Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Making progress

A few days have gone by and some progress has been made. Puppy’s behavior tends to go up and down, much like that of a roller coaster ride. Not sure if this is right, but I would say that on those days which he is having a less than normal day, it’s like taking the ride upward on that steep hill. It’s not an easy climb and it almost feels like a crawl because the time goes by rather slowly. Then we finally reach the top! And this is comparable to those moments when he stops to listen to his teacher, or me or anyone else that manages to get his attention. But then comes the drop and, swoosh… his hands are in the air and he’s grinning from ear to ear and happy as if nothing had ever happened.

Yes, I really like that ride when it’s time to come down from the top of the hill. We can never have too much harmony in our home. But we haven’t been having too many blissful moments lately. I always try to find that factor in our daily routines that has changed and caused his world to be disrupted with unwanted behaviors. But guess what? It can be something as simple as starting the new school year, having a new bus driver, dealing with homework, and maybe even the sunsets coming at an earlier hour. So many possibilities and guesses go into figuring out the problem, and we don’t always figure it out, in fact we rarely find an answer.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t too bad of a day today. The constant communication between Puppy’s teacher and me led him to bear the consequences of lying to me, by sitting beside the teacher’s desk and not being allowed to join his classmates in group all day. The worst thing a person can do to Puppy is to ignore him, continue with whatever you are doing and leaving him out of the fun, activity or conversation.

Puppy had learned that whining, screaming, etc. will get him attention simply because one will go to him and try to calm him. But nope, we aren’t doing that anymore. It is difficult for me not to answer his call, but I’m learning. And the results are improvement all around. He is making the screams shorter, and the unwanted behaviors are becoming fewer. He is catching himself and actually even correcting his own behavior before I can put my finger up to remind him to stop or signal that’s enough. We are taking some steps forward and maybe dancing the Texas Two-Step as we take two steps forward and one step back now and then, but mostly advancing and reinforcing good behaviors. We’re slowly getting to a good place and a happier place, too.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Puppy's Obsession Strikes Again

I looked up obsessive-compulsive disorder yesterday and found the following plus much more.

OCD: A psychiatric disorder in which anxiety is associated with preoccupation with unwanted ideas (obsession), and with persistent impulses to repeat certain acts over and over (compulsion).

Anxious thoughts or rituals a person feels they can’t control characterize obsessive-compulsive disorder. If a person has OCD, they may be plagued by persistent images or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. ...

An anxiety disorder in which a person has an unreasonable thought, fear, or worries that he or she tries to manage through a ritualized activity to reduce the anxiety. ...

All of these definitions describe Puppy. He has been having stronger than usual issues/anxieties this last week. Although it is always present, this strong presence in our home drains him and me on a daily basis. Puppy's obsession with wallets has been the most difficult thing for me to understand and yet he is the person having to endure this overwhelming disorder. I feel it is the most difficult obstacle in Puppy's life.

It appears to be that he is able to focus and function at a higher level than before he had the medicine switch in June. I am also noticing that Puppy's arguments are clearer when he tries to make his point and his responses are quicker.

But this comes with a negative side, too. He has never been diagnosed as having an OCD, I have labeled it; the definitions fit to a “T”. During his moments of deep thought on his wallet, this disorder takes over and reverses the statement I made above about him being able to focus and function… His thoughts consume him completely and it becomes very difficult to re-direct him away from the wallet.

However, Puppy and I have been blessed with an exceptional teacher who is excellent at her job. I had not met another person like her. She is confident, wonderful, in charge and responsible. Whenever she speaks, we (Puppy and I) listen. She has never steered me wrong. And I bring this up today, because without her, this weekend may have taken a turn for the worst. I have seen what Puppy’s obsession can do when it takes over and I did not want to see a repeat of the horrible week we had. She made herself available and was able to calm him down with just a simple phone call and the sound of her voice.

I don’t believe we will be able to take away Puppy’s obsession, but I have hope that we can keep him safe from himself at best. Re-directing and finding other interests for him will be not be easy but will be priority on my list.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off to a wonderful start

Puppy survived his first day of seventh grade. He had no solid information to repeat about his day. Basically, he just mentioned it was alright and that there are only six (6) students in his classroom, including him. So overall this was good news. He didn’t bring home any notes to report any unwanted behaviors, so I would call this a great day!

