Renae Today: The Dog Days of Summer

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There are some weeks that we wish would never end. The kiddos are well behaved.  We aren't having to manage behaviors in relation to RAD and/or PTSD, etc.  Everyone is healthy.  The weather is perfect.  This was NOT one of those weeks.  Still we made the most of it.

Ever since the night of Princess' birthday, she has REALLY been struggling.  Usually I can help her work through whatever is bothering her, but this week, nothing seemed to work.  As behaviors continued to escalate all week long, I was emotionally drained and absolutely exhausted.  Jason and I worked hard to make sure the other kiddos' schedules and routines weren't affected by what was going on with Princess.  He was SUCH a huge help.  It's weeks like this one that I'm so thankful he's able to remain at home with me.

On Monday we had appointments for Princess and Sunshine with their developmental pediatrician.  The trip one way is almost 90 minutes.  Add 30 minutes of waiting in construction each way and the appointments make for a very long day.  Though we left early, we were still 20 minutes late to our first appointment.  Thankfully the doctor was able to make up the time in between other patients.  We were able to obtain all the documentation we needed to counteract the report written by the anti-homeschooling psychologist.  This was a huge relief.  Sunshine's medication dosage was adjusted again, as we're still dealing with extreme behaviors on a daily basis.  In the words of our developmental pediatrician, 

"She's a mess!"

One of Princess' medication dosages was also adjusted.  She was given a new diagnosis to add to Reactive Attachment Disorder, PTSD, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome of Affect.  Princess has an anxiety disorder, completely separate from everything else.  She has quite the obsession with numbers and has to count things everywhere we go.  Her sleeping habits have deteriorated.  We have also seen an increase in self injurious behaviors.

So yeah, that was Monday.  Though I felt better after leaving the appointment, just preparing, going, and thinking about the appointment after it's finished is so emotionally and mentally exhausting.

Tuesday, as promised, we took the kiddos to a local park they've been wanting to visit.  It's a beautiful park, but not one I'd recommend in the summer heat.  Most of the play equipment is metal and burns.  Thankfully this week was quite cool, making it possible for the kiddos to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
The twisty slide below is their FAVORITE slide.  It's the largest playground slide they know of.
While at the park, there were a few other groups of kiddos playing, mostly staying to themselves.  Dinomite, Princess, and Bulldozer desperately wanted to play with them.  Dinomite asked us if he could. We told him he needed to ask the kiddos if it was alright. Sadly, Dinomite couldn't build up the courage to ask.  Instead, he just stared from a distance.  When Princess asked Jason and I the same question, we gave her the same answer.  She couldn't muster the courage to ask either.  Instead, she just played on playground equipment closest to where the other kiddos were playing and observed.  Bulldozer was the last to ask us if he could play with the other kiddos.  We answered him the same way we did Dinomite and Princess.  Without hesitation he marched over to a group of boys and asked if he could play with them.  They said yes, and there he remained until we had to go home.  I was so proud of him!  He didn't necessarily play the game the boys were playing, but he stayed with them, spoke to them, and appeared to be having a very enjoyable time.  Way to go Bulldozer!  I didn't take a picture to share, because of copyright issues, and not obtaining permission to share pictures on the blog.

After the playground and a little rain, it was time for Dinomite's first horseback riding lesson!  We weren't sure if it was going to happen because of the weather, but thankfully it did!  He's been waiting all summer for everything to be in order so he could start.  Though nervous, he didn't let on, and did an amazing job being brave.
The lessons are occupational therapy based and paid for by services he receives through the state.  I couldn't have been more impressed with the OT and her support staff.  They were wonderful with Dinomite and the horses.
Once on the horse, Dinomite sat for a minute before telling his new friend to "Ride On!"
Then he went around the ring a few times.  Dinomite LOVED it.  He had never realized that horses have personalities just like people.  Skippy, his horse, was full of fun surprises.  Lol.  Dinomite commented on the feeling of riding bareback.  He said he could feel the horse's movements, muscles, and bones.  When we left the lesson and went into the car, the first words out of his mouth were,

"That was AMAZING!"  Way to go Dinomite!

Sadly, by the time Dinomite came home, it was made clear he had caught his brother's cold from the week before.  He spent the rest of the night resting, hoping to feel better.

On Wednesday, Princess and Sunshine had gymnastics classes.  I tried taking pictures of Sunshine, but they turned out very dark and blurry.  The lighting in the room is awful.  Hopefully I can get more of both of them next week.  Dinomite went to swimming lessons, although he regretted it afterward, as he still had quite a cold.  Just to make the day more fun, our computer decided to crash twice as well.

