Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moon Unit, the Wonderslug and Other Adventurous Stories

Last time on Cracked Parenthood, Moon Unit was getting sniffy about having to help out with Kismet, about being expected to reimburse insurance costs, about life in general, and had stormed out of the house and stormed back in again a few hours later.

The next night, she left again, this time with a plan to stay with a friend for a few days. I'd like to say it seemed different without her there but honestly, since she spends most of her time hiding in her bedroom, it really wasn't all that different, other than not being present during dinner and her bedroom door not being open in the evenings.

Meanwhile, Kismet had a full and complete melt-down at home the day after that, her first since moving in with us, requiring me and Brad to physically restrain her, which really should not be a good time for all and yet oddly enough, Kismet seemed to enjoy it to a certain extent, giggling several times during her restraint. She had become rather wound up during the day, wanting to go out to play in the newly fallen snow but not having proper snow clothing and having no one to play with. Being a Sunday and being Utah, her friends were unable to play with her. As the day wore on, she wound up more and more until she had her explosion that evening.

The odd thing that I don't understand about her is that when she gets wound up and starts being resistant, and particularly in melt-down mode, she doesn't even seem to be the same person. When calmed down later, she doesn't understand why she did what she did and as it happens, she seems to have little control over what she's doing. It's just one of those things that hasn't really been explained to us.

Back on the ranch, Moon Unit emailed to say she was coming back home the next day. When told we would need to discuss her plans for the future and talk about her expectations, she had an explosion herself and ranted at us in email about everything from how Brad is handling Kismet to me asking for assistance with the costs of her insurance coverage to having to help out with Kismet, claiming that Kismet was not her responsibility. So then I followed that up with "You're almost 20, you're no longer my responsibility, either." I told her she could live at home but she needed to live by the rules and do what was expected of her. She got even more mad, called us assholes and that she didn't want to be a part of our family. So I told her good luck with what she's doing and that she was welcome to come back when she wanted to follow the rules.

Honestly, as terrible as it sounds, I am incredibly relieved that she is not coming back yet. The idea of her coming back cranky was stressful. I've spent 20 stressful years with her and now that she's out, I'm not eager for her to come back. Much as I'd like to believe she'll be able to stay out there on her own, I don't think she's going to be able to. At some point, she's probably going to have to eat some humble pie and come home.

Kismet has been doing mostly okay this week but she did start to get agitated a couple times and requried a dose of medication meant specifically for when she's getting worked up. It's more or less a sedative. It's not what we really want to be doing with her but it is the best option we have right now for helping her stay in control of her emotions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Kismet started school this week in our school district, at a regular school. She made it through 2 days before having problems again. She got upset during class on Thursday and Friday and had to leave early. I had taken those days off work to just try to unwind, because my job is pretty high stress, but it was impossible with her getting all stressed out at school and coming home.

She was given some consequences and was left in the charge of Moon Unit. Brad took off to work and I took off to get out of the house for a bit. I came back a while later to find that Kismet refused to do anything she was asked to do. I sent her off to do the things she was asked to do. Moon Unit called her a brat and I told her that it was unnecessary to name call. Moon Unit then decided to inform me that I'd been really rude to everyone lately.

Let me explain what rude means to Moon Unit. I have been asking her for 3 years (she is almost 20 years old) to get a job. She dropped out of high school her junior year and has been essentially a useless slug since then. She has always been resistant to being helpful in any way, like it's a serious infringement on her valuable time. And we have battled and battled for years because she is mouthy, snarly, and refuses to be helpful most of the time.

She's been off her father's insurance since April of this year so I said that once I had open-enrollment, I would put her on my insurance but that I was going to expect her to get a job and help reimburse the cost. I've been pushing that more and more lately. So now, I'm rude because she supposedly never asked to be put on my insurance (which, while technically true, was pretty implicitly implied she wanted to be on it) and I'm expecting her to pay for that and because we were asking her to help out with Kismet, which she doesn't really want to do.

