I think we have a new difficult child in the family

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    90 percent of the time Aubrey is sweet, very loving, cooperative, and obedient. She is a joy to be around in every since of the word. I've never seen a 2 yr old who can make believe play on the level Aubrey can, or who has as developed a sense of humor as she does. Both far beyond her years. She's become our little chatter box who loves books, attempts to write, colors in the lines (thanks to Darrin lol). She has an unnerving way of picking up on how to do things almost instantly and never forgetting. And we have to what every move we make because of it. Because Aubrey will attempt to do it herself and nearly always will succeed unless her physical size prevents it. (scarey at times)

    That said there is something about Aubrey that I find very worrying and a bit scarey.:anxious:

    Nichole has told me about Aubrey "attacking her" from time to time for months. Having not seen said attacks, I chalked them up to 2 yr old tantrums. Her old rages vanished once she finally began to talk.

    Nichole would also tell me that Aubrey gets this look on her face. Mean. Dark. Mean. And that the episodes are not necessarily triggered by ongoing events.

    At first we thought the "look" was being picked up from another toddler at daycare. This poor little girl looks like she hates the very world every moment of the day, and she's only 2 herself.

    But I no longer thing so. For one thing the other toddler looking this way is "norm" as she always looks that way. No change in expression for any reason. And also Aubrey puts it into the correct Language context / behavior context when using it. Her message comes across, let's put it that way.

    Since I saw none of this at first I kept a wait and see attitude while giving Nichole the general tips for handling a uncooperative 2 yr old.

    Now that Aubrey has been home with me the last several weeks I've seen firsthand the behavior Nichole is talking about. And believe me after having run my own day care for years and watching dozens of toddlers (both difficult child and non difficult child), raising my own kids, and watching neices and nephews.........This is not typical 2 yr old behavior.

    When Aubrey gets that "look" on her face the first thing I think of is evil personified. Can't help it, that's the first thing that springs into my head, even though I know that's not the case. Her expression is dark, eyebrows down, mouth in a snarl. It's a look that would greatly disturb me if I saw it in a child of any age, but in a 2 yr old it is unnerving.

    The attack comes within seconds. Biting, kicking, nails digging into flesh, head butting. all deliberate attempts to inflict damage.

    Once it's over, it's over. She is sweet Aubrey again.

    Like I said, this does not appear to have a set trigger, like taking something away or not giving into a demand. It can, and often does, happen out of the blue.

    And it did again yesterday. Nichole was at boyfriend's. Aubrey was overtired. So Nichole was going to ly down with Aubrey in the big bed to help her fall alseep. This is normally an activity Aubrey loves. A few mins later comes the look and Nichole is being brutally attacked. Being unable to restrain her, Nichole gave up on the nap and tried re direction which worked eventually. Then tried the nap again which went fine.

    Aubrey has attempted this on me. She went down for a nap one day this week while I had her. She woke up in a "violent" mood. There was no making her happy. And she wasn't still acting sleepy. Next thing I know comes the "look" and the attack.

    Only I stopped the attack with the same Mommy Look I use on my own kids and the deep I mean business Mommy Voice. She looked at me stunned, then fell into tears. There were 4 successive incidents within 20 mins before Nichole came home from school. Not a single one had a trigger. Each time I stopped her with the Mommy Look and the Mommy Voice. But it took her several minutes to seem to have it register before it kicked in and worked.

    Sorry, words aren't describing the whole thing well.:(

    It's going to sound weird, but it's that look she gets onto her face that bothers me the most. The aggression I can handle. been there done that And I told Nichole I'd show her the correct way to restrain Aubrey when this happens so that neither of them get hurt. But that look. OMG Nichole at her finest has never managed such an expression on her face.

    I have seen the look before. Many times. I've seen it appear on my own mother's face over the years before she'd either become violent or do something totally off the wall. I've seen it on patient's faces from time to time in the psychiatric ward where I used to work many many years ago.

    But on a 2 yr old????? :surprise: C'mon! How can that possibly be?? Aubrey shows no other signs of gfgdom. No moodiness outside of the norm, nothing. No overt aggression, defiance. Nothing.

    So it looks like we have another difficult child in the family. Although at 2 no psychiatrist would seriously evaluation, and with the way this displays wouldn't even likely ever see it if they did attempt an evaluation. And how seriouslly could you take a diagnosis rendered at 2 anyway?

    Could be a odd form of seizures. Travis had them years ago back when he was about 12 or 13 that were similar. Actually, quite similar. But Aubrey has shown no other sign of seizure activity. But to be honest, neither neuro or I were completelly satisfied that the behavior Travis had displayed at the time was truely seizure either. It was just the only explaination for completely out of character behavior that has never reappeared.

    So, for now I'm teaching Nichole the proper way to restrain. Fun. Not. And she's practicing the Mommy Look and the Mommy Voice, but not doing very well with it.