As I mentioned yesterday, since I drove him to school myself, I was able to talk briefly with his teacher. I caught her up to date on a few behavior issues we had over the summer months and his continued obsession with wallets. She is hoping to give the students more individualized attention due to the small number. And me, I’m just glad Puppy can get back to some real rules. This teacher rocks! I suppose we’ve become the good cop (me) and bad cop (her) without noticing. Some days I just can’t seem to keep myself on track when it comes to setting down rules and sticking to my guns. It’s hard for me to follow through. I’ve done it a few times, but as he gets older I see the teenager in him has started to show itself and he’s actually becoming more rebellious and starting to provide me with argumentative statements to confirm his actions. Anyway, let’s see how the rest of the week goes and hopefully I will see a change for the better in that he begins to follow a permanent routine at school and at home.

Oh, and we can also begin our routines with a new bus driver and monitor. Day two and we are starting a schedule as to what time Puppy will be picked up for school, and it fits in with the time frame I can work with. Waking up Puppy with just enough time to have him ready and waiting will fall within the time frame we used throughout the summer. And on a personal note, they both speak English! I know most of you don’t understand this, but because we live in a border town, this doesn’t happen often. As a matter of fact I can take a look back throughout all nine (9) years that Puppy has been taking a school bus, and this is the first time the driver and monitor both speak English. It is so refreshing. (Sighs)

New school year

Starting our new school year routine had a small glitch, well maybe a few glitches, but we made it through the first morning. Puppy made it safe and sound to class. I know…because I took him there, in our truck, to the school, and walked beside him into his classroom. Yup, you guessed it; the bus never arrived and I had to get on the road with my same old routine of getting to work on time. So I texted his teacher and said I was going to deliver him myself and cross our fingers for a better start tomorrow.

The other small glitches I mentioned? Puppy thought that getting half dressed and sitting down to shuffle credit cards into different slots in his wallet was more important. Then, he also thought that getting dressed and no shoes on his feet were alright, too. Then, he thought that if he could see the shirt tucked in nicely on his front side, meant it must be fine and neatly tucked in on his back side, too. Yeah, there were a few others but I won’t bore you with details.

But even with these little events, we made it with more than enough time for the bus to pick him up this morning. Only it never did. Well, I hope Puppy has a great day at school today. We’ll try again. Like I said, I’m sure we’ll have a better start tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One more week

It’s closer than we think. Yep, Puppy is one week away from going back to his favorite routines. Well, maybe they’re more my favorite than they are his, but routine is a good thing, especially in our home.

Hopefully, I can get him back on schedule with being picked up in the morning by the school bus. This is a big plus. However, it has been known to backfire when the schedule falls too closely to the hour that I need to leave the house to get to my place of work on time. This is what happened with our last bus driver, he’d never be here to pick him up at the time he was supposed to and I’d end up stuck in traffic as I’m rushing to work. And I don’t like to be rushed.

I’m going to pray for a new bus driver and monitor. For starters, last year’s driver and monitor are afraid of Puppy. Yes, you read correctly, afraid. I have to cut them some slack though. I didn’t think I would say that, but let me explain. At first, I thought it was a good thing that we were left with the same driver and monitor as the year before when he was at the elementary campus and now for middle school. We were familiar with them and were not looking forward to learning habits to a new set. But when Puppy was in the Fifth (5th) Grade, he had many tantrums and anxiety attacks in the classroom. Then there were two occasions when he had some incidents on the bus and he ended up punching the bus window and breaking it. It actually happened twice. He just didn’t know his strength, and then the next time, he knew his strength would do it. I imagine this could be reason enough for the bus driver and monitor to have a little fear towards Puppy. And what was the result? He was left to be the last student to be picked up on their morning route. Not a favorable decision on my end, but I didn’t have a say so in the matter.

So, this year I’m going to say a prayer for a new bus driver and bus monitor to hopefully make our mornings more pleasant. Oh, and also another prayer for Puppy’s rides to be smoother and not so eventful.