Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rerun with good reason! Cart Crashers Unite!

I'm re-running this post from 2011. Seraphinalina came back all these years later and added a comment. It's just so freaking funny I have to share. Payoff is at the end.

There is this one little thing that I really love to do. I love it so much I almost look forward to it. It is a little strange though. But I'm guessing if you read here you are getting used to the strange. Possibly you even expect it. You are no stranger to strange.

This might be a little more strange than the normal strange.

It might even be unhealthy. But I'm not exactly known for my consciousness on that subject. I eat cheetos and even go without sunscreen.

I love, I would even say I LIVE, to smash grocery carts.

Okay! I warned you!

I mean, the satisfaction I get from shoving that fucker across the lot to crash into the cart carrel, wow, I'm getting worked up just thinking about it.

There might be a chance I have a touch o' The Crazy myself.

I spend my time and my money in the store. I lope out to the parking lot with my kids jumping and whining, after having dragged them through the store jumping and whining and being demanding. I tell them to get in the car while I put our crap in the trunk and without fail there is an argument. I mean, what? the? hell? How do 2 such short people manage to fight with each other about something so fucking simple as getting in the damn car? Just get! in! the! car! There is nothing to talk about! Simple process, open door, sit your ass down, mouth closed! Squabbles always ensue and I want nothing more than to smash something.

(Though I have to admit, even when the kids are nowhere near me I still smash carts). (I must have leftover frustrations). (Keep your sassy comments to yourself there, lol!).

I slam the trunk of the car shut. There is minor satisfaction in that, however I drive a Pontiac. There is no heft to the trunk and so very little sense of release. In high school I drove my parents old 1970 Chevy Caprice. Now that's a car with some heft, a car that could sleep 6. You had to  put some muscle into pulling the doors closed or slamming the trunk. Anyway. I digressed.

So I drag my cart away from my car, having already scoped out the nearest return carrel. My pupils start to dilate and I can feel a surge of blood pressure rising. The corners of my mouth twitch but I try hard to resist smiling. I don't want all the other customers to see me. It would look weird.

(I resent places that have plastic shopping carts. You know who I am talking about *Target*).

Ideally I would find a carrel with several carts already in it. Empty ones are still noisy but less disruptive. There is no domino effect of watching the other carts scurry and lurch forward. I line that fucker up from about 5 feet back and tense my muscles with all the strength afforded to me by having a 6 year old child who still loves to be carried. Then BAM! I send that cart flying across the parking lot! SMASH! It bangs and crashes into the carts already returned and hurls them forward as well, the noise sounding like a repeating echo. Banging into the sides of the carrel, metal shrieking on metal. Yikes! People are startled and look over, surprised at all the noise I have made. Some even look disapproving. Oops, heh heh heh. My daughter Teena calls out from the car "Wow Mama! That was coooooooool"! I think so too. Ahhh.

Okay, I can't be the only one. Right?

Original post with comments is RIGHT HERE

This here is the payoff! Watch the link! Go potty first!

Seraphinalina adds this:
I saw this film at a festival in Germany and thought of you. :)
KILLER KARTS is the link to the original but I *think* I also downloaded and copied it here... maybe...


Thursday, April 10, 2014

rad vs. cat

Most advice regarding pets and a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder revolves around one word- DON'T. Don't get a pet, don't ask the child to care for a pet and don't let pets near the child.

When Genea arrived, we had 3 cats and we were not an exception. I think probably the time I came closest to losing control of myself entirely, in a dangerous way, was when I caught her kicking one of them.  We maintained line- of- sight supervision and mostly the cats stayed as far away from her as they could.

Eventually years went by without incident, 2 of the cats died, and we got Bindi last month.

Very nervous, I introduced the girls to her. I gave them concise, explicit directions, first. She's upset and stressed right now. We will go in her room and both of you sit down. You sit still. You only talk softly. You keep yourself calm and you wait. Do nothing but sit. She is so scared right now that anything you do will freak her out and she might not come by you again. If she walks by you, you sit. Only if she rubs into you and I say it's okay can you touch her. When she walks away you let her go. Well, I tried to cover every possibility. As if.

Teena, not so much with the cooperating. Her impulses were greater than her control. She reached out a few times and Bindi stopped snaking by her. Later, she kept trying to entice Bindi to play until I gave up telling her to quit it, and let nature take its course. The course being a one way street to a slashed up hand.

Genea however, did everything I told her to do. The word 'magical' seems exaggerated but really, it fits. Bindi walked by her a few times, then rubbed on her knee. Genea asked and was okayed to pet her, gently and calmly. Several days of this, and it became clear that Bindi had a great preference for  Genea over the rest of us. She sits with Genea, or follows her around the house. Genea does her daily reading with Bindi after school- I mean, she sits there and reads a book out loud to Bindi, who now knows all about Junie B Jones. I can't even describe how cute that is!

She was horrified to hear Bindi's history. She was found as a pregnant stray, about 1 year old (sigh, teenage pregnancy). She had her babies and they were all adopted but Bindi sat for another year in a cage at the Humane Society. 

