Thursday, May 10, 2012

Black Racers and Anger Management--Ugh!

Wow...I finally feel like writing; it's been a while and it feels nice to sit here at the keys. There has been a lot going on in my world these last couple of weeks and of course the last 2 weeks of school are always crazy! But I'm not going to write about any of that; I'm going to focus on the last 24 hours because that's enough drama to fill a Blog. :)

So, last night Mark and I met with our small group from church. It was nice. Then we got home and the babysitter told us about Will's horrible behavior that got him sent to bed early. Will has issues with anger and I don't think I've blogged about that before? My husband struggled with anger management in his younger years and I suppose one of our 3 kids was bound to end up with the anger gene. For the most part Will is a happy go lucky kid, but when he gets mad he goes from zero to ten; there's no grey area. Last year we met with a wonderful Therapist to deal with the problem and it helped--it really helped. Will saw her for about 6 weeks; he learned some good coping skills and all was peaceful for a while. Then, the anger started to rear it's ugly head again about 2 months ago. I reminded Will repeatedly of the tools he had learned, but it just wasn't working this time around. So..I finally decided to pick up the phone and get back into Therapy. He saw her (again) for the first time last Tuesday and we set up a plan to meet every other week until the problem is resolved. That one session last week was clearly not enough because his behavior last night was the worst it's ever been. It started with an argument over finishing just 1/2 of his dinner and it escalated from there. He threw food, he knocked a kitchen chair down, he pushed his brother and was finally sent upstairs to bed. But then--he went on a complete rampage in his room. He threw Lego's everywhere; he smashed the wooden castle he had built with his father; he poured hand soap all over his bathroom and here's the the scary part...he carved big scratches into his walls using a thumb-tac. When Mark and I went upstairs to access the damage, Will was already fast asleep in his bed. (I'm sure he wore himself out.) This morning I didn't say much to him on the way to school other than "I'm really disappointed in you and you're going to clean all that up after school." The consequence I had decided on (in my head) was to cancel his Friday night sleepover which I knew he was very excited about. I felt uneasy and frankly insecure about this decision though and let me explain why. Part of Will's anger issue is genetic for sure, but there are other factors that we have discussed with his Therapist. Will is the middle child. Jake is the oldest and he gets lots of "necessary" attention related to his ADHD. Laine is of course the baby and the only girl and it's fair to say she gets plenty of attention too. I feel like we give Will plenty of attention but regardless, he struggles to find his "place" in our family. Last weekend was Laine's 4th birthday party and there was a ton of attention paid to her. This weekend is Jake's 11th birthday party and of course it will be all about him. Will's birthday doesn't come until mid-July so he has to be patient during this period. Knowing that this would be difficult for him, I specifically planned an "all about Will" Friday where his best friend gets to ride the bus home with him, eat pizza, watch movies, sleep over, etc. So...taking this away has the potential to make matters worse. I really didn't know what to do, so I called the Therapist. Prior to calling her though, I took photos of Will's wrecked room and emailed them to her. Her response was, "This looks serious--can you get him in tomorrow?" parent wants to hear that! The word "serious" freaked me out. I set up the appointment for tomorrow afternoon but asked her to still call me. The phone rings and I step out onto the screened porch for privacy. As I am talking to her, I notice a long black snake that is no shit "rattling" it's tail in the corner. (I'll come back to that in a minute.) I stupidly stay on the porch talking to her, explaining my dilemma over the sleepover and whether or not to cancel. And I'm glad I called her because she told me NOT to cancel it. My motherly instinct was correct; it would make matters worse and it would bring out more anger. She gave me very specific instructions on what to do when he got home from school. He was to go straight upstairs to clean every piece of the mess he made.  He was to pick up all the Legos, carry the smashed castle pieces out to the garbage and then Spackle all the carvings he made in his walls. Next he was to clean his bathroom from top to bottom and basically not leave his room until it was spick and span. He also loses all video game privileges for the weekend but gets to keep the special sleepover and I was comfortable with her plan. So I asked her why she said this was "serious" when she saw the photos. It was the carvings in the wall specifically that concerned her because she said that was "rage." Again--her words freaked me out. I asked her if she thought we had a future "Jeffrey Dahmer" on our hands and she giggled. Thank God!! "No" she said. "Will is a very happy and social boy and I'm pretty sure you would have told me if he was killing small animals for fun, fascinated with starting fires, or a total loner, etc. What we are dealing with is anger management, but we need to get it under control before he's a teenager and obviously the approach we have taken thus far is not working so it's time to step it up." So that was that and I will bring Will in to see her tomorrow afternoon and take it from there.

Now...back to that snake. I am looking at this thing and I am stressed out over my boy and I want this damn thing off my porch and I'm thinking that I've watched enough shows on Animal Planet to know what to do. I run inside and put on my tallest pair of boots and then grab an umbrella because that's what you do--right? You use a little hook thing and gently pick it up and toss it out into the yard. Sounds easy enough. Keep in mind that my mother, my cousin Kate and all 3 little girls are now watching me through the window and thinking I'm insane for not waiting on daddy to get home in 3 hours. But there was no way was I waiting that long! I can tell you that if you lived 5 houses up the street from me and you were inside your house watching TV on your treadmill, you WOULD have heard me scream. This thing was feisty, fast, angry and I swear to God "flying." It could fly!  It was the creepiest thing I have ever done. It may have taken me 10 or 15 minutes, but I got the damn thing off my porch. My mom was snapping photos (nice) so I'll put one on here for your entertainment. Like I mentioned, it's tail rattled the entire time so I went inside to Google what kind of snake this was. I found my snake on, and here is their description:

"Black Racer Snake Removal and Control can be a very challenging task, the Black Racer snakes are often confused with rattlesnakes, because when they feel threatened they rattle their tails against dry leaves, sounding very similar to a rattlesnake. The Black Racer is one of the fastest moving snakes in the world. Their diet consists of small rodents, frogs, toads, lizards and other snakes. They have also been known to use their amazing climbing skills to consume bird eggs in trees. This is one reason why they are often found in and near peoples homes. The black racers are after the food source that lives there!" Nice! I told you that thing could fly! Maybe it was just shimmying up the walls and pouncing on to another one, but what's the difference? WHAT A DAY!!

Will did everything he was told to do with respect and a good attitude and I was grateful for that. And I am so grateful for our Therapist and our plan in action to get him whatever help he needs. I am grateful that Mark took it seriously enough to take off work tomorrow and attend the appointment with me. (This is a first.) Although he was angry with me for dealing with the snake situation. :( I am grateful for my mom who came into my room this morning and said, "Would a hug help?" I told her "No--it would only make me cry" but she hugged me anyway for a long time. And I cried. She whispered in my ear "Sometimes it's good to cry; sometimes you just need to and you're a great mom and I love you so much; I'm so proud of you." I'm so grateful for her. I am grateful to my cousin Kate who took one look at me this afternoon and said, "I swear to God it actually raises my blood pressure when you're upset because I hate it that much!" It's nice to be loved like that; I'm pretty lucky. I know things could be worse and I know there are a lot of people dealing with much bigger issues than mine. And so I will close with my favorite Pinterest quote, "It's not a bad life--it's just a bad day." Goodnight Friends!

1 comment:

  1. And the punches just keep coming!! Well, for what it's worth, everyone who knows you knows what a great mother you are. And most importantly, so do your kids! They are so blessed to have a mom who cares when they are struggling and helps anyway she can. You also happen to be a great snake charmer!!! Who knew? Love you!