My Progress!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My life: An ongoing analysis of the Soap Opera

Note: The picture above is not of the Campus Cop described in this post...I just thought it was funny.

I’m so OVERDUE, I know, but hopefully when I explain you will understand. I have been extremely busy trying to keep my kiddo out of trouble (and failing miserably I might add). I’ve also been very busy going off my diet which is obviously a great reason for not updating a blog dedicated to my big fat arse. I’ve also spent some time working on getting some of my scrapbooking stuff in order. In my spare time, I’ve also been trying to make my eHarmony profile as unattractive as possible so I will stop getting people trying to communicate with me while simultaneously coping with the fact that my husband is possibly engaging in his first bit of same sex flirting. So, let’s start from the top shall we?

1. The life and times of Tanner: my son was just suspended for the FOURTH time yesterday. He was also suspended earlier this week (Monday) for getting upset and leaving school. He just walked home with his poor aid following behind him. Fortunately for the aid, we don’t live but half a mile from school. While this was GREAT exercise for Tanner, it isn’t necessarily how I would normally encourage him to increase his activity level so we grounded him to his room until he could return to school yesterday. We realize from a historical perspective that groundings typically have about the same effect as any other type of traditional behavior modification where Tanner is concerned…the fact that we continue to have the same issues proves they DON’T work; if only it were that easy guys. We continue to ground him though because he has to have some kind of consequence and frankly, we are at a loss of what to do anymore.

We returned him to school yesterday after attending a meeting with his teacher with high hopes that he would at least make it through the day. One of the other stipulations we placed on our expectations for future behavior is NO MORE xbox or wii during the week (ever). His ability to play them on the weekends is directly correlated with his ability to make it through the week without being suspended. Again, we employ a traditional consequence without any real expectation it is going to have much impact when the going really gets rough at school. When that switch gets flipped in Tanner’s head, he just doesn’t rationalize or generalize these consequences to his behavior “in the moment.”

By lunchtime, we received a phone call from the school. Currently, we have developed a Pavlovian response to the phone ringing while Tanner is at school. Immediately upon hearing the ring, our stomach knots up, we look at caller ID and pray to see the sweet sight of one of the creditors currently hounding us; when we do…instant relief, but no such luck…it’s the school. As we fight back the rising bile in our throat, we are treated to the judgmental timbre of the Campus Cop’s lovely baritone explaining that they have been working for the past half hour to calm Tanner down. Apparently, Tanner was agitated this morning and while on the computer, tried to visit a game site instead of work on the educational stuff his teacher had set up for him. The new aid reached over and “x’d” out the browser he had opened which of course caused Tanner to slam the tip of his pencil into the keyboard in a rage.

One note about Tanner: When he is already agitated, such a drastic move is tantamount to lighting the fuse of a very volatile stick of dynamite. Of course, when someone new is getting to know him, you can imagine there is a bit of a learning curve and I’m afraid the aid found out just how quickly we can jump the rails while on this curve.

After his attempted keyboardicide, he announced he was going home and this led to them chasing him around the school for a while until he calmed down (read: got too out of breath/tired) enough to go with the campus cop. Erik headed to school to pick him up and after having the situation explained to him, was treated to a “lecture” by the campus cop (said lecture was directed at Tanner, but most assuredly meant for us as well) who informed him that if this behavior continued, he WOULD take him downtown where he WOULD put him in juvenile detention and his parents WOULD NOT be able to save him. Not only does this imply that said parents (hi there, *waves* we’re standing right here  ) have spent their lifetime trying to “save” a delinquent rather than employing any REAL parenting methods thus producing a child with the problems Tanner has, but it also assumes that we haven’t actually explained this to Tanner 50 gazillion times in the past. It also assumes that it will have some impact on Tanner. (um, hi *waves* me again…shitty parent: I know you know this but obviously don’t care, but just for the sake of argument, I think it might help to remind you that he has multiple diagnoses in addition to organic brain damage and while I don’t take learned behavior and choice completely out of the equation…he simply doesn’t have the ability to process this information the way most kids do so what you are saying…I can almost guarantee you…will have absolutely NO effect) to which Wonder Cop says “Oh, he KNOWS” with the look that says “ wake up and smell the handcuffs deluded parents…your kid is a waste of space.”

Campus Cop is apparently done bestowing the wisdom he has gained by his almost 1.5 hrs with our kiddo (cumulative time spent with Tanner over the last month). Who knew? Apparently that is ALL he needed to completely figure our kid out. Where was he 13 years ago when all this started; when I had an 18 month old biting himself, bashing his head against various objects and experiencing rages over relatively minor setbacks like putting his juice in the blue cup instead of the red one or (behavior that is IDENTICAL to the behavior we see today, although somewhat improved).

