Archive for the ‘Zippy’ Category

Studious

I had a teacher conference today.  The teacher bragged and bragged about my child.  There are no problems at all.  The teacher reported that my child was “studious and focused.”

Just the kind of parent / teacher conference every parent longs to have.  Yes, I beamed with pride . . . but I was also very surprised.

This was a conference with Zach’s Language Arts teacher.  Proud, yes, because studious and focused are both great qualities to have.  But surprised because no teacher has ever spoken those words about Zach.

Studious and Focused.

Wow!

I immediately said a prayer, claiming those two attributes for my sweet boy.

This teacher was on maternity leave at the beginning of the year and this week is only her 2nd week to have Zach in class.  But she reported a star student.  Wow!

She even has him last period of the day — a time that it wouldn’t have surprised me if his meds were wearing off by then, but she reported that he’s studious and focused.

I again prayed and asked God to make it so!  I so often wish that something — anything! — were easy for Zach.  I feel like he struggles with every single thing in life.  If he were suddenly studious and focused, then maybe a few things would come easier for him.

The teacher did point out the fact that Zach still reverses his b’s and d’s.  Yes, he’s always done that.  But that was her ONLY concern!

It makes me laugh with absolute joy!  It totally cracks me up and puts a smile on my face!  Yippee!

Zachary — Zippy — Studious and Focused.  Yes, Lord.  Let it be!  Let it be!

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A Knife for Zachary

(Love to grab your attention with a title like that!!  LOL!  I would love to hear what your thoughts were when you read the title!  Leave me a comment and let me know!!)

Finnish outdoor knife for fishing and hunting

Image via Wikipedia

Recently, a young boy rode in our van with us.  The boy is 10 and has a little brother who just turned 7.  The boy began sharing tales of his and his brother’s adventures out on  their land  . . . and the adventures involved knives.  REAL knives!  Apparently they both have a collection of REAL KNIVES!

Well, I have a child who loves swords and knives.  I have a child who drools with pleasure each time I open the knife drawer and choose a knife for slicing or dicing.  I have a child who was listening to this boy’s tales with disbelief and awe.

Yes, Zippy.  Zippy loves knives and swords and has since he was about 3.  I know for years all of our friends thought a little sword or knife was permanently implanted in his hand because it went everywhere Zippy went.

Zippy, excited about the tales he was hearing, began his spiel about how unfair it was that a 7-year-old has a real knife but Zippy doesn’t.  After all, Zippy’s 10 — plus a couple of months!  He wanted to know why he can’t have a knife.  He asked if he could have one for his birthday.  He chanted that he, too, wanted a knife.  And while we’re talking about it, he also wants a REAL sword for Christmas!!

Then Paul asked the question:  “Zippy, tell me 3 things you’d do with a knife.”

I instructed everyone to be quiet and not help him think of his 3 things.

Except for the uhs and ummmmms, Zippy was silent.  He was searching for some great knife ideas that would be practical and necessary.  But he was unable to find any.

Finally he piped up, “You know those woods by that red light?  I could find some pigs!”

“Yeah,” I agreed, suppressing laughter at picturing Zippy hunting wild boar with his knife.

What followed were more uhs and ummmmms as Zippy’s imagination was searching for more exciting ideas.

“Well, I would say fish except our lake is catch and release,” he explained.  Good point that a fish that had been stabbed with a knife by a young boy would not be a fish to release back into the lake.  Elliot reminded him that there are other lakes in which he could use his knife to catch fish.  Zippy liked that idea and chose “fish” as his second answer.

Again, there were uhs and ummmmmmms coming from the backseat.

“SNAKES!” Zippy exclaimed.  “I could use it for snakes!”

Paul and I agreed that those were 3 interesting ideas to consider for kniving activities.

“So, can I have one???!!!” Zippy wanted to know.

“Not today,” came his wise mother’s reply.  🙂

2nd Week Blues

Zippy had a great first week of school.  Each day at 3 o’clock, he gave me a thumbs up for a good day.  Things were going well.  He liked his teachers.  He was confident and happy.

