I've been unsure of how or what to post about K lately because honestly, it's just been difficult to parent him lately. I don't want to withhold info on here that pertains to "real life" but on the other hand, there is some semblance of privacy within the family and an embarrassment point that I don't want to broach with my children either. For that reason I've held off on SOME of this just in order to process it better myself before posting.
But in all honesty, it has been a roller coaster with Kristopher since late August. He began school and things started going down hill, and we've tried many interventions annd different tactics and each time we find one that "works", a new thing shows up somewhere else that needs attention.
Brianna is now hitting, Emma is "mauling" (laying on top of Micah and holding him down) and Micah will just flop right down onto Emma or Brianna too. So it's not like the other three are some sort of angelic humans that do no wrongs. They all have their moments.
Here lately the biggest struggles with Kristopher have been his attitude, lying, and random aggression. That is... aside from outright disobedience of course.
The lying I do believe we've squelched and I'm SO very glad each time he outright tells us what he did to make each of his siblings scream instead of saying "maybe they..." and making up a story or telling us "I don't know." The boy is smart. I'll give him that any day... and it works to his benefit and against him as well. We explained finally that when he's done something wrong, the consequence is "this big" holding our hands about a foot apart. But when he LIES about it, then the consequence is "THIS BIG", holding our hands stretched completely out. He seemed to get it. Consequences vary in our house and yes, we use the word consequence for the reactions to his behaviors and yes, he knows exactly what the word means and wonders "what consequence" his actions will have... time outs, losing privileges, losing toys, or not getting to do a fun activity or visit that was planned. He now understands that lying is not going to get him anywhere.
Which is why he told us that last night he laid in his bed playing with his stuffed animals (that he wasn't supposed to have but that's another story I suppose) and dressing them in his nightshirts (that he wasn't supposed to have...). I simply asked him why there were shirts in his bed.
It's also why he told me that he knocked Micah over tonight while they were in their bedroom "going to sleep" and that he did it because he didn't want Micah standing in his crib. Not really a good reason.
He's been willingly telling us (when asked of course) the things he's done the past 2 or 3 days and I do feel like that's a step in the right direction because he's no longer lying about things... but he hasn't stopped DOING them, and the really bad attitude is still there full force.
Of course I'm writing this tonight because I feel like we've had a full day of successful behavior modification without major intervention or harm. Unless you count him knocking Micah in the face tonight... but that's just ONE thing, and that's pretty good compared to the past week or so each day. Which would be why his room is "so clean" aka has nothing but two beds, a stool, two empty bins that used to hold toys and a stuffed chair in it. No toys, no stuffed animals, no shoes, not even clothes in most of his drawers because he kept emptying those too.
He has not been allowed out of my sight today. There's no toys in the bedroom so no reason to play in there- and remarkably good timing that the batteries in my electric baby gate died today. He has NO ACCESS without the batteries but *I* do. He has not been allowed to take his "big kid toys" into the living room to set them up away from the little ones and miraculously every single ornament has stayed on the Christmas tree today. With the exception of the one that Emma pulled off when I set her out there as we prepared to leave tonight. He has been allowed to play on the porch only with supervision and that's the ONLY place that has his toys. I'm not SO super mean and did go to the garage, choose ONE toy, and bring it in for him to play with for a time then to pack up and put back out there.
Today during nap time Brianna didn't go to sleep and ended up standing up in her bed and flopping out (not sure how, but guess it doesn't matter) so the three of us spent the rest of nap time doing 'therapy' games like sorting paper circles by color, playing with a large bin filled with different size and shaped beans, and putting together 'puzzles' made from last year's "Thomas" calendar I used for appointments. I also have a great Down Syndrome calendar which will soon be cut up for the same purpose. We read some "one per page" books and signed and pointed to different books as Kristopher named the first letter of each word and told me the sounds. Kristopher and Brianna colored until Brianna ate the blue crayon and drooled blue the rest of the afternoon. We had "Charlotte's Web" playing in the background and when it was over the TV went off. That was the only thing that we watched all day. For lunch Kristopher ate two whole pieces of leftover pizza. In the afternoon two friends came over to play and they all ran around, they had issues here and there listening and with boundaries, but in the end Kristopher had a VERY good day compared to the past few.
So tonight we were sure to reward him with the appropriate dimes for his good behavior and finishing up tasks in a decent amount of time (ie getting dressed, eating, etc.). He had earned more than enough dimes to buy the next Christmas present and so when Mike got home for work I was just putting the last child in the car to go to McDonald's and then to Target for Kristopher to shop. He picked out $5 worth of things for Micah (the set amount we chose for him to use- and he has to earn half of it in dimes before he can buy it... he's already bought Brianna's gift and has $0.70 toward Emma's now).
I think- I HOPE- that this motivation to really want to earn dimes to be able to buy something for someone else will now be 'refreshed' since he had such a fun time picking out something for Micah today. He's excited to find something for Emma next and had a great night while we were out and all the way up to getting in bed and being bed for the first 20 minutes (before Micah started crying).
So... that's where we are with kristopher. As for my experiment over Thanksgiving break... he was great over break. Not many if any behavior issues. He was "back to his old self". Then school started and that first Monday back was AWFUL. Now they've been back for 2 full weeks and we're back at square one. Mike and I have had one or two serious conversations about school- and even tho we LOVE his teacher, his class, what he's learning, the social aspect of it, and that he is absolutely LOVING every minute of it... if it is what is the root behind his behaviors then it will have to be the thing that changes. We've put him to bed earlier (now 7pm), we've made sure he gets good HEALTHY meals, we've cut out all snacks that aren't healthy and have made him 'rest' during rest time regularly. We have given positive encouragement for the good things he's doing, we've given consequences for the not so good stuff. We've rewarded "good days" with a special treat of dinner out or a movie or a healthy evening snack... and yet we're still struggling. We've had him go to bed in the spare room's playpen (for about 20 minutes) when he was being unkind to his brother, we've had Micah sleep in there so he wouldn't wake Kristopher. We've taught him how to appropriately interact with his siblings, we've spent extra 1 on 1 time with him, we've been sure to give him a lot of good positive attention and yet things haven't changed.
Our plan for now... until we get a solid answer from God as to what is right for Kristopher right now... is to finish out next week at school, then we have 2 weeks off. If his behavior dramatically improves then we will know that, again, the common factor is school. When he returns to school in January, if we see a negative turn in his behavior, we will speak with the teacher (which we may do before hand) to see if she has any insight, and then the final action would be to simply remove him from school and finish out his pre-k year homeschooling. I hope it doesn't go that far. I know he will miss it, especially since Brianna will be going to school 4 days and Micah 2 days and he would be home. On the other hand, I know that we need to do what is BEST for him, and that's not always going to be what he wants the most.
Please keep this situation in prayer as it comes to mind. We appreciate it so much and we know we need to keep continuously setting it back before the feet of the Father to know what to do. Right now we don't have a peace about removing him from school, but we do have a general outline of what to check when so that we don't just let this behavior go on without any intervention.