to have their support.

Puppy Power

The puppy also has been instrumental in Colin's well-being. Not only does Sumter seem to have a calming effect, he serves as a communication tool. I can talk to the dog when Colin is within earshot to tell him we are going to the Dog Park or Aunt P's. We get a better response than with direct communication which is usually met with a "Shut-Up". On the other hand, Colin uses that dog to let us know he still is angry in numerous ways, through sing-songs and baby talk to his canine. The message is that the dog wants to kill us. Most of the time I try to ignore this. Sometimes I respond with a "Yeah, he's gonna kill me with kisses." or a "Shut-Up" or " If he ever tried that, he'd be put down!".

Last night, Colin brought his puppy into the living room where I was relaxing. He then proceeded to ask Sumter if he could show him how to do laundry. I took that as my cue and piped up, "C'mon  Sumter, are you gonna show us that you know how to do laundry? You are such a smart puppy!" We then proceeded to the basement and Sumter demonstrated (with my help) how to run the washer.


Friday Night Football

Friday night was the first football game of the school year. It was a home game and my middle son made arrangements to go with Colin and meet friends there. When I came home from work that afternoon, the two boys were busy painting t-shirts in the basement to fit the patriotic theme for this game's suggested dress-code.There was also a block party for freshmen with the all-girls' school across the street from their all-boys' school. My 16 year old and his friends figured that by taking their freshmen siblings they could cash-in on the free food. I was more than happy to drive and drop the boys off, even with the last-minute notice.

We had given permission to our middle-son to host an after-party at our house. He made plans to leave the game early and got a ride back home with a friend.  Colin was on his own for a bit. Our miso-son had forgotten to take his cell phone but was able to borrow one of his brother's friend's phones to call for a ride home.

The night was a success! Colin was able to call and have Dad pick him up and the teens all had a fun time at our home.

 Bit by bit, we are seeing signs of progress being made. Sometimes it takes looking back in time to realize how far we have come. We are by no means, anywhere near where we want to be but we are much closer than I could have dreamed of a few months ago.

As always....

We are a work-in-progress!