He did have some complaints about some changes that had occurred in the cafeteria — the pizza is round now, and not as yummy . . . the pancakes are plain now instead of cinnamon, and they’re a little stale . . . the gravy to go with the chicken nuggets is now brown gravy, and he doesn’t like brown gravy . . . the strawberry milk is a different brand and not as yummy . . . they didn’t have his favorite ice cream, you know, the one with the cookie cone.  Every day it was something else that wasn’t quite right with the food.  Zippy loves his food, and he does not like change.

But other than the daily food complaints, things were going well.

Until Monday.  The second Monday of school.  I got a call from the school nurse a little after 10.  Zippy had already been to the nurse 2 times.  He wasn’t feeling well.  She had looked him over and sent him back to class.  The school nurse knows Zach well enough to know that he gets anxious, and it makes him feel yucky.  And once he gets an idea in his head . . . once his anxieties kick in, he can sometimes just not get over it.  So she called me to let me know.  I asked her to call me if she saw him in her clinic again that day.

She called me a little bit later and had Zach in her office again.  This time with a headache.  I talked to him and tried to get him to tell me what was bothering him.  He didn’t know.  He just didn’t feel well.  He wanted to go home.

Well, my story is — I was getting my hair done!!  I was across town, had foil all over my head, and was a total mess!  I was enjoying my time getting all fixed up.  And you must know that getting my hair done is an all day affair.  I didn’t have time to be going and grabbing my sick kids from school!

So I called my mom.  She’s my hero.  And she took Zippy some medicine for his headache so I could stay with my foil and try to be beautiful.  (Thanks, Mom!)

After school, Zippy went on and on about what a rough day he had had.  He immediately started begging to stay home from school the next day.  He was afraid he’d get sick again.  He needed a break from school.  The kid was definitely a victim of his anxieties.  I had to tread lightly, and I had to come up with a plan.  He couldn’t be absent from school already.

I managed to stifle the conversation each time it came up that evening.  But I knew I would have to be armed with a good plan come morning because I knew he’d be struggling and begging to stay home.

Just when I was about ready to give up, it popped into my head.  The idea that would get my boy out the door and to school in a happy mood the next morning!  Yay!

The next morning, the first words out of Zippy’s mouth were, “I don’t want to go to school today.  Can I please stay home?”

I quickly replied, “Well, you have to be at school — I’m coming to eat lunch with you!”

His mood changed in a mili-second!  “Oooo!  Can I have Subway?!”

Sweet!  Food had worked again!

My chipper answer was, “Yes!  Subway it is!”  And my struggling boy went off to school as happy as can be, anxiously awaiting his subway sandwich.

I had succeeded in getting him out the door this time.  But I must work on my arsenal.  I must be armed at all times with splendid ideas and tempting teasers that will succeed in getting him out the door on rough mornings.

So far, so good.

Diagnosis: Immaturity

Zippy has a handful of diagnoses:  cerebral palsy, cocaine positive at birth, oral paralysis, asthma, anaphylactic allergy to peanuts, ADHD, anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder, mood disorder — did I leave anything out?

It’s a pretty major list.  It’s a list that fills every single day with challenges for him and for those who love him.

But his new counselor, Mr. Daniel, added a diagnosis this week:  immaturity.

Yes, I’ve used the word often for Zachary.  I know he’s immature.  I’ve known for a long time.

But Mr. Daniel thinks that his immaturity is his #1 issue causing his behaviors lately.  I was sure that Zach has been purposely misbehaving.  I was convinced that we were dealing with a great nasty heart (inner-heart) issue of defiance.  Zach’s psychiatrist even mentioned Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) at his latest appointment.

But Mr. Daniel thinks that Zachary is just hugely immature.  He categorized Zach as like a 4 year old.  He behaves like a 4 year old and deals with frustrations like a 4 year old.  He thinks that Zachary isn’t disobeying on purpose.  He thinks that Zachary isn’t purposely making the same bad choices after the same bad choices after the same bad choices; but instead is acting like a 4 year old would and repeating those bad choices while expecting a different outcome.  And even repeating those same bad choices not even realizing that he just made the same bad choice an hour ago.

