Monday, September 29, 2008

The Kain Brain Drain

I have been rather post-less lately, and here's why...

things suck right now. And who wants to post about that? Who wants to read about that? But there it is. Things suck.

For several reasons...partly just some kind of down-ness on my part...seasonal, maybe? Though I love fall and the relief it brings to the brutal summer heat. Maybe post-partum related? I don't know. I'm ok, I'm not mixing up the cyanide kool-aid or anything, I don't think I'd even say I was depressed or anything...just a bit burned out.

Then there's the whole ongoing child conversation in our house, as in, "to conceive or not to conceive"...that is indeed the question. Not a pressing one, I'm still blessed with no cycles even though I have a baby that sleeps for, no lie, 10 hours a stretch at night. (I know, like I have any right to feel burned out, right?!) And we seem to have some fertility issues, given that although we have never tried NOT to conceive, we seem to take a long time to do so anyway. This whole thing was triggered by a family comment that "we have enough to deal with", and indeed we do, though I think they meant mostly financially...which indeed we do there too, at least until we get some bills paid off and our budget back on track. But that is going entirely too slowly, to the point of barely making progress at all, and it makes me depressed to think "what if it never gets any better" and "maybe I just need to go back to work for a while because we obviously are insane to think we can live on one income" even though I know people do it...those people seem to make more money than we do. I know that's probably not true, but that's how it feels anyway. And I don't want to use natural family planning. I just don't. My husband does not agree, and he has very practical and good reasons for feeling as he does, but I just feel differently, for very impractical reasons. So, there's that.

Then, there's a whole new ball of wax to deal with. Kain has been hospitalized in an in-patient psych program. We had him admitted Friday afternoon, and we really don't know a whole lot yet about what they are going to do for him because no one will tell me anything. Of course, everything pretty much comes to a halt over the weekend anyway. I'm hoping to find out more now that it's Monday. We have always been at a loss for how to handle Kain, something I have pretty much told every doctor and therapist and teacher he has ever seen while they nod sympathetically and make notes on his chart. Stuff that works with other kids just doesn't work for him, and we can't find anything that does. I believe he really wants to do better, to be good, but he just can't for any amount of time, he has so little control over his behavior. He will tag me around like a puppy dog trying to be helpful, "Yes mamm", "No mamm", "I'll get that for you Aunt Mel!", "Aren't I doing a good job today Aunt Mel?", and then he'll find out I didn't make garlic bread for dinner and have a raging nervous breakdown two hours long. Lately his bad moods have been far more frequent than good ones.

And Thursday night, we had the police at our house. I had put the boys to bed. They share a room. Evenings with Kain are a horror. His medication wears off at dinnertime, and it's just downhill from there. I hate this. I have always worked to cultivate a pleasant bedtime hour, lots of snuggling and reading aloud and that kind of thing, and I pretty much now spend the whole time fighting with Kain. Once he and Jack are in bed, I spend a couple of hours waiting for them to tire out and fall asleep. Jack keeps coming out over and over, egged on by Kain (I listen over the baby monitor), they keep getting up to play and horse around, until I'm a screeching nut over the whole thing. So, Thursday night it was particularly bad and I ended up separating them and sending Kain into the playroom with a sleeping bag. He hates to sleep in there because it's "too dark". It's a last resort. So, I send him in there, and he starts mouthing off and throwing toys around, and so after a few warnings that the door would be shut if he didn't knock it off, I shut the door. Enter raging nervous breakdown. It was so bad that a neighbor came to the door (which has happened before), and then the police (also has happened before) who wanted to set eyes on the little prince to make sure he wasn't being buried alive or anything. Once they reassured themselves that he was bruise-free (only by the grace of God, let me assure you), they left, but I was horrified. I'm not really one to care much what the neighbors think, but it's pretty bad when the neighbors think you are beating your children. I called his psychiatrist the next day and basically said they had better admit him or admit me.

