Thursday, December 25, 2014

That Most Wonderful Time of Year

The last few weeks have been a blur. This has been my busy season at work and at times seems like one long day.  I had been taking the dog to daycare until two weeks ago when he suddenly came down with a stomach / bacterial infection. There was a $700 Sunday morning trip to the Med Vet ER followed by a week of antibiotics and having to take Sumter to my work to prevent him from infecting other dogs.

Best Behavior

I'm not sure if it was because my contact with Colin was minimal, or that he was aware of how much stress I was under between taking care of the puppy and being busy at work or simply that my son was just in a better mood but the hateful messages of puppy wanting to kill us or telling me to go kill myself was at a minimum and barely noticeable.

Saturday, I took Colin and his middle-brother to a JV swim meet. Colin continues to shave seconds off of his times. I had a chance to observe from a distance. He seems to get along with his team and is enthusiastic when cheering other swimmers on.

After the meet I mentioned taking Sumter to the dog park and was pleasantly surprised that Colin said that he wanted to come with us. Even more impressive was my son mentioning that he would like some ties for Christmas. He has a few but wanted more for school.

I was encouraged that he seemed interested in putting up the tree and asked his middle-brother what we did last year. My 16 year-old had a fuzzy memory and could not quite remember.

I'd like to forget how hollow the past year's holidays seemed with all the stress and drama of our estrangement.

Christmas Day

Today was miraculously normal.We waited until everyone was awake to open presents. Colin's big gift was a new smart phone, companion tablet, and accessories.  He also received several ties, and some dress clothes of which he seemed grateful for. There was Christmas cash from family and a trivia game for a future family game night.

Colin took several pictures of Sumter with his new dog toys before settling in to play with his new technology.

Later we all watched a Christmas special ( How Murray Saved Christmas) and then celebrated eldest's 18th birthday with some ice cream cake.

As bedtime nears and I reflect on the day, I am filled with gratitude. I am grateful that we have achieved a peaceful, normal day. This was something I've dreamed of for a year now and the very best gift I received today.

I don't know what the future holds but I will savor today.

We continue to be a work-in-progress!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Brotherly Love

 Swim season is now in full swing. The boys are on a rigorous schedule that involves nine practices a week, included three that start at 6:15 a.m. I try to do my part by taking Sumter down to Colin's room to wake him up. My eldest will prod and hustle his brothers along to make sure they get to practice on time.

A few weeks ago (November 17)  I found this note in Colin's room right after the boys left for practice.
"Colin - Pack Lunch, Bag, Backpack, and clothes or -receive punishment from older brothers"

 Sometimes I wonder who the parent is. Makes my job easier.I don't know what we would do without our older boys.



Post to Parent Group - November 29

I recently found out something that is helping my son at school. He goes to an all-boys high school and is a freshman. We had a couple of "hiccups" in the beginning of the school year and were able to get some assistance from the guidance office. My husband had asked what it would take to be able to have extra time on tests and was told that all it would take is a doctor's note.
We are aware of several ADHD boys that are able to do this. My husband got a note from our pediatrician and submitted it to the school on the off-chance the note might come in handy. We are unable to have meaningful conversations with our son so we left it up to the guidance office to work with our son.
I noticed an uptick in grades and our son currently has a 4.0 for this grading period. I chalked it up to figuring out the system and better study habits. While I am sure this is part of it, due to a chance conversation with a teacher (my eldest's History teacher) we learned that my freshman-son was observed coming late to band practice. We asked my eldest about this and found out that our son has been taking advantage of extended-time tests.
I wish I was able to speak with my "miso"-son to get better information. We feel so fortunate to have such a supportive school.

Catching Up

It has been a few weeks since my last post. I've been swamped at work and struggle to find the time to blog. Just a few more weeks until my busy season will be over.

Overall Colin is doing much better than I could have hoped for a year ago. He seems to be engaged and doing well in school. However, I have seen more frequent "hate messages" of either "Go kill yourself" or how the dog wants to kill us. He even added a new one, "You're gonna die alone."

I've asked my older boys about this. No one knows what goes on in Colin's head. My middle-son thinks that all the swim practices might be tiring his brother out and causing a bit more stress. My eldest son thinks he may be partly to blame for pushing his brother around to get to school on time and to tow-the-line. I have been responding more often than I did in the past to his disses. Perhaps the combination of all of this has helped escalate the situation a bit. I've gone back to avoiding my son and ignoring his disrespectful comments.

I have noticed that when I whip out my cell phone to record bad behavior, it suddenly stops. Colin also is careful not to let his eldest brother witness any of his hateful messages. He knows that his brother will give him a smack. I am faced with either disciplining my child and instilling fear or ignoring him unless he speaks respectfully. For now, I am choosing the non-violent, non-confrontational way as long as he is not disruptive to the family. Colin is 1000% better that he was before he left our home last year.

We had a successful  Thanksgiving dinner with family. Colin has been willing and able to visit and interact with his aunts, uncles and cousins, although it takes him a bit to warm up. Tonight he skipped a family dinner due to a busy weekend and a ton of unfinished homework He politely declined and was able to stay home alone with his dog. We are glad that he is making a great effort in school.

For now I will be content as long as we continue to make progress, no matter how slowly.

We are a work-in-progress!