Perfect Storm

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by firehorsewoman, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. I knew the storm would hit...I knew it would be soon...but couldn't it have waited until I was feeling a bit better...not even great but maybe at least when I am feeling my "new normal" and not trying to recover from a medial procedure done on Monday?

    Of course not.

    The perfect storm has been brewing since early July when difficult child's diagnosis and medications were changed.
    Then my serious medical issues started.
    Then difficult child's serious medical issues started.
    Then difficult child started a new school (due to redistricting)...well kind of started in between all of his doctor appointments.
    Then difficult child's father decides it would be good for difficult child and easy child to ride the bus this year. Another change. Not one supported by me.

    We were getting by with one miracle after another keeping us afloat (No cancer!!) yet with all of the disruptions, medical appointments, medicines, changes, etc I was holding my breath but knew that soon difficult child's fuse would blow and that day was yesterday.

    The bus is causing him problems. Too much noise, confusion, chaos... My ex just doesn't get it. Says that I am babying difficult child by offering to drive the kids to school (on days that they are at his home-they go to school near his house) so they don't have to take the bus. Not that they HAVE to take it. He just wants them to. Says that difficult child has to learn how to cope, blah, blah...the same old arguments we always have about these issues.
    difficult child says that he felt intimidated by older boys on bus yesterday, a commotion of some sort ensued- (hard to to tell since info comes from difficult child and easy child) and difficult child was given a permanent seat in the front of bus. After school he was besides himself crying and terrified that these boys are going to beat him up. This is the first time I have dealt with difficult child being afraid of anything or anyone. Have his recent medical problems left him feeling vulnerable? Or is this normal experience of being exposed to older different kids? Perhaps younger children just avoid those they perceive as different and older kids bully?

    Next I find out (from difficult child) that difficult child was sent to the vice-principal that day for hitting other students and then continued to do so requiring a follow-up visit with VP. (was this misdirected anger and aggression? the timing seems to suggest so) Why were his father and I not called? Why was I finding out from difficult child? Why did they not phone us like his previous school would? Then I see his weekly conduct report which verifies what he tells me and also shows that he has had a very rough week the entire week (talking, not following directions, not turning in home-work, not on task) resulting in a "U" which is the lowest score for conduct.

    Went through the long process most of you have been through many times: calming difficult child down, contacting his father, contacting school, etc. Over and over again it seemed.

    difficult child was up until midnight upset about many things (YIKES!!!!) one of which is his inability to concentrate and focus at school. Unfortunately, due to the really serious nature of his orthopedic problem his behavior problem has not been my primary focus as it had been previously...not that we have missed any psychiatrist appointments...we have not but, even at the last one in August the psychiatrists were obviously more worried about the possibility of difficult child having bone cancer as well as we were and he had not started school at that the behavior stuff was not as glaring as it is now. The plan had been to continue to increase lithium and we have increased but not as fast as the plan in August. Since starting the lithium difficult child has not spoken one suicidal word and only had two violent meltdowns in nine weeks. That is huge. Really huge. But clearly we need to address the ADHD stuff as those behaviors persist. I don't know how psychiatrist will address this as we didn't have huge success on stimulants before but we need to do something.
    Also, the 504 meeting we had scheduled before the start of the school had to be canceled for one of his oncology appointments. There was just no way around it. I had wanted to start off on the best foot possible. My plans were messed up by the darn cancer scare/bone infection nightmare. Lots of communication with teachers, principal, VP today...working on getting that 504 meeting asap.

    The timing of all of this just stinks.
    I am not physically well. I continue to have medical appointments and tests in order to get me on the right path medically.
    difficult child's bone infection has complicated things tremendously (albeit to a much lesser degree than cancer would have.)
    His father and I continue to disagree about how to approach many of the issues that came up yesterday.
    It is all so frustrating and exhausting. I knew it was coming. But that didn't make it any easier.
  2. Anxworrier

    Anxworrier New Member

    I am sorry you're having so many tough things thrown at you at once! I must say though that you sound like you are one rockin good mom! You have had such challenges and yet you are totally being proactive and taking care of business! Way to go! Sending you a cyber {hug}
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohhhhh I am so sorry. And I am very sorry for difficult child about the bus issues and that your ex is not on the same page. I would be spitting tacks.

    Do you think this is a good medication change? When is your next psychiatrist appointment?
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    So ex is telling you to make difficult child take the bus from your house but they are within walking distance from his? If its o.k. with you to drive them then drive them anyway. One less headache for you and difficult child.

    I hope you both get some sleep. Things do tend to happen with difficult children at the worst times for us.
  5. Anxworrier, welcome and thank you for the cyber hugs and kind words. I hope you find support here. It is a great place.

    Yes, Terry I do think the lithium was a good medication change. I mean how could it not be? NO suicide talk (we had been through three years of that! since difficult child was five he has talked about wanting to be dead) and very few violent meltdowns when before it was a very rare DAY not to have one now we have gone WEEKS without one. Still seeing some of the hypersexual stuff though. Also, extremely hyper at times but in a new way. Has hysterical laughing fits all day now when before they alternated with rages and depression. Now that the latter are gone the manic stuff is predominating.
    His serum levels are still sub-therapeutic and because of the bone infection and high doses of antibiotics I have not increased it again as we had planned. Also, he is most likely going to need something else to help with the ADHD that seems to be persisting though there have been huge improvements on the mood stuff.