So... I snapped. I told her if she didn't like it, she could leave. And she said okay, packed a few things in her backpack and grabbed her laptop and left. Mind you, this is ON TOP of Kismet's tantrumy day. I was pretty stressed out by this episode and honestly, not sure what I was feeling about her taking off like that. Part stressed, part relieved, part sad that it happened that way. I didn't expect her to be gone long but I also didn't expect her to return 3 hours later, blasting through our front door, storming down the hall to her bedroom, and slamming the door behind her. She's stayed there since yesterday evening.

Today we were out with Kismet at Walmart. We bumped into one of her grandmothers, who happens to work at the Walmart. We don't live in a big town and we knew she had some family members living in the area, but this was unexpected. The woman was very respectful and polite and even hugged us because we were taking care of Kismet. But it was horribly uncomfortable and it stressed out Kismet. Then, only 2 hours later, she's at McDonald's with a friend for a birthday party and calls Brad to inform him that she bumped into her bio-hazard-mom's friend at McDonald's. Lovely. Just lovely. We got her back to the house, hopefully safely and without anyone knowing where we live but now we are worried in case bio-hazard finds out who we are and where we live. We didn't give Grandma our names and Kismet had the presence of mind not to tell the friend where she lives but this does not bode well for us. So far, Kismet is handling it all fairly well, although it did stress her out for a bit and she was worrying. I think it's more us than her that's worrying.

And this is ALL on top of some serious financial troubles we are facing, between tax problems and Brad not getting in enough work hours due to Kismet's school melt-downs.

I'm just sure there's a throbbing vein in my brain that's just gonna pop one of these days.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why I'm Prematurely Losing My Hair

A lot has gone on in the last little while since I last posted. (Yes, I know I shouldn't use two "last"s right after the other that way but I'm going to claim emotional exhaustion as my excuse for doing it.) We have had some interesting times with Kismet. Interesting being probably the kindest word I can think of right now. We were all psyched up by the people who brought us Kismet, thinking that we would be dealing with random rages at home: flying furniture, holes in the wall, broken doors, screaming banshee fits, and horse heads found on our pillows when we go to bed at night (I may have made that last part up). And while it sounded a bit extreme, I thought we could handle it. After all, I had dealt with many a screaming hissy fit and broken items and bird heads on my pillow when I went to bed at night (I may have made that up, too) with Moon Unit. And yes, we have indeed had a few relatively minor tantrums here at home. I say relatively minor because compared with what I know she is capable of doing, it's relatively minor.

Instead of the huge melt-downs at home we've anticipated, we have been dealing with a resolute obstinance about returning home from various places. Twice, she was at school and had a melt-down there and refused to come home when Brad went to pick her up. Her refusals turned into stays at a short term kids' psych ward, which is exactly where she wanted to be the first time. She got to play and have group therapy and fun stuff like that. But then the next day, she wanted to come home. She stayed another a day longer than she wanted but came home pretty quickly.

The following week, EXACTLY ONE WEEK from her last stay, she had another melt-down at school and again, refused to come home. This time, she decided she wanted to go to the state hospital instead. Which she was told she couldn't do without a referral. She and Brad spent the entire day sitting around in the waiting room of an emergency room. Finally, she was taken to the kids' psych ward again. Only when she got there and got everything done for her stay, she wanted to come home. But she didn't get to. The second time, she stayed for a week. And she wasn't allowed to have fun, which resulted in melt-downs there. She had her medication adjusted and finally was released.

Today, she was supposed to start school but she wasn't able to because she needed all her shots updated and she was missing one shot. So she spent the morning with Brad and had therapy in the afternoon. When they were leaving, she once again refused to come home. Fortunately for Brad, unfortunately for Kismet, her therapy appointment was in the business office of the people who are supporting us through this mess and so they got involved. She told Brad that she wanted him to take her to the emergency room because she thought he would stay there with her all day. But she didn't get her way.

What it appears to be coming down to here is one of two things: a) she's trying to control and manipulate Brad because he's very easy on her or b) she is trying to get his undivided attention 24/7. Or both. Likely both. I have been trying to get him to realize that he's got to be tougher with her and issue consequences for poor behavior but he's been refusing. And she realizes the kinds of things she can get away with because of it. It's become a pattern of behavior now for her which needs to be halted right away. The only way that this is going to happen is for Brad to remove himself from the situation whenever possible.