Thursday it was Bulldozer's turned for his combined gymnastics/tennis time.  His one-to-one created quite the obstacle course for him, per Bulldozer's request.
After going through it a couple of times, bouncing on the trampolines, and playing in the bouncy house, the two headed to the tennis courts.  Bulldozer starts tennis lessons in the fall.  We've been trying to make sure he gets some practice in beforehand, since it's been a while.  This was Bulldozer this week!  For a 6 year old, we think he's quite amazing.  If you can hear him talking in the video, he's quite hilarious too.  (I am not a professional at filming, so please don't judge!)
We were going to head to our friend's home to swim Thursday evening, but Thursday during the day, ALL FOUR kiddos were having a rough day for one reason or another.  Bulldozer was doing best, but he still wasn't quite himself.  There were many reasons and triggers, but Jason and I didn't think it wise to try swimming with so many behaviors and with Dinomite still sick.  And, by the end of the day, our computer had crashed twice again and died.

Friday, three out of four of the kiddos were doing better, thank goodness!  Dinomite still didn't quite feel himself yet, but his behaviors were better.  Princess on the other hand, was still having a really hard time.  Originally we had planned to have a play date with some friends Friday afternoon, but we didn't want to share germs so we cancelled.  The family has plans to go camping next week.  Camping and colds don't really mix well together.  Friday we also learned that Sunshine officially qualifies for OPWDD services!  We're so excited and have already started the ball rolling to give her much needed supports and services.  Hooray!

Friday night, I was able to go out with a friend to get some fresh air and a much needed break!  Sadly, when I returned home, just 3 hours later, I realized that our washing machine had stopped working.  It was stuck mid cycle and had been running since I had left.  The entire washer was hot.  Cold water inside had also turned hot.  I'm so grateful that I came home when I did, because had the washer continued to over heat, it could have easily caused a fire.  After Monday's appointments, Thursday's horrible day, Princess' extremely difficult behaviors all week, the computer crashing and breaking, and now the washer going up...  I was not in a good place.

The next morning things became worse as Jason and I learned that the washer didn't break on it's own.  While I was out the night before, Princess decided to put several pages of card stock paper in the washing machine.  There was so much and it was so thick, that it broke it.  The discovery of all the paper in the washer was not a pleasant moment for me.  Princess was quick to accept responsibility.  I on the other hand did the only thing I could think of at the moment.  As I ran up the stairs, I grabbed the phone and called a grandparent.  Princess and I needed a break from each other.  I had tried everything I could possibly think of to get through to her this week and crack her newest code.  Nothing had worked.  We are so blessed to have a set of grandparents close by who not only are willing to help us in any situation, but have a lifetime of experience with special needs children, including those with RAD.  They were here to pick her up in about an hour and didn't bring her back until dinner time.  The break did wonders for both of us.  When she returned, she was finally ready to work through things.  That night before bed, I was finally able to crack the code!  She will be paying restitution for the broken washer, in a way that is appropriate for her age.  We have an appointment scheduled to meet with her therapist from years past, to do some work.  It appears Princess has hit a new developmental milestone that's wreaking havoc on her brain.  She's also becoming more and more anxious about our vacation to Disney World, with only 66 days left until we go.

While Princess was gone Saturday, Jason worked the entire day with DELL on the phone to get the computer fixed.  I figured out that if I wash clothes on a different cycle, the washing machine will still work (for now).  In the late afternoon, we took the kiddos to the car show downtown.  We have done this annually, ever since Dinomite was little.  I'm not sure if he enjoys it more now, or then, but all three kiddos had a fabulous time.

Bulldozer is obsessed with the color purple.  He always has been.  While at the car show, he wanted to make sure I took a picture of him with every purple car he found.  To my surprise there were actually four purple cars there!  He was so excited.  Now, if only he were that excited about smiling and looking at me while I took the picture he requested.  Lol.  In his defense, he really did try.
Sunshine was super cute, when she discovered a pink car.  She HAD to have her picture taken in front of it.  Her facial is expression is what she looks like when she tries to smile and say, 

"Cheeeeeeeze."
Dinomite felt like he was in heaven, as we walked past all of the different cars.  On the way he had asked if I had brought my camera, so I could take pictures of him in front of the cars he liked.  He was so excited when I said yes.  Dinomite liked A LOT of cars.  Lol.
Bulldozer decided to join Dinomite in some of the pictures. If he joined, then Sunshine definitely felt the need to join.  Here are some of their favorite cars!
Some of the owners of the cars at the car show are very particular about people looking at their vehicles.  Many don't want you to touch anything at all.  However, as we were going down our very last row of cars, Dinomite asked an elderly man who appeared to be packing up, if he could take a picture in front of his car.  The man didn't hear him correctly.  Instead, he stepped to the side, opened the door, and led Dinomite INTO his car.  He also let Bulldozer and Sunshine take turns after.  That elderly man made the kiddos' day.  I love the smile on Bulldozer's face as he grabbed hold of the steering wheel.  It was quite a nice car!
Today, it's apparent that the kiddos have shared their germs with Mommy.  Princess caught the cold right before her birthday.  Bulldozer came down with it last week and accidentally sneezed all over my arm and face.  Dinomite is better.  Today was my day to rest!  It was so needed, on so many levels.

That's Renae today!

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