Friday, February 13, 2009

I Jinxed it.

I am so freaking tired. This hasn't happened in ages. I think I jinxed us.
2 nights ago Genea woke us all up in the middle of the night. She said she had a nightmare so I let her come and sleep by me. Groggy as I was, I did not realize she had turned on the lights and woken up Teena as well.

She has done this since she came here but had finally stopped about 6 months ago. She wakes up for whatever reason and proceeds to wake up everyone else. She turns lights on, wails and cries on and on. We tell her to knock it off, she gets louder. We tell her to go back to sleep etc, and she screams. She wants to get up and she wants everyone else to get up too. We have tried everything to stop her, but unfortunately she has the upper hand in this because we cannot physically make her shut up. It only stopped when we started putting her on total restriction for waking up the house. She had to stay in her room all day, eating toast and- or leftovers only. And water to drink. I hated doing it for a lot of reasons, but mainly I hated to separate her like that from us. How will we bond and attach when we are in different rooms all day? Going to that extreme made me feel like I was not doing my job and going overboard with the consequence. Like, I can't parent someone who isn't there! Being honest about the good, the bad and the ugly, I admit that I also felt a guilty sort of relief in a way. Having Genea contained in a room was a lot easier than having her bounce and ping around all day. It was a nice break from the incessant unending verbal barrage that normally makes up a day with her. Especially when I am exhausted from being up half the night. It took about another month on and off, but she finally did quit.

So, I predicted that she would wake us up with another nightmare last night. I knew she had just gotten too much mileage from the previous night. I got off track yesterday and did not remember to go over it with her. The girls have a clock in their room so they know when it is 7 they can get up. Not one minute before- and they have only missed it maybe twice. Every day, there they are, 7 am on the dot (yes, I know that is a lot later than a lot of people have to get up and moving).

Around 5 am, Genea started calling out to us that the time was taking too long. This is usually the first step in the avalanche that is coming, and so sure enough we told her it was not time yet and she began to wail. We told her to knock it off, she got louder and Teena woke up. We told her she would be in trouble if she kept it up and she subsided enough that everyone including Teena was able to drift back to sleep, then she began the pre-cry whine again. Every time she detected people might be falling back to sleep here comes the whining and the calling out to us, then firing up the cry again. Endless cycle.

I will appreciate suggestions. I have told her she is on restriction when she gets home from school. I also told her the party on Sunday is not an option if we cannot trust her to behave in our home, we cannot let her go to someone elses home. But I have not cancelled her rsvp. I hope this all makes sense.

Maybe it is a Friday the 13th so close to the full moon.


  1. Greetings. I've recently discovered (and devoured) your blog. I really love your take on things. We are parenting a newly 9-year old RADish adopted from Ukraine (by us) at age 5.25. So many of your challenges and approaches to them are very similar to ours. We are a little farther along than you are with Genea. One idea that has worked somewhat for us -- some contexts -- is when he does a behaviour we don't want, instead of giving him the negative reaction he seems so comfortable with, we give him an over-the-top positive reaction: How did you know I wanted you to get up this early and get everyone else up? Thank you for doing exactly what I wanted without complaining. We haven't tried this with waking the whole household up early (he hasn't done that for a few years), but we've tried it successfully with a few other equally obnoxious behaviours. And I know exactly what you mean when you describe your feelings about sequestering Genea...

  2. Oh hell to the yeah. Tara to a T. OK. Here we go! Try waking her up in the middle of the night. Plan for it. It is way fun and totally drives the point home. When she gets real pissed at why you are doing it, point out that she does it all the time so why should she be mad? But keep her up. It only took one or two times with Tara and we never had the problem again. Of course, this was my husband's idea. Not mine. But let's pretend it is mine so I can get the credit and everyone will think I am brilliant ;)

  3. I agree, the agreeing with the disagreeable takes away their power. Felpsy woke up every morning and from every nap for about 18 months screaming bloody murder. One day I had the idea that he needed to practice the proper way of doing things. When he wakes up he has to say "Good morning Mom" the only indication of permission to come out of his room is my reply of "Good morning child" If he does not hear "Good morning child" he is to get back on his sleeping area, still won't sleep in bed, and wait. He is only allowed to say "Good morning mom" if the sun is up. If he says it before hand he has to sit on a bar stool in the middle of the living room in strong sitting, until the sun comes up. He's only volunteered to do that once. And he was quite good the rest of the day because he was so tired. But just that trick has saved us a lot of crap over the years.

    I leave him an array of acceptable toys he can occupy himself with should he wake up before the sun. We started with practicing about 6 times a day to get the sun up procedure right. The sun down procedure we had to practice more, if I remember correctly, but I gave it a time frame and then implemented it. Like I said, he only woke us up 1 time before the sun came up. Good luck. If all else fails, hire a sitter and take a nap.

  4. Thanks for the great suggestions! We have done some of them before, esp the waking her up to call out and ask her, is this fun for you? Are you happy right now? This is how the rest of us feel LOL, Teena esp enjoys doing it!! (ahem, me too) I have left quiet toys and books for her. I have let her go out and watch PBS. Another suggestion was to hike up the Boredom Therapy (via email) which is what we did last night with her 'restriction' time. Sit on her bed instead of having the room to move around in. Today, she is little miss angel. There is no way she will miss that party I think. So, the power of working towards something seems to be good. I never tried some of the things you would do with regular kids like that. Also never took stuff away from her yet. I have done the sit on a bar stool in the middle of a room, I just never called it Strong Sitting Therapy. TUrns out I have been using a lot of strong sitting with her, I just did not know it. We have not done much with increased levels of consequence either, mostly I use shit or get off the pot consequences. Again, because I never figured she would respond to consequences like regular kids would. I felt like the song lyric "when you aint got nothin you got nothin to lose" with her. It seems like her bond with us has at least moved her into a place where she cares about her stuff and our family enough for some of those ideas to have an effect.
    THANK YOU BT for the props! I love to hear when people enjoy my blog!!! I enjoy doing it and having found people experiencing a lot of the same things as us has meant the world and made an unbelievable difference for me. Every crazy assed thing my kids come up with someone else can chime in and say, YUP we had that too, here is what we did and we are all still alive and free from institutionalization so far. Maybe people will read my stuff and get the same feeling from it.
    So anyway, I hope blogger can load my comment here LOL, a hair on the long side.
    Today she was motionless and silent in her bed until the crack of 6:59:59. She has been quiet and pleasant so far.

  5. Love, love, love Torina's idea (even if it was JB's). Going to write that in my handy dandy notebook for later reference!

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  7. Well....I always do the soft side of everything, if I can. Is she after control, or attention or is she really scared and upset and frightened to be awake when everyone else is asleep? I'd try and figure that out, I guess. I was always fearful to be the only one awake. If that's it, maybe you could think of something she could do that would help her feel not so alone, and might also be a treat...what crosses my mind is watching a movie on a portable DVD player...or listening to stories on a CD player?

  8. Yup, its a tricky one because I think she is after all of the above. The control, the attention, the connection with us and the fear of being alone. I have had her come in my bed rest, and even watch PBS and she still has to try to wake us all up. Special dolls to have with her, watch a preset movie on tv, I think at some point it became more of a bad habit to wake us all up. Now it seems she just wants the connection and she wants it now. I appreciate the softer side, for sure, and tried a long time, over a year, with nicer ways. She has been good with this for about 6 months, and I more wanted to drop a ton of bricks on her to stop her in her tracks this time. 2 nights in a row was a bad sign!


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