While we were prepared for rampages and ultra deluxe super fantastic exciting super absorbent tantrums with wings, we weren't prepared for this sullen obstinance and refusal to come home. And this is wearing us both out. Mostly Brad because he's the one who's been with her while these things happen (because I'm at work) but also me because I know how frustrating it is for him and I also know that he isn't getting any work done when this is happening. Which means that he could lose his clients, it means he could lose money (he has, actually, been losing money), it could mean we lose our home and everything.

We will be having family therapy again this Wednesday with the therapist Kismet sees and we also have a guy who is a specialist in Reactive Attachment Disorder (which Kismet has been diagnosed with) who is supposed to come to our house once a week to work with us. Hopefully, between these therapy sessions, we can start to turn some of this behavior around before we lose our home. Wish us luck.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Staying Alive

I've been informed by Brad that one of the items of paperwork we're still expected to turn in for our 500,000 page packet of information that covers our whole entire lives (which at times has seemed so relentless in digging up information, I've half expected them to ask how many pets we had growing up, what our grades were in high school, and how many sex partners we've had) that we've been working on since the Dawn of Time® for having Kismet in our house is a home-fire-emergency-escape plan... thingie. And because poor Bradley has been up to his purty blue eyeballs in .... stuff, he volunteered me to create this home-emergency-fire-escape plan. Thingie.

"Why, sure!" says I. "I'd be more than happy to help out with the paperwork by creating this home-escape-fire-emergency plan.... thingie." Feeling a desire to be completely helpful to my poor, overworked husband, I plop myself down on the sofa to draw up this plan-thingie, thinking that since I have absolutely no clue what this should look like, I'm going to pull up Google on my laptop and find a wonderful plan-thingie for emergency-type situations. And promptly get distracted by Farmville. I'm kidding! I didn't get distracted by Farmville. It was Frontierville. Kidding again! It was Cafe World. Don't judge me!

I found an incredibly useful site, whose name I stole for the title of this blog post. And I looked it over and said, "Hey! This is an incredibly useful site! I'm going to steal their name for my next blog post!" And then I looked over it for a bit and promptly got distracted again by Cafe World. I'm kidding! It was Frontierville. Wait. Hold on, I gotta go build my school house. BRB!

Where was I? Oh yeah, fire-home-plan-emergency-escape... thingie. So I look over the site and the idea seems simple enough. So I break out Photoshop, coz I figure if I'm gonna do this baby, I'm gonna do it right! All professional and stuff, right? So I create a new image and I start drawing away to create a floorplan of our house. And as I start to do it, I realize that I'm really crappy when it comes to drawing on Photoshop. I start drawing with the pencil tool and go, "Hmm, the dimensions on this look a bit off. I'm pretty sure our foyer isn't that big."

So I decide to backtrack and try again. I try a little harder with the dimensions and wind up with some strange spaces and a hallway that ends abruptly into the bathroom with no means of egress to the bedrooms but it's slightly more recognizable as our home. Ish. And I add all the windows and doors and start to feel pretty good about our chances of getting out of our home in one piece during a fire-emergency-type-thingie.

According to the incredibly useful website that I linked to earlier, I am supposed to then add black arrows for normal exits through the house and red arrows through the emergency exits. So I add the arrows, giving us all possible options of escape, depending on the location of the fire-emergency thingie. Although honestly? If you're trapped in the bathroom or the living room, you might very well be screwed because there are no windows in the bathroom and we have totally useless windows in the living room. By the time I'm done, though, it looks like something was knifed and crawled across my floorplan, bleeding profusely.

And I compare it to the one on the incredibly useful website, which looks like this:

Uh... yeah. So I start to rethink this idea of using Photoshop to draw the emergency-fire-escape-plan thingie, coz it was completely unrecognizable after the arrows. So I print out the good plan from the incredibly useful site, stick a piece of paper over the top and then trace it to make our escape-emergency-fire-plan thingie. I am sooo professional and we are so getting out alive!

*Addendum* At family therapy tonight, our "consultant" with the organization that we got Kismet from hands me a form that I need to sign. Underneath that was an emergency escape plan for our house that she and Kismet drew together in like 5 minutes. And it was very professional looking. Thanks for wasting my time, consultant!