Mr. Daniel explained it along with the personal construct theory.  Not to get too technical here but basically that as we age and as we experience life, the way in which we react to life changes and develops.  As infants our only construct is crying — crying if we’re hungry, crying if we’re cold, crying if we’re tired, crying if we’re scared.  But as we get older, we learn other ways – other constructs – to communicate and to adapt.  Basically, Zachary is still working from a 4-year-old construct.

Mr. Daniel suggested that we re-vamp our parenting with Zachary and parent him as if he were 4 years old.  We wouldn’t expect a 4 year old to behave like a 10 year old so we can’t expect Zachary to behave like a 10 year old either.  Actually, Mr. Daniel wants us to parent Zachary as if he were FIVE years old, parenting a little above his level, thus encouraging growth into that higher level.

We are going to make a Zach Spot where he can go into his own timeout.  He can cool off, he can be alone, he can come out whenever he cools off and calms down.  Hopefully the Zach Spot is something he can grow out of the need for before too long.  Mr. Daniel suggested buying some rods or sticks from Home Depot to put in the Zach Spot so that Zach can break them when he’s angry.  A novel idea I thought.  We are also to furnish the spot with crayons and paper and some other things that he might want to use while he’s there.

We are also to create a CHAIR.  And as Daniel humorously pointed out, the chair will NOT have electricity!  Hehehehe.  The chair will be a place for a timeout, but will have a greater purpose.  The chair will be furnished with a notebook where Zach will have to write three things:  What happened?  What is the rule?  What will I do next time?  Before he can get up from the chair, I or Paul will read his answers and discuss it a little bit.  The purpose of this activity is to train his “inner parent” or his conscience to think through decisions.  Hopefully by participating in CHAIR time, his inner parent will develop and will allow him to make better choices and to think through his consequences.

<sigh>

As I already said, I’m totally on board that Zachary is super immature.  And I’m hoping that this new technique will be successful and that it will bring some peace to our household.  I’m sad that there’s not an easy, quick fix!  If we are trying to grow him up closer to his chronological age, then it sure sounds L-O-N-G to grow him from 4 years old to 10 years old!!

But we can do this.

It will be such a mind-switch from parenting a 10 year old to parenting a 4 year old.  That’s a long way to lower our expectations.  But the positive thing is, if we lower our expectations to where he is, then He. Can. Be. Successful.

Wow.  He needs to feel some success.  We need to see him experience some success.

So there ya go.  In the span of a 45 minute appointment with the counselor, we went from having kids 11, 10 and 9 to having kids 11, 9, and 4.

I guess that could explain some of the bedwetting issues, too.  Hmmmmmm.

Tap, Tap, Tapping

Rubik's Cube

Image via Wikipedia

Last week, Zippy walked into my room with his big-eyed, I-can’t-believe-I-just-did-that look on his face.  I automatically brace myself.

In the past, that look has proceeded his telling me that he just broke one of my expensive decorative baskets into a large pile of sticks.  Another time, he showed me a large “art” masterpiece on his wall drawn with Sharpie.  Still another time, he had cut a pile of papers into confetti-sized pieces.

If you don’t live with a child with ADHD, the above happenings may surprise you.  Unfortunately, these events are not surprising with Zachary.  And none of these events occurred as a result of rage or frustration.  These things happened on happy days during happy times of total impulsivity.  Zippy does these things without even realizing he’s doing them, and then he sorta “comes to” and is horrified at what he has done.  Yeah, fun stuff.

So last week when he walked in with his big-eyed look of self-horror, I again braced myself for the news.  In his hands were pieces . . . black plastic, maybe? . . . lots of pieces, some of which he was dropping. . . . what is that?  As he walked slowly towards me I could finally make them out — they were pieces of one of Paul’s Rubik’s cubes.  At first I thought maybe he had just popped it apart like we used to do when I was in school — you pop that thing apart, and then you can put it all back together however you want to; thus, “solving” the Rubik!  But, no, I noticed the pieces were actually broken.  This Rubik’s cube was history.  He poured the broken pieces into a pile on my desk.

