Much as I hate it, difficult child 2's acting up is good


Active Member
I went to see difficult child 2 yesterday. I had a minute to talk with the night nurse about how he was doing. As much as I hate to say this, difficult child showed his rear yesterday, for which I was happy. That sounds so awful to say outloud, but you guys know where I'm coming from. They need to see him in action in order to understand what we're dealing with at home.

He didn't have a meltdown, but he showed enough of himself that the staff was able to see how easily he could escalate into one. All over a spoon. A spoon, for crying out loud!!

He had something for lunch that needed a spoon. He told the nurse to go get him one. She said no, he knew how to properly request things he needed. He demanded. She said no. He demanded again, fists clenched. Another staffer moved strategically behind him. The nurse reminded him that there are ways to ask for things, but he was demanding, which would not get him what he wanted. He finally "got it" and asked if he could "please" have a spoon. BINGO!! He did it! He got it without a meltdown, but the nurses said they could see his frustration building. The other staffer moving behind him apparently made him realize that he was "going there" (leading up to a meltdown) and was enough for him to get himself back under control. Of course, when the nurse took a minute too long praising him, without getting him the spoon, he asked "Well? Are you going to get me one?" :rolleyes: Ugh.

So, he didn't have a meltdown, but he was being demanding/defiant enough for them to see through the nice young man facade. Don't get me wrong. He's not being manipulative about it. He really isn't. He really is a nice young man most of the time. It's when the world doesn't fit his idea of what should be that he's difficult. Like with the spoon, he just doesn't "get it" that his behavior dictates how people respond to him. He doesn't understand the subtle differences between asking for something nicely and demanding. Then he doesn't understand why the result he gets isn't what he wants & depending on the situation, that can lead to meltdowns. However, in a "new" environment, he generally gets on beautifully for a time. That whole honeymoon thing.

I was kind of hurt that he really didn't want to visit yesterday. He was in the activity room, engrossed in the TV. He wasn't in the mood to "visit." It's so hard to get him to switch gears, I just wasn't up to fighting him on it. We (difficult child 1 and I) sat with him and the other kids for a bit, but it was obvious he wasn't going to switch gears without serious proding, which would have made the whole visit unpleasant. I didn't want unpleasant. I want him to want to visit with us. If he doesn't, well, then we won't...much as it hurts. The way I see it, the visits are for him, not for us. It lets him know we're thinking of him, we love him, and we're supporting him. If he doesn't want to visit, then I won't push it. (Although it really did hurt my feelings that he doesn't "show" any signs of missing being at home. I know he does, but it would be nice to "see" it...even if that is just me being selfish.)

Much as I hate to say it, I'm happy he's not honeymooning so much so that the staff doesn't see what he's there for. Although, difficult child 2 freely admits he has problems controling his anger. He told the staff he knows why he's there and knows he needs to be there. So, in that regard, he's not trying to snow anyone. But it does make it easier for them to help him if they can see what triggers him. If they can see where he's having difficulties. But you guys know all this. I don't know why I'm babbling on about stuff to folks I know have so been there. I guess it just helps me sort it all out in my head.

On a positive note, difficult children 1 & 3 had a great day yesterday. They seem to be handling difficult child 2's hospitalization fine. Sad to say, this isn't anything "unusual" for them. They know the drill and just kind of go with it. This is life with difficult child 2. Scarey when you think about it, that they're "used" to having a brother on the psyche unit.

But, we had a good day yesterday. I took them to Animaland at the mall. (It's the same thing as Build a Bear Workshop.) They each got to build an animal, and they worked together to build one for difficult child 2. At first, difficult child 1 thought the whole idea was too babyish. (Maybe so for a 14, going on 15 year old) But, once we got into the shop and started picking out animals and outfits and stuff, she really started having fun with it. She built a punk rock kitty for her boyfriend, and helped pick out an outfit for difficult child 2's tiger. It was nice to have a "normal" family outing for a change.

I'm taking them horseback riding this afternoon before we go to see difficult child 2. With everything going on this past week or so, they haven't even been able to ride their new horses yet. We bought all new tack, just for difficult child 1 and 3, and the tags are still sitting on everything. In all honesty, I should be getting caught up on schoolwork (I have 4 assignments overdue, plus 3 more due on Tuesday) and client work. I should be getting that stuff taken care of, but at this point, I think the kids need me more.

If you've made it this far through my mental rambling, congrats. I tend to be long-winded, for those of you who don't know me. I come here to think outloud alot. lol. That's what keeps me sane. :smile:

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

wm never ever honeymooned anywhere - it made me very proud :bravo: I never had to wait for the pros to understand my concerns over wm's behaviors.

kt, on the other hand, was too charming for words. I'm lucky that I have a psychiatrist & therapist on board who have seen kt in action. Otherwise, I'd still be waiting for help with kt.

:bravo: to difficult child for showing his true colors.

Hugs for your hurting mommy's heart. :flower:


Well-Known Member
Hey Hex, ramble on :grin:

Yes, I so understand that you are happy difficult child 2 is "showing his :censored2:". That seems to be what it takes for us to get our kids help. Sorry he didn't want to interact yesterday. How long a drive is it to the place?

My 16 year old daughter would have loved the build an animal trip. She's so mature in some ways, but still a little girl in others :bow:

Hope you and the kids have fun with the horses today. Sounds like you may pull an all-nighter to you can spend time with the kids today.

Take care,


New Member
I'm glad they were able to see him in action. It is so sad that we have to feel that way. The animal world sounds fun, I'm glad the kids enjoyed it. I'm sorry difficult child decided not to visit, but I understand why you didn't want to push him into it.
Enjoy your horse riding today, that sounds so nice. Great that you can enjoy that with the kids. I have always called that pastime my own piece of heaven.