    Have any of you seen this sort of thing so darn young?? I know many of our difficult children displayed behaviors at a young age, many younger than they supposedly should have. (both my difficult child's did) But that look really has me bothered. My gut tells me I shouldn't be seeing it at her age, difficult child or not.
  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Sounds like those same "seizure-like" behaviors I saw in my son at the same age. Temporal lobe partial seizure activity. The doctors blew me off but I knew better.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    That's what I don't understand if it is seizure related. If it is a seizure, why would the Mommy Voice and Look bring her out of it??

    by the way, the same thing would bring Travis out of it when he was displaying similar behavior at 12-13.
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Because it's a discharge of electrical activity in the emotional part of the brain. The seizure lasts as long as the electrical activity last plus the recovery period. From start -- explosion -- to finish -- incredible sleepiness -- my son's last 45 minutes, then and to this day. If nothing happens to interfer with the normal process of the episode -- which would make it last longer, not shorter -- I can tell you exactly what behaviors will appear at what time.

    Partial seizures are not absences seizures. Partial seizures are the result of highly localized seizure activity. They are "partial" in that they don't occur in the entire brain.

    Partial seizures are more like convulsions than absences seizures when discussing "bring them out of it". You can't stop it once it starts.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Could it be the change of voice that brings her out? I know that when I was volunteering at the local school back home, I could snap one boy out of a seizure by pitching my voice higher. There was something about that tone that would seem to stop the electric pattern in his brain.

    I'm sorry she's going through this. Something tells me if she had a choice, she'd be your sunny Aubrey all the time.
  6. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Now wait, I got it backwards -- the mommy look brought her out of it.

    The look is the aura and not the actual seizure? And catching it at that point could interfer with the progress? I'd be curious if she ultimately had a blow-up later in the day. If you went through that four times but Nichole says it only happens occassionally, it doesn't sound like you stopped it but somehow delayed it. Does that make sense?
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Maybe you're right then. Those complex partial seizures tend to confuse me. I never added it to Travis' dxes because he only displayed the behavior for maybe 18 months tops. Then it stopped. But very disturbing when it happened. And it sure did seem the change in my voice (because my voice does change drastically) did bring him out of it. And it did have a distinct pattern to it.

    I haven't seen enough of Aubrey's to yet determine a pattern to it once it starts. Just the look and thus the aggression. That and the Mommy voice brings her out of it.

    You know, they really need to get into more depth about this stuff when training nurses/ medical personel. I know 25 yrs ago in nurses training we barely touched on petite mal and grand mal seizures. I know when easy child was in the RN program I asked her how in depth they went and she said it was the same, except that the instructor when into more detail when easy child brought up that her brother had absence seizures, ect. I know they can't possibly cover everything, but there are things that should be covered in depth in my opinion and this is one of them.

    Talked to Nichole on the phone. She's going to ask for Aubrey to have a referal to Travis' old neuro at Children's. Maybe with the family history pediatrician doctor will be more open to the referral. (I doubt it) And if she can get Aubrey into Travis' old neuro, he already has the family history right there, all he has to do is call it up on his computer.

    But like you said Sara, neither of us are getting our hopes up for either the referral or exam. Odds are they'll chalk it up to terrible twos and dismiss it.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't know if it's the look or the voice that brings her out of it. I do both at the same time automatically. It's not something I think about. I just do it.

    I'm betting though it's the voice. And yes, it is possible it delays it. Because when she has one, she has more. Always in the same day. Unless brought out once the volence begins. Does that make sense??
  9. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Back before the 60's and 70's, all doctors knew about partial seizures though they may not have called them that. Then came the psychological upswing of the hippie era. Suddenly everything was learned behavior and people could just chose not to have problems if only they wanted to. Acceptance of that theory varied, of course, but I've mention my roommate who told me I could stop having seizures if I just decided to. And some really believed you could cure the common cold or cancer if only you decided not to have it.

    In that era, all but convulsions and absence seizures-- grand and petite mal -- stopped being identified as seizure activity and became behavioral issues. Even neurologists I've had poo-pooed partial seizure activity. But my GP who was the first doctor to address my epilepsy immediately recognized that the problems I had which ended the day I started Dilantin were types of seizures. He was older and had gone through school in the 40's. He learned things much differently than those who went through school in the 60's and beyond.
  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Wynter gets this look of pure venom - looks like hatred - and has from a very, very young age, but it's almost always when she's mad about something. It's not just out of the blue. That would worry me, too.

    Poor baby. It's not fair that they have to endure these things so young.

  11. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    My son's usually had/have triggers but they are totally out proportion to the degree of the rage. It's almost as if, now that I think about it, his anger develops in his brain then tries to find something to attach to. All we see is an unresonable response to something very slight. Which did come first, the anger or the "tigger"? Hmmm.....

