This will be the last catch up post, and I will go to more regular postings of our day to day lives and how it is impacted by adoption, autism and just the funny quirky things my kiddos do. If you have read up until now, you know our life has been awesome and at times, extremely challenging.
2015 has been relatively quiet. Mickey’s behavior has been pretty good and meds have been stable since February. We had to leave Risperdone (which, I have had a long love/hate relationship with) and that had me fearful. I could remember our lives, entirely too freshly, without it. But, Mickey had developed a tongue flicking that had us concerned. It has since retreated, and I am thankful to the psychiatrist for quickly linking it to the Risperdone and taking him off of it immediately. We had a couple of rocky weeks as we tried to find the new medication and the right dosage, but after just one frantic call we were able to settle on a new medication regime. When Mickey came to me and through that first year he was on up to 5 meds. We are down to two – Straterra for his ADHD and Abilify for his Autism related mood disorder. Both relatively small doses. Without the Risperdone, I did have to add some melatonin to help him sleep.
We also discovered essential oils early in the year and they have been a huge tool in our arsenal for helping Mickey to focus and additional coping skills (he loves his leather diffuser bracelet) and he asks for his oils before he leaves for school.
We did have to leave our daycare back during the medication changes. After nearly 3 years, they were done (their words). Apparently Mickey should be over his Autism by now. It had become antagonistic there – other kids were bullying him and their response was “well, if he wouldn’t act like that, they wouldn’t make fun of him”. Gone was the loving and supportive place we had grown to love. Mickey was using coping skills and if he asked for help before losing his cool, it was denied. He was often told to handle it on his own. The issue being that he can’t, which is why he asked for help or a break.
But, it turned out to be for the best. We found a new daycare that actually asked for his IEP and his behavioral intervention plan. They did a trial day and have taken the time to get to know him and can diffuse a situation before it gets out of hand. Mickey is challenging on his best day, but overall can handle most things and situations. Sometimes it requires prompts for coping skills, sometimes you have to explain the why – even though you shouldn’t have to. But, not antagonizing the situation is key. I am not saying give into him – just approach the situation different than you would your typical child. I say no. A. Lot. He gets mad at me a lot too, but that no longer turns into a rage. The same is true at school and daycare.
We further cemented our status as “Disney People” by purchasing annual passes for 2015. We made two trips within four weeks of each other – 1 to activate the passes and 1 for spring break. We head back again in 6 weeks.
This is Prissy – she was mine as a little girl and now belongs to Minnie – in her new Disney outfit
Mickey started a dance class with Minnie and performed in his first recital in May. He completed 3rd grade with all As and Bs – not too shabby for a kid that was deemed in the low range for IQ. He has read 40 books so far this year, including the first two Harry Potter books and adult biographies on his favorite musicians – Elvis and Johnny Cash. We got to visit the Johnny Cash museum on our way to Indiana this summer and Mickey was super excited!
Minnie completed 1st grade on target, after a bumpy academic middle of the year. She did resident expert reports on all the misunderstood animals and presented them week after week to various classes in her school. Her favorite is the poor misunderstood opossum.
The children raised 40 or so tadpoles they discovered in our pool when we opened it for summer. We fostered a dozen kittens and two momma cats. We went to Indiana for our annual summer trip just before school started a week ago and Mickey overcame his fear of fire enough to enjoy a S’mores. Sherbert and Mason continue to bring us much delight.
Mickey had his worst day of the year the day before school started and it was an ugly flashback to our former lives. Every once in a while that happens. Day to day is usually not so bad, but we had a couple days this summer that keep those days from going too far back in my memory. He threw himself off a moving vehicle because he was angry and was going to “show me” how mad he was. Luckily some scrapes and bruises were all he got for that effort. The good news was that when he calmed down, he realized how flawed this logic was. The day before school his anxiety got the better of him and he got angry – really angry. He was trying to take it out on Minnie and I had to literally pin him down on the stairs until he got it back together. Impulse control is definitely always a factor in his behavior.
But, for all the good and bad, we have made it. In just about two weeks I will celebrate my 39th birthday and the 4th anniversary of meeting Minnie and Mickey for the first time. There have been many tears shed – both good and bad over that four years. But, they are mine, as much as two fiercely opinionated individuals can belong to another. They are my heart and if I could do it over again, I would. Emphatically, they are the best decision I have ever made and I am so thankful for the support of my family and friends and mental health professionals that have helped us get to where we are.
Four years ago, I didn’t think Mickey would ever live independently, I never could have imagined taking him to a theme park, I could barely imagine taking him to Target. Their former foster parents have cried as they have seen him bloom into the articulate boy he is now, because they never knew it was possible for him – none of us did. In so many ways he is just a typical little boy. He is tall and lanky and about to turn ten, though he skews younger. He is now in Cub Scouts, learning guitar, obsessed with music and taking both hip hop and ballet dance classes. Little girls blow up my phone to talk to him and while friendship is hard for him, he has two friends that are both also on the Spectrum and they understand each other. We aren’t yet a success story, but we are working on it and I have hope that we will be.
And now on with our regularly scheduled lives….