“What happened?”  I asked.

“Tapping . . .” Zippy gently answered, hoping that explanation would suffice.

“Tapping!?” I wanted to know.  What the heck kind of tapping were you doing, kid?

“Tapping . . .,” he said again as he brought both of his hands together as though holding something. . . something large enough that you have to hold it with two hands.

“Tapping?”  I said again.  “With WHAT?”  I demanded.

“A baseball bat,” was his tiny, nearly whispered response.  He stood, awaiting my wrath.

“A baseball bat?”  I pondered.  “Sweetie, you weren’t tapping.”  All four of our larger-than-life eyes locked for several seconds while the realization sank in.  “Zach, you don’t tap with a baseball bat. . . . You weren’t tapping were you?”

“No,” he answered, quite disappointed in himself.

I motioned for him to go . . . just go.  And he left my room, defeated.  And I shook my head in disbelief as I dumped all those little broken pieces of the smashed Rubik’s cube into the trash.  I couldn’t decide if I was more appalled at Zachary for smashing something with a baseball bat in his room or at ME for somehow thinking it was a good idea to keep a baseball bat in Zachary’s room.

Hmmmm.  You live.  You learn.  The baseball bat needs a new home.

Michigan Trip — Part Two

Day Two of our trip, we were headed to Detroit to spend the day with Zach’s birth mom, Miss C.  We were so sleepy that morning that we left quite a bit later than we had planned.  Plus, I had to return the rent car — more than an hour roundtrip to the airport.

Our friends let us drive their car across the state to Detroit.  (Thanks, guys!  A huge help!)  But when all was packed, everyone was loaded, and good-byes were said, the car . . . wouldn’t . . . start.  Ugh.

A quick jump start later, we were off and running — now 3 hours later than we had planned.  But thankfully, Miss C and her family were gracious and forgiving.  We arrived at Miss C’s house where she and her husband were hosting a big family BBQ in honor of Zippy.

Again, like two years ago, Zach was very nervous — very nervous — about the whole thing.  He hardly said a word to anyone all day.  He was happiest and safest sitting in front of the TV watching a movie, which is what he did nearly the whole time we were there.

Everyone was so nice and acted so excited that we were there.  Zach met his birth grandma, his birth aunt, his birth uncle and his wife and 3 kids, and another couple of birth siblings whom he hadn’t met.  It was another big, big day for him, for sure!

While I think he felt loved and special during the BBQ, he was sure glad when it was time to go.

The next day, we had dinner with Miss C and two of Zach’s birth brothers.

Both of these gatherings were comfortable, low-maintenance times to connect with Miss C.  I’m guessing each time we are with her, she and Zippy will be less and less nervous.  That’s the plan anyway!

After dinner, the kids and I loaded back up in the car and headed back to Grand Rapids — again later than we had planned.

Our pillows sure looked especially inviting after those long days!

 

Mornings . . .

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Image via Wikipedia

Mornings are always a little tricky around here.

Every morning before school, I wake everyone in time to do their morning ritual stuff and have a few minutes left over for leisure or laziness or TV or whatever.  I am mostly busy getting Chloe ready for school since she is dependent for each step in the morning.  Paul is mostly busy getting himself ready for work.  Elliot gets up and gets himself ready with no reminders or prompts from us.  (THANK YOU, GOD!!)  But both Paul and I sneak in now and then, reminding Zippy to stay on task and complete his morning jobs — clothes, medicine, socks and shoes.

A lot of mornings, someone gets mad or frustrated.  A lot of mornings all of us get mad and frustrated.  A lot of mornings, Zippy goes to school with his hair looking unkept.  A lot of mornings, Zippy is threatened that he will get left behind and will get a tardy at school.  A lot of mornings, I am grateful to close the door behind my 3 boys as my house sighs with relief at the peace and quiet.