    Does that make sense to anyone else?
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    It makes sense to me.

    From 1995 to 1998, I worked for an electrical contractor who was a drug addict (crack was his drug of choice, but he'd do anything) and was diagnosis'd bipolar, but I think he was more borderline. Every morning from 7:30 until he left to go on his calls for the day (usually between 8:30 and 9:00), I would sit back in his office with my notepad going over what we needed to order for upcoming jobs, etc. I could watch the transformation. He would be fine and then he would start flipping through things and his words would become very clipped and I knew that meant he was looking for something to go off about. It's like he got this anger and then needed somewhere to direct it. I knew when it was coming. And since he was having to find something to be mad about, for lack of a better way to put it, it was usually something so minor compared to his level of anger. I also learned that the best way to deal with it - with him - was to stand my ground and not give in. It was like a bad marriage.
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Eeyore had that look when we got him out of foster care. Once stable on medications, he can't duplicate the pure venom no matter how mad he gets. It is very frightening to see that look on a young child.
  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I hate that referrals are sometimes so hard to get. Hopefully with family history it will help.

    My thought was the look is the seizure itself and the rage is her body coming out of the seizure - trying to put everything back to where it belongs - the release of the seizure. Your voice "shocks" everything back into place?

    When asking for the referral, make it a statement instead of a question: "I want a referral to a neurologist ASAP." If you ask, "Will you refer me?" that gives the doctor a choice.

    Hang in there Aubrey!
  15. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I had begun to respond to Andy's idea that the rage is postictal in the negative because even partial seizures have that feeling of exhaustion afterwards but then I remembered that Aubrey breaks down and cries. That breaking down into tears ....that could be something. Are these the tears of a reprimanded child or something more? Something different?

    But then again, if the look were the seizure activity, it's not likely it would occur again so soon unless she had multiples every day.

    This isn't an everyday occurrence, right?
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Not an everyday occurance, no. Although it seems to be happening more frequently of late.

    To explain the tears may be hard, but I'll try. Imagine you've just scared the beegeebies out of a 2 yr old. I don't see that reaction with normal repromand, even when it comes from me and "breaks her heart" cuz Nana was the one to do it.

    It's almost like I am suddenly there to her. Then of course I've got that Mommy Look going and am doing the Mommy Voice. And I think it scares her once she becomes aware of it. Because there is a distinct startle reaction before the crying kicks in.

    It was that startle reaction that made me think of the possibility of seizure in the first place. That's exactly what Travis did. He'd startle (almost like waking up) and then be himself again. (with no memory of what had occured)

    Once she does the startle reaction part the behavior stops. Tears don't always happen, but usually do. Sometimes the dark look continues and the behavior repeats. But it does usually end with the sobbing breakdown. And each time I use the voice and the look, she startles, whether it repeats or comes to an end.

    You know, this is a really tough thing to attempt to describe with just words. While I'm typing I can see it so clearly in my mind, yet finding the right words to describe it is really hard.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, and as for the Mommy voice.

    It is a deep, stern firm command voice. No yelling, not loud. Actually probably an octave softer than my normal voice. I simply tell her "No Aubrey, you will not hit, bite, ect." And I repeat as necessary.

    The Look is well, if any of you ever had a Mom with "the Look" then you know what it is. Otherwise, I don't think there are words to describe it. lol

    My kids still move at both the Look and the voice without hesitation. All 3 says it affects them to their marrow. Which is why I never had to raise my voice at a child. (thanks to my grandma) And my grandmother's children never stopped reacting to the Look/voice throughout their adult years on the exceptional rare event she called upon it.

    So she's not reating to volume. Tone it might be. The command is direct, specific, with no hint that I'll accept any less than I've told her to do.

    On occasion I've had to use the voice and or look under normal circumstance, and I have to say she has the normal child response to it then. She stops what she's doing immediately, looks at me and waits to see if she's going to be placed on the time out chair. She doesn't repeat, no dark look, no tantrum.......although typical for age my whine or cry when put in time out.
  18. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    My son has partial but distorted memories of what happened during his seizures. And he use to think they lasted a few minutes from start to finish instead of the 45 that they do. During the last few that I witnessed, I noticed incredibly dark circles under his eyes.

    Here's something else to watch for -- does she mention a tummy ache or being hot/cold just before this happens? Anything like that? Eventually my son picked up on his auras and we learned even if the temperature was 70 degrees in the house, if he suddenly said "I'm hot, put the air conditioner on," I did. I think we prevented or minimized a few episodes once he figured that out.

    Obviously I think you are on to something.
  19. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I haven't noticed it, but I'll keep my eye out for it. I'm also going to look for signs of tiredness following an episode. Although I've never seen that with Travis for any of his seizures. But he does get the headaches beforehand.
  20. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I forgot headaches. I was going to include them but Harry Potter got my attention....

    But then, my friend has paranoia as his aura.