I've had a rough spot with-difficult child (it's a weekend, so I don't know what I expected ) and as I read through the notes here, and watch my difficult child at school and at home, it occurs to me that despite all of the problems, he has come a long way. Today I spent 3 hrs cleaning the house and I was ticked. easy child hasn't done a thing for 2 wks. Okay, she folded one load of wash and brushed one of the dogs for 2 min. husband thinks that emptying the dishwasher and throwing in a load is all he has to do because he works. (And I don't? And then I'm supposed to change out all the holiday decorations, clean the toilets, chauffer difficult child to and from school, cook dinner, buy all his clothes, pay the bills, run to the P.O. and bank--oh, never mind.) difficult child today vacuumed the whole house. He didn't use the attachment (I'll save that for easy child this wk) but he flat-vacuumed nearly every rm. I searched his rm for Halloween candy while he was at Sunday School with-husband. I found MORE panties in his closet (WHEN will this ever end???? Yes, we had another talk and he said they were old, which they were, but husband and I stripped his rm when he was in the psychiatric hospital so he's still taking easy child's stuff) and I found MORE urine soaked clothes on top of them. I sprayed the heck out of his rm. Normally, that's his job but I thought I'd give him the day off. I knew he'd wet the bed because he went to a birthday party yesterday and he had pizza (wheat and cheese) and cake (wheat and cream icing). He has no self control so I fed him beforehand and thought that would help ... but he's hitting a growth spurt and would eat the table in front of him if it didn't chip his teeth. on the other hand, he swallows his pills now. No complaints. No gagging. He even reminds us of the time. I never, ever, ever thought I would see the day. But if there was one thing we got out of his visit to the psychiatric hospital in Sept, it was that a nurse taught him to swallow pills. OMG. It is such a relief. Yesterday I bought him new shoes. (That growth spurt again.) As he sat on the floor and tied them, I thought back to all the major tantrums he had while he was learning to tie his shoes. I have never known a kid to get so frustrated and angry and animalistic over a simple job of tying shoes. It got to the point where I bought him velcro shoes and I just decided to deal with-coaches and teachers berating me. Scr*w you, I thought. He'll learn when he's 18. In fact, he learned when he was 7. A neighbor boy came over and helped him and the lightbulb went off. Another milestone was learning to pull turtlenecks and hoodies over his head with-o freaking out. OMG. He would get so upset. I'm not sure when he was finally able to do it on his own ... probably when he was about 7, and we played a game where I put a turtleneck over my head and kept it over my eyes, as though I were headless, and let the sleeves dangle over my hands, flopping all over, smacking into walls, and he thought it was so silly, he tried it himself. Of course it was such a fun, new game that he had to wear a turtleneck every, single day, even in the heat of the summer, and we'd be late for school while he played his game, but I learned to get up earlier. He takes showers now. He hit puberty at 9-1/2 and you could smell him from Wasilla to Tampa. He'd joke about it and say, "That's why it's called Pee--UU-berty!" but he still refused to take a daily shower. In desperation, I emailed the principal and had her talk to him. He was embarrassed and angry but it worked for a while. Then I started bribing him. "Can I watch XYZ show?" "Sure, after you take a shower." Then, he met a girl at camp. BINGO!!! Shower time! He used to rage several times a day, every day. Sometimes all day. Then it slowed down to about an hr twice a day, then once a day, then every three days. Now it's about once every 2 wks, or longer, as long as there's not a holiday, a sleepover or some other schedule disruption. We play board games now. He loves Monopoly, StarWarsopoly, Catopoly, and lots of card games. We've played a lot in the past yr, and I have to stop myself if I start to feel melancholy when I see 4-yr-olds at school playing so nicely at tables or on the floor and I think of all the times we missed doing that because difficult child could only rip the boxes to shreds and whale the pieces across the room. He's a little boy in a young man's body. I have to remember that. And he's making progress. He has not been a happy, delightful, fun child to raise, but he does have his moments. He's got a lot of personality and can be loving and cuddly and funny. And if he weren't so darn cute, I would have killed him by now. Anyway, thank you all for being here with-me thoughout all of this ... and for helping me remember that he and all of our g'sfg have come a long way.