Well-Known Member
Congrats. And good luck. Sounds like that interation in the nurse's ofc was well handled, either way.

Oooh, I'll never forget the time at the pediatrician's ofc and at the child psychiatric when difficult child finally did that. Don't you hate walking around thinking THEY think you're nuts?

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I too am glad he showed his true self so they could see what you are dealing with. by the way, my difficult child at times didn't want to visit also-he liked the new environment but still missed home just didn't show it until it was time to come home.

I'm glad you and the others enjoyed the day yesterday! I hate to admit that my easy child actually liked when difficult child was hospitalized-it meant a break for her.


Well-Known Member
You are right. It is good for him to show his true self so they really understand him. Glad he did not waste any time!


Active Member
I did get difficult child 2 to visit with us for a bit yesterday, but really only because the nurse went & got him and told him to come visit. He was in the middle of working on self-exploration worksheets they gave all the kids. He wanted to wait until he was finished before he came to visit. More of that inability to switch gears issue we struggle with at home so much.

BUT!! Suprisingly enough, we did get to talk to him on the phone for almost 30 minutes last night. (He hates talking on the phone, so this was quite an accomplishment!!) He sounded relaxed, so that's a good thing. However, after seeing him yesterday, I'm not sure what I think about the new medication mix. He looked so tired! His eyes were bloodshot and he said he was really sleepy.

What concerns me more is that he said he has been thinking about setting things on fire. (This is new!) I asked him when that started. He thought for a minute and said "Friday night, as I was getting ready for bed." (Well, that's pretty specific.) He started medications Thursday night, so this would have been about 24 hours after his first dose of Abilify & about 12 hours after his first dose of Prozac. If there is one thing difficult child 2 has never been able to do, it's lie. The thought just doesn't occur to him to NOT tell the truth. So, obviously, I was concerned. I told him to make SURE he tells the staff (thinking I would make sure to tell them too) He says "I already did, Mom." He said they sat him down and ran through a laundry list of questions like was he thinking of hurting himself or others, was he hearing or seeing anything unusual, etc, writing everything down as he answered. Gee, guess I don't need to tell them then, huh? (Betcha there's already more than just a passing comment in his chart about it.)

Hmmm...looks like the psychiatrist and I will be chatting about all of that on Monday. I doubt we'll stick with this particular medication combo. I won't bring him home if he's half falling asleep most of the day and thinking weird things like wanting to set fire to things. Considering he's already there for safety-related agressive issues, I'm just not going to go there. I won't trade one evil for another. Time to regroup and try something else.

I would imagine that will mean difficult child will be there longer than Monday. I'm not keen on that idea (I miss my boy too much!) but, whatever we have to do to get him stable...


Active Member
Just a quick update. I talked with difficult child 2's day nurse today before visiting hours. She wanted me to know that difficult child had told his psychiatrist that he was having thoughts about suicide. YIKES!! For the first few minutes I was thinking about that, and the comments yesterday about setting things on fire, and I was ready to just cry! This so is NOT my boy!!

The nurse told me she had been with him all day, he wasn't showing ANY signs of suicidal ideation, depression, nothing. He was actively participating in group, sports activities, etc. She was really stumped as to where the comment came from. We all were.

I sat down with difficult child 2 to visit & brought up some of the comments he's made over the last couple of days. I was SO relieved after I talked to him and realized we had all been horribly wrong about what he was saying. Apparently in group some of the kids have been talking about wanting to commit suicide, or wanting to set fires, etc. difficult child 2 was trying to imagine feeling like that, or wanting to do something like that. He was honestly trying to empathize with the other kids on the unit. When the psychiatrist asked him if he had had thoughts of suicide, setting fires, or heard or seen anything "unusual," he took the question literally. Yes, he HAD been thinking about suicide and setting fires, but not in the way the doctors (or I, for that matter) meant. In trying to empathize with his unit-mates, he HAD been thinking about those two subjects, but not as something he wanted to actually DO.

I felt so stupid. None of us even thought about how literal he takes things. We asked if he had thought about this stuff and he answered honestly. We SHOULD have asked if he had thought about doing this stuff, not if he had just had thoughts about it. Duh-huh!!

I asked him if he thought about wanting to set fires himself, or if he wanted to commit suicide or anything like that. He looked at me like I had six heads and says "No Mom! That would be crazy!" (He was probably thinking "Duh! Gee Mom, did you just fall off a turnip truck yesterday?")

Talk about feeling dumb. And here WE'RE suppose to be the ones figuring out what's going on with him. Duh. Not one single person "in charge" of this kid (including me)stopped to think about how literally this kid answers questions. There is no subtlety with this kid. He doesn't understand what is "meant" by a question. You ask him, he answers honestly and matter-of-factly. Never once did it dawn on him that we might think his answer of "yes" might make us think this was something he wanted to actually do. We asked if he had thought about two subjects. Yes, he had thought about them & tried to figure out why another kid would want to. Geeez. I feel so incredibly moronic, at this point. But I'm more relieved to realize that it was just a misunderstanding on our end, not something to worry about on his. Phew!!


New Member
Hey again, Hex.

Lots of stuff going on with difficult child 2. You sound like you have some composure through all this, I give you kudos, my friend.

It's good that the staff is seeing true colors quickly. I hope they're able to help him, get a good plan in place, and get him home. His thoughts are surely worrisome.

I hope you enjoyed the horse riding with the other 2. It sounds like fun. We have a horse farm behind us, and the kids love them. I haven't braved getting them on yet, but we're thinking about it for spring.

Hang in,