So Genea, she is just beside herself with this relationship. Shocked, stunned, amazed that what I told her to do worked. Like I told her the secrets to rocket science and she didn't believe it until she found herself on Mars eating jello. (Years ago she came home from school and announced her teacher said eating vegetables is healthy, so could I be sure to serve her some vegetables? omg I hadn't thought of that arggggggh ).  Every person she tells about our new cat, which is everyone in a 2 mile radius, gets to hear how schnockered she was to discover her Mama knew something and was right about it! Whooda thunk?

Here's where it affects the RAD. For years, Genea has had the most insincere tone interacting with little beings. Seeing her new baby cousin, she'd say "aww. Oh look. At. The cute ba- there's a squirrel  can I have a lollipop  you have to wash my clothes now", with the same tone as if she were saying " I gotta take out the trash". It made my internal organs cringe but honestly, I stopped noticing it ages ago. Just part of Genea, one of those things she is going to have to learn. But with Bindi, it's sincere. She sounds like she really does think Bindi is cute. It sounds natural, and that right there is amazing all by itself. 

Here's another effect on the RAD. I think Bindi got too close. Maybe too affectionate or too loving. She was laying on Genea's lap and maybe Genea got scared, anxious that something loved her and so for the first time in ages, Genea pea'd a little on herself. It was her go-to response for so long to push people away and I suspect it flared back up with Bindi.

I had hoped, and I was probably too optimistic (ha ha, no one has ever said that to me), I could say things like "stop shrieking like your eyebrows are on fire, you're scaring Bindi". Or maybe "Bindi gets nervous when you hurl things into the wall". This does not have any effect. At all. But the rest of it is awesome!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The New IEP

It's been a few years now, since Genea got her first IEP (Individualized Education Plan for special education) at school. The team met last week to discuss progress and updates. Genea will be going to middle school next year and I can assure you, I shuddered just typing those words.

The good news is- there's lots of good news! The point of the IEP was to give Genea a few extra little things that would help her get through her day.  It has been successful. Where she was falling the in the average- below average range, she is now average across the board! She is now equal with her classmates! In ALL her classes!

They adore her, the team at her grade school. In our meeting the room teacher,  special ed teacher,  OT and someone -else- I- forgot were there. They went on for 10 minutes about how generous she is, kind and helpful. And I agree. It can be odd sometimes, that characteristic of RAD where the child is charming and delightful to everyone outside the home. But I like to think that it's working for her and she's ultimately benefitting from it (certainly far better than having her home behavior at school!). I started to twitch a little when they commented on how happy she is all the time, but again, I like to hope the success and positive responses will carry over.

We discussed how much Genea dislikes writing. It's one area that has not improved. Out of curiosity, I asked if the issue was language processing or fine motor. So, do the words get stuck or jumbled before she can write them or is it that the message from brain to fingers doesn't go smoothly. Lots of hmmms, muttering and looking away. Seems no one had thought about that one. I didn't think it was a big ol' issue but I guess it was.

My instinct when everyone looks so uncomfortable is to 'make it nice'. I want to smile and say, that's ok! Don't worry about it! Then I feel like over talking, about all the aspects of her writing skills, all the things we do at home, etc. One thing I learned a few IEP's ago is to sit still and shut up. Silence takes over the room as everyone starts shuffling papers and examining specks of dust. Mmm hmmm.

The director calls in another teacher, who doesn't know about her writing either. It gets more uncomfortable.

They try to explain, and it was kind of funny watching them try to pass the buck but since most of the team was there, they couldn't exactly point fingers at themselves.

"Seems like the sort of thing we should work on," I finally say. I guess it doesn't matter what the origin of the issue is, but her writing is awful and yet she loves to tell stories. Somehow or another it doesn't get to the paper.

This year Genea's deliberate malfunction has been getting assignments in. She might do half, or none. She might write one thing in her planner for us to sign, then alter it on the bus. She has an aide that comes to her class at the end of the day to ensure she has her materials organized and packed up for home. Genea, my dear Genea, will then remove a few items. Maybe a book gets lost, or an important paper is missing.  However. With this level of assistance she has to actually put a specific effort into NOT bringing home what she needs. She has to TRY and it is obvious. So.

The team had come up with a reinforcement plan. If she got 3 of 5 days of assignments in she would get a reward. I listened intently, with eyebrows raised. They wanted to leave her an 'out' because everyone forgets stuff sometimes. Ummmmm, no. They are thinking of ordinary people. Genea has a superhuman memory. I said, if you give Genea 2 chances, I guarantee you she will miss 2 assignments every single week. My suggestion is zero chances.

I was then on the receiving end of the "I- can't -believe -this -parent- can -you" eyeballs being passed around. Argh. Discussions ensued. One teacher finally just asked Genea why she was not getting in her work. She turned red and said "I um, I just don't feel like doing it sometimes". Expressions changed abruptly to "omg- I- can't -believe -this -kid -can -you" and every one decided she would need to get her work in every day.

That was about it. She has some new goals to address writing. Most of everything else is aimed at her extreme hyper- vigilance. She sits in the back of the room so she can monitor everyone for safety while maintaining focus, things like that.

Other than my few little inputs, I try to let school deal with school. It's hard because I feel a compulsion to be involved and a gigantic guilt/shame for hanging back. We are so exceptionally lucky to have had wonderful teachers for Genea in a fantastic school. I think overall most people who teach are good at it (way better than I would be), but she has had some who are great!


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