Silly me, I’ve wasted all my time reading every single parenting book on the market, seeking the health of multiple doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals, going through numerous different types of medications (both for kid and parent), praying daily (and sometimes hourly) for God to either heal my kid or give me the strength I needed to parent him, etc etc. I could literally go on for hours about all the time I’ve apparently wasted trying to help my kid when the answer was so simple…I just needed Campus Cop to come to my rescue and threaten my child with a lifetime of incarceration. Needless to say, I’m anxious to see if this works! Of course we’ve warned Tanner about this ourselves and he HAS actually been arrested (at age 11) and taken down in the back of a squad car, fingerprinted, mugshotted, the whole nine yards, but maybe Campus Cops have magical powers I’m not aware of that succeed where other methods fail. I’ll keep you guys posted.

In the meantime, we wait to see if the school is going to press charges as it is a misdemeanor offense to destroy school property. I don’t expect them to, but needless to say…Tanner is out of school until we go back to ARD. I had a long conversation with the special ed “person” at the school about my opinion of this Campus Cop and mentioned that it might be helpful to have him sit down with Tanner’s medical file before offering anymore parenting gems, but indicated that I didn’t really expect it to make much of a difference where he was concerned. He’s obviously made up his mind about Tanner based on his limited interaction and he, my friends, is “EXHIBIT A” when it comes to analyzing why our juvie centers and prisons are made up primarily of children and adults with special needs. It is so much easier to make the obvious assumption that they are bad seeds with crappy parents than to actually sit down and try to understand what is going on in their lives/bodies/minds so that you can actually HELP them.

Oh well, I know I’m repeating myself at this point. I guess I’ll continue this post tomorrow where we will resume an accounting for what I’ve been up to whilst not posting. I promise more soap-opera-like goodness is in store because in our household…when it rains it pours like a sonofab****. I will actually have a few good things to talk about so it might be fun, for the novelty if nothing else…as always…thanks for reading xx

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Tammy said...

I just can't imagine how tough it is to deal with a child like Tanner. Bless his heart. I will be praying for him to be healed, and also for you and your husband to have the peace and strength you need to deal with all of the happenings.

Kim said...

I'm so sorry that you and your family are going through so many trials. It's so easy for people to look and judge by looking at the surface isn't it? As parents, we do the best that we can for our sounds like you've been working overtime, bless your heart. You want me to come kick Campus Cop's ass? We moms need to stick together. :) I'll sit on him so he'll be still, and you can Wet Willy him to death. Yeah, he'll be sorry...if he's still able to breathe after this big lady sits on him...hehehe. (thought you might like a little bit of humor) Look at my post entitled "B-day" at number 11.

KrysTros said...

I am praying for you, Tanner and Eric. If it makes you feel any better I sat through an ARD meeting yesterday for an hour and a half with 8 other members representing the school, a case manager, medical yadda yadda. But our situation is different then yours, the problem with the kid we are dealing with is that his mother drugged him to make him have problems so she could get a check. I think she may have Munchausen disease. Long story short, they have observed that he is not like all the records they have on him from when he lived with his mother. I hope we get custody of him so that he doesn't have to go through this hell again. So take heart in knowing that you ARE a good parent, because no matter what you love your son and you are doing what is best for him and that they are parents out there that are actually trying to make their kids have problems simply for their own gains!

Lisa said...

Wow! We should talk. My son is the same way only younger. Her has ADHD and RAD. My heart GOES OUT TO YOU because I know how that feels. My daughter steals anything she can get her hands on. We adopted them at 5 and 6 and I saw some signs that they had some type of emotional disorder but didn't realize it would get this bad. Anyway, feel free to contact me ANYTIME!

- Lisa

cmoursler said...

my mom tried and tried with my older brother. He would get so angry even when he was little. He was angry and stubborn and there was nothing she could do, he ended up in group homes (for stealing, knocking out a teacher, and drugs)and eventually prison. He was labeled a sociopath. On the bright side, he has changed now because he chose to. He doesn't have the feelings other people have,but he has the ability to choose to obey the law. He does now. I don't know if that made you feel better. But at least there is hope, right?

Val said...

I'm so sorry y'all are going through this :( I'm a teacher and I can't STAND when outside personnel who have little to NO info with the student feel the need to have a damn after school special moment as if they will enlighten all the schmucks who haven't been able to deal with it. UGH!
I'm hoping and praying for y'all.