Zippy has also been greatly struggling with disrespect and disobedience.  Neither comes naturally for us, does it?  But lately it has been a huge problem for Zachary.  I have pointed out to him over and over again that he is pretending to be his own boss and acting like Mom and Dad are not his bosses.  I have been trying to teach him that the attitude of a 10 year old being his own boss is sinful and it is very dangerous.  It has been really bad lately.  It really has.  It makes homelife not be very much fun for anyone.  There have been many privileges lost and many hours spent in his room.

After a week filled with horrible mornings last week, on Friday I woke Zippy up and informed him that he was on his own to get ready for school.  I set a timer for him so he would know when he had 10 minutes left.  I reminded him that no one would remind him of his jobs since he is well aware of what his jobs are.  And when it was time for Dad and Elliot to leave that they would leave with him if he was ready and without him if he wasn’t ready.

The clock was ticking, the minutes were progressing, and Zippy laid around doing none of his morning jobs.  The timer went off, indicating that the van would be leaving for school in 10 minutes.  Zachary still did none of his jobs.  I heard him say once, “I’ve done all of this stuff in FIVE minutes before. . . ”  The minutes continued to pass.  Zachary continued to do nothing.  After he asked Paul several times how many more minutes he had, I explained that he was not allowed to ask that question any more since he was his own boss this morning — he knows what time Dad leaves and can do the math on how many minutes are left.

About 2 minutes before time for Paul to leave for school, Zippy appeared in the hallway and prancing and bragging got my attention:  “Hi, Mom!  Look at me!”  I looked up to see him naked.  He was showing off that he wasn’t the least bit concerned.  He was his own boss, and he had this timer thing down pat.  He would wait til the last minute to begin his jobs because he COULD wait til the last minute to do his jobs.  I pointed out to him then that he was bragging to me that he was his own boss and that I had a feeling it was not going to turn out so well for him today.

It was about that time that Zachary started getting ready for school.  And while he got his clothes, he chanted, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  When Paul and Elliot said goodbye and headed out the door, Zachary was getting his socks on and chanting, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  He ran into the kitchen to take his medicines and was chanting a little faster, “I can do this.  I can do this.”  As he grabbed his backpack and ran out the door, he cheerfully called, “Bye, Mom!” and pulled the door shut behind him as he ran out the front door.

And then I heard the first scream — “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”  That first scream was followed by several more screams and wails from the front yard.  I knew that he had been left behind.  And he was somehow surprised by it.

He ran back inside throwing things, banging things, and screaming and yelling.  He flailed around in anger screaming, “I HATE MYSELF!!!  I HATE MYSELF!!” for about 20 minutes.  He made quite a mess in the process.  I just stayed quiet and prayed that he was learning a life lesson.

After a bit I did remind him of his little “Hi, Mom.  Look at me!” moment and asked how he thought that was all working for him now.  It just increased the vigor of his yelling, “I HATE MYSELF!!!”

I informed him that I could take him to school after I had my shower.  I took my time and showered while he continued to destroy the house in anger.  After my shower and after he had calmed down and was repentant, I took him to school.

That’s how mornings have been at our house lately.  I won’t even tell you about the morning that ended in Zachary running, angry and upset, out the front door in his underwear and laid on his belly under the van in the driveway for a while.  No, I won’t tell you about that one.

So this morning when I woke Zachary up, I reminded him of how terrible Friday was when he was his own boss.  Upon remembering that horrible memory, he jumped up and quickly got dressed.  A little later he got very angry at Paul for turning off the radio.  He barged into Chloe’s room and told me how angry he was at Daddy.  I talked him through the problem and helped him redirect so we wouldn’t completely lose yet another morning’s peace.

Later as I walked through the living room, Zachary grabbed me by the waist and said, “I love you, Mom, because you help me with my anger.  You help me when I’m really, really angry.”  And there it was — a rare, yet cherished moment of self-realization.  A time of personal growth.  A time of really getting it.  A rare ‘Aha!’ moment for Zachary.

Praying in desperation again and again and again:  Lord Jesus, please give us wisdom as we train our children.  Give us grace and patience and insight.  And protect Zachary’s heart, God.  Help us, Lord!  And help me guide him to more and more times of personal growth!

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