So, there it is. Something has to give, before my sanity does. I also have to think of my own children, who get to witness this craziness on a regular basis, Maria who says she hates Kain because he puts me in a bad mood all the time, and Jack who asks me several times a day "Momma, are you mad yet?" I feel like a failure because I can't figure out how to help this child, and because if I can't help him I should at least be able to control myself and my home well enough that my other children don't have to suffer for it.

And that's what's been going on. That's why I haven't blogged much, because who wants to read about all of this? As for what's to come, well, we are all at least getting a break with Kain being gone. I feel guilty for even typing that, but it's the truth. I'm catching up on some things and enjoying my children and reading quiet bedtime stories. I'm realizing how much control this child has over our lives, how every meal and every bedtime and every outing hinges on what mood Kain is in, and that makes me angry, and then guilty for being angry with an 8 year old child who has been through so much. I'm hoping to get some real help and ideas for how to handle him from this hospital, but I don't really know what to expect. So far they have told me nothing at all about what they think about him. I don't expect they will really see his worst behavior while he's there because he can control himself to some extent and behave when he is really motivated to do so. From what I can see, they basically have this complicated token economy there...they earn tickets with good behavior that they can spend in the "store", and they have different "levels" that they are placed on, each level having varying degrees of privileges.

I imagine I will be told to do something similar at home. I don't really like this kind of thing. We have used stickers and such for limited behaviors, like changing a particular habit or for a particular kind of school assignment like memorizing prayers and catechism questions. I don't like feeling like I need to provide some kind of reward every time someone brushes their teeth or clears the table after lunch. But I'm trying to keep an open mind, because obviously what we've been doing isn't working.

Anyway, enough of the "pity post", I just wanted to share what was going on. We have no idea how long he will be there, I imagine a few weeks, and this is affecting our lives so much that it seems kind of silly to post about our lives without being up front about it.

11 comments:

Jennie C. said...

I'm so, so sorry, Mel. I can only imagine the stress and the pain that leads up to a moment like this, and you and your family and Kain have my prayers.

As for the money, just be patient and diligent. You'll get there!

mysteryhistorymom said...

I said a prayer for your family half way through. I am so sorry to hear that things are rough right now. We will be thinking of your family and praying, too. You are such an amazing lady!:) Lori

J.C. said...

Oh, Mel, I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. I've always admired what you do for your nephew. When you have kids of your own it is easy to extrapolate from one's own experiences, after reading about yours, and just imagine what kind of selflessness it takes to sacrifice what you, and your family, have been sacrificing. I can only imagine the toll it's been taking. But God sees all of your efforts--even when they feel and look like failures. We will be praying a lot for you, your family, for Kain, for finances, and especially for an obvious direction from God concerning these matters. I'm so glad to think that you have little Tess, largely oblivious to everything I'm sure, sleeping 10 hours a night and smiling at you in the morning. God bless

Sara said...

Mel, I'm sorry that things have been so rough with Kain. I admire your willingness to take him in and make him a part of your family. I hope that his hospitalization can provide some workable solutions for you to use at home. I'll keep all of you in my prayers!

entropy said...

Mel,
Don't beat yourself up over this. You have had a lot to deal with and being post-partum certainly could be compounding things. It's ok to vent!

We'll be praying for you here. Looking forward to your "everything is great now" post. :)

Wendy in VA said...

I'll be praying for all of you, Melanie.

Kelly said...

I am so sorry Melanie. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote for different reasons. It IS hard to live with. God Bless you.

Kelly

mel said...

Thanks everyone, especially for the prayers. I talked to his therapist at the hospital yesterday and that made me feel better. She seemed to have a very good idea of what things are like around here...pretty much all the kids there are kids like Kain, so I'm sure she's seen and heard this all before. I meet with her tomorrow for the first time, with Kain.

Jennie C. said...

How did your meeting with the therapist go? I hope it was encouraging...

Lisa said...

You are in my prayers. You and your husband are an amazing couple for taking on so much while you have your own family to take care of. I can only hope and pray that this hospitalization will result in some help for Kain and a better home life for you and your children! God bless you!

Angela M. said...

You are all in my prayers.