    The next psychiatrist appointment is Oct 1st and the VP of school called tonight and we scheduled 504 meeting for Sept 20th. Of course he will have appointments for the bone infection too. If non-difficult child kids are a full-time job what are difficult children? My goodness it is a "good" thing I am unemployed now isn't it? How the heck would I be going to all of these appointments if I actually had a job and was well enough to work?
  6. Sorry for the confusion. The kids go to school in exhusband's neighborhood which is 20 minutes from me. On the days they stay with me, I obviously drive them to school. They are not within walking distance from his house but previous years he has always driven them to school and there is no conflict with his work schedule etc. Also, he is remarried and has a wife that can drive them too. he just wants them to take the bus. Like I wrote previously, I think it is too much noise, chaos activity for difficult child plus an environment ripe with trouble with lots of kids and little supervision. Not a good recipe for most of our difficult children. I think we owe it to him at this age to set him up to succeed. His father thinks the way to do that is to push him into situations and force him to "deal" with them. I disagree.

  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Is there anyway to get him on the sp ed bus? The one with lots of supervision.
  8. Maybe? But, I think that would be a lot of unnecessary trouble. His dad is able to take him to school. There is no work or time conflict. Even though he is able if he is not willing, I have volunteered to drive over there every day and take them to school myself. But he won't hear of it. Pretty typically we see things differently. He thinks that it is "good" for difficult child to learn how to "deal with" taking the bus. Says that it will make him stronger. I disagree. I think that difficult child has enough of a challenge keeping it together in the chaos of school seven hours a day. Why add another layer of challenges if there is no real need?
  9. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I agree with you. Do you think you can talk ex into doing things differently? If the sp ed bus is the only bus that is going to be picking difficult child up then ex will get difficult child bused and difficult child will get the supervision that will help him feel safe. Or ex would be driving him to school because the sp ed bus isn't what ex wants for him. Ex probably won't like it because you would be undermining him.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Maybe you're both right?
    Granted... mine have never taken the bus - but that's a LONG story.

    But... I did. My siblings did. And all our friends.

    Reality is, if difficult child can learn to handle being bussed, it gives him more freedom, more skills for the future.

    Depending on where difficult child is at - could he handle taking the bus home, but being driven TO school? Its a tough call either way on which end to do the bussing at... some kids can handle TO on the bus, but are too tired to cope with HOME - and others can't face something going wrong on the bus messing up their whole day, but can handle getting home because then they are "home safe".

    Just a thought.

  11. Actually, the kids were/are? taking the bus to school only. Due to the differences in their after-school schedule various people pick them up after school (me, the stepmom, the ex's mom) so they were doing what you suggested. I think if all else had been stable for difficult child, for instance not going to a new school, not dealing with a new medical condition and the side-effect of the medication and the many disruptions of the doctor appointments....maybe we could have added in a new challenge for him. I think that most of us know our own kids so well. I know that difficult child struggles with transitions and changes. There are and have been so many in his life that are just unavoidable. I think the bus riding is causing more harm then the potential good it may provide.

    I don't know what happened yesterday. I sent the ex a text early in the am telling him I would drive the kids to school. He replied that it was not necessary. I then told him that I don't want them taking the bus. He replied to stop texting him. Right after that, I got a temporary day job two hours away from where I live and spent the rest of the day driving to job and working. (Physically a disaster for me, but that's another story!!) I will see the kids today and find out the latest on the bus issue.
  12. difficult child has continued to struggle with poor conduct at school (and complaining about hating school which is very atypical for him) the past week so, we had the previously cancelled (because of oncology appointments) 504 meeting this morning. The meeting went very well and difficult child's dad was there today. I gently introduced the topic of how the bus is affecting difficult child negatively. His teachers and Vice Principal were in complete agreement that difficult child was extremely agitated by the experience despite some changes that they had implemented (having him sit up front, having a bus driver's aide on the bus to supervise.)
    The driver and aide reported that he was generally upset the entire time regardless of what was happening on the bus. I expressed my concern that by exposing him to too much noise, stimulation, etc. we are setting difficult child up to have a bad day at school each and every day that he rides the bus. Instead of easing him into the transition of starting his school day we are setting him up to fail by throwing him into a cauldron of noise, activity and lack of structure. I had continued to express my concerns about this repeatedly to difficult child's dad (more situations came up this week) but thought we should discuss this openly and publicly today for the sake of my son. Fortunately, it all worked out well and difficult child's dad has decided that he will drive the kids to school on the mornings that he has them instead of making them take the bus. He did not appear hostile or resentful that I brought this up at the 504 meeting. Good.
    I hope that difficult child's attitude about school returns to where it has always been previously now that the stress of the bus is out of the equation. He has always loved school (despite lots of rough days regarding his conduct in the past too) up until he started this year. I definitely want to try and preserve any good associations he has with school for as long as possible. I also suggested that instead of having difficult child wait for school to start in the cafeteria/gym with the rest of the kids that they allow him to go to the library so he can transition in a more controlled and quiet manner. I hope that they try that. I'm so relieved that difficult child will not be on that bus anymore!
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    FHS, you did a wonderful job of expressing your concerns in a way that your ex could hear. I know you went through a lot of angst to get to this point, but the end result is you persevered and succeeded. Your son is a fortunate boy to have such a loving and committed Mom. Great job!
  14. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Way to go. You are so much more tactful than I am. You did a great job in that mtg. I hope it really helps difficult child.
  15. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    My difficult child has always done horrible on the bus. He went to a school out of our district for middle school, so I had to drive him. He is now in high school in a sped program, so a sped bus picks him up. We have already had bus drama, but it was drama built by one of the other students so that got nipped in the bud.

    It has to be hard to try to work that close with an ex who does not communicate well and has a completely different way of thinking/dealing with the kids.